History of Hotel Jagua

The construction of Hotel Jagua began in 1956 within the gardens of the Palacio de Valle sponsored by a New York tycoon underworld, Meyer Lansky (represented Gult and Caribbean Tourist Circuit) and supported by the dictator of Cuba at the time , Fulgencio Batista.

The idea was to turn the palace into a casino, similar to Monte Carlo and create a hotel for tourists and American mobsters, which was part of the hotel chain that included the Hotels Havana Riviera, Havana Hilton (nowdays Habana Libre) and the Hotel El Colony in Isla de la Juventud.

In 1957 arrived in Cienfuegos "The Pearl of the South" Mr. Henoseetb Oka, a mobster friend of Lansky and mayor of Miami Beach and they projected the casino and adjacent hotel.

The project was entrusted to the entity "Arquitectos Cañas Abril Nepomechie" of Havana, which concluded the technical documentation. The construction of Hotel Jagua began in 1956, starting the foundation work. The topography of the area causes that the foundation required driving of piles of wood and soil compaction with rock material, sand and cement.

The construction work was not continued due to organizational problems, technical and wage demands by workers, and it was not until 1957 that accelerated implementation by the active participation of the main shareholders.

The triumph of the Revolution frustrated the attempts to turn Cienfuegos into a den of vices and corruption. The rush to inaugurate the Hotel Jagua was due to the commitment of the country before 1959, to host in the participants of the International Convention of the Lions Club, which was held at the end of the year.

The hotel was inaugurated on December 28, 1959 and the initial project name Hotel del Chalet de Valle was changed for Hotel Jagua, as they called the natives to the region of Cienfuegos and means "principle, wealth". At the opening, a banquet was offered to members of the Lions Club of Cuba, as part of the celebration of the National Convention of the institution.

In August 1994 the Hotel Jagua joined the Gran Caribe Hotel Group, achieving greater recognition to the status of the facility and its significance in the country and abroad.

Hurricane Lily in 1996 significantly affected the Hotel that need to be repaired. Although by that time then already began to sketch the first ideas for the future full redevelopment project of the hotel, that implementation would begin in 1999.

Hotel Jagua in 1999

In January 1, 1999 the hotel administration it's shared between Gran Caribe and the French Hotel group Accor and the hotel was renamed Mercure Coralia Jagua. This shared management agreement with Accor recess on June 30, 2000 and the rest of the investment is assumed by Gran Caribe.

In October 2000 the second stage of construction begins, which ends on September 5, 2002. The work also covered outdoor areas around a whole including its physical connection to the Palacio de Valle.

The Jagua Hotel it is between the three major projects of the modern movement of Cienfuegos, and is recognized among the iconic works of Cienfuegue's architecture of all time.

The Jagua Hotel received the National Award for Restoration of Monuments 2007, for the excellent work done in the renovation of one of the best known hotels throughout Cuba.

In December 2007, had hosted the 4th Summit of Petrocaribe. It was chaired by the current President of Cuba, Raul Castro Ruz and the President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez Frias.

The Jagua Hotel celebrated its 50 year history and tradition between December 28, 2009 and December 31, 2009. The main activities of this festival include the publication of the book Hotel Jagua: identity, culture and hospitality, dedicated to the path of development and a series of events that stand between the opening exhibitions of plastic arts and photography, invitations to cooking contests and advertising, as well as awards to employees and founders of the old center.

Nigel Alexander Hunt

Welcome to my site dedicated to the Hotel Jagua in Cienfuegos City. I am "poco a poco" researching and updating it with the aim to provide as complete as possible record of the hotel's ancient and recent history; bearing in mind that the goings-on today may one day be of historical interest.

My site is NOT the official website of the current hotel operator, and is by no means endorsed by them; but I am grateful for their help with the research.

You can make from this site room reservations through the Bizloco eTravel System operated by Cubaism Ltd.

Best wishes for 2024

Nigel Alexander Hunt