Each year IGLTA hosts a Global Convention attracting hundreds of tourism professionals from around the globe. In addition to being the largest convention of its kind, it is also the longest-running convention specifically dedicated to supporting the LGBTQ+ travel community. The 40th anniversary edition of the conference will be held from 4 - 7 October, 2023, in #SanJuan, Puerto Rico, and will connect LGBTQ+ welcoming travel and tourism suppliers and buyers through its hosted buyer and scheduled appointment program, an LGBTQ+ Tourism Expo, numerous educational workshops and networking receptions.
San Juan previously hosted the IGLTA Global Convention in 1985, two years after the creation of IGLTA. 

The IGLTA team spent a week in #SanJuan at our annual Staff Retreat, preparing for our 40th Anniversary Global Convention. During that week we stayed at the Fairmont El San Juan, one of the “leading brands in the global hospitality industry, with a distinctive collection and a worldwide reputation for excellence”* and part of the Accor family of brands. 

Accor has been a proud IGLTA Platinum-level Global Partner since 2021, and the brand’s global commitment to welcoming LGBTQ+ travelers helps ensure the hospitality industry is a safe and inclusive space for all. Together, we will continue to facilitate and drive equality within the travel sector. This is why the IGLTA staff was thrilled to experience first hand the hospitality of one of the most iconic hotels in Puerto Rico. For more information regarding the IGLTA Global Partnership with Accor please visit https://www.iglta.org/listing/accor/4821/

According to the hotel’s website, the Fairmont El San Juan Hotel was designed by the legendary Miami Beach architect Morris Lapidus and has been welcoming locals and tourists since 1958. For its first three decades, internationally renowned headliners performed on its stage each week, including Sammy Davis Jr., Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, Eddie Fisher, Carol Channing and Liza Minelli, among other icons of the time. Fast forward to today, and El San Juan Hotel remains a timeless Puerto Rican icon, seamlessly blending the best elements of yesterday, today, and tomorrow. For more information about the history of the hotel please visit https://www.elsanjuanhotel.com/about/history 


As a way to show our appreciation for the amazing time we had at the Fairmont El San Juan, the IGLTA staff shared their favorite moments of our stay. Learn more about our favorite spots in Puerto Rico and get to know the IGLTA Team, who we are and what we like:

My colleague Martina and I both love to wake up early. And at the beautiful Fairmont in San Juan, our tradition had to be maintained. So we arranged to meet on the beach at 6:30 AM, Martina was the first to dive into the ocean. It was a big blue pool with delicious water inviting you to relax and have a long chat, connecting two members of our dear IGLTA families, South Africa and Brazil. Then we went to breakfast, being greeted by a close-knit and very attentive Fairmont team. Get ready for a delicious and complete breakfast buffet, all with a view of the veranda and the pool. On the following days, participation in our sunrise swim from other IGLTA staff members increased, starting with Leandro, then Clark, Amine and Antonella. Everything was wonderful with the attention of the Fairmont Staff.

              IGLTA Staff Retreat 3              IGLTA Staff Retreat 


I arrived in Puerto Rico a day early so that I could just sit at the beach all day on Sunday. The Fairmont Beach Club has everything you need for a great day in the sun: plenty of towels, beach chairs and even sunscreen provided to hotel guests at no additional cost! Plus, the food, drinks and service were all great. As part of their sustainability efforts, the Fairmont also provides reusable water bottles to all guests. There are filling stations located throughout the hotel, which is really convenient too! We also took some time to explore Old San Juan which is absolutely charming. The blue cobblestones, colorful colonial houses, buildings and street art provide the visitor with plenty of instagrammable moments! Sights include the house where the Piña Colada Cocktail was created, the I❤️SJ sign, and the church where JLO was married. Don't miss the great views from the Punta del Morro and save time to take a stroll around the grounds of the Castello San Felipe del Morro! 

