Hotel Río Mar

Hotel Rio Mar (1896-1957)

Facing the Vigia Square, at Rio Street No. 1 and very close to the mouth of the San Juan River, its name was a tribute to the site where it was built.

During the 1840s, this edifice of great beauty was already part of the structures which characterized the architectural image of Plaza de Colon, now Plaza de la Vigia.

Although the building originally was not erected for public use, on the bases of an article published in La Aurora on December 2, 1853, in reference to the opening of a boarding house on the left shore of the San Juan River, we believe that it soon became a hotel. Perhaps, before that date, it was either a house or a storage depot like many of the constructions on Rio Street built during that decade, taking advantage of the uneven terrain.

In 1862, the building belonged to Pedro Capdevila who sold it in 1864. By 1879, the new owners placed an announcement in the press informing that the building was up for rent. In 1861, a trading house, property of D.J.M. Clark, was already operating in the premises. The descriptions during that period of the building and of the possible use of its spaces and floors suggest that its original function was either that of a house or warehouse. It was also described as a beautiful building. In 1896, it became Hotel Mis Delicias and, in 1902, its name was changed to Hotel Pasaje, and later moved to Gelabert No. 25. Before 1902, it was also known as the El Puente café-canteen, and a postcard from the beginning of the century depicts the structure with a sign on the façade which reads San Carlos.

In 1957, the building bore its most beautiful name, Rio-Mar, in reference to the two main elements of the city’s natural beauty and of its surrounding geographic environment.

Demolished in the 1970s, due to its poor structural conditions, this is an example to be borne in mind, since its study reaffirms that during the nineteenth century, hotels were opened in edifices originally built for different functions, thus complying with the expectations of those who used them for this purpose, while reflecting the economic and social development of the city in which they were located. Consequently, the constructions selected, although inserted in the urban network, excel for their majesty and architectonic beauty.