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“There's a Reason for the Name of this Hotel!” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Hotel Nacional de Cuba

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Hotel Nacional de Cuba
Ranked #6 of 78 Hotels in Havana
Los Angeles, CA.
Level Contributor
24 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
“There's a Reason for the Name of this Hotel!”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 22, 2014

There really is no other hotel in Havana---at least that we saw, or that other friends have stayed at in Havana---that can compare: this is a national landmark that has played an important role in Cuban history, with an incomparable location on an oceanfront promontory with extensive grounds and unbeatable views of the ocean, the Havana skyline, and the Malecon.

We stayed for 9 days during the 2014 Jazz Festival (a perfect time to go, for obvious reasons), as part of a Cuba Explorers Tour (also highly recommended, at almost half the price of comparable U.S. ‘educational’ tours). Expect what you get with a large, historic tourist hotel: lots of tour buses, lots of comings and goings and things going on, etc. If you’re looking for an intimate or precious or hipster ambiance, this isn’t the place (try the mostly restored old town section for that). And don’t expect the level of room amenities and excess associated with 5 star hotels in the U.S.

Our room on the 5th or 6th (can’t remember which) floor faced the lovely and comfortable courtyard/patio area (perfect for late night drinks and music every night) and the ocean and skyline: aim for rooms facing that way. It was very quiet, spacious, clean, and perfectly comfortable, with windows that actually opened to the warm ocean breezes (which eliminated that damp, musty smell that one often gets in closed rooms in older hotels, especially in tropical climes). The beds were a little hard, but adequate, and it had the usual amenities. Yes, the breakfast buffet was hectic---less so on the one time we had dinner there---but again, to be expected at a big hotel at peak season, and the food was certainly perfectly fine for a buffet this size (other tour members who had rooms on the floors above us went to a smaller, separate buffet for those floors---inquire about that if it’s an issue for you). Yes, there’s the occasional wait at the front desk, and the advice there wasn’t always useful or delivered with the level of ingratiation that has come to be the norm in the U.S., but overall, the service in the lounges, bars, restaurants and in our room was friendly and helpful.

But you’re here to see Havana, right? And this is the place to do it. Most Jazz Festival venues are walkable from this hotel (some longer than others), and cabs are plentiful too (the only practical option for longer distances, like the beach at Santa Maria, also highly recommended). We walked everywhere from here, and yes, safely (including at night, to the clubs in Miramar and to the old town), but then, we’re walkers. And then there’s the history: don’t miss the hotel tour, if only for the Missile Crisis bunkers; ours was led by a woman who had been part of the military brigade during those days, and so her perspective was unique.

Staying at this hotel really added to our experience of Cuba and it’s history in a way that would be impossible to replicate elsewhere.

Room Tip: The back upper floors, facing the central patio/ocean/skyline
See more room tips
  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank EdMcQ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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5,174 reviews from our community

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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
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (891)
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Zurich, Switzerland
Level Contributor
139 reviews
52 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 75 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 22, 2014

1. Front desk: bad.
We tried to book a room online, but could not proceed with the payment, because it required a code sent as SMS on the phone. Having our iphone stolen in Havana, this was not an option. The hotel anticipated that there could be problems with payment, so they constructed a special option: "write to the manager". We wrote that we have troubles paying online, and that we will pay at the arrival.
At the arrival they informed us that we did not pay and can not get a room (never mind our email) because they are fully booked. They wanted to ship us off to other (daughter?) hotel. We declined, saying that we will then spend our money elsewhere, namely, that we will book a casa particular. At that moment, the attitude of management changed and the free room was miraculously found.
2. The room (as expected) was slightly stuffy and smelly (normal for Cuban climate). Linens and covers slightly dirty. Safe not working. Thin walls and doors, so one can hear different things (we had pleasure enjoying the sounds of neighbors having sex, cleaning ladies discussing stuff...)
3. The breakfast is very good, but so chaotic and full of people that it is difficult to get to the food or cutlery
4. Drinks, dinner, snacks, garden and music are AMAZING! Also the hotel shops are very good (all shopping can be done in the hotel, prices do not differ significantly).
5. Enjoying the garden in the evening sometimes gets ruined with cigar black market (large scales, like in the movies)
6. Staff is friendly and nice, and architecture of the hotel is stunning. A must-see.

