I stayed at the Plaza on the 4th floor for one week in June, 2014. The lobby and common areas are beautiful, the room, not so much. When I entered my room I laughed out loud. The room was taller than it was wide and contained a rickety rocking chair, table and bed that had been painted black. the bed was barely 6 inches off the floor and contained a well used, concave mattress. The bathroom was dreadful, although there was a toilet seat (friends had warned I might not get one). The toilet paper could have been used in an adding machine and the soap was a circular blob of gray matter. The shower head flew off when I turned the shower on. The tile was cracked and several ominous holes led through the lathe behind the wall. There was a safe that operates via the room key. The housekeeper has the same key, and helped herself to $60 from my cash envelope the day after I checked in. On the second night I was greeted by the largest bug I had ever seen on the sink in the bathroom. On the third night I met his brother in the same location. I figured they were coming from the drain of the sink and used the gray soap to block it. No more bugs after that. On the first night there the waiter in the bar charged me for 15 beers (I had 3), saying "your friends left without paying." He dutifully showed me 15 tick marks on a piece of scrap paper. I said we would call my friends who had just gone to their rooms, but another friend suggested we just pay the bill (15 beers = $30) rather than make a scene. The day bartender admitted that this was a common rouse, and suggested we pay as we go when drinking at the Plaza bar. The WiFi did not work during the week I was there. The breakfast buffet was good, although you had to suspend belief that the same bugs that had access to the rooms could also access the kitchen.
Although the hotel was pretty dreadful by US standards, it was well located right off the Prado with easy access to the rest of the city. I had a memorable time in Havana, and I have chalked up my experience at the Plaza as pat of the overall cultural immersion. The people were friendly, the city was safe and I imagine that the people at the Plaza are doing the best that they can, given the circumstances. I imagine that my $60 went a long way in Cuba's economy for the family of the housekeeper (or manager, valet or whoever else had access to my safe).
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- Also Known As:
- Plaza Hotel Havana