Starwood Signs Historic Deals for 3 Havana Hotels
Starwood Hotels and Resorts announced two management deals and a letter of intent Saturday that would make it the first American hotelier to operate hotels in Cuba in more than half a century.
On the even of President Obama’s visit to the island nation, Starwood said it plans manage three hotels there after making multi-million dollar investments to renovate them. The Hotel Inglaterra, one of Havana’s most iconic properties, will reopen after renovations as a Starwood Luxury Collection property under the same name. Located in Old Havana and owned by Gran Caribe, a Cuban state tourism company, the hotel first opened in 1875 and includes Winston Churchill among its past guests.
Despite the progress in U.S.-Cuba relations, such deals are still prohibited because the U.S. economic embargo of Cuba is still in place but Starwood said it had received special permission from the U.S. Treasury Department last week to proceed.
When it reopens, it will have 83 rooms and continue to be the home of the Gran Café el Louvre.
The Hotel Quinta Avenida, owned by Grupo de Turismo Gaviota, a Cuban military-run tourism group, is slated to become a Four Points by Sheraton property. It will have approximately 186 rooms, new state-of-the-art meeting facilities, and will focus on the business-travel market.
In addition, the hotelier said it has signed a letter of intent with Habaguanex, a state-run company that owns multiple properties in Old Havana, for the Hotel Santa Isabel, a nineteenth century, colonial-style palace, to also become a member of the Luxury Collection.
Starwood also said it had permission from the Treasury Department to operate one additional hotel, although it did not announce which that would be.
in addition to the Inglaterra and Quinta Avenida hotels, allowed it to operate the Hotel Santa Isabel in Old Havana and one other, which he declined to name.
The Hotel Inglaterra and Hotel Quinta Avenida should both reopen under Starwood management later in 2016.
(Photo: Accura Media Group)