Isla Verde, Puerto Rico
Stephen and I jetted down to Puerto Rico for the weekend to get out of the snow and into some sunshine.
I had always heard that the Ritz Carlton San Juan was beautiful so we used our Amex points and splurged on a balcony ocean front room.
From the moment we set foot on the Ritz property, we were treated like royalty. I don't think we ever even opened a door for ourselves the entire time.
The room was a pretty standard size Ritz room, but having a balcony overlooking the ocean made it seem special. We had been given champagne on arrival so we took that out on the balcony and enjoyed sipping it while taking in the magnificence of the resort.
The pool, surrounded by palm trees and statues of lions, was packed with families of spring breakers and a huge wedding party. We passed the casino and then the tennis courts on the way to eat at The Ocean Bar and Grill. (We had the fish tacos…Mmmmm)
That night we made a reservation at BLT Steak inside the Ritz. We came down to the lobby and listened to the guitarist playing Spanish music to the tipsy crowd in the swanky Lobby Lounge before going into the restaurant.
BLT Steak is known for having melt-in-your-mouth steaks prepared with classic French techniques. The décor is modern with the menu on a board on the wall. The chef brought out an amuse bouche of duck pate to start off our night. After that, we ordered the crab and shrimp cocktails and the steaks. All of it was made to perfection, and the presentation put it over the top. If you’re staying at the Ritz, definitely check it out.
The next day we moved over to the Intercontinental San Juan to meet friends who had flown down to party as well.
This hotel had a completely different feel to it. There was music playing at the pool, a swim up bar, and a little more of a party vibe.
Our room was on the club side. We entered through the concierge lounge and walked down the stairs. The room was big, though slightly dated, and opened up to a patio right at the pool.
Loved loved loved the patio! It made for a great place to sit outside and eat pizza under the stars after a night of playing at the casino…we won $700 by the way. Love craps, my new favorite game!
Although our hotels were actually in the Isla Verde area of San Juan, we took a jaunt to the Old San Juan and Condado Beach areas as well.
I was familiar with Old San Juan because we used to dock there during my cruise ship days. I had a couple of favorite haunts where I was excited to take my husband.
We went for coffee at Café Cola’o right on the pier and pizza at Pirilo Pizza Rustica on Fortaleza Street in the middle of Old San Juan. Pirilo is a little hole in the wall pizzeria that serves up classic wood-fired pizzas. It was just as good as I remembered. (Neither of these have websites)
In Condado, we met up with my old friend Carlos from my Royal Caribbean days, and ate at the popular restaurant Budatai. The restaurant is owned by Chef Robert Trevino, a former contestant on Iron Chef, and boasts Asian-Latin infused foods. It has a third floor indoor/outdoor seating area, and on a beautiful night, the ambiance is magical and the food is even better! After dinner, we strolled the streets, and we enjoyed bar-hopping and listening to the street performers playing Latin music. It seemed very "Puerto Rico".
Our last night in Puerto Rico, we visited the El San Juan Resort and Casino. If you are looking to party into the night on Saturday night, this is your place. We started in the casino where I got on a crazy roll streak and made everybody money. Then we had sushi at Yamato in the resort. Then we ventured over to the gorgeous lobby bar where a band was playing well into the night. Everyone was dressed up, dancing, and having a great time!
Puerto Rico is always beautiful but this trip made me see it as a wonderful paradise!
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