Old Havana's Hotel Inglaterra is all set to be completely refurbished if Marriott International has its way. The hotel, situated opposite Parque Central in the city, was scheduled to be originally opened under the American management from July 1, 2016. However, Tim Sheldon, the president of Marriott International responsible for Latin America and Carib, said that his company is sensitive to all historical aspects of the classic construction while updating it to premium modern accommodation. The property was built in 1975. It is located near Gran Teatro de la Habana, another recently renovated structure.
Marriot, which will control 250 hotels scattered over the Caribbean and Latin America by the end of 2017, acquired its first Cuban hospitality unit when it took over Starwood Hotels & Resorts. The takeover catapulted the American company to be the biggest hotel company in the world. This acquisition was made in September 2016.
For Marriott International, it is looking at a number of places to start operations in Cuba, and Havana is a blip on its map. It has reason to be bullish on the country. Cuba welcomed about 2.67 million travelers from all over the world during the initial six months of 2017. The country hopes to surpass the 2016 record of 4.1 million international tourist arrivals by 2017 end. The American company has earmarked a number of projects in Cuba. It presently manages a hotel- Sheraton Four Points with the address in the Miramar section of Havana. It expects to kick off renovations on the Inglaterra itself. As of now, the company waits for the nod from the Trump administration.
Marriott International has a number of solid reasons to wait. President Trump has said in June that the coming days will see new regulations being drawn up which will forbid the majority of American businesses to ink agreements with Cuban companies controlled by Cuban Intelligence and military services. However, the Trump administration has also said that the US companies who already have agreements signed with their Cuban counterparts will not be affected in their operations under the coming rules.
Starwood was the first American hotel company to ink a business deal with Cuba's leftist government. The company, on the cusp of former US President Barack Obama's travel to Cuba, had announced that it has inked a number of deals to operate two hotels- the Quinta Avenida and the Inglaterra. The former has its address on Havana city's Fifth Avenue. President Obama visited the Caribbean country in March 2016.