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Last month, the St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort in Puerto Rico reopened after an extensive $60 million renovation following 2017’s devastating Hurricane Maria. The project touched most aspects of the resort, including the restaurant, bar, pool, esplanade, spa, and guestrooms. Puerto Rican designer Nono Maldonado and San Francisco’s Hirsch Bedner Associates were behind the total transformation.
In addition to enjoying private bird sanctuaries, St. Regis‘ Butler Service, and an ocean-front golf course, guests have the opportunity to help those still suffering from the effects of Hurricane Maria through a variety of volunteer opportunities.
Whitewall spoke with General Manager José Torres to learn more about the renovation and redesign.
WHITEWALL: Can you tell us about their approach and inspiration for the new design?
JOSÉ TORRES: The new design is inspired by the property’s surrounding sea, sand and foliage. It features a more contemporary and modern aesthetic, and a light color palette of whites and light blues. Additionally, all structures have been built below the tree line, affording remarkable views of ocean and beach.
WW: Was it important for the St. Regis to work with a Puerto Rican designer?
JT: It is a privileged to have Nono Maldonado as the creative mastermind of this reimagination. His knowledge of the Puerto Rican culture, style and trends combined with his exquisite taste has been translated flawlessly into this new era at The St Regis Bahia Beach.
WW: Can you tell us about the unique location of the property?
JT: The resort is located on a former coconut plantation and situated between the El Yunque National Forest and Espíritu Santo River State Preserve. It is set on 483 pristine acres and it is the only Gold-certified Audubon Signature Sanctuary in Puerto Rico. The property is also a short 30-minute drive from Old San Juan and the Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport.
WW: What are some of highlights of the property for first-time visitors? What can’t they miss?
JT: First-time visitors should explore the property’s natural beauty and lush tropical foliage. We also offer a wide range of activities such as golf, nature tours, swimming in the pool and esplanade, surfing, paddle boarding, kayaking, sailing, fishing, and more. Guests should also enjoy a Bloody Mary at the St. Regis Bar and experience the brand’s champagne sabering ritual at Casa Grande, the heart of the resort.
WW: The St. Regis offers volunteer opportunities and activities for guests to give back to those affected by the hurricane. Why was that important for you to offer your guests?
JT: In the wake of hurricane Maria, many travelers are interested in volunteer opportunities and activities that give back to the community and the destination. We work in collaboration with the Bahia Beach Resort Golf Club and its non-profit organization Alma de Bahia on several initiatives to support the affected communities in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean. We are proud to offer volunteer opportunities to our guests and assist those who were impacted by the storms.
WW: Can you tell us about some of the ways guests can volunteer?
JT: We offer a wide range of volunteer opportunities to guests of the resort including coastal beach clean ups with the resort’s Green Team, caring for manatees at the Center for Manatee Conservation, working with the US Forestry Service to restore trails in El Yunque Forest following the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, and much more.