With its magnificent location in the well-known residential area of Punta Gorda, in the southern city of Cienfuegos, the Jagua is considered one of Cuba's most famous hotels. It rises over the waters of Cienfuegos Bay – take a south-facing room for the panoramic vistas over the bay and the Mughal-style Palacio del Valle. Built in Modernist style in the 1950s, it was recently revamped in sophisticated contemporary style. Today the lobby, with its acres of glass walls on three sides, is both colorful and exciting, with its contemporary art and equally avant-garde furniture.
Your eyes are drawn irresistibly rearward to the pool and spacious, nicely remodeled pool-deck overhanging the bay. The lobby bar is a good spot to relax with either a cocktail or cappuccino; in fact, it's more visually appealing than the overly air-conditioned pool bar, with its cold 1950s-retro look. The four-nights-a-week cabaret (followed by a disco that draws locals) is worth the $10 entrance, and the beat of the disco carries as far as guest bedrooms.
Other pluses here are two well-stocked gift stores, a pharmacy, small gym, and ample parking. As to dining... well a few years ago its splendid à la carte restaurant shifted exclusively to a buffet format. The result has been a disaster. During our last visit the range and quality of items on offer left us groaning in despair. And did we mention the dirty tablecloths?
The guest rooms are characterized by the spaciousness of the 50 's and offer beautiful panoramic views. They, too, benefitted from the recent remodel and today boast colorful (even stylish) contemporary furnishings. All rooms have a wall of glass with sliding glass doors onto private balconies. And the modern bathrooms even have hair-dryers.
The city centre is just a few minutes away. Surrounding its charming park are the Cathedral, the Terry Theatre and other attractive constructions.