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
My daughter and I wanted to take some days off in a relaxing setting for some pampering and quality time. This place has it all... The pictures do not do justice to it. The hotel staff is beyond incredible. We will come back!
As a number of the 4 star reviews mention, it's just the inattentive staff that makes me drop the rating to a 4 star. Casita #10 was very private,good location (near stairs to restaurant/lobby, and near pool), gorgeous view and we thoroughly enjoyed the plunge pool on our deck.
I wish they had loungers at the beach (non-swimmable), and they really need to better train the waiter at La Casa restaurant as he doesn't speak English very well (which is fine but this is a very high-end resort) and he kept telling us things incorrectly, bringing red wine when we ordered white, was just super awkward and didn't tell us that they had off menu specials. Also, we did a favor for a employee one night and then he asked what Casita we were in so we were excited at the prospect of getting maybe a bottle of wine, or dessert sent to room but nothing. Then when we called for luggage pickup on last day, they said 5 minutes but never came. I would come back but I HIGHLY recommend they get more/ better staff. They also have a cute bar area that no one was ever manning. It would have been nice to have a cocktail while enjoying the view.
My wife told to say OMG 10 times this place is beautiful peaceful and romantic. The staff is super attentive and very nice. The private jacuzzi/ pool in the villas are perfect for a couple that want to be by themselves.One can order a massage for couples or for one person in you own villa . The view is magnificent were one can see the greenery and the ocean.Even though we’re not golfers we walked through the golf course it’s a 18 hole course with beautiful views to the ocean. The place has tennis courts and 2 more public pools for the guests. Good security so one can feel safe after the gates even though the town is with a low criminal rate. The place it’s a hidden gem ready to be discovered.
Royal Isabela is fantastic. The grounds are wonderfully manicured, the casitas are large, luxurious, and very private. Basically one can just indulge in solitude and relaxation on the deck and with the plunge pool.
We liked the walk down to the beach but did not swim because of the strong waves.
My wife and I do not gold, so cannot comment on that.
Dinners in the restaurant are amazingly good.
Lastly, special thanks to Ishmael for his service.
We didn't want to come back to the "real" world! Casita 4 was beautiful, quiet, and the favorite part of my day was sitting by the pool in the early morning hours with just my coffee, the ocean, and the birds for company. Everyone at the resort took time and effort to ensure the stay was perfect. We ate at the restaurant for all of our meals, and each one was spectacular...from appetizers to dessert, the presentation was beautiful, but more important, the food was delicious and fresh and plentiful. My husband is not an adventurous eater, but he tried and loved everything! Yvette Martinez, the massage therapist, did a wonderful job - especially needed after a day of roaming the beach and lovely grounds. I recommend her highly!! Javier, the marketing director, was so kind to take us on a tour of the property. It was a great way to end our trip and much appreciated. Thank you to all, especially Yvette, Javier, and the wonderful servers at the restaurant!