Havana's historic heart, which has a centuries-old history, is undergoing a remodeling process aimed at restoring old buildings from Spanish-colonial times to receive thousands of foreign travelers who bet on the Cuban capital to spend their vacations.
Hundreds of buildings boasting a wide range of architectural styles, a sign of the development of Cuban society, form part of a unique heritage that complements the leisure industry in the city.
The strategy includes the recovery of emblematic buildings, which are transformed into inns and small hotels for foreign vacationers who prefer to be in direct contact with the noisy life of the Cuban capital.
As part of that policy, the company Habaguanex S.A., attached to the Office of the Historian of the City, inaugurated the Palacio O'Farrill Hotel in 2002.
According to experts, the building takes its name from the family that ordered the construction of the mansion in Old Havana in the 19th century.
Located at the corner of Cuba and Chacón streets, very close to the entrance to the Bay of Havana and Cathedral Square, the neoclassic palace was the residence of Don José Ricardo O'Farrill y O'Daly.
O'Farrill, a rich trader from the county of Longford, Ireland, was linked to the lucrative business of slave traffic and owned several sugar mills. He arrived in Havana in the early 18th century and founded one of the richest families of that period.
For several decades, his descendants made great contributions to public administration, economy and culture, and boasted several titles of nobility. They even headed several local institutions, such as the Supreme Court.
The four-star hotel has 38 rooms, including 35 standard rooms and three junior suites. Facilities for leisure are distributed in three floors, each of which was decorated following the style of different centuries: the 18th century for the ground floor, the 19th century for the second floor and the 20th century for the third floor.
A singular attraction in the hotel is the Chico O'Farrill snack bar, which pays tribute to that renowned jazz musician, so jazz is the musical genre that predominates in the new establishment.
A big mahogany door with bronze nails allows entrance to the hotel, where the typical interior patio has a marble staircase that leads to the upper floors. The patio is lighted by natural light that enters through a skylight on the ceiling.
Painstaking restoration work gave back the Palacio O'Farrill its original characteristics, even those that were added later, luring vacationers to spend their vacations in a hotel where they will live in three centuries a the same time.