Skip to main content

The First True Luxury Hotel in Cuba Opens its Doors to Guests

Since Obama’s relaxing of relations between the United States and Cuba (which the Trump administration is working hard to unravel), the latter has been a hot topic among travelers. But, the island’s tourism infrastructure has seen precious few updates since the revolution leaving a distinct dearth of luxury accommodations. In short, there has been little to no luxury (by American standards) hotel development in decades. Until now …

Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski La Habana
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Last month, the Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski La Habana opened its doors in historic Old Havana as thew newest luxury hotel in Cuba. The hotel is situated in the iconic, century-old Manzana de Gómez building which was once home to Cuba’s premier, Euro-style shopping arcade. The revamped architecture and design deftly blend into the surrounding neighborhood. The redesign added a host of luxury appointments, including three restaurants, three bars, a beautiful rooftop pool deck, a penthouse gym, and a massive, modern spa.

Every space takes inspiration from Cuba’s rich history. The sophisticated Evocación Tobacco Lounge is a modern gentleman’s cigar lounge (no, not that kind) with a selection of local smokes and fine aged spirits. Its eight balconies afford intimate views of Cuba’s Capitol Building and Central Park. The bold, flagship Bar Constante was so named for the barman who devised the now-famous Hemingway Daiquiri. A rooftop restaurant on the sixth floor is situated in a beautiful glass space with panoramic views of the city’s UNESCO-protected old quarter. Much of the decor also pays homage to Cuban art and culture. The work of Claudia Corrales (granddaughter of Raúl Corrales Fornos, who was among Fidel Castro’s official state photographers) hangs in the halls, and an intimate museum is situated in the hotel’s basement.

Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski La Habana
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Each of the 246 rooms and suites features a stunning design by renowned South African studio Archipolitan. All boast tall ceilings, louvered French doors that open to balconies overlooking the old city, and an understated color palette with tasteful pops of tropical color. Some bi-level suites also boast sleeping lofts. Additional amenities — in-room Wi-Fi, rain showers, and flat-screen TVs — feel modern and luxurious by any standards, but especially so relative to most of Cuba’s lodging options.

As one might expect, all this luxury comes at a price. Nightly rates start north of $500 USD.

Mike Richard
Mike Richard has traveled the world since 2008. He's kayaked in Antarctica, tracked endangered African wild dogs in South…
Denver travel guide: Where to stay, what to eat, and more
Here's how to have a great time in Denver
Denver Colorado

Denver is a one-of-a-kind city. A unique crossover of the Colorado hippie and high plains cowboy cultures, it's got a vibe unto its own. Offering everything from sports to art to the legal sale of weed, Denver has something for everyone in a cityscape that is generally designed well, making it easy to navigate. Traffic is relatively low, app-rented bikes and scooters plentiful, and wide bike lanes abound. Very exploration friendly.

To that end, here are a few suggestions for how to best enjoy your exploration. A lot has changed in Denver over the past few years, but I visited recently and dug into the latest and greatest in regard to where to stay, eat, and have fun.

Read more
Hit the open road with one of these top 5 motorcycle road trips
Capture the last of summer and first of fall with these moto road trips
motorcycle road trip routes in the sunset

As summer begins to fade into the fall, we start to settle in for the cooler months. We start to make preparations to wear cashmere sweaters and start layering for the cold and wet weather. Our summer clothes get packed away, and we start to make room in the closet for the next few months. But don't relinquish your summer too soon; you still have time to break out the motorcycle for one of the more beloved road trips in the United States.

All of the best road trips have a combination of open spaces, great views, and tourist stops that will keep you entertained the entire time you are gone. Once you ensure you have the right bike for your height and weight, you should pack tools for every eventuality on the road and clothes for every environment, from sun-baked deserts to snowy mountain tops. Also, you should absolutely pack for frequent snack breaks.

Read more
The best breweries in America: The ultimate bucket list if you love craft beer
Want to combine craft beer and travel? These breweries have great ales and more — worth booking a vacation for
Prairie Artisan Ales Brewery

If you didn’t know it, there are currently more than 9,000 (yes, you read that right) breweries operating in the U.S. That’s a lot of IPAs, pilsners, and barrel-aged stouts. Honestly, it’s way more beer than you or I could ever hope to drink. This also means there are a ton of breweries that, to put it a bit bluntly, aren’t worth your time. There are also a lot of great outfits, brewing award-winning beers. There are also a few that stand above the rest both in terms of quality and atmosphere. These are the bucket list breweries that every beer fan should visit at least once.

The best part? These gems can be found all over the country. There are Chicago breweries, Asheville breweries, and outstanding, can’t-miss breweries from Petaluma to St. Pete. We’re talking names like Tree House Brewery, Russian River Brewing, Brewery Ommegang, and Portland, Maine’s stalwart Allagash Brewing to name a few.

Read more