Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Beach Resort & Spa
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TravelPod Member ReviewsWyndham Grand Rio Mar Beach Resort & Spa Rio Grande
Highly recommended for those looking for a comfortable vacation with kids - even young babies. Try and get a room close to the swimming pool, on the ground level.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TravelPod member and not of TravelPod.com.
Historical Traveler Reviews Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Beach Resort & Spa Rio Grande
Great golf resort
Great resort for golf. Both courses are nice -- the scenic ocean course complete with iguanas and the more challenging river course. Nice lodging, a small but nice casino, and good but expensive food. Also the pool area is very nice, although $10 frozen drinks are a bit steep ( but taste very good!!). I would highly recommend, especially when it's cold during the Winter in the states.
Had a great time.
Just got back from 6 nights at the Rio Mar and was pretty happy about my stay. I had 2 connecting oceanfront room, which were very nice, spacious and clean. No complaints there at all. The food at the reosrt was for the most part pretty good. marabellas is your basic overpriced hotel fare, but we found Shimas and Palio to be very good overall. Service is Marabella is pretty lame, but the other two had quite good service. Hint: make a reservation at Shimas of palio, then cancel it if you decide not to go. We wlked into Shimas one night before 7, and although they had about 4 tables seated out of 30, they said they we "full" because of reservations. We then went next door to Marabella, and from our seats, watched Shimas seat all of 4 or 5 tables over the next hour. Pretty lame. Beach, pool and grounds are very nice, and very well laid out. We could easily go between room, pool and beach, yet they felt very separated from each other. This worked particularly well when my wife and I took turns swimmiing in the pool with our 4 year old, who isn't the beach fan that we are. I had no problems getting a chair and didn't have to Bribe anyone as another reviewer said. I have a newborn and 4 year old so the child-freindly aspects of the resort were very important. It was great for this except we were less than happy with the kids club. Very nice people working there but they spent WAY too much time in front of the TV. ON beautiful days, there is no way the kids should get in almost 2 full movies in a six hour stay. I could have stayed home if I wanted her to watch TV. Minimal activikties and minimal (less than 1 hour) swimming had us take her out after the second day. If you want to come to a beautiful resort and have your kid watch TV most of the day, then the "iguana club" for you. Concierge and front desk staff very competant. Overall, I would go back again.
I'm ready to go back to Rio Mar!
We just returned from a trip to the Rio Mar. The service was excellent, the staff was exceptionally helpful, and the guests were the friendliest we've met in years. The beach and grounds were beautiful. My only complaint is that the food at the hotel was expensive, but there were local restaurants not that far from the hotel. I'm ready to go back!
Great Resort, but isolated
I just returned from a 6 night stay at the resort over the Christmas break. As everyone mentioned, the resort is about 45 minutes from San Juan. A shuttle must be arranged for (with flight info) 24 hours prior to your arrival, or you will have to pay $75 for a cab to the reort. The shuttle is $50 round trip per person. A little tacky, since you're paying a lot for the rooms in high season (about $500 a night is average).
The resort is very, very large and is a golf resort. The rooms are nice and the lobby area has more of a Mexican feel than really Caribbean. Let's start with the pools: there are two of them. One is the "activity" pool, which means it has a kiddie slide and is overrun by kids. The other is the "quiet" pool, which is supposed to be for adults only. I would say that you truly want to avaoid the resort between Christmas and New Years if possible. I know that is high season, but the day after Christmas, these families bombard the reort with noisy screaming kids and they take over. And the resort is way overly kid-friendly. Programs for kids, carnival for kids, kids allowed to swim screaming and splashing in the "quiet" pool (no one enforces those quiet rules). Also, if you are a a guest staying on the concierge level (or have Starwood status), you get this nice breakfast in the morning on top of the hotel. Sit outside: to the right is a beautiful view of the ocean, to the left the mountains. If you sit inside, the cheap people who book the concierge rooms in order to feed their 5 kids and their friends and whatever have taken over. It is a mess. Get there early or after 10 and you are ok. But sit outside where it's so much nicer. Back to the pool: this place is shameless like so many other resorts with the louge chair situation. It is SO wrong and Westin should not allow it. The towel dispener opens at 7 a.m. The staff who works at the resort takes towels and reserves chairs all over. When you get down to the pool at say 9 a.m., it appears that all the best chairs are taken. If you ask an attendant, he says "well, I have this nice chair over here..." and you come to find out that he has blocked them all and expects you to give him a $10+ tipe for the a chair! That is preposterous.
