Among hotels in San Antonio, the Havana has a particularly rich and colorful past. This historic boutique hotel is a true local treasure, reflected by its listing on the National Register of Historic Places.
The story of this hotel began in 1909 when Edward Franz Melcher purchased the tract of land to build a residence hotel to house wholesalers for his grocery business. The Mediterranean Revival Structure opened in 1914, with the help of San Antonio architect, Arthur J. Herrmann. During the twelve years Melcher lived in the Havana, he donated a portion of the Havana’s deed to the city for River Walk development. Many of the cypress, palm, and magnolia trees originally planted still remain today.
Nat Washer bought the Havana in 1926 as San Antonio expanded through the Roaring 20’s. Lucille J. Oppenheimer, a relative of Washer’s, eventually purchased it and maintained the property through the Great Depression. In 1931, the father of Morris Jaffe, a prominent San Antonio businessman, bought and restored the property to its previous state as a luxury hotel. Decades later, Jaffe sold the hotel to the Havana Venture in 1973. Heinze Home Builders Inc. and Bennett-Williams Co. bought the building in a joint venture with intentions to restore it as a restaurant and office space. In 1986, by now one of the most well-known hotels in San Antonio, the Havana was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
In 1988, the property passed into the portfolio of the Resolution Trust Corp. After two years of bids and proposals, Theresa Greer purchased this historic hotel in 1992. It reopened in 1997 as the Havana Riverwalk Inn, remaining in business until 2009, when current owners Liz Lambert and Bunkhouse Management purchased the property. In April 2010, this historic hotel reopened its doors as Hotel Havana, still possessing its original charm, but now infused with the contemporary chic that distinguishes a Liz Lambert hotel.