Visited by the King of Morocco and Madonna .. The historic hotel causes tragedy in Cuba before its reopening

A devastating accident at a historic hotel in which 31 people lost their lives, 24 critically injured and a number of missing under the rubble, occurred in Cuba on Friday evening and its consequences are still present, in a paradox that occurred two days before the reopening of the building, which was undergoing restoration and renovation.


History of the Saratoga Hotel

Age of hotel Sartoga Saratoga The hotel, which suffered a gas leak more than 130 years ago, was one of the most distinctive buildings in Havana, the Cuban capital, although it was redesigned in 2005 and the hotel has been known for preserving its ancient architecture.

The hotel was a place for celebrities and officials, and had previously been chosen by Beyoncé, Madonna and Will Smith to stay in on special occasions, unlike writer Rafael Alberti, as it was a place where senators and other Cuban politicians came to spend a period of rest, and in 2017, the King of Morocco, Mohammed VI visited him.

The Havana building, which collapsed in part due to Friday’s Explosion, was originally built in 1888 as a tobacco shop and the home of its owner, Cantabrian Gregorio Palacios, and later its impressive size allowed its additional use as an elegant guest house. The first in Havana with all the services.

Hotel collapse in Saratoga
Hotel collapse in Saratoga

And after two decades, the advantages of the hotel branch allowed further improvements, turning it into one of the best buildings of the capital, with a lively social life not only for its guests, but also for the local population, with events and live music. almost every day at so-called “parties”Los Aires Libres del SaratogaThe new name of the institution in the 1930s, has already become a large social center that has doubled its capacity without losing its original style, according to the Spanish newspaper, “La Bangordia”.

From the hotel to the house

Explosion at hotel in Havana
Explosion at hotel in Havana

The Cuban Revolution of 1959 and the fall of the regime of dictator Fulgencio Batista completely changed the uses of the Saratoga Hotel. The government intervened in the hotel and it ended up being turned into an apartment building and the new design of the low cost apartments made an impact. interior aesthetics. Subsequently, the lack of maintenance, combined with the microclimate, resulted in a noticeable deterioration of the building, resulting in the building being vacated and threatened with demolition.

At the end of the last century, the same government that had stopped using the Saratoga hotel as a hotel, revitalized it. the city, adjacent to Cuba’s national symbolic capital, an architectural and political symbol of Havana, has paid interest.The exterior architecture has been meticulously created from new plants that respect the aesthetics of existing plants.

And the internal degradation of the building has allowed almost no details of its decoration to be preserved, although the new interior does not spoil the style of the façade. With a renowned local cuisine restaurant, rooftop pool and ample cocktail bar, Saratoga The new hotel reopened in 2005, making its location and service its amenities, amenities and history a temporary home for some of the personalities who have recently visited Havana.

Hotel before and after the accident
Hotel before and after the accident

The Rolling Stones, an English rock band formed in London, was home to Saratoga, Cuba, when they held their famous free concert for the citizens of Havana in the spring of 2016. Days for him, his family and friends in 2017 during a vacation was not considered a state visit at any time, despite the apparent noise in the media, because the Cuban government has always been a clear stance with the sahrawi people. The situation in the Sahara in southern Morocco and northern Mauritania never affected the royal family, which had at its disposal a fleet of luxury cars owned by the Cuban government, parked permanently in front of the hotel.

The hotel building was in its infancy consisting of three floors, the ground floor was a storage room for tobacco, a storage room and the entrance corridors for the four houses occupying the main or second floor. As for the third floor, it was used as a hotel or guesthouse and has 43 rooms and dining rooms.

The Saratoga Hotel, formerly located on Monte Street, was moved to this building on Prado Street around 1933.

Today, the hotel facade retains some original features. Building elements like rails, wooden shutters, stairs and marble columns show how it was originally, despite significant changes in the interior.

the origin of the name

The origin of the name has not been verified, but it is possible that it is related to the Saratoga National Historical Park. which is the first major American military victory in the American Revolutionary War

And Saratoga incorporated vegetation from the site into its design, including a light-resistant tent, which hangs from chains attached to lion heads. The place offers gastronomic service, beautiful furniture and musical entertainment.

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