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Dudekica
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Antonio M, Director General at Hotel Nacional de Cuba, responded to this review, February 25, 2014
Dear Customer.

Thanks for sharing your views about the Hotel with the Trip Advisor Community.
We apologize for any limitations to make payment online, but we are pleased that the situation was resolved and that you enjoyed the Hotel services.
We would like to welcome you again when you return to Havana.

Best regards.

Antonio Martínez Rodríguez
Director-General
Hotel Nacional de Cuba
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Istanbul, Turkey
Level Contributor
41 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 22, 2014

This hotel is beyond than being just a hotel for Cuba. It has historical meaning too. A little bit old and not so luxurious. However still very interesting to stay considering the history of the hotel. We stayed as a group in this hotel. They welcomed us very friendly and offered us drinks. The condition of the rooms are disappointing but the view and location great. Lobby and garden very good to spend time and have drinks with your friends. Beyond all these, the feeling is great. You feel history in it.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Serhat E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Adelaide, Australia
Level Contributor
93 reviews
52 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 119 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 21, 2014

Reception staff dishonest, poor management. Our experience was akin to an episode of Fawlty Towers….

Booked and paid for 2 rooms for 2 nights, 4 adults - via the hotels own website. Received via email a voucher with paid and confirmed printed on it. We arrived at the hotel very late (2am), with two elderly travellers to be told that “both rooms are not ready, we just checking”. After waiting a while, we approached reception again to be told “we have a problem with our systems”. Just before we arrived, we noticed many tours groups being led off to their rooms, having already checked in. We also noticed the pre-printed guest arrival cards, in a pile on the reception desk, wondering if our guest card was in the pile.

After waiting some more, they kindly offered us to enjoy a welcome drink in the bar/cafe area, but we declined as we were all quite exhausted. After 20 mins or so, we noticed the reception staff looking rather frazzled. We were then told “we have a problem with water, water not working, and we have no rooms for you”. We asked “why had you not informed or contacted us”? We had a Cuban mobile phone number and access to wifi whilst travelling – all details given when we booked online. We were told “it just happened today (being yesterday now)”.

The reception staffs solution was to put us up at a nearby hotel – Tryp Habana Libre Hotel, for 1 night, then at the hotels expense, a taxi would collect us, and we could come back to a suite plus dinner, to compensate us for the inconvenience. This did not suit us, as we were leaving in less than 24 hrs (now 22 hrs after wasting time standing at reception). It was our decision to spend our time in one hotel and not traipsing luggage and elderly companions around. We were told “Habana Libre does not have 2 rooms for 2 nights, only one, they are fully booked”. So we asked to speak to the duty manager (who just happened to be standing behind the two reception staff, with a walkie talkie – this whole time). The duty manager didn’t want to talk to us. He didn’t afford us any dialogue or discussion.

After some deliberating, we decided to take a full refund (confirmed by the reception staff & the duty manger – by a mere nod!) and find a hotel that could accommodate us – it is now 3.30am. We were told “a refund cannot be given, as you paid online and the cashier isn’t open until the morning, 9.00am”. We headed off in a taxi, at our expense, to Tryp Habana Libre (as recommended by the taxi driver!) and walked into reception where we paid for 2 rooms, 2 nights accommodation – the hotel was NOT fully booked.

That same morning, around 11am, two of the party of four, headed back to the hotel to retrieve the credit card refund of 789 Euro. We approached the reception desk, to be told “see the cashier”, who then told us “go to the reserva office”. So down a corridor to the right of the lobby, was a locked door with a sign ‘Reserva Office’. We knocked and waited. No answer. So back to reception, joined the queue, and finally the same reception lady walked to a group of hotel employees (one of which was a duty manager), who organised the opening of the reserva office door, where we proceeded to arrange the credit card refund.

We were offered at this stage, a coffee or tea for our inconvenience and we declined again. We wanted nothing from the hotel and just wanted to continue our time in Havana with our travelling companions. The reserva lady was helpful and quick in processing “a request” for a full refund via email to the online credit card facility. The email was
typed in Spanish and a copy was given to us. We took her word that “the refund will be processed today – Saturday 28th Dec”. “Yes, yes”…. So we left the reserva office and lobby and proceeded to enjoy our time in Havana.

