In response to the increasing influx of American tourists in the late 20s (mainly those who were escaping Prohibition, in force in the United States at the time), the construction of a luxury hotel was commissioned to two US companies, Mc Kim, Mead & White and Purdy Henderson Co. It took them 14 months to finish the Hotel Nacional de Cuba, Havana’s most famous hotel and the only one in Cuba that is a national monument. Additionally, it received UNESCO’s Memory of the World award in 2010.
This hotel, with an excellent, central location, ensures privacy for guests thanks to its spacious gardens, and offers incredible views of the city to one side and of the sea to the other. Although eclectic in style, with a certain taste for the Spanish plateresque, it was unable to escape the influence of art deco, very popular in New York at the time and place of origin of the designers. Art deco had already been introduced in Cuba, which is evidenced by the verticality of the hotel’s eight floors marked by the rows of windows and its H ground plan. It has 426 rooms, including 15 suites, one presidential suite and one royal suite, in addition to its three restaurants, coffee shop, several bars, executive floor, business center, gym, snack bar and two pools. The hotel also houses the renowned Cabaret Parisién and the Sala 1930 or “Compay Segundo”, which can seat up to 450 people.
Hundreds of famous people, from authors to politicians to sportsmen, have stayed in this hotel, among them, Edward VIII, Prince of Wales; authors Rómulo Gallegos, Ernest Hemingway and Jean-Paul Sartre; boxer Rocky Marciano and Micky ‘The Mick’ Mantle, center fielder for the New York Yankees. People in showbiz have also signed the visitor’s book, including Marlon Brando, Ava Gardner, Errol Flyn, Rita Hayworth, Fred Astaire, Buster Keaton, Nat King Cole, Michel Legrand, Francis Ford Coppola, Pierre Cardin, Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell among other.