Postcards from Puerto Rico

By Francesca Cruz 

“Todo el mar caribe

Viendo tu cintura

Tú le coqueteas

Tú eres buscabulla”

—Lyrics to “Calma”

One of the most iconic and beloved resorts on the island of Puerto Rico, the Caribe Hilton, debuted its newly beautified sprawling resort this summer, after a $150 million restoration that took well over a year. When it first opened its doors in 1949, it was the coveted hotspot for politicians, celebrities, royalty and the bon vivant. The first Hilton outside of the continental United States, it quickly became the destination for the jet set. 

The top-to-bottom renovation and refashioning honors the years of cherished history, glamour and allure—I mean, this is the place credited for being the birthplace of the Piña Colada, when in 1954 (now famed bartender) Ramón “Monchito” Marrero blended some pineapple juice, coconut cream and rum, garnished the cocktail with a pineapple and cherry, and poured the first of many. Embraced in fable, yet newly refurbished with modern amenities and accommodations, the property and island are ready to show you their version of paradise.

There is so much to solemnize, the opening marks three major milestones: the property celebrates its 70th birthday, the Hilton has its 100 anniversary, and next month marks two years since Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico and several islands in the Caribbean.  

The powerful storm demolished infrastructure, hurting the region’s tourism industry, but as passionate and devoted to their island as Puerto Ricans are, they worked tirelessly to see the island back on top, and back on top it is, with a beaming spotlight on the illustrious Caribe Hilton. 

Just 15 minutes from Luis Muñoz International Airport, and 10 minutes from the heart of Old San Juan, this AAA Four Diamond award-winning hotel sits beachfront on a peninsula. The property has been meticulously restored, respecting its original architectural influences yet delivering contemporary guest rooms and suites. Made up of 17 acres of lush tropical gardens, a revamped F&B concept, a bird sanctuary and an array of boutiques that sell everything from handmade baubles, beachwear and hats to souvenirs. Caribe also features a secluded beach, whirlpools, beachside hammocks, and grand oceanfront swimming pools surrounded by swaying palm trees, and a swim-up bar in the center pool (yes, very 007 or right out of a Pedro Capó music video, whichever you prefer).   

The hotel also provides a full-service spa and hair salon. Zen Spa Océano offers numerous treatments from facials, scrubs & wraps to various massages and it features steam rooms, a sauna, hydrotherapy room, couple’s massage suites, and an outdoor heated whirlpool. 

For fun recreational activities, guests can have the concierge set up “SNUBA” (a cross between snorkeling and scuba diving), a foodie walking tour of Old San Juan (provided by Global Flavors) or even a LED night neon kayak or stand up paddle boarding experience.

Puerto Rico, and the gem that is Caribe Hilton, have truly weathered the storm (no pun here) bouncing back with even more tropical grandeur thanks to a fabulous facelift. Both the resort and the Island of Enchantment, await you with open arms. 

Original Piña Colada Recipe 

(provided by Caribe Hilton)

Ingredients:

2 ounces white rum

1 ounce coconut cream

1 ounce heavy cream

6 ounces fresh pineapple juice

½ cup of crushed ice

Method:

Add the rum, coconut cream, heavy cream and pineapple juice in a blender. Add the ice and blend until smooth for about 15 seconds. Serve in a 12-ounce glass. Garnish with a fresh pineapple wedge and a maraschino cherry.

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