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Review of Hotel Santa Isabel

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Hotel Santa Isabel
Ranked #20 of 80 Hotels in Havana
Reviewed 15 April 2012

We have stayed in Havana multiple times and would strongly recommend Santa Isabel. It is really well situated, a short walk from pretty much anything on the tourist route. The hotel itself has a long porch/colonnade where breakfast is served, an interior courtyard, in the style of the older homes and this was of course, such a place at one time. Rooms on three floors and a roof deck. The rooms are of a period, well done, some with stained glass, facing the park, new bathrooms, good service. Breakfast is well meaning but slow (four days to test this out!), the service is good and you just couldn't be more conveniently placed

Room Tip: Dont take 215 which overlooks the side street and is far too noisy in the mornings. Do ask for a roo...
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  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled with family
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Thank dbdbmv
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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188 - 192 of 424 reviews

Reviewed 7 April 2012

Hotel Santa Isabel has a great location on the Plaza del Armas. The Cubans call it a 5 star hotel but the rest of the world would rate it maybe 2 stars. Our room had a sitting room which opened to the plaza but the balcony doors were very difficult to manage. The bed was made with a sheet just large enough to cover the top of the mattress so if you moved around in the bed much it would sort of ball up. The bed was not the most comfortable. Need a second key for a spouse? Forget it! Your single key card must be placed into a power controller when you enter your room in order for anything electrical to work in the room. When you leave and take your key then all power is cut off including your a/c. Need to charge your camera while you're out? You can't.

The internal courtyard always had a sewage odor and I tried to spend as little time there as possible when leaving our room. The lobby was comfortable enough and the staff was generally friendly. However the restaurant was extremely poor. I ordered lobster at our arrival dinner and then spent about 15 minutes trying to pry the overcooked meat from the shell. Some people just gave up. Breakfast was highly inconsistent. We ordered the same thing each morning but it was always different. One morning my wife's breakfast came but mine never showed up. The waiter was not concerned though - he works for the government and there is little motivation to provide good service. The second night we discovered a private restaurant called Nao just a couple of steps away which had excellent food. The budding capitalists in Havana know they must provide quality food in their restaurants to attract business. If you decide to stay in this hotel, make dinner reservations at Nao.

Need internet service? You won't get it at this hotel. I spent over an hour searching for internet service and finally found it at the Central Park Hotel downtown. It appeared to be a much nicer hotel but again the employees are government employees and so service may be an issue. I waited 20 minutes in line at the front desk to purchase the wi-fi card and there was only one person in front of me!

In short, if you're expecting 5 star service at Hotel Santa Isabel you won't get it.

Room Tip: The best rooms face the square.
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  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank NC_Hiker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 March 2012

The hotel is an old count's palace, which overlooks the pretty Plaza des Armas, pedestrianised, with gardens in the middle and the other side, the port. The hotel has kept the charme of the old colonial style, with attractive furniture, nicely decorated rooms (ours was on the terrace, with the view to the square). The room was clean, so was the bathrooms, and we had no problems at all. The breakfast is taken on the ground floor terrace, and it's lovely to sit and watch the square come alive in the morning, yet breakfast, despite the choice, is pretty bland. The lift was broken so we had to go up and down two floors by the stairs. There is no internet at all.
Our main issue with this hotel is the horrible woman at reception when we arrived. Unfriendly, she cheated us of 100£. We were incredibly stupid, but also around 4 hours late, tired and very jetlagged and in need of money to go and get some dinner. As it was late, we knew the change offices would be shut so we asked to change money at reception. She changed £200 for 180CUC - you do the maths, she 'stole' around 100£ from us (without of course giving us a receipt)! We didnt realise until the next day when we actually went to a cadeca and got a receipt. She was nowhere to be seen. The most annoying thing is that so many people in Cuba struggle for a living - I would have rather given that money to them, than having it stolen by someone who has access to services and luxury. So lesson learnt. DO NOT CHANGE MONEY AT THIS HOTEL!!!

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank TheDivingFoodie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 March 2012

We have stayed two nights at Santa Isabel because we have been moved from the Telegrafo Hotel to there. The Santa Isabel is said to have 5 stars (so they told us it would have been an upgrade from Telegrafo) but it is not.
We have already heard before that it is totally usual that they relocate you in other hotels as soon as they are overbooked. Anyways I was a little pissed off because of the staff behaviour in Telegrafo (they haven't even asked about our names or anything else and also a sorry was too much to ask)
The lady at the check in at Santa Isabel tried to sell us an upgrade to the room right upfront. After hesitating a little bit we have asked to get to see both room options and then decided to get the upgrade. She offered us 2nights for 1 for the upgrade difference. We were not able to pay by credit card but we still don't know if these 2 event somehow are related. Anyways, we are in Cuba.
The room was OK, the bed and mattress old but OK. The couch we had in the room was old and shabby, something that my grandma wouldn't even think is still up to date. Both TVs were not working (but that didn't concern us that much as we have other things to do when on vacation). Internet was down and supposed to be up on the next day again but of course, wasn't). Tha bathroom was clean and OK, but don't expect too much.
The location of the hotel is on the other hand fantastic. It is in the middle of the old town, the hotel itself is renovated and looks amazing. The rooms have 3-4m ceilings and have huge windows.
We were not able to check the breafast because one day we were too late and the other day it took so long we had to leave for the bus and simply OK.
So making a resume, I would not go back to the hotel because it is overpriced and has a poor service. I'd rather go to other hotels close by (e.g. Palacio) and get a better hotel for the same price.

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank travelhex
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 February 2012

Although a lot of people had recommended this hotel saying that this is the best in Havana; well in this respect it was BUT be warned!!!! You have to remember that this is still a poor country so don’t go expecting much. We have the corner room 214 which I believe is shown in one of the pictures in somebody else’s comments.
Firstly the bed fell apart – secondly the sink unit cam away from the wall and the pipe taking the waste away came away with the unit this equalled lots of water on the floor; thirdly the bath was supposed to be a spa bath mmm not so it was just a bath that happened to fit the gap. The food is absolutely diabolically bad & that is for both of the restaurants. I must say at this point that food in Havana is bad everywhere. This hotel is NOT connected upto the mains water it has the water pumped into a large tank, and if there a lot of people using water over a quite short period of time and the tank is nearly empty guess what you get out of the taps – yes you guessed correctly brown sludge type water. During our stay which was 5 days we complained about a very very strong smell of gas, the hotel manager responded by saying we don't have any gas to which I replied what do your cookers work on the answer I got I am sorry I cannot help.
Finally this hotel is supposed to be rated as a 5 star this rating is given by the Cuban Government and is not an independent rating.

  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank David J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hotel Santa Isabel

Address: Calle Baratillo 9 | Between Obispo and Narciso Lopez, Havana 10100, Cuba
Region: Caribbean > Cuba > Ciudad de la Habana Province > Havana
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Room Service
Hotel Style:
#12 Luxury Hotel in Havana
Price Range: ₹ 14,771 - ₹ 21,343 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Hotel Santa Isabel 5*
Number of rooms: 27
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Santa Isabel Havana
Santa Isabel Hotel

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