Hotel Ponce Intercontinental

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Hotel Ponce Intercontinental
Antiguo Hotel Ponce Intercontinental sobre el monte El Vigia, Barrio Portugues Urbano, en Ponce, PR.jpg
Former Hotel Ponce Intercontinental over the El Vigia Hill in Barrio Portugues Urbano, Ponce, Puerto Rico
General information
Location Paseo de la Cruceta
Ponce, Puerto Rico
Coordinates 18.02149, -66.62063
Opening 1 February 1960[1]
Closed 1975
Owner PRIDCO[2]
Management InterContinental Hotels Group
Technical details
Floor count 7
Design and construction
Architect William B. Tabler Architects
Other information
Number of rooms 170[3]
Currently closed.

The Hotel Ponce Intercontinental (also known as "El Ponce") is an abandoned hotel with a still existing structure. The structure, and what it once was, is considered a historic landmark and a national icon in the city of Ponce and Puerto Rico at large.[4] The property is currently owned by PRIDCO who bought it from a group of local Ponce industrialists.[5][6]

Location and features[edit]

The hotel is located in the northern section of the city of Ponce, on a hill just north of the El Vigia Hill, behind Cruceta del Vigía and Castillo Serralles.[7] The hotel had a large circular outdoors swimming pool, a ballroom named Salón Ponciana, a cocktail bar named Bar Coquí; and a restaurant called El Cafetal.[8] The hotel sits on a lot measuring approximately 25 cuerdas (roughly 25 acres).[9]

Design[edit]

The hotel was designed in 1957-58 by American architect William B. Tabler, FAIA. Tabler, whose offices were in New York City, designed hotels worldwide for the Statler chain, Hilton, and Intercontinental.[10]

Tabler designed the Ponce Intercontinental in a modern style with ample space for cross ventilation and light, interior details, and quasi-futuristic traits. The design takes advantage of the location of the building for natural ventilation and exposure to large and spacious panoramic views of the Caribbean Sea from the top sector of the El Vigia Hill in the municipality of Ponce, Puerto Rico.[11]

The architectural design of this hotel is simple but consistent with a curvilinear theme which is unique in Puerto Rico. The concrete shells that housed the restaurant, and activities rooms are geared to take advantage of large open spaces with majestic views of the Caribbean Sea.[12] The use of ornamental roofs is typical of modern architecture of the mid-1950s era.[13]

History[edit]

2007 photo of the front facade of the iconic structure

The first stone of the Hotel was placed on January 6, 1958,[14] and the Hotel opened as a luxury hotel in 1 February 1960.[15][16] The Hotel operated for 15 years (from 1960 to 1975) and was of particular importance in the collective memory of the Ponce's popular society in the 1960s through the 1970s.[17] The hotel was a bustling center of entertainment that stood out as a center of large musical events of those years. The Ponce Intercontinental is remembered for being the birthplace of great artistic, social and political events of its time.[18]

Closing[edit]

The hotel closed down in 1975 for reasons that continue to be unknown. Speculation was that there were labor conflicts as well as that the management of the hotel was disappointed with the Government of Puerto Rico's failure to build a better access road to the hotel.[19][20][21][22] The hotel's only access road was through a narrow one-way, one-lane alley in a financially deprieved neighborhood north of the city. High operating costs and its location were also reported as reasons for its demise.[23]

Re-construction[edit]

January 2012 photo of the former hotel, as seen from the city of Ponce

In 1981, a group of Puerto Rican and American investors were reportedly looking into purchasing the property. However, no other developments were subsequently reported.[24]

In 1985, and under government guidelines, Puerto Rico's Compañia de Fomento Industrial ("PRIDCO") decides to buy the structure on 7 November 1985, with the goal of remodeling it, expanding its facilities, and providing the city of Ponce with world-class accommodations. PRIDCO commissioned the architectural firm of Pablo Quinones & Associates to initiate investigations and studies on the condition of the main structure with the intention of upgrading it to modern design codes. The design team, consisting of personnel with expertise in all phases of architecture and engineering, generated its recommendations, which were delivered to the PRIDCO. Simultaneously, the team traveled to New York City in 1985-86, where it was able to locate the original plans of the hotel at the offices of William B. Tabler. As a design strategy for its architectural features, they decided to remodel the essence of its the main structure and proposed an enlargement to accommodate a modern convention center within the premises.[25]

