More about Horned Dorset Primavera
Superb Romantic Getaway
My wife and I just enjoyed a perfect five day romantic getaway at the exquisite Horned Dorset Primavera in Rincon, Puerto Rico.
The hotel is located at the westernmost tip of Puerto Rico, about 2.5 hour drive from San Juan, or 20 minute flight from San Juan to Mayaguez, and a fifteen minute cab ride.
In reading previous reviews of the hotel, sadly, there appears to be some misconception about what the hotel is. Let me attempt to clarify some apparent misconceptions. The hotel is a romantic retreat. No TV, no Radio, no paper delivered to your room, no cell phones allowed in public areas. Good! This is what I wanted. I gave my wife 110% of my attention for five days and she loved me for it. Also, some reviews claim that the hotel lacks a beach. If by “beach” one means 1 mile plus, of a human deluge, where your nerves are racked by the cacophony of multiple boom boxes blaring different genres of rap, in the company of a few convicted criminals on parole, then, no the Horned Dorset Primavera does not have a “beach”. What it does have is a wonderfully quiet and secluded cove, about seventy five feed deep at its deepest, and twenty five at its shallowest of pristine Caribbean fine coral based sand (light tan and soft to the touch) with easy access to an usually calm sea- you won’t need wading shoes- and two hundred plus yards of beach front walking. Entry to the beach is via a rock ladder situated by the Gazebo, past the breakfast veranda. There, daily, we found plenty of bottled water, fresh towels, and do enjoy the outdoor shower located by the gazebo. I don’t know what they put on the water there, frankly I don’t care, but it was quite refreshing.
We stayed in Villa 46. From 48 to 45 the ocean view is spectacular. 45 probably being the most private. The room was exquisitely appointed, most Villas feature a wading pool, which in mine was private enough for the most romantic occasions and sunning was also private and uninterrupted. The bathroom was a Roman dream. We asked and received prompt room service.
Breakfast is served on a spectacular seaside Veranda. Service was very attentive. The breakfast was enjoyable. We took lunch daily at the Blue Room. The lunch menu is light enough to leave you with an appetite for Dinner, yet varied enough to entertain you. Try the Gongonzola Hamburger and the Gazpacho was, in a word, superb! Dinners are an event! Daily the menu is varied in three choices. The Daily, Seafood or Provincial. Add to this the “Tasting” menu, a ten course meal featuring samples of the three menus of the day. The food was simply spectacular. The Executive Chef, Aaron, delighted us daily with creative, and delightful combinations of game, fungi, beef, fish, crustaceans, vegetables,etc. all exquisitely concocted and pleasingly arranged. This was topped with superb and attentive service from the Mat’ ride, Casey and his staff.
We enjoyed a massage each. My wife was massaged by the head masseuse, a lady. My wife enjoyed her soothing tough. I enjoyed a massage by Victor, who is an artist, a more aggressive massage. The resort features some activities, snorkeling, golf nearby, excursions, events, which I completely ignored, preferring to lounge in my room or enjoy the spectacular infinity pool in the Villa complex.
The north side of the hotel is currently being renovated. This made the indoor veranda and the main pool unusable during the mornings up until early afternoon. From the main dining hall, there are fifty three steps to the top of the hill where our Villa is located-- the hotel is not for the disabled or even the weak kneed. These steps are divided into about eight sections. And in the "flat areas" you walk up-hill. I was not taxing to us, but to some it can be. If I had a knee or hip problem it would have been a nightmare.
The hotel is “pricy,” for certain. But I thought it was well worth it. And the attention that I was able to give my wife was priceless for our relationship. I booked a stay, next year, for the same week. I heartily recommend this fantastic resort to couples wanting to connect and bond while enjoying a leisure, spectacular sunsets, vistas, fabulous food and attentive service.
Perfect for a realaxing getaway
The Horned Dorset is wonderful. This is the place to getaway from it all. It is a place to relax, leave your worries and enjoy the sun, the food, the sunsets and forget about time.
