The year 2021 set an all-time record for tourist arrivals into Puerto Rico, surpassing 2019’s record year, so it was no surprise restaurants in San Juan seemed busier than normal when I visited last November.
This was great for Vianda’s chef Francis Guzman who, along with his wife Amelia Dill, endured hurricanes Maria and Irma as they were just setting up their modern restaurant in the Santurce neighborhood in 2017. Following a James Beard semifinalist nomination for Best New Restaurant, and Eater naming Vianda Puerto Rico’s “most exciting new restaurant” in fall 2018, COVID-19 hit the island in early 2020.
Fortunately, Puerto Rico became one of the Caribbean’s safest destinations during the pandemic; the island had one of the Caribbean’s highest vaccination rates and soon became swamped with leisure and business visitors, causing Vianda’s online reservation system to really start buzzing.
“Vianda serves a small, constantly evolving, farm-to-table menu anchored by local ingredients and products,” said Guzman, explaining the venue’s popularity. “This enables us to create fresh, delicious food focusing on the best that Puerto Rico has to offer, its agriculture and its warm hospitality.”
Though the Santurce neighborhood experienced some revitalization thanks to its vibrant artistic community and growing restaurant and coffee shop scene, hurricane damage and abandoned buildings still appear alongside the new facades of up-and-coming businesses. Santurce, once a vibrant “downtown” district, had seen significant disinvestment since the 1960s, but these days, the area is becoming known for its vibrant arts and cultural scene. The Centro de Bellas Artes Luis A. Ferréa and the Museum of Contemporary Art of Puerto Rico are close to Vianda, along with several art galleries, bookstores and a growing number of great little restaurants.
Guzman, born in San Juan, and Dill, a native of Philadelphia, took their 22 years of high-end San Francisco and New York restaurant experience and moved it to San Juan. Their affordable restaurant serves some of the best Puerto Rican seasonal dishes on the island. Some of the tasty menu items include the roasted beet salad with horseradish vinaigrette; chicken and cheese empanada; large and beautiful gambas; pork belly with coconut broth; and fresh halibut with mash potatoes and turmeric. With its large front windows overlooking the street, tiled flooring, soft lighting, local artwork on the walls and friendly staff, Vianda will not disappoint.
Half-timbered houses cluster around old churches with needle- thin spires. Grassy paths lead into thick pine forests. Jagged, sheer-sided mountains frame peaceful Alpine meadows. Welcome to the Dolomites — 18 peaks rising to more than 10,000 feet in the northern Italian Alps — designated a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Start planning that long-awaited trip to the island of Ireland. With all travel restrictions now lifted, there has never been a better time to visit.
For the second consecutive year, Niche.com ranked The Woodlands No. 1 Best City to Live in America. Located 30 miles north of downtown Houston, the planned community sits on 28,000 tree-filled acres. A welcoming retreat from the city, the 402-room Woodlands Resort is a short drive from George Bush Intercontinental Airport.
Noble House Hotels & Resorts welcomes Inn on Fifth, located in Naples, Florida, to its portfolio of luxury and unique properties. Inn on Fifth lies in the heart of Old Naples, featuring 119 guestrooms across two buildings. The property also boasts 43 spacious suites and lies just a few minutes’ walk to a wide selection of upscale boutiques, spas, salons, art galleries, cafés and fine-dining restaurants.
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California invites visitors and locals alike to experience some of Hilton’s newest hotel openings and renovations this year. Set to debut this fall, Zachari Dunes on Mandalay Beach, Curio Collection by Hilton lies between Malibu, and Santa Barbara, in Oxnard, California. Following a multimillion-dollar renovation and conversion, the resort will accept reservations beginning Oct. 1.
Often known as the city of sunshine, Albuquerque, New Mexico, takes pride in its colorful history, diverse cultures, dynamic traditions and natural beauty. But even as it celebrates its heritage, Albuquerque masters the fine art of embracing the future in the present. The result: an affordable yet vibrant Southwest city that retains its soul, keeping Albuquerque fresh yet enduring.
Whether you prefer a villa on the beach or an ultra-luxe suite downtown, you’ll find everything you’re looking for in Los Cabos.
It’s time to start dreaming of your next trip. Here’s some destination inspiration for you. Take a visual journey through Montreal, Canada, with us.