San Juan Weddings or How I Might Get Married…When the Time Comes
by Andrew Innerarity
Standing single file in the airplane’s aisle at our gate in San Juan, I bump into someone in what I term Bridal Position 1: Left arm high enough above the head to keep the bagged gown off the ground, right arm squeezing the phone against an ear. While she’s talking wedding, I’m thinking intersection, of Old World luxury and seaside relaxation. Little did I know as we waited our turn to march off the plane, I found myself wondering…. Were I to get married, what kind of ceremony and environment would I want? Not that it matters since it’s common knowledge that only one of the spouses-to-be generally does all the driving when it comes to wedding planning. As a purely theoretical exercise, however, let’s entertain the chance that I’d be making any of the ceremonial decisions.
I begin my Internet-based research on San Juan hotels and find the Condado Vanderbilt is the top pulldown on Trip Advisor, with its next door neighbor and sister property, La Concha Resort in the tony waterfront neighborhood of Condado in second place. That area’s the perfect start, so Puerto Rico, here I come.
After a 2.5-hour flight from Miami, I find the hotel’s driver Edwin waiting just beyond baggage claim. My surname is spelled correctly on his tablet, so he gets major points right off the bat. My roll-aboard is placed in the rear of the SUV and in less than a half hour our 21st-century vehicle deposits us in the legacy of a well-known 19th-century family: The Vanderbilts who created the seaside resort, the Condado Vanderbilt Hotel in 1919, which reopened in December 2014 after extensive renovation and the addition of luxury guest towers astride the original low-rise structure.