Dorado Beach, Puerto Rico
Cultivating culture in the tropics.
“Just pick two colors. Don’t think about it—go with what you feel,” said Sofía Arsuaga, the in-house art curator at the Dorado Beach Ritz-Carlton Reserve, as we began our private painting party while staying there in November. Staring at a blank canvas, the only thing I felt was despair. Then we covered the surface with red and purple oils, and with Arsuaga’s guidance, layered other colors to create a work with a distinctly Caribbean flavor. It was a deeply satisfying experience. The two-hour lesson in abstract painting is one way the hotel transmits one of Puerto Rico’s greatest, and lesser known, attributes: contemporary art. Arsuaga, a San Juan-born painter and sculptor who previously taught at the island’s School of Arts and the Museum of Puerto Rico, is developing a rich artistic program for the resort. In addition to painting, pottery and monoprinting workshops for guests, she conducts complimentary art tours of the property and local galleries, and she can arrange private visits with top and emerging Puerto Rican artists.
Despite its economic troubles, Puerto Rico fosters a robust cultural scene that has attracted international attention from collectors and gallerists. It has also launched acclaimed artists such as Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla, who have represented the U.S. at the Venice Biennale. The hotel itself possesses many virtues such as prime beachfront suites with 24-hour butler service, a lush eco-sensitive landscape, an edenic five-acre spa and an elegant heritage as Laurance Rockefeller’s 1950s Hollywood hangout. But its role as ambassador of the arts may be what stays with guests long after they leave.
Room rates start at $799 per night, ritzcarlton.com