Puerto Rico is already known as a sophisticated meeting destination, and with the recent surge of luxury property offerings, Puerto Rico is fast becoming one of the most sought-after destinations for incentive travel and high-end corporate gatherings.
State-of-the-art meeting facilities like the Puerto Rico Convention Center Pedro Rosselló and a culinary scene that includes celebrity chefs and brave culinary twists on local favorite fare are just part of the appeal for the group market. Add to that one-of-a-kind activities such as zip-lining through a rainforest tree canopy, kayaking in one of the world’s only bio-luminescent bays, strolling through the living history of Old San Juan, or even a rum-tasting tour of the Bacardi Rum Factory and it’s clear that Puerto Rico offers groups experiences, accommodations and amenities unlike any other meeting destination in the world.
“The addition of several high-end luxury properties to Puerto Rico’s hotel brand portfolio underscores the reality that Puerto Rico has truly arrived when it comes to the luxury meetings market,” stated Milton Segarra, president and CEO, Meet Puerto Rico. “Incentive travel buyers, corporate meeting planners and others who organize exclusive gatherings need to become familiar with all that Puerto Rico has to offer.”
To that end, following is a round-up of Puerto Rico’s top luxury properties and meeting space:
Located along three miles of coastline in the former setting of the renowned Laurance Rockefeller property, the all-oceanfront 100-room, 14-suite low-rise, low-density Ritz-Carlton Reserve brand property is one of two in the world. The property features Spa Botánico, several dining options including Mi Casa by José Andrés, three championship golf courses, and is the site of Jean-Michel Cousteau’s eco-educational program Ambassadors of the Environment. Indoor and outdoor meeting space include a 4,558 sq. ft. meeting room, a Boardroom and several private dining areas including Su Casa, a 6,000 sq. ft. four bedroom villa for private events.
Following a $270 million renovation and expansion project, the Condado Vanderbilt brings back the grandeur and style of when the property first opened in 1919. With its Spanish Revival architecture, opulent interiors and dramatic ocean views, the Condado Vanderbilt offers 15,000 sq. ft. of meeting space including a stunning oceanview ballroom, private lounges and boardroom rich in dark woods. Other dazzling meeting spaces including space with outdoor oceanview breakout and reception areas. In 2013, the property will open its 450 guestrooms to include a full-service spa, dedicated butler service, and restaurant 1919, featuring Chef Juan José Cuevas, who has developed his culinary skills at Ducasse, Lespinasse and Blue Hill.
A 350-year-old former Carmelite convent, the 58-room Hotel El Convento offers an alluring mix of Spanish colonial architecture and contemporary styling. With seven conference spaces able to host groups from 10 - 300 guests, El Convento offers distinctive gathering spaces as well as a business center, wi-fi, private catering, three on-site restaurants, a fitness center and veranda plunge pool for a one-of-a-kind group experience right in the heart of Old San Juan. The historic property 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.
An enclave of private villas located adjacent to the grand El Conquistador Resort, Las Casitas offers 157 one- to three- bedroom luxury cottages complete with butler service, sweeping ocean views, full kitchens and an exclusive pool area. With myriad meeting and function space options for board meetings to beachfront gatherings, groups can enjoy activities such as golf at the Arthur Hills Golf Course, spa treatments at the Golden Door Spa as well as scuba diving, horseback riding and even taking a plunge at the on-site Coqui Water Park.
Located on prime beachfront in Isla Verde, the416 rooms and suite Ritz-Carlton, San Juan features dedicated concierge service; five on-site restaurants including Laurent Tourondel’s BLT Steak and Il Mulino New York, as well as a 12,000 sq. ft. spa, 24-hour casino and elegant pool area with signature lion-head spouts and lush landscaping. Nine meeting rooms and more than 30,000 sq. ft. of indoor and outdoor meeting space able to accommodate groups of up 1,300.
Nestled between a lush national rainforest and the sparkling sea on the northeastern part of the island, the 139-room St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort, Puerto Rico opened in late 2010 and immediately made Condé Nast Traveler's Hot List in 2011. The St. Regis features a Robert Trent Jones, Jr. golf course, Remède Spa, as well as Jean-Georges' acclaimed cuisine at Fern, just one of three on-property dining options. More than 26,000 sq. ft. of function space includes three outdoor venues, a sixteen-seat boardroom, and the elegant Astor Ballroom, able to accommodate up to 420 guests. The hotel recently 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".
Located eight miles off the Southeast coast of Puerto Rico on the peaceful and untouched island of Vieques, the W Retreat & Spa features 136 guest rooms and 21 suites set along two private beaches. With 3,548 sq. ft. of meeting space able to accommodate up to 176 guests, the property takes an experiential approach offering the distinctive lounge, pool and fitness areas along with four on-site dining options, and the AWAY Spa.