Spanish-Style Bungalows on a Pristine Peninsula
A stone's throw from northeastern Coco Beach, Gran Melia Golf Resort Puerto Rico sits on a peninsula stretching out into the aquamarine Atlantic. A gateway of palm trees greets new arrivals to the Spanish-style enclave, where broad columns line the swimming pool and prop up sloping ceramic-tiled roofs.
Ceiling fans whir softly over an array of pine furnishings in each of the Garden View Junior suites. The marble-floored quarters are tucked into two-story bungalows and filled with a single king bed or two double beds, an armoire, an ergonomic chair, and a desk. Sliding-glass doors open onto an outdoor balcony with views of the surrounding mountains and Caribbean gardens. Red Level guests enjoy carte blanche access to poolside bali beds and a personal butler at the private pool, reserved solely for Red Level guests.
On the surrounding grounds, three tennis courts accommodate singles, doubles, or the rare quintuples tennis, and an open-access swimming pool beckons guests to its lagoon-style waters overlooking the ocean. Adjacent to Gran Melia, the hotel’s Trump International Golf Club sprawls out with two 18-hole Championship and International golf courses designed by PGA Tour professional Tom Kite. After a day swinging clubs, a visit to the on-site Yhi Spa mollifies muscles with a 50-minute Swedish massage in a private cabin. Come evening, the resort keeps a steady beat with live music at the Avenue Bar and the delirious whir of roulette tables at a boutique casino.
Rio Grande: Rainforest and Coastal Adventures Off the Beaten Path of San Juan
Gran Melia's proximity to the Atlantic Ocean makes it a prime location for partaking in a variety of water sports. Divers can brush up on scuba basics at the hotel’s daily 90-minute lessons, then hop aboard a scenic 45-minute boat ride east of Puerto Rico to Culebra Island for a full-day marine adventure. Here, experienced instructors lead underwater expeditions from several sites into a natural coral reserve housing hundreds of different fish species. Back on dry ground, El Yunque Rain Forest blankets mountainous peaks and valleys with subtropical terrain for hiking with or without a guide.
The resort hosts several distinct restaurants, lounges, and bars serving up a range of cuisines including Asian, contemporary Italian-Mediterranean, and Caribbean. The soft white sands of Luquillo Beach, a 20-minute drive east, boast a treasure chest of cuisine kiosks, where licensed vendors sell both local and global flavors. Those headed west of the resort can check out bustling San Juan and its wealth of international restaurants and cafés.
In Old San Juan, one of the three major regions of the San Juan metro area, cobblestone streets wind past 16th- and 17th-century Spanish colonial buildings. Several plazas littered with impressive bronze statues and artisan displays showcase the area’s rich history and Caribbean culture. Nearby parks provide a charming spot for viewing the surrounding city and impressive, six-level El Morro fortress.
Though Gran Melia Golf Resort Puerto Rico sometimes features a discounted price online, this Groupon still offers the best deal available.