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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)

Hotel Ambos Mundos
Calle Obispo 153, esquina Mercaderes, La Habana Vieja
Tel: (537) 860-9530
Website: www.habaguanexhotels.com
E-mail:  See website

This brightly painted, salmon-colored hotel can’t be ignored as you walk through Old Havana. The corner is marred by a big modern building, although, ironically, just across the street is the Palacio de Captaines Generales, which currently houses the Museum of the City of Havana. Calle Mercaderes is one of my favorites in Old Havana with many restaurants, bars and small shops to meander around. It is close to Plaza de Armas and it’s a quick walk to the Plaza Cathedral and
La Bodeguita del Medio. The 52 rooms are standard fare, but the lobby bar is vibrant and almost always filled with people having a good time.

Hotel Parque Central
Neptuno entre Prado y Zulueta, La Habana Vieja
Tel: (537) 860-6627
Website: www.hotelparquecentral-cuba.com
E-mail: see Website

Just down the street from the Capitol building, the Parque Central is a big, modern hotel in an old colonial building. It is also just across the street from the National Theater, and the Prado, a great tree-lined street running down to the Malecón, runs along one side. It has half a dozen meeting rooms and 427 guest rooms including a presidential suite that matches any in Havana. It has a wonderful rooftop swimming pool with views of the Capitol, and the small Parque Central, which is a classic tree-lined square found in most Latin cities.

Hotel Santa Isabel
Calle Baratillo 9, entre Obispo y Narciso Lopez, La Habana Vieja
Tel: (537) 860-8201
Website: www.hotelsantaisabel.com
E-mail: comercial@habaguanexhsisabel.co.cu

This hotel could easily be one of the top five in our rankings. It is a bright and spacious hotel, on a beautiful tree-lined square, the Plaza de Armas, one of the prettiest squares in the city. It faces the wonderful Museum of the City of Havana, and is diagonal from the Castillo de la Real Fuerza.

The rooms are big, with high ceilings, and 10 standard rooms on the top floor share the hotel’s top floor terrace with views to the east. It is ranked among the country’s five-star establishments, but we found it just a little starker compared to several other top hotels. However, this hotel will make you feel like you are in Havana, and its location on the edge of Old Havana makes it easy to get in and out.

Hotel Telégrafo
Prado 408, esquina Neptuno, La Habana Vieja
Tel: (537) 861-1010
Website: www.hoteltelegrafo-cuba.com
E-mail: subgerente@telegrafo.co.cu

This is one of Habaguanex hotels in Old Havana that is virtually indistinguishable from the others. But each has something unique, either in location or décor. The Telégrafo is near the Parque Central on Prado. It has a great atrium bar with  exposed-brick walls and large palm trees, and a circular staircase heading up to the room floors. There are 63 rooms. The décor is standard Habaguanex with simple furnishings and brightly colored walls, and a modern bathroom.

Hotel Raquel
Calle Amargura 103, esquina San Ignacio
La Habana Vieja
Tel: (537) 860-8280
Website: www.hotelraquel-cuba.com
E-mail: reservas@hotelraquel.co.cu

The history of this hotel includes references to Cuba’s Jewish traditions, including a stone engraving of the Star of David in the reception area. Art Nouveau décor sets this hotel apart from the other Old Havana establishments, and as you enter, you get a true feeling of a turn-of-the-century grandeur. There are 25 rooms, with amenities including wireless Internet in the lobby, room safes and satellite TV service.

Hotel Park View
Calle Colón, esquina Morro
La Habana Vieja
Tel: (537) 861-3293

This is a value hotel. I mention this hotel because it is clean and simple, and well-situated. If you are truly on a budget, the approximately $60-a-night rooms can’t be beat. It’s near the Fine Arts museum and the Museum of the Revolution, and it’s just steps from the Paseo de Prado. There are 55 rooms, and they have all the usual amenities of the other Habaguanex hotels in Old Havana. But it doesn’t have the charm or location of some of the other hotels, just a great price for a simple room.

miramar/vedado hotels
These hotels are west of the city along the ocean front, or in the Miramar section and Vedado, which lies between Miramar and Old Havana.

Hotel Comodoro
Av. 3 y Calle 84, Playa, Ciudad de La Habana
Tel: (537) 204-5551
Website: www.cubancan.cu
E-mail: reservas@comodor.cha.tur.cu

This hotel is undergoing some renovation. Good thing—it is a bit faded around the edges. But this remains one of the most interesting hotels in Havana because of its winding pool area and the bungalows that line the meandering pool. The rooms are Spartan but comfortable, and for anyone who frequented Havana in the mid-1990s, there will be a lot of fond memories.

Hotel Barcélo
Av. 5, entre 76 y 80
Miramar, Playa
Tel: (537) 214-1470
Website: www.barcelo.com
E-mail: comercial@barcelohabana.co.cu

This is a new hotel managed by the Barcélo hotel group from Spain. It is a luxurious high-rise overlooking Quinta Avenida, one of the prettiest avenues in the Miramar district of Havana. There is no beach, but the pool is large. The rooms are mostly Eurochic, sleek furniture, bright colors and efficient layouts. It, however, could be a resort almost anywhere in the world. Not a bad choice if you’re looking for a quieter, more out-of-the-way outpost in Havana.

Hotel Occidental Miramar
Av. 5, entre 72 y 76
Miramar, Playa
Tel: (537) 204-3584

This is the former Novotel. The Occidental hotel group of Spain took over operation of the property about five years ago. Next door to the new Barcélo in Miramar, this hotel also boasts an international standard of quality, with a beautiful pool area.

Hotel Habana Libre
Calle L entre 23 y 25, Vedado
Tel: (537) 834-6100
Website: www.meliacuba.com
E-mail: tryp.habana.libre@meliacuba.com

This is one of the older Havana high-rise hotels and had the misfortune of opening in the year before the Cuban Revolution. Fidel Castro even once had his offices there. There are 569 rooms, and while Sol Meliá has managed it since 1997, when the group did an extensive renovation, it is in the midst of another.

It will be several years before the work is complete. There is one of the newest and largest Casas del Habanos in the city here, and its does boast a central location to get to Habana Vieja and out to Miramar.

The Insider's Guide to Havana


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