Hotel Habana LibreEdit profile
Hotel Tryp Habana Libre is one of the larger hotels in Cuba, situated in Vedado, Havana. The hotel has 569 rooms in a 25 floor tower at Calle 23 ("La Rampa") and Calle L.History
The hotel was built as the Habana Hilton, under the personal auspices of President Fulgencio Batista, as an investment by the pension plan of the Cuban Catering Workers' Union, and was operated by the American Hilton Hotels group. It was designed by the Los Angeles firm Welton Becket & Associates, who had previously built the Beverly Hilton, as well as the Capitol Records Building in Hollywood.
Opened on March 22, 1958, with Conrad Hilton himself in attendance, the Habana Hilton was Latin America's tallest and largest hotel. It boasted a Trader Vic's, as well as a casino, supper club, pool and rooftop bar.
Following the entry of Fidel Castro into Havana, on January 8, 1959, the hotel became his headquarters. The casinos throughout the city were briefly closed, but protests by Havana casino workers led to their reopening in February.
The hotel remained in operation as a Hilton for two more unsuccessful years as relations between the US and Cuba worsened, until October 1960, when all American hotels in Cuba were nationalized and the casinos permanently closed. The hotel was then renamed the Hotel Habana Libre (Hotel Free Havana).
In 1996 the Spanish Sol Meliá chain assumed management of the hotel. It was placed in their Tryp division of urban hotels and renamed Hotel Tryp Habana Libre. It was renovated between 1996 and 1997. Among the highlights of the work was the restoration of an enormous original mural by artist Amelia Peláez over the main entrance which had spent decades hidden from public view.
Hotel Habana Libre is just a few steps from the popular ice-cream parlor Coppelia.