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
- 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 have stayed several times at Royal Isabella. It is one of the most beautiful places we have ever been. This was the first time since the hurricane, and we were happy to see that very little has changed. Lovely casitas, gorgeous outdoor space w private plunge pool and fabulous restaurant (improved, with very nicely done local cuisine). The private beach is stunning. We can’t wait to go back!
From the reservation moment to the very last minute at the property; it was an incredible experience! Geño, María and the staff made all the difference!
The property is in excellent conditions and the Casita's concept made our time there a very memorable time.
The Royal Isabela made for a fantastic 3-night getaway for our family of 6. Somehow they pulled off the impossible--a resort that is both tranquil/quiet and kid-friendly. Our 4 kids (aged 3-11) loved our private casita, the beach, and even the "jungle walk" down to the private beach. There weren't many other families/kids there probably because it was a mid-week trip, but everything from the in-room accommodations to the onsite restaurant were very kid-friendly. As parents, we loved the set up of the casitas. We could prop open the double doors leading out of the living to the deck with our private spa tub and table and chairs with a panoramic view of the Caribbean. In a normal hotel, going outside is a huge production when you have little kids. So having the ability to let the kids roam in and out of the room as they wished was a huge luxury. My wife and I could sit outside together on our private patio in the mornings without disturbing the sleeping kids and without having to worrying that one of us needed to stand guard duty. The whole family loved the private beach. The waves are pretty intense so you have to be mindful of that, but our 6, 10, and 11 year old sons loved battling the waves. The food at the restaurant was also spectacular. I HIGHLY recommend the churasco!
We stayed 3 days 2 nites for our 40th anniversary. We loved the Casita. Romantic bedroom, great bathroom, living room and amazing showers, terrace and PRIVATE POOL ❤️. If you just want to stay inside, bring your wine, champagne or refreshments. Also your snacks. There’s no mini market or store. Also, there’s no microwave. Only a refrigerator and coffee maker. Bring your wireless speaker for music when you’re enjoying the terrace.
The restaurant is very good, but they deliver food only if they have the staff. We had to leave for the town one day. But the dinner the second night was amazing. We definitely are going back, prepared to enjoy the place.
This waz the best place I had ever stay, the privacy, the room, the sorroundings, the courtesy, the cleaness, the nature aorround the room, the silence what more can I say, the room was great and beautiful so spacious, the bathroom and huge shower room, that beautiful pool by the woods no better place than this and we will return oh the food in Rest. Jota omg that is a paradise