Published on : Thursday, January 24, 2019
In the past year and a half, the island’s first two luxury hotels, considered five-star-plus, have opened in the city’s historical downtown area, known as Havana Vieja, or Old Havana. The new upscale properties, operated by international hotel chains and Cuba’s tourist group Gaviota, aim to lure high-end travelers, a business area the industry hasn’t particularly targeted until now. Luxury hotels and resorts are being built across Cuba, especially in Havana, which expects to see a rise in visitor numbers during the city’s upcoming 500th anniversary celebrations.
Jose Daniel Alonso, director of the development sector at the Tourism Ministry (Mintur) told that currently there are seven hotels under construction in the city of Havana. In 2019, there will be several openings, particularly of upscale resorts, to attract a greater amount of visitors.
Among the properties being developed is the Paseo del Prado Hotel. Located at the intersection of the famed Paseo del Prado avenue and Havana’s famous Malecon seawall avenue, the hotel will offer wonderful views of the town and bay as well as luxurious facilities. The hotel, which went into construction in February 2017, is expected to be completed by September this year, Orlando Oramas, investment director at Paseo del Prado. Operated by French company AccorHotels, the 10-story Prado will feature 250 rooms, including 36 suites, decorated with themes related to Cuban music and dance.
More than 400 Cuban employees and about 50 from India have worked on what will be Cuba’s third luxury hotel following the opening of the nearby Gran Manzana Kempinski in 2017 and the Iberostar Grand Packard in 2018. Most of the hotel developments have been financed with Cuban capital obtained through long-term international loans, while the construction work is being carried out via a joint venture between the island’s Tourism Construction Company and France’s Bouygues Batiment International, which has almost 20 years of experience in Cuba. Cuba received over 4.75 million tourists in 2018, a record high figure despite new travel restrictions imposed by the United States.
Now, Mintur expects to see 5.1 million visitors this year, or 7 percent higher than in 2018.