Hotel Nacional de Cuba
Hotel Nacional de Cuba is more then just a hotel. It is part of Cuban history, part of the Cuban Identity and an emblematic landmark on Havana’s Malecon. Visiting Havana and not staying in the Nacional is like not being there.
The area of the Hotel Nacional de Cuba is part of Vedado or a forbidden zone in colonial times as it was patroled by the army and part of the defense of the city. On the hill Taganana a military post overlooked the sea and the coast line in search of incursions by pirates and corsars. By the late 19 th century this was all over and the area was urbanized. The Cuban Government ordered in the 1920ies a number of American real estate companies to build a big hotel for the official state visits. The style was in line with the time very eclectic with parts of the hotel in mauresque style, others medieval, even neoclassical and very Art Deco. The whole atmosphere is luxurious and stylish.
On opening the Hotel Nacional de Cuba in 1930 Havana started a period of being the centre of American gambling and entertainment. The rich and the famous flocked to Havana and all had to stay at the Hotel Nacional de Cuba. In the hotel many rooms have a little sign outside with the name of the famous person that stayed there: Buster Keaton, Tyrone Power, Eroll Flynn, Marlon Brando, Ernest Hemingway, Winston Churchill, Frank Sinatra, Maria Felix. In the hotel you find the Bar of Fame with all famous people visiting the hotel from the 30 ies till now having their picture on the wall. Or what about swimming in the pool where Johnny Weismuller (Tarzan) used to swim?
With new year 1958-59 the dictator Fulgencio Batista was participating in a new years reception in Hotel Nacional de Cuba when an urgent message was given to him. Fidel Castro had descended from the Sierra Maestra and was about to take the city of Santiago. Batista left the reception without explanations and fled the country on the same night.
The Hotel Nacional de Cuba has an impressive lobby in mauresque style, luxurious gardens overlooking the ocean, 2 swimming pools, tennis and fitness areas, shops and even a bank on the premisses. There are different kinds of rooms from standard to a presidential suite with butler service. The Comedor de Aguiar restaurant is one of the finest of the city. A dinner there makes a nice evening combined with the Parisien show, the second best cabaret of the city after Tropicana.
It is a hotel suited for tourists and businessmen alike. The hotel has several meeting rooms in different sizes, all with modern facilities but with a classic interior.
The 6th floor is the executive floor with a private check in and breakfast facilities.