This may not be for everyone, no phones, televisions or radios. I appreciate this and is one of the many reasons we go there.
A word of advice, leave your cell phones in your room!
Those of us who go there to relax do not want to hear phone chatting in the public areas.
This is a civilized place that works hard at doing everything right no matter who you are. Same treatment for everyone, how nice!
I am surprised at the negative comments, nothing in life is absolutely perfect, but this place I feel is as close as it gets.
Perfect Honeymoon, part deux
My wife and I just returned from an absolutely delightful honeymoon trip to the Horned Dorset Primavera in Rincon, and I cannot imagine a better place for a romantic trip for adults. What a gem this place is, and it is only going to get better with the planned additions/renovation and new spa facility opening late this year.
We actually stumbled upon the HDP after we fled our original honeymoon destination of Los Cabos, thanks to the capricious Hurricane John. From the internet in a hotel room in Houston, we were fortunate enough to discover the HDP and book our trip for the very next day. A direct flight from Atlanta to Aguadilla made the trip even easier.
The previous posting covered a good bit about the resort, and we too were fortunate enough to stay in Villa 48, the largest and only architecturally distinct villa curently on the property (designed originally as a time-share for the celebrity mentioned in prior posts).
These villas are the very essence of luxury and tranquility; spacious duplexes with marble floors, bathrooms, and beautiful antique furniture. The beds, bed linens, and towels are of top quality, as you would expect at such a resort. Outside there are patios and yards overlooking the sea from cliff-top, and a private plunge pool for cooling off in private.
The photos from the previous poster show one of the best features of Villa 48: the wrap-around porch off the 2nd floor bedroom. This is the only Villa that has such a porch at present, and it is a great place to relax and enjoy the evening breezes and moonlight. The infinity pool on the upper/villa level has been rated "best in the world" by one web site. Well, I can only say it was the best I have ever encountered, with a stunning view. The rest of the grounds are lush and well-kept. You will see myriad types of tropical flora and fauna everywhere you look, enhancing the sense of seclusion. It feels more like a private oasis than a commercial resort.
As also mentioned in prior posts, the staff at the HDP is also a tremendous asset to the property. Courteous, professional, engaging when you want, and not when you don't. What struck me was the continuity of the staff; almost all have been with the resort for years, and are very knowledgeable about its history. This type of loyatly, to me, speaks volumes about the resort , how special it is, and how well it is managed. From the masseuse, Linda, to Casey in Restaurant Aaron, to all the excellent waitstaff and front-office personnel...they are exceptional.
As also mentioned in previous posts, the food at the HDP is nothing short of spectacular. Daniel in New York is one of my wife's favorite restaurants, and I think reading that the chef at HDP trained there in a review on this site may have sealed the deal for her. It is true, and the French cuisine in the evenings at Restaurant Aaron is of singular quality and preparation. How this resort is not rated "gourmand" by Relais & Chateau is a total mystery and injustice, but all the more for us, right?
The evening menus consist of three complete, four-course meals: a daily, a tropical, and a Provencale. From these three, there is also a more extensive tasting menu offered, as well. These are all price-fixe, and various soups/appetizers/entrees can be substituted freely. We stayed 5 nights at the HDP, and I can honestly say that I ate every bit of every single thing placed in front of me each night, and usually some of my wife's, because it was all so good. I cannot comprehend any criticism of the food at this resort.
Breakfast and lunch are served either inside or outside by the ocean, and we enjoyed the latter nearly every day as weather permitted. Breakfast is pretty standard, but little touches like a fresh sauteed tomato with basil and garlic next your eggs elevate even this meal. Also, the creole French toast is outstanding. Lunch features more local cuisine, with many seafood dishes, etc. I heartily recommend the mofongo, a local dish of shrimp over mashed fried plantains with broth and vegetables. Unique and outstanding.
As you can see, we liked it...a lot. In fact, we are already planning a return trip to this fabulous resort. However, we may be too spoiled from our last trip, as it is their off-season, and we literally had the entire resort to ourselves for three days during the week!
