Slumber Party: Puerto Rico's Wyndham Grand Rio Mar
If you're looking for an easy, breezy Caribbean getaway, Puerto Rico is just about perfect. U.S. citizens don't need a passport to enter, English is as prevalent as Spanish and there's no need to change currency. And just as crucial, Puerto Rico is blessed with beaches so gorgeous that the only rival for their beauty is the island's gorgeous inhabitants.
To get the utmost enjoyment out of your island adventure, hit up the Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Beach Resort and Spa. Boasting a mile-long stretch where golden sand meets emerald sea, there are always plenty of oiled beach bodies to check out at the Wyndham -- and loads of opportunities for other kinds of play thanks to the resort's 500 acres of on-site recreation.
Wedding Bells & Romance for Everyone
Like the rest of Puerto Rico, which is known as one of the Caribbean's most gay-friendly destinations thanks in part to San Juan's legendary nightlife, the Wyndham Grand Rio Mar warmly welcomes LGBT guests. The property has been hosting gay nuptials since 2014 and in that time nine same-sex couples have taken their vows there.
"One of my first ceremonies here as wedding coordinator was a lesbian wedding," says Monique Perez, associate director of events at Wyndham Grand Rio Mar. "They were two amazing young ladies and they way they looked at each other, the only way to describe it is LOVE. When couples call me and say, 'By the way, it's a same-sex wedding,' my answer is 'Love is love and it doesn't know color or sexual orientation.'"
For couples looking to tie the knot in 2017, the Wyndham Grand Rio Mar is offering plenty of packages that are surprisingly affordable. The Diamond package, which includes a cake, champagne toast and hors d'oeuvres for 25 guests, is just $2,999.
If you're not quite ready take the plunge, the Grand Romance package features private dining, champagne, a poolside cabana and more sure to set passions sizzling as hot as that glorious Puerto Rico sun.
Get Out and Play
While the Wyndham Grand Rio Mar is less than 30 miles from San Juan's famed gay bars and clubs, it provides enough diversions you might not want to leave.
Lazy afternoons can be spent at three oceanfront pools offering goodies like concierge service and luxe cabanas perfect for a canoodle, or indulging in one of 25 decadent therapies at the Balinese-inspired Mandara Spa. You might be tempted to relax in bed for a bit, though. The resort's guestrooms and suites (all sporting private balconies) have been recently renovated with no small amount of panache in bright, tropical colors.
If you favor games of chance, the Wyndham Grand Rio Mar is the only hotel on the Northeast coast with a casino; duffers can choose from two golf courses good for all skill levels -- one designed by PGA favorite Greg Norman, the other by famed course architects Tom and Georgia Fazio. Miles of trails for hiking, biking and jogging wind throughout the property, and parasailing, wave runners and more are available for adrenaline addicts.
The Wyndham Grand Rio Mar also has a new, gear-lending program. You can now borrow VIRB action cameras free, all the better to share the good times on social media. And after a long day of outdoor play, there are nine restaurants on the property to refuel, serving everything from exquisitely prepared sushi to the Puerto Rican favorite mofongo, a hearty, stew-like dish made with mashed plantains.
With all this pleasure packed in one place the Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Beach Resort and Spa -- and those oiled beach bodies -- might be just what the doctor ordered to cure the blues this winter.
This story is part of our special report titled "Winter 2017." Want to read more? Here's the full list.