This Hotel Means so Much to Me

Beauty, Family & Friends, Fashion, Makeup

I grew up in beautiful Puerto Rico.  When I was a young teenager I had a friend whose parents were members of the Hotel Caribe Hilton which has a lovely and very cozy beach.  I would just love to go there with them.  Amazing Piña Coladas (we only got to drink the virgin version of it)  It has a wonderful tropical ambiance.  Great bar with lovely live music at night.  Well, I fell in love several times in this very hotel.

When I was choosing where to make a  Mother’s Day photo shoot, I had no doubt in my mind where I wanted it.  In the very special gardens of the Caribe Hilton Hotel.

Since I have 3 boys.  I borrowed my brother’s daughter who is not a model (although she could be, she could also very well be a movie star)  she is a gynecologist.

This photo shoot meant a lot to me.  So many memories. Such a beautiful place.  Such a lovely Mother’s gift.  Hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed doing it.

And here is the story of the wonderful and charismatic Caribe Hilton Hotel:


In early 1946, as part of the Puerto Rican industrialization effort known as Operation Bootstrap, the Puerto Rico Industrial Development Co. decided to erect a modern luxury hotel. The facility would be owned by the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, but leased to the multinational hospitality operator that provided the better bid. The hotel would have 300 bedrooms, the necessary ancillary facilities, and located next to Fort San Jerónimo in Puerta de Tierra.

A competition was held to select the design, with three architectural firms in Puerto Rico invited: Schimmelpfennig, Ruiz y González; The Office of Henry Klumb; and Toro Ferrer y Torregrosa. Two additional firms from Florida were also invited to participate: Frederick G. Seelman from Palm Beach and Robert Swartburg from Miami. These two firms submitted Spanish Renaissance-style designs, while the three Puerto Rican firms presented modern designs inspired by the International style. The final design chosen was by Toro-Ferrer, who also designed the Modern Movement-style Supreme Court Building in San Juan.

To operate the hotel, the Puerto Rico Industrial Development Co. invited seven leading American hotel firms. Conrad Hilton, being from New Mexico, opened his letter back with “Mi estimado amigo” and won over the Puerto Ricans. The hotel opened on December 9, 1949. It was Hilton’s first hotel outside the Continental United States and made Hilton the first international hotel company. The government-backed Puerto Rico Industrial Development Corp. (PRIDCO) spent $7 million to build and furnish the hotel. After it was built, the government leased the hotel to the Hilton Corp. on a 20-year lease. The hotel was the first in Puerto Rico to offer radios in every room and individually-controlled air conditioners.

Guests for the grand opening included Gloria Swanson, Eastern Air Lines President Eddie Rickenbacker, David Rockefeller, and numerous other celebrities and notables.

The hotel claims to be the birthplace of the Piña Colada. In 1954, bartender Ramón “Monchito” Marrero spent three months creating a mix of rum, coconut cream, and pineapple juice.

The original hotel was expanded over the years from 300 to 646 guestrooms. After managing the hotel for 48 years, Hilton International bought the property in 1998. Hilton closed the hotel the following year for a complete renovation, lasting nine months. It reopened on December 25, 1999, celebrating its 50th anniversary after $50 million in renovations.

In 2005, the hotel was expanded with the huge Paseo Caribe complex, including shops, restaurants, and 264 villas marketed as the Condado Lagoon Villas.

Piña Colada
The Piña Colada was created and first served at the Caribe Hilton on August 15, 1954 by bartender Ramon “Monchito” Marrero. Spending three months creating a mix of rum, coconut cream, and pineapple juice, Monchito personally served his iconic creation for 35 years while he worked as a bartender at the hotel. In 1978, the Piña Colada was declared the official drink of Puerto Rico.

Information:  Historic Hotels of America; Photos provided by Caribe Hilton Hotel PR

Annie&AnnetteVaillant_0537 as Smart Object-1

Astonishing Gala Dresses by Harry Robles; Hotel: Caribe Hilton; My jewelry by Joias; Annie’s Jewelry: Private collection. Hair & Makeup: Alfredo Monterola: Photography: Pablo Díaz. Warm thanks to Betty González from the Caribe Hilton Hotel for making all this possible.

Annie&AnnetteVaillant_0655 as Smart Object-1

To be continued… More beautiful dresses from Harry Robles. Photo shoot at the Caribe Hilton Hotel. Stay tuned!

Annie&AnnetteVaillant_0535 as Smart Object-1 Annie&AnnetteVaillant_0525 as Smart Object-1 Annie&AnnetteVaillant_0588 as Smart Object-1 Annie&AnnetteVaillant_0578 as Smart Object-1 Annie&AnnetteVaillant_0563 as Smart Object-1 Annie&AnnetteVaillant_0556 as Smart Object-1 Annie&AnnetteVaillant_0550 as Smart Object-1 Annie&AnnetteVaillant_0483 as Smart Object-1 Annie&AnnetteVaillant_0479 as Smart Object-1 Annie&AnnetteVaillant_0470 as Smart Object-1 Annie&AnnetteVaillant_0457 as Smart Object-1 Annie&AnnetteVaillant_0624 as Smart Object-1 Annie&AnnetteVaillant_0674 as Smart Object-1 Annie&AnnetteVaillant_0671 as Smart Object-1 Annie&AnnetteVaillant_0663 as Smart Object-1 Annie&AnnetteVaillant_0655 as Smart Object-1 Annie&AnnetteVaillant_0648 as Smart Object-1

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14 thoughts on “This Hotel Means so Much to Me

  1. Bellisimas las dos Annette y Annie…….no les falta un detalle de belleza y elegancia……y el sitio escogido para las fotos no pudo ser mejor…..tambien guardo maravillosos recuerdos del Caribe Hilton…..

  2. Both look beautiful in those amazing dresses. Exquizitely elegant,love the colors that go so well with the season.It all blends perfectly on the amazing backgrounds of such an historic hotel that brings so many great memories to many of us. Annette, wish you a great mother’s day. God bless you always, as blessings for your niece and much success in her career

  3. Wow lm Puerto Rican by birth but at 9 yrs old mom send me to the U.S.A.and reading about the history of this beautiful hotel is important to me thank you for schooling a reader like me .And by the way your photo shoot were fabulous and your niece is a gorgeous young lady and l agree with you she could be a model or a movie star . Congratulation you are also beautiful too . Please keep all this good writing

  4. Hermosa como siempre. Deroche de belleza y elegancia.
    Las fotos son preciosas, escogistes el lugar perfecto. Se te quiere.

  5. Felicidades a las dos en el Día de las Madres. Bello lugar, bellos trajes, bellas damas. Cariños.

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