Luxury hotels that exude a wow element, even if only occasionally, are always more likely to stick in the memory. Take the rooftop spa of Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski La Habana, undoubtedly the most stylish luxury-category hotel in the whole of Cuba. The Albear by Resense spa has a Hollywood-type hair salon, a Technogym with all-wall window giving scenic views over Havana, and two treatment rooms. There is also a vitality pool, as shown above (who EVER would have expected this, in Havana?).
But then who, other than designer Arno Joubert, would have thought of wrapping bedroom chandeliers in silver lampshade? The effect is quite spectacular, as is looking at some rooms’ walls, hung with enormous black and white photos of the city, with one large square of purple colour superimposed.
Another surprise was the delicious lunch, served poolside. Using only local products, I started with tomato tartare, as shown here, and went on to totally memorable suckling pig, slow cooked for four hours. It is all these touchpoints that contribute to the myriad of elements of a real luxury hotel.