I don’t remember the last time I was hit on, until last weekend that is. A girlfriends’ getaway to San Juan, Puerto Rico, left me feeling like Megan Fox in a roomful of frat boys. My best friend and I booked a trip to celebrate her birthday, on the agenda, a tan, some good food and a nap.
We got all of that and more. It’s been so long since I’ve been anywhere without my husband and four children I sometimes forget that I’m more than just a wife and mother. Nothing like a traveling without kids to steamy Puerto Rico, chock full of Latin crooners, to remind me that I might just still have it (or at least some of it). Full disclosure, I’m happily married, have been for 12 years, but there’s nothing like being told you’re beautiful, treated to cocktails and fawned over to put the spring back in a gal’s step.
Where to Stay in Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico is a natural choice for a short girlfriends getaway. There are several affordable non-stop flights from New York and you can almost bank on the weather being hot. We booked an oceanfront room at the Ritz Carlton, San Juan, the joy of booking one room and one plane ticket was enough to make me giddy just to start. A few of the highlights at this property include the massages, the club level (well worth it) and tennis lessons from super cute Kamil.
Other properties I would recommend: the El San Juan, the rooms are a little tired but the nightlife is not. The fact that the bouncer at the nightclub let us in for free and gave us VIP stamps has earned this hotel a special spot in my heart forever. The newly renovated La Concha Resort has a distinctly South Beach feel and is definitely where the young and toned hang out. We had heard that the music floating up from the pool while everyone partied made for sleepless nights. So, in the interest of our beauty rest, we didn’t book there but thought it was a great spot.
My favorite property, and where I would recommend anyone who’s planning a trip to Puerto Rico stay would be the El Convento Hotel. It’s a converted convent that is more than 350 years old. The rooms are decorated in a fabulously authentic spanish colonial style. It sits in the heart of Old San Juan, making it a great home base for exploring the city. Worried that you wish you were at a beach destination? Don’t be, they have an agreement with La Concha, you can spend your days there lounging by their super hip pool and then back to El Convento at night for tapas and salsa dancing.
What to Eat in Puerto Rico
Next to being hit on (did I mention that part?), our favorite part of Puerto Rico was by far the food. The city boasts some of the most talented and innovative chefs, the cuisine choices go far beyond Mexican and South American fare. A trip to San Juan, Puerto Rico would not be complete without a meal at the following restaurants. Trust me, and take expandable pants.
Our first meal, and possibly our best, was at BLT in the Ritz Carlton, even the managers I interviewed at other restaurants declared this to be the place for the best meal in town. The restaurant is managed by the swarthy and fabulous Cyril who sent us to his favorite eateries and he never steered us wrong. The tapas at El Picoteo at El Convento Hotel weren’t just delicious, they came with an al fresco flamenco show.
Cyril also sent us to El Punto Cafe, situated in a hallway at Calle 105 Fortaleza. Not only was I not convinced that the food was good, I wasn’t convinced it was edible. I should have known better. Belly up to the bar, order the mofongo, thank me later. Our last meal was at Marmalade Restaurant, the picture of chic style right in the middle of Old San Juan. Order the tasting menu, tiny portions of everything. You’ll still want more. Their signature dish is the white bean soup with truffle oil, it was so good I wanted to bathe in it. Ask for the recipe, they’ll give it to you. Someday I might even make it.
San Juan has everything a girl might need to get her groove back on a quick weekend girlfriends’ getaway. It’s not a place I think I would take my family, the beaches leave a lot to be desired, but if you’re looking for some sun and a few Hola Mamacitas…this is your getaway!