The Jaragua, cultural symbol and tourist reference of the country turned 80 years old
Last Friday 19, the La Fiesta Theater of the Renaissance Jaragua Hotel celebrated the eightieth anniversary of this institution that not only transformed the Dominican Republic’s tourism industry, but also became the birthplace of long-lost traditions, such as the Patio Español, and has not only been the lodging place of great stars of cinema, plastic arts, literature, world dance, but also of international music, many of whom have also used it as a stage for their successes in the country.
In 1954, Mr. Ellis Perez, who worked in a travel agency in the hotel lobby, interviewed Hollywood actor William Holden, star of films such as The Twilight of a Lifetime (1950), Hell on Earth and The Escape from Fort Bravo (both 1953), Sabrina (1954), Picnic (1955), The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), among 45 other films. Likewise Frankel Menem, Chairman of the Board of the Menem talcum powder company; or Bob Canell, the guru of Spanish-language baseball and boxing narration.
Personalities such as Cantinflas, Pedro Vargas, Tongolele, Mexican actress Rosita Quintana, actress and singer Amalia Mendoza, Argentine musician and tenor Daniel Riolobos, Miguel Aceves Mejía, Benny Moré and Alicia Alonso have stayed at the Jaragua, whose most prestigious guests have also included Nobel Literature Prize winner Mario Vargas Llosa, Mexican writer and Cervantes Literature Prize winner Carlos Fuentes; the also winner of the Cervantes, the Nicaraguan poet Ernesto Cardenal and the great Dominican designer Oscar de la Renta.
Further back in time, Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez have been guests at the Jaragua, being married. In those days it was said that at night Marc would go down to the kitchen on the inside of the hotel to get something for his then beloved, and chat with the service staff. Other artists who have been guests and attractions: Marco Antonio Muñiz and Vicky Carr, Francisco “Pancho” Céspedes, Diego el Cigala, among many others.
“Luna sobre el Jaragua”, one of the most beautiful Dominican romantic songs -composed by Luis Alberti and interpreted by Rafael Colón-, was inspired by the then lavish recreation site created by architect Guillermo González Sánchez, who is considered by many to be the father of modern Dominican architecture.
A tourist and cultural landmark hotel
In welcoming the 80th Anniversary Gala Dinner, Brock Hochhalter, general manager of Renaissance Jaragua in the region said: “Without a doubt, after eight decades of uninterrupted work, the Renaissance Santo Domingo Jaragua Hotel & Casino has become a reference in the tourism industry, a representative of the national culture and a privileged witness of the changes and evolution that the city of Santo Domingo has experienced”.