HAVANA –– For the first time in over half a century, an American company is managing a Havana hotel.
The Fifth Avenue Hotel, located in the Havana neighbourhood of Miramar and renamed Four Points by Sheraton, came under the management of Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide last week, according to a report on Starwood’s website.
The transfer was reportedly signed with Cuban authorities in March, just hours before US President Barack Obama visited Havana.
Also included in the agreement is the iconic Inglaterra Hotel, which will be incorporated into the Luxury Collection of Starwood on August 31, according to the company.
Four Points by Sheraton is the most recent example of the new chapter of relations between Cuba and the United States, which began in December 2014.
ACN reports that the Starwood agreement is the first to take advantage in the tourism industry of the limited space opened by the executive actions of the current administration, which have transformed the application of some aspects of the trade embargo.
The American Association of Travel Agents estimated that at least two million US citizens would travel to Cuba in 2018 if travel restrictions are lifted this year.
A bill to lift the restrictions on travel already has a simple majority in the Senate, but it is hoped that a majority can be achieved before taking a vote.
An amendment with similar purposes was included in a draft budget law for financial services in the Senate and a vote is expected soon in the House of Representatives.