Robert climbed to the top of the 27-storey hotel in about half an hour as hundreds of awed onlookers gasped and cheered from the streets below.
The climber had said his main concern was not the height of the 126-metre-tall hotel, but that a bit of the building’s brittle facade might break off. Like many city landmarks, the hotel is in disrepair after more than half a century of Communist rule on the island.
In the end, the 50-year-old Frenchman made short work of the building, climbing confidently and so quickly he could have almost been riding a slow-moving elevator.
A huge cheer went up as Robert started climbing under a bright blue sky. Tourists stared up from the hotel pool, and office workers shouted encouragement from nearby balconies.
Robert has scaled much taller structures in his career, including the former Sears Tower in Chicago, New York’s Empire State Building and San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge.
He arrived in Havana last week, and has been waiting to get authorities’ permission to begin the stunt.
Cuba agreed to let him go ahead, and dozens of police were on hand on Monday to keep order. In other countries, Robert has often pulled off his stunts without seeking permission, and has sometimes been arrested.