Hotel Ambos Mundos
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How has this hotel rated in the past?
Historical Traveler Reviews Hotel Ambos Mundos Havana
I have stayed at Ambos Mundos twice, once with my hard to please mother in law - say no more! On both occasions my companions and I made sure that we booked rooms overlooking the harbour. We were not disappointed. The view is exhilarating and the hotel is a fantastic art deco style building with an atmospheric ground floor salon where you watch the world go by, adjacent to Calle Obispo which must rank as one of the streets of the world - right in the heart of Havana old town. True, the prices are high and the service is often second rate but what do you expect - this is a nationalised hotel in a nationalised economy wherer the government control the prices? My advice is go now and soak up the atmosphere of this unique part of a unique city before, as will soon be the case, it becomes yet another Mcdonaldsville.
Avoid Terrible Ambos Mundos @ $180
Paid $180 for a double room on 26 December. No window, nowhere to hang clothes and the smallest double bed anywhere. The one elevator provides inadequate capacity for the volume of guests. A taxi was able to drop us at the door for arrival but the hotel is unable to arrange taxis to pickup at the door for departure - a serious problem if you have heavy cases or a lor of luggage. Breakfast is served on a roof terrace with a lovely view but the breakfast food is second rate. The only positive - the hotel does have an attractive lobby with an accomplished violinist and pianist a midday. The Sevilla hotel is the same price and is a much better hotel in every way. Avoid the Ambos Mundos!
Leaky with cockroaches
Although it is gorgeous from the outside and charming on the first floor, our room was a huge disappointment. When we came in, it smelled of mildew. We also got a horrendous view of the building across the street (and nothing else). They were very accomodating in getting us another room with a better view (two floors higher), but it still smelled (although less!). When we stayed there, there was a huge rainstorm and the room leaked (now we know why the room smelled!). And upon our arrival home, we found cockroaches in our bag! We did enjoy our time on the rooftop restaurant with different Cuban bands everyday, although they didn't have a number of things on the menu! All in all, be very, very wary!
We did not actually stay at this hotel, but during a day trip into Havana we decided to go to the rooftop restuarant for some drinks and ice cream as we had been told the view of old Havana from the top was nice.
After an all day, and rather circuitous, journey from northern New England, where snow still covered the ground, we (wife, self, and daughters, aged 12 and 7) found ourselves looking down from the balcony of our fourth floor room onto the vibrant street scenes below, at the coner of Obisbo and Mercadores Strees in the heart of romantic Habana Vieja. Salsa music wafted on tropical air from the nearby Plaza de Armas and, even though it was midnight, there were many people strolling about the streets below. We were fascinated; we watched, hypnotically, for more than an hour, 'til travel fatigue overcame us. Next morning, before setting out on a tour of the city, we ejoyed a wonderful buffet breakfast at the open-air rooftop resteraunt. Before heading down to Santiago de Cuba, we enjoyed two more nights at the Ambos Mundos, plus another two nights before departing Cuba. The staff was OUTSTANDING, personable, solicitious, often even anticipating our needs. The lobby piano bar, just off the street, is a nice place to relax and have a snack. The rooftop, open air restaurant was a particular favorite for breakfasts. Although the hotel lacks a swimming pool, who needs it, with so much to see and do in Habana! Like Hemingway did in the 1930's and 1940's (his room #501 is preserved as a mini-museum), we hope to return again and again to the Ambos Mundos, and would recommend it to anyone who treasures romance and individuality.
The first room assigned to us was a dark dingy and depressing room facing the inner courtyard. The shower was appalling, I may have destroyed it trying to close the stall door. For this we were charged the same rate as the nicer, airy, bright rooms facing the street. We were able to change for the last 3 nights to one of the nicer rooms. No complaints there. I had been looking forward to visiting the Hemmingway museum on the 5th floor, but for the 4 days we were there it didn't seem to be open . When a friend tried to contact us at the hotel regarding a family emergency at home, the desk clerk refused to take a message, claiming he needed a room number. We found out about the emergency when we got home. Most of the staff were friendly and helpful, however we found the service in the rooftop garden mediocre at best. Sitting down at a table was no indication to the staff that you wanted some service. The hotel has curb appeal, and the lobby bar and musicians were good. Good location.
I feared the nightlfe sounds drifting up the courtyard from previous posts and brought earplugs, but I never used them. The hotel's best asset is its location - in the heart of Old Havana, just a block from the Plaza de Armas, which is the most inviting and lively plaza in the city. (I almost stayed at a Parque Central hotel based on some cursory research; I'm glad I didn't. When I arrived I discovered that this park is loud, filled with diesel-fumes, ringed with perpetual traffic, and often filled with touts.)
Unfortunately chose the Ambos Mundos for 9 days over New Year 2003. The only good thing was the friendly staff in the rooftop restauant. The room and bathroom were very small and very tired - the paint on the re-painted bath - to cover the chipped enamel - was peeling off, and the ceiling leaked when it rained, although we were not on the top floor(!); which sums up the accommodation! The hotel is on five floors built round a roofed in central atrium. As a result the endless tuneless piano playing on the ground floor, and the nightly very loud pop music on the 2nd floor function room echo around the boombox of the hotel until 2.00am every night. The street cleaners and adjacent building site staff begin work at 4.30am with conversations shouted at one another as only Cubans know how! Havana and Cuba are friendly, fascinating, full of live music, and sad, but avoid the Ambos Mundos if you want to enjoy your visit. Don't miss taking a bus ride to Trinidad on the south coast.
Clean and convenient
I stayed at the Ambos Mundos for a week in February 2003. It was very clean, the staff friendly and helpful, almost all spoke english, and it was a pleasant experience. It was a little noisy due to the construction of a building next door, and the music from the street went on until well after midnight, but overall it is an excellent hotel and I would definitely stay there again.
The accomodation's basic, but the roof terrace bar's pleasant and the staff unbelievably friendly and helpful above and beyond the call of duty. Fantastic location right in the centre of old Havana.