Gran Caribe Hotel Group

Gran Caribe

Renowned for enlisting the best available properties on the island, Gran Caribe is the largest national-owned hotel company operating Cuba. It boasts some of the country’s most iconic and historic hotels, instilling the longstanding tradition of Cuban hospitality in each and every one. Local warmth and charm is fused with both modern and renovated facilities to promote a first-class experience.

A host of properties line the all-inclusive streets of Varadero and hypnotic Havana as well as less-frequented cities and beach destinations including Trinidad, Viñales, Cienfuegos, Cayo Largo, Jardines del Rey and Isla de la Juventud.

Discover some of the most beautiful, historic and iconic all-inclusive and boutique hotels on the island in our superb collection of Gran Caribe Cuba Hotels.

Havana Hotels with History and Character: Habana Riviera

Atmospheric, historic and undeniably chic, the Havana Riviera is a window into the glitz, glamour and excess of pre-Revolution Cuba.

Gran Caribe's Habana Riviera, a hotel with a story to tell…

Step into the early 1950’s Havana, a time when American mobsters, Hollywood starlets, renowned figures of the arts and upper class Habaneros would gather at Vegas-style casino-hotels, sporting tuxedos and heavy evening gowns despite the scorching Caribbean heat.

Few hotels can compete with the Habana Riviera, operated by Gran Caribe Hotels, as the ultimate symbol of that era. At the time opening (1957), it was the world’s largest purpose-built casino-hotel outside the Las Vegas strip. Today, it serves as a window into 1950s Cuba and the society that preceded the revolution.

The hotel was owned and conceived by American mobster and casino tycoon Meyer Lansky (who knew a thing or two about evading tax regulations via offshore accounts and properties) and funded by the Bank for Economic and Social Development (BANDES), a state-run development bank set up by then President Fulgencio Batista.

American actress, dancer, singer and all-round icon Ginger Rogers was the hotel’s opening act, performing on 10th December 1957 in the legendary Copa Cabaret. Just thirteen months later, Fidel Castro held a press conference in the very same room, addressing the world about the Cuban Revolution. Under the new socialist government, all American properties were seized and Castro announced that he preferred to execute gangsters than deport them. Unsurprisingly, Lansky fled Cuba, abandoning the Habana Riviera and his dreams of becoming el presidente of Cuba’s gambling scene.

Though vestiges of the mafia and gambling were quickly scrapped, the hotel still reflects the glamour of pre-Revolution Cuba. In the lobby, royal blue chaise lounges and red club chairs sit on a glistening marble floor. They are accompanied by bronze and marble statues, sculpted by prominent Cuban artists specially commissioned for the project some sixty years ago.

To this day. the lobby bar, poolside cafeteria, and the elegant L’Aiglon restaurant exude a 1950's atmosphere, when cocktail dresses and tuxedos were de rigueur and this was a spot to see and be seen. Flash forward to today and the lobby’s Salon Internacional is abuzz with conversation, while a young Cuban practices a few sassy salsa moves nearby.

Other Historic Hotels Managed by Gran Caribe

Casa Verde

Havana

Built at the beginning of the twentieth century, Casa Verde opened as a hotel in 2009 as part of a project to restore buildings of cultural and architectural significance. Its eight rooms and common areas feature fine period furniture and décor, recreating the enchanting atmosphere of its origin.

Hotel Nacional

Havana

Overlooking Havana’s bustling Malecón, Hotel Nacional is classic, elegant and historic. It opened in 1930s and has played host to many important guests over the 86 years, including Frank Sinatra, Ava Gardner and Ernest Hemingway. Its glamour undiminished, it remains a popular choice amongst celebrities, particularly during the Havana’s annual film festival which is headquartered here.

Palacio Azul

Cienfuegos

This intimate seafront hotel was constructed as a private mansion in 1920, designed by notable Italian architect Alfredo Fontana. It was converted into a seven-room hotel in 2004 and sits just a 10-minute walk from downtown Cienfuegos.

Jagua

Cienfuegos

Originally intended as a casino-hotel, development on the Jagua started under the Batista regime. The hotel was close to completion when the Cuban Revolution triumphed and gambling was soon outlawed. Though the casino operation was halted, the Jagua became the first hotel to open in post-Revolution Cuba. Its architecture is unmistakably mid-century, with large, bright rooms.

La Union

Cienfuegos

Situated in a privileged city centre spot, Hotel La Unión was founded in 1869, making it one of Cienfuegos’ oldest hotels. It hosted a number of notable guests, including Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova, before it was closed following the Revolution (re-opening in 2000). The large colonial building was constructed in neoclassical style and boasts two patios, an open-air bar, restaurant and swimming pool.

Inglaterra

Havana

Inglaterra opened in 1875 and has since hosted a wide array of musicians, travellers, poets, actors, dancers and more. From the long list of prestigious guests, Cuban national hero José Martí ranks amongst the most notable names. Facing Central Park, the iconic hotel enjoys one of Havana’s finest locations, ideal for exploring old town. The roof terrace, featuring a bar-grill, is legendary across the city.

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