This past April, the Gran Manzana Kempinski Hotel in Havana was awarded the important Continental Prix Versailles 2018 for the Central America, South America and the Caribbean region, in the hotel category, “for the extraordinary restoration and refurbishment” of the former Manzana de Gómez building.
The new hotel is the result of the intervention in the area known as Manzana de Gómez (limited by Neptuno, O’Reilly, Zulueta and Monserrate streets in Old Havana). Construction work for the original building began in 1890 according to the project of architect Pedro Tomé Veracruisse. Still unfinished, it was sold to Andrés Gómez Mena, who completed the first floor. From 1916 to 1918, four other floors were added. Designed by architect Francisco Ramírez Ovando, the new floors were arranged around a central courtyard, ensuring natural lighting and ventilation. The ground floor, which was surrounded by wide galleries featuring inner assageways that met in a rotunda, was used as commercial premises, while the upper floors housed business offices.
The conceptual phase of the award-winning project, which included restoration, remodeling and new construction, was carried out by a team of experts from the Empresa de Proyectos Restaura, a restoration concern under the Office of the Historian of the City of Havana, and from the Havana Branch of the French construction company Bouygues Bâtiment International.
The opening of the 246-room Five Star Plus Gran Manzana Kempinski Hotel has contributed to further enhancing and embellishing an area that has such significant sites as Parque Central, the Universal Art Building of the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, the Gran Teatro de La Habana Alicia Alonso, the Inglaterra, Telégrafo, Plaza and Parque Central hotels, and the Capitolio Nacional.