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Hotel Openings / Hotel Opening Rates / Caribbean Hotels / Puerto Rico Hotels / Vieques Hotels / → All Tags
One of the coolest and "greenest" new boutique hotels to surface in the Caribbean is on the popular island destination of Vieques, Puerto Rico. El Blok, located in the town of Esparanza, at the southern end of Vieques, is putting on its final touches and will be fully open by this weekend.
El Blok, designed by San Juan based Fuster+ Architects, goes for the softer side of modern minimalism, with a curvalineal shape that compliments the natural coastline and Esparanza's beachfront promenade. The hotel offers just 22 rooms, thus keeping its footprint small both literally (the hotel occupies the site of a former home) and environmentally (El Blok is LEED Gold Certified.) Virturally every aspect of the hotel's design has an environmental benefit.
Hotel News / Hotel Openings / Four Seasons Hotels / Luxury Hotels / Dubai Hotels / Johannesburg Hotels / Puerto Rico Hotels / Barbados Hotels / Morocco Hotels / Oman Hotels / → All Tags
And so the expansion of Four Seasons Hotels continues apace: we told you about Moscow (we’re still in shock over the prices), Boston round two, Kyoto being years off but in progress, and now Dubai (above) and Johannesburg are opening at the same time later this year. Having a little wander around the internet, we found reference to other Four Seasons Hotels coming to Puerto Rico, Oman, Barbados, and more as well.
Whether it’s a dose of winter sun in the Middle East, or summer sun and safari in South Africa you’re looking for, reservations are open from December 1 at either property.
In true Dubai-style, the Four Seasons at Jumeirah Beach does things big: 237 rooms starting at over 750 square feet, 10 restaurants and lounges, three swimming pools and spa, and a private beach. The design looks fairly typical Four Seasons, with all rooms having some form of outdoor space. Also big? Nightly rates, with an introductory offer ringing in at 2,204AED, or just over $600.
Have #selfies jumped the shark? We thought this video would push the social media trend off a cliff but no, nothing can stop people from taking pictures of themselves (not even during scary protests). Since the selfie trend is seemingly unstoppable, hotels are working it to lure guests.
The La Concha Resort in San Juan, Puerto Rico, a Renaissance Hotel, is rewarding guests' selfie behavior with a new package called, Take a Selfie Adventure. Available from now through August, the deal starts at $179 a night and includes discounts at the Bacardi Distillery, Tropical Rain Forest Tour, and kite flying at the historical forts, during which you should be taking selfie after selfie.
Once you've selected a photo you like and have applied the most attractive filters to make you look hot, skinny, and sexy, upload the selfie to either Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, tag the La Concha Resort, and use the hashtag #belaconcha to be automatically entered into the resort's newest contest. The best selfie pic (as determined by the resort) will win a free three-day/two-night stay.
Winners will be announced at the end of each month from May to August so there's plenty of opportunities to win. Use booking code ARN to book online or call 787-721-7500 and ask for the "Take a Selfie Adventure."
Hotel Weddings / Puerto Rico Hotels / Fashion Hotels / Hotel News / Hotel Fashion / St Regis Hotels / → All Tags
If you are so inspired by the gorgeous scenery at the St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort that you feel like you want to marry it, now you can do the next best thing: get married in it.
The Puerto Rican resort has partnered with renowned designer Lela Rose (dresser to many of the stars, including Anne Hathaway and Cameron Diaz) to create an capsule collection of wedding dresses inspired by the resort and destination. It's the only place you'll be able to buy one of the special dresses: the collection is available exclusively to brides booking their wedding at the Bahia Beach, where they do a roaring wedding business and even have their own wedding planning team on staff.
Gay Wedding Hotels / LGBT Hotels / W Hotels / Vieques Hotels / Puerto Rico Hotels / Destination Wedding Hotels / Hotel Weddings / → All Tags
The first same-sex wedding performed at W Retreat and Spa, Vieques Island
Same-sex marriage rights are being honored more and more across the country and now Puerto Rico's The W Retreat & Spa, Vieques Islandhas become the first hotel to exclusively partner with an LGBT wedding planner.
The resort has joined with Bernadette Coveney Smith and her customized “14 Stories Wedding Day” business to offer same-sex couples an opportunity to exchange vows on Vieques.
Coveney Smith's 14 Stories is said to be the first business in the U.S. to specialize in planning legal gay and lesbian weddings.
Couples who host their nuptials at the W's deluxe hotel can expect the following:
· A legal marriage ceremony performed in NYC or Boston
· 45 off-site planning hours
· One pre-wedding tasting and planning on Vieques Island with Coveney Smith and the W's culinary team
· Coveney Smith’s attendance fee to personally oversee the Vieques ceremony and rehearsal
· Post-marriage resources specializing in the LGBT community
· A personalized website for guests to book hotel rooms, view photos, learn about wedding festivities and the couple’s complimentary registry
· A donation to a marriage equality charity on the couple’s first anniversary
· 12,000 Starwood Preferred Guest points which can be redeemed towards a free night at W Retreat & Spa – Vieques Island and other onsite options.
Having rain interrupt your vacation is a bummer, and if you're traveling to Puerto Rico during hurricane season (basically now through the end of November) there's a pretty good chance of that happening.
Never fear, though, La Concha Renaissance Resort in the Condado area of San Juan has got you covered with its "Weather Proof" package.
Hotel Cocktail Week / National Rum Month / Hotel Cocktails / Hotel Bars / USVI Hotels / Puerto Rico Hotels / → All Tags
But rum is a special animal that finds its roots in the Caribbean, so we've decided to dedicate today's libations to the elixirs of the islands that are U.S. commonwealths and territories.
