The tiny island of Puerto Rico is getting crowded, in a good way, as the island's governor announced today plans for the construction of a Mandarin Oriental resort in the town of Palmas del Mar. The resort is scheduled to open in 2011 after a $300 million investment and will be the eighth five-star hotel to begin development on the island in the past four years. The 186-room Mandarin Oriental Palmas del Mar Resort & Spa brings the total of new hotel rooms on the island to 6,164. In spite of the current economic outlook in many parts of the world, specifically the U.S., the development of these properties is part of an aggressive effort to sustain the recent growth in travel to the island.
In fact, Regent Hotels & Resorts is entering the Palmas del Mar region as well and has already broken ground for the new resort, which will open at the end of 2011. The oceanfront, 150-room Regent Palmas del Mar Puerto Rico, which will be located 35 minutes southeast of San Juan, will have 22 tennis courts, a country club, yacht club, equestrian center, 18 restaurants and two championship golf courses designed by Reese Jones and Gary Player. The community also offers a 160-slip marina within walking distance of The Regent, which will include 96 guestrooms and 52 suites, plus the 5,500-square-foot Presidential Suite and a Presidential Beach Cottage. The Regent Puerto Rico will also offer 153 Regent-branded residences.
Other five-star properties that have begun construction in Puerto Rico are the Condado Vanderbilt in San Juan; the Regent Punta Candelero in Humacao; Bahía Beach, St. Regis in Río Grande; JW Marriott and W Martineau Bay in Vieques; the Fairmont at Cerromar and the Ritz-Carlton in Dorado.
The governor of Puerto Rico has introduced a series of measures to stimulate tourism to the island. In Porta del Sol, $430.4 million have been invested to improve local roads, and $734.5 million has gone toward the development of aqueducts and sewers, in addition to a $1.7 billion investment in 89 public works that are taking place in the region in anticipation of the 2010 Central American Games that are slated to take place in Mayaguez.
The government has also invested more than $400 million in the renovation of San Juan’s Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport, $10.1 million toward the international terminal at Rafael Hernández Airport in Aguadilla and $2.5 million in renovations Mercedita Airport in Ponce.
The governor added that a new airport will soon open at el Portal del Futuro, the new development at the former Roosevelt Roads naval base in Ceiba.