Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The yanquis are coming...

When I was last in Havana back at the start of 2015 the prices of state-owned hotels already seemed to be rising in anticipation of the coming onslaught of greenback-waving rubberneckers. 

I ended up staying a couple of nights at a somewhat frayed little establishment in Vedado that caters for local and second tier international business guests. 

The other day I speculatively checked the place's website and discovered that one night will now set one back 250 euros, close to a 300% increase since February last year. 

Now this is pricey indeed for a hotel where running water appears to be something of a rarity. 

The price hike seems to be quite widespread. And it is a great shame, because the grand old hotels of Havana  the Inglaterra, the Nacional, the Raquel, the Florida et al.  have been quite an experience during their underclocked three star communist epilogue.  

A little pricey, but no so much to deter the ageing French socialistes and rugged Russian middle orders  and, in the snow-laden months, the Canucks — who contributed so much to the city's atmosphere since the wall came down and Cuba itself almost collapsed shortly afterwards. 

Out of sheer greed the regime is quite possibly going to deplete this tried and tested source of demand in favour of a newer, richer influx who, once the thrill of the gawp has gone, may not find the place quite to their exacting standards. And their very presence will have spoiled much of what made this crumbly old city so appealing. 

UPDATE: Soon, they'll be chanting 'y'all have a nice day now...'. Grim. 

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