Félix Benítez Rexach

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Félix Benítez Rexach
Félix Bénitez Rexach with his wife
BornMarch 27, 1886
DiedNovember 2, 1975
NationalityPuerto Rican
Occupation(s)Engineer and businessman
Known forBuilding the Normandie Hotel
MovementPuerto Rican Independence
SpouseLucienne Dhotelle
View of the Normandie Hotel from Muñoz Rivera Avenue

Félix Benítez Rexach (March 27, 1886 – November 2, 1975) was a Puerto Rican engineer and businessman who built the Normandie Hotel, located in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Life and career[edit]

Benitez Rexach was born in Vieques. In 1928, he fell in love with and married Lucienne Dhotelle, a French singer better known as La Môme Moineau (the kid sparrow).[1][2]

Normandie Hotel[edit]

Benítez Rexach decided to surprise his wife with the construction of a yacht as a replica of the majestic ship. Moineau wasn't satisfied and Benítez Rexach decided then to construct a hotel with the form of a great transatlantic vessel. Designed by architect Raúl Reichard (1908–1996), the hotel began construction in 1938. He named the "Normandie Hotel" in honor of the French liner and presented it as a gift to his beloved wife and to the people of Puerto Rico. The hotel opened on October 10, 1942[3] at an estimated cost of more than US$2,000,000.


Rexach designed and/or built a number of Puerto Rico's historic bridges, including the "futuristic" Bridge No. 122 and Las Cabanas Bridge (both of those being joint works with designer Rafael Nones).[4]

Other works[edit]

Benítez Rexach also worked on various projects in the Dominican Republic, as a consequence of the friendship which he had with that country's dictator, Rafael L. Trujillo. Among his works in that country were the Port of Santo Domingo and the "Avenida Jorge Washington" (George Washington Avenue).[5]

Political beliefs[edit]

Benítez Rexach was a passionate Puerto Rican patriot and a personal friend of Pedro Albizu Campos, president of the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party. He was a firm believer in the Puerto Rican independence movement and once visited Luis A. Ferré, the pro-statehood Governor of Puerto Rico, at the governor's mansion and asked him to proclaim the independence of Puerto Rico, since in his words: "Puerto Rico was a superior nation and the most developed in the Caribbean."[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Moreno Villareal, María C. (2021-04-05). "Una historia de amor atraca en el Normandie". El Nuevo Día (in Spanish). Retrieved 2021-05-09.
  2. ^ "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF, APPELLANT, vs. LUCIENNE D'HOTELLE DE BENITEZ REXACH, ET AL., DEFENDANTS, APPELLEES - No. 76-1117 - United States Court Of Appeals For The First Circuit". June 20, 1977.
  3. ^ "Puerta de Tierra: Hotel Normandie". Archived from the original on June 30, 2008. Retrieved 2007-06-10.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  4. ^ Luis F. Pumarada O'Neill (July 31, 1994). "Historic Bridges of Puerto Rico, c. 1840 - 1950". National Park Service. Retrieved 2016-05-13.
  5. ^ a b Felix Benítez Rexach

External links[edit]