Armadores de Santander Hotel, Havana City Cuba. 4 stars,
Start based on 43 reviews
- Destination: Havana City
- Address: Calle Luz Esquina A San Pedro, 4, la Havana, 10100, Cuba
- Phone: +53 7 8628000
- Accept child:Yes
- $ No pricePer person
Description: Armadores de Santander Hotel Cuba
Opposite the main Port right on the edge of Old Havana, sits this unique Hotel, The terrace and port-facing rooms have astonishing, panoramic views of the bay. Superb places to take your breakfast, enjoy a quiet read, or let your mind wander out to sea, past the glitter of port-lights at night. Nearby San José artisanal Cuban market, Saint Francis of Assisi Square, Museum of Rum, Plaza Vieja (Old Square) and a pleasant walk through the streets of Old Havana.
Mapa de Armadores de Santander Hotel
Ideal spot for breakfast by the sea and within an easy distance from the many restaurants La Habana has to offer.
- 63 % of people enjoy this
“No water! ”
Beautiful building. Room overlooking the harbor with balcony wasn't bad. No toilet paper is allowed in the WCs. Have to use a bucket. Shower was pathetic and no hot water then water failed altogether at 8:00, no WCs no shower Had the nerve to try to charge for the bottled water in the minibar! Management completely unbothered. Great City, but stay elsewhere.
“The hotel from hell ”
We stayed for one night following a one day tour of Havana .The trip arranged via the Virgin rep in our hotel in Varadero. We arrived at the hotel and were allocated a room . Well holes in the ceiling a door to a terrace in which did not shut properly. we had to wedge a chair by the door. Even then it did not close correctly. The bathroom ,well the shower tray was overflowing when you tried to have a shower. The rusty bin by the dirty toilet to dispose of toilet tissue. The whole room was far clean. Hence we had one night we could survive. We went for the meal in the evening" black bean soup " " We still feel sunwell even when we think of it.On return from a night at the tropicana, we hada couple of drinks the barman telling us if we needed anything there would be someone around all night. During the night I went to find assistance as there was a problem the hotel was in complete darkness and no one to be found.I did not try breakfast or lunch.I do not want to imagine what those meals were like.To add insult to injury we arrived home to find we had £200 pounds missing. We can only conclude this was taken whilst at the hotel and on reading others reviews this is not the first time this has happened.You watch hotels from hell on the televison. This hotel needs to be nominated. Here we are back home and still suffering from the experience. If anyone mentions this hotels name avoid it or you may well live to regret it.
“Hated this hotel ”
We had had a lovely time in Varadero and took our reps advice to spend the last evening in Cuba in the capital Havana. Our rep booked the trip which included an evening at the Tropicana show. On arrival at the room,(at the Santander) we were so disappointed as you couldnt have got a more stark change from what we had already experienced in our hotel at Varadero. The room was dark and gloomy with a very small window which looked out onto someones accommodation (a hut) and what can only be described as a poor, run down area. No view at all of the harbour. The bathroom was of poor quality with holes in the bath, and the shower had been installed incorrectly so the water couldnt go over your body. The room was not sufficiently cleaned. The communal areas were not much better and the toilets in the recpetion area had no seats and the doors wouldnt shut (this was the ladies toilets). The food was of poor quality and we couldnt eat anything other than toasted sandwiches there. All in all, I wouldnt ever want to stay there again and would not recommend to anyone.
“Do Not Stay Here!!! ”
When we first arrived we were satisfied with the location, but after about the third morning you get sick of waking up to the pollution from the oil refinery directly across the water from you. The rooms are extremely old, so obviously the bathrooms are growing all sorts of mold. We thought that the cleaning staff was pleasant and did a god job, leaving them a tip and a gift when we left, however upon returning to Canada when I opened my wallet my solo $20 Cdn bill was missing along with our park and fly ticket. (I never opened my wallet ONCE in Havana, it was zipped away in my carry on bag and left in our room) So obviously this meant the maids had rooted through our things. Rooms were dungeon like, ours did have doors that opened up to the patio but it is a shared patio. Toilets do not flush, the beds are the most uncomfortable I have ever slept on and the food in the restaurant is not worth trying. And as for the previous comment, we never had to pay for use of our safe and we used it every night....but this is what they do in Havana, they try to scam money from you every chance they can!!! The lady at the front desk sold me an internet card for 6 CUC then when I walked over to use it the bartender told me the computer was broken...the computer is 20 ft away from the front desk and she didn't bother to tell me this before I spent the money on the card?! We would not recommend this hotel to anyone, nor would we recommend Havana. If you are just passing through it would be worth walking around for one day but then keep moving! I got extremely ill and we had to return home early and let me tell you I have never been so happy to check out of a hotel before!!!
