Robaina's plantation

Monday 11 April 2016

Hotel Nacional de Cuba (Havana) we always come back

                  I can't visit Cuba without going to the Hotel Nacional Patio at least once for a smoke and a couple cocktails. Most of the time they make a pretty good Mojito. For me, night time is the best time to come, it's when the Nacional shows it's best side. Some nights you can't find a lounge area out back and hope you bump into someone you know and share their seems to be getting more crowded. The drinks are more expensive than the average place but you're paying for location and it's worth it. Their sandwiches are actually pretty good, we had one the last time we visited and were quite impressed. The hotel contains a rich history and even if you don't come for a drink you should at least take walk around the grounds. The peacock may even let you take a picture of her.
                   Here is a bit of history of the hotel.....the Hotel Nacional de Cuba opened it's doors on the night of December 30 1930 after 14 months of construction. The who's who of guests that visited during this decade and the next are too many to mention: Johnny Weismuller (Tarzan) used to jump from a second story balcony into the pool, underworld figures Santos Traficante (father), Lucky Luciano and Meyer Lansky who later would own the casino here, actor César Romero who was the grandchild of Jose Marti as well as fellow actors George Raft, Frank Sinatra, Ava Gardner, Marlon Brando, John Wayne, Tyrone Power, Rita Hayworth, Buster Keaton, Fred Astaire and Gary Cooper, just to name a few and countless luminaries from the entertainment world and royalty. Sir Winston Churchill was a guest here in 1946. There was a scene in the Godfather II where a meeting with all the capos takes place in a hotel in Havana. Although it didn't happen in the timeline shown in the movie, if Fidel Castro is entering the city victorious it meant it was 1959, it did actually take place in December 1946. The hotel closed it's doors to the public while catering to the likes of: Lucky Luciano, Meyer Lansky, Santo Trafficante Jr., Frank Costello, Albert Anastasia and Vito Genovese as well as many others. By 1955 Lansky had a piece of the hotel and in 1957 the casino was making as much as any in Vegas. Although Nat King Cole at first was not allowed to stay in the hotel on racist grounds, it would be allowed after the memorable concerts he put on in the hotel. Eartha Kitt inaugurated the Cabaret Parisien in 1956.
                  On the triumph of the Revolution on 1 January 1959, the representatives of the American company that operated the hotel left and the hotel staff took over the management. Between 1960 and 1961, Cuba's revolutionary government reorganized the hotel's administration. The casino was closed on October 1960. Since there were no tourists during this time the hotel was used to accommodate visiting diplomats and foreign government officials. With the collapse of the USSR Cuba was forced to open it's borders to tourism once again in the 1990s and after some restoration the hotel opened it's doors to the world once again, it was reopened in 1992. In 1998, the hotel was declared a national monument by the National Monuments Commission.

Hotel Nacional de Cuba
Calle 21 y O, Vedado, Havana, Cuba
Switchboard (53-7) 836 3564 & 67
Reservations Tel: (53-7) 838 0294  / 836 3564 ext. 598  

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful..... I like that "unbroken " Havana Club glass😂😂😎