Condado Vanderbilt Hotel

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Coordinates: 18°27′30.9″N66°4′33.9″W / 18.458583°N 66.076083°W / 18.458583; -66.076083

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Condado Vanderbilt Hotel
Condado Vanderbilt Hotel From Driveway.JPG
Condado Vanderbilt Hotel 2014
USA Puerto Rico location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Location1055 Ashford Avenue, San Juan, Puerto Rico 00907
ArchitectWarren, Whitney; Wetmore, Charles
Architectural styleMission/Spanish Revival [1]
NRHP reference # 08001110 [2]
Added to NRHP25 November 2008

The Condado Vanderbilt Hotel is a historic luxury hotel built in 1919 and located on Ashford Avenue in the district of Condado, San Juan, in the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2008. [2] The hotel was designed by the architectural firm Warren and Wetmore, who also designed New York's Grand Central Terminal. It was built by the Vanderbilt family and it marked the beginning of high end tourism in Puerto Rico. [3]

Condado (Santurce) Place in Puerto Rico, United States of America

Condado is an oceanfront, tree-lined, pedestrian-oriented community in Santurce. Condado is a subbarrio of Barrio Santurce in the municipality of San Juan, Puerto Rico.

San Juan, Puerto Rico Municipality in Puerto Rico, United States

San Juan is the capital and most populous municipality in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, an unincorporated territory of the United States. As of the 2010 census, it is the 46th-largest city under the jurisdiction of the United States, with a population of 395,326. San Juan was founded by Spanish colonists in 1521, who called it Ciudad de Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico's capital is the third oldest European-established capital city in the Americas, after Santo Domingo, in the Dominican Republic, founded in 1496 and Panama City, in Panama, founded in 1519. Several historical buildings are located in San Juan; among the most notable are the city's former defensive forts, Fort San Felipe del Morro and Fort San Cristóbal, and La Fortaleza, the oldest executive mansion in continuous use in the Americas.

Puerto Rico Unincorporated territory of the United States

Puerto Rico, officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and briefly called Porto Rico, is an unincorporated territory of the United States located in the northeast Caribbean Sea, approximately 1,000 miles (1,600 km) southeast of Miami, Florida.


Construction of the Condado Vanderbilt Hotel began in 1917 by Frederick William Vanderbilt, the son of William Henry Vanderbilt. [4] He selected the prominent architectural firm of Warren and Whitmore—which designed New York City's Grand Central Terminal, as well as the Biltmore, Commodore, and Ambassador Hotels—to design the Condado Vanderbilt Hotel. On 16 October 1919, the hotel, having cost a million dollars to construct, was inaugurated. [5] [6] [7] It was suggested that the early Spanish Revival style architecture be used by Fredrick Vanderbilt. [1] Capitalizing on the property's setting adjacent to the Atlantic Ocean, the designers created a Beaux Arts-style structure with white walls, red tiles, French windows, lofty ceilings and other design details typical of the style at the time. The original roofing featured antique Spanish tiles sourced from Puerto Rico's older Spanish buildings. The floors and the public areas including the main staircase were decorated with marble and mosaics and the area between the ocean and the hotel building was developed to help the building withstand damage from the Atlantic coast. The hotel also featured a flagstone paved terrace. [5] Giant pandanus, several kinds of bougainvillea, fruit trees and coconut palms could also be found in the hotel's gardens. [5]

Frederick William Vanderbilt 19th and 20th-century American businessman

Frederick William Vanderbilt was a member of the American plutocratic Vanderbilt family. He was a director of the New York Central Railroad for 61 years, and also a director of the Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad and of the Chicago and North Western Railroad.

William Henry Vanderbilt American philanthropist

William Henry "Billy" Vanderbilt was an American businessman and philanthropist. He was the eldest son of Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt, an heir to his fortune and a prominent member of the Vanderbilt family. Vanderbilt was the richest American after he took over his father's fortune in 1877 until his own death in 1885, passing on a substantial part of the fortune to his wife and children, particularly to his sons Cornelius II and William. He inherited nearly $100 million from his father. The fortune had doubled when he died less than nine years later.

Grand Central Terminal Railway terminal in New York City

Grand Central Terminal is a commuter rail terminal located at 42nd Street and Park Avenue in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. Grand Central is the southern terminus of the Metro-North Railroad's Harlem, Hudson and New Haven Lines, serving the northern parts of the New York metropolitan area. It also contains a connection to the New York City Subway at Grand Central–42nd Street. The terminal is the third-busiest train station in North America, after Toronto Union Station and New York Penn Station.

