El San Juan Hotel
Previously a favourite haunt for celebrities such as Sammy Davis Jr. and Tony Bennett, the El San Juan Hotel in Puerto Rico reopened earlier this year. Reborn as part of the Hilton’s Curio Collection, El San Juan Hotel is a landmark luxury, lifestyle and entertainment property on the island of enchantment.
Originally opened in 1958 to much fanfare, the 388-guest room oceanfront destination is located in the Isla Verde district of San Juan with two miles of pristine beach on its doorstep. Designed by world-renowned hospitality designer, architect Jeffrey Beers, a modern look and lavish feel can be felt throughout the property.
The overall design concept that has been implemented by Jeffrey Beers International (JBI) blends the old and the new. JBI has brought back the original elegance, opulence and energy to the resort, by enhancing what is there and at the same time inserting new, modern elements to contrast against the old.
This nod to the past is particularly visible in the lobby which has been inspired by the property’s rich history and pedigree. The lobby has been brought back to its glory days of the 1950s by honouring the original layout and interior architecture, and adding elegant and modern furnishings and design elements. Included within the lobby space are three bars, a café and a lounge.
Included within this is the iconic Chandelier Bar that has been redesigned to feel like its own intimate room. The historic chandelier remains, hanging from the impressive dome-shaped ceiling while the overall aesthetic has been enhanced by contemporary bar stools, bar lamps and wall sconces.
Rooms at the hotel include Pool Villa and Ocean Villa. Pool Villa rooms lead directly to the main pool area and have a relaxed, resort-like aesthetic. Using natural materials with modern, clean lines, it is an elegant haven for guests. Integrated, soft lighting and a colour palette inspired by the sea enhance the environment.
Ocean Villa’s, meanwhile, maintain a relaxed and playful design with an added layer of materiality to emphasise the prestige of the ocean views. Residential accents, including ceiling beams and stainless-steel light fixtures, make guests truly feel at home. Luxurious yet unimposing materials, such as warm-toned stone, imbue the rooms with a relaxed atmosphere.
Providing diverse and distinct dining experiences, El San Juan Hotel features nine award-winning restaurants overseen by Executive Chef Gonzalo Rivera. The resort’s signature restaurant, however, is run by Chef Juliana Gonzalez. Caña reflects Chef Gonzalez’s cultural upbringing and international culinary repertoire. The menu is composed of a collection of dishes that are cooked using seasonal produce scouted locally throughout Puerto Rico. Caña has been designed to feel warm, airy and contemporary.
In addition to its restaurants, El San Juan Hotel boasts an 11,000-square foot grand ballroom – the second largest in San Juan – four pools, 15 bars and the vibrant El San Juan Beach Club. Throughout the coming year, the hotel will introduce, amongst other things, new innovative programming, spacious state-of-the-art spa and fitness facilities and curated restaurant concepts in newly-designed venues.
Stefan Huber, Managing Director and General Manager at El San Juan Hotel, said at the time of reopening:
“In the 1960s, Puerto Rico became one of the most visited destinations in the United States, with El San Juan Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton, being at the centre of its vibrant music and entertainment scene. After a $60 million restoration, we are thrilled to reopen a property that pays tribute to the history of Puerto Rico and carries on the Hotel’s legendary entertainment and music programming.”
Hilton currently has a portfolio of nearly 20 hotels and resorts open and welcoming travellers in the Caribbean, with a pipeline of nearly 10 hotels throughout the region. To find out more about El San Juan Hotel, please visit elsanjuanhotel.curiocollection.com.
Jeffrey Beers International
Founded in 1986 in New York City, Jeffrey Beers (JBI) is a globally recognised leader in hospitality, architecture and design. The full-service design studio combines an artist’s sense of craft and exploration with an understanding of the client’s vision, producing engaging social spaces that are simultaneously successful businesses. The 35-person team creates gathering spaces that transcend trends and celebrate culture, life and people through design.