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Normandie Hotel

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Normandie Hotel

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Date Posted:July 20th, 2007
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Description: 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 SS Normandie. It features the same art deco design as the ship that inspired it.

The Normandie Hotel was the brainchild of Puerto Rican engineer Félix Benítez. The engineer met his future wife while on a trip abord 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 the Dominican Republic, France, Spain, and Puerto Rico all contributed to the hotel's overall construction and 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 after it underwent massive renovations due to heavy damaged caused by Hurricane Georges in 1998.

In early 2005, the 173-room hotel reopened after an extensive refurbishing. Operating as an exclusive boutique hotel, the Normandie is a popular destination for locals and tourists.

The Normandie Hotel has been declared a national historic site was added to the National Register of Historic Places by the U.S. Interior Department's Heritage Conservation and Recreation Service on August 29, 1980


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