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“Fabulous, historic hotel”

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Hotel Nacional de Cuba
Ranked #6 of 80 Hotels in Havana
Reviewed 4 December 2011

We stayed here for 3 nights in November and absolutely loved it. We were lucky enough to be given room 225 on arrival - which is the room where Frank Sinatra and Ava Gardner spent their honeymoon! This, by itself, totally made my holiday. The 2nd floor has been kept in the 1950's style (original tiling etc). Ask for one of the historical rooms (no extra charge) - there are a number of them detailed at reception.

The whole hotel is a national monument with loads of history - Errol Flynn, Lucky Luciano, Churchill, Hemingway etc etc have all stayed/drank here. It has a great atmosphere about it - very relaxed and 'old world'. Yes, in parts of the hotel the paint is peeling and the slabs are a bit cracked but we thought this applied to Havana in general and summed up the city perfectly. The hotel is about a 20 minute walk (along the seafront - Malecon) to the centre of Havana - or a $5 taxi ride.

There are lovely landscaped gardens to wander around, a seafront bar on a cliff overlooking the sea, another bar on a terrace with huge wicker sofas to lounge about on (fabulous, very decadent old world feel to this), and an indoor bar. $4 for a mojito! Try getting those prices in many 4/5* hotels in the world.

We tried the 1930 salon restaurant and the 'Cuban' garden restaurant. The steaks are fabulous, the wine list excellent (and reasonable) although Cuba doesn't seem to do sauces or (non-tinned) vegetables very well... However we found the same applied pretty much everywhere we ate in Cuba (although do try 'El Patio' in Plaza de la Cathedral which is fabulous). Buffet breakfast was great - huge choice, and nice coffee. We found the service throughout the hotel to be excellent.

There are a couple of pools (we didn't try them as too busy sightseeing in Havana) but the main pool looked lovely.

If I'm back in Havana I will definitely stay at the Nacional again.

Room Tip: Ask for one of the historical rooms on the 2nd floor.
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  • Stayed: November 2011, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank LLMac16
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 2 December 2011

I’m not really sure how this review slipped through the cracks I always seem to write a review on properties I visit. Needless to say our experience at the Nacional was a great one. The only reason we actually stayed at the hotel was because I was given a complimentary 2 nights stay by Gran Caribe and I surely did not want to pass up this opportunity. We stayed back in September.

CHECK-IN

As many have mentioned before check-in is in fact quite slow, again it also depends on the time of day, if there is a group arrival etc. We arrived at the hotel at around 9pm, the lobby was packed, We actually only waited about 10 minutes to check-in and the gentleman at the front desk promptly checked us in and gave us a little verbal tour of the hotel, He was very friendly.

ROOM

We were given a room on the sixth floor (Executive Level), which was more than what we had expected, Sure the Nacional is old and many rooms are in need of refurbishment. The room were given was completely opposite, the room was spotless, had a King size bed, Flat Panel television and a fully stocked mini bar (extra $$) The washroom was surprisingly big and their was always sufficient hot water.

FOOD AND BEVERAGE

I actually had visited the Nacional before on several meetings I attended and have always found the food to be just fine, I really didn’t find anything above the ordinary here. We had breakfast included with our room; We found the buffet area to be quite small and crowded. The food was at most satisfactory. Although we did enjoy room service one night (big menu, decent pricing) and also the basement cafeteria. Our favorite area of the hotel is outside terrace, definitely a unique location to just sit and have a few drinks; Drinks are bit pricey here but in fact quite good.

GROUNDS AND FACILITIES

The Nacional has the most beautiful grounds in any hotel in Havana, It offers 2 pools a fitness center, An on site Cadeca, Business Centre with internet access (Quite slow) and a few decent gift shops.


CHECK OUT:

Simply a breeze, Just simply paid for our food and beverage charges and we were on our way. We even got free parking which was a bonus.

All in all I recommend this hotel to anyone visiting Havana for the first time, Sure there are many other properties close by that are more modern offer better accommodations etc… Only thing is there is no other property which so much history and charm.

