Travel Blogs from Havana
... who have made it to the major leagues, and it’s cool to see where they probably started out playing.
I went up the Paseo and ended up at the Melia Cohiba hotel. I was pretty happy to find out that they had a currency exchange in the hotel since my credit and debit cards don’t seem to work in any of the ATM’s on this whole island. I was able to get cash out at the currency exchange office, so ...
... We stopped there for our lunch. It was very simple fare: black beans and rice, roast pork, mashed yuca root and salad. It was, in short, classic Cuban meal. The ingredients, though, were very fresh. I had once worked on a similar farm in the US, and I could tell from the taste that the vegetables had been picked within the last 24 hours. The flavors were very vibrant, in a way that you don't find ...
... Not to mention there is no Internet what so ever which was quite difficult to come to grips with when you really needed it.
We arrived at our Casa which was just lovely. A casa is a local Cubans home, we stayed with Lilly and her children and parents, they were such lovely people and so helpful. The casa was a little out of town but was just perfect for us and the views that we had of the malecon (famous 1 mile long beach wall) from the balcony were just beautiful.
... Cuban time. 1 beer, 1 ice cream sandwich and a huge rainstorm later at 3.50 the every 30 minute hop on bus reappeared. It kept on raining but that didn't stop us going to have a coffee at the Plaza Veija. Back to the Casa before walking to Vedado about an hour away to meet up with our new group. We are down to 6: a Swiss girl, a Brazilian, an Irishman, an Aussie who was a kiwi and us. A very different mix. Bargained our taxi ride home which was ...
Hola y bienvenido!
After finally making it on the flight to Havana, our entry into Cuba was just slightly delayed as Roger was not allowed through customs at first. No reason was given but after some time answering additional questions from the officials he was ultimately waved through. Yeah, we've finally made it!
Havana (and the whole rest of Cuba) greeted us with beautifully sunny and hot weather. We took a taxi to our casa particular (a Cuban style Bed ...
How has this hotel rated in the past?
Historical Traveler Reviews El Comodoro Havana
The pool is wonderful
I just returned from Havana this week and stayed at the Comodoro. It is a great location and the pool is really fantastic. The review from Toronto (below) provided great information. The rooms in the hotel are a bit small, but for two people we were fine. We had a great balcony with an ocean view. I never saw cockroaches as mentioned in other reviews, but we did have a lovely gecko residing in our room which added flavor to the stay! The room was very clean as was the bathroom, but it is probably at a 2-3 star standard in the US. However, after visiting most of the hotels in Miramar, we found the Comodoro to have the nicest lobby and pool area. The staff was very friendly and helpful. There is a fantastic breakfast buffet. There is also a nightly dancing and live band show. The daily shuttle to downtown Havana saved a lot of taxi fare. We also had mojitos and veggie sandwiches at the pool bar, which were inexpensive and good. We did not spend any time at the "man made" beach, but there were several people enjoying this area. I also never saw the gym or spa--which seem to have been closed. But, there was an opportunity to get a nice massage by the pool. Another friend stayed in the bungalows and really enjoyed them. I would really recommend staying here and spending time by the pool!
Was at the Comodoro first week of Jan 2004,
Great neighbourhood, Room was ok with bit of a stale smell..but clean and well maintained....staff was friendly but was stopped everywhere i went because they thought i was Cuban (i'm black) this was an ongoing thing everywhere i went cubans arent allowed in certain places so that inconvenience to say the least was extended to me.....loved the pizza in the italian restaurant...They have a little blocked off beach/pool...was there for one day and wasnt so bad...nice patio and couldnt believe how cheap the drinks were. breakfast was ok but thats not what i was there for....Taxis to the city arent expensive...thats if you dont catch the shuttle bus that comes every few hours. Miramar is a beatiful neighbourhood with great shopping and it was kinda exciting ot watch the locals do their thing... Havana is amazing if you block out all the [--] youll have a good time.
Dont do it
this was not great experience - having stayed in the Brisas in Guardalavaca which was well run clean and an enjoyable experience I am afraid this was anything but - 49 people arrive from the airport and only one person on the check in - staff were not helpful or friendly- the hotel is grubby and in desparate need of a pressure washer, particularly around the pools, paint on all white woodwork around the bungalows and a man with a broom. The hotel attracts students who study locally and party goers to the loud disco - I find it disconcerting to have to carry my own bags to rooms walking along narrow paths by pools when party goers are throwing each other into the pool fully dressed. Food at breakfast was average at best and a fraction as good as our previous hotel.
