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Old Nov 7, 16, 2:00 pm
Original Member
Join Date: May 1998
Location: Portland OR Double Emerald (QF and AA), DL PM/MM, Starwood Plat
Posts: 19,359
Originally Posted by djjaguar64 View Post
Why would people pay 700 Euros for rooms with cockroaches, I don't get it. These hotels were USD$150 max at one point, Now if it was the 4 seasons in Asia, I will pay top dollar, not in Cuba.
Supply and demand; the top hotels like Saratoga and Parque Central are booked out 100% occupancy and keep raising their prices to match. These are world-class hotels as good as 5-star in Manhattan and they forgot to include any cockroaches or bed bugs in my suite

As for food, it is very much bipolar. The local shops are barren -- there is simply little food around. The state run restaurants are cheap (lobster dinner for $3 for example) but food and service are atrocious. I'm told the staff steal all the best supplies to either eat themselves or resell on the black market -- makes sense given monthly pay is $20. The bellhops at my hotel were mostly doctors moonlighting to earn some money; it is quite a different culture.

Food at the private restaurants I went to ranged from good to fabulous (as in Michelin 1-star quality). The web ratings are pretty indicative (I picked based on this and wasn't disappointed). But instead of $3 you pay $30 for the same sounding dish, just tasting much better.

In short Havana is no bargain, the better hotels and restaurants are booked out. You can live very cheaply (and get cockroaches) or you can live quite expensively (similar price to NYC) ... there is not much in between in Havana any more. I didn't see the rest of Cuba but am told it is much cheaper in other cities (but also much poorer).

The streetscapes are stunning, mixture of great buildings and ruins. The people are fantastic, friendly and happy. There is music everywhere, most of it good. In short a great travvel experience, just completely different from what you get in more mainstream destinations.
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