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Puerto Rico Hotels

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Caribe Hilton
Calle Rosales
San Gerónimo Grounds
Puerta de Tierra
San Juan
Puerto Rico 00901
Tel: 787 721 0303
reservations.caribe@hilton.com
www1.hilton.com/en_US/hi/hotel/SJNHIHH/index.do

This 1949 landmark just outside Old San Juan has 814 rooms done up with contemporary Caribbean flair. The hotel is divided into three different wings, each offering similarly-sized-and-styled accommodations (the water-facing wing has the best views). Although the hotel mostly caters to business travelers, Caribe Hilton does have a number of resort perks, such as shorefront swimming pools, an Olas Spa and Fitness Center, and access to a secluded beach.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Casablanca Hotel
315 Calle Fortaleza
Old San Juan
San Juan
Puerto Rico 00901
Tel: 787 725 3436
reservations@hotelcasablancapr.com
www.hotelcasablancapr.com

Opened in February 2009, the Casablanca Hotel gives you a lot of style and convenience for a minimal investment. The 35-room inn sits right on the hottest street in Old San Juan, Fortaleza, home to restaurants, boutiques, and clubs. Downstairs, great effort has been made to create an eclectic feel, using everything from antique lanterns to silk pillows to oversize Warholesque paintings by a local artist. Upstairs, the rooms have the same original mix of thrift-shop finds (a silver tea set, gilt mirrors, a Deco armoire) and unexpected touches, like fresh white roses in a pitcher vase. The overall effect is quirky, stylish, and fun—as is the crowd. Be ready to have a good time, which includes heading up to the roof to soak in one of the five stone hot tubs.—Leigh Newman

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Casa de Amistad
27 Calle Benitez Castaño
Isabel Segunda , Vieques
Puerto Rico
Tel: 787 741 3758
viequesamistad@aol.com
www.casadeamistad.com

Shades of mango and persimmon put you in a tropical mood at Casa de Amistad, a fun and funky seven-room lodging not far from Vieques's ferry terminal. The '60s decor calls to mind a seaside motel, with speckled tile floors, wicker chairs, and walls painted in vibrant citrus hues. Way gay-friendly, the place attracts couples of all combinations, who hang out together at the bamboo-covered tiki honor bar on the ground level, on the rooftop terrace, or beside the tiny palm-shaded pool. There's Wi-Fi (a rarity on the island) for those who can't stay unplugged, and the island's beaches are just a short drive away.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
The Cervantes
329 Calle Recinto Sur
Old San Juan
San Juan
Puerto Rico 00901
Tel: 787 724 7722
reservations@cervatespr.com
www.cervantespr.com

Puerto Rico's best-known fashion designer, Nono Maldonado, has turned his exacting attention to this 12-suite boutique hotel in the heart of Old San Juan. The exterior has the arched windows and wrought-iron balconies typical of colonial-style buildings; the interiors, however, are cutting-edge cool. As with his clothing, Maldonado favors jewel-toned colors (like garnet and gold) and rich fabrics like velvet and silk for the clean-lined couches, chairs, ottomans and drapes; all the suites have soaring ceilings, huge windows, and padded headboards. They also have marble bathrooms, high-tech amenities such as plasma-screen TVs and Wi-Fi, and private balconies—which, unfortunately, overlook the street (there are no water views here). The two Master Suites come with private butlers; a massive whirlpool tub and a car and driver are included in the $2,000 price of the duplex Presidential Suite. Since the hotel is landlocked, you might ask to be whisked away to one of the nearby beaches.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Club Seabourne
Calle Fuldoza, Km. 1.5
Culebra
Puerto Rico
Tel: 787 742 3169
Fax: 787 742 0210
www.clubseabourne.com

