What better place for a genuine El Nacional cocktail than the bar of the Hotel Nacional de Cuba? After a stroll along the Malecón, head to this historic landmark on the Taganana Hill for a pre-dinner drink and a cigar. Panoramic vistas of Havana Harbour provide the setting, the barman will provide the El Nacional. You’re never far from a cigar-shop in Havana, and the hotel has its own if you’re in the mood. Get a closer look at the celebrity pictures covering the walls in the Vista al Golfo bar. Upon its grand opening in 1930, the Hotel Nacional epitomized the glamour of Cuba as a travel destination for the international set. Everybody who was anybody passed through these doors, from stars like Frank Sinatra and Ava Gardner to boxers like Rocky Marciano, and numerous heads of state, Winston Churchill among them. The hotel was also the site of the famous 1946 mobster summit when Lucky Luciano and fellow hoods decided to carve up control of Cuba (as depicted in Copolla’s The Godfather). “Famous people are still coming today,” hotel employee Yamila Fuster says of the household names. “We have many historic hotels in Havana but they don’t have as much history as the Nacional,” she adds. After your aperitif, head to Atelier for an excellent meal at chef Niuris Higueras’ experimental culinary workshop. While the food is eclectic, the large main room of this Vedado mansion is decorated in a welcomingly homey style.