Pulling into the sprawling lush gardens of the Hyatt Regency Grand Reserve Puerto Rico, I was warmly welcomed by the island breeze and swaying coconut trees dotting the resort’s 72 acre peninsula. There was a hum of excitement in the air in anticipation of the sandy beachfront and rainforest adventures that awaited me during my stay. Stepping out of the car and into the open-air lobby, I was immediately embraced by the staff who quickly whisked me away to my villa, where I would unwind for the next three nights.
@epic.stays Experience pure paradise at the📍Hyatt Regency Grand Reserve in #PuertoRico 🇵🇷 Rooms starting at $399/night 🤩 🎥 @Ariana ✨ #traveltiktok #puertoricotravel #luxuryhotel #visitpuertorico ♬ original sound – epic.stays
Inside my second story villa, sunlight cast a golden glow over the living room, while a delightful craft-your-own blueberry lemonade welcome cocktail awaited me — a refreshing blend of hibiscus, fresh basil, lemon juice, and Grey Goose vodka. To my pleasant surprise, I found an invitation from the resort, encouraging me to disconnect from the outside world and reconnect with myself. So, with a drink in hand, I stepped out onto the patio, ready to embark on that journey.
As a first-time visitor to Puerto Rico, I was eager to explore all the wonders the island had to offer. Yet a part of me yearned for the luxury of doing nothing and having all day to indulge in that. This trip was a special girls’ getaway with my mother, where we sought to relax and unwind. As I’d learn over the next few days, we were in the perfect place to do just that.
Bungalows and villas at the Hyatt Regency Grand Reserve Puerto Rico
A vacation is about embracing the freedom of no obligations and all day to revel in that privilege. The resort offers ample grounds that allow you to immerse yourself in the essence, sounds, textures, and flavors of paradise. Nestled on Coco Beach, the surroundings are truly captivating, with lush gardens enveloping the bright white bungalows and villas with the picturesque backdrop of the El Yunque National Rainforest in the distance. With so much space to call your own, the property never feels crowded. You could always find your own slice of paradise along the beachfront, or in one of the corners of the many property pools.
The sheer size of the reserve is worthy of driving from point A to point B, offering guests the option of requesting a golf cart from the front desk at any time of day to carry you off to or from your bungalow or villa. Despite the lovely convenience, I found myself choosing to explore on foot, enjoying the sight of native blue lizards scurrying around the gardens and distant sounds of the ocean waves. The open-air concept of the property added an extra layer of enjoyment as I leisurely wandered at my own pace, fully embracing the laid-back island time and warm Caribbean breeze.
The newest addition to the property’s luxury offerings, the Villas en la Reserva, provide a spacious and contemporary retreat tailored for larger groups of family and friends. Tucked away in a secluded corner of the peninsula, these villas showcase sleek and modern design, pristine tile floors, private balconies that overlook a garden adorned with swaying palm trees and stunning views of the La Reserva pool or expansive ocean views in the distance. Complete with a well-equipped kitchenette, a dining table, a comfortable living room, and a cozy bedroom, these villas provided everything one could possibly need, with plenty of space to spare.
My sprawling 685-square-foot villa was thoughtfully appointed, featuring a plush king bed, a separate living area with a queen sleeper sofa, a convenient kitchenette with a fridge, plus a covered balcony that offered serene panoramic views. The bathroom was a delightful surprise, boasting not only a separate shower but also a luxurious jetted tub and exceptionally large closet space. And I must admit, one of the unexpected luxuries was having two toilets. The indulgence of the deep-soaking tub and the refreshing rainfall shower made my stay all the more rejuvenating.
The art of doing nothing
There is a place to gather, to inspire, and to create at the resort. Inspired by a guest who had stayed on property and found joy in the simple pleasures of hunting for seashells and soaking up the sun, the sales and marketing team recently crafted their take on hotel programming. How many times have you answered “nothing” when asked what you did on your vacation? Centered around the concept that “doing nothing means everything,” offerings onsite are fully customizable. You won’t find a rigid programming schedule here, but instead an invitation to design your own vacation experience as active or relaxing as you desire.
My favorite moments were spent poolside catching up with my mom and watching, together, as the colorful sunset took over the sky at golden hour. Also up there: the pan sobao (sweet bread) experience delivered to my villa door. Following a knock, I was greeted by the resort’s chef rolling breakfast to my door. Proofed for 24 hours, followed by 24 hours of rising, this special Puerto Rican bread came accompanied by warm honey butter and queso de bola. The best part? Fresh roasted Puerto Rican coffee, your choice of strong or mild, with brown sugar and milk. This hand-delivered, melt in your mouth breakfast was next-level.
Guests can enjoy their own pan sobao experience or inquire with the concierge about other available options, including a private hilltop sunset picnic or dinner on the beach. Whatever you dream of, the team is available to bring your vision to life. Spend the afternoon swinging in your own beachside hammock or stroll along the private beachfront to discover the property’s very own tree swing and collect seashells along the shore. Lounge around the property’s four pools, including the largest lagoon-style pool on the island or reserve an appointment at the Rainforest Spa for a relaxing, indulgent massage.
