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“Luxurious Relaxation” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Horned Dorset Primavera

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Horned Dorset Primavera
4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Apartado 1132, Rincon 00677, Puerto Rico   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #3 of 7 Hotels in Rincon
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Luxurious Relaxation”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 12, 2009

My girlfriend and I wanted a vacation where we could get away from it all and yet be treated with first class service -- the Horned Dorset delivered both counts!

The hotel occupies a quiet, private beach near the small town of Rincon. Each suite is large and designed to produce as much privacy as possible. On many occasions, we felt as if we were there all by ourselves -- just what we wanted.

Don't worry, though, there is plenty of staff for whatever you need. The Horned Dorset seems to follow a European approach to good service: the staff remain as quiet and low-key as possible but, as soon as you ask for something, they promptly meet your request. All of it adds to the sense of quiet luxury.

Beyond the relaxing privacy, we were delighted to discover that the food there is excellent. As other reviewers will tell you: sign up for their meal plan -- it proves to be a bargain. Their chef trained at an award winning restaurant in New York City and it really shows. Moreover, they have a wonderful and dedicated bartender, Pedro, who makes one of the best Mojitos I've ever had.

If you feel like venturing out, a rental car is a must. The winding roads of are a bit overwhelming at first, but the local drivers are fairly patient. Some places to try: the Banana Dang, the English Rose, the tapas bar at the Casa Islena hotel, and the sushi at the Pools bar.

All in all, we left the Horned Dorset feeling extremely relaxed and refreshed, ready for the frantic pace of NYC.

In sum: If you're looking for a really active vacation, the Horned Dorset is probably not for you. But, if you're looking for a classy romantic getaway or a really relaxing weekend with a friend, the Horned Dorset is quite the place to be.

  • Stayed May 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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224 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (26)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Russian first
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English first
Roxbury, New Jersey
Top Contributor
84 reviews 84 reviews
27 hotel reviews
Reviews in 35 cities Reviews in 35 cities
88 helpful votes 88 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 30, 2009

I'm going to try to write this with just the facts I encountered, but I must admit, this just wasn't my (and hubby's) type of place. We do high-end here and there, but this wasn't special enough for us to pay $350+++++++++/night.

We stayed 3 nights in a garden view suite. Two-story suite was beautifully decorated in the mediterranean style furniture, but I learned that means "uncomfortable" furniture. Plenty of chairs and couches, but none you can get comfy in.

I am a meeting planner by day, so you would think I would be well aware of the property I was going to. I knew there was no internet service, but somehow I missed that there were no TVs nor alarm clocks. Since there's not much to do in Rinocn late at night, a TV is really needed unless you are early to bed which we are not.

As for the alarm clock, not really an issue other than I like to know what time it is if I wake up during the night. When one of the staff was in our suite fixing the safe (very fast service), I asked about the alarm clock. He said they offer wake up service. I had only found one phone in my few hours there and it was on the first floor, while the bed was on the second. I confirmed this with the man and he said they offer a courtesy door knock for wake up. Again, the door is on the first floor. I don't sleep that soundly, but since the A/C unit sounded like a jet engine (this is actually a plus to me), I doubt I'd hear the phone or the knock if I needed it. We just used our cell phone alarm on check out day.

The A/C worked on and off. We found that if it started getting oddly hot, we shut it off for 5 minutes, turned it back on and then it was fine. This worked for our 3 nights, so we never reported a problem.

Mosquitos, I agee, are bad, so bring bug spray and something for the itchy bites.

The weather was very hot for us with no breeze, so being at any pool was not an option the first day. The beach was nice with plenty of chairs and great ocean swimming. No one around to ask questions of, but we got by just finelooking around for ourselves.

On the second day, we were able to sit by a pool and were alone most of the time which was nice (it's off season now).

We ventured out to lunch each day to see Rincon which is very different than the HD. When we got back, the sun was on our dipping pool, so we hung out there each afternoon. THIS WAS AWESOME!!!! Granted, we could see our neighbors' dipping pool on either side of us if we walked out on our grass (photo opportunities in the gardens) and they never had sun in their "backyard" area. We lucked out. We spoke to another couple in an oceanview room and they said their pool was pretty dirty from leaves from the trees, but we lucked out again in that area.

