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The Hotel Nacional de Cuba, known simply as the Nacional, is a Havana institution. Everyone from Buster Keaton to Winston Churchill and, inevitably, Ernest Hemingway has stayed here over the years.
Opened in 1930, the landmark Art Deco building with its twin turrets is set on a low hill in the Vedado district, directly on the famous Malecón seafront, and reached via a palm-lined driveway. (This is the more modern part of Havana - the old city is approximately two miles to the east.) The hotel was renovated in the early 1990's and has a total of 457 rooms and suites, roughly half of which have sea views.
There are several restaurants and half a dozen bars to choose from, including a terrace overlooking the sea - a great place to enjoy a mojito and watch the sun set. Other facilities include two outdoor swimming pools, a patio lined by colonnaded arcades, 24-hour room service and a concierge. The Cabaret Parisién regularly hosts live music and shows.
Why we love it
The large gardens still contain old cannons from when this vantage point was the location of a Spanish artillery battery.
Will, Original Traveller