8 Havana Hotels Endorsed by Tour Operators

8 Havana Hotels Endorsed by Tour Operators

Because of the city's hotel shortage, clients should book quickly By: Lindsay Weinberg
<p>Hotel Florida in Havana, Cuba // © 2016 Creative Commons user <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/davidgrant/206800052/" title="davidgrant"...

Hotel Florida in Havana, Cuba // © 2016 Creative Commons user davidgrant

Feature image (above): The rooftop pool of Havana’s Hotel Saratoga // © 2016 Hotel Saratoga


One factor often determines which hotel to stay at in Havana: availability.

Ronen Paldi, president of Ya’lla Tours USA, said the company uses several hotels for its trips because relying on one is not enough. In fact, the number of tourists that visited Cuba in 2015 was a record-breaking 3.5 million. As relations with the United States improve, the boom in tourism is leading to a hotel shortage, even though almost 11,000 new hotel rooms have been added since 2011.  

Cuba is preparing to add more than 100,000 new hotel rooms to the island by 2030, a plan that Manuel Marrero, Cuba’s minister of tourism, called “the locomotive of the national economy.” In mid-March, Starwood Hotels and Resorts signed three Cuban hotel deals, the first in 60 years. Beating out Marriott International, Starwood received permission from the U.S. Treasury to start operating current hotels in Cuba. Both Inglaterra Hotel and The Hotel Quinta Avenida will become Starwood properties while Hotel Santa Isabel will be converted into a Luxury Collection property. 

In the meantime, tourists are flocking to timeless Havana, which is why Trish Sare, founder of BikeHike Adventures, continues to create more Cuba departures to match the demand. She said in the company’s 21 years, it’s never had a destination sell out so fast. 

However, there’s a catch.

“Cuba does not magically have any more hotels to deal with increased demand,” Sare said. 

Due to the shortage, travel agents, suppliers and travelers alike have seen hotel costs fluctuate and increase despite listed prices. What’s more, the quality of Cuban hotels may not be comparable to that of similarly priced resorts in other destinations.

Rosamaria Caballero Stafford, senior director of Cuba product for Fathom, reiterated that good hotels get booked out several months ahead, and the high cost is a result of limited hotel supply. 

As clients begin to request self-certified person-to-person trips to visit the island, check out some of the top Havana hotels used by tour operators — and be sure to book far in advance. 

Hotel Florida
Previously a residence for sugar farmers, Hotel Florida officially became a hotel in 1885. The hotel is located on the shopping street Calle Obispo along with the bar El Floridita, one of Ernest Hemingway’s old haunts. The elegant hotel has 25 rooms that start at $68 a night. Features include colonial-style furniture, a sliding glass roof over the ground floor courtyard and Floridana Restaurant, where guests can sample international cuisine in the checkered-floor dining room. Clients should visit the piano bar “Maragato,” named for a famous Cuban barman. 

Tour Operators That Use This Hotel: BikeHike Adventures Inc. 

www.hotelfloridacuba.com

Hotel Los Frailes
The quirky Hotel Los Frailes offers a religious-themed experience near Plaza de San Francisco de Asis in Havana. Staff members dress as monks in grey robes, giving tourists a serene oasis in the colonial part of town. A standard room begins at $61. If you ever wanted a cocktail served by a costumed friar, this is the place to go.

Tour Operators That Use This Hotel: BikeHike Adventures Inc.

www.hotellosfrailescuba.com

Hotel Nacional de Cuba
Clients can fall asleep inside a national monument at Hotel Nacional de Cuba. Renovated in 1992, the 80-year-old hotel has hosted Winston Churchill and Frank Sinatra within its art deco walls. History and culture are intertwined at the 473-room hotel, which starts at $241 per night. 

Guests will enjoy an executive office and business center for work and Parisian cabaret and Cuban traditional music concerts in the salon for play. Try to find the replica antique jukebox that was originally used in Havana’s bars and cafes. 

Tour Operators That Use This Hotel: Ya’lla Tours USA

www.hotelnacionaldecuba.com

Photos & Videos
Hotel Florida is among the top hotels recommended by tour operators in Havana, Cuba. // © 2016 Creative Commons user davidgrant

Hotel Florida is among the top hotels recommended by tour operators in Havana, Cuba. // © 2016 Creative Commons user davidgrant

Hotel Los Frailes has a historic and religious theme. // © 2016 Hotel Los Frailes

Hotel Los Frailes has a historic and religious theme. // © 2016 Hotel Los Frailes

Find history and culture at Hotel Nacional de Cuba. // © 2016 Creative Commons user robinbyles

Find history and culture at Hotel Nacional de Cuba. // © 2016 Creative Commons user robinbyles

Pictured is Suite Capitolio at Hotel Saratoga, where Beyonce and Jay-Z stayed during their visit to Havana. // © 2016 Hotel Saratoga

