Horned Dorset Primavera Rating: 4.0 Pearls
The 39-room Horned Dorset Primavera feels romantic and exclusive, with a remote location in Rincon and white buildings dotting the lush eight-acre grounds. The suites are adorned with Spanish-Colonial-style decor -- dark wood canopy beds draped with sheer white fabric, lots of marble, big freestanding soaking tubs, and exotic Moroccan touches, like intricate glass-and-bronze light fixtures. Luxurious extras include kitchenettes with stainless steel appliances, decks, and private plunge pools -- but it all comes at a jaw-dropping price.
W Retreat & Spa - Vieques Island Rating: 4.5 Pearls
Situated on the small island of Vieques, this hotel has the modern, funky feel of the W brand with a tropical twist -- it's right on it's own private beach, the lobby and rooms feature bright colors and concrete floors, and the infinity pool overlooking the ocean has a pool bar serving up poolside drinks and meals. A couples-friendly hotel, the W has a nice spa and rooms with sexy open bathrooms. "Free" perks such as an airport lounge and in-room Wi-Fi seem great -- until you get your bill laden with hefty daily resort fees.
El Conquistador Resort, A Waldorf Astoria Resort Rating: 4.0 Pearls
El Conquistador's reputation tends to precede it. The 984-room cliff-side resort provides some of the most epic views in the Caribbean, and its modern, beach-chic rooms are bright and clean, with plush white bedding, balconies, and sleek, spacious bathrooms. The hotel's beach is pristine and located on a private island (accessibly by a free ferry). But nightly rates are steep, and the remote location makes it hard for guests to venture off-site for cheaper dining and entertainment options. Guests that don't want to spend all of their time on property should consider renting a car.
Las Casitas Village, A Waldorf Astoria Resort Rating: 4.5 Pearls
The grounds of this Waldorf Astoria resort are beautiful, with spectacular fountains and foliage, but sprawling -- so bring your walking shoes. Big rooms have light, airy color schemes, large balconies, and stunning views of the hotel's lush grounds. Each of the 234 rooms is conveniently stocked with free coffee and water, and some even have up-to-date kitchenettes, which provide an alternative to the pricey on-site restaurants. The nearby beach is only accessible by ferry, but large, well-maintained pools come with views of the ocean, and the neighboring El Conquistador Resort's Coqui Water Park, with multiple slides and lazy rivers, is a great option for the family.
El San Juan Hotel and Casino Rating: 4.0 Pearls
The vibe at the 382-room El San Juan Hotel & Casino is that of a fun, self-contained, relaxed party. The property features a lively lobby, a sprawling free-form pool with swim-up bar, and a location right on the clean, white-sand Isla Verde Beach. Rooms are stylish and beach-y, with white bedding and furniture, light wood, bright, tropical accents, and modern touches such as clear lamps and chairs. The bathrooms are modern, too, but aren't exactly spotless or spacious. Just make sure you're happy staying put: There's not much to do nearby, and Old San Juan is at least a $20 cab ride away.
Gran Melia Golf Resort Puerto Rico Rating: 4.0 Pearls
The sprawling, remote Gran Melia Golf Resort is perched along Coco Beach on the northeastern coast on the island. The 486 rooms are decorated in warm golds and oranges, with simple mahogany furnishings. The lower-level rooms could use a few updates, especially to the bathrooms, where some surfaces are beginning to rust. Although the resort is oceanfront, the beach is somewhat rocky, and some guests plan excursions to visit the nicer beaches on Culebra and Culebrita. One of Gran Melia's strengths is its large, lagoon-style pool with swim-up bar that is a regular hot spot for guests; other facilities of note on-site include a small casino, two 18-hole golf courses, and upscale YHI Spa.
InterContinental San Juan Resort & Casino Rating: 4.0 Pearls
The highlights of this 402-room resort in Isla Verde are the large, low-key beach and inviting pool, which includes Jacuzzis, a rock grotto area with waterfalls, and a swim-up bar. Rooms are chain-like but pleasant enough, with clean white linens, light blue accent walls, and basic shower/tub combos, though there are some signs of wear (the bathroom fixtures in particular could use updating). There are some decent restaurants and bars within walking distance, and Old San Juan is just a short drive away.