San Juan’s Iconic Caribe Hilton Resort Celebrates its 70th Anniversaryby Daine Taylor /
Few hotels can claim to have such a rich and influential history that they can be called iconic, but the Caribe Hilton has had such a profound impact on the culture of travel between the U.S. and Puerto Rico, that it has truly earned the title.
Over its 70-year history, San Juan’s Caribe Hilton has garnered the attention of travelers, locals, and industry professionals, with its vibrant, storied past and beautifully scenic location and amenities.
When hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico in 2017, wreaking havoc and causing millions in damages, the resort was not spared from the destruction. “After the impact of Hurricane Maria, unfortunately we had to shut down the hotel,” said Pablo Torres, general manager for Caribe Hilton. “That gave us the opportunity to reinvent our services.”
And reinvent they did. It has taken 18 months to fully reopen, but after a $150 million renovation, the historic resort is back and better than ever.
“We reopened the hotel on May 15. We invested $150 million back into the property. We were able to renovate 652 rooms; we reinvented all of our food and beverages; we have a brand-new spa and tennis court; and we upgraded the landscaping to make it all look more tropical,” said Torres. “Technically, we have a brand-new hotel, so I think that’s the hidden blessing after all of this drama.”
Already famous for being the birthplace of the piña colada, the resort is also known as San Juan’s largest hotel. Over the course of its 70 years in business, the Caribe Hilton has had a profound influence on the culture of travel between the U.S. and Puerto Rico.
“We were the first [Hilton] hotel that opened outside of the U.S.,” said Torres. “We opened 70 years ago in December 1949, so this coming Dec. 9, we will be celebrating 70 years in Puerto Rico. And back when we opened, the hotel that introduced U.S. travelers to the Caribbean and Puerto Rico, was actually the Caribe Hilton.”
In celebration of the remarkable anniversary, Caribe Hilton hosted a traditional Puerto Rican parranda (holiday party), featuring authentic island foods, live music, traditional games, and cocktails and drinks, including a piña colada-inspired coquito.
“It’s great to see the city and bring in the warmth and hospitality of Puerto Rico to New York with some music and parranda,” said Torres.
The Hotel will also be celebrating the 70th anniversary on December 9th, by donating stay certificates to 70 local non-profits that will be auctioned off, with 100% of proceeds going towards those organizations. Caribe Hilton will also be hosting a special flash sale Dec. 9-15 that will feature rates starting at just $70/night and a $70 resort credit with each booking.