If you go to Havana...

Where to stay:

Hotel Saratoga

Paseo del Prado, 603

Old Havana



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One of the poshest hotels in Havana, the Saratoga offers views of the Capitol building, and a rooftop pool overlooking the city. The luxury doesn’t come cheap (by Cuban standards). Off season rates hover at $250 a night. During the high season expect to pay well over $400 a night, that is if you can get a room.

Hotel Ambos Mundos

Calle Obispo 153

Old Havana



For Ernest Hemingway fans, this is the place to stay. Papa lived her for seven years while writing, and likely partaking of the devil’s nectar. The distinctive salmon-colored hotel may not offer the luxury of its competitors, but it’s less expensive and has a killer lounge. Junior suites start at $300 (but are booked through 2015). Standard rooms are $200.

Where to eat:

La Guarida

Calle Concordia 418, between Gervesio and Escobar

Central Havana



Chef Enrique Núñez’s cuisine is a must for visitors to Havana. The romantic restaurant is located in a beautiful -- and decaying -- building, but the food offers untraditional twists on tradition Cuban ingredients. I was a fan of the lamb tiki masala.

El Cocinero

Calle 26, between 11 and 13



Located in the posh Vedado neighborhood, el Cocinero is one of the most cosmopolitan spaces in Havana. Ask for rooftop seating so you can see the massive chimney rising behind you as you try the lobster bisque.

Cafe Fortuna

Calle 24 and Avenida Primera



It’s an ideal spot for cocktails and small bites, but the true reason to come here is for the vintage decor. Walls are lined with typewriters and old radios. You can sit in a 1950s car to eat lunch or lounge in a bathtub. It’s an imaginative and unique twist on Havana’s retro reputation. You can find the same vibe at El Dandy Bar and Gallery in Old Havana if you’re unable to get to Miramar.