Castillo Serrallés History
Castillo Serrallés is the family home of the best selling rum brand in Puerto Rico, Don Q. This incredible castle and much of the entire city of Ponce, was build as part of the vast Serrallés family fortune.
Built in 1930, this four story concrete castle sits on top of a hill overlooking downtown Ponce, Puerto Rico. The former family mansion turned museum is Spanish Revival or Spanish Moroccan architecture designed in the 1920’s. Surrounded by magnificently manicured gardens, there is a strong breeze from the Caribbean Sea to naturally cool the property.
Originally from Catalonia, Spain, the Serrallés family began sugar cane production in Puerto Rico in the 1830’s and opened the first rum distillery in 1865. The sugar plantation and operations covered most of what is now the city of Ponce. The Ponce airport began as the Serrallés family private airport! There was even a rail line to transport train cars full of sugar cane. Housing was provided to the workers, and many of those houses still belong to descendants of the original Destilería Serrallés families.
The 2.5 acre museum is a must-see for architecture fans and history buffs. The interior is filled with original furniture, dishes, art work, and remnants from rum production. The Castle is now owned by the municipality of Ponce, Puerto Rico.
Admission Tickets and Guided Tour
Museo Castillo Serrallés is open for tours Friday through Sunday 11 AM until 4PM.
Tickets can be purchased on-site for $10 for admission to the property, or $15 for property admission plus guided tour, plus access to the Japanese Gardens located up the hill. Student tickets (with photo ID) can be purchased on-site for only $5 each. Arrive before Noon to ensure same day tickets, tours sell out quickly and you may miss out.
During peak tourist season, buy your tickets on-line to reserve your spot. Online tickets are an additional $5 per person with third party ticket fees.
The museum tour guides are proficient in both English and Spanish. Be sure to ask for the English tour if you don’t speak Spanish. The tour begins in the auditorium with a 15 minute video (in Spanish with English subtitles) on a brief history of the family and promotion for on-site events and destination weddings.
The guided tour focuses on architecture, Serrallés family history, life in the 1930’s, and the details of the home. While the Serrallés family owns and operates the Destilería Serrallés that produces Don Q rum, only a small portion of the tour here actually discussed rum production. There are several rooms full of photos and memorabilia about the sugar plantation workers and sugar cane production.
In order to keep the tour moving, photos and videos are not allowed until after passing the kitchen and out onto the upper terrace. There are so many beautiful clocks, fancy dishes, ornate furniture, and décor throughout the mansion that really must be seen for yourself. Indoor museum access is only allowed during the guided tours.
I would not recommend the tour for families with small children. There are many fragile items that cannot be replaced, and quite simply young children would be incredibly bored on the tour.
The tour ends at the still working elevator. One of the earliest elevators ever installed on the island! It features a lattice wire door and is rated up to 800 pounds. The garage (now converted to a gift shop) is just steps away from the elevator.
Weddings, Corporate Events, and Photoshoots
The incredible views make Castillo Serrallés a stunning location for weddings and events. There were several photoshoots the morning of my visit, including engagement photos and a Quinceañera (15th birthday) girl in her gorgeous pink gown.
There is even a pink castle background, La Reina de las Muñecas (Queen of the Dolls), where you can feel like a Queen straight out of a Fairytale!
The back garden offers so many perfect photo spots, choose from the massive Guanacaste tree, multiple column lined terraces, lush foliage, or elegant fountain pool with views over the city of Ponce out to the Caribbean Sea.
Jardín Japonés (Japanese Garden)
Also owned by the Serrallés family (now part of the Serrallés museum) is the Japanese Zen garden located directly above the Castillo Serrallés. Same day entry to the garden is included with the price of admission for the Castillo Serrallés, so be sure to visit this tranquil garden featuring bonsai trees, water features, striking red bridges over the rivers, and koi fish ponds.
Cruceta del Vigía (The Watchman Cross)
Towering above the Castillo Serrallés is Cruceta del Vigía, a 10 story, 100 feet tall observation deck in the shape of a giant cross. Visitors can walk or ride the elevator to the top for views across the city of Ponce. The cross is not part of the Serrallés family property or the museum. Tickets must be purchased separately at the base in the tourist center.
Discover the history of Ponce, Puerto Rico!