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Hotel Saint John's 2.5

Havana, Ciudad de la Habana Province, Cuba

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Central location an easy walk from Calle 23 and the Malecon
  • Clean, vibrant rooms -- many with stunning city and sea views
  • Hotel-owned Italian restaurant right next door
  • Free daily breakfast and Wi-Fi (available at nearby sister property)

Cons

  • Sporadic hot water
  • In dire need of updates/renovation
  • Wi-Fi and breakfast are off site
  • Street-side rooms can be noisy
  • Top-floor nightclub keeps guests awake 

Bottom Line

The budget Hotel St John’s has a central Havana address, right in the heart of Vedado. It’s a short stroll from nightlife and restaurant hub Calle 23, and easy walking distance from the iconic coastal stretch the Malecon. Many of the property’s 88 rooms and suites take in lovely city or sea views. However, they’re terribly dated, and they're prone to the odd maintenance issue. Sporadic hot water is a common complaint, and while some guests praise the cleanliness, others find it lacking. Light sleepers should get a room facing away from the street, but the top-floor nightclub may warrant earplugs, too. Probably the best thing about this place is the location; it's best suited to night owls seeking cheap digs with plenty to eat and drink nearby. Travelers seeking more on-site amenities could try Hotel Kohly. 

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Scene

A simple crash pad in a bustling part of town -- beneath a popular (loud) nightclub

Hotel St John’s fairly narrow street-front implies a small-scale hotel, but look up and it actually soars above the streetscape with 14 stories. The property sits right beside nightlife hubs Calle 23 and La Rampa, so there’s always plenty of activity right outside. On one side of the hotel sits Café Sofia -- an unpretentious bar/cafe with great live Cuban music most nights. On the other, the hotel-owned Italian restaurant, and an open-air espresso bar that’s super popular with the locals. Sister establishment, Hotel Vedado, is just up the road. 

St John’s dated retro facade is not unusual for Cuba, but in this case it hints at a state of neglect within. The deep lobby lacks natural light, although walls in soft yellow and vibrant orange create warmth, along with wicker sofas and burnt orange cushions. The odd tropical plant adds welcome splashes of green. The lobby bar at the rear is adorned with black-and-white photos of vintage cars, and a piano suggests this spot, although nothing fancy, could be lively from time to time. There’s a nightclub on the top floor, which attracts random, and sometimes unsavory characters, according to guests who’ve stayed here -- so families with kids may be advised to stay elsewhere. 

Location

Centrally positioned in Vedado, footsteps from Calle 23 action and the Malecon

Far and away the Hotel St John’s biggest draw is its excellent location. It's located in a central Havana spot, right in the heart of Vedado. It’s right off Calle 23 and the foot of La Rampa -- so bars, restaurants, and nightlife are in abundance. It’s a 10-minute walk to the iconic coastal stretch of the Malecon, and other walkable highlights include Hotel el Nacional (11 minutes) and Universidad de la Habana (nine minutes). Old Havana requires a drive -- about 13 minutes by car-- although taxis are easy to come by given this central, lively position. Reaching Jose Marti International Airport takes about 30 minutes by car.

Rooms

Simple rooms with flat-screen TVs, mini-fridges, and potential maintenance issues

Standard Rooms and Suites are arguably even more dated than common spaces, though they are brightly decorated in warm orange tones with tiled floors and heavy wood furniture. Big picture windows above beds let in lots of natural light and frame great uninterrupted views of the city and/or the sea. All rooms feature flat-screen TVs, mini-fridges, phones, extra blankets, and safes -- although some guests complain these are faulty. Plain bathrooms are covered in white tiles, with marble-effect vanities and a selection of free toiletries; however unreliable hot water is a common issue. Suites feature bathtubs, while Standard Rooms simply offer shower stalls. Suites also feature separate living areas that are equipped with a second TV. Street-side rooms can endure traffic noise, so light sleepers should request rooms at the rear. Earplugs may also make sense as many guests report being bothered by late night music from the top-floor nightclub. 

Features

Basic features including a lobby bar, free breakfast (off-site), and an Italian restaurant (next door)

On-site features are fairly limited. There is a pool, however it was closed during our visit; a new breakfast restaurant was also underway. In the meantime, a free buffet breakfast is provided at sister establishment, Hotel Vedado, about 150 feet up the road. The hotel owns an Italian restaurant right next door, and there’s also a lobby bar. A nightclub is located on the top floor, but some guests seem to think the crowd is rather questionable. On-site Wi-Fi is not provided, although guests can connect to it at Hotel Vedado. 

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Address

Calle O e/ 23 y 25, Vedado, Havana, Ciudad de la Habana Province, Caribbean

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