A luxury hotel, offering breathtaking views of Caracas and the Caribbean coast, will be accepting payments in Petro, Venezuela's national cryptocurrency. According to President Maduro, the renovated Humboldt hotel is going to be the first seven-star property in his crisis-stricken Bolivarian Republic.
Luxury Priced in Petro
The Humboldt hotel is a landmark of Caracas, and is considered among the most interesting examples of XX century urban architecture. It's located in the Waraira Repano National Park, between the capital and the Caribbean coastline of Venezuela.
The 19-story tower, built in the Avila mountain at 2,140 meters above sea level, offers a 360 view stretching to the horizon. Glass and aluminum cover the facade of the hotel which has 70 luxurious rooms and suits. Social areas, conference rooms, an indoor pool, and a cable car will also be available to guests who can pay for them in Petro.
The hotel, which was built in 1956 on the initiative of the Venezuelan dictator Marcos Jiménez, was meant to be a part of the tourist and recreational complex connecting Caracas with its coastal area. At the time, Humboldt met the highest world standards in the hospitality industry. It had several first class restaurants, a disco with rotating dance floor, and even an ice rink. The hotel was closed, however, after Jiménez's resignation in 1958 as a "symbol of the dictatorship". In 1991 it opened doors thanks to an Italian investor, but in 2007 Hugo Chávez's government nationalized it and closed it again.
President Nicolás Maduro, who took part in the latest reopening of Humboldt, claims it will be the first seven-star hotel in his troubled South American country. Moreover, it will also be accepting payments in Petro. The oil-backed crypto was introduced by his administration as an alternative to the country's fiat, the bolivar, after inflation exceeded 2,600% last year.
Services and extras at Humboldt will be priced in the state-issued cryptocurrency. According to the local newspaper Universal, visitors will be able to buy Petro from an exchange bureau in the hotel, renovated and operated by Marriott. During a tour of the hotel facilities, President Maduro said: "All hotels in the country are authorized to charge in convertible currencies. But this hotel, Humboldt, is going to be a model, a pilot, with all services charged in Petros, so that it produces convertible wealth for our country," he explained, quoted by Noticia Al Dia.
Crypto Exchange Points across Venezuela
Maduro also posted on Twitter images and video of his visit to the hotel saying, "We want the Humboldt hotel to become a model for the application of the Petro." The president added that, "Tourism, sooner rather than later, should become the second largest collector of international wealth". The socialist leader believes that the tourism industry can be a locomotive for the Venezuelan economy and help pull the country out of the severe economic crisis.
"We are giving national tourism an architectural jewel," Maduro said during the opening ceremony on Friday, which was broadcasted by VTV. The Venezuelan president also announced that soon a number of crypto exchange points will be opened across the country. He was reluctant to reveal too many details but noted that the project will be implemented in partnership between the Ministry of Tourism and large Venezuelan companies.