“IN ROOM THEFT WHILE ASLEEP! ”
I just returned from Havana and a stay at the Armadores de Santander. During my last and only night at the hotel, my room was robbed WHILE I SLEPT!! A suitcase and small bag were taken as well as a flashlight and alarm clock which were right next to me on a bedside table. The hotel refused to give us a copy of the security report resulting from their interview of us.
“Very poor experience with Virgin! ”
We stayed here as part of a one night stay with Virgin. The rooms had ants, cockroaches and hot water was non existent! I would not recommend this hotel to anyone. It was on our last night of our holiday and I have never been so glad to get on a plane in my life. The al a carte menu consisted of the rep shouting chicken or pork with a list in the hotel bar while we were waiting to check in. We ve asked Virgin for a refund but suprise suprise they are not interested! The Virgin rep told us they have had dozens of complaints about the hotel but Virgin is not interested. Don t stay here, you ll regret it!
“Not for the feint of heart......”
I just returned from a people-to-people tour and my group of 10 spent 7 nights at the Santander with a one night break between day 4 and 6. It was a good thing we all had a sense of humor, which was essential to staying here. Each of us had stories to tell - ants crawling all over the sink, the occasional roach, ceilings peeling and floating down over the bed, no windows, a narrow circular stairway in the two-tiered rooms, tubs that were (we are all over 65) very difficult to get in and out of with no mats in them and no hold bars, electricity not working (and just imagine you're in a room with no windows), a/c sometimes on, sometimes off, low water pressure, no water, no hot water, toilets that didn't flush (we had to ask for a bucket in order to flush the toilet - they went out and got us a new bucket and the handle promptly broke) and the grand finale - a pipe bursting in the dining room and water cascading from the ceiling (one of us got drenched). As I said, we all laughed because otherwise we would have cried. It made for great breakfast chatter.The location is wonderful but very noisy. The staff is lovely however. The food is decent, breakfast was always good. The hotel is a faded grand dame that needs some serious help. Caveat emptor.
“You want a window in your room too? No chance. ”
In its day this must have been a lovely building but that era concluded some time ago. The location is good with only a few minutes walk from Plaza Vieja and the roof bar is lovely too. I do appreciate that maintaining old buildings is costly however but there is little excuse for bad service. Within our group we had at least two rooms with no window resulting in a very damp smell, one with no loo, one with no ability to lock the door and the list went on. When the issues were reported they were met with the response that there was no alternative available which was doubtful. If i was ever back in Havana I would look to a other hotels before going back here.
“Roll up, roll up for the Room Lottery... ”
This hotel was a bit Jekyll and Hyde for my liking. First of all, the definite positives? It was a lovely building with a very endearing style, it?s in a good location on the edge of the old city and within easy walking distance to some great cafes and bars (El Bodeguita Medio, Café Paris, Floridita) as well as the best of Havana?s sights. The staff were also very warm and welcoming on check-in, but this is where we get into the realms of split personalities? While we were greeted with enthusiasm initially, the service was a definite hit and miss ? particularly at breakfast, where it could take two or three attempts at reminding them of your order before you actually get something, which may or may not be the right thing. I also asked if I could switch room shortly after check in, and was told I couldn?t because the hotel was full, but literally 5 minutes later I was sought out in the bar and invited to view an empty room? What to say about the rooms themselves? The room I was given didn?t have a working shower, so I asked to change. I was then shown a room that had NO WINDOWS. Yep, major room tip, make sure your room has a window ? apparently there are several rooms with no windows in this hotel. Granted my view wasn?t up to much, but at least it was some natural light and I could check the weather to decide what to where in the morning. I decided to stick to my original room, but later that night when I switched off the lights to go to sleep, discovered the room was flooded with light anyway, from the hall. The door to the room was surrounded by stained glass, enough to make sure the room is bathed in light even when yours are switched off. The second night I couldn?t stand it so unscrewed the bulbs in the uplighters in the corridor outside. The connecting door (which I assume was locked, didn?t try) into the room next door ensured that I heard word for word any conversation that was taking place. Other people in my group fared better, not all rooms came with stained glass entrance ways. One even had a spiral staircase splitting the room into ?lounge area/cupboard space? downstairs and bed upstairs. Another had scaffolding and work tools in theirs, but were happily upgraded to a palatial suite with a magnificent harbour view. One other little drawback was that after 5 hours of walking around dusty, hot Havana in shorts and flip flops, we wanted to go freshen up, shower and get changed for a nice night out ? but the hotel was completely without water. We were told unapologetically that it could be back on in ?half an hour, or 5 hours? ? granted, this may not have been the hotel?s fault as there was ground works being undertaken nearby, but it added to the comedy value of our experience at Havana's Fawlty Towers thus far. Oh, and I was also made to wait on check out until a maid checked my room and confirmed I was telling the truth that I didn?t take anything from the minibar. Overall, an entertaining stay, but not a great one!
