- The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation has announced the ‘soft open’ of Foxwoods El San Juan Casino.
- The gaming operation is located at the iconic Fairmont El San Juan Hotel in Puerto Rico.
- The tribe also operates the Foxwoods Resort & Casnio in Connecticut.
The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation has announced that for the first time they’ve extended their Foxwoods Casino gaming brand outside of Connecticut. They are in the process of a ‘soft launch’ of Foxwoods El San Juan Casino, located at the iconic Fairmont El San Juan Hotel in Puerto Rico. The soft launch began on November 17 and a formal grand opening celebration is planned for January 2022.
Press releases throw around the term ‘iconic’ far too easily but dating back to 1958, the Fairmont El San Juan Hotel is the real deal. The hotel is a legitimate throwback to a far more civilized and sophisticated age. Following a $65 million redesign, the property is no relic and further benefits from having the Fairmont Hotels & Resorts chain operating it. At one point, it was *the* hotel in San Juan, much the same way that the Fontainebleau was the ‘place to be seen’ in Miami. It also featured the best entertainers in the business performing in the showroom including Sammy Davis Jr., Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, Eddie Fisher, Carol Channing and Liza Minelli. Here’s more about the history from the El San Juan Hotel website:
As Fairmont El San Juan Hotel’s authentic, island culture lives on, so do some of the hotels most cherished design elements. From the moment of arrival, it’s apparent that this is a place timelessly true to the island’s heritage. Lobby décor celebrates San Juan’s elegant past and present, with hints of the scent of hibiscus, the national flower, and stunning, hand-carved cherry mahogany from Santo Domingo. Another beloved feature is the oval-shaped, hand-blown chandelier from Czechoslovakia, the third largest of its kind in the world. The Banyan Tree, located adjacent to the Bar Americana and the Wellness Pool, is another widely recognized hotel landmark. Over 300-years-old, the magnificent tree has stood sentinel to witness many captivating weddings, receptions, and social activities. It remains one of the hotel’s most requested wedding venues to date.
Following a $65 million redesign, Fairmont El San Juan Hotel blends modern tropical splendor with old-world elegance. The past is fully present in El San Juan, where a long rich history and an imaginative eye toward the future continue to tempt locals and visitors to venture inside for a one-of-a-kind retreat.
The Fairmont hotel chain is one of the best in the world and itself dates back to 1907. Based in Toronto, they have a strong presence in Canada but also rank among their portfolio many of the best hotels in the world including The Plaza in New York City, The Savoy in London, Fairmont San Francisco, Fairmont Banff Springs and Fairmont Peace Hotel in Shanghai. The chain is now part of Accor, a world leading hospitality group consisting of more than 5,000 properties and 10,000 food and beverage venues throughout 110 countries. Accor brands include Delano, Mondrian, Orient Express, Swissotel and Novotel.
The casino further enhances the San Juan property. Puerto Rico Governor Pedro Pierlusi, Mayor of Carolina José Carlos Aponte Dalmau, Tribal Council members, Foxwoods’ President and CEO, local dignitaries and members of the community all gathered for a ribbon cutting on November 17 at 11:00 a.m. Foxwoods El San Juan Casino then welcomed in thousands of guests ready to experience hundreds of the newest slot machines, top table games and first-class service that complements the resort’s well-appointed luxury accommodations and amenities. Stuart I.C. Levene, Managing Director/GM of Foxwoods El San Juan Casino, says that the new casino is a perfect homage to his property’s rich history:
“As planned, we are thrilled to finally reopen our doors after five years and deliver exciting new gaming and entertainment experiences to the wonderful people of Puerto Rico and visitors from afar. This property has been emblematic for Puerto Rico and thus our intent was to maintain the rich history of the venue, and we truly believe the casino’s new identity beautifully pays homage to the casino’s legendary history. Today marks the beginning of an iconic new chapter for Puerto Rico’s gaming innovation, and we’re excited for all to experience the revitalized Foxwoods El San Juan Casino firsthand.”
Puerto Rico Governor Pedro Pierlusi spoke of the positive economic impact of the new gaming venture:
“This past January, we made the historic announcement that this iconic casino would reopen its doors. After a lot of work, today I am pleased to be present to formalize the opening of Foxwoods El San Juan Casino. With Foxwoods El San Juan Casino’s capital investment of $ 12.5M, the casino will positively impact our economy and create over 150 direct jobs. I remain committed to the economic development of our Island, through efforts like Foxwoods El San Juan Casino, to boost tourism growth and investment in Puerto Rico.”
Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation Rodney Butler is happy to extend his brand to the Caribbean:
“Today is a landmark milestone for the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation as we expand the Foxwoods Resort Casino brand – for the first time ever – to the Caribbean. We’re honored to bring real economic value and tourism to the region – including an estimated economic impact of $22 million – with the launch of Foxwoods El San Juan Casino and remain a committed partner as we help build a bright future for the island. We thank our partners at LionGrove and Fairmont El San Juan for making this happen.”
Hospitality investment firm LionsGrove is the co-owner of the El San Juan Hotel. Andro Nodarse-Leon, Founder & CEO of LionGrove, also got in a quote dropping the recent ranking of his property as the best hotel in Puerto Rico by Conde Nast Traveler magazine:
“We are proud to help drive the economic development of Puerto Rico with this new alliance through the reopening of our luxurious casino and with all that has been achieved with our iconic Fairmont El San Juan Hotel, recently named by the prestigious Condé Nast Traveler magazine as the number one hotel in Puerto Rico and number three in the Caribbean.”
The casino is now open from 10:00 AM to 2:00 AM daily through mid-December. Not clear what the hours will be after that, but the eventual plan is to remain open 24/7 assuming that COVID protocols permit.