Nearly hidden among tropical foliage, this sanctuary of nine butter-yellow cottages sits high on stilts over Culebra's Fuldoza Bay, the better to enjoy views of boats bobbing a half-mile away. The spacious bungalows (the largest has two bedrooms) are done up in plantation style with creamy tile floors, elegant rattan furnishings, and hand-carved queen beds that seem slightly too large for the bedrooms. There's also a main building with three smaller "pool cabanas" (really just guest rooms) that overlook—yes—the lovely palm-shaded swimming pool. American and European families tend to come back year after year to get away from it all (the property is a good distance from anything resembling a town); islanders venture here for the fantastic seafood at the White Sands restaurant or for drinks at the Seashells bar.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Conrad San Juan Condado Plaza
999 Avenida Ashford
Condado
San Juan
Puerto Rico 00907
Tel: 888 722 1274 (toll-free)
Tel: 787 721 1000
www.condadoplaza.com

Expect to gasp upon entering the Conrad San Juan Condado Plaza. A $70 million renovation was completed in 2008—with the evident intention of transforming the hotel from a tattered casino-with-rooms into a tower of trendification. As far as the lobby goes, goal achieved: The front desk is a glowing bolt of frosted orange glass, lounge nooks are stuffed with amoebalike chairs in turquoise and red, the walls shimmer with textured plastic surfaces, exotic sharks prowl a wall-size fish tank. The whole first floor emits a late-night Miami vibe, with some authentic salsa touches. The 570 rooms keep the style going in various shades of deep red (in the ocean tower) and acid green (lagoon tower). Even the hallways are beautiful, with Japanese vases arranged on sleek lowboys. The only serious lapse is the mezzanine, where the restaurants remain mired in the 1980s: an Italian cafeteria reminiscent of a Cleveland airport and a Japanese noodle shop that overlooks a row of slot machines in the dowdy central casino. Luckily, new additions are helping to salvage the dining scene: Chef Wilo Benet has relocated his famous Pikayo restaurant here, and his new restaurant Varita in the lagoon tower is a fun, casual spin on Puerto Rican barbecue. There are two pools and a small beach, and the Condado location, about 15 minutes from Old San Juan, means plenty of options for sightseeing and activities. But what draws the clientele is the style—without the nonstop nightlife of similar properties like La Concha and El San Juan. If you like the mod look but not deep bass thumping through your walls at 3 am, you've found your hotel.—Leigh Newman

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Copamarina Beach Resort & Spa
Carretera 333, Km 6.5
Guánica
Puerto Rico 00653
Tel: 800 468 4553 (toll-free)
Tel: 787 821 0505
reservations@copamarina.com
www.copamarina.com

The Copamarina Beach Resort is about substance over sex appeal. Known island-wide as a "classic," this is where well-off Puerto Ricans spend their vacations. Located on the seriously—and wonderfully—underdeveloped southern side of the island, the 106-room resort is located in a protected subtropical dry forest, near 27(!) beaches. The hotel's own beach has calm bathtub-warm Caribbean water (the Atlantic, on the island's northern coast, is prone to waves and undertow) and every kind of activity from scuba to paddle boats. The Copamarina hasn't changed much since the 1950s, but it has been pristinely kept up. The rooms have a traditional casita look, with wooden louvers, tropical-print bedspreads, and tiled baths. In the summer, local families fill up the resort; in the winter, in-the-know Americans, Canadians, and Germans take over. You can tell the Americans—the ones power-kayaking through the 30-minute trip to the resort's offshore island—while the Germans and Canadians calmly pay to have the boat captain ferry them across. The on-site restaurant is by no means inventive, but it does prepare delicious comfort food like thick, buttery home fries and grilled fresh fish. But the real sell? The service. The Copamarina is one of the few places on Puerto Rico where the staff runs to help guests—fixing the hot water, organizing a sailboat cruise, giving directions to the deserted, magnificent Tamarind beach at the literal end of the road. Not to mention doing all this with an attitude of genuine kindness.—Leigh Newman

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
El Conquistador Resort, The Waldorf Astoria Collection
1000 Avenida El Conquistador
Fajardo
Puerto Rico 00738
Tel: 866 317 8932 (toll-free)
Tel: 787 863 1000
Fax: 787 863 6500
www.elconresort.com

