“Cuba” from San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize – Part Two.

Now where was I? Oh I remember. Rose and I had just caught a taxi (cab for non UK readers) at Havana’s José Martí International Airport and after skilfully avoiding being CUC’d by our taxi driver were headed to our hotel. 

The journey took around 25 minutes but the time just whizzed by and it seemed like that in no time at all we were pulling in to the driveway of our hotel, Hotel Nacional de Cuba.

Even before we entered the hotel we were impressed. A long, tree lined, two – way driveway and at the end of it the very impressive facade of the hotel.

The taxi pulled up and before the driver had opened his door a uniformed bellboy was waiting to take our suitcases in to the hotel. 

We paid the taxi driver and followed the bellboy up the steps in to the hotel to the Reception Desk.

This poor quality photo really doesn’t do the ground floor justice.

Checking in was completed within minutes and we headed to the lifts (elevators for non UK readers) to go to or room on the 5th floor.

On alighting the lifts a long, tiled hallway led to our room.

And then our room. Not the Caribbean Sea facing room I had hoped for (it overlooked the hotel driveway) but a nice room nonetheless. Sure it had seen better days but that’s a description that can be used for a lot of Cuba.

We unpacked, had a shower (each, obviously) and then took a tour of the hotel and its  plush and lush grounds. Not though before we had made use of the vouchers given to us when checking in

for a complimentary 

mojito! Well, we just had to.

Now I knew that the mojito is of Cuban origin but what I didn’t know was that it might have been invented by an Englishman and first found itself in a goblet in the 16th century when concocted by a colleague of Sir Francis Drake and was named El Draque in his honour (honor for non UK readers). 

Anyway, back to the hotel.

It was built with American investment and opened its doors in 1930

The bar serving the terrace (originally known as the Starlight Terrace Bar).

Seated in the comfortable chairs you can sip and just watch

the peacocks wandering around.

Or just take a walk 

past the fountain and the 

outside restaurant La Bareka and sit for awhile in 

the Garden of Love.

Just like they once did.

I must get one of those selfie sticks!

Or wander down and sit on the terrace that overlooks the Malećon.

Or you can take a look at cannon used in the Spanish-American war and the anti-aircraft guns and bunkers that were used during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 at the Santa Clara Battery.

And the best one of all!

To the side of the hotel and you find the swimming pool with its own snack bar.

And then there are the famous people that stayed there before the revolution.

Errol Flynn.

Nat King Cole. On his first visit he was allowed to perform there but not stay there!

Fred Astaire.

Ava Gardner and Frank Sinatra.

And the Mafia connection, Meyer Lansky. He opened and ran a casino there for a number of years.

The hotel is steeped in history and its little wonder that it was made a National Monument and its on the list of places to visit when in Cuba.

Well that’s brought today’s edition to a close and we haven’t even got out of the hotel yet! So, you’ll just have to wait for the next edition.

Today’s headline (which is virtually the same as for the previous edition) is based on the single by the Gibson Brothers initially released in 1978 which reached number 12 on the UK Singles Chart and number 81 on the US Billboard Hot 100 Chart.


  1. yamila says:

    Thanks very much , I have enjoyed your hotel tour regards from hotel staff

    1. Thank you Yamila. And thank you for a great stay at your hotel.

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