A shaft of golden honey light shines through the dome into the lobby of Hotel Raquel, illuminating the fine furnishings and guests down below. The light is just the beginning of what distinguishes the Raquel.
This hotel has some unlikely (as well as unbelievable, once you see the gorgeous interior) origins: it was built in 1908 as a storage warehouse for textiles. Taking in the soaring marble columns and intricate stained-glass “mampara´s” (folding screens) throughout the lobby, it’s hard to imagine this as a warehouse. Even casual visitors will notice the heavy reference to Jewish culture throughout the Raquel, underscored by paintings with biblical themes by contemporary Cuban artists. Raquel’s elegant restaurant serves typical Jewish cuisine.
Laughing, the hotel representative tells the story of a guest who fell asleep on a lobby couch. ¨Then, we very carefully removed his shoes and placed them neatly together under the sofa¨. She explains that in the hotel’s 10 year retained almost all the original staff. ¨It’s our house, our home¨ she says.
The final stop on the wrought iron elevator’s trajectory is the roof, with a picturesque dome where honeymooning couples can enjoy a romantic dinner; it’s also a great spot to enjoy a drink or just to look out over the city.