View of the Normandie Hotel from Muñoz Rivera Avenue
|Location||Ponce de León Ave. and San Gerónimo St., "San Juan, Puerto Rico|
|Architect||Raúl Reichard & Félix Benítez Rexach|
|Architectural style||Art Deco|
|NRHP reference #||80004295|
|Added to NRHP||August 29, 1980|
The Normandie Hotel is a "hotel located in "San Juan, Puerto Rico. The hotel originally opened on October 10, 1942. Its design was inspired by the ocean liner "S.S. Normandie. It features the same "art deco design as the ship that inspired it, and the hotel's roof sign is one of the two signs that adorned the top deck of the Normandie but were removed from it during an early refitting. It is a fine example of what came to be known as the "Streamline Moderne architecture style.
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 SS 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.["citation needed]
Most recently, the Normandie Hotel was purchased on August 8, 2013, by Ben Medetsky and Jack Polatsek of Interra Capital Group, after initial plans for redevelopment of the hotel the group decided to put it on sale once again.["citation needed]
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