Sequestered on a 483-acre former coconut plantation in Puerto Rico, The St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort is an easy 40-minute drive east of San Juan’s Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport. The enclave includes the 139-room resort, a Robert Trent Jones Jr. 18-hole golf course and two miles of unspoiled golden sand. The heart of the property is a spectacular pavilion accessed by a covered walkway across a koi pond. Inside, we found a double-height lounge, a small library and the St. Regis Bar. As evidence of the resort’s commitment to preserving the environment, few roadways link the rooms, rather, boardwalks leave minimal footprints on the lush vegetation.
Of the accommodations, 35 are one-bedroom suites, and I heartily recommend them. Ours had a spacious living room that opened onto a handsomely appointed deck overlooking a narrow stretch of lawn and the beach. The large bath featured an expansive wet area and a rainfall shower adjacent to a soaking tub. A butler was on hand to help with unpacking.
Lazy days at The St. Regis tend to be spent beside the stunning pool. Terraced on three levels with waterfalls, free-form bays, landscaped gardens and fully mature palm trees, it is a wonderful oasis. The adjacent open-air Seagrapes Restaurant offers fare that is modestly billed as “deli.” The showcase restaurant, Fern, an elegant setting of dark wood floors and silver-leafed walls, is nominally under the direction of chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, and offers a menu that reflects the island’s flavors.
The primary pastime at the resort is golf, but the excellent concierge staff is full of other ideas, including catamaran sailing, kayaking, tours of the nearby rain forest, horseback riding and visits to Old San Juan. Alternatively, the 10,000-square-foot Remède Spa has seven massage cottages overlooking a colorful garden. During our stay, The St. Regis was at full occupancy, yet it never felt crowded. And the space, number of activities and high degree of organization make the property ideal for families.