Cuba has reopened a hotel specifically aimed at the LGBTQ community. The Gran Muthu Rainbow Hotel is located in Cayo Guillermo, a tropical island off the coast of central Cuba. State-run Grupo Hotelero Gaviota run the hotel in partnership with the Muthu Hotels chain.
It first threw open its doors in December 2019. However, it closed down again within a few weeks because of the Covid pandemic. It reopened last month after Cuba lifted strict travel restrictions that had been in place for the previous ten months.
Reaction to the new hotel has been positive. In fact, so much so that the owners plan to open a sister venue in capital city, Havana.
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Cuba has a checkered history in regards to LGBTQ rights. Notoriously, in the 1960s, following the communist revolution, some gay men found themselves detained in labor camps. However, gay sex was decriminalized in 1979, and since 1993, gay people have been allowed to serve in the army. From then onwards, things have become more liberal. Anti-discrimination laws have been in place since 2019.
Battle for same-sex marriage in Cuba
The one area where Cuba lags behind is in the recognition of same-sex unions. Religious groups have strongly opposed any moves to introduce civil unions or same-sex marriage, and the Cuban constitution does not recognize same-sex marriage.
However, in 2019, the Government began looking at ways to change the constitution’s Family Code to address the issue.
Campaigners hope the country’s National Assembly approves changes to the Family Code in the next few weeks and then submits them to a national referendum in 2022.
Marlis Delgado, head of sales for the Gran Muthu Rainbow Hotel, told AFP earlier this month the success of the hotel was a positive step in the right direction.
“That means a breakthrough for our society and having this hotel here on time … gives us the possibility that this family code has a slightly stronger foundation to be approved.”
According to its website, the Gran Muthu Rainbow Hotel is “The first LGBT hotel in Cuba. The five-star Gran Muthu Rainbow Hotel is located on Playa Playuelas, Cayo Guillermo, a well-known earthly paradise where everyone connects with nature, away from the ordinary to relax and recharge.
“At Muthu Rainbow guests can make their dreams come true by having special moments and enjoying exciting LGBT events. The Gran Muthu Rainbow Hotel, of exotic style and comfort in equal measure, offers 248 rooms divided into standard, junior suites and suites.”
According to pre-pandemic data, in 2018, the bulk of tourist visitors to Cuba came from Canada (1.1million that year), followed by the U.S (604,000).
Check out more pics of this Cuba gay hotel below.