Puerto Rico Destination Guide
by Lisa A. Grimaldi January 1, 2013
Puerto Rico, which proudly hosted the International Congress and Convention Association's annual meeting last fall, continues to add to its meeting and incentive offerings. One key area of development is Bahia Urbana, which encompasses San Juan's Convention Center District (above).
The Puerto Rico Convention Bureau is a member of Best Cities Global Alliance,
a partnership of 10 CVBs that meet an exacting criteria of service for meetings and conventions.
Frog TriviaPuerto Rico's unofficial mascot is a tiny tree frog called the coquí; it's distinctive "ko-kee" call can be heard all around the island.
A favorite cocktail of locals and visitors alike is the mojito, a refreshing blend of white rum, sugar (traditionally sugar cane juice), fresh lime juice, sparkling water and muddled mint leaves.
Nearly 1,500 rooms are being added to San Juan's hotel inventory as part of the new Bahia Urbana mixed-use development, which includes the Convention Center District. Already open is the two-year-old, 503-room Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel & Casino. Four additional properties, including a 250-room Aloft hotel and a 214-room Courtyard by Marriott, are in the planning stages.
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The 114-room Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, debuted last month at the former setting of the renowned Laurance Rockefeller estate in Dorado Beach. The hotel is a member of the Jean-Michel Cousteau Ocean Future Society Ambassadors of the Environment program, which incorporates eco-education with group activities such as snorkeling, kayaking, hiking and touring relevant sites such as an ancient Taino archaeological dig on the property's grounds. Event space includes a 4,558-square-foot meeting room, a boardroom and several private dining areas, including a colonial-style hacienda called Su Casa. The hotel also features a five-acre Spa Botánico, providing unique local treatments.
The 126-suite Hyatt House San Juan, the first Hyatt House hotel in the Caribbean, is slated to open in fall 2014. Stay tuned for details.
The 104-room Hyatt Place Manatí is expected to open in 2014 with an 11,500-square-foot casino, flexible meeting space, a 24-hour fitness center, and complimentary Wi-Fi and breakfast. Manatí, 40 miles west of San Juan, is headquarters to many multinational firms and pharmaceutical companies.
The 115-room Howard Johnson Isla Verde, a 10-minute drive from Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport, has completed a $1.2 million enhancement of its public spaces, guest rooms, lobby, pool area and fitness center.
The 371-room JW Marriott Hotel & Resort at Coco Beach will debut this year. The property will have nearly 21,000 square feet of meeting space, including a 12,000-square-foot ballroom, seven meeting rooms, two boardrooms and five hospitality suites. Other offerings include a 36-hole, Tom Kite-designed championship golf course, a spa and fitness center, and a casino.
This fall, the refurbished 450-room Condado Vanderbilt is set to reopen with 15,000 square feet of meeting space.
The 416-room Ritz-Carlton, San Juan, recently finished a multimillion-dollar renovation of all guest rooms and suites.
The 80-room San Juan Water Beach Club Hotel has completed a $2.5 renovation. Included in the project were the addition of new pillow-top mattresses, linens and towels, in-room safes, flat-screen televisions, iHome docking stations and Wi-Fi connectivity. The hotel's indoor and outdoor event spaces and two meeting rooms have also undergone fresh upgrades. The property is now part of Aimbridge Hospitality, which operates a total of 68 hotels across 12 brands in the United States and the Caribbean.
The 525-room San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino recently completed a $2.2 million lobby redesign, which followed a $35 million update of guest rooms and a $2 million refurbishment of the outdoor poolside dining areas.