In an area that's home to countless rustic guest houses, Horned Dorset Primavera is a real stand out. While the list of common amenities isn’t long, each one is impressive. Two garden-style pools surrounded by centuries-old palm trees, an elegant restaurant with alfresco dining and panoramic water views, and a secluded beach are its most noteworthy. Each of the 17 rooms features a spacious, bi-level layout with an extensive list of upscale amenities -- kitchenettes, swank marble bathrooms, and private plunge pools overlooking the Caribbean Sea. However, exorbitant daily resort fees, unreliable Wi-Fi, and the narrow beach may dissuade some guests. There are few comparable properties in the area, though Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, offers the same amenities in a modern, polished package for less.
Stately beachfront boutique hotel with Spanish colonial and Moroccan style
The grand Spanish Colonial architecture and Moroccan decor work together to create one of the Rincon’s most characterful boutique hotels -- and that's no small feat in an area of surfer-ready budget guest houses. What was once a collection of run-down and abandoned structures has been crafted into an elegant, if slightly old school, property. Handsome details include sprawling marble and stucco spaces, keyhole archways, ornate area rugs, and oversized stone fountains, all of which help craft a sense of place that most guests cherish. The overall look and feel is quiet, sophisticated, and stately, though the property isn’t for everyone. The tropical style is showing its age in some places, with wicker furniture and upholstery that's maybe just past its prime. Additionally, while in-room Murphy beds hint at kid-friendliness, this is a distinctly adult-oriented hotel. Still, honeymooning couples and those looking for an exclusive, one-of-a-kind romantic getaway will likely find everything they’re looking for at the Horned Dorset.
On Puerto Rico’s west coast, 15 minutes outside of downtown Rincon
The hotel’s remote location is a mixed blessing. The seclusion guarantees a quiet, relaxed atmosphere far removed from the hustle of downtown Rincon. However, it also means guests will need a car or taxi to venture anywhere off-property. The town is reachable in just 15 minutes by car, and the famous El Faro lighthouse is a 20-minute drive away. The Rincon area is popular with surfers and there are plenty of beaches to explore aside from the hotel's own tiny option. Maria's Beach is popular in surf season and is a 15-minute drive up the coast, while Domes Beach is 20 minutes away.
The nearest airport -- Eugenio Maria De Hostos Regional in Mayaguez -- is 15 minutes away by car. However, flights are limited, and most international guests choose to arrive via Aguadilla’s Rafael Hernandez Airport, which requires a 40-minute drive. Several brand name providers in either airport offer affordable rental car service. Alternatively, guests can work with the hotel to arrange taxi or shuttle bus service, however, this can prove to be a pricey alternative.
Two-story rooms with kitchenettes, luxurious marble bathrooms, and private plunge pools
The rooms, like every common area, are done up in all manner of high-end materials and design features, with gorgeous marble, vaulted ceilings, intricately carved wooden furniture, and touches of glass and brushed nickel. The decor deftly blends Colonial, Moroccan, and modern elements in a way that’s sophisticated and tasteful.
The three room categories all feature a spacious, two-bedroom, two-story layout -- the primary difference between each is the size and views. Entry-level Garden Level Suites offer a living room, a well-equipped kitchenette, and a furnished terrace with a private plunge pool. Mid-range Oceanfront Suites upgrade to larger floor plans with spacious balconies that have lovely sea views. The sole Presidential Suite provides all of the above in a sprawling floor plan with additional square footage in every room. Flat-screen TVs, high-end sound systems, and air-conditioning come standard in all rooms. Free Wi-Fi is available, however, many guests comment that the service is unreliable.
Two outdoor pools, an elegant restaurant, and a beautiful -- but narrow -- beach
Outside the grand lobby entrance, the main pool is situated in a garden amid towering, centuries-old palm trees. The space is set-up with lounge chairs and a few potted plants. While it’s striving for a relaxed, elegant feel, it feels somewhat neglected. A satellite pool is located near the gym. The space is likewise plain, but both pools are clean and well-maintained. There are no services (i.e. poolside drinks) of any kind available at either pool, which is a bit disappointing for a hotel with luxury aspirations.
The main restaurant, The Blue Room, spans four distinct spaces -- each with a different atmosphere -- that all serve the same menu. The area above the lobby is the most formal, with elegant decor and a narrow balcony for alfresco dining and lovely sea views. A small room adjacent the lobby provides a second dining option amid deep blue tile walls, red Spanish flooring, and intricate tile murals and paintings. Additionally, two verandahs -- one open-air and one outside along the beach -- offer more relaxed dining. A small lounge off the lobby provides an intimate space to grab a cocktail amid dark wood bookcases, game tables, and oversized wicker chairs.
The adjacent beach is beautiful but narrow, so there is little usable sand, particularly at high tide. Although the hotel does provide free chairs, umbrellas, kayaks, and snorkel gear, nothing is set up on the sand. As Rincon is exposed to the open Caribbean Sea, the condition of the water depends on the weather and time of year. It’s typically swimmable, however, in inclement weather it can get rough to the point of being dangerous.
For a hotel of this category, the lack of on-site spa services is surprising. A fitness center tucked into a remote corner of the property provides relatively modern cardio and weight machines. An adjacent covered wooden platform serves as a roomy, open-air yoga studio. There's also a game room with a lending library, and DVDs are available to borrow.
Free self-parking is available in an off-street lot. Wi-Fi is likewise free in all common areas, however, many guests complain about unreliable service. Concierge services are available around the clock.
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