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Islazul Hotel Santa Clara Libre
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Reviews (115)
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27 - 32 of 115 reviews
Reviewed December 5, 2012

I had read the reviews before staying here and therefore did wonder what it would be like although I have been to Cuba many times and hotels can vary depending on the location and age of the buildings. I was expecting to be disappointed and was somewhat apprehensive as we were staying for 5 nights, however our experience was one of total satisfaction. The rooms are small but they are clean and comfortable and certainly rooms on the second floor where we were had been refurbished and whilst the bathrooms were tiny they had new equipment and wonderful hot water. We stayed bed, breakfast and evening meal and the food was good and well presented. The staff could not have done more to make us feel welcome, whether it was the staff in the kitchen and restaurant, the staff who kept our rooms clean and offered laundry services, those working in the reception, as well as the staff in the bar on the roof. The location was wonderful and historic overlooking the town square, there were concerts in the bandstand several times during our stay and traditional cuban music in the bars providing opportunities to salsa. I would have no hesitation in staying at the Hotel Santa Clara Libre again.

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled with friends
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3  Thank Lynne K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 14, 2012

We booked Santa Clara Libre as it seemed to have a central location and it looked as there was not much choice in what was on offer in Santa Clara. We had low expectations of the hotel, after reading the reviews and some additional research, and even for the provincial Cuban town, this was too cheap, to deliver any level of reasonable quality. And Santa Clara Libra did not disappoint us. The room of the fifth floor, was faceing the town square with the park, but the window was next to the neon sign with huge letters on the outside of the building with the name of the hotel.
Thankfully the neon did not work, so we avoided the night of flickering lights. But the disco on the 11th floor was well and good and the roaring techno music cinally exhausted itself at 2 a.m.
The room was tiny, the adjoining bathroom so small that we did not take a shower next
morning. Most interestingly the light switch for the bathroom was inside the shower recess.
The sheets were white and clean, but under my pillow I found a cigarette butt. The door knob
fell out from the door when trying to close it. The 12 inch television set was hanging on the wall bracket in the corner by the door. That was the only luxury.
Breakfast in the restaurant on the 10th floor, saw us to round, black glass and glitter table tops, and very little choice of food. We booked this hotel for two nights but escaped after the first
one. Not only from the hotel, but Santa Clara itself.
Upon checking out, the reception desk staff did not bother to ask us why we were leaving another paid night behind.
But there was enough of Che in Santa Clara to keep us there for one day only.
If you still decide to stay in Santa Clara Libre, keep a healthy perspective that you are not
entering a western style establishment and take it as an experience.

  • Stayed: November 2011, traveled with friends
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5  Thank AAgnieszka
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 3, 2012

I read all the reviews and finally decided to check in myself on a one day trip to the city. I was given room 414 (Fidel's room). I have to say that the room was in good condition. There was a separate living room with another full wash room. No problems encountered, there was plenty of hot water. The hotel is old but it is not as bad as some have described it to be. Keep in mind that this is Cuba after all.

  • Stayed: December 2011, traveled with friends
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5  Thank djjaguar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 8, 2011

I have stayed here five times in the last two years and think maybe the criticisms of Hotel Santa Clara Libre may not be totally fair. Yes, the rooms and beds are very small with a tiny shower space. I had hot water when I was there.... most recently in November 2011. Remember the price is incredibly reasonable ($18-26 US/Canadian/CUC) including breakfast ... which, when there is not a buffet, can be quite slow service. The one elevator can also be incredibly slow at busy times. But the hotel overlooks the central plaza of Santa Clara where, among other things, three times each week a 25 piece, professional orchestra provides an hour long concert at 8 pm to the delight of locals and visitors alike. One block off the plaza is the city's main shopping boulevard. Internet access is available at the Etecsa office one block away from the hotel. The hotel and the city are kept very clean. There is a cinema next door, several cafeterias in the plaza area, and you are only a very cheap taxi ride from the Ché monument, the zoo, and other local attractions.

Room Tip: Ask for a room overlooking the plaza. Lower floors will help minimize noise from the disco on the top floor.
  • Stayed: November 2011, traveled as a couple
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7  Thank moalta
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 17, 2011

Well - it is Cuba! And you do get what you pay for I suppose. I don't want to diss it too much, but it was pretty terrible. We had to move room as it actually felt like we were in a disco - there is a disco on the roof and one in the basement - so you are better off on the 5th floor or so - an equal distance from either. The breakfast was truly terrible - salvaged only by the very nice lady who served us (and looked embarrassed). We asked for a glass of water one morning and were refused! Water- in a hotel!!! Ha ha! Ciggy butts on the staircase - mmm, lovely! We were only there two nights - I was glad to get out. In all honestly, I wouldn't stay there again, but it was crazy cheap and if you only want somewhere to sleep, it is better than nothing. But I suspect there are casa particulares much better and cheaper. One good point - very nice towels in the bathrooms. I do like to end on a positive note..... Good luck!!

  • Stayed: November 2011, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank waterloomonster
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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