San Juan, Puerto Rico – Reported by D.J. Larsen for Elite Traveler, the private jet lifestyle magazine
Michelin-starred Executive Chef Juan Jose Cuevas will help spearhead the grand reopening of the opulent Condado Vanderbilt hotel and its lavish and avant-garde dining, lounge and banquet facilities that will provide an oceanic view for its affluent clientele, ranging from royalty to heads of state to A-list actors and actresses.
The head chef, Juan Jose Cuevas, a native of Puerto Rico is journeyman in his own right. His resume includes a stint with Arkelare in San Sebastian, Spain, as well as time at Alain Ducasse at the Essex House and Lespinasse in New York City and at The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco under Chef Sylvain Portay. He’s also been awarded the prestigious Chef de l’Avenir, (Chef of the Future) Award by the International Academy of Gastronomy.
The reinvented Condado Vanderbilt hotel features a brand new restaurant, simply titled 1919, scheduled to open on October 16. The restaurant, in line with chef Cuevas’s belief in the locavore movement, will have a farm- and ocean-to-table focus. With a menu that will provide fish, shellfish, locally produced fruits, vegetables, wild greens and meats from local growers, chef Cuevas’s goal is to ensure freshness and to provide the best quality of his meals.
The chef’s decision to purchase local will lend a hand in the hotel’s vision to capture an exuberant, sophisticated style and provide excellent service. The hotel has always appointed the best designers to help display great craftsmanship. Warren and Whitmore, a leading architectural firm of the time credited with The New York Biltmore Hotel and Grand Central Station, were behind the original Condado Vanderbilt. This time around they’ve chosen designer Jorge Rossello who has given his flair to countless restaurants, casinos and hotels worldwide.
The legendary hotel’s dining, lounge and banquet facilities will provide a view that imparts a serene feeling and serve world-class cuisine developed by a world-class chef. Signature dishes include scallop a la plancha in an ocean-herbal broth and beef teres major wagyu with fricassee of organic carrot.
One of the main focal points of the restaurant’s design is an expansive glass wall that seemingly separates the dining room from the Atlantic Ocean. Three large central chandeliers with cascading mother-of-pearl disks add elegance to an intimate dining experience enhanced by ample space between tables and artful lighting.
While the design is contemporary in concept, Rossello includes 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. Extensive event and banqueting facilities at the hotel encompass 30,000 square feet.
The second phase of the Condado Vanderbilt reopening, including 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.