Just another reason to plan a trip to Cuba.

By Melanie Lieberman
February 10, 2017
Courtesy of Kempinski Hotels

Cuba quickly catapulted from off-limits island to hot destination for U.S. travelers last year.

But the overnight popularity hasn’t given Cuba—famous for its nostalgic and faded aesthetic—a chance to catch up with the expectations of international tourists.

The influx in visitors has squeezed Cuba’s limited accommodations, and Cuba's existing luxury hotels have not quite reached the standards of similarly ranked properties abroad.

Kempinski Hotels, however, is out to change that, and has announced the country’s first five-star hotel will open as early as this spring.

Courtesy of Kempinski Hotels

Europe’s oldest luxury hotel group plans to transform the historic Manzana de Gómez building into an ultra-modern, 246-room hotel. The building is a 19th-century, former European-style shopping arcade.

“Its location within a famous historic building,” Kempinski CEO Markus Semer said in a statement, makes it “the most exclusive hotel project in Old Havana.”

Courtesy of Kempinski Hotels

Called the Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski La Habana, rooms and suites—including a 1,600-square-foot Presidential Suite—will feature high ceilings, a contemporary palette of whites and grays (with pops of vibrant color befitting a Caribbean hotel), and French windows. The Gran Hotel Manzana will be a clear departure from other upscale properties in the country.

Courtesy of Kempinski Hotels

Additional features include the rooftop swimming pool, Resense spa, and complimentary in-room internet.

Until the Gran Hotel Manzana opens, travelers should consider the Melia Habana Hotel, where the Obama family stayed when they visited Havana.