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“Not ready for prime time...”
Review of Hotel Havana

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Hotel Havana
Ranked #87 of 358 Hotels in San Antonio
Certificate of Excellence
North Carolina
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Not ready for prime time...”
Reviewed 2 February 2011

Wow, where do I start. Why this hotel has generated so much buzz is beyond me. My wife and I planned a quick getaway based on a "best of" article in Southern Living. I can't believe they even visited the place. The King that we booked transmitted every sound from the hall. It was like sleeping without walls. The bed was like riding a sway backed horse. We couldn't lay down without rolling to the middle. Oh, did I mention that the hotel is next to a fire station? The elevator was like the set for a Dracula movie, pitch dark with red glowing ceiling lights. If you are over 40 forget being able to read the menu in the basement Havana Bar (is the new definition for hip, dark?). The staff was very nice and they were very pleasant about cancelling the last 3 nights of our stay. They understood, and by way of apology noted that they were still working on upgrading the rooms after 8 mos open. This is award winning performance? I guess I am just not cool and hip enough to pretend that his hotel is ready for prime time.

  • Stayed January 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank jjchev
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (81)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
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English first
San Antonio, Texas
1 review
Reviewed 20 January 2011

We blocked about 20 rooms for our wedding guests in November 2010, and all of our guests loved the hotel it's just such a different experience from your typical hotels. It's unique, comfortable, ROMANTIC, and just beautiful. The hotel bar was perfect to keep the party going, the bar staff was on top of all of our guests although we were a huge group. The bar setup and ambiance is just a spectacular and as unique as the hotel itself, the cocktails were exceptional specially their mojitos! Hotel staff and management were so accommodating to all of our needs, we were very pleased with our experience at the Havana and can't wait to go back. We absolutely recommend this hotel!!!

  • Stayed November 2010, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Ixchel23
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
South Bend, Indiana
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 January 2011

It's true, rooms at the Hotel Havana don't have closets. So if you're choosing your hotel based on storage space, this might not be the place for you. If you're looking for a unique property, a great hotel bar, interesting aesthetics and an experience outside the Marriott mainstream, this is a place worth checking out.

I booked the Havana for a week in early January for a work trip after reading up about the hotel bar in GQ, then nearly backed tracked after some of the reviews here. I'm glad I stuck to my initial take because the Havana made for an enjoyable week in San Antonio. The rooms are all different and the ambiance both in the lobby and the rooms is relaxed and comfortable. The mini-fridge is well-stocked (and not absurdly priced) with interesting eats and drinks, and the bar downstairs has great atmosphere. Overall, I found the staff to be attentive but not doting. With a small staff for a small property, you'll run into times when your questions won't be answered immediately. However, I found the staff caring, including a call to my room to let me know the interior light was on in my rental car.

There's no restaurant on site, although word from the staff said the Havana would be taking over an adjacent cafe this year, which would add to the experience. I wanted to spend more time at the hotel, but without food at the Havana that was somewhat limited. There's also no gym, but the property might be be able to find space for one. I saw complaints about noise, which on Saturday night can be an issue because of the bar crowd Every other night of the week I didn't have a problem. Being an old property, you'll here some creaking of the floor boards and people walking upstairs. So be it. That's character for you. The hotel is a short (10 minute max) walk from the bustling riverwalk of mediocre restaurants. Why you'd want to be right on top of that mess is beyond me.

Overall, I had a great experience here and would definitely return. If you're looking for something different that you won't experience anywhere else, this is a place to check out. If you're more into familiarity and the chain restaurant/hotel vibe (and closets), I wouldn't recommend Hotel Havana.

