The recently inaugurated Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski. Photo: Jorge Luis González

As part of the Cuban tourist industry’s efforts to attract increasingly selective markets and respond to the demand for high quality services, the island’s first luxury five-star plus establishment the Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski, situated in the very heart of Havana, was inaugurated this June 7.

According to Cuban Minister of Tourism, Manuel Marrero Cruz, the 246-room establishment is the first of a group of luxury hotels being built on the island, with the aim of exhibiting Cuba’s cultural, historic and patrimonial legacy.

Marrero Cruz went on to note that the sector has responded to growing demand for these types of services by building facilities of this kind in all of the island’s heritage sites and cities; including Viñales, Santa Clara, Trinidad, Cienfuegos, Holguín, Gibara, Santiago de Cuba and Baracoa, to name just a few.

He explained that of the 12,000 hotel rooms in Havana, only half belong to four or five-star rated establishments, noting that demand for such luxury facilities exists, and that the sector must respond accordingly.

The Cuban official went on to explain that the hotel, managed by the world renowned Kempinski chain, features the latest technologies, while its patrimonial assets have also been greatly exploited.

The Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski has a striking presence. Photo: Jorge Luis González

According to Marrero Cruz, hotels such as the Manzana Kempinski will attract new clients and contribute toward making Cuba a more complete tourist destination.

During the inauguration, Havana City Historian, Dr. Eusebio Leal Spengler, highlighted that the work was completed in the same year as the building is celebrating its 100th anniversary, and at a time when other noteworthy restoration projects are being undertaken, such as the Alicia Alonso Grand Theater of Havana, the Martí Theater, and Capitolio building, among others.

Meanwhile, Markus Semer, chairman and CEO of Kempinski Hotels, noted that the opening of the establishment is an important moment for the company, which has not been present in the Americas for several years. “The market is ready for a luxury hotel such as this. With a range of quality, contemporary-style bars and restaurants, this will be the home of the most demanding clients.”