by Cheryl-Anne Sturken | May 15, 2019

It has been a long slog for Puerto Rico's beloved and iconic 652-room Caribe Hilton, which was shuttered for 15 months after sustaining severe damage from Hurricane Maria in September 2017. Today, the hotel, celebrating its 70th anniversary, officially makes its return to center stage following a more than $150 million restoration.  

"The Caribe Hilton was our first hotel to open outside the continental U.S. and the birthplace of the piña colada, and for those reasons has always been an incredibly important hotel for Hilton," said Danny Hughes, Hilton's executive vice president and president of the Americas, in a statement. "It is with great pride that we say 'welcome back' or 'bienvenidos' to this emblematic property. We are extremely proud of our new product and the resilient team members who worked to redevelop a resort worthy of its history. We can't wait to welcome guests and members of the community back to the hotel."

The meticulously restored hotel, which already has two incentive buyouts on its books for this year, is brand new from top to bottom. Park Hotels and Resorts, which owns the property, tapped P3 Design Collective to lead the redesign, which the company said was "influenced by the vibrant culture, lively colors and rich history of San Juan." The multistoried lobby and public spaces, for example, are newly awash in rich blue hues, while the guest rooms are sleek and modern with an island flair.

"We are thrilled to reintroduce the iconic Caribe Hilton to guests and locals alike," said Thomas J. Baltimore Jr., chairman and CEO of Park Hotels. "We have worked tirelessly to restore, reimagine and enhance the hotel, and we are confident that the finished product is worthy of the hotel's legendary history."

The resort, on 17 tropical acres, features 11 dining outlets, including a Morton's steakhouse and Rustica, a northern Italian fine-dining eatery. In addition, there is an on-site fitness center, a full-service spa, several pools, the Monica Puig Tennis Center (named for the Olympic gold medalist who occasionally will be on-site) and 65,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor event space.   

"The reopening of Caribe Hilton is one more symbol that Puerto Rico is back in business," said Pablo Torres, general manager of the property. "The sun is shining, there's energy and rhythm on the island, and once again our famous piña coladas are flowing. We're welcoming our return guests back home, as well as introducing new ones to the enduring Caribe Hilton experience and legacy."