Hotel Yara (Matanzas)

Yara Hotel. Old hotel located in the Historic Center of the City of Matanzas, which owes its name to the nickname with which Josefa Luz Carballo Benet was known, for having been born on October 10, 1901 and being the wife of Casimiro Arganza, his former owner.


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  • 1 Historical data
    • 1 Intervention by the revolutionary government
  • 2 Features
  • 3 Reconstruction Plans
  • 4 References
  • 5 Sources

Historical facts

Located on Calle Contreras No. 45 between Jovellanos and Ayuntamiento, Matanzas, as happens in many other hotels in the city, the building in which it is located was not built for that function and this is stated in the First Registration of the property, in which reference is made to the existence in the place of two houses of masonry and tiles marked with the numbers 45 and 47, in date of 1858 and that later, on the land occupied by both houses, Mr. Navarro built another of stonework, masonry and roof, marked with the modern No.45, according to the deed of September 6, 1884 [ 1] .

Built between 1858 and 1884, it is characterized as a work from the second half of the 19th century . According to Joaquín E. Weiss , in his book Cuban Colonial Architecture,

“[…] it is one of the best detailed in a classicist sense; with the fluted pilasters, the well-shaped cornice that crowns the windows and the Doric frieze whose metopes are decorated with old-style reliefs”

Joaquin Weiss

The house was inhabited at different times and in the order in which they are related by Álvaro Lavastida -belonging to an honorable family-, later the Governor Víctor de Armas, Fernando Llés, a prominent writer and philosopher from Matanzas lived in it (his daughters also inhabited it until Casimiro Arganza and Manuel Castañón, owner of the La Sortija store, bought the property in partnership). In 1945 Casimiro bought the part of Castañón and began to rebuild the building to adapt it to the conditions of a hotel especially for travelers, which was inaugurated in June 1946, the date noted in a Yara missal held by his sister María Luisa (Chona ), who until recently gave 1945 as the inauguration year.and the one who one day reviewing the missal could read that her sister had left a record of the event.

Strange coincidence, two outstanding poets, Dulce María Loynaz and Carilda Oliver Labra leave stories of great loves in Yara: the first, her honeymoon with Pablo Álvarez de Caña, social columnist for the newspaper La Marina; the second, the possible place of a love suicide with Hugo Ania, or perhaps something else according to what she herself noticed and what is recorded in the book Five nights with Carilda, by Vicente González Castro :

“He had rented the room for another reason other than suicide, and he did not accept that”

Carilda defines the hotel as “small but very nice” [2] .

When Fidel arrived in Matanzas in January 1959 , the rebel soldiers were received at the hotel; Chona keeps photos and says that because of its proximity to City Hall, the chickens Fidel and those who accompanied him ate were cooked here.

Intervention by the revolutionary government

In 1968 , it was intervened jointly with the Hotel Dos Amigos , and its inspector, Francisco Díaz, director of the INIT, was oriented on the treatment of the owner, since she was a widow and all kindness. Then she had only one employee, only accommodation service was offered, not meals. She calmly accepted the intervention and asked to be paid for the hotel, which was her only financial means, procedures that were carried out and with which she was satisfied – the established payment terms could not be made when her death occurred.

In the period after the intervention, the hotel began to suffer from the same evil as others, and it is painful to remember that the Martí sisters left it due to its poor conditions. Already between 1986 and 1987 it received a general repair with the aim of turning it into a hotel-school.


Very similar to the Louvre in terms of its spatial distribution, it starts from a domestic floor plan and all the interrelated services are generated on the lower level, such as the lobby, bar, restaurant, kitchen and on the upper level the rooms connected by a gallery. or continuous balconies, with iron railing that surrounds the central courtyard.

It is also characterized by the use of half points in the openings that surround the patio and it is also the partitions that interrupt the passage from the lobby to the restaurant. The patio is divided by a wide gallery –built bay– that fractures the lateral hammer, in the upper part of which there are also rooms.

The carpentry is made up of panel doors, combined with French shutters as the case may be, with large lights that cover the arches. The use of plinth and bars is observed to differentiate premises from each other.

The lobby gives access to a staircase, with marble steps and handrails on the iron railing , which communicates with the rooms. On the ground floor, at the end, a small iron staircase leads to a third level where the racilla cover appears on the beam and plank ceiling and on which three independent rooms rise, one from the other and presumably added later, with iron spiral staircase leading to the roof.

Significant elements of this building are the two large bronze door knockers in the shape of hands, the excellent sampler of 19th century tiles, the exquisitely designed glasswork, especially in the half points, and the staircase of cast iron branches from which there are few in the city, so it is a true rarity of its kind, and the example of the spiral staircase (also made of cast iron) on the roof, also valuable despite the fact that there are other similar ones, among them, that of the County Library .

reconstruction plans

The difficult economic situation that the country is going through since the disappearance of the socialist camp and the beginning of the special period, caused this hotel to experience a deterioration in its services and an abandonment of its facilities from 1990 onwards, which caused its closure. The Yara –like the Louvre and the Dos Amigos– does not offer hotel services, the first two being included in future reconstruction plans.


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