Thursday, March 14, 2013

Dreaming of 90 Miles South

Havana's "Central Park"
    I was sitting on the seawall at the Southernmost corner of Key West the other day dreaming about returning to Cuba.   It was a funny thing,I sit here just 90 miles away from Havana and I have to travel by car, airplane and car again for 10 or more hours to get to a place that is just 90 miles away.    I could be there in my boat in 10 hours, but the politics of five decades ago are still not allowing the people of America to see this absolutely fabulous place.

Colonial Patio right off the lobby
     There is a really cool historic hotel at the "central Park" of Old Havana called Hotel Telegrafo, one of the oldest and most modern in Havana.  This hotel first opened its doors in 1850 and moved to its current location in 1888.  it was one of the first to provide guests with international telephone service from the hotel rooms in or about 1911.  

    The hotel first opened on Amistad Street, but in 1888 it was moved to it's present location at the corner of Prado and Neptuno Streets.     Just seven years after the founding of the hotel, a merging of Don Guillermo del Toro and Dona Pilar Somoano, merchandisers from Havana turned the Telegrafo into one of the top 11 hotels in Latin America.   The Hotel Telegrafo had a fine reputation and many novel services that drew the clients from all over the world.   The Hotel Telegrafo boasted a blend of the classic with the most modern facilities in Havana.

Hotel Telegrafo Cocktail Lounge
     The hotel had its role in the politics of the nation as well.  In the beginning of the twentieth century, the Telegrafo served as the general barracks for the Liberty Party and center of the Election Campaign of the first decade of 1900.    At the beginning of the twenty-first century it was once again reverted back to a hotel.  The Telegrafo spent many year as the Office of the Historian of the City after the 1959 revolution.  In December of 2001 the Hotel Telegrafo reopened to its previous grandeur offering 9 junior suites, 63 rooms and a fine cocktail bar.

     Having spent 5 days there last September, I dream of the day when I can return to this marvelous old historic town and enjoy the amenities of the Hotel Telegrafo once again taking a short flight from Key West to Havana.   ;o)