Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide Inc. has become the first U.S. hotelier to manage a hotel in Cuba since 1959, announcing it is now managing the Four Points by Sheraton Havana alongside state-run Grupo de Turismo Gaviota.
“It’s a unique moment, a special moment” to be the first U.S.-based hotel company to operate in Cuba since the pre-Fidel Castro era, Jorge Giannattasio, chief of Latin America operations at Starwood, said at a ceremony marking the re-opening of the newly-refurbished, 186-room hotel.
Rooms at Four Points begin at $246 per night.
Starwood plans to open a second hotel, Inglaterra, in Havana on Aug. 31. That 83-room property, first opened in 1875, will be a “luxury” hotel, per the company. In March, Giannattasio said Starwood would also renovate and manage a third Cuban property, the 27-room Hotel Santa Isabel in Old Havana; no opening date has been announced for that facility.
The move is the latest chapter in the restoration of Cuban-U.S. diplomatic relations, which began on Dec. 17, 2014. President Barack Obama visited the island nation in March, becoming the first sitting American chief executive to do so since Calvin Coolidge in 1928.
Cuba reportedly received more than 3.5 million foreign tourists in 2015, including about 145,000 Americans — 79 percent more than in 2014. The nation expects about 3.7 million tourists this year.
Starwood, headquartered in Stamford, is in the midst of being acquired by Marriott International for $13.6 billion, creating the largest hotel company in the world. That deal is expected to be completed by year’s end.