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The Architecture of Puerto Rico

It is not true that all Puerto Rican architecture is Spanish, though the styles from across the Atlantic are quite remarkable. Puerto Rico also has an architectural character of its own, and it has a modern and distinctive outlook. For example, the Caribe Hilton Hotel is a fine example of conventional Caribbean genius for design. Even a guest in a hurry cannot but stop to admire the bold lines and striking colors of the structure and its large murals. You may associate Puerto Rico with Spanish architecture, and every Hilton property with uniform luxury, but the Caribe makes you think again.

It is not as though this graceful complex which overlooks the Atlantic from an imposing height just outside downtown San Juan has been designed by people from the mainland U.S. or from another country: indigenous architects from Puerto Rico have conceived the Caribe from scratch. Perhaps this is a sign of a whole new building style emerging in this delectable part of the Caribbean.

The location of the Hilton Hotel makes the clean construction lines of its architectural style even more memorable. The property is part of a medieval fort used by Spanish adventurers, and the courage of the architects in conceiving the contrast of the Caribe is most admirable indeed. It certainly makes you wonder what might have been lost if bureaucratic souls had been let loose on the property! The hotel architecture is always humble, preferring to make its statement in an undertone, respectful of the hallowed surroundings.

Neither concrete nor asphalt interferes with the engaging spread of natural greenery at the Caribe Hilton, though such modern construction materials have been used in abundance. The grounds are laid down in a fashion which keeps your shoes shining after a stroll, but which transports you in to the lap of nature in an instant. The thoughtful convenience of the hotel comes with as much solitude and scenic beauty as you could wish!

The Spanish visionaries who built so much of Puerto Rico must gaze at the Caribe Hilton with as much pleasure as contemporary aficionados of their work, for this modern and luxurious residence for San Juan’s visitors may be perceived as much as an evolution of Colonial thought as a novel statement of our times.


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