00646 Travel Guide
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.
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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.
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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.
We mentioned in June that the Ritz-Carlton’s first Reserve property in the Americas, the Dorado Beach in Puerto Rico would open in December. We weren’t sure if that would happen, but the company has just announced they’re now accepting reservations for its 12-12-12 debut. Given that it’s turned a mite chilly outside, we think this news is just in time for those looking to make winter getaway plans.
High season rates at the Ritz-Carlton Dorado start at $1,600 per night (down from the $1900 quoted in June), which is pretty hefty for Puerto Rico (although you do a beachfront room, a private plunge pool, and butler service). Plus, you’re paying for whatever it cost to get José Andrés to put his restaurant there.
Hopefully we’ll get to see what this resort looks like in person, but if the photos are any indication, this is going to be one caliente spot.
We mentioned the other week that Puerto Rico was finally opening the five-star Ritz-Carlton Reserve, Dorado this December, and the images blew our socks off (as did the rates which start at $1,200 a night.)
So, we seriously muttered, "ay dios mio", in earnest when we heard about the new Olive Boutique Hotel, which recently opened in San Juan's cool Condado section, an area known for its serious 5th Avenue-like shopping scene.
One of just two properties in Puerto Rico that's a Small Luxury Hotels of the World member, Olive opened in May 2012 with just 15 rooms. They're divided into four sections--Morocco, Spain, Italy and France and all pay homage to the owners’ Mediterranean travels.
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We recently mentioned the upcoming Ritz-Carlton Aruba opening in 2014, and threw in a poke at our doubts regarding the chain’s habits of tempting us with Caribbean resorts, given its years-long teasing with a Puerto Rico and Turks and Caicos property. Well lo’! We’ve been struck dumb again with exclusive news from RC HQ that the new Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve in Puerto Rico will indeed open this December! Que bueno!
Here's some exciting news in New Hotel Brand Land. The second of the Ritz-Carlton Reserve properties has just been announced. It's the Ritz-Carlton Reserve Dorado Beach in Puerto Rico and it's scheduled to open in December 2012.
The Ritz-Carlton Reserve is just one part of the Dorado Beach renovation--it also includes residences and a plumped-up, sparkling new set of amenities such as golf courses, a beach club, spa and nature trail. A 'Wind and Waves' center will include Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ambassadors of the Environment, the program that provides hands-on eco-adventures for kids and adults of all ages. In other words, you can take the kids, put them in Dorado Beach's 'forest classroom' and then hit the pool or bar.
The hotel itself will have 100 guestrooms and 14 one-bedroom suites. Then there's Su Casa, the original 1920s-style hacienda that is being transformed into a new five-bedroom, beachfront VIP villa.