El San Juan Resort

Aimbridge Hospitality, Fundamental Advisors, Imprint Hospitality, León Mayer & Co.

Project Overview

Born during Fidel Castro’s rise to power and Eastern Airlines’ introduction of the Caribbean to the US vacation seeker, the El San Juan is an iconic jewel of a hotel designed by Morris Lapidus at the height of his career. PDSI’s charge was to restore this landmark property to its former glory while at the same time bringing it into the modern age.

Our client had strong personal ties to the community, and making sure every detail was perfect was a matter of pride and integrity for all of us. In fact, the Morris Lapidus motto of “Make It Scream Luxury” could have been our team’s mantra. From the very beginning it was important that we made sure the entire team shared a clear understanding of the owner’s vision for the property.

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By the Numbers

11000 ft²

Ballroom

387

Rooms

3

Swimming pools

2

Miles of beach

15

Bars

9

Restaurants

Complex Challenges. Innovative Solutions.

San Juan is just over 1,000 miles from the U.S., but when it comes to working in the Caribbean, it might as well be worlds away. Island projects always bring their own set of unique challenges. Whether it’s cost, availability of materials, local labor, tradespeople, language barriers, shipping and freight or working through customs, we’ve seen it before. And if we haven’t, no problem; it’s another opportunity to prove why we’re the best at project management and development.

Working with locals was a priority for the hotel owners. In fact, 90% of the work on this project was done by Puerto Rican companies, including the architect. This offered a distinct advantage when it came to sourcing materials, dealing with local codes and regulations, and for the fact that on the island the architect is the same person who signs off on building inspections. Which saved time and money for our client.

Historic Meets Contemporary

While the age of the hotel was a factor with regard to the infrastructure, it also meant there were luxurious amounts of marble, woodwork and fixtures that were original to the structure and when contrasted with the modern upgrades created a beautiful mix of contemporary and classic. We sourced craftsmen with expertise in restoring these materials to bring them back to their original beauty.

In Their Words

The updates pay homage to the historical status of this property as an iconic luxury lifestyle and entertainment resort, while incorporating a playfully elegant feeling to the modernized setting.

– Andro Nodarse-León, León Mayer & Co.

Financially Savvy

It’s not uncommon to have multiple lenders involved in the financing of a project this size. What is rare is to find another project management company with the knowledge, experience and financial savvy that PDSI offers. On this project, we provided expert guidance to our client in complex financial areas like loan recaps, historic tax credits, investment credits and cost segregation.

Saving Time and Money

To save time, money and labor we used one vendor for all the case goods. The furniture was routed from Vietnam to Florida where it was consolidated in Miami, and then staged to the project site in Puerto Rico. Any assembly or touch up work that was needed was down at the hotel.

A Timeless Beauty

From the hotel entrance to the two miles of pristine beach behind it, this was a top to bottom redevelopment of every inch of the property. The El San Juan is not only the most beautiful hotel on the island of Puerto Rico, it now stands as the epitome of luxury throughout the entire region. And while the owner was thrilled with the project, our best endorsement came from longtime employees of the hotel who said PDSI took something that had a special place in their hearts and made it even more special. We call that success.