Hotels in Topes de Collantes, Sancti Spiritus
Hotel Gaviota Kurhotel Escambray
Run by Cuba\'s Gaviota hotel chain, this monstrosity is totally at odds with its surrounds. The forested mountain setting at 800 meters elevation, deep in the Sierra Escambray, is lovely. And therein lies the problem: this great concrete hulk rising seven-stories above the treetops is a carbuncle on the landscape. To call this Soviet-scale ziggurat austere is an understatement. Although it looks Stalinist, it originated in 1936 as a sanatorium. In the 1970s it was converted to serve as a health tourism facility ? the \"Cure-hotel\" ? a function it still serves, while also accepting independent travelers.
A stay here is quite surreal. Start with the massive stone staircase. And the tiny (and dysfunctional) elevators. And the guests walking around in identical track suits. And the fact that the hotel even has its own TV station. Still, there are pleasant moments. The restaurant is modestly elegant, although the menu (no surprises here!) is limited to criolla staples. The heated Olympic-size indoor pool is a treat for serious swimmers. You can get physical in the gym and squash courts, then sooth your muscles in the spa.
Hotel Gaviota Los Helechos
The yin to the Kurhotel\'s yang, this hotel lies literally in the latter\'s shadow and offers a much smaller, intimate and ? at first sight ? more appealing alternative. Surrounded by woodland at Topes de Collantes, in the heart of the Sierra Escambray, it\'s a perfect base for exploring the mountains. Several hiking trails begin within a stone\'s throw of the hotel.
Weeds pushing up through the driveway and car park are a sign of things to come. Things begin well enough in the rather plain lobby, with its simple wicker reed furnishings. After hiking or horseback rides, you can do some laps in the swimming pool in a huge solarium, or realx in a steam room. But that\'s pretty much where the good news ends.This hotel is long overdue for refurbishing and is literally falling apart at the seams. And the basic meals in the restaurant will have you sighing in exasperation.