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The Normandie Hotel is a historic building located in San Juan, Puerto Rico which opened on October 10, 1942 as a hotel but as of 2019 remains unused and abandoned. Its design was inspired by the ocean liner SS Normandie. It features the same art deco design as the ship that inspired it, and the hotel's original roof sign was one of the two signs that adorned the top deck of the Normandie but were removed from it during an early refitting. It is an example of what came to be known as the Streamline Moderne architecture style.[citation needed]

Hotel Normandie
San Juan, PR 05.jpg
View of the Normandie Hotel from Muñoz Rivera Avenue
Locator map
Locator map
Location of the Hotel Normandie in Puerto Rico
LocationPonce de León Ave. and San Gerónimo St., San Juan, Puerto Rico
Coordinates18°27′52″N 66°05′15″W / 18.464493°N 66.087412°W / 18.464493; -66.087412Coordinates: 18°27′52″N 66°05′15″W / 18.464493°N 66.087412°W / 18.464493; -66.087412
Built1939
ArchitectRaúl Reichard & Félix Benítez Rexach
Architectural styleArt Deco, Streamline Moderne
NRHP reference #80004295[1]
Added to NRHPAugust 29, 1980

HistoryEdit

The Normandie Hotel was the brainchild of Puerto Rican engineer Félix Benítez Rexach. The engineer met his future wife while on a trip aboard the Normandie. As a tribute to his French wife, Moineau, Benítez decided to construct a structure that imitated the lavish settings of the ocean liner. Designed by architect Raúl Reichard (1908–1996), the hotel began construction in 1938. The hotel's exterior was designed to resemble a luxury liner, elongated and curved in front, with portal-shape windows and lights. Inside, the hotel features art deco design, complete with Roman, Egyptian, and French details, high ceilings, and corridors looking down into a central skylighted atrium.

Designers and artists from Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, France, and Spain all contributed to the hotel's overall construction. When it opened on October 10, 1942, it became an instant sensation among the island's social elite. Completed at a cost of more than US$2,000,000, the hotel catered to many major Hollywood and Latin American film stars such as Cantinflas, Libertad Lamarque and Jorge Negrete. The hotel also served as a performing arts venue for many of Puerto Rico's top entertainers, such as Ruth Fernández, Myrta Silva, Sylvia Rexach, and Carmen Delia Dipini.

After being closed and abandoned in the 1960s, the hotel was restored in the early 1990s; afterwards, it underwent massive renovations due to heavy damage caused by Hurricane Georges in 1998. After storm-related damages were repaired, the hotel remained in business until 2004, when a renovation project commenced. In early 2005, the 173-room hotel reopened after its refurbishing; however, it was closed once again by late 2009 and has remained closed and abandoned ever since.[2]

The Normandie Hotel was purchased on August 8, 2013, by Ben Medetsky and Jack Polatsek of Interra Capital Group for nearly US$4,000,000 but after initial plans for redevelopment of the hotel, the group decided to sell it.[3][4] In 2014[5], then in the spring of 2017[6] and again in the spring of 2018, investors were considering the purchase of the Normandie Hotel.[7]

RecognitionEdit

The Normandie Hotel was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 1980.[8]

Popular cultureEdit

  • The music video for singer Sade Adu's song "King of Sorrow" (from her Lovers Rock album) was filmed in and around the hotel by director Sophie Muller.[9]
  • The hotel served as a locale for one of the four stories that helped compose the storyline for the 2001 film 12 Horas directed by Puerto Rican director Raúl Marchand Sánchez.
  • The lobby of the hotel was used to shoot scenes from the 2009 film A Perfect Getaway.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. March 13, 2009.
  2. ^ "Cuéntame: ¿Qué ha pasado con el Normandie?". El Nuevo Dia (in Spanish). July 19, 2016.
  3. ^ "Glamour que duerme entre las ruinas". El Nuevo Dia (in Spanish). 2016-09-17. Retrieved 2017-07-29.
  4. ^ "PressReader.com - Your favorite newspapers and magazines". www.pressreader.com.
  5. ^ "A revivir el Normandie". El Nuevo Dia (in Spanish). August 7, 2014.
  6. ^ "Asoman compradores para el hotel Normandie". El Nuevo Dia (in Spanish). March 21, 2017.
  7. ^ "A punto de concretarse la compra del Hotel Normandie". El Nuevo Dia (in Spanish). April 24, 2018.
  8. ^ Puerta de Tierra: Hotel Normandie: "Archived copy". Archived from the original on June 30, 2008. Retrieved 2007-06-10.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  9. ^ King of Sorrow music video from YouTube