Make no mistake, rebuilding the infrastructure after the devastation of Hurricane Maria in 2017 is ongoing in areas on the island. But Puerto Rico likes to celebrate when it can. And celebrate it did, in unmatched style, at the recent reopening of Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve (from $1,099 per night). A gala weekend drew local VIPs and politicos, as well as far-flung fans such as Neil Patrick Harris, Jane Krakowski, Uma Thurman, Martha Stewart and Al Roker, to fete the property, with special performances by Questlove and Broadway star Leslie Odom Jr. This milestone not only signals a reopening, but also a rebirth of the property itself and the destination as a whole.
As a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, a designation shared by only two other Ritz-Carlton properties worldwide, Dorado Beach encompasses a massive footprint (1,400 acres) and a relatively intimate accommodation count (114 guest rooms and suites). Much of the property is devoted to nature conservancy and scenic beauty. Located on Laurance Rockefeller’s former estate, which has always emphasized nature, Dorado Beach refers to its conservancy as a “great park.” While its structures weathered the storm relatively well, most of the damage was to the grounds and gardens.
The recent multimillion-dollar renovation delivers something of a miraculous and lovingly completed masterpiece. The landscapes are gorgeously restored, and the new plantings (more than 300,000 trees and plants were reset) are perfectly cosseted. Thankfully, the nearly century-old ficus tree that serves as the visual anchor at the resort’s renovated Spa Botánico survived the hurricane. The property has also added public art pieces to its land trust, curated by the Arte_FITS.Foundation (artefits.org).
In addition to some impressive landscape work, the property’s guest rooms and suites are refreshed with new furniture, fabrics and colorways, as well as its historic 8,000-square-foot Spanish Colonial-style Su Casa five-bedroom villa. Dining venues are reconcepted, and the entire resort now has a fresh, modern feel.