Oh la la ! The grand opening of Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski did not disappoint.
Havana’s first genuine five-star hotel since the revolution, the Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski La Habana is open for business with 246 rooms and suites each containing internet – a huge leap for Cuba – three restaurants (one focusing on Cuban specialties), a tobacco lounge, a hairdressing salon designed by the illustrious Cuban hairdresser Papito and the already legendary rooftop terrace with swimming pool. The contemporary Cuban art throughout includes images by Claudia Corrales, granddaughter of Raúl Corrales one of Fidel Castro’s personal photographers.
Guests were given a tour of the premises by the Kempinski ‘Ladies in Red’ who are the customer service queens all robed in elegant red fitted dresses. We saw the dreamlike suites, the majestic Constante bar (you need to see this), the luxury Swiss spa, state-of-the-art gym, and edgy art covering the hotel walls throughout.
Led up to the 6th floor rooftop bar, what impresses most is the infinity pool seemingly spilling out onto the Capitol building. Striking. You can walk all around the wraparound balcony for a 360 view.
Housed in the immaculately restored 19th century Manzana de Gómez building, originally a commercial center with luxury stores, the hotel recreates that lavish shopping element with its concourse of brand-name boutiques like L’Occitane, Mont Blanc and Lacoste.
Surrounded by the Paseo del Prado, Gran Teatro, Capitolio, Parque Central, Museo de Bellas Artes and El Floridita, the Kempinski is diamond in the crown of this gorgeous city.
[Calle San Rafael, btw Monserrate and Zulueta – www.kempinski.com/en/havana/gran-hotel-kempinski-la-habana/ ]