This hotel looks like a million bucks—$120 million, to be exact. That's how much Hilton Hotels put into renovating El Conquistador, one of the biggest resorts in the Caribbean and now part of the Waldorf Astoria Collection. The 984 guest rooms are clustered into separate "villages," some in the main hotel building, others perched high on a cliff, still others scattered around the marina below (Las Casitas Village, a cluster of villas with butler service, are the top of the line). The remodeling, completed in 2008, nixed tired wicker and pastels in favor of light wood and a neutral palette with splashes of cobalt blue, crimson, and marigold. There are plenty of high-tech touches, like flat-screen TVs, Wi-Fi, and docks for your iPod. Also on the scene is the Coqui Water Park, which includes three slides that drop you into different pools. If that's not your idea of fun, there are seven other pools, including the free-form main pool, with a killer view. There's no beach at the hotel itself, but a fleet of catamarans will ferry you to its private island in eight minutes. Activities include horseback riding, tennis, and water sports; a 26,000-square-foot Golden Door spa, an 18-hole golf course, and a casino round out the on-site offerings. The dining options have improved with the addition of the Strip House, but the "restaurant row"—tucked away on the dark second floor—still feels like an afterthought. Many people prefer alfresco eating at the casual Café Bella Vista.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
El San Juan Hotel & Casino
6063 Avenida Isla Verde
Isla Verde
San Juan
Puerto Rico 00979
Tel: 866 317 8935 (toll-free)
Tel: 787 791 1000
Fax: 787 791 0390
www.elsanjuanhotel.com

The El San Juan Hotel was designed to remind wealthy travelers of the pleasure palaces of Havana, and it's still turning heads. The mahogany-paneled lobby, with its red marble floors and centuries-old tapestries, no longer gets all the attention. Now the main attraction is the curvaceous pool that meanders past four-poster daybeds perfect for lounging, as well as air-conditioned cabanas that have nearly as many amenities as the guest rooms. A 2007 makeover also gave the 382 rooms a new look, their white-on-white scheme livened up with bursts of citrusy orange and lime, and playful Philippe Starck–style ghost chairs. We like the ultramodern furnishings, but if you're more traditional, opt for one of the oceanfront lanai rooms. These suites, in a separate building, have kept their plantation-style charm—a look that, like the old-school glamour of the lobby, plays nicely with the contemporary gloss of the white rooms and pool. The eight on-site restaurants also offer a little something for everyone, from sushi to Starbucks to Brother Jimmy's, a rooftop barbecue joint. But the real action is on the weekends, when the hotel's nightlife scene, including live salsa bands in the lobby and the pulsing in-house club Brava, never stops.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Gallery Inn
204 Calle Norzagaray
Old San Juan
San Juan
Puerto Rico 00901
Tel: 787 722 1808
reservations@thegalleryinn.com
www.thegalleryinn.com

This place is for the birds—literally. You're greeted in the lobby by Campeche, a cockatoo who proffers a business card identifying him as the hotel's social director. And there are several other colorful creatures, from a blue hyacinth macaw named Mikey to a harlequin macaw named Pica (who might nip your ear if you're paying too much attention to another bird). One of the birds is usually on the shoulder of owner Jan D'Esopo, an artist who has filled the 300-year-old mansion with her cheerful watercolor paintings and massive bronze sculptures. D'Esopo is often hard at work in the adjoining art studio or the hotel's flower-filled courtyard. If she's not putting the finishing touches on a piece, she'll be happy to show you some of the 22 guest rooms, all of which have over-the-top touches like four-poster beds swathed in brocades and walls covered with trompe l'oeils. This is not a place for introverts: You'll undoubtedly get drawn into late-afternoon wine-and-cheese gatherings on the sunny terrace or a concert in the music room. There's no beach, so ask for a room with a view, as this is Old San Juan's only lodging facing the Atlantic Ocean.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Gran Meliá Puerto Rico
200 Coco Beach
Río Grande
Puerto Rico 00745
Tel: 866 436 3542 (toll-free)
reservas@granmeliapr.com
www.granmeliapuertorico.com