If keeping active is more your style, there are plenty of activities for the whole family to experience onsite. Challenge each other to a ping pong or cornhole tournament, or stop by the Topgolf Swing Suite featuring four bays with high-tech soccer, golf, hockey, baseball, and more games. Guests also have access to a range of complimentary activities, including tennis, pickleball, volleyball, and non-motorized water sports. As the day winds down, the open-air lobby bar comes alive with the captivating melodies of live music, providing the perfect ambiance to bring the day to a close.
Dining at the Hyatt Regency Grand Reserve Puerto Rico
The property has nine restaurants and two bars if you count the two available food trucks, making up for the fact that the resort is quite removed from off-site restaurants on the island. Resort food can be hit or miss, often leaving me uninspired — which is why I usually choose to eat off property. The Hyatt Regency Grand Reserve Puerto Rico is an exception. I was pleasantly surprised by all of the al-a-carte dining options I had onsite at the resort.
For breakfast, you can choose from in-room dining or Water’s Edge, a casual family-style restaurant with an expansive breakfast buffet and indoor/outdoor seating. Make-your-own omelets, fresh juice, fruits, and coffee are aplenty. You can also stop by The Market for specialty coffee and grab your selection of gourmet snacks. The grab-and-go convenience was ideal for my final morning at the resort, allowing me to enjoy my spinach egg white wrap, red velvet muffin, and refreshing iced frappuccino poolside.
For lunch, my favorite option was Rincon Criollo, a food truck with a variety of delicious salads, burgers, and local favorites, plus drinks with ocean views. Right by the main pool, our food was delivered to our lounge chairs for a picture-perfect poolside break.
Dinner options around the resort are aplenty. Nori Asian Grill specializes in sushi, sashimi, and a variety of Pacific Rim cuisine. The hibachi experience made for a lively night out with the charismatic chef taking center stage, skillfully flipping utensils, juggling ingredients, and tossing bites into our mouths from across the sizzling teppanyaki grill. If you’re a spice-lover like me, you’ll enjoy the spicy chicken fried rice. Among the culinary offerings at the resort, my absolute favorite was Prime 787, the resort’s contemporary take on the traditional American Steakhouse. With delicious cuts of beef cooked to perfection, elevated seafood, fine wine, and buttery Puerto Rican bread, this was a dinner to remember.
Other on-property options include:
- Nectar: Traditional local cuisine that combines flavors and colors from Puerto Rico.
- La Mina: An open-air restaurant located in the interior courtyard of Villas en la Reserve, offering ocean views and seafood with a Puerto Rican flare.
- Lobby Bar: A casual open-air destination for an extensive assortment of expertly mixed cocktails, including speciality rums and classics with a twist.
- Martini Bar: Nestled between Prime 787 & Nori Asian restaurant, this uniquely sparkling bar serves prohibition-style cocktails and Asian-inspired creations.
- Sand Trap Bar & Grill: A laid-back venue for American classics, local delights, and brews, plus loads of interactive entertainment.
Exploring Rio Grande, Puerto Rico
Removed from the bustle of Old San Juan, this area of Puerto Rico is quite secluded and perfect for unwinding away from the touristy parts of the island. Only 15 minutes from El Yunque National Forest, the resort is set in the perfect location for those planning on spending a lot of time exploring the rainforest (or doing nothing at all).
Not only does El Yunque hold the distinction of being the sole tropical rainforest within the US National Forest System, but it also carries profound cultural significance in Puerto Rico. Known for its misty clouds that envelop majestic peaks, this national treasure beckons nature enthusiasts, inviting them to immerse themselves in its wonders, from the natural pools and cascading waterfalls to the breathtaking hiking trails and awe-inspiring vistas. Stop by La Coca Falls for a look at the stunning 85-foot waterfall before making your way to the enchanting La Coca Trail. One of the most sought-after activities in El Yunque is embarking on one of many invigorating hikes and this one leads you to a series of picturesque points along the route. For something a bit more strenuous, venture along the El Angelito trail, where a 2.5-mile trek rewards you with the thrill of a rope swing and a well-deserved plunge into its tranquil lagoon.
If you’re craving more adventure, take a scenic drive to the Yokahú Observation Tower. Standing tall at an elevation of 1,575 feet, this vantage point offers breathtaking panoramic views that are truly worth the journey. Spiral your way to the top to take in the mesmerizing expanse of the deep blue ocean in the distance and the lush, verdant mountains stretching as far as the eye can see. To add an extra rush of adrenaline, the Carabalí Rainforest Adventure Park offers fun-filled one and two hour ATV tours of the stunning foothills of El Yunque.
To ensure your visit to the highly popular El Yunque, be sure to book a reservation in advance. Only one reservation per vehicle is required, and it can be booked up to one month prior to your planned visit. For more spontaneous travelers, a limited number of reservations may be released 24 hours before opening to allow for some flexibility in your plans.
How to get to the Hyatt Regency Grand Reserve Puerto Rico
Several major airlines offer direct flights from various cities across the US to Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport in San Juan. Flights from Miami are typically around 2 to 2.5 hours while flights from John F. Kennedy International Airport are usually around 3.5 to 4 hours. Once you arrive in San Juan, you can rent a car or take a taxi to Rio Grande, which is approximately a 30-minute drive away. The resort can arrange private transfers for you.