Hotel Presidente: that skyscraper continues to make history
Alejandro Rodriguez Ruiz
Among the buildings with history and recognition in Havana is the Hotel Presidente which, with its 10 floors, was considered at its foundation the first "skyscraper" in Cuba and Central America, a detail that not many know.
A classic of the national hospitality industry, the establishment was built from 1925 to 1928 and inaugurated on December 28 of that last year in Vedado, a residential area that boomed since the second half of the 20th century and is today the most cosmopolitan sector of the Cuban capital.
The hotel is located on the beautiful Avenida de los Presidentes, or Calle G according to the consecutive order of the roads, and about 300 meters from the emblematic Malecón (seawalk), which offers guests pleasant views and a sea breeze.
Its architectural style is eclectic, with a North American accent on the outside and colonial on the inside, especially in its decoration, with a spacious and majestic marble-veneered lobby, Louis XV-style furniture, large 19th-century Japanese vases on pedestals inlaid with mother-of-pearl ... and, in general, a valuable collection of antiques with more than 400 cataloged artistic pieces.
Outstanding personalities from the world of the arts have stayed there, such as writer Alejo Carpentier, the prima ballerina assoluta Alicia Alonso, composer Ernesto Lecuona, and the great dancers Julio Bocca, Vladimir Vasiliev and Carla Frachi, among many others.
The installation has been a kind of sub-venue for important cultural events in Cuba, such as the International Ballet Festival of Havana and the Casa de las Américas literary award.
Currently owned by the Cuban hotel group Gran Caribe and managed by the Spanish Roc Hotels, the President, recognized in the city for its vermilion and beige color, has various attractions, including a solarium, a swimming pool with spectacular night lighting, a cafeteria in the highly frequented La Terraza and three restaurants, including Chez Merito, elegant, traditional, a reference in the country's gastronomy.
Located at the intersection with Calzada street, the hotel is in the vicinity of important institutions, such as the Amadeo Roldán theater, the Casa de las Américas, the Dance Museum, and about 100 meters from the central Calle Línea, a wide avenue called the Broadway of Havana for the various theaters and other cultural centers that exist there.
On hiatus due to the covid-19 pandemic, used for restoration and renovation work, the establishment received the 2020 Award last year by the German travel website HolidayCheck, with a recommendation rate of 95 percent from Internet users.