The decor of the Grand Meliá, a sprawling resort about 45 minutes' drive east of San Juan, could be described as Spanish-Moorish-Puerto Rican grandeur, or as colonial-inspired rambling extravagance, or—more efficiently—as marble. Marble bedecks the floors, the walls, and the colonnades, creating the feeling of an open-air palace. The 486 rooms—all junior suites, at a respectable 520 square feet—come with elegant dark-wood furniture and separate seating areas, and are housed in appealing low-rise "villas." The real reason, however, that many guests book here is to play golf on the neighboring Trump course, designed by Tom Kite and now home to the PGA Puerto Rico Open. The course blows away those at larger resorts like the Wyndham Rio Mar and El Conquistador. Sadly, though, the water at the beach only comes up to your thighs since the shore is protected by a natural offshore reef, and has a lot of seaweed. Instead, pools are the big scene, in particular the adults-only Royal Service pool, which is only available to those who purchase a "Royal Service" upgrade. The extra $150 (negotiable, but that's off the record) also includes perks like a Jacuzzi on your patio, an express line for check-in, and a free canopy bed by the pool for sunning. Plebeians must content themselves with the gargantuan lagoon pool, where shockingly delicious burgers are served at the swim-up bar.—Leigh Newman

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Hacienda Tamarindo
Carretera 996, Km 4.5
Barrio Puerto Real , Vieques
Puerto Rico
Tel: 787 741 0420
hactam@aol.com
www.haciendatamarindo.com

Hacienda Tamarindo might be one of the last true bargains in the Caribbean. The rambling hilltop hotel is anchored by a centuries-old tamarind tree, whose trunk comes up through the lobby and whose branches shade an alfresco breakfast area. Young, well-traveled types tend to fill the 16 tile-floored rooms, which are upholstered in tropical pastels. Some overlook the Caribbean; others face the lovely swimming pool set among mahogany and coconut trees (where guests can indulge in outdoor massages). Hacienda Tamarindo also manages Casita Linda, a tile-roofed villa with porches on three sides and an outdoor dining area within sight of the island's southern shore. For all guests, the hotel will pack boxed lunches to take to any of the island's beaches, including the nearby Sun Bay Beach.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Hix Island House
Carretera 995, Km 1.5
Vieques
Puerto Rico
Tel: 787 741 2302
info@hixislandhouse.com
www.hixislandhouse.com

The architecturally dramatic Hix Island House rises high above the Caribbean in the hills of Vieques. The modernist 13-room concrete compound was designed by Canadian architect John Hix, a devotee of both minimalist design and minimal environmental impact. The solar-powered loftlike apartments, spread among four angular buildings, are surrounded by lush gardens, a yoga pavilion, and a 50-foot pool. Interiors are spare (think wooden platform beds, equipped here with orthopedic foam mattresses), but the La Casita suites are especially spacious at 500 square feet, with private patios and outdoor showers. Hix House lacks a formal restaurant, but each loft comes with a private kitchen, not to mention mouthwatering views over green countryside and the far-off sea. Naturally, it's popular among style-conscious types who know their Mies from their Marc Newson.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Horned Dorset Primavera
Carretera 429, Km 3
Rincón
Puerto Rico 00677
Tel: 800 633 1857 (toll-free)
Tel: 787 823 4030
info@horneddorset.com
www.horneddorset.com

Set on four rambling acres close to Rincón on Puerto Rico's scenic and often overlooked west coast, the Horned Dorset is an ultraluxe surprise well away from the tourist masses. Designed in a tropical Spanish colonial style—think courtyard fountains, red tiles, vaulted ceilings—the property includes an original 17-suite building and 22 newer swank and spacious villas. The latter are perched on a hillside in their own compound with a communal pool, as well as private plunge pools en suite. The hotel has its own perfect slice of beach and is close to Rincón's top surfing spots.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Hotel El Convento
100 Calle Cristo
Old San Juan
San Juan
Puerto Rico 00901
Tel: 800 468 2779 (toll-free)
Tel: 787 723 9020
reservations@elconvento.com
www.elconvento.com

One of the Historic Hotels of America, the Hotel El Convento is a thoroughly renovated 17th-century Carmelite convent. The small boutique hotel has 58 rooms and sits in the heart of Old San Juan. Rooms have preserved their period grandeur, with high ceilings, huge windows, Andalusian tile, and exposed mahogany beams. Guests who regret the distance from the beach can get a tropical fix in the rooftop pool. An elegant alternative to the sprawling, modern hotels of San Juan, El Convento is worth a visit even if you're staying elsewhere; come for breakfast or lunch in the courtyard, and then a stroll through its dramatic vaulted arcade.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Inn on the Blue Horizon
Carretera 996, Km 4.3
Vieques
Puerto Rico
Tel: 787 741 3318
innonblue@aol.com
www.innonthebluehorizon.com

