The Choice of Cuba Hotels Affects your Experience. Maybe you are not into "tourist only" resorts and hotels, or you have already spent a couple of days in an all-inclusive beach hotel soaking up sun and rum and now you want to experience a real Cuban hotel. Well, if you like old architecture and historical hotels, you are in the right place
Cuba is rich in history and rich in historical hotels. I love old hotels. Cool old stone and masonry trim, funky bath and lighting fixtures, ornate lobbies with columns and colonnades, balconies overlooking historic squares; a step back in time. These Cuba hotels may not be the most modern, but if you are here to experience Cuba, then start with your hotel.
The larger cities in Cuba all have cool old restored hotels. They may be small and not necessarily 3-4 stars, but they will be full of history, charm and a feel for Cuba.
Booking these hotels is getting easier, a lot of major booking portals handle Cuba hotels now. (They may not book Casas Particulares, but hotels, yes.)
Historic Havana Hotels
I am highlighting a few Havana hotels just to show you the range that is available. You can experience just about any style hotel here. Old Havana (Habana Vieja) has Spanish Colonial style, overly ornate Baroque facade hotels, or simple Neoclassical. Out of the old town and you can find 1930's Art Deco or even the funky 1950's Modern.
There are many guidebooks and online sites available to help you find and book hotels. This site is not designed to do that. It is designed to give an overview of what is out there and maybe help expand your view. The Havana hotels below were picked just to give some examples. Many of the cities in Cuba offer a great variety of historical hotels.
Lobby Hotel Nacional
Hotel Nacional, Havana
A commanding hotel in a commanding position on Havana's seaside Malecon. This is the Grande Dame of Havana hotels and was built in 1930 in the heyday of American tourists. If you love history and grandeur you will love this hotel.
Even if you don't stay here you need to visit and see the fabulous lobby, artwork, and memorabilia. Historical rooms are set aside and can be seen on free tours. This elegant old hotel is from a different age and was the spot for visiting Hollywood stars, and important leaders from around the world. It was and still is "the" place to be.
The terraces and grounds are wonderful places to sip signature Mojitos and Pina Coladas. The big looping driveway is always full of old classic American cars on display or in use as taxis. If you get a ride down the Malecon in a big old American car (called a botero or "boat") the taxi driver will undoubtedly swing you through the drive in front of this massive beauty.
Live music, spectacular shows are part of its allure. It is located n the heart of Vedado, Havana. It is said that Fidel Castro and Che Guevara set up headquarters Hotel Nacional to plan for Cuba's defense during the Cuban missile crisis.
On a smaller scale but still architecturally outstanding is Hotel Florida, in Old Havana. Colonial style, built in 1836 as an aristocratic residence, it was converted to a hotel in 1885.
Hotel Florida only has 25 rooms but is an absolute splendor from the past. Its inviting charm and architecture start with the giant carved doors and marble entry. The open lobby greets you with art deco sculpture of a nude woman. The lobby looks immense because of the big stone columns, arches and marble floor. The colorful wicker furniture adds to the tropical feel.
Enjoy its wonderful lobby, the elegant piano bar, Maragota, and two cafes. Step outside into Old Havana's Plaza de Armas, the city's historic core. The rooms in Hotel Florida, like most historic hotels, are small but tastefully decorated with vintage furniture. The marble baths will be remembered forever.
The unbelievably ornate Baroque exterior of Hotel Raquel is amazing and is enough by itself to entice visitors. It has one of the most intricate facades in Havana. This 19th century jewel looks like it has been in Habana Vieja forever.
The soaring interior marble columns though lead the eyes to a huge art glass roof running the length of the interior. The roof alone is a stunning work of art, casting multi-colored rays of light into the lobby. Everything about this hotel shows its opulence; the marble columns, polished marble floors, period chandelier . Even the old wrought iron elevator adds to the ambience.
This biblical themed hotel is full of Jewish and Hebrew references. The elegant restaurant serves a Jewish cuisine. Hotel Raquel is worth a visit just to see the sculptures and art scattered everywhere. Enjoy one of its 60 rooms and its location in Old Havana
A different type of historic hotel. This hotel's history is the 1950's. Rising 16 stories, this hotel looks like something out of a Frank Sinatra Las Vegas movie. 1950's modern, preserved in all its glory. Original decor, period furniture, just like stepping into an old gangster movie.
In fact, mobster Meyer Lanski built this hotel and casino in 1956 and it feels like you might still see him or his buddies resting in an overstuffed couch. The huge glass panels of the lobby overlook fantastic views of the water. In fact, due to its location on the Malecon and the layout of the hotel, all rooms of the hotel overlook the water.
The restaurant, Mirador de la Habana, has great views of the water too, and the Copa Room Cabaret is one of the best night clubs in Havana. The outdoor pool has the original three-level diving board. Even the modern art in the hotel blends well with the 50's modern hotel.