“pretty bad ”
Not a hotel for the faint hearted. Our party of 8 was fortunately booked in for one night only but that was one too many. W.C quite unacceptable. Water supply erratic to say the least. In fact no water at all in the morning. Staff unsympathetic and even tried to charge for bottled water in minibar used to clean teeth. Rooms poor with mould on walls and ceiling
“Avoid, avoid, avoid. ”
We had booked (after much deliberation) to stay for 2 nights at Meson De La Flota for around £85 per night, as we liked the look of the area and the rooms sounded really nice. When we got there, we were told there was an 'electrical fault' (they had basically double booked our room) and they took us to Armadores de Santander instead, saying it was a much nicer hotel. By 'nicer' I think they it was bigger & more expensive. The hotel looks great from the outside, but it is on the tattier outskirts of the Havana Vieja area - right on the industrial port on one of the busier roads. We rejected the first room we were shown, as it was an internal one, very dark with with no windows. The second room we were shown (and accepted as we were tired and a bit fed up) was v odd. It had a mezzanine area with beds and the bathroom and the 'downstairs' area was a dark, unattractive and pokey area with a large window that was hard to open or shut and the bedroom was SO noisy due to the traffic outside (and we had ear-plugs!) The toilet wouldn't flush, there was no hot water at all for two days and the water pressure was shocking. The breakfast was pretty bland too I am afraid. I wouldn't recommend this hotel to anyone - there are much nicer (and cheaper) hotels to stay at in Havana. On a positive note,the doorman and one of the receptionists were both very friendly and helpful.
“Sad Lesson ”
Staying at the Armadores de Santander offers a vivid but sad lesson on Cuba's economic transition. It can be a painful and costly lesson as well if you go to this hotel on vacation or expecting minimal creature comforts. As described elsewhere, it is a recently restored building on the fringe of the tourist area of Old Havana. And, yes, it looks out on the industrial areas of the port; exotic, antique and genuine in a rusty kind of way; not exactly "colonial" the way most people think of the term. The hotel started with a charming structure, though not nearly as spectacular as most of the other nearby hotels that are part of the state enterprise that runs old Havana, the San Cristobal travel agency. And, the restoration was superb, the result tasteful and evocative. The trouble is that the hotel is managed and resourced with about the same level of incentives and commitment as a state cardboard factory. So, what you get is mold growing around an air conditioning duct that leaks foul water and a toilet that never completely flushes. The last night I was there--happily only one of two--the hotel water supply shut down entirely at 10 pm and had not been restored when I left at 10 am. In the face of all this the staff is charming but helpless. To them, it's just the way it is. This is close to a worse case of what you get with a San Cristobal property, but they are all run the same way. Exceptional care in the restoration. Amazing deficiencies in the maintenance and supply. The great thing about travelling to Cuba is that you are actually confronted with a real place. If you want a complete escape to a tropical fantasy where your creature comforts are paramount, you don't belong in Havana in the first place. But even if you are expecting just the basics, there are better choices around town than the Santander.
“A colonial Hotel in front of a refinery . . . ”
The Hotel looks nice from outside. Ensure you get a fully refitted room otherwise you might have no warm water or broken forniture. Anyway if you get the right room you are quite ok. The real problem is the place stinks because it' s just on the side of the Havana bay in front of the huge refinery that refines the oil provided to Cuba by PDVSA, the Venezuelan oil company. My wife and daughter got red eyes and cough. I needed to buy drugs to counter the effect of this un-healthy situation. DO NOT SELECT THIS HOTEL, IT WILL COST YOU SOME OF YOUR GOOD HEALTH
“Suggest you find another hotel ”
I was part of a group that recently stayed at this hotel (See Arthur N's review). The front desk staff shorted several of us on the exchange rate, there was a lack of water, and the last day I had to bath from a bucket of water brought up to my room by the staff. And at breakfast the last morning, with no water in the hotel, they tried to charge for water at breakfast. Additionally, the first room I was given had no windows - it was an interior room. I will admit that the room was relatively clean and the staff did make up the room every day. That's the only thing that saved it from a one star rating - that and I did like the location.
“no hot water !! front desk not helpful ”
I was at this hotel for 6 nites with an American people to people photography program. On the outside the hotel looks presentable. Nice small lobby and friendly bar area. The room was large and clean but the bed was old and sagging. On two separate days we had no water at all.... the truck hadn't delivered. another day the A/C was not working. The front desk was not helpful. They didn't seem to sympathetic or interested in the guests.. They charge $2.00/day to use the room safe. They would not exchange our money and sent everyone to the bank. they didn't sell internet cards, although they had one computer in the bar. Customer service is not their strong point. The hotel is located in old havana at the eastern end of the malacon.
