Thursday, February 13, 2014

CUBA continues…the legendary Hotel Nacional


Our home in Havana is the legendary the Hotel Nacional. 

I love 1930’s architecture and I read that this building has elements of art deco and Hispanic-Moorish in the interior.  It was built designed and built in only 14 months by the American firms McKim, Mead @ White and Purdy and Henderson Co.   From the outside it reminds me of The Breakers in Florida, which was built in the same era.  I can’t wait to explore…

IMG_8601 Jan 13 hotel Nacional plaque


It is cocktail hour and my friends are over their in those wicker chairs.  They tell me the Cuban beer is good, I hope so because there seems to be only two brands to choose from. 


The lobby shows the influence of the 1930’s…love the design’s on the ceiling beams. 

The hotel like everything else is owned by the Cuban government, but it was designed and built by Americans so it still stands strong.   The Cubans have worked hard to restore and maintain this building, and they consider it a 5 star hotel.  Since I don’t stay in 5 star hotels, I would not know. 

I just love that they respect the history of the place and have not ruined its look and feel in the process of making it modern. 

I see people sitting on the floor in the hall using their laptops under a router with an HP logo on it.  They say that is the only way they could get the signal and it is dial up speed.  I’m skipping it, I am on vacation and I prefer to live like its 1930 here! 

IMG_9098 who slept in what room

The “Who Slept Here” or the “Who Slept Where” sign that sits on the front desk of Hotel National shows a mix of celebrities dating back to the 1930’s.   Here are just a few of my faves on the list…Frank Sinatra, Ava Gardner, Mickey Mantle, Buster Keaton, Tyrone Power, Errol Flynn, John Wayne, Marlene Dietrich, Gary cooper, Marlon Brando, and Earnest Hemingway.  In 1946 Winston Churchill stayed in the Republica Suite.  And of course most famously, in December 1946 the Hotel Nacional hosted an infamous mob summit run by Lucky Luciano and Meyer Lansky and attend by Santo Trafficante, Jr., Frank Costello, Albert Anastasia, Vito Genovese and others.  Francis Ford Coppola memorably dramatized the conference in his file The Godfather Part Two.   I don’t see my room number on this sign.  Maybe it is just as well as there might be ghosts…

IMG_8953 view from my room city and sea

View from my room on the 7th floor of the Hotel Nacional.  Note the traffic…


Walking out into the garden I turn to take this photo, and then walk on toward the sea.  That is when I discover this…



Well this is different!  Not every hotel has this in the garden!

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