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Hotel Nacional: Eight Decades of Tourism

The Hotel Nacional de Cuba, situated in a strategic location in Havana, is the Caribbean island's flag hotel and a major attraction for both national and foreign tourists.

Owned by Grupo Gran Caribe, the Hotel Nacional was designated a National Monument and Humankind's Heritage by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1982.

In addition, the Hotel Nacional is among the world's top ten Palace Hotels, and it was the only five-star hotel from the 1930s to the 1950s in the Caribbean.

Located in the coastal area of Punta Brava, on Taganana hill, near the end of San Lazaro's cove, the hotel sits on the area where the Santa Clara Battery, which was part of the city's defense system and of which some vestiges remain today, stood in the 18th century.

Many personalities of Mexican cinema, such as Mario Moreno (Cantinflas), Pedro Vargas, Tin Tan and María Félix, left their imprint in the hotel's 457 rooms, including 15 suites and a presidential suite, and evidence of their stay can be seen today in a photo exhibit at the "Gallery of the Gulf".

Among the divas who once walked along the halls of the Hotel Nacional were Libertad Lamarque, Rita Hayworth and Ava Gardner, and more recently the super models Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell.

Nacional de Cuba Hotel. Façade
Nacional de Cuba Hotel. Swimming pool
Nacional de Cuba Hotel. Panoramic view

The presidential suite has welcomed political leaders such as Sir Winston Churchill, then prime minister of Great Britain, the kings of Belgium and several heads of state who have visited the largest Antillean Island.

The long list of world-famous guests also includes Frank Sinatra, Johnny Weissmuller, Marlon Brandon, Robert Redford, Buster Keaton, Danny Glover and Robert de Niro, as well as moviemakers like Steven Spielberg, Oliver Stone and Francis Ford Coppola.

The building has an eclectic architectural style, which includes art deco, Roman traditions and styles brought to Cuba by Spanish artisans during colonial times.

The hotel's gardens are reminiscent of Moorish-Spanish monasteries, while the ground plan of the building resembles three parallel naves of a Medieval church.

The creation of the "Cinema Nook", coinciding with the annual holding of Havana's International Festival of New Latin American Cinema, provides additional attractions to the majestic hotel, since it allows guests and visitors to enjoy major movies, along with a varied gastronomical offer.

The Hotel Nacional also hosts specialized events on wine and cinema, among others.

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