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The tourism industry is booming in Puerto Rico, with air arrivals for the first quarter of 2023 an impressive 21 percent higher than a year ago, according to Discover Puerto Rico. So it’s no surprise that the destination’s hospitality industry is in growth mode, too, as new hotels debut and existing properties reveal major renovations.
Some of the destination’s biggest development news comes from Hilton, which plans to double its presence in Puerto Rico by 2025. The company is introducing 10 new hotels representing five different brands in San Juan, Ponce and Dorado, amounting to Hilton’s largest growth market in the Caribbean by number of hotels.
This new investment includes the first appearance in Puerto Rico of five Hilton brands, including the island’s first Curio Collection by Hilton, Tapestry Collection by Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn, Tru by Hilton and Homewood Suites by Hilton.
Among the first brand debuts to open is the Condado Palm Inn San Juan, Tapestry Collection by Hilton, which debuts in June 2023 as a rebranding of the former Best Western Plus Condado Palm Inn. The 186-room property, centrally located in the popular Condado neighborhood, has two restaurants, two pools and a dedicated beach attendant at nearby Condado Beach, which is just a block away.
Still to come is a massive reimagining of the existing Hilton Condado Plaza, which currently operates within two buildings connected by a skybridge. The north building, on the Atlantic coast side, is an architecturally significant structure that opened in 1963 and was designed by Morris Lapidus, an architect who made his mark with mid-century landmarks like the Fontainebleau Hotel and Eden Roc in Miami Beach. Hilton’s new strategy is to return the two buildings, which originally operated as separate properties in the 1960s, to their original, two-hotel concept, thus creating a dual-branded complex to appeal to a wider array of travelers.
Rendering of the Hilton Garden Inn San Juan (Photo Credit: Hilton)
Both structures will receive extensive updates and renovations before reopening in 2025. The Lapidus-designed building will relaunch as the 332-room San Juan Condado Plaza, Curio Collection by Hilton, while the building across the street, which looks out on the Condado Lagoon and first opened in the late 1960s as the Flamboyan Hotel and Casino, will open its doors as the 240-room Hilton Garden Inn San Juan Condado.
Also slated to open in 2025 are the 153-room Hilton Garden Inn Dorado, the77-room Tru by Hilton San Juan Condado, the 118-room Homewood Suites by Hilton San Juan City Center, the 138-room Hampton by Hilton San Juan City Center and the 120-room Hampton by Hilton Ponce.
Hilton is far from the only hotelier eyeing expansion in Puerto Rico. Among the biggest new properties in the works is a new, $500 million Hard Rock Hotel slated to open next year in Old San Juan, on the current site of the Department of Finance and close to the San Juan Cruise Port.
Rendering of a guestroom at the Hotel Rumbao (Photo Credit: Driftwood Capital)
Nearby, the existing Sheraton Old San Juan Hotel is slated for a big change, as owner Driftwood Capital initiates renovations to relaunch it in January 2024 as Hotel Rumbao, a Tribute Portfolio by Marriott property. The revamped hotel, which will feature new restaurant concepts, four new guest rooms and a relocated lobby and fitness room, will be a major component of The Landing Old San Juan, a newly named, multi-use complex that spans multiple blocks and includes 70,000 square feet of retail space.
Already open is Don Rafa Boutique Hotel & Residences , a new, 36-room boutique hotel in the upscale neighborhood of Miramar. Decorated with more than two dozen works of art by Puerto Rican artists, the property has a rooftop restaurant, Canvas, that blends French, Asian and Puerto Rican culinary traditions.
Outside of San Juan, Nayara Resorts, a nature-oriented luxury hospitality brand, is planning to open a new, wellness-focused property next year in Toro Verde, the eco-adventure park in the town of Orocovis.
Among the destination’s most anticipated hotel reopenings is the pending 2024 return of The Ritz-Carlton San Juan, which has been closed since Hurricane María hit the island in 2017 and is wrapping up major renovations. Already sporting a refreshed look, meanwhile, is the DoubleTree by Hilton San Juan, which is located in the chic Condado district and serves as an ideal base for exploring the trendy dining, shopping and nightlife of nearby Loiza Street. The DoubleTree has updated its guest rooms and public areas with an attractive, modern style that’s complemented by décor elements like photography depicting the island’s natural beauty.
Wyndham Palmas Beach & Golf Resort (Photo Credit: Wyndham Palmas Beach & Golf Resort)
Travelers looking for new experiences outside of the city, meanwhile, may want to consider the 107-room Wyndham Palmas Beach & Golf Resort, which unveiled the results of a multi-million-dollar redesign in May, with a new style that the hotelier describes as “boho chic.”
Also recently completing refurbishment is Parguera Plaza, an adults-only hotel in the popular waterfront area called La Parguera, in southwestern Puerto Rico. The 25-room property has an outdoor pool and restaurant.
Mark Chesnut is a New York City-based journalist, editor, content producer and public speaker with more than 20 years of...
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