NOLA FLAVOUR IN HAVANA
The intertwined bloodline of New Orleans (below) and Havana encompasses a shared cultural and trading heritage as well as architectural similarities. Havana’s Plaza Major has echoes of Jackson Square, and New Orleans ragtime legend, Jelly Roll Morton, was influenced by Cuban musical rhythms. Day to night, the city is a feast for the senses. Stroll through the city streets and squares to get a feel for the colourful and often dilapidated Spanish colonial, Cuban Baroque ad neoclassical buildings (right), or soak up the local vibe along the eight kilometre-long Malecón boardwalk. Factor in a visit to Fábrica El Laguito, home of Cohiba cigars, and take a city tour in a chauffeured 1957 Chevy with a stop-off at the grand Hotel Nacional for refreshments and peek at the in-house Cuban Missile Crisis exhibition. Eat at La Guarida, a bygone movie location-meets-hot dining spot on the top floor of a crumbling Havana tenement serving Nueva Cocina Cubana, or enjoy the airy rooftop setting and grilled lobster of El Cocinero. Stay in a casa particular (family guesthouse) like Chez Nous (from Dh130) in the heart of Old Havana, or sleep in the historic Hotel Ambos Mundos (from Dh550), where Hemingway penned For Whom the Bell Tolls. Getting there: Fly via Paris, Amsterdam or Istanbul.