Pictured is Suite Capitolio at Hotel Saratoga, where Beyonce and Jay-Z stayed during their visit to Havana. // © 2016 Hotel Saratoga

Inside the Iberostar Hotel Parque Central // © 2016 Iberostar Hotel Parque Central

Inside the Iberostar Hotel Parque Central // © 2016 Iberostar Hotel Parque Central

Melia Cohiba has good Wi-Fi access and modern decor. // © 2016 Melia Cohiba

Melia Cohiba has good Wi-Fi access and modern decor. // © 2016 Melia Cohiba

Melia Habana is Melia Cohiba’s newer sister property. // © 2016 Melia Habana

Melia Habana is Melia Cohiba’s newer sister property. // © 2016 Melia Habana

Located outside of Old Havana, Memories Miramar Havana is a family-friendly city resort. // © 2016 Memories Miramar Havana

Located outside of Old Havana, Memories Miramar Havana is a family-friendly city resort. // © 2016 Memories Miramar Havana

Hotel Saratoga
Since the 1930s, Hotel Saratoga has stood out for its marble stairs, French carpentry and railings in the old “Las Murallas” district. The hotel, similar in layout to Cuban colonial houses, closed after it was nationalized in the 1960s, but opened in 2005 after being refurbished. Clients wanting to step back in time can stay at the grand 96-room hotel starting at $422 per night. 

Two restaurants offer Italian and Cuban cuisine: Anacaona, named after the famous female orchestra that played at the old hotel, and Mirador Saratoga with a 270-degree view of Havana from the top floor. Don’t miss the sunset view of the neighboring El Capitolio from the rooftop pool. 

Tour Operators That Use This Hotel: Ya’lla Tours USA

Insider Tip: Ya’lla’s Paldi recommends Hotel Saratoga for a romantic getaway — he said Beyonce and Jay-Z chose Suite Capitolio. It’s complete with marble floors, a colonial style bathtub, a sitting area and breathtaking views facing the city. 

www.hotel-saratoga.com

Iberostar Hotel Parque Central
An underground tunnel links two halves of Cuban history at Hotel Parque Central: one colonial building and one modern tower. The price for each of the 427 rooms starts at $150 at this central Havana hotel. 

Although Paldi said the swimming pool is small, clients can also relax in the spacious lobby with its large white staircase and wicker chairs. For a special night out, guests can get dressed up and attend the Ballet Nacional de Cuba at Gran Teatro across the street from the hotel. 

Tour Operators That Use This Hotel: Ya’lla Tours USA

www.hotelparquecentral-cuba.com

Melia Cohiba
Located in the upscale El Vedado district, Melia Cohiba offers views of the city and the sea as it faces the Malecon seawall. A room starts at $371 per night, and the 462-room hotel includes modern suites ideal for couples traveling on business. 

Melia Cohiba Hotel entertains its guests with a squash court, live music amidst the antique cars at Habana Cafe, a freshwater pool with hydromassage and a bar with humidifier and cigar room. At Melia Cohiba and Melia Habana, honeymooners can receive a special room, gifts, a day-after breakfast and a romantic dinner for two. 

Tour Operators That Use This Hotel: AHI Travel, Central Holidays, Globus, Latour - The IsramWorld Portfolio of Brands, Ya’lla Tours USA

Insider Tip: For Fathom’s Caballero Stafford, having Wi-Fi access is important, so she likes this property. She also recommends booking the executive level floor called The Level floor.

www.melia.com

Melia Habana
Melia Cohiba’s smaller sister hotel, Melia Habana, is situated seafront in the business district of Miramar near Palacio de Convenciones de La Habana. For as low as $371 a night, escape to its tropical lobby, the largest pool of all urban Cuban hotels and a cigar bar tasting room and store. All 397 rooms have a terrace or balcony, and the hotel features a business center for conferences as well as free transportation into the city center. 

Tour Operators That Use This Hotel: Abercrombie & Kent, Cuba Undiscovered, insightCuba, Latour - the IsramWorld Portfolio of Brands, Tauck, Ya’lla Tours USA.

Insider Tip: Melia Habana is newer than Melia Cohiba so the internet connection is even better, Paldi said.

www.melia.com

Memories Miramar Havana
Memories Miramar Havana is located outside of Old Havana, but Paldi said this shouldn’t be a concern because Havana doesn’t have much nightlife to miss out on. Guests can enjoy a multilevel swimming complex, tennis courts, a Jacuzzi and a buffet and a creole-style restaurant serving up lots of fruit and fish. A kids’ club and children’s paddling pool make this a family-friendly city resort. Clients can easily access the Underwater Restaurant at the nearby National Aquarium of Cuba, too.

Tour Operators That Use This Hotel: Cosmos, Ya’lla Tours USA

Insider Tip: Summer travelers will love Memories Miramar Havana for the exceptional pool, Paldi said. 

www.memoriesresorts.com

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