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Santa Isabel Hotel: A Colonial Option in Havana

The attractiveness of Havana's Historic Heart, with a nearly 500-year-old history, is a true complement to the wide variety of offers provided by the leisure industry in the largest Antillean Island.

Declared World Heritage by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), as one of the world's architectural treasures, Old Havana has a large tourist infrastructure consisting of nearly 100 establishments, including many hotels and inns from Spanish colonial times.

Over 30,000 buildings, many of which boast a centennial history, are located in Old Havana, where a perfect harmony exists among fortresses, churches, and tourist, commercial and cultural centers, among others.

One of those facilities is the Santa Isabel Hotel, housed in the former Mansion of the Count of Santovenia, which was built in the early 18th century and sold to a US citizen who turned the building into a hotel under the current name from 1867 to 1887.

Opened as a luxurious hotel with new airs in 1997, and run by Habaguanex S.A., the Santa Isabel provides the comfort of a five-star lodging facility, in an atmosphere in tune with the colonial environment in which it is located.

The hotel's 27 rooms, including 10 junior suites, boast the additional attractiveness provided by Spanish-style furniture, with iron-wrought beds, and small balconies in the rooms on the third floor.

Santa Isabel Hotel. Façade
Santa Isabel Hotel. Lobby
Entrance to Santa Isabel Hotel.

However, the hotel's privileged location is its major attraction, since it is situated just a few meters away from the place where the first mass and the first assembly were held, during the foundation of the then Villa de San Cristóbal de La Habana.

The Santa Isabel Hotel, Casa del Agua and La Mina Restaurant, along with such buildings as the palaces of the Second Corporate and of the Captain Generals, are some of the most relevant edifices surrounding the so-called Plaza de Armas (Arms Square), which is closely linked to the history of the Cuban capital.

That area is one of the major attractions for the hotel's guests, who are at a walking distance from a live and latent image of old colonial society, in addition to an intense cultural life.

Of course, like the hotels Sevilla, Plaza and Inglaterra, the Santa Isabel Hotel has welcomed many celebrities who have bet on its comfortable rooms and excellent services.

The list of distinguished guests includes celebrities such as Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar, who said that his stay at the hotel was a sort of family life, with furniture and an atmosphere that reminded him of his country.

US actors Jack Nicholson and Bruce Willis, and Cuban vedette Rosita Fornés, also had words of praise for the Santa Isabel Hotel in recent years.

Considering these favorable opinions, the Santa Isabel Hotel is one of the crown jewels of Cuban tourism in Havana's Historic Heart, because of that familiar touch of class that many vacationers are looking for.

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