The Iconic El San Juan Embraces Its Next Chapter With New Banyan Villas
Everyone has a story about the El San Juan.
For me, it was a sisters trip to Puerto Rico nearly 12 years ago, when we decided to try our luck one evening at the property’s historic casino, followed by a few twirls around the dance floor at the salsa club next door.
For my husband, it was a long weekend with his grandfather; the El San Juan remained a favorite for him and his late wife. The pair bonded over piña coladas and throwing sevens at the Craps table. On a recent trip with our children, as we entered the dark mahogany lobby with its stunning circular chandelier and sexy sunken bar, the two of us became flooded with memories.
The El San Juan is one of those places. Everyone has a story from when they once stayed at this iconic property dating back to 1965 and in the heart of San Juan. And how lucky for them.
Now, the Fairmont El San Juan (Fairmont purchased the property in 2015) is turning the page in its own history book with a series of sweeping renovations and updates that’s keeping it on the forefront of traveler’s minds as much as now as it did then. The hotel, perched on stunning Isla Verde Beach recently unveiled a new luxe accommodation, the Banyan Villa, designed by Jeffrey Beers International.
These 13 one-story rooms tucked away within the property’s lush gardens and 300 year old Banyan tree are designed to flow seamlessly into the Puerto Rican rainforest that envelops them. Drawing influence from the property itself, the combination of materials like dark walnut mark paired against softer green and floral accents bring in a warm and natural contrast reflective of the natural surrounding, itself.
The accommodation boasts a spacious king bed, an oversized dual head shower, and an inviting seating area to sit back and enjoy the view. A secluded private terrace provides direct and exclusive access to the property’s Well & Being pool and gardens. The scent of the trees, the tropical breeze, the evening island’s sounds featuring the melodies of the Puerto Rican coqui frogs combine to create one unforgettable experience at the Banyan Villa Rooms.
“We were inspired by the natural beauty of the property for the design of the Banyan Villa Rooms,” says Pierre Josselin, associate principal at Jeffrey Beers International. “A world of contrast within the space incorporating different light and dark finishes and textures brings an eclectic and more residential feel. From the ribbed paneling to the rustic metal details, guests will feel right at home in their thoughtfully designed rooms.”
Outside of the rooms, The Fairmont El San Juan is also rebranding its iconic casino. The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and LionGrove recently announced the formation of a partnership to reopen the historic and iconic El San Juan Casino as the Foxwoods El San Juan Casino. In addition to redeveloping the casino, the two partners are also reopening the Tropicoro entertainment venue, welcoming back performers, artists, live entertainment and events once again to its stage.
The new casino will add a $12.5 million investment in addition to a recently completed renovation for the Fairmont El San Juan Hotel, resulting in a total of $137.5 million in resort enhancements. These investments and the opening of the casino are anticipated to generate an estimated economic impact of $22 million back into the island, creating a projected 360 new jobs in the region over 150 of those being at the casino.
Over the years, the Tropicoro stage drew stars such as Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Sammy Davis Jr., Tony Martin, Liza Minnelli, Rita Moreno, Paul Anka and many more. Thenew identity pays homage to the casino’s legendary history in San Juan and Foxwoods Resort Casino, owned by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and one of the largest resort casinos in North America at 15,000 square feet.
“Our success and experience with operating Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut will allow us to effectively expand our footprint and bring award-winning gaming experiences to Puerto Rico,” said Rodney Butler, Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Chairman. “We’re teaming up with one of the most sophisticated players in the market. Bringing together our resort experience and expertise with Fairmont El San Juan’s renowned brand, we believe we can bring real economic and employment growth to Puerto Rico. In addition to offering guests a one-of-a-kind luxuryresort destination, the development will bring revenue, value and tourism to the area.”