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Inglaterra Hotel: A Classic Hotel in Havana

The Cuban capital, founded nearly 500 years ago, has emblematic tourist establishments that comprise a major part of the Caribbean Island's traditions.

One of those establishments is the Inglaterra Hotel, which was inaugurated on December 23, 1875, was named after the world's major power at the time (England), and became one of the best lodging facilities in the world after being reconstructed in 1886.

The building, situated in an important area of the so-called Old Havana, features a neoclassic architectural style, with elements that give the edifice a touch of originality, such as tiles from Alicante and railings especially brought from Seville, Spain.

Its ceilings and interior decoration show a profusion of ornaments that characterize the Mudéjar architectural style, with stained-glass windows, heraldic symbols and even a bronze sculpture of Carmen, the Spanish character in Bizet's opera, sculpted by the Marquis of Perrinat.

Situated near the Great Theater of Havana and the Payret movie theater, the Prado Promenade and the National Capitol, the Inglaterra Hotel underwent one of its major reconstructions in 1901, when it benefited from electricity, telephone and a bathroom in every room, in addition to a telegraphic link with the rest of the world.

The fourth floor and the marquee were added in 1914, as a result of the economic apogee generated by World War II in the United States.

Façade of Inglaterra Hotel. Night view
Inglaterra Hotel. Lobby
Inglaterra Hotel. Lobby

The latest reforms date to 1989, when the hotel was completely remodeled to adjust to the demands of modern tourism, while keeping the architectural style that made it a National Monument eight years before intact, due to its high patrimonial values.

Through the years, its rooms have welcomed illustrious figures of Cuban history, such as General Antonio Maceo, one of the leaders of the Island's wars of independence, who was visited there by Juan Gualberto Gómez.

On April 4, 1879, the Inglaterra Hotel welcomed Cuban National Hero José Martí, who gave his famous speech in homage to journalist Manuel Márquez Sterling.

The hotel's rooms, silent witnesses to history, have received numerous personalities, many of whom were linked to the world of art, due to the establishment's proximity to major theaters.

Among those figures were actresses Sara Bernhardt, María Félix, Rachel and María Guerrero, the famous Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova, poets Rubén Darío and Julián del Casal, and singers Enrico Caruso, Imperio Argentina and José Mujica.

Other famous personalities were playwrights Federico García Lorca and Jacinto Benavente, as well as sports figures such as world chess champion José Raúl Capablanca and fencer Ramón Fonst.

The list of famous guests also includes bullfighter Luis Mazzantini, and more recently, the Brazilian religious figure Frei Betto, one of the creators of the so-called "liberation theology".

The centennial Inglaterra Hotel has 83 rooms equipped with all modern amenities, and provides a varied gastronomic offer at the attractive El Colonial Restaurant, which features a different menu card for each season of the year.

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