Havana Hotel Nacional de Cuba 5*****and view on the Malecon La Habana

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The Hotel Nacional de Cuba is an historic luxury hotel located on the Malecón in Havana, Cuba. It was designed by the famous New York firm McKim, Mead and White and features an eclectic mix of architectural styles. It opened in 1930, when Cuba was a prime travel destination for Americans, long before the embargo.’Among its first illustrious guests were artists, actors, athletes and writers such as Frank Sinatra, Ava Gardner, Mickey Mantle, Johnny Weissmuller, Buster Keaton, Jorge Negrete, Agustín Lara, Rocky Marciano, Tyrone Power, Rómulo Gallegos, Errol Flynn, John Wayne, Marlene Dietrich, Gary Cooper, Marlon Brando and Ernest Hemingway. The hotel’s reputation as a deluxe host is backed by patrons such as Winston Churchill, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, scientist Alexander Flemming, and innumerable Ibero-American Heads of State and European monarchs. Minnesota (United States) Governor Jesse Ventura stayed at the hotel while visiting Cuba on a trade mission in 2002.
In 1933, after Fulgencio Batista’s September 4, 1933 coup against the transitional government, it was the residence of Sumner Welles and was the site of a bloody siege, which pitted the Cuban Army officers who had been instrumental in the overthrow of Gerardo Machado (August 12. 1933), against the non-commissioned officers and ranks of the Cuban army who supported Batista. In December 1946 it hosted an infamous mob summit run by Lucky Luciano and Meyer Lansky and attended by Santo Trafficante, Jr., Frank Costello, Albert Anastasia, Vito Genovese and many others. It was memorably dramatized by Francis Ford Coppola in his film The Godfather Part II. By 1955, Lansky had managed to persuade Batista to give him a piece of the Nacional. That same year Pan Am’s Intercontinental Hotels Corporation took over management of the hotel. Lansky planned to take a wing of the 10-storey hotel and create luxury suites for high stakes players. Batista endorsed Lansky’s idea even though there were objections from American expatriates like Ernest Hemingway. Under Lansky’s impetus, a wing of the grand entrance hall was refurbished to include a bar, a restaurant, a showroom and a luxurious casino. It was operated by Lansky and his brother Jake, with Wilbur Clark as the front man.

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Hotel Nacional is een klassiek hotel dat staat op het puntje van de Punta Brava (een buitenwijk), eens een beruchte piratenbastion in Havana, Cuba. Het hotel opende zijn deuren op 30 december in 1930. Vandaag is het hotel het vlaggenschip van de staatshotelketen Gran Caribe.
In de negentiende eeuw stond op deze plaats de batterij van Santa Clara. Het Ordoňez kanon, het grootste van de batterij, ligt nog steeds in de tuin van het hotel. Het hotel werd gebouwd door twee Amerikaanse aannemers McKim, Mead & White and Purdy Henderson Co.
Het hotel heeft een Spaans-Moorse touch en is gebouwd met duidelijke Art deco invloeden. Dit heeft duidelijk invloed gehad op wie het hotel ooit heeft gefrequenteerd: beroemdheden als Johnny Weissmuller, Buster Keaton, Tyrone Power, Errol Flynn, Marlon Brando en Ernest Hemingway, die in Havana woonde en een door hemzelf gevangen vis aan de Sirena-bar van het hotel schonk. De gastenlijst omvat ook de gangsters Santos Trafficante, Meyer Lansky, Lucky Luciano en Frank Costello. De reputatie van het hotel werd wellicht opgehoogd door gasten als Winston Churchill en Alexander Fleming. Hotel Nacional is één van de weinige vijfsterrenhotels in Havana.

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