The Drink: Pain Killer
The Hotel: Caneel Bay, St. John, USVI
The recipe seems pretty tame, Cruzan dark rum, cream of coconut, pineapple and orange juice over ice and nutmeg topper. But after two of these smooth-sipping, but potent bad boys and you'll realize why they call it a Painkiller. Proceed with caution.
Is The Olive Hotel Spicy Enough For You? A HotelChatter Review
Nearly a year ago to the day we wrote about a new boutique hotel coming to Puerto Rico and we were super excited. It had been a while since the popular island introduced a new development, so it was most welcome. Since then, the Olive Hotel has remained one of those hidden secrets, which we can appreciate. Still, people ought to know more about this sexy spot that was recently visited by brunette bombshell Roselyn Sanchez, who just launched a television series produced by Eva Longoria and starring Judy Reyes, Ana Ortiz and Susan Lucci, called 'Devious Maids'. Oh, and we stopped by, too.
Lobby Layout: Upon walking in the Olive, you get the feeling you’ve just stepped into someone’s living room. And in a way you have. The small, but heavily decorated space is filled with treasures from the owners travels. We were looking right, left, up and down at the paintings and unusual artifacts. It also happens that the Olive has a sister hotel, the budget-friendly Hostería del Mar, where you can find more of the owners eclectic collection.
Checking In: Check-in was swift and accompanied by a glass of wine (hola!), which we weren’t mad at. We were handled an old-fashioned tasseled key and led via elevator up to our room.
Room Reaction: When we first mentioned the opening of this hotel and showed the first images, we thought the rooms would be huge. Well, our room was a mite smaller than what we expected. In fact, it was called a petit chambre . One could touch the shower wall from the bed, and the sink was outside of the toilet. Definitely the European style the website described, still, the open-design did take us off guard at first.
Budget Hotels / Caribbean Hotels / Mexico Hotels / Cancun Hotels / Puerto Rico Hotels / Aruba Hotels / USVI Hotels / Belize Hotels / Hotels Under $100 / → All Tags
Matachica in Belize is all about the chill, at a great rate...
The great thing about traveling to the Caribbean now through December is that rates are least 40%, below high season rates. Sometimes even more than that. And face it, this is the time of year when most folks are taking their vacations anyway, so you may as well go somewhere that’s inexpensive, right?
We've got 5 Caribbean hotels that are pretty easy on the budget year-round, but are an even better deal now. So, pack your strongest SPF (those sun rays are HOT) and shades and get island bound with the quickness.
This Starwood brand is new to Cancún, and opened just a week ago, so things are likely in tip-top condition. This is pretty important in hotel-glut filled Cancún, where choices can sometimes be hit or miss. We’re also happy to see the Aloft favorites such as the w xyz bar, the 24/7 pantry fuel by Aloft and re:mix lounge, where we are certain the DJ will make sure to remind you you’re in Mexico with some serious salsa beats (and don't forget to drink tequila too!) It should go without saying—but the free WiFi is a plus. Coming soon will be a rooftop pool, but for now you’ll have to walk about five minutes to the beach and the sparkling blue sea. But at these rates, it’s no problema. Rates from $99 per night.
Hotel Restaurants / Jose Andres / Celebrity Chefs / Ritz-Carlton Hotels / Puerto Rico Hotels / → All Tags
Last week we told you about the first star-studded wedding at the new Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, but today we’re focusing on the hotel’s own celebrity. That would be Spanish chef extraordinaire and ThinkFoodGroup owner José Andrés who opened the restaurant Mi Casa at the luxury resort.
Normally you’ll find José’s restaurants on the U.S. mainland at the SLS hotels in Miami and Beverly Hills, as well as other restaurants in Washington D.C., Las Vegas and other cities. However, having eaten at a few of those places, we found familiar items from those far-away restaurants right on hand at Mi Casa, so we’d like to think that they are the chef's favorites, or perhaps they’re a starter menu and he’ll be creating items to put the Ritz-Carlton stamp on Mi Casa.
Our photo gallery highlights the fun design and food surprises we found at the restaurant.
Celebrity Scoop / Ritz-Carlton Hotels / Puerto Rico Hotels / Hotel Weddings / Khloe Kardashian / Eva Longoria / → All Tags
The Ritz-Carlton, Dorado Beach Reserve in Puerto Rico has only been open since December, but a boatload of guests have already booked and stayed, even with their most-expensive-resort-on-the-island rep. However, even this high-class hotel's chops were tested when they had their first wedding of the season—a big ‘un with a $5 million budget to spend.
Plus, they only had one month to pull it off.
Who was this anxious-to-wed couple? Actor/musician Duane McLaughlin and his fiancé, Lumiere De Vie skin care product founder, Amber Ridinger. Originally the pair considered the St. Regis (at the time, the most swank space in PR), but after hearing about the RC Dorado and taking just one look, Amber changed her mind. Soon after, wedding invitations were sent out to the couples’ high profile pals (which included Khloe Kardashian and Scottie Pippen) for their April nuptials.
Now that the Ritz Carlton Reserve Dorado Beach is opening on December 12th, travelers are booking as fast as we type this--and why not? The resort is impressive (and expensive).
We've talked at length about the Dorado's high points, from the Jose Andres restaurant to the five-acre spa with treehouse massage platforms. And didn't you hear? Guests will also receive gold bars at turndown. We lie about the latter, but it's not unlikely.
So, what's the fate of the original Ritz-Carlton, San Juan? It probably will no longer reign as mother hen to Puerto Rico's jetset—but it's still a top property that shouldn't be forgotten.
In fact, here are 5 reasons we encourage you to still stay there, especially if the Dorado's four-figure price tag is tripping you out.