The best gay-friendly hotels in Puerto Rico

Nestled between the Dominican Republic and US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico is a Caribbean world in miniature. An intriguing Spanish-American colonial heritage meets sparkling seas, secluded beaches, and a forested interior rich in wildlife. With accommodation options that range from towering all-inclusive resorts to independent guesthouses, here are the best gay-friendly places to stay in Puerto Rico.

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The dramatic cliffs of Puerto Rico’s northwest coast provide the cinematic backdrop for Royal Isabela, a resort complex comprising two dozen colonial-style cottages. Surrounded by lush vegetation and within earshot of the ocean, the spacious interiors of each cottage are richly decked out in polished wood, while the exteriors include secluded private terraces with individual plunge pools and sun loungers. The perfect intimate getaway, Royal Isabela is also the destination of choice for many a golf addict, thanks to its on-site Links course, which incorporates the natural dunes of the island’s coastline. Slightly further east, in the oceanfront Condado neighbourhood of the island’s capital, San Juan, you’ll find the four-star La Concha resort. A stone’s throw from Condado Beach, the rooms at La Concha boasts large picture windows that flood each suite with light, and interiors with an exquisite vintage look. An infinity pool and sun terrace blend effortlessly with the beach beyond, while the resort casino adds an air of opulence to this premier San Juan address. Also in Condado is the bohemian design ethic of O:live Boutique Hotel. Its 15 rooms make for a relaxed yet indulgent stay inspired by the Mediterranean of Morocco, Spain, France, and Italy. Rooms are equipped with ‘sea-thru’ spa showers and the latest technology, while the roof boasts a hip bar space in which to relax.

Photo: Brenda Godinez

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Old world charm meets ultramodern amenities at Hotel El Convento, housed within a seventeenth-century convent building

Old world charm meets ultramodern amenities at the four-star Hotel El Convento, housed within a seventeenth-century convent building in the heart of Old San Juan, close to a number of the capital’s main tourist attractions. In addition to rooms rich in atmospheric lighting and classic wooden interiors, guests also have access to a fine seating area in the internal courtyard, a plunge pool, and Jacuzzi. Don’t forget to check out the guest lounge either, which is the perfect spot to enjoy the hotel’s complimentary snacks and drinks each afternoon. Almost immediately next door to Hotel El Convento is Decanter Hotel. Ideal for fully immersing oneself in the island’s centuries of history, Decanter sits within a lovingly restored nineteenth-century colonial building whose airy shared spaces and rooms are perfectly finished in the period’s trademark subdued colours. Perhaps Old San Juan’s most exclusive place to stay is at Villa Herencia, a bed and breakfast of just eight rooms. The works of local artists hang from the plain plaster walls, while beautiful antique tiles decorate many of the floors, together with period hardwood flooring. Each room in Villa Herencia has its own patio space, with a hidden rooftop terrace also available to guests.

Photo: Omar Rodriguez

There’s no hiding the colonial stylings that pepper Horned Dorset Primavera, situated on a secluded stretch of coastline outside of the town of Rincon, on Puerto Rico’s western shore. The duplex apartments that form the Primavera come with four-poster beds, hand-carved furniture, and bespoke tiles, as well as a private plunge pool. A larger shared pool can also be found within the expansive wooded grounds. As the only place to stay on Almirante Beach in Anasco, Rincon Beach Resort offers another intimate west coast stay, ideal for couples and families alike. Home to some of the best surfing areas not just in Puerto Rico but also in the world, the resort lies right on the beach front, giving its rooms fantastic views across the Caribbean Sea. The fully air-conditioned rooms are large enough to include a dedicated seating area, a flat-screen television, and a small fridge. However, you’re far more likely to spend your time outside of your room and beneath the palms on the outdoor terrace and swimming pool.

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Located on the island’s southwestern corner, Isla Las Mañanitas combines the spirit of Robinson Crusoe with the luxury of a five-star hotel. The open-sided shared space invites the surrounding gardens in, while the minimalist rooms appear to hover over the ocean as if at the bow of a ship, acting as a fine backdrop to the natural landscapes the hotel blends into. Situated on the neighbouring island of Vieques, Casa de Tortuga Guesthouse provides homely bed and breakfast rooms around a small shared outdoor pool. Additional facilities include a kitchenette, separate dining and seating areas, and balcony, all less than four kilometres from Bioluminescent Bay, Vieques’ most popular attraction.

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