The Verdanza Hotel, a family-owned independent property in Isla Verde, is a few details away from completing a $4 million renovation that encompasses new décor throughout and a redesign of its 80Twenty restaurant and its menu.
The refreshed look of the eatery, which serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, comprises a more modern setting, with minimalist details and fresh tropical colors.
In an interview with this media outlet, Verdanza’s General Manager, Ricky Newman, said about $125,000 was invested in the refurbished, 4,000 square-foot restaurant that sits about 110 customers.
80Twenty’s long-standing Executive Chef Elvin Rosado reimagined the new progressive menus for lunch and dinner with a combination of flavors that he refers to as “Caribbean Nouvelle Cuisine.”
The entree options are a modern culinary journey made up of Puerto Rican, Asian and Spanish flavors, he said, adding many of the ingredients are locally sourced.
“Everything, the restaurant’s décor and the culinary offer had to be in line with what we were doing in the hotel, and I think we managed to achieve that here at the restaurant,” Newman said.
The 222-room property underwent a top-to-bottom facelift, following the damaged caused by Hurricane María in 2017. The process took longer than originally thought because the hotel has not shut down during renovations, Newman said.
“Technically, there are still area that we’re working on. Some details. But the bulk was finished in September. After the hurricane, we had a period of transition, of design and parallel to that, of working with the insurance company,” Newman said. “Once those things fell into place, we placed orders and began the redesign work.”
“We’re a family company. It was very important to support locals. But that’s easier said than done. Often, supporting local suppliers entails many elements that have to work perfectly. But our remodeled rooms feature local artwork and the furniture was made by a local company,” Newman said.
During the interview with this media outlet, Newman said the tourism industry’s prospects “look promising, but there’s a lot of work to be done still.”
He mentioned the issue of short-term rentals taking a bite out of the hotel business, “they’ve taken away a lot of market, because while hotel occupancy has slightly declined, there has been an increase in short-term rentals.”
However, he said there are positive signs for hotels related to the groups and conventions segment, which he said produce citywide benefits.
“Those are worked on a few years ahead, two or three years in advance. I’ve recently seen two proposals from Verdanza for citywide events that will take place in 2021, and it had been a long time since I had seen that,” he said.
Adding there is also an opportunity for hotels in the leisure market, Newman was candid about saying government efforts have fallen short in running promotions and striking partnerships with the airlines to draw more visitors.
The hotel’s comprehensive remodel comes as it marks its 10th anniversary as a niche property catering to families and corporate travelers.
“We had been working on this prior to the hurricane. We had hired a designer and had begun to talk about where we were headed. The hurricane came, we had to pause and regroup, and start over,” he said.
In the pipeline for the hotel is the upcoming opening of a new restaurant that will be run as a concession. The Verace Bar Pizza Terrace will have a soft opening at the end of the month, with a full start in December, after a brick oven currently on its way from Italy is installed, Newman said.
The Italian restaurant will span 4,200 square feet, including the hotel’s lobby bar, and will accommodate about 120 patrons, he said.
In December, the Verdanza Hotel will relaunch its website, which includes a reservations component that helps to boost bookings, among other benefits, he said.