SO/ Paseo del Prado La Habana: avant-garde and tradition come together
By Roxana Consuegra, Photos: courtesy of Accor
Cuba renews itself and Havana decks itself out. Modern architectural codes imprint a stamp of update on the city, while blending harmoniously with the characteristics of existing constructions - colonial, from the first half of the 20th century, and following the triumph of the Revolution in 1959.
The SO Hotel / Paseo del Prado Havana, with five stars plus, does not break the visuality; its forms recall the waves of the sea, of dance, of movement, coming and going…… Recently opened this November 2019 for the 500th anniversary celebrations of the foundation of San Cristobal of La Habana, the new building stands as a majestic colossus on the central Malecon Avenue, guarded by the lions of Paseo del Prado. It has 10 floors, 250 rooms located between the 2nd and 8th floors, and the HI-SO restaurant on the 9th floor, from where there is access to the lookout.
In an interview given to CubaPlus magazine, Diego De Conti, Sales and Marketing Director of the Accor hotel chain in Cuba, outlined: “SO/Paseo del Prado La Habana was finished in time to coincide with the start of the 500th year since Havana’s foundation; this is a marketing and commercial strategy. In addition, it constitutes a mix between hotel solution and city, a representation of Havana with a luxury concept, where the hotel forms part of its environment. It’s another gift for the city.
The SO/ concept is unique because it identifies with the context of where the hotel is located, paying regard to its history, culture and art. In this sense, it itself becomes an interpretation of the Cuban identity, which is why the hotel transmits warmth and good vibes. The aim for this hotel raised from its foundations was based on Accor group’s identification of Cuba as a tourist destination attracting all kinds of visitor, for its natural charms, culture, heritage, art... If one also considers that this hotel is the first of its kind in all America, it reaffirms the value this country possesses for the French hotel chain, and especially Havana.
Asked what the client, visitor, passer-by will find diverse about this product, De Conti replied: “All the rooms are themed, the decor indistinctly represents dance in general, there are rooms where the main theme is classical ballet, others are dedicated to Cuban son and salsa. Aside from that, in SO / Paseo del Prado Havana there is a chocolate shop. This is another diverse and novel service. In addition, the design of the employee uniforms and the hotel logo are the work of fashion designer Agatha Ruiz de la Prada, an explosion of colors that closely relates to the colors of the tropics and the Caribbean in general”. He also added: “The restaurant, event room, spa, chocolate, gym, pool and terrace have spectacular views of the sea… each space of the hotel is designed for customers to socialize and encourage exchange between them. That, among others, is a fundamental mission for the group in the short and long term.”