Couples love-journ to Puerto Rico for many reasons. For some, it is the cerulean blue ocean, swaying palm trees, and endless beaches. For others, it is the rainforest. El Yunque National Forest is the only tropical rainforest in the U.S. Forest Service. Still others come to the ‘Island of Enchantment for the history and neoclassical architecture, gastronomy and salsa dancing. There is also, for Americans, the simple ease of traveling — no passport required, no cell-phone plan change needed. Whatever the reason, Puerto Rico, with its vibrant flair (molded by Spanish, African, and US influences), has romantic hotels for every couple type. A few of our faves:
For Ultimate Seclusion
Dorado Beach, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve, Dorado
In designing this low-key, one-with-nature, oceanfront resort, founding father —Laurance S. Rockefeller — had one unwavering rule: “no buildings taller than a palm tree.” The concept, adored by 1960s glitterati — Elizabeth Taylor, Joan Crawford, and Ava Gardner (who once stayed a month) — has continued under the Ritz Carlton marquee. Today, the exclusive property remains a coveted Caribbean hotspot favored by the global jet set. Seclusion is its major draw.
Lush gardens, stunning ocean views, and guest rooms light in palette, with deep soaking tubs and terraces overlooking the sea, that feel more like a private villa. Many come with private plunge pools.
Reserve a private spa night for two. Meander hand in hand through meticulously lush acres (once part of a pineapple plantation) to the entrance of Spa Botánico where you’re greeted by an 80-plus-year-old ficus tree. Designed by legendary spa developer, Tracy Lee, the spa features indigenous treatment rituals and locally sourced ingredients (coffee, sweet lime, coconut). A standout for couples comes in the 3-hour Noche Romantica Botanica, which begins with a champagne toast and 90-minute couples massage followed by a private soak in the purification gardens, a steam for two, and relax time under the stars. A specially prepared meal by the chef may be added.
For Nature Lovers
The St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort, Rio Grande
Set on a former coconut plantation, the dreamy St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort is set on two miles of secluded beach between the El Yunque National Forest and Espíritu Santo River State Preserve. It is the only hotel in the Caribbean to be awarded Audubon International’s Gold Signature sanctuary certification for its commitment to environmentally thoughtful development. With just 139 rooms — each with a private terrace overlooking the sea — the hotel is also a favorite among honeymooners as well as longtime couples looking to disconnect (from everyday life) and reconnect (with one another).
Upscale with butler service, we love the low-rise buildings, colonial-style furnishings, and emphasis on sea and sky, trees, and birds. The resort is home to its own private bird sanctuary and over 240 unique species of flora and fauna, exotic feather friends, and leatherback turtles.
While there is plenty to do at the resort — paddle boarding, biking, spa treatments with cruelty-free, organic products, golf on a Robert Trent Jr.-designed course — must-do dates include hiking the rainforest trails and swimming in the waterfalls at El Yunque National Rainforest; and quietly paddling through mangroves on a magical, guided bioluminescent ‘glow-in-the-dark’ night kayak tour to Laguna Grande.
For History and Architecture Buffs
Hotel El Convento, Old San Juan
A convent-turned-luxury hotel, El Convento Hotel, in Old San Juan, checks every box for history and architecture lovers. The landmark yellow building was originally built in 1651 as America’s first nunnery, and served as a Carmelite convent until the early 1900s when it became a garbage truck garage. The building was resurrected into a hotel in 1962 by department store magnate Robert Woolworth — attracting the likes of Ernest Hemingway and Gloria Vanderbilt among others. Much of the hotel’s former history can still be seen in the handmade Andalusian tiles, arched doorways, black-and-white floors, mahogany beamed ceilings, and 350-year-old Nispero tree rising high above the romantic courtyard.
Old-world romance with modern touches. Each of the 58 rooms features elegant Spanish antiques, including one-of-a-kind wood-carved beds; while the rooftop offers a vibey pool and Jacuzzi with views of the city.
Stop by the hotel terrace (overlooking the bay and draped in bougainvillea) for complimentary cocktails and hors d’oeuvres before a dinner of contemporary Puerto Rican cuisine at Santísimo Restaurant. Later, meander the cobblestone streets, past the crayola-colored buildings, to La Factoria — a popular spot among locals and visitors — to salsa the night away.
O:live Boutique Hotel, San Juan
Set in the trendy Condado neighborhood of San Juan, this 15-room, adults-only boutique hotel is all about intimacy and extras: decadent outdoor spaces, fresh-baked cookies daily, L’Occitane toiletries, and all-glass bathrooms. The well-traveled owner has filled the hotel with a collection of French, Italian, Moroccan, and Spanish pieces, including wrought-iron chandeliers, Spanish tiles and distressed wood walls. Couples will definitely want to book one of the suites which comes with an outdoor bathtub and private verandah complete with a fountain, sofa, and dining table for two.
Rustic-chic, upscale and relaxed. A rooftop bar and lounge (with saltwater plunge pool that lights up at night) keeps the ambience sexy and fun, while offering stunning views of the city and lagoon.
Bathe in the sexy outdoor tub, before heading out for a two-hour floating Champagne picnic. On a bobbing deck, share a bottle of bubbly and a picnic basket of gourmet charcuterie, while watching the sunset over the lagoon. Top off the night on the starlit verandah with a (pre-arranged) ‘surprise dessert’ of 75 red roses served alongside a dozen chocolate-covered strawberries.
For Surfers and Beach Lovers
Villa Montaña Beach Resort, Isabela
In a region already famous for its natural beauty, the romantic Villa Montaña, in Puerto Rico’s northwestern tip, comes with three miles of secluded beach, 35 acres of lush greenery, and a laid-back romantic ambience. Set on a former sugar plantation, the hotel features traditional rooms along with one-, two-, and three-bedroom villas — all with private patios and terracotta tiles. Chill on bean bag chairs strewn in the sand, or hide away in a hammock by the firepit. Surfing is ideal here, and the famous Jobos Surfing beach is just minutes away. Be sure to check out the food truck park on the way.
Casual elegance with a laid-back, low-key vibe, stunning beach, and Spanish colonial accents. We love that the resort is pet-friendly, and a favorite spot for small destination weddings.
Spend days horseback riding on the beach, biking the garden paths, lounging by the pools in cushy daybeds, or snorkeling right off the beach. The staff is super happy to arrange private dinners for two, picnics on the sand, and even a bonfire complete with s’mores. Do dress up (one night at least) for fine-dining by Chef Rafael Grau at Eclipse — regarded one of the best restaurants on the island.