Cuba: A Place Where Celebrities Feel At Home


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Giselle Rodríguez

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If you were a celebrity, what would be your favorite spot to spend some time? Probably a place where you would find good service without being disturbed and followed by the press or the paparazzi. That’s where Cuba comes instantly to mind, a place where public figures can walk the streets freely and enjoy the warmth welcome of its friendly people and the natural beauty of its landscapes; making this Caribbean island a privileged site to celebrities.

But what are they doing while staying in Cuba? Well, first is where to stay. While celebrities are staying in Havana, Cuba’s capital, the popular Cuba hotels choices are The Nacional de Cuba Hotel (also known as the hotel of the famous), the Meliá Cohíba Hotel and the Tryp Habana Libre Hotel; all of them are five stars category hotels, with great views of this fascinating city, comfortable rooms and cuisine where you can taste the highest standards of international and Cuban food in any of its restaurants.

While movie stars like Kevin Costner, Johnny Depp, Robert Redford and Pierce Brosnan, filmmakers Francis Ford Coppola and Steven Spielberg, and models Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss prefer the refined elegance and majestic comfort of the Nacional; the Spanish royalty and famous actors like Jane Fonda and Ted Turner chose the centric Habana Libre. The great fashion designer Giorgio Armani, the popular Spanish singers Miguel Bosé and Joan Manuel Serrat, and acclaimed actors like Gene Hackman and Jeremy Irons are among the most distinguish visitors of The Meliá Cohíba Hotel.

Any tourist can see the pictures of his favorite celebrity while staying in those hotels, in their Halls of Fame. I highly recommend going to the Hall of Fame of The Nacional de Cuba Hotel, a very special place with an exquisite decoration with celebrities’ pictures on the walls who have been to Cuba over the last half century, where you can enjoy live music while ordering some of the Cuban most recognized drinks, and you can play your favorite songs in the jukebox. Everything is arranged to provide pleasure.

And once these personalities select their lodgings, what do they do in Cuba? Well, many of the cinema icons like to go to Havana for the International Festival of New Latin American Film, like actor Danny Glover and singer Harry Belafonte; also Kevin Costner visited Havana for the premiere of “Thirteen Days”, as did Steven Soderbergh and Benicio del Torro for “Traffic”. Notorious personalities love the Caribbean rhythm, so when they come to Cuba they just want to improve their dance moves by taking salsa lessons, so it’s the case of Sting, who had been brushing up on his salsa dancing in Havana's National Ballet School.

The International Habano´s Festival is the most eagerly-awaited event for all famous cigar lovers who are fond of the Cuban premium brands. For every eminent cigar smoker like Jack Nicholson, Arnold Schwarzenegger or Jeremy Irons, who share the passion for the Habanos, the Festival has several wonderful treats. Even the British actor Jeremy Irons has been awarded with the Prize Habanos 2005 in the category of Communication for his contribution to the diffusion of the culture of the Habanos around the world.

Furthermore, many world famous musicians have come to Cuba to play! So is the case of Air Supply, Peter Frampton, rock bands Audioslave and Manic Street Preachers, and Sting from the popular band The Police, who were overwhelmed by the Cuban culture, art and musicality. Moreover, political leaders, intellectuals and celebrities from the arts are visiting Havana for several events like the Non-Aligned Movement (NOAL), among other political exchanges.

What I can say for sure is that celebrities are increasing their curiosity and their fascination about Cuba, and many of them are willing to make contact with Cubans, their culture, music and art, besides vacationing in its great resorts.



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