A few of you asked me to review my stay at the Ritz Carlton Reserve Dorado, so since I have nothing else top of mind to blog about, here it goes! (Disclaimer: This was NOT sponsored or comped in any way) We picked this destination for a couple reasons: direct flights, US location and I had a bunch of Amex points saved up I could pay for it with. Granted, our direct flight down was cancelled a month ago and turned into a stop at LaGuardia, but alas- we had no travel delays or issues which was amazing. I had been to Puerto Rico once as a pre-teen but have not been back since. I had heard great things about this place from people I know, so it all seemed like a win. And it was, mostly.
First off, the property is incredible- it’s massive, and so amazingly manicured. The amenities are amazing, the views incredible and the staff all very friendly and eager to assist. The weather was spotty- more rain than normal, but it didn’t matter really- we got enough sun and the clouds kept things cooler (plus I no longer want to fry myself in the sun anyways). This place is very family oriented, which was a little surprising to us (i.e. a lot of kids at the pool). When you go away without your kids you kind of hope for not so many kids at a fancy resort. That said, good to know for any future trips (although at the prices we paid, not sure I’d be down booking two rooms)
Our room was awesome- really large with a great balcony overlooking the water and lawn.
These doors opened all the way up so it felt very indoors/outdoors but still private.
Having morning coffee on this daybed was a delight.
The bathroom was BONKERS. An outdoor a shower and a tub the size of a small pool.
The spa was a major highlight- it is STUNNING. Jaw-dropping/overwhelmingly so, in fact.
I had a body scrub and massage- that table outside was where the scrub happened and comically I laid down and immediately it started pouring. Couldn’t help but laugh. Andrew also got a massage and we both came out and announced it was the best massage we’ve ever had. The perfect blend of relaxing and therapeutic.
The outdoor showers by the locker rooms.
The locker room.
The tree outside the spa that is apparently famous for being the backdrop to Megan Fox and Machine Gun Kelly’s proposal? We chose NOT to drink each other’s blood here though. ;)
The restaurants were hit or miss. We thought overall the food was so-so (neither bad nor great), except for Coa, which we went to our last night (the most formal of the restaurants) and had a really incredible dinner. The views were all great from all the restaurants though, and the waitstaff really good.
This is the view from the patio at Coa- where you also eat breakfast in the morning- really stunning.
We worked out in their two amazing gyms- one over by the Dorado Beach golf club and one across from our room. We tried to play tennis but it was booked (I asked if I needed to book a court ahead of time when planning and was told no- but then we got there and all our court times were not available, which was frustrating). I also took a long walk around the property and found this great flat walking beach.
And stumbled upon their beachside spot Barlovento for drinks later that day where there are kite boards and watercraft for rent- this area is REALLY windy, so only experts need apply here. :)
The rainbow from our room- it was so amazing it didn’t look real- one bonus for rainy weather.
My faborite time of day- 5pm with the sun going down, a good book and glass of rose.
Dinner our last night- we finally got a great sunset! (My dress is Reformation, but sold out with a waitlist)
I will share this though- we had a major issue with the people staying below us. The second of three nights we were woken up by loud music and kids screaming playing in the pool (the rooms on the lower level have small private pools). This went on until almost 2 am, and we called the front desk 3-4 times about it (apparently they went over twice and the people were “not nice about it” and didn’t want to listen). The next day the manager apologized and said they had talked to the people again and sent a bottle of wine to the room. We were nervous it was going to happen again, so we inquired about being moved but they didn’t move us. Sadly, the next night we were woken up again, this time by a woman screaming bloody murder- it was a little scary. She was screaming that she “wanted her kids and to go home” and then a man was screaming back at her tons of profanity and there were a bunch of people outside their room running away- I got scared because I knew there were kids down there, and Andrew was on the balcony in his underwear yelling down at them and I felt like I was in Myrtle Beach on drunken spring break. This is NOT what I expected to happen at a resort of this caliber that cost honestly, more than we’ve ever paid for a hotel room in our lives. Management sent security over, they broke it up pretty quickly, and the next day apologized, sent another bottle of wine to dinner and waived the daily resort fee for our stay (about $450). Understandably, they don’t have control over who stays at the hotel or how they behave (for the most part). So I assume this was a once in a blue moon occurrence, and I would consider going back due to all the other good things we experienced. But to be honest, I wouldn’t recommend it as a “romantic couples // relaxing zen” spot though. It’s more for families or group trips, I think- but the price is a bit high for that for most people so *shoulder shrug*? Just want to be honest here!
