“In September 1946 notorious mafia boss Lucky Luciano came to Havana after the US released his exile - he came from Sicily by way of Rio de Janeiro. Upon arriving in Havana he proceeded to the Hotel Nacional where he stayed, according to legend, in Room 924. Between December 22nd and 26th the Hotel Nacional was closed to the public to host possibly the greatest mafia meeting ever held - Lucky Luciano, Frank Costello, New York boss Vito Genovese, Albert Anastasia, mob financier Meyer Lansky were among those in attendance and Frank Sinatra was flown in to sing in honor of Luciano.
I started reading ‘The Mafia in Havana: A Caribbean Mob Story’ by Enrique Cirules out of sheer curiosity after we booked Cuba back in March. People who claim disinterest in mafia history must be lying on some level as the sheer scope and reach of the organization is inherently fascinating. I was immediately hooked and the more I read the more I knew I had at least one definite dream for my time in Havana: to go to the legendary Hotel Nacional and smoke a cigar on the terrace. Just to say I lounged where the who’s who of organized crime in Havana once called home."
"I’m living the dream as I write. A cup of café con leche sits on the glass tabletop alongside Ginger’s coveted mojito. I am reclined in the red cushions of a wicker couch staring out over the grey restless ocean and dozens of rustling palms. A live quartet of bongos, flute, and bass croon ‘Besame Mucho’ to a party down the way. And smoke from a cigar bought at Casa Habaños humidoria wreaths lazily around my arm before drifting towards the ocean. Hotel Nacional. Live. The dream is real.”
- Corinne Simpson