A hotel with an extraordinary history and a long list of prestigious guests.
“…the incessant whisper of the sea accentuates its image as an enchanted castle…”ALEJO CARPENTIER
The Hotel Nacional de Cuba is a historic Spanish eclectic style hotel in Havana, Cuba, opened in 1930. Located on the sea front of Vedado district, it stands on Taganana Hill, offering commanding views of the sea and the city. It is considered a symbol of history, culture, and Cuban identity. The guns that made up the old Santa Clara Battery are on exhibition at the garden, they were declared part of the World Heritage Site. Hotel Nacional de Cuba was declared a National Monument and it was inscribed in the World Memory Register.
With its privileged location in the middle of Vedado, the center of Havana, it stands on a hill just a few meters from the sea, and offers a great view of the Havana Harbor; the seawall and the city.
The hotel was designed by the New York architecture firm of McKim, Mead and White, financed by the National City Bank of New York, and constructed in fourteen months by the U.S. engineering firm of Purdy and Henderson. The structure contains a mix of styles, including Sevillian, Roman, Moorish and Art Deco. The Palladian style entrance portico has two stylized column capitals and quoins of coral stone.
The layout is based on two Greek crosses, giving the majority of the rooms a view of the ocean. The 6 typical floors have 74 rooms and 63,641 sq. ft. of floor area. The eighth floor (top floor) has 66 rooms and an area of 50,325 sq. ft. The footprint of the building measures approximately 523′ x 265′. The structure of the building is a steel frame, while the decorative elements including ground floor details, columns, wall facings, and much of the paving, are in coral stone.
In 1956, singer Nat King Cole was contracted to perform in Cuba and wanted to stay at the Hotel Nacional de Cuba, but was not allowed to because the hotel was segregated. The hotel had earlier turned away black celebrities including Joe Louis, Marian Anderson, Jackie Robinson and Josephine Baker. Cole honored his contract, and the concert at the Tropicana was a huge success. The following year, he returned to Cuba for another concert, singing many songs in Spanish. There is now a tribute to him in the form of a statue and a jukebox in the Hotel Nacional.
Jean-Paul Sartre stayed at the hotel just after the Revolution in 1960, with his wife, the philosopher, Simone de Beauvoir. The couple interviewed Che Guevara, and Sartre wrote ‘Sartre visits Cuba’, which was published in Havana in 1961, narrating his experiences. The hotel has since named the room he stayed in after him.
In its 90+ years of existence, the Hotel Nacional has had many important guests, including artists, actors, athletes and writers such as Winston Churchill, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Jimmy Carter, Frank Sinatra, Ava Gardner, Rita Hayworth, 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, Ernest Hemingway, Yuri Gagarin, scientist Alexander Fleming, Minnesota (United States) Governor Jesse Ventura, and innumerable Ibero-American Heads of State and European monarchs.
We are celebrating our 21st year online
Hotel Nacional de Cuba was the first hotel of its class in Cuba to launch its OWN website and AN Online Reservation System