On the 14th January, after many emails to the reserva office, the general manager, and the commerce department – we received a credit card refund of 590 Euro (took 17 days). Mmmm? Why the shortfall? An email was received some time later stating a “penalty was applied” to the refund. We do recall stating twice, and confirming with the duty manager and the resrva lady, that the refund was to be in full – before deciding to change hotels on our own.

We sent 13 emails, over the course of a month to the general manager and CC to the reserva office, but no reply. The email restated the discussion that was had, on both occasions, regarding the full refund. On 14th February, we received the remaining shortfall of 196 Euro to our credit card (took 31 days). We still have not received any explanation, apology or other correspondence from anyone at the hotel.

We experienced vey unprofessional service and dishonesty by the hotel. Please stay elsewhere. The hotel overbooks rooms, prefers tour groups only and is dishonest in its dealings with guests. The receipt of the full refund is masked by the unprofessional manner in dealing with the hotel. We strongly recommend Hotel Saratoga (Old Havana).

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
9 Thank DacPsaTravellers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Antonio M, Director General at Hotel Nacional de Cuba, responded to this review, March 5, 2014
Dear guest.
Thanks for letting us know your comments about the Hotel.
Thank you for choosing to stay at the Hotel Nacional de Cuba in Havana During your stay, we regret the situation that arises, we ask apology once again.
You were diverted to another hotel for unforeseen problems, was not planned. The decision was made: to change to another hotel with category like ours. Sorry again, and also for delays in the reimbursement of the total money.
We would like to receive you again in the hotel, so we will be able to Improve your opinions, assisting you as you deserve.

Regards,

Antonio Martínez Rodríguez
Director-General
Hotel Nacional de Cuba
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tel Aviv, Israel
Level Contributor
182 reviews
80 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 94 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 21, 2014 via mobile


I read reviews here and I can not believe people can write about hotel in Cuba in the same style they write about western hotels. Guys They are not as lucky as we are or maybe they are lucky not to have things like screens of smartphones with people looking at them all the time like we do.
They are without all the “goodies” of the western world and yet managed to do wonders in my books. The people who are coming to Cuba looking for Miami are in the wrong spot of the world. in Cuba you touch old days, times gone by for most of us the western people so i feel bad for the hotel staff who try so hard in my opinion. and to see that people are bashing the hotel like that line. "dark" is old style of cuba its not a negative. you want lights go to las vegas!!
anyhow , coming to cuba was not my idea. so i was worried i heard so many things about the way things are and i must admit that i was totally and pleasantly surprised.

We stayed at the 6th floor and we got lucky to meet top hotel persona like Sandra. she was so polite so classy. I had a complain. it was not to say that everything was perfect as it was not, but guys we need to know they are working with so much less then we are. So I told her our room was not clean she joined me to the room and next thing you know our room was spotless.

one tiny negative i had is that I no longer like wool blankets and heavy bedspread like the hotel nacional had. Now days I like the heavenly beds that you get in tons of places . I think they will change it soon as I told that to Sandra and she shared it with the ceo of the hotel which was classy guy and send us a bottle of rum and homemade cake in our room for my birthday. I don't think your western hotel will bake you a cake nowadays ha?
We got great room great bed a seating room next to the bed room with two toilets and two baths.
The wifi cod was giving to us ok its not fast! but guys its cuba !!most of the people don’t have internet and we were lucky to have it.
The breakfast was grand overlooking the old city and great fresh coffee homemade omelets fruits fresh squeezed orange juice and tons of other things.
We loved the outdoor graden, its back in time feel. The hotel was build in 1930 and its reflect the time and we loved it.
So ask for the 6th floor pay extra and enjoy your home in Havana as coming back to the hotel after the streets life of Havana was like coming to a safe zone. We loved Havana !! open your eyes your heart and keep in mind they are not all as lucky as some of us.
Thank you my sweet Sandra now I feel I have a friend in Cuba!!

Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
5 Thank navawritz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Antonio M, Director General at Hotel Nacional de Cuba, responded to this review, March 5, 2014
Dear navawritz.

