Hotel Louvre (Matanzas)

Louvre Hotel . Hotel located in the Historic Center of the City of Matanzas . Founded in 1879 , it has reached the present day maintaining the name with which it became known. To speak of Matanzas is to speak of this important hotel complex characterized in its time by its luxury, good taste and the exquisiteness of its services.


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  • 1 Historical Review
    • 1 Origin of the name
    • 2 Antecedents
    • 3 Properties in which it was installed
  • 2 Current location and owners
    • 1 House of Doña Isabel Polleschi, widow of Oña, 1859
      • 1.1 Nationalization by the Revolutionary Government
    • 3 Repair works
    • 4 Specialty
    • 5 Reopening in 1985
      • 1Servicios
    • 6 Unique Hotel in Cuba with colonial characteristics
    • 7 Hotel Life
    • 8 Personalities staying at the Hotel
    • 9 Activities hosted at the Hotel
    • 10Arquitectura
    • 11 Repair and reopening in 1998
    • 12Actualidad
      • 1 Restoration
    • 13 References
    • 14Fuentes

Historical review

Name’s origin

His name was chosen at random. Everything that came from France was exquisite and refined; French presence that in denominations of commercial establishments constituted a letter of introduction.


Old entrance of the Louvre hotel

The first references to El Louvre can be found in the newspaper La Aurora del Yumurí . The Louvre had its antecedents in the Fonda y Posada of the same name, owned by Escalante y Hnos., located at Gelabert 46 (current Milanés street), next to the Sauto Theater . The press announces it for the first time in 1876 .

Pilgrim of the City of Matanzas, in 1883 the building was located, as Hotel Restaurant, at Gelabert No. 56 – which today occupies the Territorial Directorate of Etecsa , Matanzas – until finally arriving in 1904 at its current location in Milanés No. 47. At that time, the facility was recognized as “the only first-class hotel in the city” and the luxury and majesty of the rooms, as well as the excellent service provided, were underlined.

The first information we have about him dates back to January 1879 at Gelabert 4 and 6 – today Milanés Street-, next to the Esteban Theater – today Sauto Theater – owned by Escalante y Hnos., classified as a Restaurant-Hotel.

Since its foundation it has enjoyed prestige, and only a year after it was inaugurated, it will be famous for its precious crockery for receptions inside and outside the establishment, and its rooms considered elegant, decent and well furnished. In 1883 it was transferred to another location, until in 1904 it would be at Milanés No 47, its current location, by then its owners were Escalante y Sobrinos.

Properties in which it was installed

The buildings in which it was installed were not built to house a function of a civil nature. All originally had a domestic function and that floor was adapted according to the requirements of the Hotel typology without losing the particular features of its architecture.

The second building where he settled, which does not exist today, was the one framed with No. 56 on the same street, where Don Carlos White’s Grocery Store and La Armonía Café used to function and in 1880 , as it was a two-story building, they were for rent its spacious basement, occupied the following year by the Superior Municipal School for Boys.

Current location and owners

House of Doña Isabel Polleschi, widow of Oña, 1859

“On February 2, 1859, Isabel Polleschi, widow of Antonio García Oña, who ruled Matanzas between 1840 and 1845, establishes a contract with the master builder Bartolomé Borrell for the erection of a high and low stonework house, a document that is an extraordinary testimony of the characteristics of Matanzas architecture in its moment of greatest splendor . The façade would be made of stonework, the lower part undressed and the upper part with cornices, dust covers, brackets and various decorative elements. The house passed to Ricardo García Oña y Polleschi, who was seized by the state because of debts with the Royal Treasury. It was auctioned off in 1893 in favor of Teresa Cirarruista, wife of the merchant Tiburcio Bea y Urquijo, in the possession of whose descendants it remained until the triumph of the Revolution. From 1904 until the first years of the current century, the mansion was used as the Hotel Louvre.”[1]

In the history of the Hotel, the period spent at Milanés No 47 (current location) is the most significant. With the death of Juan Escalante in 1910 , the property passed into the hands of his widow and in 1912 it became Viuda de Escalante y Co. under the administration and management of Lic. Alfredo Arriaga, who in 1917 is already its owner.

Nationalization by the Revolutionary Government

During the year 1962 , in the heat of the nationalizations that the Revolution undertook, the property, which had belonged to Antonio Palacios y Cía since 1937 , was intervened , and its social function was maintained. At the end of 1965 , during a brief recess due to a renovation, the Four Springs, some beautiful marble sculptures that adorned the lobby, were moved to the ground floor of the Government Palace and later to the Sauto theater park, where today they can be seen. admire.

At that time the Hotel offered free garage service and English and French interpreters. Vicente Moncholi, who in 1922 is its owner, was Director of the Lyceum and loses ownership of the Hotel in 1928 due to arrears in rent payments for the premises. Other owners followed one another until Antonio Palacios y Cía. (Palacios, Braulio Viejo and Celestino Menéndez) took over the management of the Hotel in 1937 and remained its owners until it was intervened and nationalized.