“Poor Hotel - this is Cuba! ”
Not much more you can add to the reviews already mentioned. The hotel's public areas are nicely renovated and charming. The rooms are somewhat of a disaster - hard beds, lumpy pillows, dungeon-like rooms with poor ventilation and bathrooms that are on its last leg in need of a deep clean. A safe that you magically need to pay 2 CUC's per night for the privilege of using despite being in the room. The staff are helpful, which does help with the frustration you will no doubt feel by staying here. Not worth the investment. In fact overpriced is the mantra in Havana, so don't expect any third world bargains galore. Along with unscrupulous restaurants that serve bad food, scamming taxi drivers, and hustling locals who will try sell you everything under the sun with the guise of striking up a friendly conversation. Do yourself a favour and go someplace else instead.
“Nice Building in good location ”
The historical building itself is beautiful, aswell as its location in the bay. The room is big, but poorly equipped, no place to open the suitcase, the bathroom was not very clean (cochroach), no hangers for the towels and the flush never worked properly, altough we informed the reception from the first day. What was the big plus are the super friendly women at the reception, specially to mention Tamara, she speaks good English and was always very helpful, altough maintenance didnt solve the toilte flush. Overall its ok, but I rather pay a bit more for the Santa Isabel or Saratoga Hotels nearby.
We were due to go to Hostal San Miguel (which looked really nice - we had booked in January) but 2 days before we were due to leave Travel Republic told us our booking was cancelled - be warned! Last minute panic but fortunately, through a contact in Havana, we got booked in here and at least had somewhere to stay. Had 4 days here. Not the best place, but okay-ish for Cuba. Had awful room on the first night, dark and damp, but were able to change for one of the rooms off the roof terrace on top floor, which was better. No proper windows - you have to open door onto terrace, or the shutters for decent light. It's all a bit run-down. Big problem is the lack of hot water as other reviews state. Breakfast not good. Gloomy staff. No butter, just a weird scrapping of something like mayonaise for your toast. Orange juice that tasted of disinfectant. Front desk mostly helpful. Plus side: barman made the best mojitos we had in Cuba. Location ok, but a bit on far side of town. If you have time, book somewhere better, and don't use Travel Republic.
“If you like cold showers, this is your place.”
Hotel Santander is ,like most places in Cuba, suffering from many years of wear with insufficient upkeep. Our group of eight spent 6 nights at this Old Havana former private home. It is charming with very tall ceilings and beautiful marble staircases, but charm did not make up for the lack of hot, or even warm, water for 5 days. A previous review suggested getting a "refitted room" to avoid the hot water problem. We stayed in 8 rooms during our two stays and had hot water part of one day. I would also suggest travel slippers since the floors are filthy. A sound machine greatly helped block out the street noise. Despite these shortcomings, one can imagine Hotel Santander in it's grander days.
“As long as you do your private thing somewhere un private, the hotel is beautiful. ”
Sorry, we are not used to having to trow our used toilet paper in the trash, waiting a day before they clean the room. And that destroyed the whole impression of the hotel. It's a beautiful hotel, close to the sea ( not a great view, but hey.. It's Cubas Harbour), On the roof there is a very nice bar that you can sit and enjoy the everyday cuban life. the Breakfast at the hotel was .. Should I say: complicated... To have one waiter taking the order on every table that there is, and then going back in to the kitchen to make it kind of gives you the frustrated feeling we had every morning. Beside that it was perfect situated close to all you need. But i would not recomand this as a hotel for a family.
“A hotel in Havana ”
We got this hotel due to some problems in Hotel Florida. We were quite curious how this would be solved, but in the end everything went ok. That's also the conclusion for this hotel: yes you can sleep there, yes there is a bathroom, but nothing special or comfortable. After some weeks in Cuba, you learn that this is a normal hotel and it ain't get any better unless you go to a modern resort with a modern price. Breakfast is also ok, the bocadito de jamon y queso is nice and gets you through the morning. You can easily walk through old Havana and the Plaza de Armas is only a 10 minute walk away. At night we had no troubles nor did we feel unsafe.
“A very tired hotel ”
Most likely a beautiful hotel, 30 years ago. Like everything else in Havana, other than the very high end hotels now run by European companies, this place is very tired. Paint is chipping, windows don't open properly, public doors were broken, we ran out of water one morning, dusty. We had a suite which over looked the bay. Unfortunately all you could see was a gas refinery, a busted up seaside building that will take forever to renovate. Also the road beside the hotel is very busy so you get a lot of car noise and pollution. Fortunately the you get a sea breeze which helps. The doorman kept trying to get us to go to his restaurants he gets a commission on and to buy black market cigars. The free breakfast meant anything they had not what was on the menu. On the positive you are staying in Old Havana so just around the corner is all local and a walk to central Havana is only 15 mins. Many restaurants in the area, If you want to go to downtown Havana you need to take a taxi ride, around $5 or less. Havana is full of hustlers so you just need to be smart. It is safe, never felt threatened. Funny part, for some reason the power in our room short circuited one night. As a sorry for the inconvenience gift, they gave us a bottle of Rum. When we opened it when we got home, it was filled with tap water! The bottle was sealed so someone either sold them a fake load or they knew it and gave to us. If you decide to book one of the 2 story rooms, the spiral staircase to the upper floor is very narrow. Hard to get a big suitcase up to the top. The washroom and bed are on the upper floor, living room on the bottom floor. Too bad washroom wasn't on the bottom floor.
