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Raquel Hotel: Rescuing History
Date: SEP 22, 2003
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The Cuban capital, which has become the main tourist destination on the largest Antillean Island, benefits from the additional attraction of hundreds of centuries-old buildings in the city's historic heart.

The edifices, silent witnesses to the evolution of a four-century-old city, give a singular touch to Havana's urban environment. Some of these buildings have been reconstructed to receive thousands of travelers who spend their vacations in Cuba every year.

Several of those establishments, run by the Cuban company Habaguanex S.A., have been turned into small hotels and inns, whose original architectural style has been respected and complemented with all modern amenities for leisure.

One of the newest establishments of the Habaguanex family is the Raquel Hotel, which has 25 comfortable air-conditioned double rooms, distributed in three floors and luxuriously decorated.

In addition to its top-floor terrace, where a magnificent dome stands out, the hotel has spacious galleries and beautifully decorated areas, which are perfect to rest.

According to experts, the hotel's biblical name (Raquel means Rachel in Spanish) and some of its areas - Lobby Bar Lejaim, Restaurant Jardín del Eden (Garden of Eden), and Boutique Bezalel - are an allegoric evocation of the Hebrew culture in Cuba.

The building's origin is linked to a mercantile society founded in the early 20th century, and the work of the Venezuelan architect Naranjo Ferrer.

Precisely, that company - a major textile importer in Havana - ordered the construction of the edifice between 1905 and 1908 on the premises of the farms located on 58 San Ignacio Street and 11 Amargura Street.

Documents from that period reveal the prosperity of the said society, which imported high-quality fabric from the United States, Great Britain, France and Spain.

A huge storehouse - 2,000 cubic meters (2,616 cubic yards) -, a streetcar to transport the merchandise, an electric elevator and a magnificent marble staircase leading to the upper floors, where there were several leased offices, also showed the company's prosperity.

The building was sold to the Compañía Cubana de Accidentes S.A. in 1914. Thirteen years later, in 1927, Esteban Gaicedo y Torriente, a Spaniard, bought the edifice for his family.

The building housed the Sociedad Mercantil Compañía de Fincas Rústicas y Urbanas S.A. and had several owners until recently, when it became one of the most recent creations of Habaguanex S.A.

With this renovation policy, new establishments have been inaugurated in Havana's historic heart to receive thousands of foreign vacationers who prefer to stay in the noisy Cuban capital, where they are in direct contact with its centuries-old history.

Façade of Raquel Hotel
Raquel Hotel`s lobby
Raquel Hotel`s lobby
Interior view of Raquel Hotel
Gallery at Raquel Hotel
Restaurant at Raquel Hotel
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  • La Habana

  • Gallery
    Façade of Raquel Hotel

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    Façade of Raquel Hotel Raquel Hotel`s lobby Raquel Hotel`s lobby Interior view of Raquel Hotel Gallery at Raquel Hotel Restaurant at Raquel Hotel Raquel Hotel`s lobby Painting in Raquel Hotel`s lobby Desk at Raquel Hotel Lobby Bar at Raquel Hotel Façade of Raquel Hotel Terrace at Raquel Hotel Skylight at Hotel Raquel Terrace at Raquel Hotel Skylight at Hotel Raquel Room at Raquel Hotel Room at Raquel Hotel Double room at Raquel Hotel
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