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“Not for everybody but great for us.”

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Armadores de Santander Hotel
Ranked #12 of 79 Hotels in Havana
Burnaby, Canada
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Not for everybody but great for us.”
Reviewed 12 March 2013

We read all the bad reviews before we booked but went anyway. The hotel is right in the heart of Old Havana where most of the things we wanted to see and experience were close by. The staff were wonderful, loved the bar, the weather was fairly cool and windy when we were there March 8 to 11th so we didn't spend any time on the Terrace but I imagine it would be delightful in warmer weather. Nice little bar up there and a great view of the harbour from the front and old buildings and a square from the side. The hotel is very old and beautiful. Marble, high ceilings, real wood doorframes, doors, wardrobes etc. Our room was on the first floor, which is actually about 1 1/2 floors up from the lobby. Comfortable bed, pillows. Very basic washroom and there was a drip from the ceiling above us when you sat on the toilet but it was small and not constant so we were not bothered. The water was warm, not hot but when you're walking around in the sun all day it is still refreshing. Water pressure wasn't great but all in all, we knew we were better off than 95% of the Havana people so who were we to complain? Didn't notice any bad smells from the harbour as others stated. Room was noisy in the daytime and early evening but quiet at night. We were in the city, we didn't expect anything else from a small hotel. But this is the place to stay if you are looking to meet and speak with the locals. My husband was using his Spanish (what little he had) and got very good at it too as everybody was so patient and when he was searching for a word they helped him out. Great restaurants nearby that we could walk to, the malecon is not far, the market a few blocks. All those small narrow streets with cobblestones filled with people. We spent very little time in our room except to sleep and would sit in the bar which had tables with open windows to watch people going by. Reception was extremely helpful as was the bellhop and the bar staff by directing us, giving us ideas etc. We visited some of the upscale hotels and were so glad we were not staying there. We were in Cuba for a week, with 4 nights in Varadero where we got our share of being spoiled and then the 3 nights here, where we got to see the real Cuba and meet real Cubans. Would definitely go back.

  • Stayed March 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
7 Thank Darlene R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 March 2013

Beautiful building. Room overlooking the harbor with balcony wasn't bad.
No toilet paper is allowed in the WCs. Have to use a bucket.
Shower was pathetic and no hot water then water failed altogether at 8:00, no WCs no shower
Had the nerve to try to charge for the bottled water in the minibar!
Management completely unbothered.
Great City, but stay elsewhere.

Room Tip: Balcony overlooking harbor
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  • Stayed March 2013, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
3 Thank ChrisT2121
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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Isle of Wight
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 March 2013

We had booked (after much deliberation) to stay for 2 nights at Meson De La Flota for around £85 per night, as we liked the look of the area and the rooms sounded really nice. When we got there, we were told there was an 'electrical fault' (they had basically double booked our room) and they took us to Armadores de Santander instead, saying it was a much nicer hotel. By 'nicer' I think they it was bigger & more expensive. The hotel looks great from the outside, but it is on the tattier outskirts of the Havana Vieja area - right on the industrial port on one of the busier roads. We rejected the first room we were shown, as it was an internal one, very dark with with no windows. The second room we were shown (and accepted as we were tired and a bit fed up) was v odd. It had a mezzanine area with beds and the bathroom and the 'downstairs' area was a dark, unattractive and pokey area with a large window that was hard to open or shut and the bedroom was SO noisy due to the traffic outside (and we had ear-plugs!) The toilet wouldn't flush, there was no hot water at all for two days and the water pressure was shocking.
The breakfast was pretty bland too I am afraid.
I wouldn't recommend this hotel to anyone - there are much nicer (and cheaper) hotels to stay at in Havana.
On a positive note,the doorman and one of the receptionists were both very friendly and helpful.