The initials TB (Tiburcio Bea) and the year 1894 that maintains the monogram above the mirror that is still preserved on the first landing of the stairs, does not correspond to the founding date of the Hotel ( 1879 ) or its installation in that building . ( 1904 ), nor with the construction of this building ( 1859 – 1860 ). According to the Property Registry, that date corresponds to the acquisition of the premises by the Bea family, whose heirs kept it in their possession until its nationalization.

repair works

There is no evidence that the building was later repaired; but it is evident that adaptation works to a new function and maintenance work must have been carried out on it. After the Triumph of the Revolution it was partially repaired at the end of 1966 (services were reopened the following year). In this decade the sculptures of the four springs that were in the lobby were transferred to the ground floor of the Palace, later in those same years to the Sauto Theater where they are today, all due to the efforts of Pedro Esquerré , then a culture official, painter, artist and dear deceased Matanzas.

Due to the deterioration that the building presented, it was closed again in 1980 and it was rebuilt or repaired in a general way. The value of the work was estimated at 334,000 pesos in construction and 200,000 pesos in equipment, furniture and decoration. With the 1966 repair, a new service was introduced: the main room facing the street offered ice cream from the Coppelia line, without stopping selling food in the rest of the rooms.


At that time belonging to the National Institute of Industry and Tourism, its administrator was Eladio Pérez (Perecito), who had been an assistant or secretary to an American in the Cuevas de Bellamar , an enthusiastic person, a good gastronomist who introduced the Rancho Luna food specialty. Havana at the Louvre: roast chicken and black beans.

reopened in 1985


After closing in 1980 , it reopened its doors on August 3 , 1985 , then of its 17 rooms, 7 will have air conditioning and 2 were furnished in colonial style. Its spaces and services were distributed in three restaurants: the main dining room with 10 tables, called El Unicornio, and a third room for light meals and cocktails for guests. It also has a protocol room and a bar, two living rooms, a folder, an office, warehouses, bathrooms, housekeeping departments and an administration office.

Unique Hotel in Cuba with colonial characteristics

In 1985 it is considered the only Hotel in the country with colonial characteristics in which the building, furniture and pieces that it possesses are combined. At that time, the Hotel was decorated with two paintings by Gil García , one by Domingo Ramos and one by Gilberto Frómeta , The Unicorn that decorates and gives its name to a room.

The furniture in the waiting room is knobby. The glassware is very valuable and the protocol tableware is French porcelain from Limoges. Room No. 4 stands out in this setting, which was furnished with a rosewood veneered room set, with ebony views and covered inside with sandalwood.

In the Yumurí supplement of August 31, 1985 , it is said that “the quarter game was made in Barcelona in 1840 and cost 200 royal shields. Its owner was Count José Eugenio Moré y Labastida, founder of Sagua la Grande . The game was in New York and Italy and must have arrived in the country in the 1970s. I was at the La Santísima Trinidad sugar mill in Sagua at that time. It consists of bed, wardrobe, dresser and nightstand.

“At that time, Matanzas had an incredible hotel movement, it also had the San Carlos, Florida (formerly the Golden Lion), Los dos Amigos and Las Delicias, facilities that guaranteed the accommodation of a large number of travelers driven by trade, since The Via Blanca had not yet been built.

Ercilio_Vento_Canosa ‘

Hotel Life

Owners, builders, guests and economic, political or social events were linked to the life of the building and the Hotel, which made it function as a living organism: in 1869 the rope was stretched from its roof to the Lyceum on which Monsieur de Lave executed a balancing act on a tightrope, crossing the Plaza de Armas –today Parque de la Libertad .

Personalities staying at the Hotel

The place was preferred by great personalities of politics, culture and government based in the city or occasional visitors. Ambassadors, ministers and renowned artists stayed there.

Important politicians and artists stayed there: at the beginning of the 20th century – March 1908 – JM Choates, retired ambassador from England and the American Minister Morgan; also the Mexican lyrical singer Esperanza Iris, known as the Empress of the Operetta and between the years 1938 – 1939 Fuman-Chu, a Panamanian magician, considered an innovator in magic, accompanied by the dancer Eva Beltri, internationally famous, who at the time they performed at the Sauto Theater .

All the dramatic companies that visited Matanzas stayed at the hotel , including that of Luisa Martínez Casado, a famous actress from Villa Clara who visited us at the beginning of the century , between 1900-1902 .

Other relevant personalities of national culture such as Blanca Becerra , Luis Carbonell , Armando Soler , Rodrigo Prats , Esther Borja , to name just a few, have stayed at this Hotel.

Activities hosted at the Hotel

Tributes, banquets, commemorations, were activities that will always be welcomed in this Hotel. Perhaps like no other construction of function or civil use, the hotels were the center of social events of diverse category.