The Condado Vanderbilt was the first luxury hotel to open in Puerto Rico and was also the first hotel in Puerto Rico to have a casino after gambling was legalized in 1940. [8] [9] [10] Among the famous guests to have stayed at the Condado Vanderbilt are the former President of the United States John F. Kennedy, Franklin Roosevelt and his wife Eleanor, [4] the American aviator Charles Lindbergh, [11] composer José Luis Moneró, [12] singer-songwriter Carlos Gardel, Hollywood actor Errol Flynn, comedian Bob Hope, and pianist Arthur Rubinstein. [1] Activities that were available included American golf, tennis and motoring among other things. These were advertised in various American newspapers during the 1920s. [13]

Gambling wagering of money on a game of chance or event with an uncertain outcome

Gambling is the wagering of money or something of value on an event with an uncertain outcome, with the primary intent of winning money or material goods. Gambling thus requires three elements be present: consideration, risk (chance), and a prize. The outcome of the wager is often immediate, such as a single roll of dice, a spin of a roulette wheel, or a horse crossing the finish line, but longer time frames are also common, allowing wagers on the outcome of a future sports contest or even an entire sports season.

President of the United States Head of state and of government of the United States

President of the United States (POTUS) is the title for the head of state and head of government of the United States of America. The president directs the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces.

John F. Kennedy 35th president of the United States

John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy, commonly referred to by his initials JFK, was an American politician and journalist who served as the 35th president of the United States from January 1961 until his assassination in November 1963. He served at the height of the Cold War, and the majority of his presidency dealt with managing relations with the Soviet Union. A member of the Democratic Party, Kennedy represented Massachusetts in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate prior to becoming president.

Manuel Gonzalez bought the hotel from the Vanderbilts during The Great Depression in 1930, [14] and changed its name to the Condado Hotel. [6] In the 1940s, the hotel's East Wing was built, a five-story L-shaped addition on the hotel's east side, containing additional guest rooms and public areas. [14] In the 1950s, after a series of changes in ownership, the name was changed to the Condado Beach Hotel. [15] In 1962, another addition was built on the other side of the hotel, the West Wing, a nine-story concrete structure containing 156 air-conditioned guest rooms, all facing the sea. [14]

James Weber was the manager of the Hotel in the 1960s. He was a Yale graduate, who moved to Puerto Rico to work for the Vanderbilt Hotel company. His parents had once owned the Weber and Sons department stores in Chicago, and his Granddaughter, Melanie Laporte, was one of the four women on the Puerto Rican 4 by 100 freestyle team that won a bronze medal for Puerto Rico in the 1967 Pan American Games. {{cite}}

In the early 1970s, with the hotel threatened with demolition, governor Luis A. Ferré issued an executive order, declaring the structure a cultural heritage site. [1] In 1973, the Condado Beach Hotel was united with the adjacent La Concha Hotel into one resort, known as the Hyatt Puerto Rico. [16] The 1940s East Wing of the Condado Beach Hotel was demolished in 1975 and a huge convention wing was built in its place, joining the Condado Beach and La Concha Hotels into one physical complex. In 1976, [17] with construction complete, management of the complex was taken over by Hilton International [16] and it was renamed the Condado Beach La Concha Convention Center. Management later transferred to Carnival Cruise Line, [18] which renamed the resort The Condado Beach Trio. The state-owned hotel was known in its final years as The Condado Beach Hotel & Casino, before the entire complex closed on June 30, 1997, [19] as it was losing $7 million a year. [20] The properties sat vacant for many years, and the La Concha and Condado Beach Hotels were finally severed in 2004, with the convention center that sat between them demolished to build a public park. [21]


The Condado Vanderbilt Hotel under reconstruction in 2006 Condado Vanderbilt Hotel, Under construction, 2006.jpg
The Condado Vanderbilt Hotel under reconstruction in 2006

In 1997, the administration of Pedro Rosselló proposed that the Condado area be redeveloped. Brian McLaughlin suggested renovating and expanding the hotel, but then-San Juan mayor Sila M. Calderon challenged the proposal in court. This led to the hotel being abandoned until 2002 when she finally agreed. [21] [22] Having been abandoned for seven years, the hotel's renovation was finally undertaken at a cost of US$270 million in 2003. [15] The goal was to transform it into a five-star hotel with resemblance to the original 1919 structure. The 1962 West Wing was demolished in 2003, in preparation for this work. [23] The remaining original 1919 central hotel structure was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2008. [2]

On 16 October 2012, after ten years and 53,441 hours of renovations, two years longer than originally planned, a part of the renovated hotel comprising several new banquet halls, bars and restaurants was finally opened for business. [24] On December 1, 2014, [25] the newly built 11-story twin towers on either side of the central structure were opened. [15] The renovated rooms are 17 feet wide with high ceilings. [8] The bathrooms have double sinks and both a shower and tub. The original staircases, however, remain in place. The remodeling was handled by a team led by Hugh Andrews and Jorge Rossello. [6]

Among the newly built restaurants, "1919", "Tacos & Tequila by Patron", "Veritas", "Marabar" and "Avo Lounge"; "1919" has been credited as "Puerto Rico's finest restaurant" by Turismo, the Puerto Rico Tourism Company. [26]

See also

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