The second stage of the hotel’s long-awaited revival will unveil elegant guestroom and suite accommodations, a spa sanctuary with Puerto Rico’s first Hammam, two posh pool lounges with butler service, and a second international restaurant helmed by renowned Chef Juan Jose Cuevas.
Built in 1919 by Frederick William Vanderbilt, the historic Grand Dame hotel, once known as the social epicenter of San Juan, is in the final stage of completing a $200 million revitalization. Originally designed by leading architectural firm Warren and Wetmore, whose work includes the New York Biltmore Hotel and Grand Central Station, the Vanderbilt was once an exclusive tropical vacation destination for royalty, heads of state, industry icons and Hollywood stars.
In October 2012, the hotel began attracting gourmands with the acclaimed 1919 restaurant and lobby bar as well as banquet services. This final phase will reveal a complete return to the “Roaring 20’s” style, sophistication and service that the Vanderbilt was known for.
“The prestige that the Vanderbilt represents for Puerto Rico is unsurpassed. The reopening of the hotel, which was once a home-away-from-home for royalty and celebrities, not only signifies a renaissance of an iconic period, but it holds a much larger implication for Puerto Rico’s resurging economy,” said José M. Suárez, president of International Hospitality Enterprises (IHE).
The Return to Suite Luxury
The reimagined 319 guestrooms, including 108 suites, will take inspiration from the hotel’s dreamy oceanfront setting and eclectic history. Designed by internationally-acclaimed firm Wilson Associates, the rooms will mix elements of nostalgic luxury with modern-day amenities. Evoking a sleek, yet calming aura, the walls and surfaces will feature neutral hues and textures, shown through carpeting inspired by “ocean tides,” light terra cotta colored walls, and dark wood-toned furniture with brass accents. Many rooms will provide breathtaking backdrops of the Atlantic, with balconies and terraces that are perfect for taking in the splendor of the coast.
The 63 Commodore and 42 Biltmore Suites, situated in the hotel’s two newly-constructed Suite Towers, will resemble sumptuous private residences, many with dramatic ocean views. The one and two bedroom suites will range from 750 – 1,500 square feet. All suites will consist of spacious living areas with 9-foot ceilings, European-style kitchens with granite counter tops, African mahogany wood detailing and custom-designed lighting elements. White Carrera marble floors, dove grey walls, and neutral-toned furniture are accented with locally-sourced artwork, touches of turquoise and yellow, and the striking backdrop of the translucent Atlantic. Bathrooms are configured with five-fixture marble baths with Jacuzzi tubs and separate rain showers, stylish wash basins and C.O. Bigelow bath amenities.
Each Suite Tower will feature a stunning 3,000 square foot Vanderbilt Suite on the penthouse level. Named after Cornelius and his son, William Henry, the suites will consist of three bedrooms, an extravagant living area and impressive terrace with sweeping panoramic views of the city and ocean. All suites will include suite butler service available 24-hours a day to cater to any guest request.
Posh Poolside Oasis
The hotel’s striking terrace, spanning the oceanfront, will provide a pathway to the two new pool lounge areas, which are located on either side of the Suite Towers. Envisioned by designer Jorge Rossello, the West Tower pool area will feature a 200-square foot mirrored pool with a waterfall, surrounded by chaise lounges and private cabanas – a perfect setting for sunning and socializing while taking in the warm breeze. The West Tower’s secondary, infinity-edge pool will be perched on the edge of the Atlantic, and lie adjacent to an intimate, wooden sun deck, located directly above the crashing waves.
The East Tower pool lounge will feature three smaller-sized pools set amidst lush landscaping and surrounded by sections of chaise lounges with an intimate beach area located on the cusp of the deck. Hotel guests will also have access to a larger beach area adjacent to the hotel, outfitted with beach loungers and towel, tanning, and cocktail service provided by beach butlers.
The ‘Royal’ Treatment
A breathtaking 10,000 square foot luxury spa and fitness facility, designed by Rossello, will lie directly in front of the hotel’s West Tower pool. Two tiered fountains will mark the entry-way to the spa’s serene welcome area, which leads to the sauna, steam room, and robe room. A spa boutique will offer beauty and consultation services and feature a customized Aroma Blending Bar where guests will be able to create their own signature fragrance blend from the Red Flower organic beauty line. A state-of-the-art fitness center will sit directly above the spa, and offer floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the ocean.
The spa’s seven treatment rooms each reflect a different look and feel in their design, while a separate outdoor terrace will offer an open-air pampering experience, which will include two remineralizing natural clay treatments. The open lay-out of the terrace will feature two outdoor showers for guests to rinse off post-treatment, along with additional lounge seating to enjoy the views while sipping refreshing spa mocktails.
The most striking element of the Vanderbilt’s spa will be a private, exotic hammam, the only one in Puerto Rico. The hammam will feature a marble-slab heated massage bed, marble benches, and walls of mosaic marble.
From advanced, unique-to-Puerto Rico skin care, including LED facials, to luxurious treatments with exotic ingredients, including a signature Spanish Gardenia Paradise Body Ritual, the extensive spa menu will be specially-designed and customized for every guest need. The spa will feature luxury Germaine De Capuccini skincare and Red Flower body care products, both not available in any other spa in Puerto Rico. A separate room service spa menu will be available for in-room treatments.
A new restaurant, also helmed by talented Chef Juan Jose Cuevas, will bring a casual dining environment to the hotel which will attract international travelers and local epicureans alike. The secondary dining outpost, designed by Rossello, will resemble a beach-chic, 1950’s style restaurant, brightened by large windows overlooking the Atlantic and draped in a color palette of powder blues. Situated next to the West Tower pool, the open layout will include both indoor and outdoor seating areas. Chef Cuevas, who earned a Michelin Star while serving as executive chef at Blue Hill in New York and opened the hotel’s 1919 restaurant to great success, will oversee the culinary concept and development, offering a diverse menu with international flair. The restaurant will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
An Urban Resort Palace
Combining city sophistication and splendid seaside vistas, the Condado Vanderbilt is poised to return as San Juan’s unrivaled destination for luxury travel. Providing guests with supreme hospitality, which will blend genuine Puerto Rican friendliness and five star attentiveness, as well as a wide variety of on-property programming, pampering and dining options, the hotel will offer the perfect setting for a cultured retreat. The surrounding area, which features buzzing casinos, gourmet restaurants, high-end boutiques including Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Ferragamo, and the nearby historic district of Old San Juan, will lend to the guest experience.
Rates start at $600-$350/night for guestrooms; $3,000-$650/night for suites
Condado Vanderbilt is part of the Preferred Hotels & Resorts Group. For more information, visit: www.condadovanderbilt.com