First impression on entering Havana was - Oh poor things! All around seemed dilapidated and unfriendly BUT one has to stay there a few days to absorb the real atmosphere and the changes that are taking place. All Cubans wish to live here for work reasons, therefore the living conditions are pretty over-crowded and poor. The Telegrapo has been recently renovated to its original Art Deco appearance. We were travelling in a group and because is was a special birthday for me during my holiday I was upgraded to a suite, think it was room 210!!? It was huge, sparsely furnished but nevertheless very clean with a huge bed - just for me. If you want a bath here take a plug (hotels elsewhere provided them) - in fact my bath was a jacuzzi although could not use it without a plug and quite honestly didn't know how to operate it. The outlook from the sitting room overlooked some poor old apartments (a picture of which I will show) and my bedroom overlooked the lively Parque Centrale- so I had the best of both worlds. It was interesting looking out of the sitting room early in the morning all the locals cramming into taxis to go to work - we don't know how lucky we are! This is Cuba - please don't expect European standards. We had dinner in their restaurant on the first evening - not to be recommended - very bland and everything served with rice and potatoes. Breakfast was passable - with pretty good omlettes. The staff were rather officious,not particularly friendly, but in other places we stayed in Cuba we found them delightful. It must be very difficult for them serving the likes of us who appear to have everything! Take it as it is please - it's an experience and an adventure! The hotel is adequate, and in a very good position to see the city. A few of us had dinner one evening at Ambos Mundos (Hemingways respite for a while), on the roof top - the staff were great fun and we had pretty good food. Here you can see over to the old castle, and if you are there by 9pm you will hear the guns go off. Someone from Trip Adviser did recommend eating at one of the houses'Particular' we did try to find it but got lost in so never found it unfortunately. Across the square from the Telegrafo you can find a little shop to buy water cheaply until very late into the night- and you certainly need lots of it in June. Take a fan too as June this year was sooooo hot, even for the Cubans. A must if you want to try the original stawberry daquiries is the Floridita but don't stay too long as they are little expensive (another Hemingway haunt). Visit the craft market - another tourist venue - we flew along in one of the Coconut Taxis - but didn't buy anything - you'll see why but worth a visit. Plaza Vieja (Old Square) is wonderful - it's been restored and there's a great restaurant on one of the corners, can't remember the name but jolly good food can be had. The Tropicano should be visited, old fashioned cabaret and so colourful and fun - bit like Folie Bergere - in the open air and we were lucky to have a no rain evening - best tickets are the 80 CUCs where you are one step away from the stage, the more expensive are next to stage and the view is not as good. Eat before you go, there is a good Italien style restaurant next to the Telegrafo with very friendly staff too. Through the hotel we arranged a ride in a '52 Chevy - and we drove to the Malecon and through new Havana. - interesting and fun.
Beware - do not wear jewellery or decent stuff - as a couple of our group had necklaces ripped off their throats. The police really took this seriously and poor things much of their time was taken up trying to find the culprits - just do not take good jewellery with you. The Cubans do not want to have this reputation as they are trying very hard to gain the tourist's confidence - that's where the money is coming from to renovate the city. Another little hint - the Telegrafo does not have a pool so after a steamy morning visiting Hemingway's Finca, a friend and I had lunch at the Parque Central and used the swimming pool to cool down - superb! So all in all the Telegrafo was adequate but not 4*. One thing I would like to add which I found appalling, was that there were 3 Canadian business men with 5 young Cuban girls (13yr olds) allowed into the Telegrafo bar on one of evenings- disgusting. All in all the hotel was adequate for our needs.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- GeneralThe historic city hotel was established in 1860 and was then located on Calle Amistad. Around 1888, it was relocated to its present position on the busy corner of Prado and Neptuno streets. In 1911 the hotel was completely rebuilt, and when it reopened it was regarded by the press of the day as the most modern hotel in the city and ranked amongst the top eleven hotels in Latin America. The hotel of today combines modern and colonial elements in its architecture to create a wonderful unity of present and traditional styles. On offer are a total of 63 comfortable guest rooms with excellent views out over the city. The inner courtyard with the original brickwork of its arches forms an interesting contrast to the new design features. The hotel has a large ceramic mural in the form of a collage, showing elements of Havana's colonial architecture and a fountain which appears to magnify the courtyard and its surrounding ruins. There are 54 standard rooms, three suites, and six junior suites available, in addition to a lobby area with a reception desk manned around the clock, a hotel safe, a cloakroom, a currency exchange facility, and lift access. Guests at this air-conditioned establishment may also take advantage of the restaurant, the snack bar, shop. Also available here is room service (charges apply), a public Internet connection (charges apply), and parking for those arriving by car (charges apply). MasterCard and VISA are accepted as methods of payment.Surrounding AreaA famous institution in Havana since 1888, this hotel has since the early 20th century been considered one of the best in all Latin America. It lies directly beside the beach and is only a few minutes on foot from the ''Museo de Bellas Artes'', the ''Capitolio'', and the ''Gran Teatro de La Habana'', famous for presenting the best opera and ballet performances in the city.Property-InformationThe elegant hotel restaurant specialises in Cuban and international haute cuisine. Its decoration creates a unique place with a classical ambience, ready to welcome guests back at any time. Its appointment with modern furniture creates a timeless atmosphere in the halls with stained glass windows. The restaurant is situated on the ground floor of the building and offers guests a breakfast buffet or an individual breakfast, lunch à la carte, lunch from a set menu (offered for groups), and a set menu in the evening.Room-InformationAll rooms are fitted with an en suite bathroom with a bathtub and hairdryer, centrally regulated air conditioning, a double or king-size bed, cable TV, a telephone, a room safe, a minibar, and either a balcony or terrace as standard. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Telegrafo Hotel Havana
- Hotel Telegrafo Havana