Biography of Claudio Martínez de Pinillos y Ceballos "Conde de Villanueva"

Claudio Martínez de Pinillos y Ceballos (1782-1853), was an important Cuban merchant and he is immortalized in Old Havana when his old residence, nowadays Hotel Conde de Villanueva, has his name, the only hotel of the whole Island dedicated to Cigar smokers.

Claudio Martínez de Pinillos, born in the bosom of a wealthy family of Havana in October 30 of 1782, the future Count of Villanueva began his studies in this Island and after this he travelled to Spain to follow his formation.

When Claudio Martínez de Pinillos went back to Havana a preponderant paper it begins in the economic development of the Island and in 1814 he is named General Treasurer of Army and Treasury, position that he occupies provisionally in 1821 and properly named and running it during 26 years.

His contemporaries evaluated the action of Pinillos like the most fertile in the Cuban intendancy of those times, and it was owing to the progresses of Treasury by his hands.

Thanks to his efficiency, the scientific and literary movement received great impulse when subsidizing several publications like the "Annals of Sciences, Literature and Trade".

For the managements of Conde de Villanueva (Count of Villanueva) it is built in 1831 Fernando VII's Aqueduct that it finishes with infections and illnesses of the old in use water of the Real Ditch. He obtained also to clean up the Bay of Havana using several methods of dredging.

This well-known Conde de Villanueva facilitates the ornament of the city, with the construction in 1836 of the Source of India or of Noble Havana, modeling its sculpture for the Italian Guiseppe Gaggini in Carrara marble and that now it is delight of curious.

But the biggest merit of Claudio Martínez de Pinillos, Conde de Villanueva, was in promoting the Cuban railway when being inaugurated the first rail tract in 1837, when just five big countries had it, without Spain, the metropolises of Cuba, it counted in that list.

Conde de Villanueva helped constantly to the development of the city, the same one improved the schools, the Botanical Garden, anatomy amphitheater, clinic course, nautical school, chemistry laboratory, and multitude establishments of public utility that were honors of the nation, and that they contributed to increase the population and wealth of Cuba.

Pinillos also carried out the positions of president of the Grand Tribunal of Account, of Friendly Society, of Ministers and Offices of Tithes, and of the Clearance Sale, Exclusive Judge of Arrivals, Appropriate Superintendent of Crusade, Superior Boss of the Rent of Lottery and Gentleman of Camera of His Majesty. It was also, Knight of Orders of San Fernando, Isabella the Catholic, of Carlos III and of Calatrava and Cavalier of Ronda. In 1845, he was granted the Spanish nobility annexed to the county of Villanueva, and in 1852, the title of viscount of Valvanera, so that always the first-borns of the Condes de Villanueva (counts of Villanueva) have it.

His contribution also reached the development of the trade of the Habanos (cigars), transformed nowadays into the handmade Cigars most famous cigars in the world.

Claudio Martínez de Pinillos, Conde de Villanueva, died in Madrid, Spain, in 1853 with 71 years old, Pinillos had such honors as being Councillor of State, besides Overseas Consultant; and now his range and honor have it an interesting Hotel of Old Havana, Cuba.

The old residence of Claudio Martínez de Pinillos, nowadays named Hotel Conde de Villanueva, in honor to his nobiliary title, constitutes unique reference in the American continent of a recess house totally dedicated to lovers of the cigars.

This homage is solved because Pinillos, or the Count of Villanueva (Conde de Villanueva), represents an entire time and dedication to the trade of the tobacco, besides constituting promoter of the railway in Cuba.

Nigel Alexander Hunt

Welcome to my site dedicated to the famous and historical Hotel Conde de Villanueva in Old Havana. I am "poco a poco" researching and updating it with the aim to provide as complete as possible record of the hotel's ancient and recent history; bearing in mind that the goings-on today may one day be of historical interest.

My site is NOT the official website of the current hotel operator, and is by no means endorsed by them; but I am grateful for their help with the research.

You can make from this site room reservations operated by Cubaism Ltd.

Best wishes for 2009

Nigel Alexander Hunt