With more than 1.3 million square feet of meeting space and over 14,500 guest rooms throughout the Island, a convention center, an increasing range of accommodation options, a menu of social media offerings and a growing list of awards and accolades, Puerto Rico continues to offer meeting planners a wide variety of meeting and event options, from city-wides to luxury CEO board meetings while ensuring a distinctive and memorable experience.
Meet Puerto Rico can accommodate large groups through a wide variety of hotels, including many new builds from some of the top global brands, the Caribbean’s largest, and most technically advanced Convention Center, and destination offerings of food, culture and activities that make Puerto Rico a memorable experience.
“Puerto Rico has been on an upward trend of increasing the marketplace product to accommodate large city-wide conventions, as well as adding new luxury properties to address that growing market,” stated Milton Segarra, president & CEO, Meet Puerto Rico. “Adding new properties, services and amenities that are of great benefit to meeting and convention groups, in addition to our new more frequent airlift and expansion of the Convention Center district, demonstrates our strength and vitality within the tourism and convention sector.”
Some of the groups that already confirmed their events in Puerto Rico for the upcoming months are:
Latin American Business Council (CEAL)/August 2015; Helms Briscoe Eastern Regional Conference/October 2015; Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI) CEO Forum/February 2016; ExperientTop Producers Meetings/May 2016, HPN Global Top Producers Meeting/May 2016 and the Latin American & Caribbean AirTransport Association ALTA/May 2016.
Following is a brief overview of the latest hotel openings, renovations and upgrades and details on air service to Puerto Rico:
Old San Juan:
- Hotel El Convento, the historic AAA Four-Diamond property and former Carmelite Convent situated in the heart of Old San Juan, recently completed a $300,000 update of Salon Paoli, one of the hotel’s venues for hosting intimate ceremonies and receptions for up to 80 people. The refreshed 1,500 square-footspace features crystal chandeliers, oak-framed mirror-lined walls and new flooring to go along with the updated décor.
- The Sheraton Old San Juan Hotel & Casino invested over four million dollars in an extensive renovation of its facilities that includes total rooms renovations, corridors, key public areas, Palio Restaurant, as well as building exteriors and new technology. The renovation was completed last year.
Puerto Rico Convention Center District:
- Hyatt House San Juan officially opened its doors last October becoming Puerto Rico’s first extended stay hotel and is the brand’s first Hyatt House hotel outside of the continental United States. The 126-roomoffers the conveniences of hotel living with the comforts of home, with studio and one-bedroom suites, featuring panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean and San Juan Bay. The hotel is part of the Puerto Rico Convention Center District.
- Works are under way for the $29.7 million Hyatt Place San Juan that will be located in the Puerto Rico Convention District in San Juan, adjacent to the recently opened Hyatt House San Juan. The 149-room is expected to open in the first quarter of 2016.
- The Puerto Rico Convention Center, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, has unveiled a new solar energy array that is one of the largest green initiatives of its kind on the island. The largest convention center in the Caribbean has been fitted with 5MW of PV across 17,764 panels over car parking and 2,139 panels on the main roof of the building. The 5MW plant will generate around 8,000MWh of electricity annually.
- Plans to link the Puerto Rico Convention Center district to Old San Juan are under way. The Paseo Puerta de Tierra project is a $29 million investment in a boardwalk linking historic Old San Juan with other popular tourism areas nearby that would give pedestrians and cyclists safer and easier access to the Convention Center District. The first phase of the project already started and is expected to be completed in late 2015.
- Best Western Plus Condado Palm Inn & Suites features 151 rooms, of which 33 are suites featuring a kitchenette. The hotel was inaugurated Feb. 27, 2013, after an initial $20 million investment to make-over.
- The 917-room Caribe Hilton has just renovated their signature Caribar – a destination bar and lounge that blends Puerto Rico’s culinary influences with the resort’s heritage to deliver some of the most creative craft cocktails on the island. Also the Oasis Bar, the Atlantic Bar and the Breakout Meeting Space were renovated. This year all guest rooms in the main building, Garden Wing & Villas will be upgraded, including Wi-Fi enhancement.
- The 570-room Condado Plaza Hilton has opened a new sports lounge. Recently completed renovations include updates of public spaces and the pool, and new computers have been installed in the business center.
- The Condado Vanderbilt Hotel started to welcome guests last December with the unveiling of 319 elegant guestroom and suite accommodations, Puerto Rico’s first Hammam spa, two posh pool lounges with butler service, and a second international restaurant helmed by renowned chef Juan Jose Cuevas.
