Puerto Rico Vacation Recap

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Finally have some time to update about our Puerto Rico trip! As some of you may know, M and I originally planned to escape the cold of the East Coast by traveling to St. John’s, but a last minute blizzard wiped out our travel plans. Disappointed but not deterred, I looked up every possible tropical destination within our budget that had flights leaving in a few days of our original itinerary, and found a great deal on flights to Puerto Rico (~$250 round trip per person). Google Maps has an awesome flight searching function, by the way, that shows you all the cities you could travel to and the cheapest airfare that could get you there, filtered by date of travel. Anyways, after surviving the blizzard, we were ready to visit PR for the first time!

A quick airport #mani while waiting to board. Haven't been awake this early since intern year! #puertoricobound #vacationstartsnow Also, very excited to finally start Dr. Kalanithi's book #whenbreathbecomesair. I remember reading his essays in @nytimes when he was first diagnosed and later his letter to his newborn daughter on @stanford.med Scope blog, and most recently his wife's article about life after his passing. Each time I was moved to tears by this incredible individual's story and his beautiful writing. I know a few of you guys have read it already and I can't wait to discuss with you!

A quick mani before boarding our flight (OPI nail lacquer in Charged Up Cherry)

The trip there was very smooth and I was surprised at how easy it was to get to Puerto Rico. A quick 3.5 hour direct flight felt like nothing, especially since I’ve been flying the 6 hour trips back home to California since I moved out to NYC last year. On the plane, I got through about half of “When Breath Becomes Air,” a story about the extremely intelligent and brave Dr. Kalanithi, a neurosurgery resident who in his last year of training found out he had metastatic lung cancer (if you haven’t already, read his incredibly moving articles here and here). I hope that you will consider reading this book because his story is truly life changing and inspirational in every aspect. I felt so touched to the core by his strong desire to be the best doctor/surgeon he could be, even in his sickest moments. This post is supposed to be about Puerto Rico, but if you are looking for your next read, I HIGHLY recommend getting this book. I got so wrapped up in the book I don’t think I looked up once, even foregoing my usual airplane hydration rules!

Thanks to Starwood points and some help from our brother-in-law, we were able to stay at the St. Regis, located about 45 minutes from the airport

Thanks to Starwood points and some help from our brother-in-law, we were able to stay at the St. Regis, located about 45 minutes from the airport

Because we wanted to fully relax and unwind away from the craziness that is NYC, we spent the majority of our trip at our resort, the St. Regis Bahia Beach. This place was perfect for an island getaway vacation because it was away from the hustle and bustle of the city. I’ve stayed at a few other St. Regis destinations before (check out my travel guides to Kauai and Bora Bora), but this one was unique in the sheer size of it. This resort had a golf course, miles upon miles of private beaches, a cycling path, an endangered birds sanctuary, and a lake, just to name a few. We were told that Madonna and her posse were staying in the hotel as well that week since she was performing in San Juan, but the resort was so big that we didn’t even notice it was more packed!

A few recommendations from our time at the St. Regis:

  • Our favorite restaurant was Fern, a Jean-Georges restaurant located above the lobby. We actually ate here every night for dinner and it’s the only breakfast spot on the premises as well. The food is delicious with fresh ingredients, a touch of local flavor, and creative pairings. I highly recommend the avocado pizza, the octopus, and the grilled fish (any of them!). This place is a must. I actually wrote a Yelp review about it here since I loved it so much!
  • The resort apparently sprays bug spray around the grounds at night to prevent mosquitos (Zika virus is no joke; remember my post on why it’s a big deal right now?). I actually didn’t get bitten as badly as I would have expected, but I still recommend buying bug spray with DEET before you come here or wearing long sleeves and pants at night for extra protection.
  • There are two pool areas – a family friendly one located in the main hub of the resort and another one located at the golf course clubhouse. I recommend you go check out the one at the clubhouse! The pools are much nicer (infinity pools!) and it’s super quiet and relaxing and empty. The drink selection is better as well.
  • Take advantage of the free amenities: using the driving range, renting bicycles to cycle around the grounds and the bird sanctuary, kayaking, etc. There are a lot of activities to keep you busy!

