A Little Piece of Mine

Hotel Saratoga, Havana, Cuba

HAVANA: The towering Hotel Nacional might have the Frank Sinatra suite and the Eartha Kitt inaugurated Cabaret Parisien but for my money there’s a richer taste of Havana, and less coach tour groups, at the Hotel Saratoga. Perched on the corner of Prado and Dragones, this gracious neo-classical señora is smack dab in the centre of things – noise, traffic, the living, breathing city – with the Capitol building, the Gran Teatro and the Partagas Cigar factory as neighbours. Lash out on a Junior Suite, with raspberries-and-cream bed canopy tied with black bows, grey flecked window seats hugging arched windows framing city views, and a big, beautiful endless hot water supplied bathroom in aqua and yellow. Sounds garish. Looks great. That’s Havana. The rooftop pool with its Havana panorama is another boon, a haven after a day spent roaming the nooks and crannies of El Centro, especially with a cool daiquiri in hand. Plus, there’s working internet – handy for booking ahead at country casas particulares (private houses/BnBs). The all-female Anacaona orchestra of the 30s might be long gone but some glamour lingers.

Saratoga

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