Skift confident in Cuba's future options with luxury travellers

Posted: 18-Aug-16 13:30

High-end hotel and holiday rental market on the Caribbean's least-trodden island are set grow in coming years, but organised tours may still be the ticket for many visitors. And, according to report published by Bloomberg, those travellers in search of luxury are being catered for with amenities being improved all the time.

Skift confident in Cuba's future options with luxury travellers

With its Caribbean setting and charming colonial architecture it's not hard to find beauty in Cuba, and improvements to infrastructure are now making a luxury travel experience possible on the island, according to a report by Bloomberg.

The first commercial flights to Cuba out of the US depart on August 31st and there are a planned 50,000 hotel rooms soon to be completed, so a great number of people are taking the chance to book a trip. Demand may currently be high for accommodation but there are options available if you know what to look for.

It might not be your usual way to plan a vacation, but organised tours offer certain advantages when travelling in Cuba. Melissa Biggs Bradley, founder and CEO of Indagare, explains:

“Many of the larger reputable hotels in Havana are reserving their rooms only for big group trips of 40 to 60 travellers... [Places] prefer to sell a few big blocks of rooms instead of one-off reservations.”

This can result in a lack of availability for independent travellers. Tour operators can also be helpful when it comes to organising any paperwork you may have to complete for your visit.

Like many other destinations around the world, Airbnb has increased availability of accommodation in Cuba by adding access to private rooms across the country. In fact, there has long been a tradition amongst locals to offer the chance to experience the island in this unique way. An Airbnb spokesperson declared:

“Cubans have been opening their doors to all types of travellers from all over the world for more than 20 years through the country’s existing cases particulares (private homestays) network."

Another option for those looking for something a little bit different will be landing in January 2017 as the first yacht-based cruises aboard Le Ponant set sail. Offering 64 guests the chance to see Havana and Santiago on seven and eight night voyages, the ship features nautical-themed cabins that come equipped with satellite phones to stay in touch whilst off the beaten track.

Those worried that things may develop too quickly shouldn't worry either, though, says Arevalo of Cuba Travel Network:

“Cuba’s not going to change tomorrow—or in two years.”

But, he continues, things are definitely looking up:

“People are already going to Cuba, loving it, and wanting to go back again and again. We’re busy every day and we’re thankful for that.”

It may be hard to resist the temptation to book your trip right away, but waiting at least a little while could prove to be a wise move. Things are improving all the time and amenities like wi-fi are only just beginning to become widespread. Giving the country the chance to adapt to this new era of tourism may offer travellers a better experience when they do visit.


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