              IGLTA Staff Retreat.               IGLTA Staff Retreat


I was the last one of the team to get to Puerto Rico. It was too late for me to join them in the activities they did that Monday so the first place I went was the hotel beach to watch the sunset, and it was breathtaking. Since that sunset to the end of our trip I was happily surprised by the kind smiles of all the staff members, everywhere I went there was someone willing to help, from Orly who served me coffee every morning with a huge smile to Manuel who helped us with every event, meeting and also group pictures! And the cherry on top was the cats! Many of my friends know that I am the “Crazy Cat lady” and when I saw all the beautiful cats that walked around the hotel and played with the guests, I knew I found a special place! Definitely that week in Puerto Rico was the best way to start 2023! Gracias Accor y Fairmont y gracias Puerto Rico!

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Puerto Rico has warm weather year round and it's a great escape from the winter back home. I really enjoyed the historic design of the hotel in the lobby and the beachside location was stunning. There was a full gym on site so I was able to keep up my normal workout routine. Overall a great venue and the staff was very friendly.      IGLTA Staff Retreat​                                   

Sometimes little details make a big impression. I loved the beautiful networking event with Discover Puerto Rico under the Fairmont's courtyard banyan tree, an elegant beauty that gave the reception tropical flair. The hotel's juxtaposition of the natural with the playful, courtesy of electric chandeliers hanging from the tree branches, really made me smile. Years ago, on a date with my wife, we drove through a neighborhood in California where a resident had created the "Chandelier Tree," decorating a tree in front of their house in a similar way. That tree is long gone, so I was thrilled to see the Fairmont's banyan. There's nothing like a little night magic.

                                                           IGLTA Staff Retreat

I have been in Puerto Rico several times, but this time that I stayed in Fairmont El San Juan has been one of the best visits to the island so far. I have been living in Florida for almost 6 years but now I want to live in Puerto Rico due to Fairmont El San Juan!
Que rico Puerto Rico !

                                                          IGLTA Staff Retreat


The Fairmont El San Juan provided a truly incredible experience, from start to finish. Swimming in the beach with my colleagues while watching the sunrise in front of the hotel was a highlight. The meeting room was top-notch, equipped with all the necessary technology and facilities for a successful team retreat. The staff at the hotel was truly exceptional, providing warm hospitality and attentive service that made the retreat even more memorable. Whether it was lounging by the beautiful outdoor pool or exploring the local area, every moment of our staff retreat was a true delight. The hotel truly exceeded expectations and created a truly unforgettable experience.

                 IGLTA Staff Retreat               IGLTA Staff Retreat


All of our IGLTA staff were thrilled to be at the wonderful property of Fairmont El San Juan. The hotel is a precious jewel, beautiful and comfortable. The tasty breakfast was the best incentive to wake up very early and dive into the beautiful sea right in front, plus the great and kind service of the whole staff, always with professionalism and a great smile (I would like to personally highlight the 5-star service of Rafael and Janette - both of them work at the breakfast area and Tomas who works at security/lobby area). 

It was also so nice to see some LGBTQ+ couples and travelers at the hotel satisfied with the property and service - in the end, that's what we all here work for. 


                                     IGLTA Staff Retreat               IGLTA Satff retreat


The location was just perfect, the sunrise and sunsets were beautiful! It was an absolute pleasure to be there at the Fairmont. The hotel was clean and always smelled nice and the staff was extremely friendly and helpful. The hotel was very spacious and never felt cramped. My room was both comfortable and elegant with an extra sitting area which I always enjoy. The resort is beautiful and feels very relaxing and soothing. The many bars throughout the property made great drinks and I had a good time just enjoying cocktails and chatting with my coworkers. Overall, I had a great stay and would recommend to anyone I know visiting Puerto Rico!

                                   IGLTA Staff Retreat               IGLTA Staff Retreat



We had a great time in San Juan, and you can too at our IGLTA 2023 Global Convention! Come and celebrate our 40th anniversary while attending the premier event of LGBTQ+ tourism. Click here for more information: https://www.igltaconvention.org/event/93a993b4-fbcc-4669-af48-e99f4af946a6/summary and register now: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/iglta-40th-anniversary-global-convention-tickets-443213021077 

IGLTA Staff Retreat


To plan your trip and explore the many LGBTQ+-friendly places around Puerto Rico before and after the convention, please visit https://www.discoverpuertorico.com/iglta-puerto-rico