A few snaps from our trip complete with links:

I purchased a new bikini from ASOS that reminds me of the Triangl bikinis that are so popular (and expensive!). It actually fit really snugly and I would recommend it to anyone looking for the contrast line appearance for a better price. The top comes with removal straps so it is convertible between a halter top and a bandeau. Note about the bottom fit: I inadvertently ordered the “Micro Brazilian” bikini bottom, which provides way less coverage than I’m used to. It ended up being fine, and my husband wasn’t complaining, so I kept it and am getting more and more used to it now. For the conservative ladies out there, double check before purchasing to make sure you get the fit you want. I got the whole suit for ~$20 altogether, including shipping, probably the cheapest swimsuit I’ve ever bought.

This ASOS bikini was a tropical vacation staple!

 

 

 

 

 

 

ASOS contrast line bikini in passion red / black top (32A) and bottom (sz 0)

Forever 21 hat (similar here)

Tory Burch wedge flip flops (similar here)

Major bathroom envy at the St. Regis

Cheers! M enjoying his welcome drink in the lobby

Exploring the other side of @stregisbb today near the golf course and clubhouse and found this adult only peaceful and GORGEOUS infinity pool. Guess where I'll be the rest of the trip?! See what I see on snapchat! Username: teawithmd #nofilter #paradise

This was my favorite out of the two pools, located at the golf course clubhouse

Pretty fascinated with the TV in our mirror

  H&M lace dress (old, similar here)

Coach sunglasses (old, similar here)

Ann Taylor woven chain belt (love this — makes every outfit more classy!)

View from our bike ride around the resort. I was half expecting an alligator to lurk out of the swamp at any minute. Check out my at teawithmd for more shots around the hotel, including which major celebrity is staying here tonight

View from our bike ride around the resort. I was half expecting an alligator to lurk out of the swamp at any minute.

Also was in love with my new Loft jumpsuit (petite sizing available) that I wore a few times during the trip. It fit perfectly without any alterations in XXSP. It is very fitted and form flattering on top and flowy and comfortable on the bottom. Perfect for a beach vacation!

Dinner #3 at Fern, our favorite restaurant in the hotel

Love how deserted this beach was; I felt like it was my own private area ⛱ #nofilter #paradise • We found out yesterday that Madonna and her crew were all staying here for her concert in San Juan (I snapped a blurry photo of her villa on ), and that Johnny Depp was just here last week. As much as I wish I could have seen them, I'm more grateful for the peace and quiet this large resort offered so we could get away from the crowd and noise of NYC. I find that what I miss the most about the Bay Area is the calm.

Love how deserted this beach was; I felt like it was my own private area ⛱

Loft wraparound jumpsuit in XXSP

Forever 21 hat (similar here)

We spent our last day in San Juan exploring the forts and walking around the colorful streets of Old San Juan. What a charming city! I loved the vibrant colors of all the buildings, and it is such a walking-friendly city from one end to the other. One ticket gets you entry into both forts which are about 30 minutes’ walk from each other, and you can stop by Cafeteria Mallorca for the famous brioche pastry with egg ham and cheese, dusted with powdered sugar on top. At night we went to Condado, an area that reminds me of Miami, with tons of restaurants and bars lining both sides of the main street. We had an absolutely amazing dinner at Cocina Abierta in Condado (my restaurant review here), one of the highlights of our trip.

Love the bright vibrant colors of Old San Juan #puertorico
Another outfit for traveling was my favorite non-wrinkle super lightweight tank that I have in white and black (see it in white on me here). 
   Dreaming of paradise... #takemeback #puertorico #nofilter #paradise

For a complete list of all the items used and mentioned in this post, click below:

2 Comments on Puerto Rico Vacation Recap

  1. Jani V
    February 20, 2016 at 2:48 pm (2 years ago)

    I have never been to the St Regis but your pics are absolutely gorgeous! I am glad you enjoyed and had a good time in my little gem of paradise! The east coast definitely has the BEST beaches and everything is so beautiful.
    XO
    -Jani

    Reply
    • Joyce
      February 20, 2016 at 8:21 pm (2 years ago)

      Hi Jani, thanks for your comment! Here’s to hoping for more tropical vacations to come for both of us :)

      Reply

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