A short, passport-free flight away sits an island that is rich with culture, amazing scenery, and some stunning properties. Groups will have no shortage of attractive offerings in Puerto Rico -- here are a few that should not be missed.DAY 1: OLD AND NEW
Get a lay of the land with a walking tour of Old San Juan.
The second-oldest city established in the New World, its historic downtown is packed with restaurants, museums, shopping spots, and Caribbean-infused Spanish colonial architecture.1:00 PM
Take a tour of one of Old San Juan's impressive forts
-- Castillo San Felipe del Morro or Castillo San Cristóbal. Both offer striking views and five centuries of history. Both are available for private gatherings.6:00 PM
Turn your evening meal into an experience at Cocina Abierta,
which offers a wide range of culinary experiences. Groups can specialize in a particular area (such as cheese-making), or take part in a multi-course demo/meal.
DAY 2: BUSINESS AND PLEASURE
Set in the heart of trendy Condado, between the Old Town and the beach, the San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino
offers 527 guest rooms and more than 10,000 square feet of meeting space, including an 800-person Grand Ballroom divisible into four sections. It includes eight breakout rooms and an oceanfront terrace that can accommodate up to 150 for a cocktail reception. For groups concerned this might not be enough room, the property is a 10-minute drive from the Puerto Rico Convention Center (PRCC).5:00 PM
For a true Puerto Rican culinary experience, take part in the poolside Lechon pig roast at the San Juan Marriott. Those who are not big fans of pig can enjoy the buffet of fresh dishes, from salads to a make-your-own mofongo bar, at La Vista Beachside Grill.
DAY 3: LUXURIOUS HISTORY
Overlooking two miles of pristine beach in the Isla Verde district (voted the best urban beach in the U.S. by USA Today), El San Juan Hotel
is at once a landmark legacy property and the luxurious new kid on the block. This is because this Curio Collection by Hilton property, originally opened in 1958, has undergone a $60 million, top-to-bottom redesign by Jeffrey Beers International. This included a complete remodeling of its 388 guest rooms and suites, a new pool (bringing its total to four altogether), the addition of 22 luxury cabanas, new spa facilities, and a new three-story fitness building.5:00 PM
Take advantage of the El San Juan's numerous culinary offerings.
Grab a cocktail at one of its 15 bars (including the mixology-oriented Gold Bar and striking oval Chandelier Bar in the center of the lobby). Then party the night away with one of the nightly live music shows at Chico Cabaret,
enjoying Latin-infused music that pays tribute to the property's rich history.This article appears in the July 2017 issue of Successful Meetings.