When it first opened in 1996, this plantation-style inn was really just a trio of rooms set in a hilltop villa. Today, owner James Weis has almost single-handedly transformed the Blue Horizon into a stylish, romantic retreat complete with six additional suites and a large casita. Though their details vary, all rooms are decorated in a colorful Mediterranean style, with original art and antiques, four-poster beds, and airy porches. Despite the hotel's small size, it includes a gym, plus a pair of tennis courts that can be booked for an additional fee. The beach is just a short walk away, but honeymooners might be just as happy to lollygag by the big, secluded pool. Views from the lively open-sided bar are particularly lovely at sunset.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
La Concha, a Renaissance Resort
1077 Avenida Ashford
Condado
San Juan
Puerto Rico
Tel: 877 524 7778 (toll-free)
Tel: 787 721 8500
Fax: 787 724 1949
www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/sjubr-la-concha-a-rennaissance-resort

This midcentury modern masterpiece presided over Condado's rise to tourism fame in the 1950s, and it's been the star of this beach strip ever since. Retro elements like the diamond-patterned facade and a restaurant inside a curving cement seashell feel at home among of-the-moment features like a multilevel pool, which transforms into an indoor-outdoor party platform when night falls. In the 483 guest rooms, low-slung furnishings pay homage to the past while feeling completely current, with the assistance of tech toys like iPod docks. Consider spending an extra $60 or so per night to upgrade to the suite tower (completed in 2010), where curvy blond-wood furniture is accented with pops of sea blue and you get a fully equipped kitchenette, ideal for hosting an after-party with new friends from La Concha's rowdy weekend scene. The crowd skews toward party people, but the great pool setup and kid-friendly restaurant also attract hip young families.—Updated by Colleen Clark

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Las Casitas Village & Golden Door Spa
1000 Avenida Conquistador
Fajardo
Puerto Rico
Tel: 888 557 6372 (toll-free)
Tel: 787 863 1000
www.lascasitasvillage.com

This 500-acre resort near El Yunque rain forest supplies "an upscale, chic atmosphere" and "exteriors that are beautiful." Due to the resort's size, "you need to have transportation or the luxury of time to walk." Staff embody "the hospitality of Puerto Rico." More than 20 bars and restaurants include Blossoms, serving pan-Asian specialties. Unwind on Palomino Island, the resort's private getaway just offshore.

(157 villas)

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Numero Uno Guest House
1 Calle Santa Ana
Ocean Park
San Juan
Puerto Rico 00911
Tel: 866 726 5010 (toll-free)
Fax: 787 272 5482
info@numero1guesthouse.com
www.numerounoguesthouse.com

Numero Uno, one of a handful of beachfront guesthouses in San Juan, feels like a stylish friend's beach house. The three-story 1940s structure has only 14 guest rooms, and the management throws weekly cocktail parties on the second-floor lounge's balcony. The decor eschews tropical kitsch in favor of sophisticated shades of ocher and taupe. The plunge pool, with luminous black tiles, sits inside a walled garden with bougainvillea and other tropical flowers. Tables at the Caribbean-style Pamela's restaurant spill out through the hotel's archway and onto the sand. Best of all is the location: The mostly residential Ocean Park sits between Condado and Isla Verde. That means you get to be right near the action without the attendant traffic, noise, or high price tags.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Rio Mar Beach Resort & Spa - A Wyndham Grand Resort
6000 Rio Mar Boulevard
Río Grande
Puerto Rico
Tel: 877 636 0636 (toll-free)
Tel: 787 888 6000
Fax: 787 888 6320
info-riomar@wyndham.com
www.wyndhamriomar.com

