Red Coral Lounge
Anchoring the buzzy Condado Beach district in Puerto Rico, the 511-room San Juan Marriott Resort & Sellaris Casino completed cool upgrades to its hip Red Coral Lounge. Groups can now join the well-dressed local crowd listening to great live music at the theater stage fronting the sleek new lobby bar.
“When people want to have an authentic Puerto Rican experience and go where the locals go, eat where the locals eat and party where the locals party, they can look no further than the Red Coral Lounge,” says Julian Cable-Treadwell, director of marketing. “The lobby lounge serves as a launch pad for pre-dinner drinks and delicious tapas prior to an organized function.”
The tasteful new chrome accents, pastel fixtures and modern textures highlight the wooden coral reef artwork displayed in the lobby entrance, creating a fun atmosphere for networking without being too hyperactive.
The expansive entertainment venue is organized into different sections for different personality types. The bar is the central venue for dragonberry mojitos, next to cocktail tables in front of the main stage. Other zones include plush seating sections with ottomans for a more quiet space to chat and munch on small bites.
“The new menu caters to guests with 10 minutes to spare to an entire evening at leisure,” says Cable-Treadwell. The Condado district is known for its enviable nightlife. The hip neighborhood is truly Caribbean with beachfront parties, outdoor terraces and exotic music. The vibe continues on the dance floor at the Marriott, which opens out the pool and casino. Salsa dancers amp up the crowd at the oak tone bar, while the DJ pumps up Latin dance tunes. Total meeting space is 11,000 sf, including a 7,000-sf ballroom and 4,000-sf outdoor space. Restaurants include the newly renovated La Isla Pool Bar and La Vista Latin Grill.
“When you arrive, you are met with the sounds and ambience of a bustling, cosmopolitan neighborhood,” says Cable-Treadwell, who emphasizes the importance of the resort location. The hotel is five miles from Luis Munoz Marin Int’l Airport, walking distance to everywhere on popular Ashford Avenue and just minutes to Old San Juan.
We did a Q&A with Cable-Treadwell to learn more.
Prevue: Can you tell us the look/vibe of the hotel?
Cable -Treadwell: The vibe of the hotel is really “casual dynamic” and we are often referred to as the “Caribbean Cosmopolitan Beach Club” due to a number of reasons. It has a classic contemporary feel with a lot of flexible indoor and outdoor public space that plays host to leisure and corporate customer alike. It is not strange to see an impromptu meeting of 6-10 business people in the Red Coral Lounge within 10 feet of a couple catching up with friends back home through their preferred social media channel. As the bellman opens the door for you, you are quickly ushered into an urban oasis with all of the excitement and feel of San Juan, but with the service standards and consistency that a Marriott property brings to the table. As you transition through the lobby to the other side of the property, you are met with the breathtaking views of the golden sands of Condado Beach and the Atlantic Ocean, right on your doorstop. That encapsulates the vibe and atmosphere of the hotel.
What are some unique selling points for groups?
- Location – Only five miles from the airport and only five miles from Old San Juan.
- In a residential neighborhood with approximately 50 – 70 restaurants and bars within walking distance so dine-arounds or organized group dinners are logistically easier to organize.
- Beachfront resort experience while still being close to all activities and amenities.
- 10,000 sf of meeting space catering for up to 500 people with equal amount of outdoor function space.
- 14,000 sf-casino onsite.
- Fifteen minute transfer to offsite team building activities such as four tracking, horseback riding, zip lining, tarpon fishing and golf academy.
What’s new (any recent renovations, additions, experiential features, etc)?
- La Vista Latin Grill and La Isla Beach Bar opened in 2011 after a $2 million renovation, offering an authentic Latin concept with Puerto Rican influences while still offering up all time local and United States favorites.
- In January of 2012, the Red Coral Lounge made it’s debut. Mirrored on the Marriott International “Great Room” concept, the $2.5 million renovation of the lobby space in the hotel was transformed into a dynamic environment for business and pleasure, for impromptu gathering and individual comfort, offering free WiFi and plenty of bandwidth. With a newly concepted menu that caters to guests with ten minutes to spare or an entire evening at leisure and an ambience that transitions from a place to be during the day to the place to be seen in the evening, the Red Coral Lounge provides guests with evening entertainment that ranges from resident/guest DJ’s playing retro 80’s music to 10 piece live bands playing salsa and meringue.
- Later in 2012, the Stellaris Casino went through a cosmetic rejuvenation with carpet, wall paper, ceilings and light fixtures enhanced to bring it up to the level of the adjacent Red Coral Lounge.
Can you tell us about the area and what groups are doing during their stay?
- I can’t stress enough what a fantastic location the property has and how cosmopolitan the neighborhood it is located in is. There is not a time of day where Ashford Avenue (the main street of Condado) is not populated with dozens of people walking dogs, talking to friends they meet along the street, jogging or enjoying al fresco, street side dining in a wonderfully clean and secure, safe environment.
- Culinary is hot and has been for awhile. Our groups like to organize cooking demonstrations which our Executive Chef, Ernie Reyes, who is more than pleased to organize for groups from 10 people up to 500 people. Also, locally sourced ingredients and sustainable consumption is popular at the moment, so groups like to participate in demonstrations with locally sourced produce.
- Community service is popular with groups from 10-50 people and we are able to organize initiatives for them that suit their brief and activity/availability level.
- What I don’t think enough people know about is the abundance of activities and attractions there are to see in Puerto Rico. You have the history of the 16th century Old San Juan, the Bacardi Rum Factory and the Serralles Rum Distillery, Camuy Caves, El Yunque rainforest, three of the five bioluminescent bays in the entire world, the Arecibo Observatory, “The Beast”, a horizontal zip line where you start by not being able to see where you finish and travel at over 50 miles an hour, inland and offshore fishing, the abundance of culture in art, food and music that is prevalent everywhere and that is just scratching the surface. There are a number of choices when looking at activities/experiences for any profile of group and any size of group in Puerto Rico.
Can you tell us about the Condado District? Do you find more planners booking this destination because of the neighborhood?
- We are fortunate to be located in the neighborhood of Condado as more and more planners become familiar with it.
- There will always be a place for a destination resort but, in our experience, we are seeing from our corporate meeting planners and organizers of small incentives, that being 5 miles from the airport gets their delegates into their meetings faster, they have less chance of losing them and the property allows them to fulfill the dynamic they wish to achieve.
- Our groups usually stay for 3-4 days maximum so they need to get a lot into the time they are here. Our syndicate rooms, that seat up to 70 people comfortably are all ocean facing and we find these are our most popular.
- We are also seeing that the type of group we are successful with is a certain type of group, usually 30-50 rooms in size, very intense and dynamic half day/full day meetings wanting good quality food that is healthy, offers plenty of variety/choice and is portioned correctly but also enjoying the freedom that the Condado neighborhood and the hotel’s location provides so that in what free time they have they can explore the neighborhood or Old Town, play in the Casino, hang on the beach or get a massage and they don’t have to get in a cab to do it.