Might The Hotel Nacional de Cuba In Havana Become A Ritz-Carlton-Affiliated Property?

Marriott International (Directly & Indirectly) Enters The Marketplace

Bethesda, Maryland-based Marriott International (2015 revenues exceeded US$14 billion) which owns nineteen brands (including Chevy Chase, Maryland-based Ritz-Carlton) is acquiring Stamford, Connecticut-based Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide (2015 revenues exceeded US$5.7 billion) and confirms its discussions with Republic of Cuba government-operated companies to identify property-management opportunities within the Republic of Cuba.

Claim By Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide

As a result of a series of mergers and acquisitions during the last fifty-seven years, a US$51,128,927.00 claim [LINK TO CLAIM] initially made by New York-based International Telephone & Telegraph Corporation (ITT) is now controlled by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide which may use this value as a means to secure opportunities within the Republic of Cuba.

In 2016, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the United States Department of the Treasury granted a license(s) to Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide to manage properties owned by Republic of Cuba government-operated entities located in the city of Havana, Republic of Cuba.  

The properties are Gran Caribe-owned Hotel Inglaterra; Habaguanex-owned Hotel Santa Isabel and Hotel Quinta Avenida (re-branded as Four Points by Sheraton Havana on 27 June 2016).  The Hotel Quinta Avenida is owned by Republic of Cuba government-operated Gaviota SA, under the auspice of Grupo de Administración Empresarial (GAESA), which is controlled by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of the Republic of Cuba (FAR).

The twenty-five three-star and four-star hotels owned by Gran Caribe include the Hotel Nacional de Cuba and Hotel Inglaterra in Havana, to hotels along the beaches of Varadero and the Cuba’s keys (Cayo).  

The Hotel Nacional de Cuba becoming affiliated with the Ritz-Carlton brand would deliver immediate bilateral (with the United States) and multilateral value as the lack of a presence by an internationally-recognized five-star brand has hampered the Republic of Cuba with appealing to (by providing equalized value) higher demographic travelers and providing an environment to increase the level of service provided by properties located throughout the Republic of Cuba.

Ritz-Carlton Hotels

From the company Internet site: 91 hotels worldwide in 30 countries and territories: Aruba, Austria, Bahrain, Canada, Cayman Islands, Chile, China, Egypt, Germany, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Mexico, Oman, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Russia, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Spain, Thailand, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, U.S. Virgin Islands, and the United States.

In the United States, The Ritz-Carlton Investing Company was established by Albert Keller who bought and franchised the name. In the early 1900s, several hotels were known as The Ritz-Carlton, in places such as Boston, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Atlantic City and Boca Raton. 

However, by 1940 none of the hotels were operating except The Ritz-Carlton, Boston. The hotel embodies the finest luxury experience, Yankee ingenuity and Boston social sensibilities. The standards of service, dining and facilities of this Boston landmark served as a benchmark for all future Ritz-Carlton hotels and resorts worldwide.

  • The Ritz-Carlton, Boston revolutionized hospitality in America by creating luxury in a hotel setting:
  • Private bath in each guest room
  • Lighter fabrics in the guest room to allow for more thorough washing
  • White tie and apron uniforms for the waitstaff, black tie for the Maître d’ and morning suits for all other staff, conducive to a formal, professional appearance
  • Extensive fresh flowers throughout the public areas
  • A la carte dining, providing choices for diners
  • Gourmet cuisine, utilizing the genius and cooking methods of Auguste Escoffier
  • Intimate, smaller lobbies for a more personalized guest experience

In 1983, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, LLC was formed. Led by president and founding father, Colgate Holmes, alongside Horst Schulze, Joe Freni, Ed Staros and Herve Humler, the company began to expand, adding new properties across the United States. Within two years, the brand had opened five hotels, including The Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead, The Ritz-Carlton, Atlanta, The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel and The Ritz-Carlton, Naples. This rapid expansion continued, and by the close of 1992, The Ritz-Carlton had expanded to 23 exceptional luxury hotels, earning its first Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. The following year, they opened their first hotel in Asia, The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong.

