Crossing into Miramar via one of the two tunnels running below the Almendares River is like passing into a different world. Suddenly, you’re driving along broad, well-manicured avenues flanked by walled-in mansions and lush gardens.
Upscale and grandiose, Miramar was developed in the 1950s when Cuba’s rich and famous migrated from Havana Vieja and other more eastern neighborhoods to wide open spaces by the sea. Today, this is known as the diplomatic district (and verdant Fifth Avenue as ‘Embassy Row’), since so many foreign diplomats reside and work in Miramar.
The architecture is different in this part of Havana, echoing a more North American style, with large homes and lawns and elements like two-car garages, backyards, and in-ground pools. The overall effect is one of tropical grandeur, complemented by Miramar’s beautifully landscaped parks and public areas.
This neighborhood’s seaside location also lends it to maritime recreation and in the 1950s, several yacht and beach clubs were built for the upper class families residing here. Today, Club Habana – one of the restored clubs from that era – is popular with the city’s well-to-do. There’s a small beach, swimming pool, tennis courts, restaurant and bars, and activities like swimming classes for kids.
Miramar showcases Havana’s luxury and staying in this neighborhood implies higher levels of service and facilities, plus access to many of the city’s best (private) restaurants.