  • Stayed February 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank WVIOW
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Los Angeles, California
Level Contributor
11 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 February 2013

Staying at the Armadores de Santander offers a vivid but sad lesson on Cuba's economic transition. It can be a painful and costly lesson as well if you go to this hotel on vacation or expecting minimal creature comforts. As described elsewhere, it is a recently restored building on the fringe of the tourist area of Old Havana. And, yes, it looks out on the industrial areas of the port; exotic, antique and genuine in a rusty kind of way; not exactly "colonial" the way most people think of the term. The hotel started with a charming structure, though not nearly as spectacular as most of the other nearby hotels that are part of the state enterprise that runs old Havana, the San Cristobal travel agency. And, the restoration was superb, the result tasteful and evocative. The trouble is that the hotel is managed and resourced with about the same level of incentives and commitment as a state cardboard factory. So, what you get is mold growing around an air conditioning duct that leaks foul water and a toilet that never completely flushes. The last night I was there--happily only one of two--the hotel water supply shut down entirely at 10 pm and had not been restored when I left at 10 am. In the face of all this the staff is charming but helpless. To them, it's just the way it is. This is close to a worse case of what you get with a San Cristobal property, but they are all run the same way. Exceptional care in the restoration. Amazing deficiencies in the maintenance and supply. The great thing about travelling to Cuba is that you are actually confronted with a real place. If you want a complete escape to a tropical fantasy where your creature comforts are paramount, you don't belong in Havana in the first place. But even if you are expecting just the basics, there are better choices around town than the Santander.

  • Stayed February 2013, travelled on business
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Helpful?
1 Thank PrefersPOSH
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Stockholm, Sweden
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 February 2013

I was really worried about this hotel due all the negative reviews. The rooms are spacious and clean and the location is great; you could take a one minute walk from the hotel and find yourself in a very poor neighborhood with people offering you to buy something (hey... it's part of the experience), or you could go the other way and see a whole other side of La Havanna with clean streets, beautiful buildings and lots of restaurants with live music. The only problem with this hotel is, as many reviewers here are stating, the bathroom. The cold showers are not a big deal, specially if you're out partying all night... a cold shower actually isn't so bad, however, my main problem was the toilet. You are not able to throw toilet paper into the toilet, you have to throw it into a trash can because the drainage is old and narrow and you can actually see a very poor flow of water when you flush. Other than that, it was a great experience.

  • Stayed January 2013, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
2 Thank danielsundberg7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Saint Louis, Missouri
Level Contributor
26 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 January 2013

Hotel Santander is ,like most places in Cuba, suffering from many years of wear with insufficient upkeep. Our group of eight spent 6 nights at this Old Havana former private home. It is charming with very tall ceilings and beautiful marble staircases, but charm did not make up for the lack of hot, or even warm, water for 5 days. A previous review suggested getting a "refitted room" to avoid the hot water problem. We stayed in 8 rooms during our two stays and had hot water part of one day. I would also suggest travel slippers since the floors are filthy. A sound machine greatly helped block out the street noise. Despite these shortcomings, one can imagine Hotel Santander in it's grander days.

Stayed January 2013, travelled with friends
Helpful?
2 Thank Jane H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Zurich, Switzerland
Level Contributor
29 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 January 2013

The Hotel looks nice from outside. Ensure you get a fully refitted room otherwise you might have no warm water or broken forniture. Anyway if you get the right room you are quite ok. The real problem is the place stinks because it' s just on the side of the Havana bay in front of the huge refinery that refines the oil provided to Cuba by PDVSA, the Venezuelan oil company. My wife and daughter got red eyes and cough. I needed to buy drugs to counter the effect of this un-healthy situation. DO NOT SELECT THIS HOTEL, IT WILL COST YOU SOME OF YOUR GOOD HEALTH

  • Stayed December 2012, travelled with family
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Helpful?
Thank labiodola
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Armadores de Santander Hotel

Property: Armadores de Santander Hotel
Address: Calle Luz 4 | Esq San Pedro, Havana 10100, Cuba
Region: Caribbean > Cuba > Ciudad de la Habana Province > Havana
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Restaurant Room Service Suites
Hotel Style:
#12 Luxury Hotel in Havana
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:4 star — Armadores de Santander Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 32
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Armadores De Santander Havana
Armadores De Santander Hotel Havana

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