The Ritz Carlton, San Juan
There is a reason I keep coming back to Puerto Rico for New Years and for the 4th year, The Ritz Carlton, San Juan is definitely one of the reasons. It is the definition of class. Every time we go we get to see people from years past and all of us go back for the same reasons. The staff is beyond super friendly and goes the extra mile. Every employee remembers your name and they always say hello. Every time you come here you can expect the best of the best. If The Ritz-Carlton, San Juan can take a little time to read about me and send donuts to my room upon arrival, well YUP we just became even better friends!
The Ritz- Carlton, San Juan is a one stop shop and you won’t ever want to leave the resort, which happens to be my case every time I get to come here. After a long stressful year I wanted good drinks, awesome food and an amazing atmosphere,The Ritz-Carlton, San Juan is such a great place for that. You can still enjoy everything Puerto Rico has to offer inside the hotel or within walking distance. It is about a five minute taxi ride from the San Juan International airport, making it super quick and stress free when landing or departing. With two of the best restaurants on location as well as a sushi and tapas bar it’s one of my favorite hotels to stay at. The resort is beautiful with incredible food and an awesome staff; the views laying out by the pool are to die for. If you want to leave the hotel Denny’s and a local bakery are also practically right next door with a reasonably priced selection. Another great thing is that the hotel is only a couple of miles from old town.
Restaurants Inside The Hotel:
Ocean Bar & Grill
Located next to the pool and beach side is an outdoor bar which you can walk up to and order a drinks and food at the bar. They also offer waiter service around the pool and beach area and will deliver your meal and drinks usually very fast. I must confess we ate there everyday for lunch. What can I say, if I find something I like I don’t want to try anything new. Some of my favorite from there are the truffle fries, nachos with chimichurri grilled churrasco, Jerk chicken pita wrap, and the three cheese quesadilla.
BLT Steak is located inside The Ritz-Carlton, San Juan. Which is absolutely amazing if you are staying at the hotel. You don’t have to go far for an impeccable steak and pretty freakin amazing service. The waitstaff and every employee there are on top of everything. If your water is halfway done, they are filling it back up. When you finish your food they clear the empty plates in front of you so quickly. Super attentive staff and they catered to any request or question about the meals.
If you haven’t heard of BLT Steak, It’s classified as a refined New York Steak house that gives you the feel of a French bistro with very modern decor. We went for New Year’s Eve prix fixe which is about $105 per person. I started with the baby wedge salad, raspberry and mint sorbet, braised Colorado beef short rib and to finish off I had the fruit salad. Everything cooked to perfection!
If you plan on trying out BLT Steak, dinner is served from 6pm to 10 pm daily so make sure to make a reservation if it’s the holiday time. They tend to book up tables very quick probably because it is one of the best restaurants in town. You better make sure to wear some loose pants! This meal will be sure to satisfy your belly.
For a taste of amazing New York style Italian food in the Caribbean head over to Il Mulino located inside The Ritz- Carlton, San Juan. You’ll be surrounded by an old world atmosphere and a professional waitstaff skilled in European traditional table side cooking. For starters I tried the tomato salad with sweet onion and bacon vinaigrette. I will definitely be ordering this next time I go. For one of my classic go to dishes at Il Mulino, I always get the ravioli al porcini with champagne and truffle sauce. I can’t put in words how amazing of a dish these ravioli’s are. They just melt in your mouth and please the belly! Make sure you are hungry before the meal. They bring out an assortment of cheese, fried zucchini, mussels, bruschetta, & cured meat.
If you plan on going to Il Mulino make sure to make a reservation. It is a small restaurant which tends to pack up very quickly. They are open Sunday– Thursday 6pm to 10 pm, Friday and Saturday 6 pm to 10:30pm.
The Lobby Lounge
Since I last went to The Ritz-Carlton, San Juan two years ago, they have renovated some places around the resort and this lobby lounge being one of them. I am so happy they did! Before at night time if I didn’t want a fancy meal they only offered the beach side food which I already had for lunch. It’s nice now to have another option of food as well as the relaxed environment. We went for small snacks a few days and choose from the sushi and tapas. My favorite dish was the mini tacos! FYI if you know me well, you know I love my Grey Goose and grapefruit juice for my choice of drink. I loved that they put a fresh wedge of grapefruit in to top it off. My favorite little touch.
Spa at The Ritz-Carlton, San Juan
This is the first time I’ve been to the spa while staying at The Ritz-Carlton, San Juan. I received the Frankincense and Myrrh manicure and pedicure. The best part about coming to this spa was being treated like a princess with no distractions. The manicure and pedicure station are very tranquil and helped let me enjoy my relaxing day. It was very clean and the quality of service was impeccable.
Seaplanes Over Paradise
If you love beautiful views like I do then taking a seaplane ride is right up your alley. You can either do a quick flight over the immediate San Juan area or take a half day tour of tropical locations around Puerto Rico. While a reservation is needed, they offer rides seven days a week starting at $159 per person. I did a quick flight over San Juan and wow! Those views were just amazing! FYI The owner is one of the nicest people on the face of the earth.
Address: Pier Six in old San Juan in Puerto Rico
Plaza De Armas
The Plaza De Armas is considered Old San Juan’s original main square. Located on San Jose street, it has served as the meeting place for generations. The Plaza De Armas houses four marble statues each over 100 years old that represent the four seasons. This area is usually filled with artists sketching, as well as a bandstand and a few kiosks.
San Juan Cathedral
While in San Juan, you must visit the cathedral. It is considered a historic landmark in the center of the city. It is the oldest church on U.S. soil. While at the cathedral, you must make sure to check out the tomb of Ponce de Leon, the first governor of PR. Also don’t forget to visit the mummy of St.Pio who was a Roman martyr that was killed for his faith as well. The Cathedral is open daily from 8am to 4 pm with the exception of closing at 2pm on Sunday.
San Juan National Historic Site
This beautiful park has to be on everybody’s travel guide. With 500 years of history in the making, there are so many different things to explore. For centuries countries fought for ownership of this small island and today visitors can learn about this history through walks and tours of the area. Soaking up the beauty of the architecture and scenery of this landmark is one for the books.
Address: 501 Norzagary Street in San Juan.
Wow Surfing School
I am a sun lover (if you couldn’t tell) and it is so convenient that the surf school location is right behind the Ritz Carlton. Wow Surfing School offers the best services and pretty affordable surfing lessons on the island. They offer group lessons, private parties, one on one lessons and even a surfing camp to make sure you learn how to surf. You can rent equipment either by the hour, day or week to master the skill like I have. If you book online in advance you can save some beans to buy yourself a cerveza!
Restaurants & Bars
Join the culture at Restaurante Raices and experience all the flavors Puerto Rico has to offer. Stop by for lunch, dinner or even a drink and check out one of the most creative, successful thematic culinary concept of PR and the Americas. The Kan Kan Pork Chop which is massive, full of flavor, and looks like something a cave man would eat is one of the popular items that I Highly recommend.
Address: 315 Calle Recinto Sur, San Juan 901 Puerto Rico
It all started in 1997, when a food truck named El Churry parked up along the side of the beach. From there on its straight history. This food truck is home to the best sandwich out there, the Mixto. The stuffed sandwich starts off with very soft bread and has both skirt steak and chicken then topped with potato chip strips, and their secret sauce. El Churry is a must whether you want a late dinner or you stumble upon it after leaving the club at 2 am. They are open Wednesday through Sunday 7pm to 4 am.
Address: Calle Jupiter, Carolina, San Juan 979 Puerto Rico
* Thank you The Ritz-Carlton, San Juan for making my trip even more unforgettable!