The hotel advertises that they serve "tapas" each evening at 6:30. That would be singluar (one) tapas. When another guest was having drinks on the balcony the same night as us asked the waiter what was in the "dip' he put out (man was allergic to shell fish), the waiter said he was pretty sure it wasn't shell fish that is was fish. (yes, that is what he said several times). I was shocked the waiter never went to find out what was in it, but the man ate it and lived to tell about it.

Though it was nice to sit on the balcony at sunset, you may want to look at the balcony from the beach before you stand on the balcony. It is going to come crashing down any day now. Let me know when you see the rubble as hubby and I have bets on when it will be.

As for my reference in the start of this to $350+++++++++++, the pluses are all the charges. There is a fee for general services on top of the room rate which is maid service, beach towels, free water bottles, etc. Again, I missed knowing about this charge until I made my reservation. Our confirmation indicated it was 12%. We were charged 15%. When we showed the reception person our confirmation, they did adjust it and explained it just went up to 15%. If you booked a while ago, you may want to keep an eye out for this if you want an accurate bill.

As for reception, they are open 8am-10pm. If you happen to check in later than that (as we did), you are on your own. Key is at the reception and security showed us to our room. Thank goodness we were close to the reception area. Many rooms are down very steep, uneven stairs, so I couldn't imagine carrying our luggage ourselves as would be the case late at night. I assume there are bellman for that during normal hours, but don't know for sure.

Yes, there are roosters, but they weren't near my room luckily.

Each floor of the room has glass doors with beautiful wood shutters to close at night. Unfortunately, if you like it dark for sleeping, there are small windows above each door on both floors that let a ton of light in all night long.

The fitness center was pretty good.

We did not dine there even though everyone raved of the food, we wanted to get out and about in Rincon (go to Shipwreck if you want to dine out). Food ran about $30-$45 per entree at the hotel restaurant. Lunch menu was about $15 for a burger. All pretty normal for a high end resort, but so unnecessary in Rincon.

Dogs are everywhere in Rincon, so being at the hotel seems reasonable. They didn't seem to bother anyone, but since we didn't eat there, I am not sure.

Bed was great, linens, towels, bath tissues, etc - all great!

It would take just a little bit extra for this place to be fabulous. I wouldn't go back for these prices and rooms just off the mark. We saw so many villa rentals that seemed the way to go for a beachfront stay for our next stay in Rincon - which we loved!

  • Stayed May 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 21, 2009

My wife and I came here for our honeymoon after spending a weekend in Old San Juan. We stayed for four nights in one of the Horned Dorset Residences right on the beach.

Let me start with the good and move towards the disappointing. Our residence was very large and, to my tastes anyhow, was very well furnished. We had two stories with the master bedroom on top and the living room (plus guest bed) below. I enjoyed the space, the Moorish design and decorations, as well as the size of our small private pool. The residence even comes with a kitchen replete with stove, fridge, microwave, and espresso maker (though, oddly, no ordinary coffee maker or kettle for tea--nor any pots or pans so that you could actually use the stove). When all was at its best, it could begin to feel like I owned my own well appointed condo on the west coast of Puerto Rico. In fact, I think the hotel is trying to find purchasers for the residences with some kind of lease-back agreement.

Three more quick high points before we get to the bad: (1) We really enjoyed the food. We ate most of our meals at the Horned Dorset, and I do not regret it. There is definitely enough variety to eat every meal and keep eating different things for four or five days. (That said, unless you're going to eat a lot, I recommend against the meal plan, since for us it ended up making no financial sense). (2) The beach is very pretty, and, despite what some reviewers have claimed, it is indeed possible and even enjoyable to swim in the water. (3) Some of the staff are really nice. We love Pedro's piña coladas.

Now let's move to the disappointments, shall we?

(A) No Cancha Del Cielo. As of May 2009, the HDP website still claims there is a tennis court, the "Cancha Del Cielo" (or "Court of the Heavens") with a "spectacular view". I eagerly packed our tennis gear. When we arrived, we were told the court no longer exists, but that the hotel could arrange for tennis in Mayagüez. I have three words for that: bait and switch.

(B) No hot water. For the first two nights of the stay, we had no hot water. From what I can tell, a number of the residences were without hot water for those nights. What use is the gorgeous bathtub you see in the pictures from other reviews when you have nothing to fill it with? The hotel offered to put us in another room, but one that was otherwise not nearly as nice (no internet, no TV, quite a bit smaller), all for the bargain of $770 per night instead of $880.

