The Intercontinental San Juan, one of Isla Verde’s iconic hotel properties, is undergoing a multi-million-dollar renovation — the first in 20 years, this media outlet confirmed.
Although the amount of the investment was not disclosed, it is estimated at close to $80 million.
Christine May, public relations and marketing consultant for IHG, owners of the Intercontinental, confirmed that the renovation began in June and is expected to be completed by December.
“We’re fully immersed in a property enhancement project. We’re entirely renovating the guest rooms, they’re being gutted floor-to-ceiling. This is the first fully new room product in 20 years. We have had other property enhancements but this is the first major renovation in many years of the rooms themselves,” said May.
The project calls for completely renovating all of the 398 guest rooms, 36 club rooms, and 22 suites. The spaces will be upgraded and transformed to “keep pace with the latest trends in modern sophistication and comfort, including new carpeting, fixtures, wallpaper, furnishings, linens, window treatments, completely redesigned bathrooms, as well as hallways and elevator landings.”
An entirely new master suite, and the addition of two executive suites, will provide VIPs, honeymooners, and groups with “opulent” accommodations during their stay, according to a project description.
As far as the general spaces go, the Intercontinental will break in an upgraded lobby area with new paint, furnishings, fixtures and a redesigned entryway to La Bodeguita Café and Wine Bar.
Outside, the upgrades call for a rebuilt swim-up pool bar, while landscaping in and around the beachfront property will be rethought to provide a “warm, welcoming, and lush tropical environment consistent with the destination.”
The 16-story hotel was built in 1962 and while it took a hit from Hurricane María in September 2017, May said it never closed after the storm, and parts of it — including the restaurants and spa —remain open during the renovation.
“Originally, we were one of the few hotels that remained open right after the hurricane and we were able to host the Federal Emergency Management Agency, employees who were displaced and other people on the island who had nowhere to go. We luckily were able to accommodate and open our doors with very minimal heavy damage,” she said.
But now, the owners want to “keep things at a standard of the Intercontinental brand, so we want to enhance and bring some areas back to the Intercontinental look and feel, which is why we’re doing the renovation,” said May, noting that the improvements are being financed in part with insurance claim disbursements.
During the renovation, the Intercontinental has not laid off any of its employees, who instead have been reassigned to other areas — to help with the project — or have been encouraged to take vacation time, she said.
The first group of guest rooms, which will be available three floors at a time, should be available for booking by the end of September or early October, she said.
“We will welcome a limited number of guests at a time, with a full relaunch at the end of the year,” she said.
Once the project is done, a new InterContinental icon, nameplate, and LED lights will go up on the exterior of the hotel façade
Several companies have been hired to oversee the project: Parker-Torres Design, Inc., based in Boston, MA, is conducting the guestroom, bathroom, and hallway redesign, among other tasks; San Juan-based 3MG-PR is the architect for the lobby and general spaces; and project management services are being provided by PDSI in San Juan.