Hotel infrastructure in Cuba has vastly improved over the last couple of years because of government initiatives which foresaw the necessity to provide accommodation for the increasing number of international tourist arrivals year over year. The Ministry of Tourism formulated a comprehensive blueprint for infrastructure growth and development between 2018 to 2030.
The directives include an aggressive program of hotel construction with the ambition to provide 103,000 new rooms and at least eight new hotels by 2030. Hotel renovations and an increase in the number of housing and room rentals via such companies as Air BnB will supplement the necessity for more tourist accommodations.
Tourism is Cuba’s second largest source of income and contributes 10% to the gross domestic product (GDP) annually. It is one of the largest providers of employment to Cubans generating over half a million jobs.
At the present time there are 26,602 rooms and houses available for rent throughout Cuba ranging from budget to luxury levels of accommodation.
In the next few years, it has been projected that 40 hotels will have opened their doors, been renovated or at least in the construction phase. These new hotels will provide 18,000 new rooms. This is a part of the government’s plan to modernize and update the country’s existing hotel infrastructure.
Hotels set to open in Havana in the near future include the SO/ Prado y Malecón Havana Paseo del Prado, Corona, Metropolitano, Gran Hotel, located on Malecón and D Street, 3rd and 70th Streets, and 25th and K Streets.
Current hotel renovations in progress in Havana include the Habana Riviera, Habana Libre, Deauville, Lincoln, Sevilla, Cohíba, Colina, Vedado, St. Johns, Neptuno Tritón and Copacabana. Renovations to another five hotels including the famous New York hotel are in the planning stages.
There are plans for development at the Tarará and Hemingway Marinas and other marinas throughout the Island which will provide even more hotel accommodation and freehold luxury condos for sale.
Spain’s Meliá Hotels and Resorts which has been operating in Cuba for the last 29 years, continues a program of rapid expansion throughout the Island and currently owns and/or manages 34 hotels and resorts and 14,661 rooms.
In 2017, Melia expanded to the historical cities of Cienfuegos, Trinidad (three hotels), and renovated and assumed the management of hotels in those cities. The Company also began to partner with the Islazul hotel group in Camagüey, for the management of three Islazul hotels. These projects are expected to be completed before 2020.
India’s MGM Muthu Hotels has recently opened its fourth hotel in Cuba this year. Hotel Grand Muthu Cayo Guillermo, Gran Muthu Imperial Hotel, Muthu Playa Varadero previously known as Coralia Club Playa de Oro, and Gran Muthu Rainbow Hotel is a five star hotel located in Playa Playuelas, near Cayo Guillermo now in operation.
Iberostar Hotels & Resorts recently opened its first Cuban luxury hotel in Old Havana in late 2018. The Grand Packard Hotel is a 321-room property at the base of the del Prado boulevard. The hotel group completely restored and rebuilt the original hotel. The company has also renovated Havana’s famous Habana Riviera Hotel. Iberostar currently operates 27 hotels and resorts with 7,881 rooms throughout the Island.
Paris-based AccorHotels will soon open the much anticipated 5 star luxury Havana Paseo del Prado overlooking the Malecon in May, 2019. The construction and interior design are almost completed and ready for opening day. AccorHotels also manages the Hotel Mercure Sevilla Havana and the Pullman Resort in Cayo Coco.
Zoe Veraz is a content writer, freelance journalist and regular contributor to the Cuba Business Report.