WHY IT RATES: This iconic hotel is conveniently located on Isla Verde Beach, not far from Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport. —Codie Liermann, Associate Editor
Fairmont Hotels & Resorts is delighted to announce that effective January 3, 2020, an iconic Caribbean property joined the luxury brand’s global portfolio of hotels and resorts as Fairmont El San Juan Hotel.
The highly regarded, landmark Puerto Rico resort shares Fairmont’s distinguished international reputation, unparalleled history of service excellence and honored position within and connection to its local community.
In joining together these iconic brands, Fairmont and the hotel’s ownership group, ESJ Resort LLC, look forward to preserving and furthering the hotel’s extraordinary legacy.
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Where lively urban vibes and peaceful ocean views collide, Fairmont El San Juan Hotel is located on the award-winning Isla Verde Beach, minutes away from Old San Juan, the downtown San Juan area and Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport.
The hotel features 388 guestrooms, suites and poolside and oceanfront villas; full service, state-of-the-art Well & Being spa and fitness center; four pools with swim-up bar and luxury cabanas; pro-level tennis court; watersport rentals including jet skis, banana boats and parasailing; and 11 celebrated food and beverage venues.
Designed by legendary Miami Beach architect Morris Lapidus, the resort officially opened its doors on February 1, 1958, as El San Juan Hotel.
By the 1960s, the hotel became one of the island’s most visited destinations due to its superb oceanfront location and premium nightlife, featuring performances from top entertainers including Sammy Davis Jr., Nat King Cole, Milton Berle, Paul Anka, Liza Minelli, Marco Antonio Muñiz and Julio Iglesias.
The hotel reopened in December 2018 following a $65 million restoration led by world-renowned designer Jeffrey Beers, which married the hotel’s legendary past and old-world elegance with a reimagined approach to wellness and lavishness.
From its storied décor and inspired cuisine to its renowned gathering spaces and lush poolscape, Fairmont El San Juan Hotel is an authentic celebration of Puerto Rico’s traditions, old and new, for locals and travelers alike.
“As the newest member of the Fairmont family, Fairmont El San Juan Hotel is writing the next chapter in a narrative that extends back more than 100 years, with iconic hotels, unrivalled presence, authentic experiences and unforgettable moments which have attracted visitors to Fairmont and its destinations since 1907,” said Heather McCrory, CEO, North & Central America, Accor. “Fairmont El San Juan is not just the newest Fairmont, but also a landmark in Puerto Rico. Everyone has a story about El San Juan Hotel, a special moment shared within these walls and on these grounds. It is this legacy that unquestionably makes this hotel a Fairmont, and which makes an indelible imprint on this vibrant, dynamic destination. This milestone marks the beginning of our exciting journey together, and another step in a period of tremendous growth for Accor in North & Central America.”
Fairmont El San Juan Hotel will be the first property in Puerto Rico for the luxury brand known for its landmark properties around the world, including The Plaza in New York City, The Savoy in London, Fairmont San Francisco, Fairmont Mayakoba in Mexico’s Riviera Maya, Hamilton Princess & Beach Club in Bermuda, Fairmont Banff Springs, and Fairmont Peace Hotel in Shanghai.
It also marks the first hotel on the island for Accor, a world-leading augmented hospitality group offering unique experiences in more than 5,000 hotels and residences across 110 countries.
The Group has been acquiring hospitality expertise for more than 50 years, resulting in an unrivaled portfolio of 39 hotel brands, from luxury to economy – including internationally acclaimed brands such as Raffles, Sofitel, SO/, MGallery, Pullman, Swissôtel, Novotel and ibis.
Upon joining the Fairmont brand and the Accor family, Fairmont El San Juan Hotel also becomes a part of one of the most attractive loyalty programs in the world, ALL – Accor Live Limitless. A daily lifestyle companion that integrates rewards, services and experiences, ALL brings value to everyday life, inventing a completely new aspirational way to live limitless.
For more information or reservations at Fairmont El San Juan Hotel, please visit Fairmont.com or call 1-800-819-7155.
SOURCE: Fairmont Hotels & Resorts press release.
Comments & Discussion
W Mexico City: Youthful, Earthy Energy
Upon arrival into my gorgeous room at the W Mexico City, I found a note from Diego, my W Insider, with a Lady Gaga lyric.
