Puerto Rico packs a lot into one island, with nature areas, beaches, and a vibrant capital city that contains a historic UNESCO World Heritage site. If you head east though, that’s the land of smaller islands and adventure opportunities. Wyndham Palmas Golf & Beach Resort makes for a great base there.
Located near the town of Humacao, Palmas del Mar is a vast gated residential golf complex with more houses and condos than hotel rooms. The whole development is 2,750 acres, with two golf courses, a dozen places to eat or drink, six miles of beach, an equestrian center, a marina, and a tennis center. One corner of it contains this Puerto Rican resort, a popular one for non-residents who want to play golf here.
This Wyndham is in a good spot, a short stroll from the natural beach where sea turtles lay their eggs. It feels like a real getaway: there are two large pool complexes, a highly regarded restaurant, a coffee shop, and a couple of bars. The pool pictured at the top is the adult one, with lots of lounging space, hammocks, and a hopping bar. The other pool for families has a lazy river and is next to the main restaurant for ordering lunch.
The lobby will likely look different if you head to Wyndham Las Palmas months after this review goes up. New owners–a seasoned U.S. hospitality company–took over the property and already have plans drawn up for renovations. Both the lobby and main restaurant will be getting a lightening up with a “South Beach vibe” and more contemporary furniture.
Wyndham Palmas Restaurants and Bars
The Trova Narrative Cuisine restaurant has a great reputation inside and outside the complex. The chef Yia Medina has appeared on the Food Network for years after working on the mainland and on the island and is now getting her own show. We first sampled an array of her appetizers while sipping bubbly in the garden while watching the herons and iguanas. Then dinner was impressive from beginning to end, with an array of tasty seafood dishes, beetroot carpaccio, chorizos al vino, and paella.
There’s live music some evenings from a talented duo and the bartenders can serve up an array of pretty cocktails. Or you can end your meal with a neat sampling of quality Puerto Rican rum.
The other dining and drinking outlets were about to go through some changes after I left, so there should be a sushi corner, a cigar bar, and an expanded coffee shop serving the best beans from the island.
Rooms at Las Palmas Puerto Rico
When you stay at Wyndham Palmas Resort, you probably won’t feel cramped. There are 107 rooms in three buildings and even the lowest category provides 365 square feet of space and a furnished balcony. Some of them are looking a bit tired, but will hopefully benefit from some updates after the public areas are done.
One step up from the entry category are the junior suites. These add more space and have a sofa bed. The executive suites are larger still, with twice as much room as the junior suite and a separate living room.
The family suites on the first floor are the best bet if you have kids along. These are also 800 square feet and they have a king bed, a queen bed, and a sofa bed.
All rooms have a 50-inch TV, coffee maker. mini fridge, safe, iron/ironing board, desk, and an array of toiletries in the bath.
There’s a bit of a bait-and-switch with this property so you have to go beyond the first screen of any booking site to see the real price. They add nearly one-third more to the rates for taxes (which are minimal) and resort fee charges (which are not). When rates start at $169, you’re really on the hook for $221 when you check out.
As usual with these resort fees, it’s really just an extra gotcha charge for services that are usually included elsewhere in the rates, like WiFi, a coffee maker, and “luggage storage,” that somehow justify an extra $40 per night charge.
That resort fee doesn’t even cover the bikes that are parked outside or a golf cart ride to another restaurant in the complex: those require an extra fee. If they don’t forget though (like they did with me), the front desk crew will at least hand you a drink ticket and refillable water bottles so there’s no throwaway plastic.
Sure, there are beach hotels right in San Juan itself. But if you have your own vehicle or are on a tour, this resort can serve as a jumping-off point to Culebra Island, a great ziplining course, a nature reserve with hiking trails, and much more in Eastern Puerto Rico.
Review and photos by editor Tim Leffel. He was hosted at the Wyndham Palmas Resort while on a trip after the North American Travel Journalists Association convention in San Juan, sponsored by Discover Puerto Rico.