Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Elegant place to have a drink on Plaza de Armas - Hotel Santa Isabel (Havana, Cuba)

During our morning DIY walking tour on Calle Obispo – Plaza Armas – Plaza Vieja – Plaza de la Catedral – Plaza de San Francisco, we came across Hotel Santa Isabel. In my previous entry I’ve mentioned about this hotel as my first choice in Old Havana. The hotel was fully booked on the dates we are staying in the city so that’s how we ended up at Florida Hotel instead.

Our table at the portico restaurant facing the plaza at the Hotel Santa Isabel.

Very curious now on what we have missed, Blondine and I went inside to check out the premises. We came out of the hotel’s doors concluding that we are much better off at Florida Hotel because of its impressive atrium courtyard.

However, Hotel Santa Isabel does not disappoint. It has a gorgeous restaurant terrace portico facing Plaza de Armas. Probably the best and most elegant place to sit down, have a drink and watch Cuban daily life in this part of Havana. The hotel has another restaurant on top as well called Condado that offers a better viewing point of the plaza.

Plaza de Armas is the main (touristy) plaza in Old Havana.

The Hotel Santa Isabel restaurant.

On Plaza de Armas there is a daily book market as well. Cubans are like the Spaniards who are crazy about books. Many may have migrated to reading books electronically but not in Cuba. They even sell hard leather bound books.

For the literature fanatic, and if you speak and read Spanish, a stop at Plaza de Armas will for sure be a delight. Locals bring their guitars here as well and serenade passers-by.

Book market on Plaza de Armas selling a lot of (or about) Che Guevarra books.

The locals are always jolly, if they are not dancing on the streets, they are singing with a guitar.

My love affair with books have ceased, unfortunately. Not sure if this is just a temporary thing or the relationship has already grown a grave with an epitaph. I just do not have the time and desire anymore.

When I was a kid, I was a fanatic though. I read the Nancy Drew series in bed late at night under the comforts of my blanket and with a flash light in hand so that my mother will not find out, haha. And I even read our ancient Colliers Encyclopaedia and randomly chose topics to feast on.

Those were the days.

Travel Period: May 2012
Destination: Old Havana, Cuba

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