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Havana now has a five-star hotel that costs more per night than most Cubans make in half a year

The next time Beyoncé, Jay Z, or Rihanna want to sip a Cuba libre in Havana, they’ll have a new hotel and rooftop bar to Instagram from. The Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski La Habana just opened in the UNESCO-protected neighborhood of Old Havana, transforming the historic Manzana de Gómez building into an opulent stopover that far outshines even the nicest Airbnb.

The hotel, which opened June 7, is a study in Western-style luxury with 246 rooms, three bars, three restaurants, a top-floor gym, a rooftop pool, and a nearly 10,000-square-foot spa. It’s run by a Swiss hotel chain under a management contract with Cuba’s Grupo de Turismo Gaviota, a tourism group run by the Cuban military (of course), according to the Miami HeraldRooms at the Kempinski range from $470 to $1,385 per night. The vast majority of Cubans earn less than $200 a month. In short, the Kempinski is only for tourists. 

Cuban tourism has skyrocketed in the last few years, thanks in part to a flood of Americans visiting the island after former President Barack Obama lifted some restrictions on travel. President Donald Trump is currently conducting a review of Obama’s policies, though, and is expected to announce a more restrictive Cuba policy later this week. That could affect flights by American airlines, Americans’ ability to travel to Cuba, and perhaps the Kempinski’s ability to fill those pricey rooms.

ML