Intercontinental Hotel - Ponce, Puerto Rico
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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.
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.
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. The use of ornamental roofs is typical of modern architecture of the mid-1950s era.
The first stone of the Hotel was placed on January 6, 1958, and the Hotel opened as a luxury hotel in 1 February 1960. 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. 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.
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. 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.
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