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Cuba: Leisure and History in Havana
Date: JUL 15, 2013
Other Reports

Havana, the tourist destination par excellence in Cuba, holds in its historic heart important elements of the tourist industry, with options related to traditions inherited from centuries of history.

This area, also known as Old Havana and declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO, comprises a significant number of museums, churches, cultural institutions and buildings from colonial time, with about 33,000 constructions dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries.

The company Habaguanex S.A., attached to the Office of the City’s Historian, manages different hotels which are located in places of historic significance.

The emergence of this type of facility, next to hotel giants with hundreds of rooms, aims at rescuing an ancient tradition from times when this type of hotel met the lodging needs in big cities.

Currently the company manages nearly two dozen hotels, about 40 restaurants, close to 80 commercial facilities and around 60 coffee shops and bars.

The latest inclusions to the company are the Palacio del Marqués de San Felipe and Santiago de Bejucal hotels, as well as the Terral, the first hotel owned by the company, which is located on the Malecón Avenue.

In addition, there are plans for new facilities such as the Residencia Habana 612 hotel, with 13 rooms and a library, and the Catedral and Cueto hotels.

Likewise, the extra hotel projects include the facility called Cervecera (Brewery) with capacity for 400 clients and its own brewery to prepare the beer.

The list also features places of peculiar names like the bar known as Bigote de Gato (Cat Whisker), the Casa del Queso (Cheese House) which is involved in the trading and tasting of this food, and the Español and Italiano inns.

Although these facilities have many common features, each of them holds unique characteristics aimed to meet the demands of specific tourist groups.

An example of the above is Tejadillo (32 rooms), a facility that joins three big houses from the 18th, 19th and the 20th centuries, where 17 rooms are fitted out with a kitchen for those who prefer to cook their own meals.

Cigar lovers may enjoy the tastes of Cuban cigars at the Conde de Villanueva, an excellent place in the mansion that belonged to the illustrious nobleman, while El Mesón de la Flota is a reminder of the Cuban position as the key to the gulf during colonial time, with an allegorical marine environment from that period.

Also included are the Palacio San Miguel and Los Frailes hotels, the latter resembling an abbey from the 13th century which is complemented by the personnel dressed in a free version of the Franciscan monks’ costumes.

El Comendador Hotel. Façade
Santa Isabel Hotel. Façade
El Comendador Hotel. Detail of the interior
Wait room of Palacio O`Farrill Hotel
Interior view of Palacio O`Farrill Hotel
El Comendador Hotel. Room bathroom
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    El Comendador Hotel. Façade

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