On June 11, 1939, in the Hotel restaurant, a tribute was held: a banquet to Mr. Carlos Núñez Pérez, creator and President of Banco Núñez. The Lions Club and the Rotary Club had in hotels such as the Louvre, the Velasco and the Yara suitable scenarios for their activities. In them they commemorated with extraordinary lunches or banquets the most significant national dates.


To all the values ​​of the Hotel are added those of its architecture: a two-story building, whose originally domestic floor plan is organized around two central patios that are divided by a body built on two levels and which could have been a solution after the building original to use the space as a living room on the ground floor and rooms on the upper floor, which are closed with wooden elements and blinds.

On the upper floor, around the two patios, there are balconies (circulation elements to lead to the rooms), those of the first patio are closed with solid wooden parapets and shutters in fixed leaves and others that open, those of the second close in simple iron railing, with wooden handrails.

Its main access is framed by terrazzo corner guardrails with an art-nouveau design, evidently much later than the time of construction of the old building. This access is completely lateral to the end, on the axis with the imperial staircase that connects the two floors.

Spatially it is distributed with two corridors parallel to the street, the first housing the old entrance hall and the main hall and the second, the old parlor, current lobby-bar of the Hotel, communicates with the staircase and first patio; a third parallel corridor that is located between the two courtyards and a fourth, parallel to the street, which closes the entire spatial distribution of the building. All these bays parallel to the street are connected by two perpendicular hammers or bays, at both ends, defining in this case a figure eight floor plan for both levels.

The spaces on the ground floor communicate with each other; the current lobby communicates with the patio through semicircular arches, with the restaurant through flat openings closed by screens and with the upper floor through its staircase. The lobby bar counter, which also serves the restaurant, is marble.

On the second level are the rooms with evident transformations of adaptation to new needs arising from social development and the use of the building as a Hotel, such is the case of false ceilings and bathrooms.

The original floors have been replaced with granite slabs. Only the staircase preserves the marble and the patio the island tiles. The galleries on the upper floor are mosaic.

The facade topped by the parapet is made up of four openings on the ground floor and four on the upper floor; The latter are joined by a continuous balcony, separating the area of ​​each room by simple bars, with a wooden handrail and a neighbor guard at its ends. It is also hierarchized by elements such as platbands, dust covers, over corbels, cornices, friezes and relief pilasters.

This building, due to the existence of four openings in its façade, gives an image of amplitude, transparency and magnitude, which corresponds to the general characteristics of the building. To this was added the richness of materials in its original black and white marble pavements, the beauty and color of the half-point lights of the arches, the quality of the carpentry of the screens and elements of its decoration, as well as the the false ceilings made of die-cast metal, some of which have been replaced by reproductions of plaster and henequen fiber.

Decorative elements such as large marble cups on a base of the same material are maintained, hierarchizing the passage from the old hall to the current lobby, by unifying them into a single function. Originally they were located at the start of the stairs and the place they currently occupy belonged to two of the sculptures of the four springs. The fountain in the courtyard is another decorative element.

In the Hotel, room number four stood out because it was furnished with a set of rosewood rooms, veneered in rosewood, ebony and sandalwood, made in Barcelona in 1840 , at a cost of 200 royal shields. Its owner was Count José Eugenio Moré y Labastida, founder of Sagua La Grande . It was in New York and Italy and was introduced to the country in the 1970s . Before being transferred to the city of Matanzas, it was in the La Santísima Trinidad sugar mill, in Sagua, and it consists of a bed, a wardrobe, a dresser, and a bedside table.

Repair and reopening in 1998

After a necessary repair, it reopens its doors in the last months of 1998 . In terms of its architecture, it maintains the most significant elements of the installation, as well as its furniture, with the exception of the fourth bay or bay in the background, closed with modern glass doors and intended for the function of a store.


Reopening of the hotel in 2018 after being closed for almost two decades

After the attacks of the Special Period , the successive administrations made an effort to preserve the values ​​and its functionality, but in 2005 it closed as a hotel, assuming other tasks: warehouse or occasional market, all to the detriment of its heritage importance. There begins the tortuous path of the relics of the Louvre.

According to the heritage regulations issued by the Office of Monuments and Historic Sites of the Provincial Center of Cultural Heritage in 2011 , the property, which has the First Degree of Protection, has undergone restorations and/or transformations that led to the loss of its original marble floor. black and white, replaced, probably due to its degree of detriment, by granite slabs; its false ceilings made of die-cast metal were also changed for reproductions of plaster and henequen fibers .


On the occasion of the 325th anniversary of the founding of the city of Matanzas , in 2018 it was the object of capital restoration and in December of the same year it began to operate, after being closed for almost two decades due to its increasing deterioration. To increase the capacity of guests, 28 more rooms are built, which will be added to the 17 of the original building.

The hotel extension stands at the rear of the colonial building; on the ground floor it will have an ice cream parlor, a multipurpose room and some service premises, on the second and third levels there will be the 28 rooms that are incorporated into the original hotel.


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