Although it's on one of the island's best beaches, this resort is for people who get antsy just lounging around. Water sports abound, so you can skim across the top of the ocean on a catamaran or dive beneath it to check out the colorful coral (the onsite tour operator makes it easy). It's not far from the main entrance to El Yunque rain forest, so there are plenty of opportunities for hiking or horseback riding. Other activities for grown-ups include golf on a pair of challenging courses (where you can sometimes catch a glimpse of the island's rare green parrots), tennis on 13 courts, and treatments at the Balinese-style spa. One of the free-form pools is reserved for adults (so even though the hotel is kid-friendly, you don't have to be). Palio, which serves Northern Italian cuisine, is one of the best restaurants outside San Juan. The 600 guest rooms look more like an urban retreat than a beachfront resort, with big slabs of polished wood serving as headboards, and abstract paintings hanging on deep amber- or olive-colored walls.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Ritz-Carlton, San Juan Hotel, Spa & Casino
6961 Avenida Los Gobernadores
Isla Verde
San Juan
Puerto Rico 00979
Tel: 800 241 3333 (toll-free)
Tel: 787 253 1700
Fax: 787 253 1111
www.ritzcarlton.com/hotels/san_juan

The luxurious Ritz-Carlton San Juan announces its grandeur with large lion statues spouting water into a courtyard pool. The other public spaces, and the 416 rooms, are suffused with Ritz-Carlton-esque touches: enormous flower arrangements, dark hardwood furniture, heavy drapes, and richly colored fabrics. None of it seems particularly Puerto Rican, and the whole thing teeters on fussy—especially in unpretentious San Juan—but it's saved by the overall feeling of hospitality and the genuine warmth of the staff. Cool scented towels and fresh fruit juice are always at hand, and if you need more than that, there are five dining options for you to choose from (including Caribbean outposts of New York's BLT Steak and Il Mulino). There's also a lively, swimmer-friendly beach, a busy casino, and a Club Level with 46 rooms and its own reception and concierge. On the downside, the ten-story building is only five minutes from the airport—great for catching some last rays before your flight, but not so good if your window faces the noisy runways. Ask for a room overlooking the Atlantic.—Peter J. Frank

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
San Juan Water + Beach Club Hotel
2 Calle Tartak
Isla Verde
San Juan
Puerto Rico 00979
Tel: 888 265 6699 (toll-free)
Tel: 787 728 3666
info@waterbeachclubhotel.com
www.waterbeachclubhotel.com

Set on the beach in posh Isla Verde, this boutique hotel gets feverish press for its imaginative design elements—glass-enclosed waterfalls in the elevators, doors made of Murano glass, and photographs of pebbles instead of carpeting in the corridors. Wet, the rooftop lounge, has a DJ who spins all night. But if most reviews seem to focus on public spaces and nightlife rather than rooms and service, that's because the hotel does, too. The 78 rooms, all white and beige, have floor-to-ceiling windows that face the Atlantic. They are on the small side, and form certainly trumps function. (Good luck hanging a weekend's worth of clothes in the tiny wardrobe recess.) Service is leisurely to the point of nonexistent; the hotel solicits your "desires" (beverage preferences and such) on its Web site before your stay, but often forgets them once you arrive. It's all fun and chic, of course, and if all you care about is the beach and a place to party till the wee hours, it's probably the place for you.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort
State Road 187, Km 4.2
Río Grande
Puerto Rico 00745
Tel: 787 809 8000
reservations.bahiabeach@stregis.com
www.starwoodhotels.com/stregis/property/overview/index.html?propertyID=1961

Situated on a two-mile-long beach, this St. Regis has all the trappings to become one of the island's top-flight resorts. Laced with nature trails, the grounds are landscaped in a lush natural style that creates privacy while gracefully integrating the hotel. A mere 20 minutes east of the San Juan airport, its rooms and suites fill a handful of three- and four-story villas. Rooms have private balconies or patios, and are more than comfortable and serene, done in a neutral palette with wood–trimmed furnishings. The large pool area is engineered for intimacy: Dividers separate sections of water, creating terraces. The poolside restaurant, Seagrapes, is excellent for easy lunches of pizza or perhaps a Niçoise salad. The emphasis is on service, yet no more than two parties can check in at once, leaving other new arrivals to cool their heels, and making dinner reservations at Fern (a Jean-Georges Vongerichten restaurant) can be unnecessarily complicated. The butler service, however, is ideal—he or she will unpack your bags, iron out wrinkles, bring French-press coffee gratis, and do pretty much anything you can think up.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Villa Montaña Beach Resort
Carretera 4466, Km 1.9 Interior
Barrio Bajuras
Isabela
Puerto Rico 00662
Tel: 877 882 8082 (toll-free)
Tel: 787 872 9554
frontdesk@villamontana.com
www.villamontana.com