“Cuba with all its quirks”
As Pongitte10 says, this is Cuba, a world apart, where usual standards of service and accommodation don't apply. We spent 3 nights at Armadores de Santander in June and really enjoyed it. OK, so it's not what you might expect from a "4 star" hotel, it does have watermarks on some walls and holes in some of the ceilings etc. Cuba is a poor country and access to funds, building materials and lots of other goods is affected by the US embargo amongst other things. However Armadores is a gorgeous old building, formerly the home of a shipowner, with soaring ceilings, marble staircases and bannisters, a rooftop terrace with views to die for and a great location on the waterfront (not the Malecon). It has so much character and history and is very close to both Plaza Vieja and Plaza San Francisco. We had a great room with a balcony looking over the waterfront. It was clean and comfortable, beds OK and a safe in the room, although you had to pay to use it! We had hot water every day, although the water pressure wasn't great. Breakfast was OK. The hotel computer didn't work while we were there, neither did the credit card machine. As with just about every other hotel or business in Cuba that is owned by the government, we found the customer service to be very mediocre initially, but after a couple of days the staff were much more friendly, we had no complaints. This hotel is not for the 5 star resort tourist, but good for those looking for lots of local colour and character in their accommodation. By the way, many of the hotels in Havana Vieja are owned by Habaguenex, a government agency. We found all the hotels in the 4 star category had the same rack rate despite their varying degrees of standard and service, but you can find better deals on the internet.
“"It's Cuba, people!" ”
My lodging was arranged by a third party because I was part of a larger group. Since it was my first time in Havana and in Cuba, my expectations were not all that high. I would say that this hotel is fine for travelers and may not be suitable for US(?) tourists who expect hot water, the US customer service/hospitality mentality, and no leaks. I had both hot water every day--if I needed it--and leaks in my bathroom ceiling. I consider the latter part of the "story" that was my trip to Cuba. My room was HUGE. I did not spend much time in it--only to sleep. Bed seemed fine to me. Bar staff was friendly; the porters and security were friendly too. As for the reception, it depended on the day and the personality quirks. But they did find me another room when I requested a room change (to have a window). The kitchen-service staff were delightful and patient; they even went out of their way to offer food for a late return and an early departure. They did the best with what they had. And guests can choose to eat or stay there or not. If you want something high end, choose one of the other hotels here. But keep in mind, Cuba is not the USA. You are not surrounded by the conveniences of your own home nor does it mimic the sterility of the Warholian hotel rooms. Vive la revolucion!
“Typical Cuban Hotel.”
We stayed here for three nights in two different rooms on two occasions. I think some peoples expectations of hotels in Cuba are a little too high to be honest. Cuba is a very poor country (thanks America) and many things are scarce including fresh water which incidentally is brought by tanker to many hotels in Havana on a daily basis. The hotel has been restored to a high standard at some time in the past but is suffering from a lack of quality maintenance that just is not generally available in Cuba. The rooms have been tastefully decorated but clearly over the years things have been broken with some of the taps are leaking/towel rails broken for instance. We found this sort of problem in all 10 hotels we stayed in whilst visiting Cuba but you just learn to accept the fact that this is the way things are here. Our first room was beautiful (room 111) with a large bathroom and a balcony that opened up with a view of the old port area (and the noise of the ferry very early in the morning). The second room was at the back of the hotel and was alot quiter with a view of the Russian Orthodaox Church next door. OK the mattress on the beds we're not that comfortable but again this is the case for every hotel we stayed in but the sheets and towels were clean and well presented. The food at this hotel is in-keeping with what is available elsewhere on the island. We found the type of food available throughout the island was very limited as a result of the economy. Most things that are available in many countries are just not available in Cuba so the choice is limited with rice and beans being part of the staple diet. They just do not have the choice and do very well with the limited resources at their disposal. I think that the picture on a previous post about the saucer of jam is probably a fruit compote (probably Guava) and is actually very tasty. The hotel is conveniently located for most sight-seeing in Havana if you are prepared to walk for up to 20 minutes into town. Overall a pleasant stay here and I can recommend the Mohitos from the bar. Excellent. People, do some research before going to Cuba and then you won't be disappointed.