On 7 October 1985, however, and as a result of the landslide in Mameyes, the hotel was used as temporary accommodation for the people affected by the rain floods. As the time of the relocation of those affected by the floods became longer than anticipated, the plans to enlarge and re-model the hotel were abandoned.[26]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hotel Ponce Intercontinental:La Historia comienza el 1_ero de Febrero de 1960... El Nuevo Día. 1 February 1960, p. 5. Retrieved 28 September 2011.
  2. ^ PRIDCO Expected to sell the former Intercontinental Hotel. Caribbean Business. San Juan, Puerto Rico. 19 May 2000
  3. ^ Remodelarian Hotel Intercontinental de Ponce a un Costo de $10 Millones. Clarence Beardsley. El Mundo. 2 October 1980. San Juan, Puerto Rico. Retrieved 28 September 2011.
  4. ^ Nuevos dueños: Ponderan la demolición del Intercontinental. Jason Rodríguez and Omar Alfonso. La Perla del Sur. Ponce, Puerto Rico. 17 June 2009. Page 6. Retrieved 28 September 2011.
  5. ^ PRIDCO Expected to sell the former Intercontinental Hotel. Caribbean Business. San Juan, Puerto Rico. 19 May 2000
  6. ^ Inversionistas California Compraran El Hotel Ponce. El Vocero. 18 September 1980. p. 12. Retrieved 28 September 2011.
  7. ^ PRIDCO Expected to sell the former Intercontinental Hotel. Caribbean Business. San Juan, Puerto Rico. 19 May 2000
  8. ^ Hotel Ponce Intercontinental: La Historia comienza el 1ro de Febrero de 1960... El Nuevo Día. 1 February 1960, p. 5. Retrieved 28 September 2011.
  9. ^ Yace olvidado el Ponce Intercontinental. Jason Rodríguez Grafal. La Perla del Sur. Ponce, Puerto Rico. 8 August 2012. (Title in the printed version: "¿Tendra Otra Oportunidad?: Yace Olvidado el Otrora Hotel Ponce Intercontinental." Year 30. Issue 1497. Page 14. Jason Rodríguez Grafal. 8 August 2012.") Retrieved 8 August 2012.
  10. ^ Datos Relevantes Arquitectonicos del Hotel Ponce Intercontinental. Retrieved 28 September 2011.
  11. ^ Datos Relevantes Arquitectonicos del Hotel Ponce Intercontinental. Retrieved 28 September 2011.
  12. ^ Datos Relevantes Arquitectonicos del Hotel Ponce Intercontinental. Retrieved 28 September 2011.
  13. ^ Datos Relevantes Arquitectonicos del Hotel Ponce Intercontinental. Retrieved 28 September 2011.
  14. ^ Colocan Primera Piedra Hotel Ponce Intercontinental. El Dia. Ponce, Puerto Rico. 8 January 1958. Retrieved 28 September 2011.
  15. ^ Hotel Ponce Intercontinental:La Historia comienza el 1_ero de Febrero de 1960... El Nuevo Día. 1 February 1960, p. 5. Retrieved 28 September 2011.
  16. ^ Nuevos dueños: Ponderan la demolición del Intercontinental. Jason Rodríguez and Omar Alfonso. La Perla del Sur. Ponce, Puerto Rico. 17 June 2009. Page 6. Retrieved 28 September 2011.
  17. ^ Datos Relevantes Arquitectonicos del Hotel Ponce Intercontinental. Retrieved 28 September 2011.
  18. ^ Datos Relevantes Arquitectonicos del Hotel Ponce Intercontinental. Retrieved 28 September 2011.
  19. ^ ¡Bienvenidos! Retrieved 28 September 2011.
  20. ^ No ocurrió así. El Vocero, 4 March 1981. p. 5. Retrieved 28 September 2011.
  21. ^ Remodelarian Hotel Intercontinental de Ponce a un Costo de $10 Millones. Clarence Beardsley. El Mundo. 2 October 1980. San Juan, Puerto Rico. Retrieved 28 September 2011.
  22. ^ Reabren el Ponce Intercontinental. El Vocero. San Juan, Puerto Rico. 4 March 1981. p.5. Retrieved 28 September 2011.
  23. ^ Inversionistas California Compraran El Hotel Ponce. El Vocero. 18 September 1980. p. 12. Retrieved 28 September 2011.
  24. ^ Gestionan Compra del Hotel Ponce. El Vocero. San Juan, Puerto Rico. 4 March 1981. p. 5. Retrieved 28 September 2011.
  25. ^ Datos Relevantes Arquitectonicos del Hotel Ponce Intercontinental. Retrieved 28 September 2011.
  26. ^ Datos Relevantes Arquitectonicos del Hotel Ponce Intercontinental. Retrieved 28 September 2011.

Coordinates: 18°1′17.4″N 66°37′14.59″W / 18.021500°N 66.6207194°W / 18.021500; -66.6207194