Situated within an early 19th century historic building, which for most of its 200-year existence housed the center of diplomacy for Puerto Rico, the hotel is located within the Old San Juan Historic District, the oldest European settlement in Puerto Rico and the United States.
The original lot dates back to 1838 and was first used as a cemetery. Sold to build the Plaza del Mercado, for many years the new building remained vacant. In 1872 Enrique Berrocal, architect and civil engineer, drew up plans for reconstruction that was completed in 1874.
Over the ensuing years, the site housed a variety of government offices including the US Post Office, the US Department of Agriculture and Commerce, the Biblioteca Insular, the Telegraph and Telephone office, and a colecturía until finally serving as Puerto Rico’s Department of State throughout the second half of the 20th century.