The 15 Dream Destination Conference 2016 or DDC16 Elite trip couples began arriving on Fri., June 10, at the legendary, five-star Condado Vanderbilt Hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
A walk through the Condado Vanderbilt’s opulent lobby makes it clear that luxury, elegance and style are a way of life here at Puerto Rico’s premier oceanfront hotel. Rich in history, it was like stepping back in time, complete with that “white glove” service and attention to detail that’s so rare these days.
That evening, everyone enjoyed a Welcome reception and dinner at Condado Vanderbilt’s signature 1919 Restaurant. One of the city’s five-star restaurants, 1919 is under the purview of Michelin-star Chef Juan Jose Cuevas.
A native son of Puerto Rico, Chef Cuevas treated us to a meal prepared with meticulous care and served up with an extraordinary view of the Atlantic Ocean. With the focus on crafting food that is “flavor forward,” Restaurant 1919 was a true experience in world-class dining. We enjoyed a sumptuous meal and spent time relaxing and celebrating our DDC16 Elite trip winners’ incredible accomplishments.
Saturday was a day of leisure for our DDC16 Elite winners. Some opted to shop in the high-end stores and boutiques near the hotel, while others explored charming and historic Old San Juan. But for others, it was a day spent lounging by the pool or soaking up the rays on the beach.
That evening, we headed to Marmalade Restaurant and Wine Bar in Old San Juan. This would be our second five-star dining experience in Puerto Rico, and it was a culinary journey like no other.
Award-winning, American-born chef, Peter Schintler, created a unique 15-course dinner that included a creative combination of nine different appetizers served “tapas style” for the group to share. We enjoyed Marmalade’s signature white bean and black truffle soup with pancetta, followed by a choice of entrée. Dessert was a tasting of four different, imaginative creations that were simply divine. Combined with Phil’s personal selections from their Wine Spectator award-winning wine list, it was an experience in service, talent, and taste unlike any other. Saturday’s dinner at Marmalade was sponsored by National Life Group. The DDC16 Elite qualifiers were grateful to have David Gilmore, a NLG representative and long-time friend of FFS, there with us on the trip.
We gathered together Sunday morning for a breakfast meeting, before heading to the St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort where we would join the rest of the Dream Destination qualifiers. The 100 Main trip couples arrived throughout the day.
Our next four days in paradise promise to be fun and exciting, with more fabulous dining on the menu. Several events have been scheduled, including the FFS Olympics, which will allow our winners to explore the full measure of this amazing resort and all it has to offer. Of course, there will be plenty of time for some R&R on the beach or poolside, as well as at Remede Spa. Be sure to check back throughout the week to see some great pictures and get more updates on our trip.
To see more images from First Financial Security’s DDC16 Elite Trip in Puerto Rico, please visit FFS’ Flickr account!