By : DENNIS COSTA
Edition: December 3, 2015 | Volume: 1 | No: 5
With $3 million investment, new hospitality alternative to open December 14th
The Decanter Hotel, a boutique hotel boasting three floors and 20 rooms, will become the newest hospitality alternative in Old San Juan when it opens December 14th.
Located on the corner of San José and Luna streets, this latest entry in Old San Juan's slate of boutique hotels required a $3 million investment by the building's owner, physician José Santana Rabell. The building, which dates from the 19th century and was previously owned by a development company that went bankrupt and remodeled almost from scratch, hotel manager Yvette Nevares told CARIBBEAN BUSINESS.
"The building was originally intended to become an apartment complex," she said. "It was purchased almost three years ago and the full-blown construction process has lasted a year-and-a half."
As the name suggests, the hotel will have a wine-centric theme, as decanters are used as serving vessels for wine. In keeping with the motif, each of the hotel's 20 rooms is named after a grape variety, and no two rooms are the same in terms of the arrangements and the way each space is distributed. Some rooms, for instance, are fairly small, but have plenty of balcony space, suitable for informal gatherings. Eight of the 20 rooms are categorized as suites with their own kitchenettes. Again, in keeping with the hotel's theme, an open wine cellar will become a permanent fixture of the building's central courtyard.
The property is but the latest of several boutique hotels that have established a niche market in the Puerto Rico capital's historic district. They consist of mostly two- and three-star offerings, and include La Terraza de San Juan, Cervantes, CasaBlanca Hotel, The Gallery Inn, Da House and the iconic El Convento Hotel.
As a matter of fact, the Decanter's close proximity to El Convento played a factor in the hotel's development, specifically regarding the upcoming Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastián, a popular Old San Juan festival that is held every year in mid-January.
Hotels such as El Convento are fully booked during the so-called Fiestas de la Calle period—years ahead of time— and it seems Decanter's case will be no different once it opens. "We have the rooms almost completely booked for the Fiestas de la Calle, despite not having made an announcement," Nevares said. "It has all been word of mouth."
The hotel will also feature a brand-new restaurant, dubbed L'Osteria, in the building's lobby. The brainchild of Chef Cristian Crostelli, the restaurant will specialize in Italian, tapas-style offerings