- Caribe Hilton Hotel
The Caribe Hilton Hotel, located in
San Juan, Puerto Rico, is one of the best known hotels in the Caribbean. It was the first facility ever operated by Hilton Hotelsoutside of the continental United States.
In early 1946, as part of the Puerto Rican industrialization effort known as
Operation Bootstrap, a design competition was held to select the design of a new hotel. The facility would be owned by the Puerto Rican government, but would be leased to the multinational hospitality operator that provided the better bid. The only requirements of the competition were that the hotel have 300 bedrooms, the necessary ancillary facilities and that it would be located adjacent to the Fort San Jerónimoin Puerta de Tierra. Three architectural firms in Puerto Ricowere invited (all newly created): Schimmelpfennig, Ruiz y González, The Office of Henry Klumband Toro Ferrer y Torregrosa. Two additional firms from the States were also invited to participate: Frederick G. Seelman from Palm Beach and Robert Swartburg from Miami Beach. These two firms submitted designs in the style of the Spanish Renaissance, while the three firms in Puerto Rico presented modern designs inspired in the international style.
The winning design was submitted by Toro Ferrer and Torregrosa, a building of modern architectural expression. In the words of
Teodoro Moscoso, the architect of Operation Bootstrap: a hotel that would emphasize the aspects of good old USA of the Puerto Rican situation the modern and efficient more than the curious and picturesque.
Built in 1949, the hotel has been an important tourism and activity center, both for local and international tourists. Its first famous guests were
Gloria Swansonand Gertrude Ederle. Between the 1960s and 1980s, many important performers either worked or stayed at the Caribe Hilton Hotel, the most enduring of which being Marco Antonio Muñiz. Other famous guests have included many world champion boxers during Puerto Rico's "golden era of boxing". The national teams of 12 countries stayed there for the 2003 basketballpre-Olympic of the Americas tournament.
* [http://www.caribehilton.com/ Caribe Hilton Hotel Website]
* [http://www.periferia.org/architecture/tf2.html Periferia: Caribe Hilton Hotel]
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