Follow us
Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, puerto rico
 The affable New Yorker Kenny Blatt and partners chased after us for many months before we agreed to get on plane and help them to design the second Ritz Reserve ever built. After all, Puerto Rico is not just around the corner from Bangkok. It is around the world, exactly on the other side. One can go no further. Our scope of works were to include all of the extensive landscape grounds, and the architecture and interiors of the spa and the beachside restaurant and bar that we named Positivo. We agreed to start the project in 2002. The land we inherited to build this Ritz Reserve has an excellent pedigree. In the 1950’s Laurance Rockfeller started a venture he called RockResorts, and at the same time the Rockfeller family purchased huge tracts of land in Dorado on the north coast of Puerto Rico. Laurance apparently was a keen plantsman and had hundreds of tropical trees planted around a golf course and he built a hotel right on the beach. It is the combination of his well established forest, a dramatically rocky and sandy shoreline, and the Grandfather clause of being able to “rebuild” our Ritz on the old footprints just steps from the beach that gives our Ritz its teeth. The site selected by the developer for the spa had a huge banyan tree. I thought that this would be a great place to start the journey. So we designed a circular driveway around this giant tree to the front door. I wanted to site the Apothecary as close to the extensive branches as possible, not an easy task, but the firecracker project manager Orlando Mendez got it just right. Then the guest enters Spa Botanica through the Apothecary, a cavernous barn like space filled with dozens of old jars packed with various seeds and hanging from the ceiling thousands of drying flowers and herbs. The aroma of such is truly special and stays with you while enjoying the spa. In the center of the space lies a work bench where herbs from the garden just outside are prepared for use in the treatment rooms. Through the heavy wood doors of the apothecary the guests enter the heart of the ranch and its irrigation pond. Sitting high above the pink pineapple garden the guest has a little WOW moment. The ladies and gents common areas are east and west of the pond and feature many unusual elements like John Underwoods gorgeous water dump showers, and our new idea of an outside locker room. I prefer to run with projects that are all encompassing…. where we design the architecture, the interiors and the landscape as this is the only way for us to put to the test the soundness of our stories. You see I think of designing a hotel like telling a good story. There must be a strong storyline or DNA that runs throughout. The end user must come away from the experience having learnt something, or at least have felt something. At our Spa Botanica, we told the story of an old Puerto Rican farm house and barn with its irrigation pond, stables, out houses, and pink pineapple farm. The guest treatment rooms are designed like small casitas, self contained in every way. Surrounded by private tropical gardens, shaded by huge 100 year old trees these casitas are scattered on the edge of the raised pineapple garden and each one of them is adorned with and themed after an organic element traditionally used in local health practices. Honey or Miel is my favorite. Here Suzanne Rameriz custom made for us an exquisite ceramic mural, as she did for all 10 of the treatment rooms, that took to heart the process of making honey. I also found many 100+year old books on beekeeping and an antique bee smoker. Perhaps not all guests can take the time to notice such details, but I would still not have it any other way. The limited response that I have heard from the guests is resounding.
photo library shangri-La boracay goto >> intercon danang maia seychelles one&only maldives singapore residences
back to top