A wall of sea rocks protects the swimming lagoons at the Hyatt El Dorado Beach Resort from the crashing Atlantic surf, creating some of the best beaches on the island. Laurence Rockefeller originally created this low-slung resort spread out over 1,000 palm-groved acres of north shore coastline - a 45-minute drive from San Juan. Carved four-poster beds add panache to comfortable seaside rooms. Reserve an outdoor terrace table at the ultra-romantic Su Casa restaurant lodged in a former hacienda, where the coqui frogs serenade diners when the strolling musicians aren't. Rooms from $185. (800) 633-7313, www.hyatt.com

The sprawling cliff-side Wyndham El Conquistador Resort is a self-contained world of 918 rooms, 13 restaurants, 18 holes of golf, six pools, a casino, and the highly rated Golden Door Spa, featuring products extracted from the nearby rainforest. Spread over four distinct areas, accommodations range from suites with private pools to marina-view rooms. Near Fajardo, the resort is a 45-minute drive from San Juan. From $295. (800) 996-3426, www.wyndham.com

An upscale inn near the surf haven of Rincon, the Horned Dorset Primavera specializes in quiet seclusion. The resort, a two-hour drive from San Juan, just added 22 new bi-level villas stacked up a coastal hill, all with sea views, antique appointments, terraces, and private pools, increasing its appeal as a couples-oriented luxury escape with top-quality food. From $440. (800) 633-1857, www.horneddorset.com

San Juan, Anyone?


If your tastes hew to modern food, lively nightlife, and urban culture, stick around San Juan.