New American-run hotels in Cuba

Posted: 03-Jun-16 10:42

American-owned Starwood Hotels and Resorts, one of the largest hotel companies in the world, has just signed management deals for the operation of three pre-existing Havana hotels. A new travel blog, supported by world travellers, outlines the features of the three properties while speculating what the new deals will mean for visitors to the island in the near future.

New American-run hotels in Cuba

Known as one of the largest hotel companies on the planet, American-owned Starwood Hotels and Resorts has plans to open up three pre-existing Cuban hotel properties under the SPG brand this year. Starwood recently signed off on management deals for Hotel Inglaterra, Hotel Quinta Avenida and Hotel Santa Isabel.

A blogger for Travel Update, a relatively new travel blog maintained by travel writers from around the world, took a closer look at the three properties, hypothesizing on what SPG’s involvement will mean for future travellers to Cuba. Described by the blogger as quintessentially Havana-style properties, the trio of hotels all bring their own attributes to the SPG chain of hotels and resorts.

Hotel Inglaterra

The country’s oldest hotel standing, Hotel Inglaterra first opened up in 1875 and did not even have electricity until 1901. It includes 82 guest rooms and two restaurants spread across four floors. While a standard room can currently be booked at $97, the blogger predicts that price will go up along with the Starwood brand name.

Located close to El Capitolio and an easy walk from old Havana’s restaurants and bars, the hotel’s own website makes mention of its proximity to El Malecon and El Prado, as well. In addition, the location is marketed as a prime place to stay for exploring mansions and palaces of old Havana.

The hotel also boasts of the sightseeing tours that make a stop not far from its location, including the hop-off hop-on buses and the proximity of paladars that have opened up on city streets, offering guests an increased selection of culinary delights.

For evening entertainment, the hotel currently recommends the salsa dancing at Casa de la Musica, located in Miramar, or some of the old Havana bars for a more subdued version of live music. Other recommendations include the Vedado district’s jazz venues, including Trova and Boleros at El Gato Tuerto, Jazz Café for more contemporary selections or La Zorra y el Cuervo.

This particular hotel lists an opening date of August 31 and is listed as a Luxury Collection Hotel in Havana.

Hotel Quinta Avenida

Located about one mile from Havana’s capitol building, Hotel Quinta Avenida includes six floors and 75,000 square feet of accommodations. While a five-star hotel right now, featuring modern and colonial style design, the blogger notes the modern selections may not be limited to this hotel in the future, as its suspected that Starwood will renovate all three properties. The blogger was not able to determine the hotel’s current room rate. It is scheduled to open as a Four Points by Sheraton in early June.

The hotel website makes mention of five bars and restaurants within the property right now, including El Olivo, featuring international dining options for breakfast and dinner and traditional, a la carte Spanish cuisine at Don Quijote during the evening hours. Other current options include the Daiquiri Lobby Bar, serving up drinks and light food 24-hours-a-day and a snack bar open from late morning through early evening, also supplying drinks and light food. The fifth choice is Havana Café, open from late morning through late evening, offering drinks and light food selections.

Hotel Santa Isabel

The final hotel mentioned is Hotel Santa Isabel. Charging about $119 per night, this hotel is slightly more expensive than Hotel Inglaterra, with suites being booked at $212 per night. It is also being changed over to a Luxury Collection property during Starwoods renovations.

Located at the meeting point of Plaza de Armas square, this 27-room hotel is described as an easy walk from area bars and restaurants on Old Havana. It is also close to Castillo del la Real Fuerza, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the oldest stone fort in all of the Americas. The blogger mentions its website lists five reviews, all of a 5.0 rating.

While Starwood is not releasing details on what it plans to change, it’s suspected that the two Luxury Collection properties, Hotel Santa Isabel and Hotel Inglaterra, will become Category 6 properties, meaning 20,000 to 25,000 Starpoints. The author bases this conclusion on a 2.5 cents per point Starpoint valuation, along with the current room rate. As for Hotel Quinta Avenida, the conclusion is that it will become a Category 3-4 property of 7,000-10,000 Starpoints per night, which is noted as a great deal.

While Quinta Avenida and Inglaterra are listed on the Starwood website as upcoming hotels, Hotel Santa Isabel, which the blogger also does not have an opening date for, is not.


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