Located in Gibara, a small but very picturesque port town in the province of Holguín, Hotel Encanto Arsenita is housed in a gorgeous mansion from the beginning of the 20th century that has been wonderfully restored and tastefully decorated to open its doors as a boutique hotel in year 2015.
In fact the word “Encanto” (which means “charm” in Spanish) is a fairly new brand of Cuban hotel chains Cubanacán and Islazul, which aim to classify these hotels as “boutique” or “hotel de charme”, as the French call this type of accommodation, generally with not many rooms but lots of character.
(The word can sometimes be found abbreviated to an “E” and used as part of the name and at the entrance of these lodgings).
The hotel has a great atmosphere, with a reception and sitting area at the entrance, bar-restaurant in a room to a side and roof top offering fabulous views over the city. Food is good and the staff is professional and very pleasant, eager to accommodate guests.
Its 15 rooms are spacious, spotless and lovely, with high ceilings, vintage furniture, old family portraits on the walls, fully appointed bathrooms and modern air conditioners. Some of them feature a balcony that overlooks the square and church.
The hotel is, in fact, practically on the city’s main square, which has a miniature of the Statue of Liberty and is surrounded by beautiful colonial houses.
The city’s historical center is so well preserved it was declared a National Monument in 2003. Gibara, also known as “The White Town” has a nice malecón (seaside promenade), the most friendly people and excellent food on top of architecturally important buildings.
There isn’t a lot to do except during the “International Festival of Poor Cinema”, but if one is the kind of traveler who enjoys wandering about tranquil cities with marvelous colonial houses, pretty views of the sea and the mountains plus plenty of typical (and cheap) restaurants, one will definitely appreciate this place.
There are also caves to be visited (with a guide) and for divers, underwater caves.