  • Stayed January 2011, travelled on business
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Helpful?
1 Thank Pete_Sampson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mahtomedi, Minnesota
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 December 2010

We responded to good Internet marketing and booked five nights over Christmas thinking it was near the downtown Riverwalk at an average rate of around $230/night for a "terrace" suite, which turned out to mean that it had windows that faced a terrace although the entrance to the terrace was down the hall from the room. We have traveled worldwide and never have we encountered a room that did not have a closet or even a wardrobe. All they had was a multiple hook on the wall behind the door and hangers in the drawer. The antique dresser had no drawer guides so the drawers would fall out when you pulled them out. The antique mirror over the bathroom sink was so tarnished it was difficult to shave. There was plenty of empty space for a wardrobe but not even a clothes bar. Although the location was near an entrance to the Riverwalk the hotel was not actually on the Riverwalk and is about 3/4 mile along the Riverwalk to the downtown area where all the excitement and charm is. Thus, advertising it as a "Riverwalk" location is a bit misleading. The large antique refrigerator was well stocked but there was no coffee maker or microwave. The next day we discovered that at the Drury Plaza downtown offered us a suite with incredible amenities like free breakfast and hot food and free drinks each evening for $100 less per night. Thus, we moved and fortunately the very kind staff at the Hotel Havana accommodated us and released us from a second-night's lodging fee. In summary, the staff were very gracious but there's only so much they could do to overcome the seriously misleading marketing and lack of basic hotel accommodations and necessities such as a closet.

  • Stayed December 2010, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank alpha2pro
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Houston, Texas
Level 3 Contributor
16 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 October 2010

I thought the Hotel Havana was very nice. The staff was personable and seemed to care about what they were doing. The room was large with high ceilings. Great king-sized bed. Nice bathroom products. The whole experience was charming. I was there early in the week so there weren't a lot of other guests - so my stay was quiet. I enjoyed the bar and also relaxing on the various decks and balconies. It's not in the River Walk area but I consider that a plus. I walked to and from the Convention Center several times. It's also a short and affordable cab ride. Special thanks to Orlando for making our stay so enjoyable. Overall, I found the Hotel Havana to be neat, interesting, different (in a good way), and a good value. I would definitely stay there again.

  • Stayed October 2010, travelled on business
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Helpful?
Thank SteveTheTraveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Los Angeles, California
Level 2 Contributor
9 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 October 2010

First I need to say that the staff was very nice, very helpful, and very accommodating. The hotel is a beautifully restored building. It seemed to me that no expense was spared when getting this hotel online, except for our bed. The bed in room 22 had a depression that was approximately 6-8 inches deep. This resulted in two days of back pain. The main reason we didn't get much sleep was because of the drunken and/or inconsiderate hotel guests or bar patrons that should never be allowed to sit on the 2nd story balcony right next to our 2nd room(we had to switch rooms because of the bed). There is a problem when you have to call the front desk @ 1:30 am the second night and 2:30 am and 3:30 am the next night. Are you kidding me? 139.00 plus tax per night and the room wasn't even soundproofed, we heard every car and definitely every bus that went by. We later learned that the Queen rooms were soundproofed but the King rooms weren't yet....but soon...how comforting. I don't need to be a world traveler to know that you don't treat you overpaying guests like that. Oh by the way get rid of the ridiculously priced pretentious snacks and refreshments and put a coffee maker and microwave in the rooms instead.

  • Stayed October 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank sputicle51
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Austin, Texas
Level 6 Contributor
95 reviews
47 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 128 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 September 2010

OK, we all lnow how one's customer service experience can often make the biggest impression on how much you enjoy a hotel stay. And how many have you have ever stayed at a hotel where the actions/attitude of one or a few individuals just totally ruins your experience at a hotel - well the latter was our experience at the Hotel Havana.
First my background - my wife and I currently live in Austin and we are very familiar with Liz Lambert's two hotels here. I also travel quite extensively throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia.
IMO, the Hotel Havana is trying to differentiate itself from the hotel competition in San Antonio, which quite frankly is easy to do. Aren't many SA hotels going for the shabby chic minimalist look.
Hotel staff as mentioned by other reviewers are personable and professional. We liked that the hotel location is removed from the Riverwalk "action" ( full disclosure - not a fan of the downtown Riverwalk area).

