Hotel Saratoga

Article

May 29, 2022

Hotel Saratoga is a luxury hotel with neoclassical architecture located on Paseo del Prado in Old Havana, opposite Fuente de la India, built in 1880 for warehouses, remodeled as a hotel in 1933 and reopened in 2005. An explosion occurred in the hotel on the morning of May 6, 2022.

History

The building was first commissioned by the wealthy Spanish merchant Gregorio Palacios, who was born in Santander. He owned several housing facilities and signed a contract in 1879 for $98,000 for the construction of the new building. It was originally a three-story building. The ground floor housed a tobacco warehouse, a shop and four apartments. The second floor was used as a hotel or inn with 43 rooms and a dining room. Its first location was on Rua do Monte, later it was transferred to the surroundings of Campo de Marte. In 1935, tourist guides highlighted the hotel as one of the best in Havana. Its esplanade, called Aires Libres, was an important cultural and traditional center in the 20th century. After an arduous renovation, it was reopened in 2005 as a five star hotel with 96 rooms, three bars, two restaurants, a swimming pool and a business center. Its architecture recalls the colonial era and has an eclectic character with a large number of interesting elements, such as French carpentry, ceramics and Cuban marble.The Saratoga hotel is located opposite the Parque de la Fraternidad, close to the National Capitol. The restoration project was carried out in 2005 by the City Historian Office. The central location and views made it a preferred destination for international visitors. The building maintained its vitality until the 1960s, when it was intervened by the revolutionary government. From then on, it became a tenement with several subdivisions until it was vacated due to its deplorable state. Once restored, today it combines its traditional style with advanced technology.

2022 explosion

On May 6, 2022, during the Cuban International Tourism Fair, an explosion destroyed parts of the building. Government sources initially attributed the explosion to a gas leak. At least 22 people were killed in the blast and another 76 were injured. the number of fatalities rises to 45, but the search for bodies is still running

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