Hotels in Baracoa, Guantanamo
Hotel Gaviota El Castillo
The choice hotel in town, this three-star option has by far the best location in Baracoa. Loftily poised atop the craggy hill on the south side of Baracoa, it occupies part of the former 18th-century Castillo Seburouco and offers stupendous views down over the colonial town and towards El Yunque. The infirm may find exploring town from here a challenge, but otherwise the staircase offers direct access to downtown, with its rickety wooden buildings in vernacular style.
A swimming pool studs the battlement courtyard, where there\'s an open-bar where live musicians often entertain groups. The best reason to stay here, though, is the air-conditioned restaurant. Undeniably the town\'s best, it does a reasonable job infusing local ingredients into the menu, and many dishes here you won\'t find elsewhere. We enjoyed a gouda aubergine (eggplant) starter and fresh fish prepared in coconut sauce with local herbs. It\'s run by Gaviota, which offers car and scooter rental plus excursions.
Hotel Gaviota Porto Santo
Run by Cuba\'s Gaviota chain, this 80-room hotel plays a reasonable second fiddle to the Hotel El Castillo. The Port Santo stands atop a craggy bluff on the west side of Baracoa harbor, and a good two mile walk from town (but just a one-minute drive to the airport). Hence, the El Castillo, with its in-the-heart-of-town locale, has the Porto Santo beat on that score. Nonetheless, we like the airy feel to the landscaped grounds, studded with two-story buildings that catch the sea breezes.
The serpentine pool and pooldeck is a great space to cool off and catch some rays. And steps lead down to a small private beach. Hungry after a game of tennis? The thatched poolside grill serves snacks, and the main restaurant offers a modest menu of criolla and continental dishes. A folkloric dance troupe often performs on the deck.
The air-conditioned rooms compete with those at El Castillo, with terra-cotta tile floors and fairly simple furniture of dark hardwoods and rattan. All rooms come with satellite TV, radio, telephone, in-roo safe, and modernized bathrooms.