Escape: Places: Just Back From…St. Regis Bahia Beach
Just Back From…St. Regis Bahia Beach
Puerto Rico often gets a bum rap, especially from East Coast travelers (perhaps one too many has gotten stuck at the less-than-inspiring San Juan Airport en route to other Caribbean destinations). So when I shared the news that I was spending President’s Day there with my family, even some of my well-traveled Indagare colleagues gave me looks of…shall we say, surprise. But we were headed to a resort that has raised the bar when it comes to stylish accommodations in Puerto Rico.
The St. Regis Bahia Beach opened on the northeastern part of the island, close to the Espíritu Santo River State Preserve, in late 2010. It’s situated on a sprawling, lushly planted 483 acres, creating the illusion that guests are staying in their own tropical jungle. Plus, getting there had been quick: a three-and-a-half-hour flight from New York and a forty-minute car ride from the San Juan Airport.
The hotel can be difficult to navigate, but none of the rooms are further than a four-minute walk from the central Plantation House hub, with the gym, spa, pool and restaurants close by.
Depending on the weather, the ocean changed from turquoise to green, becoming sandy and dark after a quick tropical downpour. Officially there are no private beaches in Puerto Rico, but the one at the St Regis is the closest thing to it, thanks to the fact that it is bordered by rivers on either side. It’s a beautiful slice of the Caribbean, with a secluded, protected feel.
As at other St. Regis around the world, star-chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten oversees the menus at fine dining restaurant, The Fern. It provides a delightful culinary experience, but guests have complained about the resort’s lack of choices. The property only have two other restaurants (Molasses and Seagrapes, open only for lunch). In addition, there have been reports about slow and forgetful service at the restaurants as well as throughout the hotel.
Thanks to the generous acreage of the resort, there’s no lack of activities. The fitness center, while not extraordinary, is more than sufficient, and the spa was elegant and inviting, with a beautiful indoor/outdoor configuration. At the boathouse parents can teach their children to fish (catch and release), as well as rent kayaks or bikes. Guests can also explore via four miles of walks and a fantastic nature tour led by a naturalist. I also heard other guests say that an off-property zipline excursion was the highlight of their trip.
The St Regis can be a romantic getaway but is also family friendly. The Iguana (kids) club welcomes children ages five and up, and provides beach activities, iguana and bird watching, movies, puppet shows, reading and napping options. It even hosts a pajama party on Friday and Saturday evenings.
Read a review of El Conquistador, another easy-to-reach Puerto Rico resort.
Contact our Bookings Team for help planning your next beach getaway.