Hotels - Gran Manzana Kempinski

About  Gran Manzana Kempinski

The Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski La Habana has been described as the urban centre of gravity that pulls together Old Havana. Located on a block unto itself, the Gran Hotel Manzana connects the four main streets of Neptuno, San Rafael, Zulueta and Montserrate and facing the mouth of Obispo. The building proves to be the gateway to the touristic and commercial heart of the city. The Gran Hotel Kempinski looks straight out onto the infamous cocktail bar and Hemingway hangout, the Floridita whilst being flanked by the beautiful art deco Bacardi building and the Museo de Bellas Artes. The construction of the Manzana de Gómez (this is the original name of the building) was started in 1890 and taken over by its namesake Andres Gómez Mena in 1894. The building named The Apple of Gómez, has since become the Apple of Havana’s eye.

Finally completed in 1910 Manzana de Gómez initially consisted of one solitary floor, stretching the length of the square. By 1918 the building had expanded to its current capacity, occupying a further four floors. The Manzana de Gómez was initially established as Cuba’s first indoor shopping centre, or ‘mall’. Forming part of the pre- Revolutionary tourist experience of Cuba, US visitors centred many trips around the shopping experience of the Manzana de Gómez, the splendour of which could have been compared to the Galerie la Fayette in Paris. Unfortunately the many passing turbulent years took their toll upon the facade and interior of the building. Post- Revolution the building maintained its commercial uses whilst also accommodating many government offices. The deterioration of the building resulted in the closing of the space and eventual total refurbishment led by the luxury Swiss hotel group Kempinski.

Kempinski La Habana’s planned opening was set for 2016, however the progress has been slightly delayed and opening has been now confirmed for late spiring 2017. The Kempinski group whilst maintaining the essence, rustic beauty and original detail of the building, are bringing the world class structure up to luxury hotel standards. Kempinski have been working in tandem with Gaviota S.A. and the country state-operated Habagüanex in this three year old restoration project. Once completed the Hotel will consist of 246 elegantly decorated rooms, all with internet service, two high class restaurants, a luxurious pool and terrace overlooking the spectacular Havana skyline, a fully equipped gym and 5 star amenities providing clients with the utmost comfort.

Paseo del Prado, Centro Habana, La Habana

La India Fountain

Fuente de La India (La India Fountain) is located in a circus in front of the El Capitolio and Saratoga Hotel, in the city of Havana. The fountain is made in Carrara marble and was sculpted by Giuseppe Gaggini in 1837 for the Count of Villanueva. This fountain represents a brilliant indigenous woman, adorned with a crown of eagle feathers, sitting on her throne, and surrounding by four dolphins whose tongues are fountain pouring water on four shells composing its base. She holds with her hand a defense with the crest of the city, and a horn-shaped basket filled with fruits. This sculptural work has been an inspiration for several poets, and also appearing in several fantastic tales.

Teniente Rey y Villegas, Habana Vieja, La Habana

Santo Cristo del Buen Viaje Church

The Santo Cristo del Buen Viaje Church is a simple yet charming church. It is located in Plaza del Cristo Square, on the western side of Old Havana, away from the city center and tourist areas. The structure of the church is intriguing because of the simplicity of its towers and of its lateral façades, in complete harmony with the character of the works of the 17th century. The church was built in 1732 in the same place where previously there was a Franciscan shrine. Nowadays it has only partially been restored, with its beautiful stained glass windows and brightly colored ceiling being very noteworthy qualities. Inside the church, the image of Jesus on the Cross among travelers and sailors became very popular because it was thought to keep people from harm. On Good Fridays the processions left from the Convento de San Francisco de Asís and ended at the Iglesia del Cristo. The dimensions of the plaza were planned according to the processions that were to take place in it, marking the end of the fourteen crosses or Stations of the Cross. The Plaza del Cristo Square is an ideal place if you want to get far from touristy areas and to witness what real Cuban life is like.

calle Prado, Habana

National Capitol

The monumental Capitolio is a replica of the American capitol in Washington, DC. It is one of the most emblematic buildings of the Havana skyline and it occupies an area of 38 875 m². It was the seat of the legislative body of the Republic since its inauguration on May 20, 1929. The facade is mainly of classic style while the interior of the building is characterized by eclectic opulence. From the stairs on we see the imposing porch columns and behind them we find the main gates, fashioned in bronze with bas-relief depicting important scenes of national history. On both sides of the uppermost part of the stairs there are two bronze statues, symbols of two guiding virtues: people and work. These statues are the work of the Italian sculptor Angelo Zanelli. 

Avenida de las Misiones, La Habana

Edificio Bacardí

The Edificio Bacardí (Bacardí Building) is the first Art Déco building in Havana. It is considered an architectural jewel of its time, as well as one of the best examples of decorative art. Construction finished in 1930, and it was the tallest building on the island at that time. It is said that the building contains marble and granite from almost every nation in Europe. This building has 12 floors, 5 of which are offices for rent, and a total space of 7,031 square meters. Its facade is covered in Baviera red granite and on the top you will see a bat, the symbol of the Bacardí company. At the end of 19th Century, the Bacardi rum was very famous in Cuba and abroad. Its creator, Don Emilio Bacardi, was a Spaniard settled in the island. It is said that he had a bat as a talisman which was used as logo in the first distillery that made him to win fortune. It has a tiered pyramid design, using tiles as a decorative element from Catalonian Modernism, giving the building a wonderful shade effect. The richness of its interior decoration is given mainly by the natural beauty of its marbles, brought from Europe and the typical accessories of Art Deco like lamps, ironworks, drawings, etc. Currently, the building houses Cuban offices, offices for and international companies. The lobby has a bar open to the public and you’ll be able to climb the tower and get a wonderful view over Havana.

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