Havana – The Riviera Hotel And Juanita

30 Mar


nfc capFirst time ever I stepped into this tunnel of foregone time, this Mafia monument, this beautifully preserved 50’s gem of architecture.

Funny, so many times I’ve driven past, so many times I’ve been next door at the ugly Melia Cohiba for events, LCDH, the Internet, etc, but never had I been to the Riviera hotel before in all my years in Havana.

And to think I only went to greet Juanita, one of my favourite rollers and good friend in Havana.

I had heard that she is now there, at the small but very cosy Casa del Tabaco in the lobby, having been re-assigned from the LCDH Melia Cohiba.

So there I went with some of my Portmann group friends.

But after entering the hotel I was fascinated and captivated by the atmosphere.

I had to see it all first.

And I did.

The lobby is awe inspiring, the restaurants there decadent and full of 50’s charm, I expected to see women in night gowns and men in tuxedos.

The lobby bar overlooking the Malecon and the blue sea is a dream.

The pool area an oasis.

And then I went into the grand old empty hall that used to be the casino ….

My voice echoed from the empty expanse and bare walls. The bar was still visible and I could only imagine the noise of the roulette wheel and the electronic noise from the one-armed bandits and all the action and people gathered there back then.

What a great experience that visit was.

I did it again a few days later and was still impressed and awed by the place.

As to the Casa del Tabaco and Juanita – she was, like me, suffering from a tough case of coughing and bronchitis, so I shared with her the medicine my wife had sent me over.

But still, the best medicine was her warm smile, her familiar hospitality, her cigars and the bottle of rum on the table that Norbert, Hannes, Tobias and I shared.

What can I say – I see myself back in that bar having a quiet drink and a good cigar.




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