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Weekly report on Cuba's tourism industry
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Cuba: Architectural Treasures for Tourism

The historic heart of Havana, Cuba's major tourist destination, holds an invaluable treasure that is an excellent complement to the local leisure industry, which attracts thousands of foreign visitors every year.

Hundreds of buildings of several architectural styles, which show the development of Cuban society, make up one-of-a-kind patrimony that has favored the historic evolution of the city.

More than 30,000 buildings with those characteristics, including Spanish fortresses, churches, museums, tourist facilities and even schools, medical centers and hotels, can be found in an area of 240 hectares.

Tourist authorities' policy in Old Havana is aimed at restoring emblematic buildings and turning them into small hotels, where guests can be in direct contact with the noisy environment of the centuries-old city.

The new element in those establishments, run by the company Habaguanex S.A., is that the buildings were restored without changing their architectural style, and were equipped with modern technologies to meet the demands from foreign guests.

One of those establishments is the Hotel Raquel, which offers 25 comfortable double rooms, air conditioning and a luxury design. Rooms are distributed in three beautifully decorated floors.

Raquel Hotel`s lobby
Façade of Los Frailes Inn
Façade of Raquel Hotel

According to experts, the hotel's Biblical name and some of its facilities – the Lejaim lobby-bar, the Jardín del Edén (Garden of Eden) restaurant and the Bezalel boutique – are an allegoric evocation of Hebrew culture in Cuba.

Another such establishment, the Hotel Los Frailes, presents a winning formula for vacationers, combining historic, cultural and tourist elements.

Designed as a medieval monastery, the hotel offers 22 air-conditioned rooms (including four minisuites) and a small bar-cafeteria that resembles an old-style tavern.

The hotel benefits from its location, near the so-called Plaza Vieja (Old Square), one of the first five squares built in the city and the former venue of the famous Mercado de la Reina Cristina (Queen Christine's Market).

The four-star Hotel Palacio O'Farrill offers 38 rooms – including 35 standard rooms and three junior suites – and facilities for leisure distributed in three floors, each of which is decorated according to a different century: the 18th century for the ground floor, the 19th century for the second floor, and the 20th century for the third floor.

The smallest establishment is the Hotel El Comendador, which is housed in the former mansion of Don Pedro Regalado Pedroso y Pedroso, former prefect of the Carlos III Order in Cuba.

The hotel offers 14 comfortable rooms (suites, and single and double rooms), where the Spanish-colonial style is combined with modern amenities (air conditioning, safety deposit box).

Another select establishment is the Hotel Palacio de San Miguel, an attractive option for those looking for culture and intimacy.

The hotel is just a few meters from the sea, overlooking an urban landscape that includes the colonial fortresses that made up the city's former defense system and a crafts market.

Attractions  Accommodation  
Alameda de Paula Promenade
Places of Interest

Alameda de Paula

La Habana
Aquarium of Old Havana
Places of Interest

Calle Teniente Rey No. 9 e/ Oficios y Mercaderes

La Habana
Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi
Places of Interest

Calle Oficios e/ Amargura y Churruca

La Habana
Castillo de los Tres Reyes del Morro (Castle of the Three Kings of El Morro)
Places of Interest

Ribera este del canal de entrada a la bahía de La Habana

La Habana
Cathedral of Havana
Churches-Places of Cult

Calle Empedrado No. 158 e/ Mercaderes y San Ignacio

La Habana
Cathedral Square
Places of Interest

Calle Empedrado y San Ignacio

La Habana
De la Real Fuerza Castle
Places of Interest

Calle O´Reilly No. 2 e/ Ave. del Puerto y Tacón

La Habana
El Templete
Places of Interest

Calle Baratillo e/ O´Reilly y Enna, Plaza de Armas

La Habana
Generals of the Army Palace
Places of Interest

Calle Tacón e/ Obispo y O´Reilly

La Habana
Historical-Military Park Morro-Cabaña
Places of Interest

Carretera de La Cabaña

La Habana
Old Villa of San Cristobal of Havana
Urban Historic Centers

La Habana Vieja

La Habana
Plaza de Armas (Parade Ground)

Calles Tacón, Obispo, Baratillo y O`Reilly

La Habana
Plaza Vieja (Old Square)

Calles San Ignacio, Teniente Rey, Mercaderes y Muralla

La Habana
Prado Promenade
Places of Interest

Paseo del Prado

La Habana
San Carlos de la Cabaña Fort
Places of Interest

Ribera este del canal de entrada a la bahía de La Habana

La Habana
San Francisco Square

Calles Oficios, Amargura y San Pedro

La Habana
El Comendador

Calle Obrapía No. 55 esq. a Baratillo

La Habana
Los Frailes

Calle Teniente Rey No. 8 e/ Mercaderes y Oficios

La Habana
Palacio O´Farrill

Calle Cuba No. 102-108 esq. a Chacón

La Habana
Palacio San Miguel

Calle Cuba No. 52 esq. a Peña Pobre

La Habana

Calle Amargura esq. a San Ignacio

La Habana
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