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The Hotels of Havana

The best places to stay in Cuba’s capital city
Gordon Mott
From the Print Edition:
Havana—The Insider's Guide, November/December 2011

(continued from page 1)

The list of hotels is organized by our preferences. We stayed in three different hotels this trip, and every hotel mentioned here was visited during our stay, unless otherwise noted.

Editors’ Choices

(In order of preference for the top five hotels)

Palacio del Marqués de San Felipe y Santiago de Bejucal
Calle Oficios 152, esquina Amargura
Plaza de San Francisco
La Habana Vieja
Tel: (537) 864-9191

This is one of the newest hotels in Havana. It opened in late 2010. There are 27 rooms including three large suites with living room, separate sleeping area, a Jacuzzi and large bathroom, with windows that overlook the Plaza San Francisco. Some inner rooms don’t have nice views. This hotel approaches European levels of luxury.

The inner atrium has a bar and a dining area with large marble columns, and has diffused light from a skylight. Waiters serve breakfast instead of the standard buffet. There is a great rooftop terrace with views of the city. A suite in high season is the city’s most expensive room at nearly $450 per night. There is one caveat here: the Internet service was not functioning during our stay and guests were relegated to a single terminal off the hotel lobby; hotel management assured it would be fixed soon and would deliver Internet to each room and provide a wireless connection in the lobby.

If there’s another negative, it is that you don’t really feel like you are in Cuba.

Hotel Saratoga
Paseo del Prado 603, esquina Dragons
La Habana Vieja
Tel: (537) 868-1000

Hotel Saratoga in Havana, Cuba.
The hotel’s rooftop pool and bar overlook the Capitol building and the Havana skyline, and is especially beautiful at sunset.
This 96-room hotel is situated on one of the most vibrant squares in Havana. From its rooftop pool and terrace, guests have a birds-eye view of the Cuba’s Capitolo, a virtual replica of the Capitol building in Washington, D.C., and you can see the Partagás Cigar Factory façade too from the rooftop pool and terrace. It has a pleasing colonial-style décor, and its overall level of luxury has earned it a mention among the Prestige Collection of hotels around the world.

The Anacona restaurant serves a buffet breakfast and lunch and dinner. The Mezzanine Bar is open 24 hours a day, and has good wireless service with the ubiquitous password cards sold by the hour (here, it’s 8 cuc). Great place to have a smoke, a glass of rum and catch up on e-mails. The rooftop pool/terrace area is spectacular with one of the best views of the city. The daiquiris here are good too. I found the hotel a little noisy if you have windows on the square or overlooking any of the side streets. But the trade-off is the view of the Capitol building.

And, the same caveat applies here as to the San Felipe; this hotel could be anywhere.

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