#RealTravel: The Anniversary Trip That Gave My Wife the Surprise of a Lifetime

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Anthony Glover and Adela Cruz-Glover at Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, in San Juan, Puerto Rico. (Courtesy: Anthony Glover)

Who: Anthony Glover (executive at JP Morgan Chase) and Adela Cruz-Glover (homemaker for the last 20 years raising our four beautiful daughters and running our house, aka CEO of Glover Enterprises; accountant and banking internal auditor prior to that)

Where: I decided to surprise Adela with a trip to Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The Occasion: We celebrated our 25th anniversary on May 28th.


(Courtesy: Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve)

The Surprise: We had this long running “joke” that one day we would just show up at an airport with a toothbrush and a passport and buy a ticket to a tropical destination. That joke was the center of the idea for this trip. Also, we had started to plan a larger celebration with family and friends. However, that quickly became stressful so we decided to “elope.” One of the secrets to our marriage enduring happily for 25 years is putting each other and our relationship first and minimizing outside stressors.

How We Chose It: We love staying at nice hotels. I wanted to surprise Adela, so she wasn’t able to give any input to picking the spot. I figured I would pick a location first and the hotel second. I started with Florida (Islamorada, Naples, Miami, Amelia Island), Puerto Rico (our favorite island), St. John, and the Bahamas. The spots in Florida were ok, but I saw a link to the Ritz Carlton Reserve properties while I was checking out the Ritz Carlton Naples. It seemed like the perfect spot. Adela is also Puerto Rican, from the South Bronx. Her parents and some of her older siblings were born in Puerto Rico.

How Did You Pull it Off (Without Her Knowing)? I didn’t tell anyone about the plan until the very last minute, not even my kids. I also tried to “leak” small clues to throw her off the trail. She thought we were driving to a destination within a few hours of our house in Princeton. We didn’t pack any bags, so there were no clues based on apparel or other items that would have been in the luggage.


Adela, at Dorado Beach.

The Game Plan: I lead Adela to believe that we would be driving for four or five hours. I wish you could have seen the look on her face when we pulled into the Philadelphia Airport. I think I still have the bruise on my shoulder from when she punched me. I asked her to look at the boarding pass, but in true Adela fashion she said “no”. She said that she had waited this long she might as well wait until the very end. All through clearing security and even at the gate, she refused to look. Luckily/unluckily, she punched the same shoulder when the pilot said we were going to San Juan, Puerto Rico.

But What About Clothes? Since we only had toiletries with us, I had preplanned to have a driver with a stretch limo meet us at the airport to take us to the mall (Plaza de las Americas). We spent a couple of hours buying our island apparel before the limo driver came back and took us to the Ritz.


(Courtesy: Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve)

What We Did While We Were There: Ate, drank, chilled, swam, chilled, read, chilled, walked, chilled, drank, chilled, slept, chilled … did I say chilled?

Our Room: We had an ocean view one-bedroom suite with its own private rooftop plunge pool. When we walked into our room, there was a bottle of champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries waiting. We toasted our 25th anniversary and then chilled out on our terrace over looking the ocean.

Best Meal: After lunch at “Positivos,” the poolside cafe, we went back to our room, had champagne, and fell asleep. We woke up three hours later and cancelled our dinner reservation because we were too relaxed to leave the room. We ordered room service instead.


Anthony, at Dorado Beach.

Dream Date: The next morning, just after sunrise, I woke up. While Adela slept, I went for a swim in the ocean. The water was amazing. When I got back to the room, Adela was still sleeping so I made a pot of French-pressed coffee. Adela woke up to the smell of fresh coffee (her real fantasy, forget the Ritz).

Local Flavor: Someone recommended a little place just a few minutes off property called A La Vara. The service was outstanding and the authentic Puerto Rican food was delicious. Also, we were fortunate that this was their live-music day, so we were able to hear some great salsa. Everyone there treated us like family.

Parting Thoughts: We feel more prepared and more excited for our marriage to continue to succeed. Many marriages don’t make it to this stage, and that made us want to acknowledge this anniversary in a special way and recommit ourselves to each other and our relationship.


(Courtesy: Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve)