Hotel Nacional de Cuba

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Average rate: $79 - Hotel class: 5 stars
Calle 21 y o, Havana, Cuba

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Hotel Nacional de Cuba Havana Reviews

starship1 starship1
40 reviews
Hotel Nacional de Cuba ~ A National Treasure Oct 24, 2017
Continuing on our city tour in a vintage ’54 Dodge car with driver, Jesus, our last scheduled stop was the Hotel Nacional de Cuba, as much a destination as it is a hotel. The 85-year beauty is located in the Vedado section and overlooks the sea from its elevated position. Despite its age, the hotel has retained much of its charm. Sporting a coat of cream-colored paint, its symmetrical architecture including twin, rooftop cupolas identifies it is of an older vintage. It was declared a National Monument because of its rich historical and cultural significance to the Cuban people.

A long entrance drive lined with graceful palms and green landscape leads to the main entrance portico. Steps lead up to the hotel lobby which is classically beautiful – a large, oblong passage overflowing with exquisite detail. The Nacional’s lobby exhibited a Spanish Colonial flair. Its ceilings are overhung with several crystal chandeliers giving the area a warm glow. Polished tile floors reflect light, warm ochre painted walls with a series of arches lead to cozy sitting areas, ornamental wall tiles are a beautiful backdrop for antique grandfather/tall case clocks.

Maybe the most interesting feature was the beamed lobby ceiling – however, these “beams” weren’t made of wood -- they were made of concrete painted to look like wood! Painted details were added to the beams which further tricked the eye into believing they were made of wood. It was quite a magnificent deception!

Over its many years the hotel has drawn many famous as well as infamous personalities to be sure. The hotel was known to be a favorite of figures in the American Mafia prior to the 1959 Revolution. In 1946, mobsters Lucky Luciano and Meyer Lansky hosted the infamous “mob summit” at the hotel where they discussed the business interests of the 5 mafia families, especially as they pertained to Cuba. The summit was attended by mafia heavyweights Frank Costello, Albert Anastasia, Vito Genovese and many others. Of course, Castro closed the hotel’s Casino International in 1960 and the mob lost all of its assets in Cuba, including the Riveria Hotel, and much more.

We followed the lobby to one end where we passed likenesses of Cuba's revolutionary leaders Fidel, and Che on flags and posters. We were on our way to the “Hall of Fame Bar” where we would be served a delicious Mojito which was included in our tour. In addition to the bar itself, we enjoyed looking at displays in the large L-shaped room -- photos, murals, musical instruments and more all preserved in remembrance of famous Hollywood stars, and other world famous people who had visited or stayed at the Nacional. It was immediately clear that our group were the interlopers here as hotel guests and others were seated at tables in the this delightful space enjoying their cocktails. The glares and stares were embarrassing!

The Hotel Nacional has several special restaurants and bars, concierge, swimming pool, gift shop and a number of beautifully decorated common rooms which can be reserved for groups, private events, meetings, banquets, weddings, etc. I wasn’t aware of it until I had a look at the hotel’s website, but historical tours of the hotel are offered weekly from Monday to Friday at 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. and every Saturday at 10:00 a.m. The meeting point is in the Lobby near the main door.

The hotel not only offers a place to stay and eat, it offers entertainment! The Parisien Cabaret stages the show "Cubano, Cubano," which features music and dance from the Indo-American, Hispanic and African cultures which over many years blended to become the roots of today’s Cuban culture.

A variety of other entertainment options are available all year round and my next visit is sure to include a night of “Cuban Traditional Music Concert,” with former and/or new members of the Buena Vista Social Club which is offered every Tuesday and Saturday nights in the hall named the “Salon 1930.” Tickets can be purchased in advance online for the show.

Of course, after all is said, this IS a hotel and its website states that it has 457 rooms, 15 suites, and even a Presidential Suite -- this is no small place. A good number are considered historical and are named after the notable personalities who stayed in each of them: from Walt Disney to Frank Sinatra, Jean Paul Satre to Tennessee Williams, Compay Segundo to Alexander Fleming. Air-conditioning, telephones, flat-screen TVs, and WiFi are just some of a long list of other amenities.

Currently, single person room prices begin at 234 Convertible Cuban Pesos (CUCs) which includes breakfast --- more than what you might have thought it would be in Cuba, but a hotel with such charm combined with history often comes with a price!
Entrance to Hotel Nacional de Cuba
Vaulted portico with lovely tiles
Hotel Nacional's lobby and unique …
One of Hotel Nacional's upscale re…
6 / 6 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
AdamR3723 says:
A gem of a hotel
Posted on: Jan 31, 2018
starship1 says:
Fergie, you are TOO kind! Thanks for all the comments and smiles on this review -- I tried my best!
Posted on: Jan 21, 2018
planxty says:
What a superb review on what is obviously a fascinating place, great work. This is what a review should look like IMHO and TripnonAdvisor eat your heart out.
Posted on: Jan 21, 2018
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pilgrim68 pilgrim68
61 reviews
Faded Grandeur Jul 01, 2012
Faded elegance is a phrase I think best describes The Hotel Nacional de Cuba. Opened in the 1930's on the site of a former fort,overlooking the sea.The Hotel is a national monument and was being renovated floor by floor on our visit.

The breakfast buffet was nothing to shout about. Seemingly left over from the former Soviet times the rest of the Hotel was lovely. Beautiful gardens which played host to a wedding reception whilst we were there. The pool was empty but whether it was a seasonal thing or also under restoration I couldn't get a straight answer. Worth a stay even if it's just for one night,just to say you have!
2 / 2 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
mexico2012 mexico20…
2 reviews
Very lovely stay at Nacional Jun 25, 2012
I stayed at the Nacional from June 16 to 23, 2012 and I loved the hotel. They offer great services everywhere throughout.

The rooms are nice and big with big flat screen tv. There is a strange smell due to the fact that its all carpeted and the overuse of the A/C, but i find it's a common problem everywhere I've been to Cuba.

Eating and drinks are a bit pricy, 3 pesos for a beer, 4 for a cocktail, food starts at 6 pesos for a sandwich. I would rather drink somewhere else.

Breafast is pretty blend, they have guys cooking eggs and omelets but you will wait a bit for that. They have some weird breakfast option like rice and beens? Also the restaurant's opening hours is from 7 to 10 so if you're the person who likes to get up early at 6 and go, you won't be able to have breakfast..

The internet is expensive and VERY SLOW, took me 30 minutes and 4 pesos to check my email breefly and try to update my facebook.

If you want to reserve an excursion, be sure to ask lots of questions because the lady in charge didnt seem interested in making me happy she just seemed like wanting to put my name on a piece of paper.

No matter what I loved my stay there, people are nice and so accomodating.
Back of hotel
Back of hotel
Back of hotel
Back of hotel, view on the malecon
1 / 1 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
seaangel seaangel
7 reviews
Hotel -museum in Havana Jan 31, 2011
I was staying in the hotel three nights before going to the beach resort in Varadero. The hotel was wonderful and the location was great. You feel like you are living one century ago. The atmosphere was very relax and greatful. I liked the old style of furniture that made your staying even more majestic. Every evening was taking place concert outside the hotel and the most famous Parisen show in Havana, and water ballet once a week. The connection with the city centre was very good organized with taxi, you could take either a luxury or antique or bike taxi from the hotel. Or you could walk for about 1 hour to the centre of Havana. The servise in the restaurant was perfect. The food for breakfast was good and you could have a buffet dinner with plenty of choices and good price in the hotel's restaurant in the evening. I liked the hotel's veranda where you could sit in the evening enjoying alive music, having a coctail or relax during the day time. Further you could find some tables to have coffee or coctail enjoying wonderful view on the Havana's quay and breathing the fresh air of sea breeze. The disadvantages was lack of service in changing money and the bank machine did not exist, a big queue at the reception all the time. The internet connection in internet cafe was very bad and was charged 3 times more than in any European hotel. To be short the hotel was really great and even these small disadvantages cant spoil your staying there! If you would like to live the atmosphere of Havana and the city you should choose the hotel.
3 / 3 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
LeighTravelClub says:
The Ambos Mundos Hotel is where Hemmingway used to stay. His room has been preserved as a sort of museum. Well worth a visit.

Countless stars, both past and present, have stayed at The Nacional.
Posted on: May 11, 2011
Ready2gonow Ready2go…
2 reviews
Visiting Cuba Mar 15, 2011
If visiting Havavna, this really is the only place to stay, so much history, charm, elegance, the hotel is amazing. Beds were large and comfy, bathrooms large, very clean. Most staff were friendly and efficient, but the woman on the front desk, changing money needs to be taught to smile, and customer service skills! Breakfast was fantastic, history tour of the hotel was an eye opener, very informative! Only downside was that I only spent 3 nights here, would have quite happily stayed for 14 nights!
mazenjawad mazenjaw…
13 reviews
hotel & tourist destination Nov 16, 2010
Havana in the 1950s, amazing hotel experiences from buffet breakfast, bars & views, an d most specially the feel of living in history... where the men of Lucky Luciano ruled.
your taxi outside the hotel
1 / 1 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
LeighTravelClub LeighTra…
47 reviews
The Grand Old Lady of Havana Mar 15, 2009
Once we had checked-in at this hotel, I looked around and wondered if we had made a mistake. Everything about the place is OH SO OLD !!

We selected the Nacional de Cuba, mainly because of the history of the place, and history it has in abundance.

Billed as the country's flagship hotel, the Nacional is a stand-out in more ways than one. First, it enjoys a great location, commanding a hilltop overlooking the Malecon, with sweeping vistas over the Atlantic towards Habana Vieja (old Havana), and west over the Vedado district. A dramatic confluence of Spanish colonial and art deco, the eight-story edifice opened as a hotel in 1930 and has been luring moneyed travellers, including celebrities (and, in former years, the Mafia) for almost eight decades. The hotel's interior comprises a vast gallery of photographs recalling celebrities, who've stayed here, and modern day guests can reasonably expect to share their stay with flouncing model divas and Hollywood stars.

The hotel is approached via a long palm-lined driveway remarkable for the parade of Mercedes taxis awaiting fares. The gardens wrap around the hotel, offering a breezy promenade along paths that wind past strutting peacocks and centenary cannon pointing out to sea. A small porte-cochere entrance opens to a soaring lobby featuring Moorish tile work, dark-stained beams and wrought-iron chandeliers. It is often thronged with tour groups, gawkers and guests, but has lounge chairs in recessed alcoves.

The Comedor de Aguiar restaurant is a repository for antique vases, glistening chandeliers and fine artwork. A dress code applies at this supremely elegant eatery, where the international cuisine can best be described as ‘of inconsistent quality’, while seriously denting the wallet. A cheaper, less lavish option is La Veranda, serving all-you-can-eat smorgasbord meals. In addition, a rather chilly basement cafe serves snacks and plays up the hotel's movie associations. Several bars also serve food, and guests can opt for either poolside dining for a set fee, or a delicious weekly barbecue on the rear lawn. The overpriced, tasteless dinner option at the hotel cabaret is best avoided.

Open 24 hours, the Rincon del Cine cafe-bar features a photo collage of movie greats and shows Cuban film clips. Other options, such as the cigar lounge and the Aire Mar Bar, with its rather sickly decor, are overly air-conditioned. In the Galeria bar, guests sit in large rattan seats beneath monastic-style Spanish-style arches that open onto the rear gardens—a perfect venue for savouring a robust Cohiba and strong mojitos served by staff in immaculate white uniforms.

The rooms, although large, are a let-down. The hotel was last renovated more than a decade ago for a reputed $64 million, and although many rooms have since been refurbished on a rotating basis, a more thorough refurbishment to is long overdue. The predominantly pink-and-red color scheme is drab, and many of the fabrics are long past their prime, including carpets. Cleanliness is also an issue. While some guests might thrill to sleep in a room once occupied by Frank Sinatra (225) or Johnny Weismuller (229), all rooms retain original, frumpy dark mahogany furnishings from the 1930s. They come with air conditioning, phones, satellite TVs, radios, safes, minibars and hair dryers, but some lack dressers with drawers. Baths are of varying sizes, many being small. Bidets are a standard fixture. Plumbing is generally efficient, and rarely is availability of hot water an issue. While many of the staff are willing, helpful and friendly, others appear indifferent, even when eager to elicit tips.

