Starwood recently signed management deals on three pre-existing hotels in Havana, Cuba that will be opened under the SPG brand later this year. The hotels are quintessential Havana and, in my opinion, absolutely gorgeous.
Update: The Inglaterra is scheduled to re-open under SPG ownership on November 1, 2016. Check here for further updates.
Opened in 1875, Hotel Inglaterra is Cuba’s oldest hotel (it didn’t get electricity until 1901). The hotel has four floors, 82 rooms, and two restaurants. A standard room at the Inglaterra is $97USD, which will undoubtedly be increasing once Starwood brands it.
The hotel is situated adjacent to the Cuban Capitol building (el capitolio) and within walking distance of Old Havana, bars and restaurants, and other points of interest.
From Hotel Inglaterra’s website:
From the hotel you can walk to all the interesting sites in Central and old Havana including El Capitolio, El Prado, the famous sea boulevard El Malecon and of course the colonial architecture of old Havana including mansions, palaces and impressive fortifications. Other ways to explore Havana are by booking one of many exciting excursions or by boarding the “hop on hop off” open top sightseeing bus that stops close to the Inglaterra hotel.
The restaurants in Old Havana increasingly notice the stiff competition of the private restaurants or “paladars”, which have greatly improved the overall level of culinary offerings in the capital. Most of them are located in regular city streets all over town.
Nighttime is a great time in Havana. For Salsa dancing we recommend Casa de la Musica in Miramar where top salsa acts get the crowd moving. For a slightly lower key experience you can count old Havana bars where talented musicians often liven up the place. Music lovers will enjoy the Jazz venues in the Vedado district such as La Zorra y el Cuervo, the slightly more contemporary Jazz Café or El Gato Tuerto, which features different styles of traditional Cuban music including steamy Boleros and Trova.
Update: Since the time of writing this post the Four Points Havana has opened for business! Click the link above to book.
The Hotel Quinta Avenida in La Habana is a six-floor, 75,000 square-foot hotel about one mile from the Capitol building in Havana. It’s currently listed as a five-star hotel with a “mix of colonial and modern style.” The hotel rooms look a bit more modern than the Inglaterra, but don’t take too much stock in that as SPG will be renovating all three of these properties.
Currently, there are five restaurants/bars in the Quinta Avenida (from the hotel website):
– El Olivo: International Cuisine. Well Dress code applied. Breakfast (7:00 to 10:30) Dinner (19:00-22:00).
– Don Quijote: Traditional Spanish cuisine. A la carte. Well Dress code applied Opening Hours (18:00 to 22:30).
– Daiquiri Lobby Bar: Light food, national and international drinks. Open 24 hours a day.
– Snack Bar: Light food, national and international drinks. Opening Hours (10:00-18:00).
– Havana Café: Light food, national and international drinks. Opening Hours (11:00 to 23:00).
Note – At the time of this posting, I was not able to find a room rate for this hotel.
The Hotel Santa Isabel is 27-room, colonial style hotel located along the point where the Port of Havana and Canal de Entrada meet. At roughly $119USD per night, the Santa Isabel slots just above the Hotel Inglaterra in terms of price (the highest tier room – Suite – is $212USD per night). Like the Inglaterra, the Santa Isabel will be renovated by SPG and converted to a Luxury Collection property.
The hotel is within walking distance to many excellent restaurants and bars and is located on the Plaza de Armas, which is the typical name for the main square in traditional Hispanic American cities. To give you some context, San Antonio TX has a Plaza de Armas.
Another cool landmark nearby is the Castillo de la Real Fuerza which is a star-shaped fort located a stone’s throw away. It is considered to the be the oldest stone fort in the Americas and is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
For what it’s worth, the Hotel Santa Isabel has only received five reviews (per the website) and all five give it a 5.0 rating.
No word yet on by how much these hotels will change after SPG gets a hold of them, but they are beautiful properties in a very exotic place – Havana. My guess is that the two Luxury Collection properties will be Category 6 properties (20,000-25,000 Starpoints) based purely on the room rate and my current Starpoint valuation of 2.5 cents per point. The Hotel Quinta Avenida will most likely be a Category 3/4 property ranging from 7,000 to 10,000 Starpoints per night (a pretty good deal).
Interestingly enough, Starwood’s website already lists the Quinta Avenida and Inglaterra as upcoming hotels, but has no mention of the Hotel Santa Isabel:
Which hotel in Cuba are you looking to try out?