It was so nice to get away and really relax (I only checked my email ONCE), but it was so nice to come home to the kids yesterday. Here’t to hoping for a vaccine for the little ones to come out soon so we feel more comfortable flying with Emma.
You’re reading Circe! What do you think? I started it but can’t get into it. Can you do a post on recent book recommendations?
Yes, we loved it there but something similar happened to us. It felt exactly like spring break – young adults partying into the wee hours in the pool directly below our bedroom window. My then-boyfriend was livid, management could do nothing, etc.
Your Myrtle Beach quip made me snort! I always pack earplugs, but yeah you really shouldn’t need to at a fancy place.
Appreciate your honesty. Weird to think people behave like this and take kids on a trip of this caliber? I too would have expected a kid free (or reduced) environment.
Thank you so much for this post. Great, honest review. PS love the dress.
I think our expectations are higher than ever (because like you said you paid more than you ever had for a hotel room) and there is no way they can be met with the staffing shortages and all the other shortages! It is making me hesitate to plan a really “special” vacation!
Almost the same thing happened to us at Ritz Dorado Beach! None of the aggressive yelling but we had a large family staying next door to us and they had early waking babies/kids that really put a wrench in our vacation. That being said, everything else was amazing, including the staff, and I still talk about that incredible spa. Just wish the rooms were a little more sound proof.
Love your detailed and frank reviews. Glad you had a mostly great time.
Yikes sorry to hear about the awful hotel guests…guess A holes are everywhere. Sounds like a lot of alcohol was involved. 😮That aside, it looks like a beautiful place.
We actually target the Ritz properties because of our kids. Aside from the luxury and elegance, they have great Ritz Kids programs which you don’t see at every other hotel. There’s no match for the attention our kids get at the Ritz!
Erin- Can I just say I LOVE the way you write- I always feel like you are sharing the true details with a close girlfriend. You are so talented in many areas! Thanks for the honest (unpaid) report on your vacation.
Long time reader from Oregon
Agree! Her blog is one of my favorites!
So surprised with the downstairs situation in a place high end and marketed as such. It is a beautiful property though. Bahía as mentioned in another comment is more adult-like with lots of golf, beautiful beach etc.
I totally get wanting to stay in the US with travel hassles but I’d still recommend Kamalame Cay on Andros Island in the Bahamas. It’s very laidback and more casual elegance than a Ritz Carlton but a fantastic experience. We just got back a few days ago and I’m looking to book again.
We have been to Dorado Beach twice and loved it each time. The staff was so accommodating and bent over backwards for the slightest complaint – including a free upgrade w/ our own private pool when a crab got into our room that couldn’t be found…. Having said that it wasn’t crowded either time we went. Every time I look into booking it appears as the rooms are going fast which was not the case for us either time. I agree that the main restaurant has the best food ~ but I did love those burgers by the pool! Paddle boarding on that ocean is also amazing but it looked windier than when we were there. Loved reading on that beach you walked which I had to myself:)Wondering if they are experiencing staffing issues like so many other resorts. Gorgeous venue, and thanks for the update!
Thanks for the candor and details! Next time, I’d recommend the St Regis Bahia Beach. At the risk of sounding like a total asshole, I find Ritz properties to consistently feel dated and not live up to the name/price/hype and far prefer a Four Seasons or St Regis at that price point. I think Bahia Beach itself is bigger and quieter vs. Dorado too (though it’s been a number of years since I went to Dorado).