First American hotel chain opens in Cuba

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First American hotel chain opens in Cuba2

The latest sign that the Cold War between the U.S. and Cuba is coming to an end is that a Sheraton hotel has opened in Havana. It’s the first U.S. operated hotel on the island since the Cuban revolution in 1959.

CCTV America’s Michael Voss reported.

First American hotel chain opens in Cuba

First American hotel chain opens in Cuba

The latest sign that the Cold War between the U.S. and Cuba is coming to an end is that a Sheraton hotel has opened in Havana. It's the first U.S. operated hotel on the island since the Cuban revolution in 1959. CCTV America's Michael Voss reported.

The Quinta Avenida Hotel in Havana is owned by Gaviota, a commercial division of the Cuban military. Now, it has become a Four Point’s by Sheraton hotel under a management deal approved by the U.S. government.

Sheraton’s parent company Starwood Hotels and Resorts is spending millions refurbishing the existing facilities and retraining its Cuban staff. It’s the first major U.S. investment here in more than half a century.

Before the revolution, when Cuba was America’s tropical playground, there were plenty of U.S. owned hotels, many with Mafia run casinos, until Fidel Castro nationalized them all. This Starwood deal is the first since then and it’s just the beginning.

Tourism is up dramatically since the U.S. and Cuba agreed to restore diplomatic relations. The local infrastructure is struggling to cope with barely enough hotel rooms to meet demand.

This Starwood deal won’t do anything to help alleviate the shortage of hotel rooms in Havana. But by upgrading existing hotels it should offer American visitors the sort of quality and brand names they are familiar with.

But in the meantime, three new luxury hotels are currently under construction and will be operated by Swiss, French and Spanish hotel chains.