For adults seeking a romatic getaway, it's hard to imagine a better place...luxurious accomodations, wonderful food, beautiful locale, convenient, and quiet/serene (no kids under 12 admitted at all, no phone/TV in the rooms). For those who griped about "nothing to do" at night, that's the point. Come with someone you care about, and you'll have plenty to do. There are plenty of carnival-esque resorts out there that cater to more banal nightlife, but this is unabashedly not one. Highest recommendation.
p.s. The parrot's name is Pompidou, and he is very friendly. Finally, this year was very dry in PR, which translates to very few mosquitos this year. We had no problem at all with them during our entire stay.
My husband and I just returned from the Horned Dorset Primaversa for our 2nd Anniversary, and it was absolutely perfect. The hotel is set in a coastal town on Rincon, about a 2.5 hr. drive from San Juan. We spent a few days in Old San Juan and then drove to the the western coast of Puerto Rico. You can also fly straight into Aguadilla, which is a few miles from the hotel.
The Horned Dorset is a villa-style hotel that is elegant, calm and with beautiful architecture. Our 2-level villa had gorgeous tile, beautiful rattan furnishings, marble baths with a clawfoot tub and our own private pool. We stayed in villa 48 which was on the end on the cliff with incredible views of the water. Opening this fall are more "Moroccan -style" cliffside villas - everything was imported directly from Morocco and we got a preview from the owner. "Incredible" is an understatement as to how amazing they will be!
We had breakfast each morning either on the terrace or on the patio overlooking the sea (Caribbean Sea) and dinner nightly at Restaurant Aaron (he is formerly of Daniel in New York City.) The cuisine was French-Caribbean, and we ate like kings. The menu changes nightly, with a choice of several prix fixe menus that you can interchange as you please. The service by Casey and the team was exceptional. Casey is very interesting to speak to regarding the history of the hotel and the area.
Each day, my husband and I just relaxed by our pool and basically enjoyed each other's company. Yes, there isn't much of a beach, but the villas are SO incredible, that you will never want to leave.
Rincon is known as the surfing capital of Puerto Rico (aside from the nearby Isabela.) Casey says that the surfing is excellent six months of the year, a mecca for international surfers. Rincon is even mentioned in the Beach Boys "Surfin' Safari" song!
Also, we loved seeing the resident parrot, "Pompy-doo" who loves to yell out "Hola" for attention. You'll find him sometimes in the trees eating the fresh almonds.
We highly recommend the Horned Dorset if you are looking for a quiet and casually elegant getaway to just enjoy your significant other, have an incredible dining experience, and "just be."
We most certainly will return!
Good dinner $$$$, interesting resort.
I went to the Horned Dorset for dinner on 2/23/07. The food was very good but a bit overpriced. The menu was prix fixe with four choices. Three of the choices were $75 and the last choice is $110. The last choice is for all of the dishes in choices 1-3. The cheapest wine on the menu is $40. The three main choices had four courses each served French style with small tasting dishes in between the courses. Each of the dishes was quite tasty although I'd call it more of a high quality U.S. steakhouse style than French style. (I lived in France for 7 years - it is not what I'd call French.) The restaurant has a lot of attitude and could make for a romantic evening if you're into that.
I did not stay at the hotel but walked around most of it. Some of the rooms looked incredible with private pools. About half however did not have beach views and were fairly close to the road. If you stay be sure to get a beach view only. The beach is not really - at high tide this hotel has no beach, just a sea wall. There appears to be only the high priced restaurant I went to and few other choices in the area. Be prepared to be limited.
The hotel grounds are very very nice. The lounge and bar area of the hotel looks like an ideal place to relax in comfortable chairs with a drink and ocean view.
Beautiful hotel, horrible beach!
