Sensual and sultry communist Caribbean capital, home to captivating, crumbling architecture, and enlivened by dance, music, avant-garde art and cocktails. Impossible to describe, there’s nowhere else quite like it.
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Come for the glamour of yesteryear. Built on a bluff overlooking the ocean road in the entertainment district of el Vedado, Presidents, movie stars, models and mafia have all stayed at the iconic Hotel Nacional.
It’s worth booking the executive floor, as the rooms are smarter, breakfasts better and the dining room less like a school canteen. You don’t stay at the Nacional for contemporary style, or for the best service, instead it’s about soaking up the old-fashioned grandeur, Spanish style architecture, mojitos on the terrace, and the sense of history. The famous daily tour of the hotel is unmissable for the lowdown on who has stayed and where.
This one’s best suited to history lovers, and those wanting a full-service hotel.
The Nacional sits in the heart of the 1950s hotel district but is isolated on its bluff so is fairly quiet. Weekend nights can be noisy on its Atlantic front as Habaneros crowd together on the Malecón. The nearby wide streets are fairly busy with locals, tourists, traffic and the entertainment venues on nearby Avenue 23.
It faces the sea, and is just a few minutes’ walk to the seaside boulevard, the Malecón. It’s also close to top museums and art galleries. There’s a permanent classic car taxi rank outside its entrance.
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