A tribute to the Hebrew culture and its presence in Cuba

History

The Hotel Raquel was built among 1905 and 1908 by the Venezuelan architect Naranjo Ferrer to set up a real estate and the biggest store of fabrics in Cuba belonging to the Loriente Bros. Trading Company.

The property that occupies The Hotel Raquel is of eclectic style, very modern if it’s compares with its colonial environment. The construction of this building concludes in 1908 as shown the date inscribed in its pediment, and it was an amplification project carried out by the Loriente Company, Limited Partnership that was devoted to the purchase and sale of fabrics in the guild of the storekeeper importers or trading bankers.

For the progress, it needed a headquarters where the buyers of the capital and the rest of the country could order their merchandises; because of this they decide to build a building where it’s established the storehouse and it worked like real estate. In this installation it was also located the Chamber of Commerce of the Republic of Cuba, and customs clearance and offices.

Corresponding to the building num. 13 of the Amargura street, The Hotel Raquel was built in the first years of the republic in the lands that previously occupied the houses of the Amargura num. 11, before num. 8 and San Ignacio num. 58, before num. 89.

The house of Amargura num. 11 was made of sandstones, rafas and tiles, with the accessory store in its high floor, and it measured 560.46 m2. In the long list of their proprietors they were the Mr. Cristóbal de Oiré, duke of Estrada. In 1891 the property is bought by the Loriente Bros. Trading Company to a price of 31 000 pesos in gold of the Spanish stamp, the Society is adjudicated the property by sale and purchase before the solicitor Dr. José de Ojas y Casanova, according to num. 535 foliate 201 returned of the volume 13 of the newspaper.

For the San Ignacio street had a masonry house and tiles that it measured 295.95 m2 and among its proprietors figured María Josefa Villuendas, marquise of Villalba. The Loriente and Acevedo Bros. acquired for purchase to Francisco García Río, representative of Bernardo Martínez y Bautizta, for deed granted in Havana June 6 of 1901 before the solicitor Dr. Rojas y Casanova, according to inscription 15 of the property 1881, to the folio 50 returned of the volume 300.

In 1895 it’s adjoined, in the Importer Trading Company of fabrics, the Francisco and Vicente Loriente and Acevedo brothers, which had among their expansion plans the construction of a big building in the piece of lands that they had bought to the siblings Magdalena and Antonio Miró and Houses.

Their first step was admitting as sleeping partner the Mr. Manuel Campos y Prompin; later on April 15 of 1904, they request a mortgage loan in favor of the Joint Venture of N. Gelats for the quantity of 100 000 pesos in Spanish gold. Mr. Gelats y Durall inscribed in favor of the Joint Venture of N. Gelats and Society before the solicitor Dr. José Ramírez de Avellano y Pedroso the mortgage right on this property in January 30 of 1905.

The work began in 1905 and it finished in 1908, like it’s signed in the principal gate of the building. The foreman was Ramón Gastón, he obtained his license from the municipal mayor's office of this city July 22 of 1905. It is a stonework construction made up of three floors, with basements and rooms in the roof, marked with No. 11 of the Amargura Street.

When the construction was ended in 1908, it abutted for the right with La Amargura’s house No. 13, adobe of Acevedos siblings. 

This modern construction that lit with electricity all its dependences, reserved excellent comforts for its clients; among those there were a reading cabinet and a library.

However, in 1914 the society is dissolved and it passes to the Cuban Company of Accidents Ltd., which it got in debt, and in 1927 the property is auctioned whose buyer would be Mr. Esteban Gacicedo y Torriente, this one was born in Santander, Spain.

In 1954, this entity sells the property of the Amargura Street, signed with the number 103, to the Chamber of Commerce of the Republic of Cuba that resided already in this place, occupying the whole building up to 1963.

Starting from this date and up to 1968, the National Institute of the Fishing establishes its offices in the building. In the basement there were the storehouses, in the roof, almost in ruins, it’s occupied by housings and the rest: offices, library, etc.

When The National Institute of the Fishing was moved to the fishing port, the property became an essential part of the Storing and Benefit Company of Cuba-tobacco.

In 1969 every floor of the building was rehabilitated like stores of manufacturing of tobacco; to the following year, it were carried out important reconstruction works, stained glass window and floor were changed, constructions of walls, and the hydraulic installation to a water hole of the next building was carried out (Amargura No. 105). All these changes with the objective of establishing the spreading shop of Cuba-Tobacco Company, which merging with Alimentary Industry’s Ministry (MINAL), it was known like Center of Design of Containers and Spreading of MINAL, changing their name again for that of Publicist Establishment Todey.

Starting from 1970, and up to 1990, the building was totally occupied for the Public Utility of the Food Industry: In the basement the stores were set up, as well as the silkren shops; in the first floor offices, design living rooms, the direction, cafeteria and dining room. In the second floor, toward the wing of the San Ignacio Street, the computation, pictures, sound and video laboratories, to the other side the serigraphy department, staging and the carpentry. In the roof it stayed housing, in this case, of an employee of the Public Utility.

In 90's , the company Habaguanex Ltd. it begins the works of restoration of the building with the objective of settling down in it a hotel, and to return the singular architectural beauty of this construction. Almost one decade later, the dream was made reality and in the month of April of the year 2003 open its doors the Hotel Raquel, completely restored and splendid, causing the admiration of all those that visit it.

With plenum interiors of an atmosphere with great influence of the style art nouveau, this hotel installation was inaugurated in June 5 of 2003, and in turn making perpetual homage to that beautiful woman, emblem of the Hebrew culture and inspiring of countless works of art that she is considered the fourth matriarch of the Jewish town.

Welcome to my site dedicated to the Hotel Raquel in Old Havana. I am "poco a poco" researching and updating it with the aim to provide as complete as possible record of the hotel's ancient and recent history; bearing in mind that the goings-on today may one day be of historical interest.

My site is NOT the official website of the current hotel operator, and is by no means endorsed by them; but I am grateful for their help with the research.

You can make from this site room reservations through the Bizloco eTravel System operated by Cubaism Ltd.

Best wishes for 2017

Nigel Alexander Hunt