Complete, total relaxation bordering on mental and physical paralysis is the specialty of Villa Montaña, located about 100 miles west of San Juan, near the JetBlue-served city of Aguadilla. This collection of 38 rooms and 43 hacienda-style villas (think tin roofs, pastel-painted stucco walls, rattan furnishings) faces a three-mile long beach where the sun literally stuns you into nonmovement. Facilitating the meltdown are the world's most comfortable beach loungers, with thick orange padding and giant yellow throw pillows. Villa Montaña is centered on a vaguely Eastern dining pavilion, decked out with Moroccan lanterns and Indonesian chaise longues, upon which guests flop around during the day in their Indian-print caftans and Marc Jacobs sunglasses, scarfing down plates of what's described as Scandinavian/Asian cuisine. It's neither, but it tastes spectacular: Try the braised grouper on a bed of garlic pasta with cremini mushrooms, and wash it down with a glass of white wine. The villas are comfy—back porches, sitting areas—with classic island decor, and are well kept up but hardly stylish. The service is abysmal. There is no service, in fact. Oddly, this flaw nearly becomes a strength after a few hours—once the voodoo of Villa Montaña takes over your soul. For example, one might arrive, saying, "Where is my ice? I need ice for my rum and Coke so I can relax!" Twenty minutes later? "I don't need ice. Not so much." One hour later? "I don't need rum. Or Coke." Three hours later? "I'll just lie here and pass out next to all these other sleeping, peaceful, rage-free people." Families and couples who don't mind surrendering to sun-infused nada (translation: no fitness center, no spa, all beach) adore Villa Montaña. Action junkies need to book elsewhere.—Leigh Newman

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Villas on Vieques

The limited number of hotels on Vieques makes private villas a popular option. There are dozens of properties scattered around the island, ranging in size from snug cottages to sprawling mansions. One of the best rental agencies is Rainbow Realty, a gay-owned company that advertises itself as being "straight-friendly." It represents more than 50 different villas, including the Spanish-style Casa Lucia, a two-story hacienda with its own infinity pool. Many of the island's best properties are privately owned, including stunners like The Dacha. Set on a cliff overlooking the sea, the five-bedroom, four-bath house is at once airy and luxurious, with Indian and Indonesian antiques, a circular infinity pool, and a cook/caretaker who knows his way around both a grill and the island itself. Some of the island's hotels also manage separate villas, such as Hacienda Tamarindo's Casita Linda.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
W Retreat & Spa, Vieques Island
State Road 200, Km 3.2
Vieques
Puerto Rico 00765
Tel: 787 741 4100
wvieques.reservations@whotels.com
www.wvieques.com

Spread over 30 acres of beachfront property on the north coast, the W Retreat & Spa is a design triumph for the tiny island of Vieques. Spanish-born architect Patricia Urquiola brings an urban edge to the island's boho quirkiness via the common space's poured concrete floors, Technicolor swings, and nautical lamps of crimson rope. The overstuffed furniture in the 157 rooms is designed for lounging (even standard rooms have circular sofas-for-two that can double as a bed), as are the massive steel bathtubs. Outside, there's a bi-level infinity pool surrounded by hammocks, two secluded beaches, and a fire pit perched on a cliff above the ocean. Other amenities include the island's best restaurant, miX by Alain Ducasse; seaside yoga; tennis courts; a gym; a spa; and an activity center with bikes, snorkeling gear, and kayaks. The hotel often holds cultural events, such as unplugged sets by famous musicians and artists-in-residence, which attract a diverse crowd of arty jet-setter types. But the vibe is always playful and relaxed.—Colleen Clark

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.