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High Marks For City, Villa Escapes
By Jude David

A visit to Puerto Rico was long overdue. We had not revisited our three Great Escape properties in quite some time, and we wanted to check out a new property we'd heard good things about. (The fact that it was winter in New Hampshire didn't hurt, either.) On a sunny long weekend, my Hideaways Travel Services colleague Sally Blakey and I sampled four vacation settings—three distinctly different waterfront villa resorts and one city-center boutique hotel.

Palmas del Mar

This vast sun 'n' sport playground holds a special place in Hideaways' heart—it was our very first Great Escape. For years, Hideaways members have been returning to Palmas del Mar for its home-like villas, award-winning golf courses, and wide range of things to do. When we arrived at the open-air, Caribbean-style reception area, our old friends greeted us with a warm hello and a golf cart—a set of wheels I highly recommend. Without one, you must rely on the complimentary shuttle, which circles this huge, palm-studded compound every 20 minutes or so. At first, handling the golf cart was a little daunting, but soon we were zipping down the roadside like pros.

Palmas del Mar boasts 120 rooms, 140 villas, sports facilities, shops, and restaurants housed in cheery pastel buildings connected by a network of winding paths and roads. The resort complex is actually just one part of a huge gated community that includes a bank, supermarket, and the spectacular homes of island professionals.

Winter 1999

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