- The San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino is showing off a $15 million renovation project which included its 525-guest rooms. The renovation is designed to create an upscale, residential ambience with warm wooden tones in furnishings accented with fresh splashes of color. The renovation also included two restaurants, its casino, and the pool area. The hotel hosts more than 14,283 square-feet of space for events spread across 13 rooms and the American International Grand Ballroom, all of which have been redone with new neutral-toned carpets, better illumination, partitions and wall colors.
- The 398-room InterContinental San Juan Resort & Casino did a massive remodeling of its public areas, including the lobby, bar, its 10 meeting areas and the hotel’s façade, as part of a $23 million renovation.
- The 260-room Courtyard by Marriott Isla Verde just finalized a $10 million investment to bring the resort in line with today’s business and leisure trends. Guest rooms and the lobby have been updated. Other touches include a new main entrance, a resurfaced pool area and an oceanfront boardwalk
- Doubletree by Hilton San Juan recently inaugurated the YeloSpa treatment room in the Gallery Plaza, which lies adjacent to the property, featuring eight treatment rooms, a salt water flotarium, steam room, rain hallway, and blow dry bar.
- El San Juan Resort & Casino, A Hilton Hotel revealed refreshed accommodations, a revamped fantasy pool, a corporate lounge, new fitness center and the first Caribbean outpost of the famed Meat Market Miami restaurant.
- Embassy Suites hotels in Puerto Rico just finished (February 2015) the first phase of a renovation campaign at the Isla Verde and Dorado properties. The overhaul included a full makeover of all 299 suites at the San Juan hotel and bathroom upgrades in all suites at the Dorado resort. In addition to the bathroom touch-ups completed in all suites, Embassy Suites Dorado del Mar Beach Resort has started a second phase of renovations that includes subtle upgrades to all suites with no impact to the resort’s operation.
Beyond San Juan Metro Area:
- The 104-room Hyatt Place Manatí opened last year with an 11,500-square-foot casino, flexible meeting space, a 24-hour fitness center, and free Wi-Fi and breakfast. Manatí is located 40 miles west of San Juan and is headquarters to many multinational firms.
- The St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort received the 2015 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence Hall of Fame and the Five Diamond Award recognition. This way, the exclusive hotel, rises as one of the most outstanding luxury properties in the Caribbean maintaining its distinguished position as the only resort in Puerto Rico to be the holder of the exclusive category. This achievement adds to being recognized worldwide with the distinction “Certified Gold Audubon International Signature Sanctuary”.
- Wyndham Grand Río Mar Beach Resort & Spa in Río Grande recently completed a $50 million remodeling project for all the rooms and suites of the resort. A second phase of remodeling—targeting the hotel’s lobby area, some of the property’s 10 restaurants and most of the hotel’s outdoor areas— is scheduled to start next summer.
AIRPORTS & AIRLIFT:
Puerto Rico continues to serve as the Caribbean region’s leader in airlift with over 2,000 weekly non-stop and direct flights from the Mainland U.S., Canada, Latin America, Europe and the Caribbean. Recent airport announcements and increased air service updates include:
- The Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport, managed by Aerostar Airport Holdings, has had in the past two years a $750 million revamping into the facility that is already showing an improved and more modern look and feel. The list includes the $54 million overhaul of the 230,000 square-foot Terminal B and C, the installation of a new $21.7 million documented baggage system, the acquisition of 22 jet bridges at $1 million each, installing Wi-Fi throughout the whole airport and the construction of a new passenger and carry-on checkpoint. New airport amenities include new retail outlets, food and beverage establishments, as well as other services and car rental facilities. Aerostar plans to invest another $200 million in improvements in the future years.
- Sun Country Airlines started last May with nonstop service between Ft. Myers Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW) and San Juan Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (SJU) with two weekly flights. In January 2016, during the height of the tourism high season, Sun Country will add a third weekly flight to San Juan.
- Volaris, a Mexican low-cost airline based in Mexico City, will serve Cancún-San Juan nonstop beginning on July 2, 2015, Thursdays and Sundays. Volaris is Mexico’s second largest airline.
- Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA is the third largest low-cost carrier in Europe, the second-largest airline in Scandinavia, and the ninth-largest airline in Europe in terms of passenger numbers. Norwegian will operate to SJU on a seasonal basis from November 2015 to March 2016.