If you’ve got the travel itch to go to Havana — and you should, considering its fascinating history, friendly locals, vibrant music scene, and beautiful and colorful (if crumbling) colonial architecture — then you should check out Oyster’s picks for the best value hotels in the Havana neighborhoods of Miramar, Vedado, and the city center, right by Paseo del Prado and the Malecon.
The mid-range Hotel Comodoro has a lively and twinkling past as a former casino during Havana’s mid-century boom, but today that sparkle falls a bit flat. It’s especially absent in the Comodoro’s 124 Standard Rooms and 159 Bungalows, which suffer from dated furnishings, smoky smells, and maintenance issues. But the lobby and the pool still have a touch of glamour, and the latter is surprisingly tranquil. There’s also a small rocky beach. But guests will have to take a taxi or drive to reach Old Havana’s cultural highlights.
The mid-range Telegrafo has a storied past that reaches back through the last century. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, the hotel was a gathering point for the well-to-do. The name came from the hotel’s biggest claim to fame as the first hotel with phones in all of the rooms. Touches of the hotel’s grand past are still in full view, like the restaurant’s ceiling crowned with ornate medallions. Its 63 rooms are simple but have flat-screen TVs with satellite channels, and some have balconies. A few maintenance issues are ongoing, like AC leaks, but these are common throughout Cuba.
This 317-room, 11-story hotel in Miramar is aptly named: Views of the ocean and city from its top floors truly are panoramic. It's a solid mid-range option, if dated and worn in areas, with a big buffet serving breakfast and dinner, an Italian restaurant, and a Caribbean restaurant. Rooms are spacious, though lacking in style, but adequate for the rates. The Miramar location is near embassies but a 20-minute drive from tourist sights, though a free shuttle service to Old Havana is offered four times a day. Lines at the reception desk and waits for the elevator can be long.
This shabbily charming boutique hotel is an intimate option with an interesting history: The neocolonial-style structure was once the home of the wife of Fulgencio Batista, before the mansions of the aristocracy were repurposed for other uses after the revolution. Today, this aging beauty still retains some of its past charm, with its antique-style furniture, marble staircase with wrought-iron banister, and big porch with rocking chairs that's a pleasant spot for a cocktail on a warm evening. Rooms are clean, if basic, making Habana Paseo a perfectly serviceable option for the price, but leisure visitors should note that there's no pool and Old Havana isn't within walking distance.
The 55-room, lower-middle-range Park View Hotel is best suited for urban explorers looking for an inexpensive place to sleep. Its location, in the center of Havana -- just off the Paseo del Prado and walking distance to the Malecon -- can’t be beat. But overall, the hotel is low on atmosphere, with dim and uninviting public spaces. The one exception is the top-floor restaurant, a sunny perch where guests can enjoy a free breakfast and look out over the city. With dated furniture, rooms are rather unremarkable aside from their photos of Havana landmarks. But budget travelers that don't need oodles of features or a stylish veneer could find the Park View meets all their needs.