Where to Smoke: Havana's Kempinski Rooftop
PANORAMIC VIEWS. DELICIOUS COCKTAILS. PRIME HAVANA LOCATION
Our Where to Smoke editorial series is incredibly popular on our Cuban cigars blog, but has predominantly focused on London establishments. With that being said, we are delighted to present out sixth edition of the series, at a grand rooftop and tobacco lounge, in one of Havana, Cuba’s most exquisite hotels. Here are our most recent Where to Smoke editorials:
Years before Fidel Castro rose to Communist power and became the no.1 enemy of John F. Kennedy, the Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski La Habana, was a late nineteenth century shopping mall. The sugar-cane baron owner, fled Cuba upon nationalisation, leaving the building in a derelict and abandoned state. After a five-year renovation, the hotel – considered Havana’s first five-star luxury, opened and brought along one of the greatest places to enjoy a habano.
LOCATION OF EL SURTIDOR POOL TERRACE AND BAR – The official name of the hotel’s rooftop terrace, the sky-high level and central location is unrivalled by any other rooftop in Havana – and arguably, against many in the world. The panoramic, breath-taking views capture every note-worthy attraction and landmark to visually behold in the city, including Parque Central, El Capitolio and the beautiful Malecon sea-front. The classic Old Havana architecture is beckoned upon you, creating a concoction of opulence and history – culture and extravagance in one.
"Glittering tiles and modern glitz"
ROOFTOP AMENITIES – During our recent trip to Havana, we found ourselves frequently at the Kempinksi rooftop, enjoying cold beers and fresh fruit cocktails, whilst smoking Cuban cigars. Matching the casual dress-code, the food menu consists of informal, popular choices, such as Hispanic tapas and pizza. The infinity pool is strictly for hotel guests, who usually spend the day just lounging and admiring the imagery of Havana’s great structures. It seems the awe-inspiring views which will have you gasping in wonder, are more in demand than other bars within the hotel, so the terrace is, not surprisingly, quite busy.
The stunning views we captured while at the hotel's rooftop. Left: The El Capitolio, Right: Street view down below.
"an exhibition of marvellous splendour"
Left: The vibrant Constante bar, Right: The plush Evocacion Tobacco Lounge.
"cosy atmosphere and contemporary furniture"
EVOCACION TOBACCO LOUNGE – On the hotel’s first floor, is the magnificent tobacco lounge with French doors leading to a balcony overlooking Central Park. The cosy atmosphere and contemporary furniture will ensure you feel at ease and comfortable. Whether you are a cigar aficionado or beginner cigar smoker, speaking to twice won World Habano-sommelier Juan Jesus Machin, is always of value. He is head cigar sommelier and ideal to help you make a drink and cigar selection. In the warm orange-hued lounge, an assortment of Cuban cigars is pristinely stocked, such as a Cohiba Siglo I Cigar and a Montecristo Edmundo Cigar.
"nothing short of exceptional"
KEMPINSKI FACILITIES – Havana’s most luxurious hotel is an exhibition of marvellous splendour, and despite our constant desire to walk into the lobby’s elevator and head straight to the rooftop, we couldn’t help but also observe the many opportunities one can acquire within the hotel’s vicinity. The white-styled San Cristobal Restaurant specialises in Caribbean seafood, with an outdoor terrace that let’s you dine underneath the stars. A live music performance is nightly in the Constante Bar – Constante being a tribute to the creator of Daiquiri, and the El Arsenal Lobby Lounge and Bar is superb for a mid-day Cuban coffee.
KEMPINSKI ROOFTOP EXPERIENCE – From the Mango Pina Colada’s to the Old Havana cocktail made with Cuban rum, the Kempinski rooftop experience is nothing short of exceptional. A tantalising mix of Cuban cigars, drinks, setting and friendly staff are infused together to bring a cigar smoking luxury. Unlike many countries, Cuba grants permission to smoke in virtually any place. To smoke at this rooftop with the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Old Havana crowding your vision however, is unlike any place.
Our time in Havana was made complete by visiting the El Surtidor Pool Terrance and Bar positioned on the Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski. We packed along our favourite Cuban cigars online and created many a memory. Why not read through our Top 5 Restaurants in Cuba’s Havana to see exactly where we suggest you to taste the city’s fine cuisine.