Actually, I was off to cover our Meet the Greens Invitational Golf Classic and Marketplace earlier this month in Puerto Rico, but I ran into this cute little guy as we were starting out on an ATV trek through the foothills of El Yunque rainforest and we just seemed to hit it off.
There were a lot of things to like about Puerto Rico on this trip. The new conference center attached to El Conquistador Resort and Casino was just gorgeous. It had a wall mosaic/fountain in myriad shades of green that just mesmerized me. Oh, and it also had the biggest hotel ballroom in the Caribbean, the 22,650-square-foot Grand Atlantic Ballroom, which can be divided into three equally sized sections. It also features up to 16 additional breakout rooms ranging from 815 to 1,619 square feet, and an outdoor terrace for more event space. Our host hotel, the 600-room Rio Mar Beach Golf Resort & Spa, had just been rebranded from Westin to Wyndham, and everyone would catch themselves in mid-sentence, "the Wes...Wyndham." It was kind of funny. Anyway, it is slated to undergo a $36 million redevelopment that will include a complete overhaul of its casino, as well as an upgrade of the resortâ€™s 18-hole golf courses designed by Tom and George Fazio and Greg Norman, and lobby and guest room enhancements.
But my favorite part was going four-wheeling through the rainforest (don't worry, it's all eco-conscious), provided by the Hacienda Caribaldi. They also offer mountain biking, and if I go back next year, I will definitely go horseback riding there on the magnificent Paso Fino horses the ranch provides for trail rides. I saw the trainer putting one of their horses through its moves, and it was sheer poetry.
Sometimes I just have to pinch myself -- this is work? Then, after a 10-day sail on a chartered catamaran in the British Virgin Islands (vacation this time, not work), I came back to the reality of a pile of thousands of e-mails and the rest of the detritus of two weeks away from the office. But at least I'll always have Puerto Rico...