September 24, 2020

Iconic hotel re-opens in Puerto Rico


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vanderbilt-lightsFrom Fox News Latino

The Condado Vanderbilt, inaugurated in 1919 on one of the finest beaches of San Juan and closed down indefinitely in the late 1990s, reopened this week as the only 5-star hotel in the capital and designed to be the Caribbean’s height of luxury.

The director of the establishment, Nicholas Gold, a Londoner with three decades of experience in the sector, told Efe on the eve of its reinauguration that his goal was to recover the beauty, magnificence and perfection that the Condado Vanderbilt displayed in the 1920s when it became the first grand luxury hotel in the Caribbean.

“That is the spirit we’re looking for,” the director said in an interview.

Gold is tasked with amortizing the $270 million invested in the establishment, which partially opened its conference rooms for events and conventions in October 2012.

Almost a century after the Condado Vanderbilt first opened its doors, Gold wants his guests to experience the luxury that was enjoyed in its early days by celebrities like Carlos Gardel, Errol Flynn, Arthur Rubinstein, Franklin Roosevelt and other members of international high society, as well as by the local elite.

“Always with our ‘amable’ staff,” Gold said, using the Spanish word for “friendly” to denote the spirit he wants projected by the establishment developed by Frederick William Vanderbilt, grandson of magnate Cornelius Vanderbilt.

Vanderbilt entrusted the work to Warren and Whitmore, one of the leading architectural firms at the time, having designed New York’s Biltmore, Commodore and Ambassador Hotels and the imposing Grand Central Station.

The Condado Vanderbilt is notable for its early Spanish Revival style of architecture with 323 rooms, of which 120 are suites.

The suites, which are served by dozens of servants, offer a spectacular view of the Atlantic Ocean, European-style cuisine, and granite tabletops and marble floors, the hotel director said proudly.

“We want our guests to feel the exclusiveness,” Gold said, acknowledging that the prices of the rooms are in line with their exclusivity: some $350 a night for the simplest accomodations and up to $5,000 a night for the presidential suite.

One of its distinctive features is the spa of over 10,000 square feet (930 sq. meters) with an ocean view and with the only Turkish bath in Puerto Rico.

Several swimming pools and halls for events complete this hotel in the tourist area of Condado, where guests can stroll through the neighborhood to reach Old San Juan, the original colonial center of the capital.

The establishment’s dining facilities include the Ola restaurant, directed by chef Natalia Rivera.

The hotel also offers the creations of chef Juan Jose Cuevas at the 1919 restaurant, one of the most luxurious on the island.

Behind the restoration of this hotel are International Hospitality Enterprises and hedge-fund billionaire John Paulson, who has other investments on the Caribbean island. EFE

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