But all things considered…….we absolutely loved this hotel !!
Wonderful old lifts.
Grand Entrance.
Our favourite bar !
3 / 3 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
nanie05 says:
What a gorgeous place Cuba is...One of those places i'd love to visit, but it gets so much bad it really that bad? (in terms of safety and cleanliness, etc)
Posted on: Jun 19, 2009
Bulldog1up says:
the old buildings r the best
Posted on: Mar 31, 2009
globalodyssey says:
for eating...the bodeguita del medio is terrific...great food, fairly inexpensive, and the atmosphere is incredible
Posted on: Mar 29, 2009
krysleigh krysleigh
8 reviews
Jul 23, 2007
Hotel Nacional de Cuba

It's not hard to envision Hemingway casually puffing on a Cohiba while penning his newest read in the seaside courtyard of one of Cuba's most recognized establishments. Decorating the Malecón, Havana's main waterfront boulevard, Nacional's reputation precedes it: Not only was it favored by the literary legend, but cinematic greats like Marlon Brando have laid their heads to rest here, some of the world's most well-known Italian-American gangsters were at one time regulars, ambassadors and diplomats from all corners of the globe have taken up lodging in its 457 rooms. Though the stately building suffered serious neglect following the Revolution, its eight-story palatial façade – which underwent renovation in 1992 – nevertheless remains truly remarkable. In recent years, Havana’s signature hotel has been overshadowed by more modern five stars that have begun cropping up around the city. Still, Nacional’s a steal and, despite being on the higher end price-wise for Cuba, it undoubtedly costs less than any four- or five-star joint on its neighboring Caribbean isles. The rooms are nothing fancy, albeit clean and far better than most you’ll find elsewhere in the city. Request a space with an ocean view—if you’re really lucky, you’ll land one of the select few with balconies. Nacional’s only notable downside is its location—situated in the Havana outskirts of Vedado, it’s a bit of a walk from the center, but a cheap taxi ride will get you there in five minutes or less.

Calle 21 y O, 10400 Havana. [tel] 537-838-0294. [fax] 537-836-5171. 457 units. Daily rates include breakfast. 120 CUC ($130) single; 170 CUC ($184) double; 238 CUC ($257) triple; 215-600 CUC () suites ($232-$648); 1000 CUC presidential suite ($1080). Free valet parking. MC, V. Amenities: 4 restaurants; 3 bars; 2 lounges; 2 swimming pools; 3 stores; salon; laundry service/dry cleaning; business center; 24-hr. room service; Internet; concierge, nonsmoking rooms. In Room: A/C, TV, hair dryer, iron, minibar safe.
The front facade of Hotel Nacional
2 / 2 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
boicot says:
Yo no me hospedé en este hotel pero se los recomiendo ya que la casa de cambio en este hotel siempre está disponible...las CADECAS de otros lugares nunca tenían sistema
Posted on: Jan 29, 2008

Hotel Nacional de Cuba Amenities

  • Business Center
  • Room Service
  • High-speed Internet
  • Restaurant
  • Swimming pool
  • Concierge
  • Massage / Beauty Centre
  • Bar / Lounge
  • Air Conditioned
  • Convention Center
  • Conference Room(s)
  • Currency Exchange
  • Medical Assistance Available
  • Multilingual Staff
  • Safe-Deposit Box
  • Sauna
  • Mini Bar
  • Cable / Satellite TV
  • Secretarial Service
  • Bath / Hot Tub
  • Meeting Rooms
  • Hair Dryer
  • TV
  • Laundry service
  • Garden
  • Computer
  • Laptop
  • Photocopier
  • Desk
  • Direct dial phone
  • Courier
  • Audio/Visual Equipment
  • Slide Projector
  • Massage
  • Child Pool
  • Pool Outdoor
  • Executive Floor
  • Cell phone/mobile rental

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Arriving at the Nacional de Cuba Hotel.
What a gem this hotel turned out to be. It was like walking through a time warp back to an age long since gone.Magnificent splendour wherever you look. … What a gem this hotel turned out to be. It was like walking through a time warp back to an…

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photo by: mario26