The resort where the piña colada was invented reopens, helping to celebrate the Caribbean island’s renaissance.
In yet another symbol that Puerto Rico is coming back strong in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, the famous Caribe Hilton has reopened following a $150 million, 15-month restoration.
Known as the birthplace of the piña colada, the resort dates back to 1949 and was Hilton’s first hotel to open outside the continental United States. The legendary piña colada, according to Hilton, was created by a Caribe Hilton bartender, Ramón “Monchito” Marrero, in 1954. Marrero reportedly continued to make and serve the cocktail for more than three decades. And the piña colada was ultimately declared the official drink of Puerto Rico.
Following its opening, the Caribe Hilton, which was then a 300-room luxury beachfront property, became the place to see and be seen, welcoming celebs, politicians, and royalty over the years.
But just as it was symbol of midcentury glamour, it also became a symbol of the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria in 2017 after the property was so severely damaged during the storm that it was forced to close.
Now, the Caribe Hilton has reopened with 652 rooms and 96 studios and villas following an extensive renovation. The refreshed rooms look bright and modern, as do the common areas. The resort has been reimagined in a totally contemporary style with only the vintage signage still giving a gentle nod to its 70-year past.
There are numerous dining options on the property, including Caribar, the 21st incarnation of the bar that served that history-making piña; Salitre, which serves up a breakfast buffet; Lola’s for Puerto Rican fare; Mojito’s, a Caribbean fusion restaurant; and a pool bar and grill, among others.
Situated just four miles east of Old San Juan, the sprawling resort complex also boasts three oceanfront pools, a secluded beach area, tennis courts, a spa, tropical gardens, and a bird sanctuary. There is an additional 65,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor event space.
“The reopening of Caribe Hilton is one more symbol that Puerto Rico is back in business,” Caribe Hilton’s general manager Pablo Torres said in a statement. “The sun is shining, there’s energy and rhythm on the island, and once again our famous piña coladas are flowing.”
In honor of the opening celebration, guests who book two nights can get a complimentary third night for bookings made by June 30 for travel between May 15 and December 20, 2019.