The new trends in world tourism, with a wider gamut of options, show vacationers' growing interest in products like those offered by the Cuban capital, backed up by a centennial history.
The old Village of San Cristóbal de La Habana, which was among the first seven villages founded by the Spaniards in the largest Antillean island, treasures in its historic heart an immeasurable wealth of traditions, architectural relics and culture, a blend that meets the needs of the most demanding visitors.
Small buildings that resemble inns from colonial times are everywhere in town and ready to offer their best service to thousands of tourists who bet on the island's major city every year. Among those facilities are the Valencia and Los Frailes inns.
This latter presents itself as a winning formula for leisure, with a combination of historic, cultural and tourist elements.
The five-star Los Frailes Inn is located in an 18th-century mansion that belonged to Marquis Pedro Claudio Duquesne, who was the fourth holder of that title and captain of the French Navy.
In that epoch, 1793 to be exact, the building was visited by representatives of the island's nobility, military authorities, church figures, famous artists and outstanding personalities of society, either living in Cuba or in transit.
Designed as a medieval monastery, Los Frailes treasures the suggestive charm of 22 air-conditioned rooms (including four mini-suites), and a small bar-cafeteria that reminds an old Spanish tavern.
At the entrance, a metallic monk - a beautiful copper sculpture - welcomes clients with his face hidden under the hood, thus opening the way to an environment that includes altarpieces with religious figures, color-stained glasses and walls that have been treated with ageing techniques to preserve the colonial atmosphere.
Los Frailes' peaceful environment, with a central interior patio with exuberant vegetation, is only altered by the soft sound of water from the well and the hasty movements of a service staff wearing an attire that is a free version of the robes used by Franciscans.
The establishment also benefits from its location, near the so-called Plaza Vieja (Old Square), which was one of the first five squares built in the Cuban capital and the venue of the famous Market of Queen Cristina.
Thanks to that location, the inn's guests are very close to a fragment of the city's history, an 18th-century building that belonged to the Counts of Jaruco and which houses today the Cuban Fund of Cultural Assets, as well as the Convent of San Francis of Assisi.
Los Frailes offers a unique opportunity for leisure in an atmosphere that provides all the facilities of modern times, and is at the same time surrounded by a history that is almost five centuries old.