The food: Avoid at all costs Marabella's. The food is terrible. The morning breakfast is almost identical to what you'd get on the concierge level and it it like $17 a person. However, the rest of the restaurants (though pricey, hamburger $12.50) are pretty good. Shimas has great sashimi, but skip the appetizers. Grill Room is excellent with great service. Ocean Club is good seafood, but not amazing. The place claims to have 8 restaurants, but most are the temporary beach/pool setups and only the tfour above are open for dinner.
Activities: I found them rather limited. I would absolutely recommend the day cruise for snorkling. The first stop is not worthwhile, but the second is great. The El Yunque tour of the rainforest is great. Go on a day when the weather is nice. The beach is nice, but not white sand. In fact, it's almost brown, but I think that's just Puerto Rico.
The biggest problem with the resort is the isolation. There is no nearby town to walk to. No shopping. You would have to rent a car and drive out of the complex. And in terms of touristy things, San Juan is the closest place (but you just left there from the airport). The old San Juan area is nice. I'd recommend no more than maybe 4 nights at the resort. It gets a bit dull. And if you're single or a couple, just keep in mind that the unruly families will be there during break and Westin apparently can't do the math and realize that you have one person in your guest room whereas the families are packed in at 6 per room. They bend over backwards for kids. It's a RESORT, not Disney.
I hope there will one day be a grand resort that is kid-free. But go there when school is in, and you'll be ok.
Some problems at the Westin
We planned to stay at the Westin Rio Mar in Puerto Rico from late December to early January 2003. We had reserved ocean front rooms. The only view we had was of a big palm tree. When we discussed this with the front desk management, they said they would move us to a higher floor. When we checked on the situation, we were told that they had checked us out of the hotel and that they had no more rooms! They were unwilling to rectify the situation. I would not recommend the property.
Better than expected
Just returned last night from a week in Puerto Rico at the Westin Rio Mar. As with most vacations, so much is dependant on managing expectations. Let's face it, going to Puerto Rico the week between Christmas and New Year's is probably not the ideal time, but that's when we wanted to be away this year.
The hotel is about 40 minutes from the airport, situated in the northeast corner of Puerto Rico, where the Atlantic meets the Caribbean. I thought the staff was welcoming and generally happy to be helpful. Obviously the rooms with an ocean view are preferable, as is the "concierge" level (they call the Royal Beach Club), both of which carry a premium. This Royal Beach Club/Concierge Level offers up breakfast daily, happy hour wine/beer/snacks, etc. It's not particularly good stuff, mind you, but it saves from having to spend a lot (on breakfast, drinks, etc.) in the hotel's restaurants.
The beach is lovely, the water warm, the surf quite active this time of year. One needs to befriend ("tip") the pool and beach personnel to ensure that lounge chairs, umbrellas and towels are readily available.
PLenty of activities available for grown-ups and kids alike, including a kids camp. Two pretty nice golf courses (The River Course, a challenging Greg Norman design, and The Ocean Course) are right there on the grounds. So is a very lovely tennis center with about 16 or so har-tru courts, lessons, etc. Shuttles abound to transport you from one part of the large resort to another.
Food is generally just okay, and expensive for the most part. There are a number of restaurants to chose from, the best of which were the Grill Room, at the Golf Center, for pricey steaks, and the Ocean Club (Or Grill) for expensive fish. You don't come here for the food.
On the other hand, it's hard to argue with a facility that offers golf, tennis, ocean and beach, water sports, kids club and a casino as well. All in a lovely setting. The casino is small, so you might be forced to wait patiently before you hand them your money.)
The bottom line is: pretty darn good for what it is. There are more elegant places, there are hotels with better food, there are more spectacular, more intimate, and more charming, but for a total family experience with all the ingredients to have fun in the sun, we were happy here even in this most hectic of vacation weeks.
By the way, real local Puerto Rican food is very good. And you can go "off campus" to find it. Don't go to a restaurant called Las Vegas, however, because in spite of the decent food, they will try to rip you off. That is simply unacceptable!
Also, if you need local transport, call J.C. (Juan Carlos) at the Puerto Rico Transport Service to get you around. Nice, reliable, and negotiable.
