Visit by the King of Morocco and Madonna .. Historic hotel causes tragedy in Cuba before its reopening

A devastating accident in a historic hotel in which 31 people were killed, 24 were injured in a critical condition, and a number of missing people under the rubble, took place in Cuba on Friday night, and the consequences are still present, in ‘ a paradox that took place two days before the reopening of the building, which was under restoration and renovation work.


The history of the Saratoga Hotel

The age of the Sartoga Hotel Saratoga The hotel, which had 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 is known for preserving its ancient architecture.

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

The Havana building, which collapsed in part due to the Friday blast, was originally built in 1888 as a tobacco shop and home to its owner, Cantabrian Gregorio Palacios, and later its impressive size made it a complementary use as an elegant guest house. made possible. Havana with all services.

Saratoga Hotel collapses
Saratoga Hotel collapses

And after two decades, the benefits of the hotel branch made possible further improvements, which turned it into one of the best buildings in the capital, with a vibrant social life not only for its guests but also for the locals, with events and live music almost every day at the so-called “parties”Los Aires Libres del Saratoga“, the new name of the institution in the 1930s, has already been transformed into a major social center that has doubled its capacity without losing its original style, according to the Spanish newspaper,” La Bangordia “.

From hotel to houses

Explosion in Havana hotel
Explosion in Havana hotel

The Cuban Revolution of 1959 and the collapse of dictator Fulgencio Batista’s regime completely changed the customs of the Saratoga Hotel. . the aesthetics of the interior. Subsequently, the lack of maintenance, combined with the microclimate, led to a noticeable deterioration of the building, which led to the evacuation of the building and impending doom.

At the end of the last century, the same government that stopped using the Saratoga Hotel as a hotel revived it. The works began slowly and lasted for almost five years, and since it was located in a historic area of ​​the city, next to the symbolic national capital of Cuba, an architectural and political symbol of Havana, interest was paid. carefully created by new plants that respect the aesthetics of existing plants.

And the internal deterioration of the building has allowed almost no detail of its decoration to be preserved, although the new interior does not detract from the style of the facade.With a popular local kitchen restaurant, rooftop pool and lavish cocktail bar, the new Saratoga Hotel was reopened in 2005, making its location and service. The property, its amenities and its history are a temporary home for some of the dignitaries who have recently visited Havana.

The hotel before and after the accident
The hotel before and after the accident

The Rolling Stones, an English rock band founded in London, were 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 his comrades in 2017 during a holiday was not considered a state visit at any time, despite the noticeable noise in the media, because the Cuban government has always had a clear stance with the Sahrawi people. The situation in the Sahara in southern Morocco and northern Mauritania at no time affected the royal family, who had a fleet of luxury cars owned by the Cuban government, which were permanently parked in front of the hotel.

The hotel building was in its infancy and consisted of three floors, the ground floor was a storage room for tobacco, a storage room and entrance portals for the four houses that occupied the main or second floor. As for the third floor, it was used as a hotel or guest house, and it has 43 rooms and dining rooms.

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

Today, the facade of the hotel retains some original features. Building elements such as railings, wooden bars, marble stairs and columns show how it was original, despite significant changes in the interior.

name origin

The origin of the name has not been verified, but it is possible that it is associated with Saratoga National Historic Park is the historical park of the site of the Battle of Saratoga, located in the town of Stillwater in New York State, where this park preserved the site of the Battle of Saratoga, which is the first major U.S. military victory in the war.

And Saratoga has included vegetation of the site in its design, including a light-resistant canopy, which hangs from chains attached to the heads of lions. The place offers gourmet service, fine furniture and musical entertainment.

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