Thanks for your positive comments about the Hotel Nacional de Cuba.
In your words can perceive the admiration you feel for the hotel and the staff. Your opinion benefit our work.
We are proud to be Cuban and manage this historic hotel that allows to know about Cuba and its people.
We are pleased that you enjoyed the service on the 6th floor of the Hotel, executive service. We have shown your comments to Sandra and she is very happy with his show of affection.Of course you has a friend in Cuba and also you has home here in Hotel Nacional de Cuba.

We would like to welcome you in the Hotel again.


Best regards.

Antonio Martínez Rodríguez
Director-General
Hotel Nacional de Cuba
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Calabasas, California
Level Contributor
128 reviews
59 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 20, 2014

The room was quite uncomfortable. Not enough light as there were burned out bulbs that were not replaced. The bathroom was in poor repair and the shower head kept falling into the shower. The beds and pillows were very hard. The service in the breakfast room was non existent. Not a good experience.

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Jerry B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Antonio M, Director General at Hotel Nacional de Cuba, responded to this review, February 21, 2014
Dear Jerry,
Thanks for letting us know your opinion about the Hotel.
We apologize for any situations that you relate, also sorry you did not enjoy the greatest charm of the Hotel: its history, architecture, the views, the Hotel allows time travel but with the comforts of the present.

We would like to welcome you in the Hotel Nacional de Cuba to offer you our hospitality.

Regards,

Antonio Martínez Rodríguez
Director-General
Hotel Nacional de Cuba
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Portage, Michigan, United States
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 20, 2014

I stayed here for four nights as part of a Road Scholar Cuban trip. Essential ingredients for a successful trip to Cuba is keeping an open mind and being flexible. Very little of either of these qualities was required for this stay. Hotel is situated on a hill that overlooks the ocean. Brings to mind a castle. Utilitarian lobby lined with grandfather clocks. Great woodwork. Ancient looking elevators that were surprisingly fast and usually uncrowded. Finding one's room is a challenge as not all halls are marked with room numbers - a good way to do a little exploring unless one really needs the use of the room's bathroom.

Our room was large with two almost full sized beds and two closets. Our window overlooked the front entrance to the hotel but that didn't really matter because the drapes were nearly impossible to open more than a few inches. We also were in the room only long enough to sleep. Two rockers with a small table between them, a larger table/desk, bedside tables, and a bench for a suitcase were the room's furnishings. Oh, and identical pictures over each bed. The bed won the prize for the most comfortable on the whole trip. Bathroom did what it needed to do except that the shower head was handheld which was fine but the water pressure was negligible. Lots of noise coming from outside in the evening but surprisingly quiet at bedtime.

The backside of the hotel was lovely with its wide patios and lots of couches and chairs. A great place to sit, have a drink, and enjoy the beauty of the area. Had dinner in one of the outside dining area. Very pleasant with the evening breeze and the view of the ocean. Will not comment on the food since, in general, I did not really like Cuban food. Not to worry, I did not go hungry.

Massive morning buffet breakfast in the lower level of the hotel. Something for all nationalities except for crisp bacon. Does no one in the world know how to prepare bacon past the limp and soggy state? Perhaps in my next life, my career will be to travel to different countries teaching others how to fry bacon. Loved the pastries though, especially the little square ones that looked like pillows and were filled with some sort of fruit.

Negatives: the water pressure; the soggy bacon; the person at the help desk who was totally unhelpful and rude to boot; the wake up call that came at 4 a.m. rather than at 5.

Positives: Everything else.

Room Tip: Our room was next to the elevator and we couldn't hear it. Room was very quiet. Not sure there a...
See more room tips
  • Stayed February 2014, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Julie B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Antonio M, Director General at Hotel Nacional de Cuba, responded to this review, February 21, 2014
Dear Julie,
Thanks for your comments about the Hotel.
You have detailed each location which is useful for travelers seeking these views.
We are glad that you enjoyed the services we provide, you admire the beauty of the area, the hotel garden. As you say the hotel looks like a castle.
Your negative comments help in our work, will be analyze these.


We would like to welcome you in the Hotel Nacional de Cuba again.


Greetings to you and your friends.

Antonio Martínez Rodríguez
Director-General
Hotel Nacional de Cuba
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative 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
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Nacional De Cuba Hotel
Nacional De Cuba Havana

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