Our stay was made worse as we arrived shortly after a hurricane but to be clear this was not the cause of the problems above - the dirt around the pool was long term. As a result of the hurricane we only had water for a couple of hours each day , there was a complete failure to communicate what was going on - we had to acquire a bucket and get water from the pool to flush the toilet and finally when they told us they had arranged showers ( 2 for men and 2 for women ) for 2 hours for the 50 people departing on tuesday 17th august when we got to the rooms there was no water- on getting to the airport and talking to other holiday makers none had the problems with water we had - if I won a 2 week holiday for the family ( including flights ) in this hotel I wouldnt go. To finish with a couple of positives , the Holiday Place rep Erio was excellent and the biggest cockroaches I have seen outside of a museum.
I have stayed at the Comodoro on a few occasions and from the moment I walked into the Lobby I felt welcomed. During each stay in this ocean side city resort, I had nothing but the best service. The staff is very friendly and very helpful. The rooms were always spacious and kept in very good order. The number of restaurants offered a various choice of good dining experience. Many wonderful memories I have were experienced in the 24hour hotel lobby bar. I met many people from many walks of life while sipping on Cuba's world famous Mojito's, laughing and learning new cultures. I recommend this Hotel to anyone.
I stayed at the Hotel Comodoro for a two-week period from April to May 2004 and thought that I should share my experience at this hotel with you.
Hotel Comodoro is located in the suburbs of Havana in the Miramar neighbourhood, which is located on the North West Coast of Cuba. Next door to the Comodoro is the Melia Habana Hotel and there are also other hotels in the area. The south side of the main building of Hotel Comodoro faces the sea but the hotel only has a man-made beach. Miramar is a very nice suburb and you will not find the buildings old and dilapidated like those in some parts of the very old areas in Havana. The streets are wide and pleasant.
Hotel Comodoro is rated as a 4 star hotel (Cuba standards) but may be considered both as a 3 star and 4 star for various reasons. I will first list the 3 star part of the hotel. The hotel comprises a main building and two bungalow sections. The bungalows are pretty nice for big crowds and families or lovers who want to be cosy in their own world but does not work out to be very reasonable if you are going alone. They were built about 10 years ago. I don't know if I could rate the bungalows as 3 or 4 stars. I did visit a one bedroom and two-bedroom bungalow and felt like if I were in an apartment. My version of a 3 star is where I stayed (the hotel room on the 4th floor of the main building). I loved the view from my room as it faced the sea. The downside: the bathroom tub and sink needed upgrading because they were worn and the counter around the sink always seemed to be flooded. The room was very comfortable and clean. If there were two of us, there would not have been enough room for accommodating our folded clothes because there was only a little chest of drawers that contained three drawers, located in the clothes cupboard. The corridor carpet did need either shampooing or upgrading. This is the 4th floor. I cannot say what the 2nd and 3rd floors were like. So I rated my bedroom as a 3 star.
I did pay $2.00 U.S. a night for the safety deposit box in my room. I don't know if they charge the same amount for the bungalows.
The main floor of the main building, which was built 50 years ago, is very nice. There is the main cafeteria, a Cuban restaurant, an Italian restaurant and a 24-hour bar that also serves coffee and tea. The food at the Italian restaurant was acceptable and the Cuban food menu could have been better. They also served fries (called roasted potatoes - which one would not want in a restaurant at a hotel for dinner) with the chicken, which seemed to be a bit tough. I would have preferred my potatoes boiled, mashed or roasted in the oven. I did not care very much for the Cuban restaurant. I did not enjoy it as I did at the Palaradares (downtown) where the food was real Cuban food, was homemade and tasty and extremely reasonable. The breakfast buffet was O.K. They tried to have a variety of things, so you could take your pick and there was always a freshly made omelet if you needed one. The fruit was varied but I have found that in Cuba you tend to get sliced fruit and nothing is done fancy as I am used too. The fruit except for the oranges were not very sweet. The oranges were the best that I have ever had. Usually when you get fruit in the tropics they are sweet. It must be the type of soil in Cuba. We can't do anything about that - that's nature. The yogurt was excellent (which is not thick like what we get in Canada), cereal, lovely tropical juices made from guava and mango and breads. There were also sweet things like donuts and fruit flans to have with breakfast (could have been for some foreigners from the European countries).
