Caribbean tourism Cuba’s colonial charm
This is what this style looks like and is experienced on the island
Plaza Vieja (Habana)
Havana doesn't just have colonial architecture, it could be considered the capital of the world of this style that was brought by Spaniards to the New World. With the cities of the Canary Islands acting as a test tube, the urbanization of the new territories was marked by the need to build solid and sober buildings that over time were decorated and painted with clear local and European baroque influences. The result is therefore a delight for the eyes, which get lost between the bright colors and the magnificent arcades and porticoes of Plaza Vieja, the heart of the Cuban capital. However, this is just the beginning. Looking for hotels in Havana for your next Caribbean vacation? You are in the right place!
Brunet Palace (Trinidad)
Trinidad has so many colonial gems that it's hard to choose one. In fact, its potential is such that the city was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988, being the first place in Cuba with such protection. However, like every Latin city, its epicenter is the Plaza Mayor, where the main monuments of the town are located. And among them shines this old palace converted into the Romántico Museum, where the beauty of the building and Count Brunet's memories of the 19th century are highlighted. A journey through complete and inescapable time in which the most glorious period of Trinidad is experienced among curiosities, vintage items and handcrafted furniture.
At the Iberostar Heritage Grand Trinidad you are close to the genuine Cuban soul in a five-star hotel in the heart of Trinidad, the so-called ‘city-museum of Cuba’
Iberostar Heritage Iberostar Heritage Grand Trinidad
The other nerve center in Trinidad is Céspedes Park (or Plaza Carrillo), an area surrounded by spectacular monuments such as the Town Hall or the Church of San Francisco de Paula. Above all, however, the palace that houses Iberostar Heritage Iberostar Heritage Grand Trinidad shines above all, a completely renovated splendid 16th century historic mansion where the past and present shake hands. That is to say, where colonial elements like the courtyard or high arches house all the luxuries expected from a 5-star urban hotel.
The heart of Gibara, a charming town in northeastern Cuba, has a capital and European feel to it. In a simple landscaped square, there is a religious power (through the church of San Fulgencio) and also a commercial power in the form of large houses that were built by the most famous merchants. No wonder, this city is known as Villa Blanca because of its white walls that, along with a huge battery of cannons, protected its port and stores. A glorious era that remains intact and has different colors on the must-see facades and balconies that have made it the town with the country's most cultural and touristic potential, as well as unleashing an unparalleled love for cinema. In fact, its streets and landscapes have been the protagonists of dozens of Cuban films and, in addition, it hosts one of the most outstanding international festivals dedicated to the seventh art in the country.
If you want to explore all these and a host of other attractions, Iberostar offers you a complex made up of three 4-star hotels in Gibara: Ordoño, Arsenita and Plaza Colón.
Iberostar Ordoño (Gibara)
This magnificent hotel is the greatest exponent of Gibara’s eclectic and colonial charm. It is so because of its size, as it is the tallest building in the city and also because of the art it possesses. Restored just 5 years ago, its restoration work honored the amazing frescoes painted by the artist from the Canary Islands León Hernández Cáceres a little less than a century ago. This gentle refurbishment means that staying here means experiencing what the travelers and merchants of the happy twenties and thirties lived through, who arrived at the mansion of the merchant Felipe Ordoño with the whims of their present day.
Iberostar Arsenita (Gibara)
Gibara's most photogenic house is one of the best examples of a Cuban colonial mansion with American influences, a mixture that causes the brain to travel to New Orleans when you look out from its balconies. The former home to teacher María Arsenia Martínez Cruz, Arsenita, is now home to a delightful twelve-room boutique hotel in Gibara that preserves the essence of being a home to culture. No wonder, where this teacher used to teach classes, these days there are improvised gatherings and screenings of some of the films from the city's film festival.
Iberostar Plaza Colón (Gibara)
The relationship between Gibara and the sea is felt and enjoyed in this beautiful house built in the early twentieth century. In fact, the name of this establishment is a tribute to the square that in turn is reminiscent of Christopher Columbus. The admiral and the city have a very close relationship as, when this sailor first saw it, he described it as “the river of seas, of better air and gentler people.” A spirit that was preserved throughout its development and that in this building is translated into a marine decoration both in its colors and in its objects. Another legacy of the past is its passion for music, because its first owner was a music teacher, a memory that today inspires the concerts and shows that take place at this hotel.
Parque Céspedes (Santiago de Cuba)
Just like Trinidad, Céspedes Park is where everything happens in Santiago de Cuba. And to say this about the second city of the country is to anticipate fun, culture and a lot of life. At the very same place you can find three unique and historic buildings such as the Town Hall, the House of Diego Velázquez (the oldest in the country) and the Cathedral Basilica Nuestra Señora de la Asunción. A display of colonial architectural variety applied to various uses.
It’s easy to discover all the hidden gems of this city when you stay in an Iberostar hotel, undoubtedly the best hotels in Santiago de Cuba.
Iberostar Heritage Casa Granda
Beyond the city's great institutions, at Céspedes Park there is a building that stands out for its elegance. It is halfway between Europe’s most minimalist Art Deco trends and colonial arabesques, making it a unique building. And even more so if it is interpreted as what it is: the most sophisticated and authentic way of enjoying the day to day life in this square, whether it be bidding farewell to the day from its spacious rooms, feeling the heartbeats of the street from its terrace or conquering the curious skyline of Santiago from its entertaining roof terrace.
Iberostar Heritage Imperial
Located just 100 meters from the Céspedes Park, this imposing building is one of the most precious and delicate examples of this style. Its moldings and balconies, almost mannerist, are a wonderful delight of varied and delicate motifs that have made it one of the city’s most admired monuments. After a complete renovation, the Iberostar Heritage Imperial is home to a hotel that brings out every detail of its facades and interiors while creating other spaces that promise to be must-see, such as its roof garden from where you can see the city limits.
Iberostar Heritage San Félix
Calle José Antonio Saco is undoubtedly one of the most charismatic shopping streets in Santiago. No wonder it is the quintessential avenue of the city center that links power with the port. Here, colonial buildings of all styles abound, because the appearance of an establishment has always been the best way to attract potential customers. And in this case, in addition to the blue and white colors, what's surprising is its neoclassical aftertaste, a style that here has been confused with colonial style but whose hallmark is its likeness of the ancient forms. Inside, the future appears in the shape of spacious rooms, bars and lounges.