The following information was gathered by me during my recent trip to Cuba and supplemented by research on the Internet. I am always amazed about the depth of information you can get from Google. No matter how many interviews I did in Cuba to get the correct information, Google had all of the facts in one neat package. It will be interesting to see if you can tell which pictures I took myself and which ones I got off the Internet.
The last thing I ever expected to see in Havana was a hotel dedicated to the Jewish religion. As I explained yesterday, Jews are a small part of the Cuban population. Apparently the building was a textile factory before the revolution and most of the workers were Jewish. Thanks to a restoration process carried out by The Company Habaguanex S.A., belonging to the Office of the City Historian of Havana, the Hotel Raquel is a permanent tribute to the Hebrew culture and its presence in the Cuban contemporary art.
The building is completely captivating because of its Art Nouveau style, including the marble columns that rise in the hall of the entrance, an extensive roof of dark glass, and a watchtower where guests can view the streets and squares of Old Havana.
Raquel’s name is biblical for a beautiful woman, an inspiration of the Hebrew culture. The Hotel Raquel also has a restaurant of Jewish cuisine and a Judaic gift shop. How cool is that?