The Horned Dorset has beautiful views, beautiful rooms, an excellent restaurant, wonderful staff but an AWEFUL beach! We loved our room. It had a balcony that was perched over the sea! We could even dive off our balcony into the sea if we wanted! We even had a small private pool on our balcony (it did come with a hefty price tag). The room was simple but nice and the restaurant was very good. The whole hotel had amazing views! However, I was very, very disappointed by the beach and complete lack of activities at the hotel or in the immediate area. The beach was very, very small and just covered with trash! It was disgusting to look at and I would not dare lay on it! It was obvious that the hotel has not designed to be a beach resort. The hotel is very, very quiet! It was the type of hotel where people are playing chess, reading mystery novels and listening to opera in the lobby. A little bit too quiet for my husband and I who are in our 20's and not in our 70's. Rincon has very little to do unless you are an avid surfer. And the hotel also has very few activities for anyone who wants to do more than knit or discuss anthropology with fellow guests on their vacation to Puerto Rico. In the end we enjoyed our 2 nights here but could not wait to pack up and go to a hotel with a little more excitment and activities!! It was a unique hotel but I would not recommend it for anyone that likes even a little excitment on their vacation!
Great Romatic and Quiet Hotel
Just got back from 4 days at the Horned Dorset. Stayed in room 45 next to the infinity pool. Beautiful room and amazing sunset views over the ocean. The room is very clean and comfortable. Although the tub in the bath is so big there is not enough hot water to fill it.
The food is fantastic, and the service is remarkable. Perfect european service. Go hungry so you can have the tasting menu. There is a surcharge for it, but well worth the money.
There are a few stairs going from the upper villas. But you just need to take your time. I do wish the path between the patio and the main pool was not through the kitchen/trash area. I would like to see this cleaned up.
They are finishing up on the new section on the other side of the main pool. I did not go into any of the units, but they looked very nice. Some of the rooms will be practically hanging over the water., with their own private plunge pools. Should be great.
As for the beach. This is probably the worst part of this hotel. Not wide, not much of a beach, and the water is not that pretty. In fact, we never swam here. We drove to other beaches nearby that looked much better. Steps beach is very nice.
Overall this is a great hotel, and with a few little improvements, it could be perfect. Unfortunately, the beach will never be great here, but the views more than make up for it. I will definitely return again.
Once is enough!
Definitely not a luxury hotel, no room service, no phone, no tv, no ice, pools ok. Once was enough!
It was rated as a wonderful getaway, but it really was way overrated. First of all it is a long ways away from the airport. About a two hours drive. The nightmare started when their limo driver met us at the airport and then went to pick up the limo, returning about an hour, saying he had problems getting out of the parking lot. That should have told us something! Upon arrival we were given an ok room, needing additional furniture, like a sitting chair maybe. The rooms were at the top of a long flight of stairs, (90-100) at least. Unless you are in real good shape or have extra time to kill, the climb to the rooms is a killer. No room phones, to call for items like ice. Used our cell phone and shocked the front desk person, that someone would actually want ice with their drinks..... The property has two pools, one located in front of the main building and the other in the middle of the complex where are rooms were located/ We were fortunate enough to experience that our pool was half drained and was only fit for swimming on our last day.
Restaurant was good to excellent, views, good, to walk to their so called beach, which is actually a narrow strip of sand at the base of the foundation of the restaurant. You had to walk through the kitchen or and an empty lot with garbage. To get to the so called beach. Rooms needed some work, items like the soap dish kept falling off the shower wall, Not worth the money, unless you really want the feel of something that was rescued with that Puerto Rico plantation feel. Property is lush with palm trees and large plants, during our visit the septic tank pump was overflowing, adding to the sense that the property was lacking in maintenance and upkeep.We were booked for four days, and were considering leaving to find something else, unfortunately the other hotels were pretty full and we waited it out....
Only saving grace was the parrot at the base of the stairs leading to the restaurant. Check out was easy.
Quiet hideaway for lovers!
It's often said that "You get what you pay for." It's true! If you've never stayed at a true top quality destination hotel, you should!
