The Independent publishes my article on exploring 1950s Havana:
American mobster Meyer Lansky had a dream. He wanted Havana to bloom as the Las Vegas of the Caribbean; he wagered millions on his money-making vision – even building his own pleasure palace on the city’s seaside highway, the Malecón.
The Hotel Riviera, clad in a sheen of shimmering turquoise mosaic, with its casino and coffin-shaped pool, was the last word in hotel luxury when Ginger Rogers sang her way through the opening night in 1957. Extraordinarily, the Riviera (Paseo y Malecón; 00 53 7 836 4051; www.gran-caribe.cu) remains virtually unchanged in the city’s upmarket Vedado district. You can still check into Lanksy’s rooms, numbers 1923-24.