“OK for one night ”
Like the last reviewer, we stayed here as part of the Virgin overnight Havana trip (we might even have been on the same trip!). Our room (309) was absolutely huge, but with no windows. Just a couple of skylights near to the ceiling. But that was no problem. The bathroom was small and the hot water was very hit and miss. Unfortunately, this hotel is not known for its food. One waiter dropped some cutlery on the floor and rather than bend down to pick it up he kicked it through the restaurant and into the kitchen. He could not understand why we complained about this. The restaurant was not very good, even to the extent that, on hearing we would be having lunch there before going to the airport, we collectively refused and paid extra for an excellent lunch at the Hotel Nacional. So, OK for a one night stopover but no more.
“A Great Introduction to Cuba ”
My group and I stayed at the Armadores de Santander for four days at the beginning of our Cuba trip. It only takes a bit of research to realize that the luxury tourists are treated to in Cuba is extremely different from what the normal population endures. My expectation were low after reading several reviews, so I was extremely pleased when we were treated to a lovely room and hotel overlooking the bay. Yes, the tub was a bit on the rusty side and the water did not always run warm, but the hotel, like much of the tourist sections of Havana, are a trip back in time with twenty foot high ceilings, tile floors and furniture from an earlier era. The room was very comfortable and certainly large enough. Early morning I could step out on the porch and watch the day begin. Breakfast was always enjoyable and tasty. and evenings up on the patio bar were wonderful. The staff was willing to accommodate. It was an easy walk to many parks and attractions, both of the upscale tourist variety and the hard core living accommodations of the regular population. If you want a tiny taste of what this country has endured, this is a good place to do so.
“frozen in time ”
What a nice hotel, in a good location, facing the port and 2 minutes from the three main plazas The immediate port area and customs buildings are extremely run down, as is most of old Havana.. The hotel itself is a splendid piece of history and I think we were probably lucky as we were assigned the best bedroom in the hotel, a suite with a sunken jaccuzzi bath in the middle of the bedroom, a giant sized four poster bed and a separate sitting room. No problems with erratic water supply or non functioning toilet!! The reception staff were so nice, especially Tamara. Outside the hotel, was a wonderful 1956 Chevrolet taxi in pristine condition, which whisked us around the main sights at a reasonable price.
“Not for everybody but great for us. ”
We read all the bad reviews before we booked but went anyway. The hotel is right in the heart of Old Havana where most of the things we wanted to see and experience were close by. The staff were wonderful, loved the bar, the weather was fairly cool and windy when we were there March 8 to 11th so we didn't spend any time on the Terrace but I imagine it would be delightful in warmer weather. Nice little bar up there and a great view of the harbour from the front and old buildings and a square from the side. The hotel is very old and beautiful. Marble, high ceilings, real wood doorframes, doors, wardrobes etc. Our room was on the first floor, which is actually about 1 1/2 floors up from the lobby. Comfortable bed, pillows. Very basic washroom and there was a drip from the ceiling above us when you sat on the toilet but it was small and not constant so we were not bothered. The water was warm, not hot but when you're walking around in the sun all day it is still refreshing. Water pressure wasn't great but all in all, we knew we were better off than 95% of the Havana people so who were we to complain? Didn't notice any bad smells from the harbour as others stated. Room was noisy in the daytime and early evening but quiet at night. We were in the city, we didn't expect anything else from a small hotel. But this is the place to stay if you are looking to meet and speak with the locals. My husband was using his Spanish (what little he had) and got very good at it too as everybody was so patient and when he was searching for a word they helped him out. Great restaurants nearby that we could walk to, the malecon is not far, the market a few blocks. All those small narrow streets with cobblestones filled with people. We spent very little time in our room except to sleep and would sit in the bar which had tables with open windows to watch people going by. Reception was extremely helpful as was the bellhop and the bar staff by directing us, giving us ideas etc. We visited some of the upscale hotels and were so glad we were not staying there. We were in Cuba for a week, with 4 nights in Varadero where we got our share of being spoiled and then the 3 nights here, where we got to see the real Cuba and meet real Cubans. Would definitely go back.
“Lovely hotel, great location... bathroom not so much ”
I was really worried about this hotel due all the negative reviews. The rooms are spacious and clean and the location is great; you could take a one minute walk from the hotel and find yourself in a very poor neighborhood with people offering you to buy something (hey... it's part of the experience), or you could go the other way and see a whole other side of La Havanna with clean streets, beautiful buildings and lots of restaurants with live music. The only problem with this hotel is, as many reviewers here are stating, the bathroom. The cold showers are not a big deal, specially if you're out partying all night... a cold shower actually isn't so bad, however, my main problem was the toilet. You are not able to throw toilet paper into the toilet, you have to throw it into a trash can because the drainage is old and narrow and you can actually see a very poor flow of water when you flush. Other than that, it was a great experience.