(C) Mosquitos, lots and lots of mosquitos. In a four day period, I killed about 30 of them IN OUR ROOM. I could never keep them out, even after it seemed to me I had killed them all. There are also usually lizards and dogs roaming around the property. We generally like dogs, though the ones here urgently needed a bath.

(D) Rocks and Sea Urchins. Though you can swim off the beach in front of the hotel, and though the beach is pretty and the water is lovely, DO NOT step on the rocks in the water. I accidentally stepped on a sea urchin and ended up with several spines in my foot. Do you know what you're supposed to do when you step on a sea urchin? Soak your foot in hot water. Whoops: See Disappointment (B). Wait, I have a Residence, can't I heat water on the stove? Oops: No pots. In fairness to the hotel, after we explained all of this to them they put an electric hotpot in our room. I hope for the sake of future guests they leave it there.

I'll end the review with some rapid fire tidbits I think might be useful to people.

*Our gadgets worked. All of our gadgets worked just fine in our room, including an iPhone, a Blackberry, and a Kindle. The phone in the room seemed to be a little on the fritz, so it was good that our phones were fine.

* TV and internet connection in the room worked without any problems or difficult set up.

* They have kayaks for one person but no double kayaks as of May 2009. Their double kayaks were stolen or broken or something. Kind of a downer for couples.

* While staff are friendly, sometimes they can be hard to find. You end up walking around the clubhouse or beach gazebo just looking for people. It's kind of a hands-off experience, which is generally good but maybe taken a little too far at the moment.

If I were to come back, I would be lulled back chiefly by the size and Moorish decoration of the residence and the food from the restaurant. What's more likely is that on my next trip to Puerto Rico, I'll go hunting for prettier places on the east coast.

  • Stayed May 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
w0hlsein, Manager/Owner at Horned Dorset Primavera, responded to this review, May 28, 2009
Thank you for your response and review on your recent visit and for your positive comments and needless to say will address and correct the other issues you mentioned.

Hopefully we will have the pleasure of welcoming you back to The Horned Dorset Primavera and we look forward seeing you again.
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Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 17, 2009

We just returned from our vacation. My husband is a native of Puerto Rico and I have been there many times. While I was raised in NY we both spent many years working and living in NYC so we are not pushovers by any means as it pertains, to service, food and hotels. While I was not entirely thrilled with some aspects of the resort, I will try to give an honest and hopefully balanced review. The hotel is s beautiful with lovely rooms that exude old world charm and three pools which were all well cared for. The staff was pleasant and helpful. If there is anything you want at any time just ask or make arrangements in advance. Danny is wonderful and so is Pedro, both are very genuine and make every effort to ensure your comfort and pleasure. We selected this hotel because we wanted down time to rest and relax while visiting family. We got just that. It is quite and relaxing and you are not just another sardine at the pool. The food was good and well presented. Breakfast was great! This is not a place for everyone. If you like lots of attention, need the glitz and want to have a lot of interaction with other guest then you should seek another resort. There are plenty of good places locally to eat you just need to do your homework before you travel. If you like the local fare then there are plenty of great places to eat. Now what we didn't like. We were not pleased with some of the issues we encountered while we were there. While I won't go into detail, what I would say is that the management staff needs to communicate to ensure that as one manager departs for the day that he advises the next of the day’s events and issues. There is an expectation that when you have a problem and problems continue to arise that the manager on shift will be well advised of the situation. Once we made our displeasure known to the General Manager we were relocated to the other side of the complex to the Residences. He personally went to great lengths to ensure our comfort. Overall, I think the hotel grounds are lovely and there is an interesting story behind the hotel. I saw the gardeners working each day. I thought the grounds were pretty and not fussy and more in keeping with the nature of the west coast of the Island. Not everything is for everyone and nothing is perfect not even Eden or well you know the story. If you are looking for quite time in a very relaxed atmosphere then you will enjoy yourself. My husband and I plan to return on our next trip to visit family and look forward to another peaceful retreat.

