Radisson Closes in San Juan

By: Caribbean Journal Staff - May 2, 2015

Above: the Radisson in San Juan

By the Caribbean Journal staff

The Radisson Ambassador hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico has closed its doors.

The company’s website reported that the “selected hotel is off-line and is not accepting reservations.”

The property, which is located in San Juan’s Condado neighbourhood, has 233 rooms and a 15,000-square-foot casino.

In a statement, the hotel said that, for the last year, the lender had controlled the property and “upon ownership’s insistence and support agreed to fund operations as it sought buyers of its note.”

“In the past month, the lender sold its interest to a third party who has declined requests for more funds to support operations,” the hotel said. “Unable to operate without such financial support, management is thus forced to close the hotel.”

Hotel spokesperson Miriam Velez said that the hotel had seen a continued decline in profitability in the past decade “as a result of the deteriorating casino market and the proliferation of illegal slot machines across the island.”

The latter was echoed in a statement by Miguel Vega, chairman of the board of the Puerto Rico Hotel and Tourism Association.

“It’s unfortunate for the industry that hotels and casinos continue to close in Puerto Rico, this is an unhealthy sign of such operations since among other factors [they] are constantly threaten by the proliferation of illegal slots and high operational costs,” he said. “We cannot lose perspective that hotels with casinos generate 80% of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company’s budget for promoting and marketing the destination as well as more than $70 million goes towards the undertaking of the University of Puerto Rico. It’s simple, a formula where the government is the main beneficiary.”

Vega pointed to a number of other casino that had disappeared from the country in recent years. There are now 21 casinos left on the island, he said.

“This is why we have recently expressed publicly our sense of urgency about the tax reform discussion and that it is vital that in the rush to approve the project for it not to destroy the competitiveness of the tourism sector that is sustaining our island and the economic recovery that our people need,” he said.

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