In 1998, the success of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company had attracted the attention of the hospitality industry, and the brand was purchased by Marriott International. Since this purchase, The Ritz-Carlton has continued to grow, providing exceptional service and genuine care to their guests across the globe. In 2000, The Ritz-Carlton Residences opened their first property in Washington, D.C., followed by their first Destination Club property, Aspen Highlands, Colorado in 2001. In addition to dozens of new hotels around the globe, in 2008 the company opened the first Ritz-Carlton Reserve property, offering a private sanctuary experience in Phulay Bay, Krabi, Thailand.

Today, the company continues to grow and to inspire life’s most meaningful journeys in the most desirable destinations on earth.”

InterContinental Hotels Group PLC Has An Interest

Denham, United Kingdom-based InterContinental Hotels Group PLC (2015 revenues exceeded US$1.8 billion) manages more than 5,028 hotels (742,000 rooms) in nearly 100 countries.

InterContinental Hotels Group PLC brands include: InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, Kimpton Hotels & Resorts, Hualuxe Hotels and Resorts, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Holiday Inn Hotels & Resorts, Staybridge Suites, Candlewood Suites, hotel Indigo, Even Hotels, and Crowne Plaza.

The company is the owner of a US$4,637,898.30 claim against the government of the Republic of Cuba certified by the United States Foreign Claims Settlement Commission (USFCSC) under the auspice of the United States Department of Justice.

The claim is for compensation due to the loss of its management contract of then National Hotel of Cuba (Hotel Nacional de Cuba).  The management contract commenced on 1 August 1955 and was to terminate on 21 November 1989.  The lease was intervened by the government of the Republic of Cuba on 10 June 1960.

The Libertad Act of 1996 authorizes individuals and companies subject to United States jurisdiction/law to engage in direct negotiations with the government of the Republic of Cuba to settle claims certified by the USFCSC.  

In December 2015, the government of the United Kingdom participated in an agreement signed between members of the Paris Club of Creditor Nations and the government of the Republic of Cuba that reduced debt from US$11.1 billion to US$2.6 billion which will be repaid over an eighteen-year period.

From Wikipedia:

In 1933, after Fulgencio Batista's 4 September 1933 coup against the transitional government, it was the residence of Sumner Welles, a special envoy sent by U. S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt to mediate the crisis, and was the site of a bloody siege that pitted the officers of the Cuban army, who had been instrumental in the overthrow of Gerardo Machado (August 12. 1933), against the non-commissioned officers and other ranks of the Cuban army, who supported Batista. This would be the Battle of the Hotel Nacional of Cuba.

In December 1946 the hotel hosted the Havana Conference, an infamous mob summit run by Lucky Luciano and Meyer Lansky and attended by Santo Trafficante, Jr., Frank Costello, Albert Anastasia, Vito Genovese and many others. Francis Ford Coppola memorably dramatised the conference in his film The Godfather Part II.

By 1955, Lansky had managed to persuade Batista to give him a piece of the Nacional. That same year Pan Am's (New York-based Pan American World Airways) Intercontinental Hotels Corporation took over management of the hotel. Alphons Landa, prominent Washington attorney represented Pan Am and arranged for other clients and friends to acquire pieces of the hotel ownership at the same time. Dave Beck, President of the Teamsters and Roy Fruehauf of the Fruehauf Trailer Company were silent partners for at least 2 years. Fruehauf would sell his interest in the hotel in May 1957; other investors would lose everything when Castro came to power. Lansky planned to take a wing of the 10-storey hotel and create luxury suites for high-stakes gamblers. Batista endorsed Lansky's idea even though there were objections from American expatriates such as Ernest Hemingway. Under Lansky's impetus, a wing of the grand entrance hall was refurbished to include a bar, a restaurant, a showroom and a luxurious casino. It was operated by Lansky and his brother Jake, with Wilbur Clark as the front man.”