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Travel Blogs from Havana
When we arrived at Havana airport, we were lulled into a false sense of security as a twenty-something year old with legs-up-to-her-armpits met us straight off the plane and glided us past all of the controls and into an air conditioned bar where a cold beer was waiting. Really. Reality returned ten minutes later when we had to go back to collect …
... then spent a couple of days travelling the length of the country from Santiago in the south east up to Vinales in the north west, breaking the journey in Santa Clara to visit the Che Guevara monument, museum and mausoleum, alongside primary school children who are introduced to their national hero at the earliest opportunity. The Vinales Valley is wedged into the Sierra de Los Organos mountain range, has dramatic rocky outcrops, limestone cliffs and tobacco plantations. Here we ...
... the best in Cuba. The tour culminated with a small sample of the 7 year old rum neat - fortunately this was not to Dolly's palate so I HAD to finish both. We then had rum to pack into our ever expanding baggage.
We finished the day watching the firing of the battery, a single canon at the old fort, at 21.00hours. This happens every day and is to signify the time when the city gate to the old walled city was closed. The soldiers wear old Spanish style uniforms and follow ...
I should mention rum here is cheap. I mean really cheap. Like a full sized bottle and a 1.5liter bottle of coke or Tu Cola (the Cuban version of coke) for $4.50. Ah, the pirate life for me!
So, in the morning we are off to the east to explore the quiet town of Trinidad. We are keeping our Arctic gear handy in case the busses here are anything like Mexico. Havana was nice but it's time for greener pastures.
Travelin' Illegals signing out!
... holding out pesos waiting for someone to stop. She has found her outfit quite effective in getting a ride quickly. Patricia works 3 jobs to make ends meet and we gather that is not unusual. She entertained us with her stories and her delightful personality.
Not far from this home ...
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Historical Traveler Reviews Hotel Saratoga Havana
Spent 3 nights here in the middle of our holiday. This hotel is advertised as a 5 star hotel and it certainly felt like it. There were staff everywhere to open the door, help with your luggage etc.
Saratoga hotel, Havana - Great!
Excellent except for breakfasts which were only luke warm and the poached eggs were solid. Raul, the concierge, is very helpful and pleasant. Rooms very comfortable and well appointed. Bars are very good and the bar staff are knowledgeable. All in all - terrific.
I stayed here on business for 6 days in September 2006. It was my second trip to Cuba and my second trip to Havana.
I agree with most people here and believe the Saratoga is an excellent hotel by cuban standards. Fortunately the problems with the hot water where solved when I went there so no cold showers for me!!
My new husband and I stayed here for the start of our honeymoon in Cuba. It was one of the better hotels we experienced throughout our trip however, it is important to realise that Cubans have no notion of what good service actually is. The conceierge Raul was, however, more than attentive to our needs and was very helpful provided we were firm with what we wanted to do and did not just go along with his suggestions (what he described as the most amazing restaurant with a pretty terrace and an exclusive private dining experience was, in fact, a shack in his friend's garden, a 45 minute cab ride away with the usual selection of grilled meat with rice and beans and every other person in the hotel eating there too). That said he is useful for local information. The Saratoga rooms are spacious, clean and (for Cuba) tastefully decorated with a nice view of the square, Capitol and Patargas cigar factory. Food is terrible, the paladares were so much better than any restaurant we tried, including that of the hotel. The rooftop pool is without doubt a major boon in smelly Havana. Yes there are problems with hot water but this is the case with the whole of Cuba and mostly occurs in the middle of the night. And yes everyone is on the make, after a tip, giving you a recommendation, both inside and outside the hotel, this can get tedious but it is mostly harmless. Having taken a look at other hotels in Havana it is probably one of the best, but at no point will you feel pampered or looked after as you would expect in 5 star hotel. Many of their efforts to be helpful are in fact laughter-inducing (if you don't laugh you will cry). The hotel offers a welcome respite from the exciting, hot street-life of Havana. Ultimately, Saratoga tries hard and for that we were grateful.
We stayed on our honeymoon in November. Loved the place. Excellent facilities for havana and it had just opened. Found the staff really friendly and the hotel in excellent condition throughout.
The best in Old Havana
Of all the historical hotels in Havana, the Hotel Saratoga is by far the best. We stayed in a room overlooking the Capitola Builiding and the parks, Wow, what a view.... The room was beautiful and very comfortable. The pool on the roof overlooking the city is spectacular. The only negative was the quality of the food on the morning buffet. Overall, I highly recommend this hotel if staying in Havana, just make sure you adjust your expectations when traveling there.
Hotel Saratoga was my first experience of a 5 star hotel in Cuba, and compared to the 5 * Sandels Hotel Princesa Del Mar in Veradero, it was very good.
A Very Good Hotel
We stayed at three different Hotels in Havana, The Saratoga, NH Parque Central and the Nacional. This Hotel was the best of the three. We arrived late 11.30 pm, however we were welcomed most heartily with a cocktail. The room was large and clean and the bathroom was spotless. If I were going to Havana again this would be my first choice without a doubt.
A further thought - if a swimming pool is important to you then unfortunately this hotel only has a small pool on the roof but it does suffice.
The Saratoga is a newly renovated luxury hotel very well situated across from the park and Capitolio. Since it's on the outer edge of where renovations are taking place it borders a more run-down area of old Havana which gives you a good sense of local life in all its decaying, noisy, musical beauty.