Starwood Hotels, Priceline Sign Hospitality Deals With Cuba

Image courtesy of Rdog Xtreme

Now that travel is opening up from the U.S. to Cuba, hospitality companies are jumping at the chance to get in early: both Starwood Hotels & Resorts and Priceline have inked deals that will get them into business with the island nation and provide services for travelers.

Starwood signed deals over the weekend that will give it the management of three hotels in Havana, in a first for a U.S. hotel in Cuba in almost 60 years, reports The Washington Post. Starwood has already won approval from the Treasury Department for two of the hotels, and is waiting on approval for the third.

The deals include the Hotel Inglaterra, which will be run under its Luxury Collection brand, and the Hotel Quinta Avenida, which will be a Four Points by Sheraton hotel.

Both will be renovated before reopening under their new brands later this year.

Starwood also signed a letter of intent, pending a license approval from the Treasury to convert the Hotel Santa Isabel into a Luxury Collection hotel as well.

Starwood chief executive Thomas B. Mangas told the Post that “it has been great to be at the forefront of this diplomacy” and that “we are very proud to bring our experience and to be a first mover” into Cuba.

Priceline is also getting into the country with an agreement that will make Cuban hotel rooms available to U.S. customers via subsidiary Booking.com, Reuters reports. This will make it the first U.S. online travel agency to make a deal with the island nation, Booking.com says.

U.S. travelers will be able to reserve and pay for rooms at many Cuban and foreign hotels starting in several weeks, the company told Reuters. Before this deal, Americans had to reserve Cuban hotels mostly through travel agencies or tour groups. Airbnb has been doing business in Cuba since April last year as well.

The company will operate only in Havana at first, and plans to work with foreign businesses already on the island.

Starwood signs historic deals in Cuba for three Havana hotels [The Washington Post]
Priceline strikes deal with Cuba to let Americans book hotels [Reuters]