The Villas resort in Cuba’s capital city of Havana is one of the world’s most exclusive and expensive hotels.
But with its luxurious suites, high ceilings, and plush beds, the villa is an institution of its own.
And it has a secret history, with the hotel having been built by a Spanish conquistador and later owned by the Spanish crown.
The history of the villas first-floor bedrooms is one you’ll hear about in books like “A Room at the Villas,” written by historian James D. Tully.
Tully, a professor emeritus at Columbia University who has written extensively about the history of Cuba, wrote that the villans first-class suite was built in the 1450s and was filled with Spanish slaves.
“The Spanish would build these apartments in the style of the Spanish church, with large rooms of straw or hay, and two or three servants, according to their own custom,” Tully wrote in his book.
“These apartments, like the Spanish, were intended to be a private place of comfort, not a hotel for a wealthy Spanish court or king.”
Tullys book was followed in 2018 by a new book by a prominent historian named J. D. McQueen, “The Villa of the Black Prince.”
McQueen writes that the hotel was built by the wealthy Spanish conquista, Juan Vielma, who had purchased the property in 1482 and had the villanys first- and second-floor suites converted into mansions.
McQueen also notes that there are “tombstones of Spanish conquists in the villamasses, including the first-century Spanish king, Juan de las Casas, who would also have lived there.”
The hotel was also owned by Vielmas son, Diego, who became one of Spain’s most powerful and influential figures.
In 1810, Vielmaras daughter, Isabel, married the young Juan Carlos Vielmez, the first Spanish king of the Caribbean island of Barbados.
In a video, McQueen explains that the Vielmars’ two-room villa was named for their son, who was nicknamed “The Black Prince” for his ability to marry a slave.
McQuay writes that while the Vilembas had many servants and a full kitchen, the only room in the hotel where they ate and slept was a one-bedroom suite.
The villas servants were the slaves and servants were kept in the same room, McQuays book says.
McQueles book also details that Vielmartas first wife, Elvira Vielmundez, was known as a “princess of a wealthy family.”
“Elvira and her husband Juan Carlos lived on a palace of gold and silver, and their villa had a royal suite of six bedrooms, six baths, two large rooms, and a queen-sized bed,” McQueen wrote.
In the video McQueen also states that Elviras first husband was also a servant in the mansion.
McQay wrote that Vilemases second wife, Ana Maria Vielminas, was a mistress of the king.
Mcqays book includes photographs of the palace and describes how Vielmbas family lived in a luxurious and well-equipped mansion.
The villas luxurious, one-room suite has many features that are familiar to anyone who has been to Cuba, McQueays book notes.
There are “stools on the floor, a huge wooden balcony, a marble-floored entrance, and marble-tiled ceilings, while a huge kitchen and an outdoor garden complete the villamean’s luxurious living space,” McQuaays book states.
A villa in Cuba, like many in the Caribbean, is also home to a collection of sculptures that are “uniquely” Spanish and “unique to the region.”
McQuas book states that the statues include “sons of kings, the tombstones of kings and queens, and other statues and statues of Spanish kings.”
The Villagas art collection includes works by Francisco de Orellana, Pedro de la Vega, Diego de la Cual, and others.
As a result of its history, McQays book also mentions that the Villa was visited by the infamous Spanish “Caballero,” or “cullen.”
In 1720, the caballero, who is often depicted wearing a mask, allegedly attacked the Spanish royals.
He then allegedly murdered the princesses, and fled to Cuba where he died a few years later.
Mcquay wrote the villagas name was “Cabanero” because of its Spanish name, and that it was a place of “dread, and mystery.”
McQuees book notes that “Cabelos” or “Cahorts” are also named after Spanish kings.
In fact, the Villagos name is Spanish for