The Ritz-Carlton San Juan, a hotel that has remained shuttered since Hurricane María clobbered Puerto Rico in 2017, is set to reopen in mid-2022, following the completion of a multi-million dollar renovation, this media outlet confirmed.
The owners of the luxury beachfront property in Isla Verde, RCPR Acquisition Holdings, LLC, have reportedly reached a settlement agreement with insurance company Zurich Insurance Group to move ahead with repairing damages.
Hurricane María ripped through The Ritz-Carlton located in the Isla Verde tourist zone, damaging 65% of its common spaces and nearly 500 guest rooms, which must now be gutted and redone to meet The Ritz-Carlton standards, said José González-Espinosa, general manager of the San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino and area general manager for Marriott’s portfolio in Puerto Rico that includes The Ritz-Carlton.
“We’ve been delayed because of the pandemic, that’s a fact. But the situation regarding the insurance claim has been resolved, which was a very complicated process,” he said. “They reached a favorable agreement for both parties. So, this paves the way for the next step.”
“The process is now moving into defining the project schedule, and the first step in that is to demolish everything that was damaged, the majority of which are sheetrock walls, and water-damaged structures,” he said.
“So, we’re defining the contractor that will be in charge of the renovation and moving forward with rebuilding the guest rooms according to The Ritz-Carlton standards,” González-Espinosa said. “Their standards are very high, and we can’t reopen a guest room without remediation work.”
The process to rebuild and reopen the hotel is expected to take about 18 months.
“That will take us into mid-2022,” he said. “It’s a multi-million investment because we’re going to do this right. This is a beautiful hotel and we want to rebuild it as the Puerto Rican icon it has always been.”
Although closed, The Ritz-Carlton property has been under constant maintenance and monitored by security guards 24/7. During this time, Interlink Construction Inc. has been retained to provide upkeep during what is described in the permit application submitted to the Carolina municipal office as a “discovery and exploratory phase.”
Marriott has also been spending an average of $100,000 a month on electricity and water costs to maintain a proper temperature inside the hotel, González-Espinosa said.
“There’s a maintenance team taking care of the hotel, which is fully air-conditioned,” he said. “We can’t let the property deteriorate.”
The Casino at The Ritz-Carlton is also in line to reopen, for which Marriott has safely kept the slots and tables in temperature-controlled storage, González-Espinosa said. The older machines, which he said have a faithful following, will be brought back and new ones will be added as needed.
“The casino is an important element of that hotel, because it’s part of the experience of a luxury hotel in San Juan,” he said.
Nikolay Hotze, managing director of RCPR Acquisition Holdings, LLC was unavailable as of press time.