Starwood announced that they will become the first US based hotel company to run hotels in Cuba in almost 60 years, after they received the go-ahead from the US Treasury Department to operate hotels in Cuba.

Hotel Inglaterra, Hotel Quinta Avenida, and Hotel Santa Isabel are all set to become Starwood properties with letters of intent signed. Hotel Inglaterra and Hotel Santa Isabel will be part of the Luxury Collection, and Hotel Quinta Avenida will become a Four Points by Sheraton.

The national landmark of Hotel Inglaterra first opened in 1875, is located in downtown Havana and its Gran Cafe el Louvre is well-known in artist circles. The property will undergo renovation and have 83 guestrooms when reopening under the Starwood brand.

Hotel Inglaterra screenshot from their website

Hotel Inglaterra screenshot from their website

The 19th century colonial-style palace that is the Hotel Santa Isabel is located in the Plaza de Armas and overlooks Havana Harbor. Pending US Treasury Department approval, the property will be carefully renovated to offer just 27 guestrooms, 11 of which will be suites.

In other news…

After Starwood’s Friday surprise press release that their Board of Directors determined that the offer from the Chinese firm was a “superior proposal” to that initially offered by Marriott for a merger, there were mixed feelings. Sighs of relief from SPG loyalists, concern from those eyeing the merger from a political perspective, and curiosity at what the next step would be.

Today, the big news is that Marriott has made a counter offer and….Starwood has accepted.

Marriott’s counter bid increased from $12.2 billion to $13.6 billion. Consortium led by Anbang Insurance Group’s bid was $12.8 billion in all cash, but Marriott’s bid was higher.

The stockholder meeting originally scheduled for March 28, 2016 had been postponed, which has been rescheduled for April 8, 2016 with a Marriott conference call at 8am ET March 21, 2016.

If you want to follow along on the call, the phone number for the conference call is 866-966-5335 with no passcode required. The call will be webcast simultaneously here –

How do you feel about Starwood merging with (being taken over by) Marriott?