  • Stayed May 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles
1 review
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed May 13, 2009

The drive from San Juan was painful. As we approached the hotel, I thought we must be in the wrong place. We passed piles of trash along the side of the road, complete with an old appliance. Entrance was not impressive. There were dogs running loose. I had to ask for someone to help with the luggage. The grounds were pretty much "au naturale." Clearly, there were no landscapers on staff. The room was spacious, but looked dated and smelled dated too. The air conditioner was noisy as hell. There was no TV and no Internet access. The plunge pool needed cleaned and serviced. I got in the plunge pool once and decided that was enough. The view from the room was the nicest part. A lot of deferred maintenance in the room, as well as the resort in general. The gym: What a joke!; No A/C; Very little equipment; No towels; No disinfectant; Plenty of dust; etc. We used the gym once and decided that was enough. There is one restaurant and one bar. The bar is only partially stocked. Don't think you are going to get any exotic drinks here! For dinner, the restaurant is semi-formal. We were rejected for wearing shorts the first night (even though this is a beach vacation and the restaurant was completely empty). Be careful ordering wine. I don't think they have a wine storage unit. All red wine will be served at room temp (and this is Puerto Rico room temp). The food was generally good. The beach is as small as it appears in the picture. No service on the beach. The water, however, was heavenly. There is absolutely nothing to do in Rincon. If you go to this resort, that's it. Don't count on going out for dinner anywhere other than the hotel. The resort had very little staff, probably because it had very little business. We felt as though there were only a handful of other guests. Hardly ran into anyone else. This resort is either well passed its prime, or is trying to be something it is not. At these room rates (or any rate for that matter), I would say pass. Clearly not what I expected from a Relais et Chateaux. We left after 2 nights.

  • Stayed May 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
w0hlsein, General Manager at Horned Dorset Primavera, responded to this review, June 3, 2009
Very negative perspective from beginning to end, you used up your two night deposit and left, I hope you found what you were looking for .
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San Juan
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 4, 2009

Just returned from a weekend at the Horned Dorset to celebrate our wedding anniversary. It's a perfect getaway, and oh so romantic! Stayed at the Cliffside Suites, ours was a Partial View (# 49) - 2 story villa, 2 marble bathrooms, plunge pool, day bed, balconies, and a 4 poster canopy bed that was heavenly. The service at reception was very nice. Likewise, the staff is friendly, visible and pay attention to detail - something you don't see everywhere. Aaron's Restaurant was fantastic - very gourmet food and excellent service.

As for the location - the property is situated on the quiet part of Rincon (mainly known for surfing beaches). This beach is completly calm...yet you can still hear softly crashing waves at night. Very nice. The hotel is on a hillside, so have in mind there will be stairs.

It's what I expect from a Relais & Chateaux with the added bonus of being in Puerto Rico.

  • Stayed May 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 13, 2009

I should start out by saying that I am a spoiled traveler who usually stays at a Four Seasons so I expect the very best. That being said, the Horned Dorset wasn't bad. Even though it was in season, there were very few people there. We practically had the pools, mealtimes to ourselves. The room was amazing - it was a garden view suite - 2 floors, amazing canopied bed (the best I've ever slept in), 2 large bathrooms, 2 small balconies on the top floor and a terrace on the ground floor with a dipping pool. In my opinion, some of their problems are: there are many stray dogs all over the property - under your dining table etc., their more casual restaurant was closed so for dinner you could only eat in the formal dining room - while you'll read that others rave about their food, it is very expensive and NOT at all special. The private dipping pool was not heated - none of their pools are heated - kind of annoying, the beaches are narrow and not very nice. There is no service - nobody comes around to ask you if you want a drink (I don't like to be doted on but you definitely notice when you are not being catered to). When an employee noticed that you needed something, they were very nice. We ended up renting a car to drive to the Maria's beach area to look at the surf and hang around Calypso restaurant and outside bar and eat there a couple of evenings to get a different meal and to be around more people. My boyfriend is a surfer but the waves were just way to big even for him and you have to paddle out very far to get to them. Keep that in mind if you are looking for a surfing vacation. The grounds need to be manicured and the pools cleaned. It just isn't up to a great resort level but the rooms are wonderful. It is hard to compete with the Four Seasons!

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Horned Dorset Primavera

Address: Apartado 1132, Rincon 00677, Puerto Rico
Location: Caribbean > Puerto Rico > Rincon
Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 7 Hotels in Rincon
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Horned Dorset Primavera 4*
Number of rooms: 17
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Horned Dorset Primavera is a small luxury hotel located in northwestern Puerto Rico, two miles from the town of Rincon. It is set among rolling hills at the edge of the beautiful Caribbean Sea and is known for reserved European service executed in an atmosphere unique in Puerto Rico and the award-winning Restaurant Aaron. The hotel is a member of Relais & Chateaux. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Horned Dorset Primavera Rincon

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