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“Great location, alternate reality”

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Hotel Nacional de Cuba
Ranked #6 of 78 Hotels in Havana
San Francisco Peninsula
Level Contributor
268 reviews
107 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 169 helpful votes
“Great location, alternate reality”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 19, 2013

This is a classic grand old hotel of the pre-Castro era. Pictures of movie stars and political leaders who visited the hotel are in all the public areas, and the hotel reeks of class. That it is in communist Cuba, and is owned by the Cuban government in partnership with a Spanish company is still tough to reconcile. I know it's a tourist cash-cow, but still, it just doesn't fit in any way with a communist government.
Moving on...the rooms are old, but just fine. There is carpeting. We had two twin beds (would have preferred one larger bed). As an old property, the rooms aren't the same, so friends we travelled with had, by luck, a larger room with a better view. Still, ours was fine.
The room honor bar list did not include the in room coffee, and it wasn't listed as a billed item anywhere. However, when we checked out we were charged for the in room coffee. The cost was 1 CUC a day - not a lot, but I resent that there was any charge without some notice. There is also a charge for use of the room safe.
Public areas are grand, and I felt classiest sitting in the large chairs/sofas of the outside bar, just out back of the hotel. (Since there are several areas, specifying which makes sense.)
The Malecon is right there with the ocean beyond. That was a treat - at the end of the day we joined in the parade of Cubans gathering along the Malecon.
Breakfast buffet was large, but the omelet guy made one omelet at a time - it took forever! The first morning there was a machine that squeezed orange juice at the push of a button, but it was gone on our other mornings, replaced by a dispenser that gave watered down juice. There were lots of items to choose from.

Room Tip: If you can, ask for a large room with a Malecon view
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank lsmkw
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
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San Francisco, California
Level Contributor
21 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 66 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 18, 2013

I loved this historic hotel, every important person who came to Havana, stayed in this hotel.
Great location , beautiful gardens, fine view of Malecon and Havana !!!
and don't forget : you are in Cuba ,not in Dubai .......

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank Mike_world_citizen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Yorkshire
Level Contributor
23 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 18, 2013

We stayed here for three nights at the beginning and end of our tour of Cuba.This hotel is of great historical significance and a tourist attraction in its own right. We stayed on the fourth floor on both occasions and were lucky to have rooms which had expansive views of the sea and the Malecon. Both rooms were rather tired and dated but after all this is Cuba and who wants to waste time spent in your room. The public areas and gardens were fine and a great place to watch the sun set with the best mojito in Havana! Well worth a visit but I suspect there are better alternatives to stay.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank mistiYorkshire
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Level Contributor
69 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 18, 2013

The Nacional is the Grand Old Hotel in Havana. Few politicians and Hollywood stars from 1930 to the fifties who have not stayed there, while in Cuba.
It is always nice to enjoy the eye-twinkling Cuban hospitality, a nice chat in the shops, a special Café Cubano in at the breakfast and the well trained and polite hotel staff.
The only problem seems to be that the maintenance of such a big luxury hotel is difficult in Cuba. The carpets in the rooms have seen better times (who needs carpets in a hotel room???), bathrooms are clean but ageing, and the only thing that kept me in the loooong line at the reception was the friendly and charming Cuban staff attending the clients.
To the newly travelling US tourists: Don't expect your favourite US-food there ("Honey, they don't have peanut butter...") but enjoy the professionalism and very good english skills of your Cuban hotel staff, guides and drivers. A wonderful Mojito and a Monte Christo #4 in the spacious terraces are still a good way to finish a long day!
Tip: the Cabaret ("Parisienne") in the hotel is not cheap, but extremely professional, great entertainment.

Room Tip: If you travel for business purposes, try to get a room on the Executive Floor (6th) with your own re...
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled on business
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Helpful?
Thank AbDurchDieMitte
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tamworth, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
14 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 18, 2013

We visited Havana for a long weekend as part of our honeymoon to Cuba and booked into to hotel nacional de Cuba and we were very disappointed with all aspects of the hotel.
The hotel is stunning but its a shame the rest of the hotel isn't as good.
The staff did not seem to like English guests and even though I speak some Spanish they treated us very rudely.
When we arrived the room was not ready and we had to wait 5 hours before we could get our room. Other guests who arrived after us got their room straight away.
When we finally got our room it was next to the elevators and we could hear it all night going up and down
The room key continuously stop working and we kept having to go to reception to have it reset.
The bed was old and one of he legs fell off as soon as I sat in the bed.
The staff expect a tip for everything they do.
The concierge made us tip him so that we could eat in the hotel restaurant even though when we entered it was completely empty.
Food in the restaurant was poor and often cold.
One of the 2 swimming pools was drained and unsafe the other was dirty and the bottom was rough and many guests cut their feet.
Do visit the hotel for its tunnels used by Castro during the missile crisis, it's run by a lovely little man who served during the crisis, just a shame he spoke no English.

Room Tip: Stay at a different hotel, I'd suggest staying at the Hotel Ambos Mundos, in old Havana for grea...
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Hangdog75
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cordoba, Argentina
Level Contributor
9 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 17, 2013

It is a piece of history and together with the great location, are the best it has to offer. To hace a drink overlooking the sea and the Malecon are something. The rest is not worth the high price you have to pay.

Room Tip: The highest the better.
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Gabriel B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
137 reviews
50 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 122 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 17, 2013

As previously stated this is a hotel that should be visited if only for one night when visiting Havana due to its history. It is like visiting an interesting but awkward elderly aunt - sometimes frustrating but ultimately rewarding. The rooms on the upper floors are large and clean with all the usual facilities and toiletries expected in European or North American hotels. Remember this is Cuba and the queuing to book in, to change money, and to book out is horrendous, with staff only having one job at a time and they will not help out if it is not their allotted task. If this is your first stop in Cuba make sure you have non dollar currency to exchange as some cards are not accepted. The exchange rate at reception is not much worse than in the bank on the lower floor. The restaurant serves a very basic buffet for every meal and at busy times it is difficult to find a clean table or vacant seats. There is very little organisation of catering staff to ask for cutlery and drinks until you are served, don't accept that you will be served in a "Cuban" minute as it will not happen. The upside is the history of this hotel. The fading grandeur and feeling of following the footsteps of famous (and infamous) celebrities makes this a living museum with daily toursof the hotel.. Have a drink in the gardens overlooking the sea . This hotel is badly situated to get to the old town but is used as a base for many tours. The attached on site Parisienne Cabaret Show is loud, colourful, camp and worth seeing if the Tropicana is too much of an effort.

Room Tip: Upper floors overlooking sea although windows are dirty
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Caron M
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

Property: Hotel Nacional de Cuba
Address: Calle 21 y O | Vedado, Plaza, Havana 10400, Cuba
Location: Caribbean > Cuba > Ciudad de la Habana Province > Havana
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center 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 (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:5 star — Hotel Nacional de Cuba 5*
Number of rooms: 473
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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