An impressive colonial mansion in Havana’s historic quarter with an art gallery and café on the ground floor, a suite and 4 spacious rooms on the first floor and a huge roof terrace.
What is the story behind Paseo 206, what was your inspiration to create it?
We have been going to Cuba for the last 20 years as my wife is from Havana. When the government started opening up private sector opportunities, we decided to invest in a couple of B&Bs and a restaurant.
Eventually, we got the confidence to take on this project and scouted what would become Paseo 206 (in Cuba, it’s very common to name places after the street address). The property is a 1934-built mansion in Vedado, which was where the rich sugar families once lived. It once belonged to a Cuban senator whose mistress lived here and we bought it from a family whose grandfather won it as part of a poker game.
Paseo 206 was born from the idea of bringing Italian hospitality to Cuba, with a lot of warmth and kindness. We spent a year renovating the property with the help of fantastic architects from the Caribbean and Italy and opened to guests in August 2016. This was the Obama years, so it was a fantastic time to start the operations.
Today, we welcome an amazing variety of clients from United States and Europe, as well as Latin America and the Middle East.
How would you describe the atmosphere and interior design of Paseo 206?
Our model is around creating a “home away from home” while recreating what it was like to live in a rich Havana neighbourhood in the 1940s. The rooms are decorated with mid-century furnishings and lighting fixtures from Italy and the hotel is littered with works by Cuban artists.
I think the idea of staying at a hotel is being somewhere that’s more comfortable than your home. Paseo 206 offers the beauty of a small place where you can always reach out to a staff member or the owner. We try and pamper our guests while assisting them in organising authentic experiences and living the fullest experience. It’s an oasis in a city that is a bit complicated as it’s not that developed.
To you personally, what is so special about Paseo 206?
The hospitality — our Cuban staff are very kind and warm and really try to go the extra mile. It’s easy to make a nice room with a comfortable bed. But anticipating the needs of guests and getting the hospitality right is harder. Many of our clients become our friends.