Updated 9 months ago

First hotel managed by U.S. chain since 1959 opens in Cuba

The Four Points by Sheraton in Havana, the first hotel to be managed by a U.S. chain in Cuba in more than 50 years, formally opened for business on Tuesday.

Located in the Miramar neighborhood, the hotel – to date known as the Hotel Quinta Avenida – is included in the contract signed between U.S.-based Starwood and Cuba to operate two hotels in the capital, the first such agreement of its kind since 1959, announced on the eve of President Barack Obama’s visit to the island last March.

Starwood sources told EFE that, starting on Tuesday, the hotel will operate under its new name.

Simultaneously, remodeling of the building will be undertaken as per the vision and standards of Four Points by Sheraton, a division of Starwood mainly geared toward business travelers.

Before yearend, Starwood will also take over the operation of the mixed-management Hotel Inglaterra, located in a prime location in Old Havana.

The U.S. hotel chain also announced in March that it hopes to finalize another contract with Cuba’s Habaguanex, a firm operating in Havana’s historic downtown, to include in its Luxury Collection the Hotel Santa Isabel, an attractive colonial palace located on the shore of Havana Bay.

After the December 2014 announcement of the rapprochement between Washington and Havana, Cuba has experienced a boom in foreign tourist arrivals, with more than 3.5 million people visiting the island in 2015.

The increase in tourists forecast for this year will translate into a significant demand for lodging. Of the currently available 62,000 hotel rooms in Cuba, more than 60 percent have foreign marketing contracts and 16 percent are managed by mixed companies.

Authorities have announced plans to expand the number of rooms to 85,000 by 2020.