Beginning October 16, The opulent Condado Vanderbilt Hotel, will welcome guests to experience the legendary hotel’s dining, lounge and banquet facilities, helmed by Michelin-starred Executive Chef, Juan Jose Cuevas. Built in 1919 by Frederick William Vanderbilt, the Condado Vanderbilt’s lavishness attracted royalty, heads of state, Hollywood stars and industry icons to the hotel’s dramatic perch on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean for almost half a century. Nearly two decades since the hotel shuttered, the first phase of The Condado Vanderbilt, a historical Grande Dame hotel, reopens on Ashford Avenue following an extensive restoration which captures the style, sophistication and service for which the hotel was known.
CHEF JUAN JOSE CUEVAS
A native of Puerto Rico, Chef Juan Jose Cuevas’s resume includes notable restaurants from Spain to New York and San Francisco. Cuevas’s career began at three Michelin-starred Arkelare in San Sebastian, Spain and includes stints at Alain Ducasse at the Essex House and Lespinasse in New York City, in addition to the Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco under Chef Sylvain Portay. While serving as Executive Chef of Dan Barber’s Blue Hill NYC, the restaurant earned one Michelin Star and a three-star review from The New York Times. Later, Cuevas joined Ed Brown as Chef de Cuisine at Restaurant 81, where they earned one Michelin Star in their first year working together. In 2009, Chef Cuevas joined the Pluckemin Inn (Bedminster, NJ) as Executive Chef and in the same year was awarded the prestigious Chef de l’ Avenir, (Chef of the Future) Award by the International Academy of Gastronomy.
Condado Vanderbilt’s fine dining restaurant, 1919, will follow Chef Cuevas’s belief in the locavore movement. 1919 features a farm and ocean-to-table focus with a menu which emphasizes fish, shellfish and locally produced vegetables. Chef is working with local farmers and foragers throughout the island to supply fruits, vegetables, wild greens, poultry, meats, etc. to the hotel. Signature dishes include: Scallop a la Plancha in an Ocean-herbal Broth; Beef Teres Major Wagyu with Fricassee of Organic Carrot, Creamed Parsley and Pickled Mustard Seed, and Eggplant Confit in Tomato Water with local cucumber and clams escabeche, parsley vinaigrette.
The restaurant’s design focuses on one expansive glass wall which seemingly separates the dining room from the Atlantic Ocean. Three large center chandeliers created with cascading mother of pearl discs are a focal point of the restaurant which offers an intimate dining experience achieved by ample space between tables and artful lighting. While the design is contemporary in concept, designer Jorge Rossello, includes the use of various traditional elements such as richly upholstered tall wing chairs and backed benches, beveled mirrors and rich woods.
In addition to the restaurant, guests will enjoy Blu, a casual bistro; Vino Veritas Wine Bar; Marabar, Martini Bar & Lounge with ocean views and Fumidor, a cigar lounge. The hotel features extensive event and banquet facilities encompassing 30,000 square feet.
HISTORY OF CONDADO VANDERBILT HOTEL
In 1919, Frederick William Vanderbilt, scion of one of the wealthiest families in America and arguably one of the most influential men in the country, acquired land in the exclusive Condado district of San Juan, Puerto Rico. He selected Warren and Whitmore, a leading architectural firm of the time (works include The New York Biltmore Hotel and Grand Central Station), to design the Condado Vanderbilt Hotel, an exclusive tropical retreat in the heart of the Caribbean.
European and Hollywood royalty alike, along with captains of industry and bluebloods, all crossed paths at the Condado Vanderbilt, creating a rarefied atmosphere of luxury. Among the distinguished guests that made the hotel their home away from home were Charles Lindberg, Carlos Gardel, Errol Flynn, Bob Hope, Arthur Rubinstein, and President Franklin and Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt.
The second phase of the Condado Vanderbilt Hotel, 323 guest rooms, will open in 2013. The hotel will offer guests a luxurious environment in an exclusive setting, filled with history and the nostalgia of past eras when the hotel was the social epicenter of San Juan.
Condado Vanderbilt Hotel
1055 Ashford Avenue
San Juan, Puerto Rico 00907