of SARATOGA in old habana

The squeeze and curling up in the Virgin jumbo was worth it. I finally made it to my dream city HAVANA.

Gatwick was chaotic. We were lucky the flight was delayed. It was like those hari raya time in the 60s the rush and scramble to board the stage buses to “balik kampong”. A little bit more orderly. If you are using GATWICK give yourself at least 2 hours to check in and clear the immigration.

By the time we arrived at the SARATOGA, it was about 5 pm. I had been advised, Do your booking through the appointed agent but I was complacent. Luckily there was a suite available but a little more pricey.

The SARATOGA has got class Cuba style. The Saratoga achieved it without trying to hard, which we like.

I knew that this was the place for me. I enjoyed the quiet, the ambiance, the smell of cohibas. At the roof top I had my first mohitos. The sunset was approaching. Just across the road was the imposing CAPITOL.

I tweeted ” the grand and imposing CAPITOL but devoid of any debate”.

Considering that it is CASTRO country, the crew of Saratoga was not that bad. They were better then the Sri Malaysia or some of the hotels in London. They may lack the entrepreneurship discretion, delegated authority and service culture but they were far from being the non smiling soviet style stereotype. .

I  soon learned that luxury goods and service in CUBA was not cheap and accepted it. The embargo, remember ? and the Soviets have disentegrated cant you see? .You need that kind of  attitude to  enjoy HAVANA. The cheaper cigars and the rum, the music and dancing balanced up the economics and compensate for the amount you pay for good hotels and service.

The Partagas factory was just a 100 m away . I would be there tomorrow.

The night we spent walking to the waterfront. The streetlights were dimmed. The tree lined avenue was filled with families enjoying the evening out , Later I found out that because of the cramped living conditions families spent outside the house then inside.

After a roof top dinner and entertained by a 4 piece band, we called it a day. The food was bad but  the mohito was the best in the world.


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