“An adventure in Havana ”
Stayed at this hotel in Havana during an 11 day trip as part of a conference. On an overall basis the hotel was fairly nice, but a bit dated. The rooms are actually somewhat unique, its an older house that has been converted into a hotel. For example my room, which faced the harbor had a ceiling that was about 20 feet high, but another peers room had only 10 foot ceilings. The room's decor was decent, nothing exciting, but served its main purpose. The beds were basic twin beds, the mattresses were firm. One of the nice parts about the room was that the air conditioning worked great; however air conditioning appears to be limited only to specific rooms, rather than the common areas. The cleaning staff did a nice job of maintaining the room, my particular housekeeper liked to practice origami with the pillows and linen. The breakfast was decent, nothing spectacular, but was generally filling. The breakfast menu had items that weren't available for breakfast, which was rather strange. Overall, a nice basic selection. I usually had an omelet with cheese and ham, the style was a bit odd, you had the omelet with the ham and/or cheese put on top, but still tasted fine. I also usually had a plate of chorizo sausage, as well. Tried the dinner menu once, although a bit expensive, I really enjoyed the bacon wrapped beef wrapped around ham. I didn't use the internet, but my colleagues said it was a bit pricey for the number of minutes, but it was available. Desk service and service at the bar was usually quick. Only one big problem, the electricity went out one night, so became quite hot in the hotel, but they did get it running the next day. Overall the staff was usually fairly friendly, accepting my less than perfect Spanish, and working with me to find particular locations. Prior to our departure, the man in charge of the dining facilities noted that the hotel would be providing a breakfast to go, basically a sandwich, he asked if I'd like chorizo instead of ham. This was a nice touch, as it showed that the staff was taking some interest in their guests preferences. In regards to its location, the hotel is decently located to several major churches and squares in close walking distance, yet close enough to walk to some of the other historical areas closer to Plaza de Armas. Although the decor might be considered tired, I look at safety and how pleasant a hotel is. I would definitely be willing to stay in this hotel should I return to Havana
“Helpful and Friendly Staff. ”
I stayed at this hotel for 9 days. I was staying with Colleagues and we had 5 different rooms booked. The staff made our stay very pleasant. They were friendly and helpful. There was someone who spoke English at the front desk at all times. The doorman was always prepared to help with directions and suggestions about restaurants, museums, etc. This is a beautifully restored old building. Many of the rooms do not have big windows but most of the rooms were very spacious and full of Character. I would recommend asking for a suite or larger room. If you want a view, you need to ask for a room overlooking the harbour. Old TVs in the rooms provided CNN international and BBC news and lots of Spanish broadcasting. It was good to get news after being in the country for a couple of weeks. One room (103) was pretty small and the toilet didn't work at first, but that got fixed. The rooms are not cookie cutter rooms...they are all different. The breakfast was great, and included with our room charge. It was a served breakfast with eggs, ham, pancakes, pastries, great coffee, fresh orange juice, etc. Service was very quick and the dining room was beautiful with a view of the harbour. Attached to the hotel is a small restaurant/bar that was open all the time. We found a late night sandwich took a long time to be prepared. I think they had to go out to get bread. Service for drinks was immediate. It was good to always have access to cold drinks, bottled water, etc. There is an internet kiosk in the restaurant that a number of our people took advantage of. They said they had no problem with emails from this. There are better restaurants just a few minute walk away at Plaza de San Francisco. I found the location to be fantastic for exploring downtown Havana. A $3cuc taxi ride to Capitolio Nacional or Museo de la Revolucion, but I almost always walked. There is a beautiful roof top patio. Make sure you head up to the top of the stairs to relax there... great place to relax, read a book, etc. This hotel is a bit separated from some of the main tourist sites so it seems quieter and relaxed. After a long day exploring Havana it was a real sanctuary/oaisis to come back to. The second room I stayed in was huge, clean, and very comfortable. Most of my time in Cuba has been outside of "tourist" destinations, staying with Cubans in their homes, so I know that this hotel is luxurious by Cuban standards. It was perfect for our stay and I highly recommend it.
“Only stayed for one night, pleasantly surprised.”
We didn't choose this hotel, we stayed as part of an organised overnight trip to Havana. Despite the tour guide warning us not to expect too much, we were pleasantly surprised by the hotel. Nice, clean attractive interior. Staff were very helpful when I had to complain about noise from a neighbouring room. Despite the bell boy trying to flog me cigars and rum, and being served exactly the same meal four times in a row, we would stay here again in the unlikely event we ever return to Havana. Despite the views from the roof terrace being rather industrial, the location is excellent for exploring Havana
“Fantastic location in old Havana ”
Location is all for this hotel. Couple of minutes walk from markets either side and all the sites in old Havana. Food is typical Cuban and service is good. Our room was at the front with an amazing balcony and views over the harbour. All very clean although the lifts were not always walking.