There are lots of chairs in the lobby area to relax. This area is definitely 4 star. At the bar which is opened for 24 hours, you can pick up a cup of coffee or tea during the night or hot water for your thermos, which you could be found in your room.
There are a few grills at the hotel but at this time of the year, there were only two of them opened. One by the man-made beach and the other in the bungalow area to the right of the main building, where the pools weave their way through the complex. The food was cheap here and very good. A burger with salad and fries cost $4.50 to $5.00. The chicken was also softer and tastier than at the Cuban Restaurant. It is opened for 24 hours every day. The grill which is located in the bungalow area to the left side of the main building was closed as that area was closed and seemed to need some renovations which were in the works. There is an ice cream parlour and kids section in the main lobby of that section which was opened until late at night. The meals in the hotel averaged around $10.00 to $11.00 a night. The buffet in the cafeteria at night was $15.00. I only went to the buffet once and there was a lot of food to choose from and looked very good. I am not a big eater and could not take advantage of what they had to offer.
The Comodoro does not only contain a hotel and bungalows but has a very large shopping complex. This is definitely a 4 star feature for the hotel. There is a grocery store with lots of imports, drinks, alcohol and some local food. Along the street are also many shops besides those in the mall. The clothes, shoes, etc. in the shopping center are quite reasonable and come in from China, Spain and Brazil (and maybe other places). They are cheaper than in Canada and some are quite nice and of good quality. So you can come to this Mall to shop if you are in Havana. They have a bit of everything that you would find in any mall elsewhere. There is also a fitness centre and beauty salon where you could have your hair done, facial (one of the best that I have had), pedicures, massages, etc. You do have to pay for the use of the Gym and tennis court. They were charging me $30.00 for two weeks for the use of the tennis court, gym and sauna. You also have to pay a $10.00 registration fee. There is also an eating place next door but I was never able find the entrance but it is part of the complex. If you want to sip a Cerveza, there is a beer garden on the street. The entrance to this street and along the street has security. Comodoro has no lack of security. I would walk around the complex at any hour of the night and feel safe. There are also security booths at some of the corners on the streets in the area. I felt very safe in the area.
Staff: The staff of the hotel is a plus to the hotel. 90% of the people are very nice. That does not say that the others are not but they are very nice people and make your stay very comfortable and make you feel like you belong there.
The Internet service in the office at the hotel is not very good. There is also an Internet café in the lobby in the bungalow lounge but I did not remember to go there so I went next door to the Melia Habana to use theirs. They do not stop you from entering the hotel. Just ask where the Internet café is and you will be directed where to go. The Melia Habana charges $3.00 for 15 min. and $5.00 for 30 min. and their Internet works very fast. This is the same rate at Comodoro, but I wish you luck at the latter.
The shuttle service, which is free, runs 5 times a day. They leave the hotel at 9 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 3:00 p.m., 6:00 p.m. returning from Havana 45 min. after each trip with the exception of the 9 p.m. trip to Havana which returns from Havana at 11:30 p.m. If you take a taxi, it should cost no more than $7.00. There is a private taxi, without a meter. owned by the guy who hangs around the lobby area who took me to Havana twice for $7.00. You can get a metered taxi at the front door also.
Entertainment: Because it was low season there was not much entertainment going on. There was karaoke most nights. They did not find it practical to bring in the entertainers to play for a few people, but three nights before I left there was a lot of guests and there were two fashion shows. At one of the shows, singers also entertained us. David and his co-worker from the animation team were very nice people. They are responsible for the beach and night entertainment, salsa and Spanish lessons (the Spanish and salsa lessons are free).
