The Hotel Inglaterra will join Starwood's Luxury Collection. Photo Credit: Johanna Jainchill
Starwood Hotels & Resorts said Saturday it has reached agreements to operate two Cuba hotels by the end of the year, becoming the first U.S.-based hotel company to do business in that country in almost 60 years. The hotelier also signed a letter of intent to operate a third Cuba property.
The first two deals have already been approved by the U.S. Treasury Department, though a permit for the third deal is still pending, the company said.
Havana’s Hotel Inglaterra will become part of the Starwood Luxury Collection, while the city’s Hotel Quinta Avenida will be reflagged under Starwood’s Four Points by Sheraton brand, the company said Saturday. Hotel Inglaterra, which is owned by Gran Caribe, has 83 rooms and opened in 1875, while Hotel Quinta Avenida, which is owned by Grupo de Turismo Gaviota SA, has 186 rooms.
Both properties will undergo renovations before being reflagged later this year.
Additionally, Starwood signed a letter of intent with Habaguane, owner of the 27-room Hotel Santa Isabel, for that hotel to also become part of the Luxury Collection, though that agreement still needs to be approved by the U.S. Treasury Department.
“There is no question the entire U.S. hospitality industry has watched Cuba with great interest, and we are thrilled to lead the charge and bring our sophisticated, high-end brands into the market at this inflection point,” Starwood CEO Thomas Mangas said in a statement Saturday.
Starwood confirmed earlier in the week that it applied for Treasury Department authorization to operate hotels in Cuba. Meanwhile, Marriott International CEO Arne Sorenson is slated be part of a U.S. delegation visiting Cuba Sunday that includes President Obama. Marriott had an agreement to acquire Starwood until Starwood said Friday that it planned to accept a higher buyout bid from a group led by China-based Anbang Insurance Group.
Earlier this week, the Obama administration began allowing Americans to make "individual people-to-people educational” trips to the island, without having to travel with an authorized people-to-people group.