Room Tip: Try to get a room on the sixth floor (Executive Floor)
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  • Stayed: September 2011, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank simplycuba
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 December 2011

It's old, but full of charme
We stayed in a room on the upper level (a little bit more expensive than the others) and it was nice enough, but don't expect a luxury room.
The building is a historical monument, the garden is very beautiful and the pool too. You watch the caribbean sea, people and cars run along the "Malecon", maybe dirnking a well made mojito....i loved it

  • Stayed: August 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank Alebello
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 December 2011

not 5 star by any means. lots of character, plenty of photos of famous old people. room ok but hot water once in 3 days, no one cares.! booked executive room, total con as services indicated on web do not exist- cold water machine only.! buffet restaurant fine. fine dining restaurant-rubbish. overall ok but dont expect too much.

  • Stayed: November 2011, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank joco48
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 November 2011

My wife and I recently had a two-week holiday in Cuba, starting with 3 nights at the Nacional. We found it an excellent place to start as it gave a relatively peaceful base from which to get a first impression of Havana, which is a somewhat daunting but immensely exciting capital of a country with real character and an interesting mix of cultures, architecture, poverty and relative affluence, ancient and modern, etc, etc. The facilities and service at the Nacional were extremely good, with a somewhat "sixties" feel to it, and there is never one member of staff to help you when it is possible to have three!! We found that it was delightfully positioned with lovely gardens looking over the ocean and good access to the old town - because it is on the Malecon (boulevard along the coast), it is easy to find your way back, as you just need to keep the sea on your right, giving a chance to see a bit of the real Havana with all its colour and music. Although some of the back streets on this walk (a bit over a mile) were very impoverished, the people were very friendly and we never felt threatened at any time. The food at the hotel was OK, good by Cuban standards (the country is not a gastronomic paradise), but they provided some lovely mojitos either on the terrace of the lounge or in the gardens overlooking the ocean and the castle across the bay. And then there is the wonderful Art Deco architecture of the hotel itself. Altogether an excellent place to get your bearings after a long flight from UK.

Room Tip: I would recommend a room on one of the higher floors with a sea view - our room was quiet and we did...
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  • Stayed: November 2011, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank David68_11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 November 2011

I stayed at "El Nacional" with my family, the hotel is an excellent option, its rooms are big, restrooms are good. Public areas of the hotel are very nice, the location of the hotel on a hill makes it have an spectacular view of the sea and the malecón, its gardens are very nice and the perfect place to enjoy a drink.
We had included buffet breakfast , and it was very good, plenty of options, good quality. The historical tour of the hotel is highly recommended, our guide Aeleen was really kind and explained very good.
I want to thanks the telephonist of the hotel, I do not know her name, but she was very kind and helpful with my family and I.
The hotel dates from 1930's and looks old, but it's historical, so very few places like this one. One thing that the hotel has to improve is the quality of the service of their employees, that is a little bit low at the front desk.
In general it's a good option with a lot of history, very nice view, easy to recognize, in front of the malecón. It is a very good option. If I come back to Habana, I would stay here again.

Room Tip: In front of the sea. Side rooms are big.
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  • Stayed: November 2011, travelled with family
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1  Thank Rocco2006
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 November 2011

We loved the Naciaonal.
It really does have a personality and character of its own and you will love it too.
Havana maybe manic and scary at times but this was an oasis to retreat to.
Fee bus tours leave several times a day.
Enjoy the live music in the court yard every night and don’t forget to ask about the tours of the hotel!
Go enjoy!!

  • Stayed: November 2011, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank djb0151
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hotel Nacional de Cuba

Address: Calle 21 y O | Vedado, Plaza, Havana 10400, Cuba
Region: Caribbean > Cuba > Ciudad de la Habana Province > Havana
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#5 Family Hotel in Havana
#6 Luxury Hotel in Havana
#7 Business Hotel in Havana
#8 Romantic Hotel in Havana
Price Range: £116 - £427 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Hotel Nacional de Cuba 5*
Number of rooms: 426
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
With an exceptional location in the very center of the city of Havana, facing the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico and the entrance to the Bay of the capital; with a rich and surprising history, combining: milestones; the validity of our history and national culture, have done that since its inauguration in 1930 has welcomed countless personalities of world history, culture, science, sport and politics. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Nacional De Cuba Hotel
Nacional De Cuba Havana

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