So today I had the great pleasure of visiting Ponce in Puerto Rico. I’m here visiting the island to spend time with my family and decided to do a little business along the way; what good travel agent wouldn’t. I visited 2 very distinct properties: Hilton Ponce Golf and Casino Resort and Hotel Melia Ponce.
If you are looking for a very chill and relaxed resort away from all the hustle and bustle, you can’t beat the Hilton Ponce. It is open air, just like Caribe Hilton in San Juan, but in the picturesque countryside instead of the hustle and bustle of a big city. Situated on a cozy beach, this property is a little gem in the south of Puerto Rico. All rooms are ocean view. Now let me clarify this because the rooms are also ocean front. You will get a really nice view of the ocean from the room, however the resort is not situated right at the beach. Instead of looking directly at the ocean from your room, you are more likely to see some palms trees as well as some of the resort’s activity areas. You’ll probably also see an iguana or two as they are in abundance all around property. Ground floor rooms have a small patio, while the upper floors have a nice balcony. Standard rooms offer a great amount of space! I was happily surprised when I entered the rooms as to how much room to breath guests would have in their home away from home. Rooms are also equipped with flat screen TVs that offer digital channels, wireless internet, hair dryer, mini fridge, etc. The wireless internet is included in the daily resort fee. The fee also covers your use of towels for the beach and pool, as well as the activities the resort offers, and use of the business center. There is a little course of mini golf, playground, and many board games. The pool does have a whirlpool and pool bar close by. Also in the vicinity, is the small fitness center and spa.
Additional features include the beach, casino, meeting space, and clubhouse. The beach is cozy and lovely–not your typical Caribbean beach as the sand and ocean are little darker, but still spectacular. You can see some islands off the coast. The property is actually split in two by the Portugues River and the beach on the other side of the river is much prettier, as the sediment from the mountains doesn’t land there after travelling down the river. The clubhouse is home to the golf course onsite, as well as great eateries, and another beautiful pool area. A shuttle will take you between the main lobby and this clubhouse. There is also a vast casino for those looking to pay off their hotel charges quickly. There are lots of slot games and some card tables. Across the way is a small lounge/nightclub that can be used for private functions as well. Speaking of space, there is an abundance of convention/special event space, as well as an expo center, and board room. All in all, a very wonderful experience to be had here. I would recommend this property for people travelling on business/conventions and those leisure travelers who just want to get away and relax.
The second property I toured was the Hotel Melia Ponce, which is right in the heart of Ponce. From here you will see the wondrous views of downtown as well as the majestic mountains and the Parque de Bomberos. This historic icon is more than 100 years old and for those history and culture buffs, a true treasure. Rooms are small and quaint–this is not the hotel for the luxury traveler. This hotel is wonderful for the budget traveler, or those who are more concerned with getting to know the city instead of lingering at the hotel. Beautiful Spanish tile is laid on all floors and stairs, but their is a small elevator available. There is a charming pool on the ground floor. The property does offer a complimentary breakfast served at the top (fourth) floor, which offers incredible views of the city. There are also small meeting rooms available, which have hosted groups from religious groups to dog show participants. Because there is no restaurant available on the property, the hotel collaborates with a nearby caterer and is willing to assist in hosting dinners and meal functions where necessary. The property is very close to a variety of restaurants and cafes, as well as the cathedral and city hall, which is very proud of their history and Ponce de Leon. Lions are everywhere!
All in all I had a very peaceful day in Ponce and would definitely come back soon. Adventure seekers, don’t fret–there are great options here for you as well including snorkeling, kayaking, and zip lining. For those interested in nature, you will also find bioluminescent bays. If you’ve stayed at any of these resorts, or played in the nearby Ponce area, please comment your experience–would love to hear what you thought!