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.
- 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