The plan of this hotel was drafted practically at the end of the nineteenth century, and simply remained at that: a project. It seems that initially the property was to be part of a tourist development venture, concocted by American capital during a period marked by a sharp increase of US investments and penetration in the Cuban economy. Their plans however, were thwarted by the historical moment the country was going through (1892-1895), which coincided with the beginning of the War of Independence.
19th Century: 1864
The Hotel Ciervo de Oro opened in 1829, as a boarding house on Contreras Street. In 1860, Mr. Duran, a commission agent of the most important factories in the United States and editor of the Traveler’s Guide in that country, was a guest there.
“Traditional” and “reputable” were the words used in 1864 by the press, in reference to the hotel. The owner at the time, Mr. Lena, announced that the property, which been rendering impeccable services for a considerably long time, was moving to a two-story house on Medio Street, where the offices of Mr. Estefani and Mr. Lopez’s had been formerly located. Once in its new location on Medio Street, the facility acquired the category of Grand Hotel and Restaurant.
Located at Jovellanos No. 7901, between Contreras and Milanes Streets, the very name Dos Amigos Hotel (Two Friends Hotel) leaves no doubt that it was the result of the association of two friends.
Antonio Chong, the owner, arrived to Cuba in 1923, when he was 18 years of age, and became a Cuban citizen in 1945. From 1900 to 1952, the facility was operated as a small restaurant, under the same name, by Jose Chong and Jose Lin, the proprietors. The first was a relative of Antonio’s; while the latter joined the business and ran it since 1928.
In 1841, the hotel was described as a three-story masonry stone building near the sea. In 1845, its owner, Mr. E. Babin, for the purpose of endowing the facility with luxury and comfort, added the two houses adjacent to it, thus providing independent and well ventilated accommodations, many overlooking the bay and cooled by the gentle breeze.
It has not been possible to establish the exact location of the building. Based on constructive elements observed in other properties – for example, La Diana –, we believe that one of the three stories in the building was actually a mezzanine.
Its possible association with other buildings in the city, for the purpose of this study, such as Los Cien Mil Pesos (The Hundred Thousand Pesos) – is still only a hypothesis.
The first reference to the Flor de America Hotel places it at Ayllón No. 9, on the corner of Contreras Street.
It is possible that the facility was still operating as a hotel at the beginning of the twentieth century, however, its location near the docks gave it a bad reputation, hence its omission by the directories of the time. The number of boardinghouses and hotels in the area grew, and many became hostels, cheap guest houses, and, at times, brothels. Only the load-bearing walls are still standing and they too will soon be torn down. The construction of a viaduct and the improvement of roads leading to Contreras Street may be the end of this building.
The fact that two hotels in the city bore the same name, Hotel Francés (French Hotel), during the same period, is probably due to two factors: the elegance, good taste and flair of everything French or – and I am more inclined towards the latter – according to European hotel categories, not all the rooms had a bathroom, which was either collective, with one on each floor, or for every 4 or 5 rooms.
This hotel was located next to or in front of the Paradero de Sabanilla (Sabanilla Terminal, currently Calzada de Tirry), covering numbers 38 and 40, and later extended to 36, 42, and 44.
The first reference to this hotel dates back to 1861 and, on January 7, 1863, La Aurora del Yumurí announced the opening of a hotel, property of Mrs. Hipolita Durant, called El Ferrocarril, across the street from the Havana and Matanzas way stations.
Hotel Hewitt was probably built at a very early date, since the only news about it has to do with the collapse of the building when it was no longer a hotel. In spite of that, there are elements which distinguish it: for example, it was one of the few hotels in Versalles neighborhood during the nineteenth century. Considered an American hotel, the property was consumed in a fire and the insurance was collected.
The hotel belonged to Don Bernardo Junco y Morejon and Mr. Hewit. Both had insured their property: the first, the building, and the latter, the furniture.
Is located near the river Canímar on Matanzas to Varadero road and a pool, tennis court, basketball and a grand staircase to the river for access to tourist yachts, plus 30 rooms with every luxury and comfort.
The triumph of the Revolution the building was not consistent with the original project and years later begins to be used as a Psychiatric Hospital.
The Hotel "La Concordia" was inaugurated in 1923, located in the street number 4 between Magdalena Manzano and Madán Alley, had 23 rooms well furnished and comfortable. Since 1966 is converted into a citadel and now unfortunately only the façade since suffered landslides.
Hotel La Diana (1861-1887)
The building formerly used as a hotel still stands. It is located in Plaza de la Libertad (previously Plaza de Armas), at Santa Teresa No. 15, on the corner of Milanes Street. A store with the same name occupied the site since 1830. Its first owner was Don Joaquin Ferrer, who sold it to Don Lope Davalos that same year. Davalos became its absolute owner since he acquired the user rights. After 1880 others would follow.
La Lonja Hotel was previously located at Calzada de Tirry No. 57, where it was operated as a hotel, restaurant and café. In 1910, its name was changed to Nueva Lonja and referred to as a café-restaurant and hostel. An engraving of the building was published in the Nomenclator, dated 1883. The facility still stands, after several transformations, and is considered atypical with regards to the urban context on Calzada de Tirry.
Existió desde el año de 1829, referencia más antigua que de ella se tiene, y era su propietario José Tejidor. En el mismo año es vendida por disolución de la Sociedad Tejidor y Compañía Tejidor y Buch a Tomás Galup quien a partir de ese momento fue su propietario.
Ya en 1861 se puede localizar en Jovellanos 4 y 6, clasificado como Hotel León de Oro y se anuncia en la prensa que a partir de marzo de ese mismo año el edificio sería reedificado.
It was founded in the last decades of the nineteenth century, specifically in 1979, came to our days with the same name that was released from his inauguration. This luxury hotel was preceded by a tavern and inn of the same name, located on the street today Gelabert Milanés.
Hotel Rio Mar (1896-1957)
Facing the Vigia Square, at Rio Street No. 1 and very close to the mouth of the San Juan River, its name was a tribute to the site where it was built.
During the 1840s, this edifice of great beauty was already part of the structures which characterized the architectural image of Plaza de Colon, now Plaza de la Vigia.
Hotel Yara (1946)
Every hotel has its hallmark. In this case, it’s the property’s name, plethoric with symbolism and patriotism for Cubans, although, the property was actually named after Josefa Luz Carballo Benet’s nickname, since she was born on October 10, 1901, and was also the wife of Arganza, the owner.