Why should I go to Cuba?
Cuba can be so many things that you’ll be surprised. The island has marvelous nature treasures, breath-taking beaches, an original culture, amazing food and one of the greatest places in the world in terms of music. Even when it’s an island in the middle of the Caribbean Sea is nothing like any others around; Cuba is passion and uniqueness.
Even when you might think you don’t know much about Cuba, you probably know a bit more about us than you believe. Haven’t heard about Cuban cigars? Yes, they are the best in the world; they aren’t a Hollywood commercial trick. Haven’t you ever never tried a Mojito cocktail? Well, yes…it’s ours and also Havana Club rum. But what about good music? Due to the syncretic nature of most of its genres, Cuban music is considered one of the richest and most influential regional music’s of the world. Since the 19th century Cuban music has been hugely popular and influential throughout the world. It has been perhaps the most popular form of regional music since the introduction of recording technology. Cuban music has contributed to the development of a wide variety of genre and musical styles around the globe, most notably in Latin America, the Caribbean, West Africa and Europe.
We cannot dismiss the fact of being probably the last truly-socialist country in the whole world. Almost 58 years since Fidel Castro Revolution started, and today the Republic of Cuba still defends communist principles and goals. Even when former leader Fidel Castro died just weeks ago, the government hasn’t changed its political course or oncoming projects.
So, viewing the bigger picture we are a small island blessed with sunshine, music, endless coast line, virginal beaches and certainly very original people. Cuban people education is as good as any developed country of Europe or the U.S.; medical services in Cuba are worldwide recognized and is one of the first countries to join humanitarians causes and send doctors and medicines abroad whenever it’s needed.
Yet Cuba seems to be stopped in time: cars from 1950’s floods Havana colonial streets, soviet style propaganda can be seen almost anywhere across the country, you can breathe a nostalgic air when walking Havana, nostalgic for what we were once or maybe for those who had left of just daydreaming about what else we could have done instead. Cuba itself is a song: a song inviting you dance with a tasty rhythm but if you pay attention and go beneath, you’ll find sadness and deep scars. It’s a unique mix of feelings. It’s Cuba.
Today there is plenty room for growth; Cuba is far from have a proper developed touristic infrastructure if you compare the island with some other top touristic areas in the region as Cancun in Mexico or the Dominican Republic. Some people say is matter of time until this reality changes. Honestly we don’t know, nobody does. However, you can see new buildings rising and trying to conquer the sky; new hotels will be opening soon and many projects are on their way. Don’t lose the opportunity and visit this original piece of land. If there is something for sure is that you won’t regret it.
Contact us: www.scuktravel.com, our offices in London and Havana can help you and assist you planning the best trip of your life.
Iberostar will be running one of the classics in Havana: Hotel Riviera
Built in 1957, Hotel Riviera is being always one of famous Havana’s landmarks. Many stories can be told and big names of Cuba’s history and culture are linked to the place; it was for many years on the best hotels in Havana. But time has passed and almost run down; but good news arrived. The Spanish hotel chain Iberostar is about to take it over management and a better future is now rising for the current deteriorated hotel.
Iberostar is aware of Cuban tourism high demand these days. They are already running Hotel Parque Central, a superb five-star hotel in Old Havana’s central core, and now are spreading their territory and going after a classical one. The work calendar must go on green light in January 2017, and the goal is to achieve a five-star status and offer all services and amenities regarding the company’s Premium Gold category. Lot of works and funds are needed to reborn the popular Hotel Riviera but when finished this Havana’s gem will be sparkling again.
The new hotel is part of Iberostar’s long term vision of being one of the most important and active partners in Cuban tourism development and reinforces their commitment of having Cuba in their top destinations in the Americas. One of the CEOs America at Iberostar, Enric Noguer, said: “Iberostar Riviera is a historically important property with an outstanding reputation, and represents a major step forward in expanding our presence in Havana and Cuba. Cuba is a tremendously important destination for Iberostar and we remain committed to our objective of offering top quality and highly competitive accommodation options in this country.” But Iberostar is playing hard and is responsible for one of the most awaited openings in Cuba. Also in 2017 the Spanish hotelier is giving born Iberostar Bella Vista Varadero, an 827 rooms hotel placed in one of the best beach lines in the world: Varadero.
Standing on the famous Malecon seafront promenade and built in the style of when it first opened back in 1957, the Hotel Riviera cannot wait to be renovated. When finished, the hotel will feature 352 fully refurnished rooms. The project also includes work on communal areas, and will bring the range of products and services available at the hotel in line with the company’s standards. The hotel will still be home to the legendary Cabaret Copa Room, a large venue for shows and live music and one of the most well-known spots for Havana nightlife. The legendary Hotel Riviera, once owned by a famous mafia gangster (Meyer Lansky), hosted several personalities as diva Jean Fenn, Nat King Cole, Willian Holde and Ava Gardner (by those days there rumors pointing her having dragged a bellhop into her bed).
We’ll keep on track, but is something is for sure is this classic will continue making history, and will bring back some of the splendorous night life in Vedado and that area of Malecon promenade.
The unique Saratoga Hotel in Havana
Saratoga Hotel, placed in Old Havana, is one of the best options to consider when planning your trip to Havana. Location, quality, comfort, history and bed of many celebrities during their time in the peculiar island.
Beyond its history, its people, its charisma Havana will be always a very special place in the world. Decaying facades, awful public transportation and old towns will never darken its inner beauty; the world as we know might change, years can pass without mercy to all of us yet Havana’s spirit will remain the same through the centuries, I’m pretty sure of that.
With joy and good faith people from Havana are witnessing a slowly but constantly reborn of the city. New hotel constructions are growing like mushrooms around the city; a new oncoming future can be seen, still quite far but the first sparkles are timidly glowing. Another three to five years until new stunning hotels and places can bring a different life to the capital city, but today you can find some incredible spots. No wonder why Madonna or Beyonce decided to come to Havana and stay in an amazing place, today’s best hotel in Havana according many sources: Saratoga Hotel.
The first reference of the eclectic hotel appears in late 1879 when construction works started. The original project was a three-story building: the first floor was set for stores and a tobacco storehouse, the second one for private properties and the third for a hotel. However, nine years after, in 1888, the placed opened as the Alcazar Hotel. Soon it became one of the most important hotels in Cuba; its neoclassical lines plus prime position close to the seat of government (Capitol) made it the perfect host to important visitors. The excellent cuisine and orchestras performances (as Anacaona, a very popular female band) were particularly famous. But times passed and it got very deteriorated and eventually closed.
After a ten years’ restoration in 2005 it reopens its doors. Saratoga Hotel has survived a difficult life. But it has emerged with all the grace and charm of her original design, and is another jewel in Havana’s crown. Today, one of the best hotels in towns. Names as Jay-Z or The Queen of Pop will be linked to Saratoga’s rooms and rooftop parties forever. Cocktails in the rooftop pool, watching sunset and Havana’s Capitol, are highly recommended!