Havana’s First 5-Star Hotel Just Opened

In 2015, sanctions began to be lifted between the US and Cuba, which would eventually lead to US airlines offerings thousands of daily seats between the US and Havana, which in many ways the city was unprepared for.

I had the chance to visit Havana last December. I’m happy I had the chance to visit, but have no plans to return anytime soon.

When it comes to lodging, the single most popular option for people is Casa Particulares. This is the equivalent of a small scale bed & breakfast, where you stay in someone’s house. That no doubt sounds like a local experience and the best way to go, but this is a miles & points blog, so I decided to stay at the first US hotel to open in Cuba since sanctions began to be lifted.

Starwood was the first US hotel group to announce their intentions to take over properties in Cuba, as they’re taking over two hotels. The Four Points by Sheraton was one of them. The hotel was out of the way and insanely expensive, though the expensive part is an issue with all hotels in Havana. Demand has shot way up while capacity can’t update that quickly, which has led to prices for most things in Havana skyrocketing.

Anyway, for anyone looking for a true luxury hotel (or at least as close as you’ll get to real luxury in Havana), Havana’s first five star hotel, the Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski La Habana, has just opened. As the name suggests, the hotel is run by Kempinski, and it actually looks nice. Here’s how the hotel is described:

Originally built between 1894 and 1917 as the first European style shopping arcade in Cuba, Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski La Habana is situated in the heart of the old Havana with a direct view of the Capitol and the Great Theatre of Havana and amidst UNESCO World Heritage sites. The famous Castillo del Morro is accessible within a 10 minute drive. Experience the first true luxury hotel in Cuba and indulge yourself while staying in one of our 246 large rooms or suites with extra high ceilings and French windows opening out to the old city. Experience a variety of restaurants and bars, which also includes a one of a kind cigar lounge and a roof top Panoramic Restaurant and Bar with spectacular views over the old city. Relax in our spa, fitness center and rooftop pool.

Here are some pictures of the hotel:

As you might expect, rates at the hotel are pretty high, but I was actually expecting them to be higher. Pre-opening rates seem to be 440USD. Don’t get me wrong, that’s a lot of money, but we paid almost that much at the Four Points, which was a bit of a dump. Perhaps these are just pre-opening rates, and they’ll eventually go up, or perhaps the Cuba craze is dying down a bit, given that it has now been about a year.

I know lots of people have been wanting to visit Havana without “roughing it,” and this looks like a great option for those people.

Starwood is eventually supposed to open a Luxury Collection property in Havana as well (currently Hotel Inglaterra), though there have been constant delays with that, so we’ll see if/when that happens.

(Tip of the hat to Point Me to the Plane)

Comments

  1. Hello PointPros,

    I would appreciate a response to my remarks emailed a week ago.

    This is the 5th time I have had to chase your organisation for a response. Would you please advise if this is an overly busy time, or to be frank, plain sloppiness?

    Apologies to others reviewing this actual topic however it is difficult to illicit a response from PointPros.

  2. A friend of mine went to Havana in October and stayed at the Iberostar Parque Central. According to him it was a really nice hotel, which wasn’t expensive in Cuban standards (circa. $280 per night). Though in honesty the Kempinski looks better

  3. I’m not big into Airbnb, but that is by far the best (and cheapest) way to stay in Cuba. We stayed in 3 different houses/apartments when we were there a few months ago and all were fantastic, for ~$10/person. Until the hotels greatly improve, this is what I would recommend.

  4. Hi I planned a trip to Cuba in August as a cruise. The best way to go you shop all day sightseeing do the beach and at night come and sleep on the ship. It’s something to think about.

  5. I went to Cuba November 2016 and remember this hotel still under construction. It sits right across the road from all angles of Cubas poverty. I think it’s disgusting, waving such luxury in their faces whilst the locals live in the conditions they do. Don’t get me wrong, the hotel looks beautiful and I bet it is! But you don’t go to Cuba for the glam and luxury. It is history, education, culture, art, dance and music.

  6. Obviously the current socialist government has done little for its citizens while its leader sits on billions.
    How many boats of cuban americans do you see crossing the ocean from Flordia to get into Cuba?
    Cubans are a majoriy enterprising, Republican capitalists therfore applaud this property as a first step to individual prosperity and a step forward in turning around a failed economy. Cuba has the the great potential of becoming the jewell of the Atlantic.
    Can’t wait to see a thriving Cuban.

  7. @ Kristopher — Grrr, sorry for the delay, and just sent you a fresh email! Not sure what is going on with our CRM, so please keep an eye out for it.

  8. I just returned from Cuba, via a cruise. It was great experiencing the history first hand. It was also nice to be able to return to a clean state room and shower. The people were warm and friendly. I cant wait to return and see all i missed on my quick trip. God bless the people of Cuba.

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