Cuba’s tourism statistics are up and are expected to rise despite the unknown factor raised by the Trump administration. Considering that most of the luxury hotels in Havana in use today were erected in colonial times, the hotel tourism sector is in a crisis. Occupancy rates in the luxury and boutique hotel segment are reportedly at a high of 98% during winter. Cuba is responding to this rise with a massive construction and refurbishment of old buildings, especially in Havana.
Cuba has sought to attract more investors to increase her capacity of hotel rooms and management of the aging properties. With the trend showing an increase in the number of Latin, Russian, European, and American visitors, extensive construction and renovation of 5 star hotels is underway. This is part of the Cuban Government infrastructure plan that targets the construction of 108,000 new hotel rooms by the year 2030.
Gran Hotel Kempinski La Habana, to open shortly, leads the pack of the most anticipated hotels to be opened between 2017 and 2018. Kempinski now manages the Manzana de Gomez building, the once vibrant but already decaying shopping mall in the heart of Cuban capital. With renovations completed, Hotel Kempinski is poised to become the most luxurious hotel in Havana.
Gran Hotel Kempinski Manzana La Habana is situated in Havana Vieja, one of the areas in Cuba that attract high tourist traffic all year round. It lies in a serene environment about a 30 minute drive from the Jose Marti International Airport. Equipped with king size beds and high speed internet connection, the rooms are exquisite. Each of the gran deluxe rooms features two large French windows for the best view of the Havana’s Parque Central.
The Cuban government has entrusted the reconstruction works to the luxury Swiss chain and German-based hotelier Kempinski. Refurbishment took place around the clock with more than 200 Indian laborers brought along by the French construction group Bouygues for reinforcement. Hotel Kempinski features a total of 246 rooms with five star luxury standards spread over five floors.
Hotel Kempinski also houses a number of recreation facilities, including a spa, cigar lounge, fitness center, rooftop pool, and a panoramic bar and restaurant in the rooftop. The roof top effectively crowns the value of the five star hotels as it offers a brilliant view of Old Havana.
Havana also focuses to restore its former glory through Hotel Packard, a colonial masterpiece that has lain in ruin for the last few decades. Hotel Packard was a major tourist destination in the 1920s after it was erected, but collapsed walls, and decay has since overtaken its grandeur. The hotel prides in its strategic location along the Havana Bay, facing significant structures such as the El Morro castle and lighthouse. Reconstruction and refurbishing are being undertaken by Iberostar, a Spanish hotelier. Its design has been entrusted to Rafael Moreno, the Spanish architect behind the reconstruction of Museo del Prado in Madrid.
Also expected to revamp the scene of Havana by the end of 2018 is Hotel Prado y Malecon. As its name suggests, the hotel will be located at the intersection of Paseo del Prado and Malecon seawall promenade. Upon its completion, Hotel Prado y Malecon will become yet another prestigious property with a total of 208 luxury rooms. While not much detail about this hotel has been released, it is believed the construction will be a joint venture between the Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Company and the Habaguanex Group, a Havana-based hotel chain responsible for hotel renovation in the island.
Last year, the Cuban government signed a joint venture agreement with the U.S. based Starwood Resorts and Hotels to renovate the Hotel Quinta Avenida, Santa Isabel, and the Inglaterra hotels in Havana.
More hotel openings in Havana are still in the pipeline, with four more boutique hotels named. Although the construction timelines of these hotels have not been revealed, their completion is expected to be before 2030. These boutique hotels are the Gran Hotel Metropolitano, Hotel Prado 56, Hotel Regis, and the Gran Hotel.
Refurbishment of the Gran Hotel Metropolitano and Hotel Regis are already in the first phase of construction.