“Hot like Mexico, rejoice,” it read, appropriately. Inside was the ticket for the National Museum of Anthropology we’d been e-mailing about.
That’s one of the brand touchpoints of W hotels. The W Inside is like a “super concierge,” a neighborhood expert who cultivates neighborhood relationships so the hotel’s guests have a—well, an insider—in their corner.
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I myself am not after the hottest nightclub or most exclusive new coffee bar, but in Mexico City’s tony Polanco neighborhood, that’s all to be had for certain. The hotel is across the street from a Bentley dealership a stone’s throw from Chapultepec Park and Avenido Paseo de la Reforma.
Just north of the hotel is the leafy Lincoln Park, where a statue of Abraham Lincoln stands sentry, locked eyes with another statue of Martin Luther King Jr. across the avenue. The surrounding neighborhood is bursting with pasty shops, restaurants with global cuisines and high-end fashion retailers—all with a global sensibility, although I could still get a pack of four hot, fresh churros in cinnamon sugar with hot chocolate from a storefront called El Moro that’s been serving them up since 1935.
Mexico City, for all its notoriety, is one of my favorite places in the world to visit. The vibe here is of a Mexico that’s worldly, cosmopolitan, and eager to enjoy days filled with savoir-faire. I watched families excitedly poring over the exhibits and played in the fountain at the anthropology museum on a warm, sunny Sunday afternoon, and on my walk back to the hotel through the park, I happened upon a single young man who had staked out a place in a dusty clearing, standing stiffly upright, practicing long, sweeping circles with a capote, the magenta and gold cape used in a bullfight.
Any hotel in such an enchanting place would be charming by necessity, but the staff here easily pass the high bar Mexico sets for hospitality, whether they’re pouring sophisticated mescal cocktails in beveled highball glasses at the lobby bar or serving Mexican cuisine with pre-Columbian styles sand flavors upstairs at 25DOS, the hotel’s signature restaurant.
It’s there that I try dogfish empanadas and a lovely chicken broth poured atop piping hot chicken taquitos, and finish the evening with a black sesame cake with dulce de leche, dining alfresco, cooled by the alpine evening.
AWAY Spa worth checking out, if for no other reason than the temazcal, a Mesoamerican sweat lodge heated by volcanic stones and smokey embers over which is poured mint-and-chamomile infused water for an earthy aromatic steam. Well, perhaps the expansive hot tub with city views or the top-notch massage is also reason enough to check out the spa.
25DOS does a lovely breakfast spread in the mornings with fresh fruit and country favorites like eggs with tomatoes, fried cheese and cactus, but I’m told there’s a lovely brunch next door at the JW Marriott Mexico City. A mimosa, an embarrassing number of glasses of fresh-squeezed orange juice and countless tacos of salmon and rib eye grilled to order outside next to my table, plus selections from the raw bar rang affirmative that the recommendation wasn’t to be overlooked.
The hotel’s rooms and suites have lovely views of the city and the surrounding mountains. Rooms are brand standard and well maintained, but it’s the suites that are truly jaw-dropping, from the Cool Corner suites to the Marvelous One-Bedrooms which are loft style with a staircase and an upper-level bedroom.
I’m lucky enough to snag the Extreme Wow Suite, which has sweeping views of the city from three directions and a separate butler’s pantry and dining room, a wet bar, two balconies and a cheeky round bed. But the real winner for this suite is the soaring two-story marble bathroom with jetted tub in the center. The glass-walled shower upon first glance appears to be lit by a chandelier, but upon closer inspection that also turns out to be the four separate showerheads, in addition to the four coming from the wall.
It’s the perfect place to cap off a perfect day in this exciting city—a hotel that feels like the pinnacle of luxury in a city that feels like the center of the world.
W Mexico City’s location, heartfelt hospitality, and art ethos will attract sophisticated, energetic travelers seeking to explore vibrant neighborhoods with youthful vigor.
I’ve seen rooms as low as $158 USD per night, which varies according to occupancy, season, and exchange rate.
Lobby art, craft cocktails, views from rooms and suites, and the collection of sugar skulls at 25DOS all rate an Insta-mention.
Good to Know
Allow extra time for walking due to the elevation – Mexico City is over 7,000 feet.
When arranging transport, inquire with the hotel staff about travel times—the journey to the airport can be as little as 30 minutes or as long as an hour and a half.
Accommodations and meals were furnished by W Mexico City in preparation for the story.
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