Our bad luck at a local B&B ended up introducing us to another universe of resort living, one of luxury, super quality and pampering. It can be expensive, but in the off-season you can negotiate very attractive rates (discounted from the rack or stated rates).
Early December was wonderfully quiet. At one point, there was only one other guest at the hotel. We got to know him well! Fascinating gentleman and author. The staff was super attentive. Food was wonderful.
It was also great fun watching the place getting totally spiffed-up for the visit from Travel & Leisure (wedding edition). When the New Yorkers arrived, the resort assumed a different air. They'd carried their native nervousness with them!!! It was really amusing to watch the models and staff flit to and fro!
If you go, be sure to get to know Casey Moul, the head waiter: great guy and surfer!
Dinner good but extremely pricey
Four of us went for dinner, and we did a walking tour of the resort. It is beautiful. I much prefer the setting to the other PR resorts I havve stayed at, including Martineau Bay in Vieques and El Conquistador in Fajardo.
Dinner was pleasant, and service was good. The food was fine, but not interesting. It was as if the chef had no love of food, and he was simply going through the motions. The presentation was simple but equally unimaginative.
At $100/person for a meal, there should have been at least one dish that impressed me. And all four of us agreed that we had eaten better meals in San Juan for half the price.
Puerto Rico in july
Anyone knowing how it is in Puerto Rico in the european summer (july) . Is it lot´s of tourist and do anyone know something about the nightlife and the weather in july ???
Is it better going in the winter maybe ???
Re: Puerto Rico in july
It will be hot and humid. You will be before hurricane season.
Winter is not as hot.
The nightlife in San Juan is restaurants bars nightclubs and casinos. Old San Juan is an eclectic mix of nice restaurants and casual. The bars are very popular with the young and young at heart.
I highly recommend renting a car as taxi fares add up very quickly.
It is also a good way to get to the south side of the island. You should try staying and eating at The Horned Dorset in Rincon
Re: Puerto Rico in july
Sorry forgot this
Re: Puerto Rico in july
For nightlife..THE place to be is in the lobby of the Wyndham El San Juan !! It's an amazing mix of locals and tourists in one of the most beautiful lobbys in the world. There is live music a few nights each week...and the bands are awesome..music is mostly salsa, lots of people dancing, restaurants, someone rolling cigars upon request, and a beautiful, large bar in the center. The energy level is amazing, especially on weekend nights !! Sunday seems to be the only really quiet night there. Do NOT miss it ! It's a sight to see, hear and experience ! Have fun--it's the best !
Re: Puerto Rico in july
We travelled in PR last July. It was very hot and humid, but that's the way Floridians like it! :-)
Pray that there aren't any hurricanes...
Will travel for food.....
I will be in Puerto Rico for 1 week in March. My friend and I are trying to come up w/ something creative to do outside of the usual touristy day trips. We came up w/ the idea of going on a "Food Road Trip." Kinda like Anthony Bourdain. We will have a rental car so location is not a problem. Any recommendations for off the hook, must taste, food experiences? Preferrably outside of the immediate San Juan area.
I've already been schooled on Guavate.....
Re: Will travel for food.....
I hear the Horned Dorset in Rincon is quite nice.
Re: Will travel for food.....
Well, My favorites:
You need to try a seafood stuffed mofongo. I had a great one at Kiosk #2 in Luquillo. But I am sure there are lots of other places. Also look for the whole fried snapper ("chillo" in Spanish).
There is an ice cream place in Lares that is great- lots of crazy flavors.
Must try- arroz con habechuelas. Try El Jibarito in Old San Juan.
Tres Leche- at Kiosk #2 in Luquillo they have a Quarto leche for dessert- FANTASTIC!
Yucca con ajo salsa and Fried Pork- I love El Verde restaurant in Rio Grande. Cheap and great!
My other tastey PR favorites: Arroz con gandules and sancocho and asopao.
Other things you may want to try, but be aware, they are made with kind of gross stuff (blood sausage and tripe): morcillas, and modongo.