• Beyond the Border: The Condado Vanderbilt Hotel

     
    FROM THE Spring 2016 ISSUE
     
  • Beyond the Border: The Condado Vanderbilt Hotel

     
    FROM THE Spring 2016 ISSUE
     
  • Beyond the Border: The Condado Vanderbilt Hotel

     
    FROM THE Spring 2016 ISSUE
     

The Vanderbilt, located on the Atlantic coast in the Condado District of San Juan, Puerto Rico, makes a solid argument for not leaving the property: Some of the best food on the island is served on-site at a variety of restaurants; pool lounges feature butler service; and a spa sanctuary offers Puerto Rico’s only private Hammam, a water-focused treatment with ancient purification rituals. A stay at The Vanderbilt is more than a place to put your bags and sleep, it’s a lifestyle (see #TheVanderbiltLife for proof)—one that’s easy to adapt to.

The Vanderbilt completed the second phase of its $200 million renovation and reopened in December 2014, adding two Suite Towers that account for 319 rooms (108 of which are suites), two pool lounges and a 10,000-square-foot spa and fitness facility to the restored Spanish Revival building. Originally built in 1919 by Frederick William Vanderbilt, the hotel pays homage to its Roaring ’20s roots and the luxury it was known for as a hot spot for celebrities and royalty. While The Vanderbilt isn’t just for celebrities these days, when you’re there, you’ll certainly feel like one; you haven’t lived until you’ve been welcomed with champagne.

The Suite Life

You might finally leave the property to explore, say, Old San Juan, but that’s if you can make it out the door of your room. White Carrera marble floors lead to private balconies and terraces (in some suites) that overlook the coast and/or city; French pushout windows let in the sound of lapping waves. Bathrooms feature C.O. Bigelow amenities— to the scent of peppermint lavender—which may elicit at least one shower and one bath a day. All suites include butler service 24 hours a day for any request.

In each of the two Suite Towers is one Vanderbilt Suite on the penthouse level. The 3,000-square-foot space houses three bedrooms, a living area and terrace with sweeping views of both the ocean and city.

Bon Vivants Welcome

Executive Chef Juan José Cuevas, who helms the Condado Vanderbilt’s culinary concepts, started his career in Puerto Rico, and worked around the world in New York, Seattle, San Francisco, New Jersey and Spain for 22 years. Cuevas returned to Puerto Rico and spearheaded 1919, the high-end restaurant with a farm-to-table concept with a sommelier on staff, in October 2012. “The first thing that I did when I moved back was create a network of local farmers,” says Cuevas, who changes the menu four or five times a year.

With the same locavore vision, Cuevas helped develop Ola, the casual oceanfront bistro that opened in coincidence with the hotel’s reopening. “If guests come to eat at Ola, I want them to feel attached to Puerto Rico,” says Cuevas, who incorporates Mediterranean flavor in his menus. Tacos & Tequila, an open-concept layout that overlooks the hotel’s private beach area, serves—you guessed it—all kinds of tacos (lamb, short-rib, chicken and veggie) and nine varieties of Patron tequila, among other menu options.

Ola and 1919 both have a private dining room, accommodating 24 and 32 guests, respectively.

Working with a View

A total 30,000 square feet of flexible meeting space means there’s something that’ll accommodate any group. State-of-the-art meeting technology includes teleconferencing services, full HD displays and monitors and an IT attendant on-site. Patio Del Fauno Ballroom features oceanfront floor-to-ceiling windows (600 guests); Salon Dorado has fully restored Cathedral Ceilings (120 guests); Salon Azul is adorned with 18th-century mirrors from Italy (50 guests); Luchetti Ballroom includes a separate prefunction area (80 guests); The John Berwind Boardroom looks out to the ocean through oversized windows (12 guests); and 5,000 square feet of open-air oceanfront space include gazebos fit with ceiling fans.

Richmond, the capital of Virginia, is a city rich in history. It’s here, in 1775, that Patrick Henry famously declared “Give me liberty or give me death.” And while the extensively renovated Hilton Richmond Downtown can’t trace its roots back quite that far, it is housed in the historic former Miller & Rhoads department store, which dates back to the end of the 19th century. 

 

Every planner wants to create experiences that make meeting attendees feel they’re on top of the world. If you’re planning a meeting in northwest North Carolina, you can achieve that with a visit to Grandfather Mountain. Soaring 5,946 feet and estimated to be 300 million years old, with some rock formations dating back 1.2 billion years, the peak off the Blue Ridge Parkway near Blowing Rock, is accessible by vehicle and by a paved road.

 

Sheraton Dallas Hotel has introduced a new outdoor event space under its new event programming, Dare to Outdoors. The hotel’s catering team has partnered with Pacific Plaza Park, a 3.7-acre green space in Downtown Dallas. The park features a 31,950 square-foot lawn space and permanent seating, as well as night-sky friendly lights for star-watchers. Three food truck power outlets are available and standard outlets are located throughout the park.