Hotel El Convento, in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, celebrates its 50th Anniversary in 2012. The oldest property in the Historic Hotels of America collection, Hotel El Convento is located in a 361-year old former Carmelite Convent in the historic Old San Juan section of Puerto Rico.
Today, El Convento is designated by the government of Puerto Rico to be the “official guest house” for visiting heads of state and dignitaries and unofficially for celebrities including Ricky Martin, Marc Anthony and Gloria Vanderbilt, for whom the Vanderbilt Suite is named.
El Convento first opened as a hotel on January 27, 1962, in a historic building in Old San Juan. Frederic Woolworth, heir to the Woolworth fortune purchased the former Our Lady of Carmen of San Jose Monastery (1651) and transformed it into a European-style luxury hotel named El Convento. During its height, the hotel attracted the likes of Rita Hayworth, Ethel Merman, George Hamilton, Lynda Bird Johnson and Pablo Casals, whose cello playing in the courtyard could be heard throughout the property.
From 1971 to 1995, El Convento changed management operators. When a group of San Juan business executives purchased the hotel in 1995 they immediately closed for business in order to restore the property to a modern version of its historic splendor, highlighting the beautiful original structure and materials.
Today the 58-room Hotel El Convento is recognized as the premier Small Luxury Hotel in Puerto Rico and a AAA four diamond-rated property. Travelers from around the world visit El Convento for a glimpse into 361 years of history and to experience the unique old world quality and service that the hotel maintains.
“Visitors to El Convento step into a property that exudes the charm and character of Old San Juan and our history,” said Efrain Rosa, general manager, in a written release. “We’ve been honored to welcome so many new and wonderful return guests to our home for the past 50 years and we look forward to continuing the tradition and commitment to excellence for many more years to come.”
To mark the anniversary, Hotel El Convento offers guests the following 50th Anniversary Package for $2,012.50, which includes five nights in Deluxe Room accommodations; a private Dinner for two, a day trip to El Yunque for two and more.