Coamo Springs Resort of Puerto Rico
Hotel Baños de Coamo en Puerto Rico
Since moving to Coamo last fall, I’ve been wanting to check out Coamo’s only hotel. This post is based on a quick 15 minute walk-through of the place.
A review of user comments over at TripAdvisor did not return good results. Almost all personal reviews of the place were negative… an average of only one star. I suspect if they were given the option they would have given it none. So I did not go with high expectations. I did not stay here, nor did I get a peek into any of the rooms.
This is what I found-
The facility is located at the end of Hwy 546, off Hwy 153, which is off Expressway 52. Not hard to find.
As legend has it, Ponce de Leon made the trek to these natural hot springs where the infamous fable of the “Fountain of Youth” originated. He’s also the namesake of Ponce. A hotel was established in 1847 and has been in existence in one form or another, ever since. It has attracted much international attention over the years. A quiet, laid back place to go and unwind and soak up the warm mineral waters. As late as the mid 1990′s, it was still quite private and reserved. Lots of open pasture. The locals used to go down to the river next to the resort to swim and picnic. This public access is now closed off. In late 1990 a golf course and country club was put in next door. One of the largest golf courses on the island. In the last 10 years, 2 ‘up-scale’ cement subdivisions were built near by. A GoogleMap (terrain view) confirms all this.
‘My first impressions were of a hotel past its prime’
It has the look of a large private compound with a central court area surrounded by several 2 story structures. All buildings face to the center and access is via a 2 story covered entrance where the front desk is located. Yes, the gift shop opposite the front office is closed and the windows papered over. Upon entering the massive courtyard, you see a large amount of construction work going on. That’s the good news. New cement walkways and reflection pools are being added to spruce the place up. Besides the hot springs, the other main attraction is a very large, very very old tree covered in hanging succulents. It supposedly dates back to Ponce de Leon’s visit. There is also a large open bar just off the fenced-in pool area and a restaurant too. I was there on a Monday afternoon and as is typical of most of Puerto Rico, both the bar and restaurant were closed. I was told that the bar is open in the evenings. The restaurant is open only for breakfast because of the construction, per the front desk.
Its my understanding that Hotel Baños de Coamo is a Parador of Puerto Rico and as such, is subject to certain restrictions and controls. These are not privately owned, but operated under contract. I’m still not sure what that means.
If you are expecting the “Holiday Inn” type experience, then you need to stay in Ponce when you are on this side of the island.
Posted room rates were very low, under $100 a night for single or double occupancy and includes access to the pool and hot springs.
There is no Internet service at this time, but they got ice!
The hotel rooms were a cluster of square, two story cement structures. I would venture to guess there were 8 to 10 suites per building. They did look pretty shabby on the outside. A little paint would go a long ways. As this is the only place to stay near Coamo, it is very packed during the San Blas Marathon of Coamo.
The secured pool area is open to the paying public.
As far as eating out goes, there are several fast food and sit-down restaurants between the facility and the exit at Expressway 52. My favorite fast-food joint is Pollo Tropical. Think upscale Taco Bell with a Caribbean flavor. They are all over PR. Even more fast food can be had by going into Santa Isabel on the other side of the Expressway. Or you can go into Coamo and eat at Burger King or Church’s Chicken (uhh). There is also a good local pizza shop in Coamo proper, but its a pain to get in and out of. The local Panaderias (bakeries) are worth checking out. They open early and serve great pastries. Almost all bars serve some kind of eats as well.
Also located just off the Expressway exit is a full size Walmart, the largest store in the area and the cheapest place to buy Puerto Rican Rummm, Arrrg! As you drive into Coamo from the hotel, a Grande grocery store, Radio Shack, National hardware store and Walgreens is located just off Hwy 153.
The simple card they hand out with room rates lists a Web site at the bottom, but as I’ve come to realize, over and over again, it simply don’t work! That Internet domain is currently up for sale. DOH! A huge marketing opportunity missed again.
Since I did not actually stay here, I will not be giving the Hotel Baños de Coamo my formal “skull & Crossbones” rating. It is what it is.
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