Hotel Habana goes keyless

You can own a piece of Habana history. The hotel is asking for donations for keys, and the money will benefit local non-profits. Photo by Robin Dorner.

By Robin Dorner
Editor in Chief

When Tom Lagatta was considering the purchase of Hotel Habana, he said he would question guests as to what they would like changed the most.

“Two things were mentioned the most,” he said. “Security and cleanliness.”

Since a keyed system can not guarantee security, Lagatta knew this must be changed.

“Not only did guests retain keys, but there was a question of missing master keys in the hands of former housekeepers,” Lagatta said. “In addition, there were only eight different lock tumblers in the system, so any given key would open multiple doors if someone knew just to keep trying the key in different doors.” 

He said this is the way hotels were keyed in the 60s and 70s.

“So, these keys: we believe they were original, fifty years in service,” he said.

With keyless entry, these problems go away. All card keys are time-coded and deactivate at the end of a guest’s stay.

“We had multiple incidents of rooms occupied or disturbed every month that were not on the record as rented,” Lagatta said.

Management questioned embezzlement as a key could be handed out and cash collected without record. 

“Once we got all the locksets and new doors on site, it took about one month to install everything,” said Lagatta. “The old doors were wood, and most had some sort of damage, change shape with the weather, and all were not ideal for accepting the new lock shape.  The new doors have been upgraded to fiberglass, eliminating all these issues.”

But if you want a piece of Habana history, you’re in luck. The hotel is selling the keys for donations of $10 or two for $15. 

“The keys are brass and have an engraved room number,” said Lagatta. “These funds are being kept separate and will be donated to various LGBTQ+ nonprofits that come to us in need of support.”

The keyless entry system is a process. Lagatta pointed out that the upstairs enclosed corridor requires different doors and locksets, and so will be done in a second phase this summer. 

Further, the 42 rooms in the back of the Hotel have been converted to the “Habana Apartments” and are now available for monthly leasing starting at $550 and include utilities, internet and basic Direct TV.

“We are also installing auto access gates at both ends of the property to control traffic flow around the back of the hotel,” Lagatta said.

The changes are a part of Habana’s commitment to continuous improvements, updates, and renovations since the hotel was purchased by Lagatta in January 2019.

Habana Inn purchased; becomes Hotel Habana
Hotel Habana continues improvements, updates and renovations

Copyright The Gayly. 4/16/2020 @ 5:16 p.m. CST.