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Polly York

As the newest member of the Distinctive team, Polly is making great waves in helping Hilary put together all the booking documents.

Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski La Habana

Originally built in the 19th Century, this grand building in now home to the Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski La Habana. Putting you right in the heart of the city, from the hotel you will be able to enjoy stunning views over the Great Theatre of Havana and the many UNESCO World Heritage sites that surround it. The 246 spacious rooms and suites, boast extra high ceilings and French windows opening out onto the old city.

Osmary y Alberto

Located in the Miguel Calzada area of Trinidad, this Casa Particular is a short walk from the highlights of this historic city. Its six air-conditioned rooms are all spacious and enjoy en-suite facilities. The chef prepares delicious national and international dishes, which are served in the peaceful gardens where you will also find a small pool.

Sol Palmeras Varadero

This classic all-inclusive resort in Varadero is ideal for families with fun activities for all tastes and ages. The resort offers a variety of rooms and bungalows and is linked to a golf course. The 518 rooms and suites are modern and comfortable and have views of the sea, the beach, the gardens or the pool area.

La Ermita Hotel

This charming hotel is perched on a mogote (limestone hill), giving La Ermita dramatic views across the stunning Viñales Valley. Designed in neo-colonial fashion, the hotel is laid out around spacious lawns and a large attractive swimming pool.

Los Frailes

Steps from the Plaza Vieja and just two blocks from the Plaza de San Francisco de Asis (two of Havana’s most beautiful squares), the Hotel Los Frailes has 22 rooms. The inner mezzanine gallery is bright and appealing, with lush hanging plants and attractive decorations.

Armadores de Santander

Set in a restored colonial building and enjoying a convenient location in the old town, Armadores de Santander overlooks the port that is the symbol of the city’s rich maritime heritage. The hotel offers 32 guest rooms, a lobby bar and restaurant.

Cuba’s colonial gem

Gringo the Polo Star

by Mike

One of many highlights from my recent trip to Cuba was the colonial city of Trinidad . It is a wonderful place just to wander around and explore the maze of cobbled streets that link lively plazas and local markets. When even this seemed a little too energetic, I’d order a take-away mojito from one of the numerous street vendors and sit on the church steps and people watch to my heart’s content!

Founded by Diego Velazquez in 1514 and declared a World Heritage Site in 1988, Trinidad truly feels like stepping back in time. Isolated from the rest of Cuba for many years, the city experienced little developed so kept much of its original charm and lay-out. Today, the city has been wonderfully restored and has the feeling of an open-air museum. Many of the town’s finest buildings are testimony to the wealth of landowners who made their money from the Sugar Mills in the surrounding valley. I found a visit to these Sugar Mills both interesting and poignant. Many of the mills have observation towers that afford excellent views over the fertile plains that were once the centre of the global sugar cane industry. Their purpose, however, was to supervise and watch over the slaves that worked the land and was a timely reminder of the pain and suffering that much of Trinidad’s wealth was built upon.

I found Cuba to be unique, fascinating and thought-provoking and there was no better example than this colonial gem of a city.

Gringo the Polo Star

Gringo the Polo Star

by Julia

Mallet in hand, I griped the reins with one hand moving them up the horses neck, a signal for him to move forwards, at the same time as giving him a good kick. Gringo, my polo pony for the day, sprung into action and the chase was on. Darting and weaving past the other players, little white ball fever had well and truly gripped me, as we sped after the ball trying to get to it first. It was all set up, world class polo pony, other players who also had no idea what they were doing behind us, some of which had never ridden a horse before arriving on the Estancia, and the words of advice from Argentina’s Ladies Polo Playing champion ringing in my ears. As we neared the ball I lowered the mallet lined it up with the ball and swung, I heard the satisfying clunk as the mallet found its mark. Elation filled me as I turned to my team mates expecting to see happiness; I was met instead with cries of “Wrong way!” I had hit the ball towards our goal, but this meant the race was on again and Gringo knew just what to do as we wheeled round to line up the ball once again.

The Polo at Estancia Los Potreros, Córdoba Argentina was something I had been rather nervous about. As a horse rider in the past I had very much been looking forward to the visit to the estancia but having watched many a game of polo I knew how vicious and brutal it could be and wasn’t sure if my rather rusty horse riding skills would stand up to the challenge. However with the expert polo pony Gringo helping me, he even kicked the ball and moved back under me when I lent a bit too far, I was in safe hands. Instead of the terrifying experience I had thought it to be it became the highlight of my entire trip.