The Best-Kept Secret in Puerto Rico

10 Feb

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It’s a long road, even longer once you get to Rincon.

Before the sun set, my car passed through the large, red-yellow-technicolor Rincon welcome arch, and soon the only color left was night.

But past the streets of downtown Rincon, past the main road, around a few bends and up a few more hills, was the Horned Dorset Primavera.

It was around 8 o’clock and I made my way to the lobby, with a local band playing in the event space upstairs.

Immediately I could tell.

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Sure, it had been a journey from San Juan, across the northern perimeter of Puerto Rico, after what was an early flight. And it was late.

This place was a bit mysterious — atemporal, timeless. I filed away the thought.

The bellman at reception took my bag to Room No. 1, where I would be staying for the night.

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Above: one of the Moroccan-styled rooms at the Horned Dorset Primavera

It was a striking, two-story structure lifted straight out of Fez. Everything was in the right place, thoughtfully chosen, totally authentic, most of it shipped directly from the Maghreb. There was a writer’s desk and luxurious marble floors.

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Outside, staring at the strong waves of Rincon’s coast, was a large balcony with a plunge pool with one of the Horned Dorset’s calling cards: the antique street lamp, many of which dot the walls and balconies of the grounds.

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Then there was the bar and restaurant (the hotel is a Relais and Chateaux property, so the food is, unsurprisingly, terrific).

This, too, was another place that felt removed, happily, from time — or fixed in time, perhaps.

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There were wicker chairs; a collection of rare books; lazily swaying ceiling fans overhead; old prints; a chess table, all in front of a sliver of a bartop, barely more than the width of a pair of bartenders.

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Thirty years ago, perhaps longer, someone had the idea for the perfect boutique hotel in Puerto Rico, a collection of details and touches and moments. And gathered them all in this place, much like the Moroccan relics filling Room No. 1.

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Everything here fits together, collaborating to create an ambiance you can’t find in many hotels in the Caribbean, much less the world. This isn’t a place that’s about the years. It’s not old, and it’s not new either.

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The result is a timeless hotel, one that gently wafts you to another place entirely. Not a hotel, but an experience.

It’s a long road here, by car and by mind. But walking on the grounds, sitting in the bar, listening to the waves, one feels privy to a secret.

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The kind of secret that’s never really kept — just handed along, judiciously, to those who will truly appreciate it.

 

Source: Carib Journal 

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