Hotel Santa Isabel Palacio del Conde de Santovenia

Style of place: Scenic view/café
Best for: Wonderful view across Plaza de Armas.
Worst for: The lighting is strangely bad.
Baratillo 9, entre Obispo y Narciso López, Habana Vieja
  • The grandiose palace overlooking the broad cobbled plazuela to the southeast side of Plaza de Armas is the deluxe Hotel Santa Isabel, with its entrance at the corner of Baratillo and Obispo.

    The hotel occupies the former Palacio del Conde de Santovenia. Initiated in 1784, this large luxurious mansion was first owned by the Countess of San Juan de Jaruco and then, in 1824, by Nicolás González Martínez de Campos, judge advocate of Havana, who inherited the title of Count of Santovenia. By order, the building was designed in the same style as the Palacio de los Capitanes-General and Palacio del Segundo Caballo, with a loggia behind thick limestone columns, and beautiful mediopunto (half-moon stained glass windows) above. The Count of Santovenia had the building modified, with a spacious rooftop terrace with a pilastered wrought-iron rail.

    It was eventually sold, becoming the Santa Isabel Hotel in 1867. After intensive restoration efforts in 1996, it was again turned into a hotel with the same name, and is now famous as one of the best hotels in Havana (President Jimmy Carter, Jack Nicholson, Sting, and actor Bruce Willis are among its famous recent guests).


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