Luxury travel hotspot: Cuba

Seeing Cuba before the communist island nation is transformed by the imminent influx of tourists presents a special problem for luxury travellers: there are limited high-end hotels. Katie Milton tells you how to visit Cuba now in style.

Relaxed travel and trade restrictions between Cuba and the United States over the past two years have resulted in fervent interest in the previously isolated Caribbean island. While the main beneficiaries of the agreement have been American travellers, the launch of regularly scheduled commercial flights between the two countries is a reward reaped by all international tourists looking to tick Cuba off their bucket list. 

But despite the increasing ease of travel there remains limited luxury resort and hotel offerings throughout the country. So, how can you travel to Cuba in style? 
In late 2016, luxury cruise lines including North American cruise operator Regent Seven Seas and the French brand Ponant, received approval to offer voyages to Cuba. The resultant itineraries are a combination of offshore excursions that promise travellers an “authentic Cuban experience” from an all-inclusive luxury setting on board. Premier charter yacht company The Moorings has also launched an all-inclusive itinerary that will host up to 10 guests on a 58-foot sail catamaran, taking them from Marina Hemingway in Havana to Gaviota Marina in Varadero.  

 The Moorings Yacht
For land-based experiences, luxury travel company Abercrombie & Kent has launched five distinct Cuba itineraries that see travellers accompanied by an expert local guide as they experience the cities through intimate resident encounters and informative tours. 
And while Airbnb has been operating high-end self-contained rentals in the country since 2014, this year heralds the arrival of luxury hotels in Cuba. Among the first of the five-star properties to open will be the luxurious Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski La Habana, scheduled for completion in the coming months. Housed in the 20th-Century building Manzana de Gómez, the 246-room property is in the heart of old Havana and will feature a specialty cigar lounge and rooftop pool with spectacular views over the city. 


This year heralds the arrival of luxury hotels in Cuba.


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Weather to go

Cuba is relatively warm all year round, with an average temperature of 25°C in winter and 31°C in summer, meaning that visitors can enjoy lovely weather no matter when they choose to visit Cuba. If you're looking to avoid rain, try not to travel in June as it has the highest average rainfall of 80mm. If you enjoy swimming, plan a trip in August when the average sea temperate is a comfortable 30°C.



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