The first true five-star luxury hotel in Cuba has finally opened. Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski La Habana is situated in the historic heart of the UNESCO, Old Havana.
Kempinski has turned the historic Manzana de Gómez building—built between 1894 and 1917, originally as Cuba’s first European-style shopping arcade, and later expanded to includes theaters, offices, and a school—into a 246-room hotel, complete with three bars, three restaurants, a top-floor gym, a rooftop pool, and a nearly 10,000-square-foot spa and all of the other offers that a magnificent should have.
Each element will celebrate the destination in different ways. The brightly colored Bar Constante, for example, takes its name from the bartender who supposedly invented the Hemingway Daiquiri at the nearby Bar Floridita, the author’s regular haunt.
The Evocación Tobacco Lounge, meanwhile, will pair local cigars and rums. The sixth-floor restaurant, which occupies a largely glass-enclosed space, atop the historic building, focuses on Cuban specialties.
The rooms and suites—designed, like the rest of the hotel, by husband and wife Arno and Vanessa Joubert, of the South African studio Archipolitan, feature high ceilings and a soothing white-and-gray palette, accented with tropical colors.
Many have tall louvered double doors that open to balconies, and a few two-story suites include a sleeping loft.
The Kempinski will have concierge services and a travel agency to help book things like a chauffeured tour in one of the classic mid-century cars, commonly called “Yank tanks,” for which the city has long been known.