Saratoga Hotel

Paseo del Prado 603, esquina a Dragones, La Habana, Cuba

Telephone: +53 7 8681000

Many of Cuba’s cars and buildings may still be stuck in the 1950s, but its hotels, at least, are finally moving into the 21st century. Leading the way is Havana’s Hotel Saratoga, which epitomized the city’s high life until it fell victim to neglect and disrepair. In the 1930s, writers, artists and socialites gathered under its colonnade to enjoy acts like the Anacaona all-girl orchestra, a band of sisters who played salsa-style son music decades before the world heard of the Buena Vista Social Club. But not long after Fidel Castro’s revolution, the hotel had deteriorated into a seedy boarding house.

Now the hotel has been restored to its former glory, offering guests all the five-star facilities that have eluded the city for so long. Located on a corner of the old town that overlooks the Capitolio — a gleaming replica of Washington’s dome — the Saratoga boasts a rich and colorful heritage. An international consortium rebuilt the Saratoga in 2005, maintaining its original neoclassical façade. Floor-to-ceiling French windows with mahogany shutters frame wrought-iron balconies, and inside there’s Internet access in each room, wi-fi in communal areas and top-end gym equipment.