What We Love
- Daily continental breakfast is included in the Jetsetter rate
- From sweet plantains to fresh fruit, almost all produce is grown on-site
- Refrigerators are stocked with free snacks, soft drinks, local beer and Puerto Rican coffee
- Impossibly beautiful golf course, complete with caddies, is set on high bluffs above the surf
What To Know
- A daily $30 resort fee and a 10 percent service charge will be collected at the Jetsetter checkout
- Lots of daytime activities, but virtually no nightlife, with few guests, no town and just one restaurant
- Rental car is recommended for exploring nearby beach towns
- There is a local airport, but the drive from San Juan is all highway and much easier than it looks on paper
- Free WiFi
- Golf Course
- Handicap Accessible
- Parking On Site
- Room Service
Modern 18th-century Caribbean. The ruin-like tower on the golf course and the castle-like stone main building, “La Casa,” are so convincing you might think this was an old sugar plantation in Jamaica or Barbados, but everything is brand new. The hotel occupies just a small portion of the property’s 2,000 acres; Royal Isabela’s greatest design element is open space. From the moment you enter, through a huge stone arch that connects one garden with another, most of the resort space is outdoors, including a circular open-air stone palapa bar with tremendous sea and sunset views and a restaurant with an outdoor dining terrace. Likewise, the casitas are individual compounds indoors and out, with huge terraces, plunge pools and floor-to-ceiling sliding glass windows. These are terraced into a lush hillside of streams and waterfalls surrounding a large central free-form swimming pool, all of which sits above a private beach.
Bed and Bath
Each of the 20 casitas is terraced onto a hillside just above the Caribbean, with a split-level layout. The interiors feature tile and wooden floors, high ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows that open onto private terraces with plunge pools. Four-poster beds are draped with decorative netting, while separate living areas are well equipped with coffeemakers, WiFi and refrigerators full of free snacks, soft drinks and Puerto Rican beer. The bathrooms are a highlight, done up with long double vanities, tubs made for two and walk-in rain shower rooms that have mirroring sets of controls, myriad nozzles and a second door that opens directly to the outdoor plunge pool.
Royal Isabela’s 18-hole oceanfront golf course is a showstopper, with even the inland holes, including a terrific island green, supplying an inspired game for both pro and novice. In the main house the single restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, with an emphasis on local produce (much of the food is grown in the property’s own gardens), seafood and inventive twists on traditional Puerto Rican cuisine. Otherwise facilities are limited; there’s a library, an outdoor bar, tennis courts and a private beach at the base of the cliff. Across the highway is the rest of the property, a family farm in a river valley, where guests can hike, bike and kayak.
In the Area
This corner of Puerto Rico is one of the world’s hotbeds of surfing; Kelly Slater sealed his 10th world championship here during the 2010 Rip Curl Pro Search. Neighboring Aguadilla and nearby Rincon are both famous surf spots, and have more developed towns with lots of bars, restaurants and shops. The resort can arrange lessons or you can try the Rincon Surf School. In Aguadilla, Aquatica Dive & Surf offers surfing lessons as well as scuba diving and standup paddleboard rentals. For a change of pace from resort dining, don’t miss surfer favorite One Ten Thai in Aguadilla, which also grows most of its own produce and combines Puerto Rico’s most authentic Thai cuisine with its largest selection of craft beers, plus frequent live music.
How to Get There
We visited recently with our toddler son and were a little underwhelmed. The casitas are gorgeous and the view is stunning. All of the installations are beautiful and the staff is very friendly and courteous. We were disappointed to not see any room service being offered, and the pool (both the large one and the private one) were very hot. The area is very hot and we expected to have a refreshing swim but the water was way too warm. The restaurant is beautiful and the food was delicious, although the menu is rather small. The buffet “brunch” on Sunday was horrible. They charge $30 per adult (and $15 for our 4 year old!) and there was hardly any food. It was the most limited buffet I have ever seen in a hotel. And there wasn’t even one slice of bread available! They told us the fresh bread would arrive at 10 from a local bakery, well the breakfast starts at 9 so that’s not helpful. We felt very ripped off being charged $75 for our family to eat just pancakes and bacon.
The place is beautiful but it’s very overpriced, the value for money just isn’t there.
My husband and I stayed for 2 nights with our 2 year old daughter and we had the best experience. The grounds of the hotel are stunning and immediately you feel relaxed. The hotel staff really went above and beyond to make sure our stay was perfect in everyway and we were always safe and comfortable. We stayed in Casita 2, which was spacious, clean, and provided a great space for an exclusive family down-time that we were looking for with the private pool, lounge chairs, and deck. We LOVED this property and have traveled many many places on the island - this hotel takes the cake. The restaurant on the hotel was absolutely to die for and we couldn't stop raving about it to all our friends and family. Its the best fine-dining experience we've had on the island without the extremely hight price point where you feel like you're being overcharged. The food was fresh, local, brilliantly put together and flavorful to say the least. We loved Jota and will definitely be eating there again. We rented a golf cart to view the property and all the views are stunning. We cannot wait to stay here again. It really is the best the island has to offer. It was beautiful, relaxing, comfortable, accommodating, and just what we were looking for! Thank you to all the staff and chef/staff of Jota for all your warm PRn hospitality! We can't wait to be back!
FRAUDS!!! this was my second time coming back to resort and was treated poorly on my birthday I had to leave a day early due to family emgerceny and they told me It was fine . has I did my check out my total was 1,006.26 and I say the charge fine in my bank out of no where I start looking at my purse and noticed when we were in the airport that they kept and practically stoled from me when checked again my bank account. I was charged with another 377$ which is an extra date when I wasn't even there or staying there anymore !!! THEY KEPT MY CARD AND MY ID AND HAD MY PERSONAL NUMBER WHICH THEY DID NOT CALL ME OR ANYTHING TO RETURN I WILL BE DOING A POLICE REPORT BEWARE AND GO STAY IN San Juan 5 STARS ONLY THIS PEOPLE STEAL FROM ME !