Ponce and the Southern Coast Hotels

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Mary Lee's by the Sea

At a Glance

    Pros

  • feels like a home away from home
  • warm and friendly owner
  • near pristine beaches and forests

    Cons

  • weekly maid service unless requested daily
  • no nightlife and no pool

Fodorite Reviews

Average Rating:  

Mary Lee's by the Sea Review

This meandering cluster of apartments sits upon quiet grounds full of brightly colored flowers. It's home to Mary Lee Alvarez, and she'll make you feel as if it's your home as well. Most units have ocean views; in the others you'll catch a glimpse of the mangroves by the shore as well as the cactus growing in the nearby Bosque Estatal de Guánica. Each of the one-, two-, and three-bedroom units is decorated in bright colors and has sisal floors. Every unit is different, but most have terraces hung with hammocks and outfitted with barbecue grills. There is also a spacious lounge in the main house. You can rent kayaks to drift along the coast or hop a boat bound for Gilligan's Island.

    Hotel Details

  • 10 apartments
  • Rate includes no meals.
  • Credit cards accepted.
Updated: 03-28-2014

Fodorite Reviews

Average Rating:  
  • Décor  
    Value  
     
    Service  

    Excellent Value, Wonderful Host

    Mary Lee's is the best place on the island. She and her staff are extremely helpful and have a way of always being there for you while respecting your privacy all at the same time. Our room was wonderfully comfortable and the area is warm and tranquil. This is not a place to visit if you are looking for a lot of night life and big crowds. Mary Lee's is a quaint, cozy place hidden in the quiet. It is the perfect romantic, peaceful getaway. You won't be sorry, or broke when you leave there.

    by bythecee521, 1/17/07
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    Décor  
    Service  
    Value  

    Mary Lee's by the Sea Review

    My husband and I stayed at Mary Lee's for our honeymoon. To start, if you are a person who prefers full amenities like that of the Hilton or Ritz this is not the place for you. If you enjoy the hustle and bustle and lights of the tourist towns stay away. We knew that we would be far away from all of that and was what we were seeking for our honeymoon. The drive to Mary Lee's was a 2 1/2 hour drive from San Juan via the autopista. My husband had already experienced the driving in Puerto Rico so he was comfortable with the drive but I wouldn't suggest it to everyone. I myself wouldn't drive while there. Once in Guanica you will see that it is a small, old port town with run down homes and men who tie their horses to the light poles. The drive to Mary Lee's is an adventure in itself. 5 miles of twisting, narrow roads mainly occupied by locals who are so comfortable with the drive. They don't even flinch as they fly at you at much higher speeds than are legal just to barely miss your side mirrors as they pass. Some are even brave enough to walk these roads and you will often find a line of stray dogs making their way up the road or an iguana or 2. Mary Lee herself is a wonderful lady. After some confusion with our room reservation she upgraded us to Tranquila a beautiful 2 bed, 2 bath guest house that can fit 10+ people. We were 1 of 2 reservations on the property the week we stayed making it like we had the resort to ourselves. There is not a beach right outside the house but you could swim if you wanted to. The sand right off the shore is such that you sink immediately and there is a lot of sea grass but you find that everywhere there. We did go swimming one night but it wasn't my favorite. I would definitely suggest buying a pair of swim shoes. We found ours at the local Kmart the 2nd day after our feet were badly cut and swollen from so many cuts from rocks and shells. We chose to kayak to Gilligan's Island everyday for a small fee. This is about a 1 mile trip each way so beware but there is a ferry available down the road or boat rides through Mary Lee's By The Sea as well. My husband and I chose to go to the back side of Gilligan's Island which was vacant of other vacationer's making it our "own little private island" as we have told many people. Get snorkeling gear! There is so much to see on the ocean floor....tons of conch shell, fish, sea urchins, crabs etc! One day we wanted to see what it was the waves were breaking on about a 1/2 mile into the ocean so we took a hike to find a coral reef. It was simply beautiful. Be sure to stock up on tons of sunscreen as the sun is blaring by 2 or 3 in the afternoon but there seems to always be a breeze going to make things a little more comfortable. Kayak the mangroves or even be brave and walk through them. One day while walking through a 5 ft. iguana crossed our path to meet up with another HUGE iguana friend. There is not much in the way of nightlife in Guanica. We did visit some local restaurants (Blue Marlin) and met and talked with some really great locals. One night we stopped into Copamarina Beach Resort just a minute down the road for dinner. Most nights however we got a bottle of wine and some snacks and hung out on the boat dock enjoying the evening breeze and all the beauty. Mosquitoes are EVERYWHERE!!! At last count I had 30+ bites and this was with using OFF bug repellent. But...my husband rarely used repellent and barely had a bite on him. As a side note my husband and I (Verizon Wireless customers) did not get cell phone coverage while at Mary Lee's. After traveling a few minutes down the adjacent roads we received enough coverage to get an extended coverage. Most of the island does not support Verizon service very well. This was heave to us though! Not have phone, internet, cable and the hurry of the tourist happenings was just what we were looking for. Like I said, this is not the Ritz, it is an older guest home with few amenities but not lacking in charm and beauty. I was so sad to leave and in doing so left a little piece of my heart there. We experienced a little piece of heaven during our stay and will be sure to return! Words can't truly express just how beautiful this place is in all the surroundings!

    by Janelle_Newhouse, 7/14/11

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