It took us about one hour to drive from the heart of the city of Havana to hotel Moka located in and overlooking the community of las Terrazas. The hotel is literally built around a huge living tree which is just one of the outstanding features of this eco-friendly hotel.
Our room offers all the comfort you might expect from a 4 star hotel like good firm beds, a safety-deposit box, a mini fridge filled with (moderately priced) alcoholic and non alcoholic beverages and a hairdryer. What makes hotel Moka truly unique becomes clear the moment we open our balcony doors. Through the treetops we look upon the las Terrazas community and her surroundings. The blue sky, tree covered hills, lush vegetation, manmade lake and winding pathways that connect the white houses and apartments with red stone tile roofs, are all captured in one real life view featuring an exaggerated sense of perspective. This is about the same view that you will enjoy while taking a shower or bath since the entire bathroom wall is made of glass. Fantastic! It is like taking a shower in a tree house. We passed by the swimming pool and tennis court. Though we did not make use of these facilities, both looked fine. Our original plan was to find a guide who could accompany us on an afternoon walk tough no one was available. We decided to find our own path and climbed yet another hill following sporadic yellow arrows, which apart from suggesting a direction, did not offer us any clue to where we were heading. Our parents age 75 and 80 just followed while enjoying the trees, minding their steps and fending off the viciously biting flying insects. After hiking for about two hours we arrived at a sign with 4 yellow arrows pointing at all possible directions, prompting us to trace back our steps rather than taking further changes. After “sweating it” for a while, we were glad to see the village again. Next time I will probably avoid this “go with the flow” approach, having said that, my parents really liked the adventure. For dinner we decided going to Fonda de Mercedes, down the (long) stairs from the hotel into the community, where we enjoyed straightforward yet extra tasty Cuban food and a bottle of red wine. The small hotel bar was a big surprise too! We were entertained by a group of outstanding musicians while the genuine fun, appreciative and participative audience perfected an already fantastic atmosphere. The mojito’s and margaritas, prepared by the professional and friendly bartender, were not cheap but excellent. We all went to sleep happy! The next day a satisfying breakfast was served in the restaurant of the hotel. We met up with friends and visited the former house of Polo Montañez, one of Cuba’s most celebrated musicians whose music and sudden rise from poverty into stardom captivated the hearts and imagination of many Cubans. He died in a car accident back in 2002. The house now functions as a museum and Polo’s brother is curator. Before returning to the capital we enjoyed an elaborate lunch at the renowned vegetarian restaurant El Romero, a must for vegetarians and a culinary discovery for those of us who are not.
Our 30-hour stay in las Terrazas and hotel Moka was an all-round 5 star experience.
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