The only US-managed hotel in Cuba will be closing its doors…
Four Points by Sheraton Havana closing
The Miami Herald reports that the Trump administration is forcing Marriott to discontinue its management contract for the Four Points by Sheraton Havana, the only US-managed hotel in Cuba.
The Treasury Department has informed Marriott that the contract for the hotel will have to end by August 31, 2020, and Marriott won’t be allowed to manage other hotels in Cuba. Prior to that, Marriott was supposed to manage a second property — Hotel Inglaterra Havana — but the opening of that has been pushed back several times. Who knows if it would have ever even opened as a Marriott, given how US and Cuba relations have deteriorated.
The hotel was branded as a Four Points since 2016 (prior to that it didn’t belong to Marriott), as Americans started to be able to visit Cuba under more conditions. This was the first American hotel brand in Cuba since 1959. There was controversy surrounding this hotel in general, given that it’s owned by Gaviota, which has ties to the Cuban military.
As Kerstin Sachl, Marriott’s Director of Public Relations for Latin America and the Caribbean describes this move:
“We have recently received notice that the government-issued license will not be renewed, forcing Marriott to cease operations in Cuba.”
I reviewed the Four Points by Sheraton Havana during my visit to Cuba in late 2016, as I couldn’t turn up the opportunity to stay at Cuba’s first Marriott.
Four Points by Sheraton Havana lobby
I guess this shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, given how the US stance on Cuba has changed in the past few years. While we never really saw the major US hotel chains get big in Cuba (as there were still all kinds of logistical challenges), the one US managed hotel in Cuba will no longer be a Marriott as of August.
It remains to be seen whether the hotel will simply be reflagged as another brand, or what…