International banker Valentin Hernandez and his wife Yaz, the Park Avenue heiress who is chairman of the FIT Couture Council, popped down to Puerto Rico during the holidays to visit her madre, Toni Colon Nevares, and naturally, while they were there, they dined at Santaella, the hottest restaurant in San Juan.
Imagine their surprise—go ahead, imagine it—when sitting at a nearby table was the most talked-about couple in all of the Spanish-speaking world, the Peruvian-born novelist Mario Vargas Llosa and the Filapina-born Spanish socialite Isabel Preysler.
One might not know it if one reads only the New York papers, but these two have been página uno news in all the periodicos since the Nobel-prizewinning author, age 79, left Patricia, his wife of fifty years, in 2015 after he fell in love with the 65-year-old former journalist. Isabel had married Julio Iglesias when he was just launching his career as a singer and bore him three children, including the pop star Enrique. She is known in the Philippines as “The Pearl of Manila” and in Madrid as “The Queen of Glamour”. Muy buena, no?
Yaz and Valentin were thrilled to bump into Mario, whom they had met in 2008 when he was honored at the annual gala of the Museo del Barrio, where Yaz was president at the time. Vargas Llosa received his award from the late great Oscar De La Renta. So they had a nice chat about that, and how much Mario and Isabel were enjoying their visit to Puerto Rico.
The Hernandezes, known in New York for their hospitality, asked the waiter to send the distinguished visitors a bottle of fine wine with their compliments, but the prolific writer and the preternaturally youthful beauty declined the offer. “They do not consume alcoholic beverages,” the sommelier reported back.
Last spring, the couple gave an exclusive interview to Hola! about their new romance, for which they were compensated, according to The Daily Mail, to the tune of 600,000 pounds sterling. In the interview, Isabel and Mario asked for “privacy”.
Getting back to Santaella, also there by happenstance was Yaz and Valentin’s dear friend Sila Calderon. The always elegantly attired Sila was the 8th Governor of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico from 2001 to 2005. She is a frequent presence in New York, where she is a Trustee of the NY Public Library.
Leaving San Juan, Yaz and Valentin jetted to Vail, where every winter they ski for two weeks. As you know, Vail is just as upscale as Aspen—the real estate is just as expensive—but the social scene is less frenetic and more under-the-radar. It’s for folks who want to avoid the spotlight. Do you know anyone who falls into that category? I thought not.