We stayed at/ the Meliá Habana for several days in December. Our goal was to get to know Havana and the hotel was part of a last minute airfare, ground transportation, hotel accommodation package we were able to find on the internet. It was a family holiday with our two young adult children. The goal was to get to know Old Havana and Cuba in general. We weren’t looking for a beach to lie in the sun. In fact the hotel is located on the ocean but there is no beach, rather a fossil reef. Still there are nice views of the ocean from the hotel.
You need to know that virtually all public businesses, including hotels and restaurants are state owned in Cuba and the managers and staff are grossly under paid by North American standards.
The Meliá Habana was opened in 1998. It is a nice looking hotel with two very large and relatively plus entrance and lower level floors which house many restaurants and the lowest level integrates smoothly with the pool area. The hotel is located in Miramar, the rich area of Havana which includes many of the embassies of the more than 100 countries that maintain diplomatic relations with Cuba. The imposing Russian embassy is just a couple of blocks east of the hotel.
As with American expense account hotels there is an extra charge for lots of the services such as internet access, the in room coffee, etc. that are normally free in most North American chains. In the case of Meliá internet cost about $10.00 per hour but you can only sign up for it during rather restricted day time business hours. I quote Canadian dollars because the exchange rate for Convertible Cuban pesos (CUC) is about 1:1. The in room coffee, which is instant, costs $3.00 a cup. If you want ice in your room you have to go to the bar on the lowest level. Thankfully ice is free.
There is a bank /currency exchange place across the street from the hotel which offers a better rate than the hotel. It is open during business hours. If you want to go to Old Havana which is about 13 km away the hotel operates a couple of free shuttles a day and there is a double decker, ‘hop-on-hop-off’ bus that runs right in front of the hotel. The cost is $5/person/day and there are a dozen or more stops. Those buses didn’t run after 6 in December but it seems like the run until 9 at some times of the year.
We tried two of the hotel restaurants (Asian and Italian) plus the ‘cafeteria’ bar. The restaurants were alright but not outstanding. They are overpriced. If you ask for water you get $3.50 bottled water from Italy. Local beer was $3.00 but you can get the same stuff across the street in a few small restaurants for $1.00. The cafeteria bar had snacks such as sandwiches, quesidillas, etc. that were reasonably priced.
A better bargain in terms of food were a series of small restaurants across the street from theMeliá Habana. These restaurants operate under the name, Amelia, are really fast food places but the prices are good and we found the quality of their food to be good as well. Service was prompt and friendly. We could get fried eggs, toast and espresso for $2 in the morning and a local beer was $1. Lasagna was about $2 as was pizza.
There is also a little grocery store in a shopping area just west of the hotel in the area of an old yacht club. Walk toward the ocean on the road on the west side of the hotel and go left when you get near the water. You can reach that stree though a convenient door on the lower level of the hotel next to the cafeteria bar. You can buy a range of food/drink items at the shopping mall grocery store at reasonable prices including fresh bread, cheese, pop, cookies, etc. They have a range of rum starting at about $3.85 a bottle.
The rooms at Meliá Habana are large and comfortable with good air conditioning, balconies, etc. The floors of the hotel and the rooms are marble, so are the walls of the bathrooms. This results in a rather luxurious feel. The ceilings of the room are high, probably 12 feet’, so the rooms have a spacious feel. We found the beds comfortable and the water reliably hot, not something we have come to depend on in hotels in warm locations. The marble tiles on the hallways serving the romos are in fairly bad shape, lots of them are cracked and form depressions, the result of shoddy construction workmanship. Where there have been problems with floor tiles in the lower two levels they have been repaired, you can tell because the replacement tiles are nice and shiny compared to the original ones. Too bad they don’t fix the tiles on the floors where the rooms are located.
The rooms are located around an inner atrium open to the sky which is very attractive. The atrium is lined with planters, as are the balconies that facie outward from the rooms. However the plants/planters are not well maintained so you get a feeling of shoddiness. The plumbing is in place for automatic watering so it shouldn’t be difficult to maintain the plants if there was willingness on the part of management.
Overall Meliá Habana was a pleasant, safe place to stay. However if I were going to Havana gain I would likely choose to stay either at the National Hotel of the Hotel Sevilla which are both historic hotels in Old Havana. The National Hotel is wonderfully situated in terms of ocean view and history. The Hotel Sevilla is better situated with regard to access to the action in old Havana. We were in the lobby area of both and were impressed with what we saw, including their relative cost compared to Meliá Habana.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located in Miramar, overlooking the sea, 20 minutes from airport, 5 minutes from Havana Convention Center. 397 rooms, 4 suites, 12 Junior Suites, 98 Royal Service, sea view with balcony, Full bathroom, Air conditioning, Satellite TV, Safe, Minibar, 220 volts. Restaurants: Italian, Oriental Fusion, Grill, cafeteria and Buffets, 5 bars, Swimming pools with children's area, Babysitting service. Sauna, GYM, Massage, WI-FI Internet in all the hotel, Meeting facilities. Live Music. Free shuttle to old Havana. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Booking.com, TripOnline SA and Cancelon so you can book your Melia Habana reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Melia Habana Hotel Havana
- Melia Hotel Habana
- Melia Hotel Havana