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Recently opened Hilton Garden Inn in Condado exceeds occupancy goals

The 240-room hotel occupies one of the two towers that were formerly part of the Condado Plaza.

The Hilton Garden Inn, the newly opened sister hotel to what will soon become the Condado Plaza by Curio Collection in Condado, has surpassed its occupancy goals since its December opening, General Manager Lemuel González-Marcano told News is my Business in an exclusive interview.

The 240-room hotel occupies one of the two towers that were once part of the former Condado Plaza, which is now split into two separate Hilton franchises, each appealing to distinct customer bases. The Condado Plaza takes in all the Atlantic, while the Garden Inn has views of the San José Lagoon and the Miramar skyline as its backdrop.

Since opening in December — which marks the start of Puerto Rico’s high tourist season — the hotel has registered occupancy levels in “record time,” said González-Marcano, who prior to overseeing the Condado properties spent 23 years at the Caribe Hilton in various positions.

“We’ve exceeded expectations in occupancy because it usually takes a hotel between eight months to a year to reach what we have in three months,” he said of the property, which started operations on Dec. 14.

He said that marketing efforts for the hotel, as well as locking down a contract to host airline crew, already represents 10% to 12% of the hotel’s base occupancy.

“We’ve secured that revenue, and we can only go up from there,” he said.

Lemuel González-Marcano, general manager of Condados Hilton Garden Inn

The 10-story Garden Inn includes 27,000 square feet of meeting space across nine areas; two restaurants; two bars; a pool; and in a week, a rooftop venue with an 800-person capacity; as well as a 180-space parking facility, González-Marcano noted.

Currently under construction is a spa, a first at a Garden Inn, which is typically described as a “focused service brand” with limited services and amenities.

“We still have two floors to complete, including 60 rooms,” González-Marcano added.

The Condado Plaza to add ‘Curio’ to its name
The Condado Plaza is one of San Juan’s most iconic hotels and has gone through several identity changes over the years. But when it was picked up in December 2020 by CPH Lagoon LLC, the partners decided that rather than keeping the property as a single brand, they would remodel the two towers and adopt a new flag for each.

The Condado Plaza will retain its familiar name, but will soon incorporate the upscale “Curio” last name after undergoing an extensive $65 million top-to-bottom renovation slated to begin at the end of this year, with a target completion date of late 2025.

The 332-room property will see the addition of 14 rooms with private sunken pools overlooking the Atlantic, an infinity pool also overlooking the ocean and two suites.

“The owners are very committed to making it a true five-star property,” González-Marcano remarked.

One thing that remains up in the air is the reopening of the property’s former casino. In 2021, the Puerto Rico Gaming Commission and the hotel’s owners announced the Condado Plaza would be getting back into the casino business with plans to open a 15,000-square-foot gaming space in 2022.

However, that plan has yet to materialize, and the owners are currently reassessing the casino’s viability as a profitable venture.

“Casinos these days aren’t what they used to be, and more than a profit center, it’s an amenity for the guests,” said González-Marcano.

Author Details
Author Details
Business reporter with 30 years of experience writing for weekly and daily newspapers, as well as trade publications in Puerto Rico. My list of former employers includes Caribbean Business, The San Juan Star, and the Puerto Rico Daily Sun, among others. My areas of expertise include telecommunications, technology, retail, agriculture, tourism, banking and most other segments of Puerto Rico’s economy.

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