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With all the emphasis on “new!new! new!” we like it when an old lady gets her groove back. That’s kinda what happened today. After being shut down for 20 years, Puerto Rico’s historic Condado Vanderbilt Hotel flung open her doors to San Juan’s awaiting public. We are crazy jelly of the party that's happening tonight, but they're not there to see the rooms, which aren't ready yet. More on that in a bit.
A $270 million reno was done on the grand dame hotel built in 1919 by Frederick William Vanderbilt, kin to one of America's wealthiest families. The property was designed by the architectural firm responsible for The New York Biltmore and Grand Central Station. It closed in 1997 under the name Condado Beach Hotel after a few changes of hands, names, and in a state of disarray. Now it's being restored to its former grandeur that once attracted the likes of Errol Flynn, Bob Hope, and FDR.
A few years ago Thompson Hotels was rumored to be working on a Puerto Rico project with hotelier Jason Pomeranc slipping to Travel + Leisure that plans were in the works. But we haven't heard anything about this hotel for quite sometime. Until yesterday.
A reader emailed us about the renderings on the Studio Gaia website which we wrote up last March. (This is the same design firm where we found the renderings for Thompson Toronto as well.) So we decided we should probably check in on this hotel again.
Sadly, there's no good news here. The Thompson San Juan is not happening anytime soon according to our sources. There was a possibility of opening in San Juan, but the property never became available.
It's a San Juan-derful day! Ok lame puns aside there is some interesting news in San Juan, Puerto Rico today. First, we learned about the San Juan Marriott's YouTube Concierge and then a tipster pointed us to this press release that announced Morgans Hotel Group would be taking over the San Juan Water and Beach Club Hotel next week. The former managers were Desires Hotels.
The hotel will remain open as it undergoes renovations to transform it into a Morgans Hotel-branded property that will "boost travel and attract a more hip, rich and famous crowd." Our tipster wondered, "Rehab Puerto Rico?" Oh god, we hope not. Then again, we sort of hope so. It's a trainwreck we can't help but watch.
[Photo: San Juan Water Club's Facebook]
Every time we go away, we feel pangs of guilt if we don’t bring back souvenirs for our nearest and dearest; especially, our beloved dog-sitter. As a carry-on only kinda gal, it can get burdensome, and many times we cop out with a 25¢ cookie cutter postcard with an impersonal message.
Well, the San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino just launched a very cool (and complimentary) service that lets guests send a virtual shout out to the folks at home, and avoid the whole issue of having to schlep a bunch of useless tsotchkes. Plus think of all the money you’ll save on ever-increasing postage prices if you’re a postcard kinda person.