I loved it! It was a wonderful experience for our whole family. The food was great, the pool was awesone, the beach was wonderful. The service was absolutely excellent. We got complimentary wines and goodies just because. Great staff! I definitely recomment it. The rooms were comfortable and the view was great. GO THERE!!! you won't regret it.
Golf and more at the Westin Rio Mar Resort
My husband and I decided to take a 25th anniversary trip. On our important list was unlimited golf, good weather, good food, and some tennis. We thought that Puerto Rico would offer this, and add some extras like casino's, scuba diving, hiking, and historical sites. It was all we expected and more. The Westin Rio Mar was beautiful, our room better than expected, and the golf courses absolutely great. Challenging, but not impossible for the normal player, and absolutely full of beauty and nature. If my golf game was bad for the day, I could enjoy my surroundings. The concierge was very helpful in arranging extra trips. The El Yunque Rain Forest hike, the scuba diving trip, and the Old San Juan tour were fun and interesting, and our guides were great. I only wish the concierge had told me to wear my bathing suit under my clothes on the El Yunque hike. You can swim under a water fall. I heard comments about the high prices at the hotel restaraunts. I suggest you hire a cab (very reasonable), and ask the driver to take you to a few local places that are good. We tried 4 local restaurants. They were delicious, reasonably priced, and made the trip more fun. My husband and I would go back at the drop of a dime, that is if it only cost a dime. Nevertheless, the rates for off-season were very reasonable, so we will be back.
Westin Rio Mar Beach Resort... Awesome off season rates
Great Resort. Got an ocean view room with balcony and all the extras for $117/n. What was a killer is the 22% room tax... (I think its a resort tax + service fee). There was a faint smell of mildew (or ocean smell) in the hotel lobby and room. Besides that everthing was excellent. I recommend it.
Excellent! Kid Friendly!
I found this hotel online while I was searching for a bargain summer vacation. Something about it just caught my attention. AM I EVER GLAD! I'm a single mom and was traveling with my 9 year old son and my 10 year old nephew. Everyone said I was crazy. But we had a great time! The staff was friendly and helpful. The pools and side trips kept the kids happy! If you go the el yunque rain forest hike is a must. We did it in august and the frequent light showers kept us cool. I was afraid to tackle old San Juan with the boys but they loved the many shops and the ethnic food. We found a local place and stayed away from the fast food.
My son got a sore throat the last day the the waiter went out of his way to bring him jello and pudding for breakfast and didn't charge me!!!!!!!!
This place a great summer bargain.
TripAdvisor Reviews Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Beach Resort & Spa Rio Grande
Travel Blogs from Rio Grande
... the falls. We drove for a bit longer, through gorgeous scenery, and came to La Mina Falls. We found a great parking spot (it was rather crowded) put on our backpacks and walking shoes, and headed to the trail. Kimberly held Luna until the trailhead, and then put her down and tried to coax her into walking. Luna really didn't want to walk, so Kimberly affected her best high squeaky excited voice "Come on Luna, ...
... ourselves out and about sightseeing. The frustration was heightened by the knowledge that we only had the one night in Puerto Rico and, importantly for us, UNESCO World Heritage Sites to see. Our delay was just common travel woes. First our flight from Dominican Republic to Puerto Rico was delayed, then on arrival there were far too few immigration officers. Finally out of the airport one and a half hours later, we grabbed a cab but as we got closer ...
... and that´s an experience in its own right. Running on the treadmill with the ship swaying is like balancing on a tightrope!
We were lucky that we didn´t have rough days at sea. We had a few days towards the end that got the ship rocking and that made the water spill right out of all the pools. Chaos. We actually got kicked out of the jacuzzi one of those nights as they were afraid someone might end up banging their heads. I usually get really sea ...
... and enjoy the gardens and sculptures along the way. We come to the San Juan Gates where dignitaries were greeted upon arrival many years ago. Built in the late 1700s, the San Juan Gate (Puerta de San Juan) this is one of six original massive wooden doors in the City Wall surrounding Old San Juan. Each night, the doors were closed at sundown to protect San Juan's inhabitants and impede access to the city.
The Puerta de ...
... the fort is a maze of tunnels, dungeons, barracks, outposts and ramps. El Morro is studded with small, circular sentry boxes called "garitas" that have become a national symbol. very impressive.74 total acres
Castillo de San Cristóbal (San Cristóbal Fort) is El Morro's partner in the city's defense. Built in 1634 ...