Now for the big thumbs down: early Friday night around 9:30PM, my wife and I walk into the downstairs Hotel Havana bar. The place is small and all 4 seats at the bar are occupied as are most of the couches and loungers. There are a few unoccupied single chairs that do not look very comfortable and we also see a grouping of 8 lounger chairs and sofas unoccupied and decide to sit down amongst them. We notice the ubiquitous "reserved" sign on one of the tables. Immediatley one of the waitresses walks up to us and the first words out of her mouth is that these seats are reserved and we "have to leave". I calmly asked her if she knew when her "guests" were scheduled to arrive. She did not know but said that the seats were reserved for a large group (!) and we "could not sit there". I responded that we were paying guests in the hotel, we only wanted one glass of wine and if in fact the "reservees" were to appear while we still had unfinished wine in our glass, that we would graciously step away and finish our wine elsewhere in the bar. This was quickly rejected by our unfriendly waitress as heresy and with a "you will have to speak to the manager".
5 minutes passed by, no manager and no wine. I walked up to the bar, same unfriendly and unapolgetic waitress and order 2 glasses of wine from her. Watched carefully to ensure only wine was poured into the glasses. I walked back to the "reserved" seats with the glasses of wine and within seconds we are confronted with "I am the manager, you CAN'T sit here and you HAVE to leave". I again mentioned that I was guest at the hotel and reiterated my proposal - sit here, enjoy my wine and leave the moment his reservees show up. This was summarily rejected by said manager - I could have been demanding an increase in state income taxes as far as he was concerned. Now, I have enjoyed a cocktail or two at several LA, NY, Las Vegas, Miami better drinking establishments, so I am familiar with "bar attitude" but I really had my doubts that JayZ and Beyonce were about to walk into Hotel Havana ordering cases of Crystal.
The manager was extremely demanding that we vacate the reserved seats immediately. Admittedly it devolved into a confrontational discussion and we eventually decided to move seats. Clearly this manager had not passed "Avoiding Confrontational Customer Interactions" 101 courses at Bar Management School.
We took 15 minutes to finish our wine and left. And.....those reserved seats.....still unoccupied as we walked out.

Not to worry Mr. Bar Manager......we won't add any wear and tear to your precious bar furniture in the future.

So to the Bar Manager and bar staff at the Havana bar.....a big thumbs down and a recommendation to read a classic book "How to Win Friends and Influence People".....and if you want to play pretend we're an LA/NY/Miami bar......first you have to wear black and try to find some remotely justifiable reason to cop an attitude.

  • Stayed September 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
4 Thank RK502
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hotel Havana

Property: Hotel Havana
Address: 1015 Navarro St, San Antonio, TX 78205-1321
Phone Number:
Region: United States > Texas > San Antonio
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#63 Romantic Hotel in San Antonio
#68 Business Hotel in San Antonio
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Hotel Havana 3.5*
Number of rooms: 27
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Situated on a quiet stretch of the North Riverwalk known as the Museum Reach, directly adjacent from the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, Hotel Havana offers elegant accommodations in the heart of San Antonio. From the studios to the Penthouse Suite, each of the 27 rooms and suites is uniquely appointed and designed for comfort. All feature original Bastrop pine floors and are decorated with antique furniture, Turkish rugs and vintage Cuban artwork with an emphasis on creating elegant but uncluttered space for a restful stay. Our luxurious bed linens are custom made and bathrooms are stocked with Red Flower body care products. Each room comes equipped with our signature mini bar featuring local and international snacks, drinks and souvenirs.Hotel Havana is also home to Ocho, a restaurant and lounge space serving drinks and food downstairs in the intimate hotel basement and upstairs on the riverfront. The property was reopened in 2010 by hotelier Liz Lambert and Bunkhouse Group and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Hotel Havana San Antonio, Texas

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