Travellers Cheques. Comodoro Hotel does not change traveller's cheques. If you have to change traveller's cheques you have to go to the Banco de Metropolitano which is located on Third Avenue about 10 blocks from the hotel and it costs $7.00 to $8.00 return by taxi. The bank will not change your traveller's cheque without the numbered receipt when purchased, even if you have your passport. You can also withdraw money from the banking machine at the bank, which is located opposite the Melia Habana (which is located next door). Reception does not take travellers cheques but will change your pesos from the banking machine to U.S. dollars.
There is no beach towel service like the resorts, so bring you own beach towel.
I think I have given you a lot of info. Would I stay at the Comodoro on my next trip to Havana? Certainly, as I prefer to stay in the suburbs and I felt at home here. If you speak English and have a problem, Rolando and Valdez, two of the doormen speak English very well and are very intelligent people and can answer all of your questions. Sonia, the Cubanacan representative, is also very fluent in English.
Have a good trip.
Well after watching cockroaches crawling over the deserts at out resort in Guardalavaca for the previous 10 days you would think we would be used to it by now, however we where not ready for the size of these babies!! Good/quick check in, however no information was given about facilities, restaurants and opening times etc. We made our way to our bungalow which looked lovely from the outside, went in and found in a bit smelly and damp and also only 1 bed, got into 2nd room to the sight of our creepy crawly friends! (not just us, most people we spoke to also had extra room guests!) Spent one (sleepless) night as we arrived at 12.30am (with broken air-conditioning) before moving into a hotel in town the following morning. The pool is nice but with sun loungers crowding the small paths makes it hard to get around the pool areas. The rooms in the bungalows were really dated and a bit like an old Butlins chalet. For the time we were there we found it just too far out from Havana, it cost $8-$10 dollars each way in a cab.
Not too good
We arrived after spending 10 days at Guardalavaca where we had a relaxing time.
The accomodation in the main hotel was disappointing, our room left a lot to be desired, the general areas and bungalows (although we didn't see inside) appeared to be a lot better. The restaurants where pleasant, in particular the Italian and there was a good selection for breakfast.
Our beds were like bouncy castles and we spent a very uncomfortable 3 nights, the bathrooms smelt of damp and our shower constantly leaked.
Good 3-4 Star Hotel
Hotel Comodoro is a good hotel, not very good, not very bad, but a good hotel. The rooms at the bungalow are decent and clean, the rooms in the hotel are older but clean. The bathrooms can use an upgrade, especially the showers. The staff is friendly and there are always more than enough doormen to be of assistance right in the Lobby. There are three restaurants, the buffet is O.K. but you get tired after a while in an all inclusive. The Italian not bad for Cuba and the Cuban restaurant has a nice ambience and decent food. You are in a very nice are - Miramar and right on the ocean. Business center and internet connection very bad. All in all O.K. for the price
Good for Cuba
I stayed at the Commodoro for just over a month as I was studying
there. Compared to the rest of the hotels in Havana, this one was
pretty good. The food was quite monotonous (I cannot tell you how many
tuna sandwiches I ate in a month) and in typical Cuban style they will
try to rip you off on your bill so always make sure it adds up! They
find it amusing when you catch them and fix it right away.
The shower was always hot, I could jump into the pool from the balcony and always felt safe with all of the security around. One word of caution, avoid swimming in the ocean enclosure, I got an awful rash after going in there. Oh and the internet was sooooo slow and worked maybe 4 days out of the 31 I was there for so use the internet at the Melia down the street. NEVER make phone calls, my 10 minute call home was over 30 USD, buy a phone card or get them to call you!
Comodoro - Got Kids then consider this Hotel.
If you have children and want to spend time in Havana then this is a good place to stay. The hotel itself is probably the closest to a resort hotel in the city. As a family of 5 with 2 teenagers and an 8 year old we got 2 'bungalows' each with a separate sitting room, bathroom and bedroom and a small kitchenette with a fridge and cupboards containing nothing but glasses. The balconies are nice to sit on as there are palm trees outside nearly all of them and they overlook the swimming pools which weave there way throughout the complex.
Restaurants are alright. I think there are 4 in total including the bar beside the pool. The main restaurant serves buffet food which is also good but I was getting tired of it after a week. This restaurant overlooks the saltwater pool which we never did swim in but it does look inviting. The hotel lies about a 15 minute drive from Old Havana.
There are 3 or 4 return shuttle bus runs into town everyday or a taxi will cost about $7US each way.