A chic luxury boutique right in the heart of Old Havana and a historic charmer a short walk from the Malecon, the famed seaside promenade, are among Havana’s most romantic hotels.
The 96-room Hotel Saratoga is an elegant historic boutique first opened in 1926 and reopened in 2005. Guests should expect to pay premium rates for this experience, but in return they'll also get extras that are otherwise unheard of in Havana, such as free Wi-Fi. They can also expect a chic rooftop pool with great city views, stately rooms and suites, a Cuban-Italian restaurant with Moroccan-inspired decor, swanky lobby bar, and 24-hour mezzanine bar with glass ceiling.
Hotel Nacional de Cuba hardly needs an introduction. Anyone with a passing knowledge of Havana history has likely heard the name; before the Cuban Revolution, the hotel -- opened in 1930 -- was a hub for American pleasure seekers, offering fine dining and drinking and some of the poshest accommodations in the city. It still does: the charmingly traditional rooms are among the nicest in Havana (though prepare for the occasional mustiness). The common spaces are gorgeous, with peacocks wandering around the ocean-view gardens and the lobby featuring original tiles and chandeliers. Hotel Nacional has several restaurants that impress, namely, the incredibly elegant Comedor de Aguiar and the open-air La Baracca, a Creole restaurant facing the sea with live music and charcoal-cooked dishes. There are also two pools, a nightly Parisian cabaret show, and twice-a-week Buena Vista Social Club music performances.
Centrally located by Paseo del Prado and Malecon -- the two most famous streets in Havana, both ideal for strolling and taking in the city’s atmosphere -- the Telegrafo is not only in an ideal spot for sightseeing, but the historic hotel could be considered one of the area’s landmarks itself. It dates back to the 1800s, when it was a gathering point for the well-to-do, and is famed as the first Havana hotel with phones in all of the rooms. Hints of that history are still on display in Telegrafo's restaurant and attractive courtyard bar with nightly live music. Its 63 rooms are simple but have flat-screen TVs with satellite channels, and some have balconies. A few maintenance issues are ongoing, like air-conditioning leaks, but this is common in Cuban hotels.
The 258-room, mid-range hotel in Vedado is notable for its charming lobby filled with antiques and its 10-story height that allows for terrific ocean views from some rooms. The rooms themselves are classic (reflecting the style from the hotel's opening in 1928), but maintenance issues in this historic building aren't uncommon. There are a small outdoor pool (awaiting renovation), a buffet restaurant, an a la carte Cuban restaurant, and a 24-hour lobby bar, but no gym.