“Read the positive reviews ”
I can only say that my 4 night stay here was very good although having read some of the reviews I was rather anxious prior to my arrival.My experience was very different to that of some of the negative reviewers.My room was on the top floor and I didn't experience any of the noise mentioned but this is a city and the hotel is by the port so if you book there you should realise it might not be quiet.As for the staff they were lovely and helpful and willing to engage in conversation but I always find if you smile and are pleasant to people first the response is usually positve.Breakfast I found very civilised served to you at your table rather than a scrum at a help yourself buffet and the hot pancakes were delicious.Just remember this is Cuba, things are difficult so chill and relax and go with the flow.
“A great end to a great week in Cuba! ”
After experiencing a 2.5 hour transfer to Varadero from Havana airport, a journey we wouldn't want to do too many times, we decided to have an overnight stay in Havana before flying home the next day. This was part of Virgin holidays package. After a walking tour of the city + lunch, we were taken to the hotel. Check-in was smooth and simple and we were given room 304. This was at the back of the hotel, so no traffic noise, large and cool from the air-con. The beds were comfortable, bathroom clean, although the edge of the bath was a bit rusty, shower good with plenty of hot water. A welcome cocktail followed and we had free time before dinner. It was close to the main areas of Havana and just around the corner from the Havana Club Rum Museum. Dinner was typically Cuban where you only get one set of cutlery, but an old fashioned butter knife! We are not fussy eaters, but the food was ok although rather bland. Breakfast had plenty of choices, but the strangest meal was chicken, served with spaghetti and tomato sauce + cucumber and carrots! We were allowed to keep our bags in our room until we checked out at 3pm which was very handy, allowng us to tidy up before we left for the airport. You must have a Mojito from the bar! Made to perfection! there is also a large roof terrace where you can enjoy a drink or photo opportunities. Overall, we were pleased with our stay here and would recommend it to friends.
“We plan to return to Cuba and wouldn't stay anywhere else! ”
We spent 8 days in Cuba on a maritime research project and felt very comfortable and safe at the Armadores de Santander. The staff was most hospitable and worked hard to make our stay enjoyable. In spite of the difficulties faced by the Cuban people due to circumstances beyond their control, they exude an air of resigned acceptance of their plight. Hopefully, their situation will improve and more Americans will be given the opportunity to see this country (and its people) in a more positive light!
“Lovely old hotel, four great nights, much better than expected. ”
Requiring four rooms for four nights for our fourth visit to Havana our agent booked us in to the Amadores de Santander, our other preferred hotels being full in mid March 2011. We were very concerned when we read the range of reviews on TA. In preparing to add my own review I saw a recent review by Simtek, and his comments are pretty well spot-on. All four rooms we occupied were very good. The rooms were of various sizes but all were clean with comfortable beds, the rooms and bathrooms were generally in pretty good order. None of us were disturbed by the noise outside, there is not that much traffic really and I never heard the ferry yet ? and that included the morning I was up at dawn and taking photos of the sunrise from the 3rd floor terrace. OK, so it?s not like a 4* hotel in London, New York, Paris or Rome - it?s in Havana and anyone going there should be tolerant of its limitations. As Simtek advises, do your homework. Accept that things may not be 100%, just say "es Cuba" and you will enjoy yourselves. Contrary to other reports the staff were extremely friendly and helpful. Breakfast might be considered somewhat limited compared to big buffets in larger hotels, but the choice/combos of fruit juice, fruit salad, breads, omelettes, pancakes, pastries, toast and even sandwiches was more than adequate ? all served to you in a small dining room in a quiet, calm and almost genteel manner. Lovely. We did not have dinner in the hotel as we prefer to be out and about. So from arriving there with great trepidation we left more than delighted with our agent?s choice. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay there and I would have no hesitation going back there and would happily recommend it to friends. It was well placed for exploring Old Havana and there are many paladars and restaurants close by. And yes, the 24 hour bar does make good mojitos.
“Enjoyable Stay ”
We had originally booked to stay for 3 nights in Los Frailes, but upon arrival were sent to the Santander due to "no water" at Los Frailes. We very much appreciated that we were given the main suite at Santander - we had paid for a suite at Los Frailes, and I think Santander is a cheaper hotel, so I guess they were trying to make sure we got our money's worth! The room was huge, with a jacuzzi, seating area etc and large windows overlooking the harbour. It is perhaps not the prettiest of harbour views, but it is in keeping with the history of the hotel which was the offices of the Santander shipping family. It also overlooks quite a busy road, but that is part of experiencing the hustle and bustle of Havana. We enjoyed breakfast and found service good. Be careful however when booking taxis via hotel reception - we were definitely quoted an overly high rate (arranged by the receptionist) going from the hotel to the Viazul bus station (CUC25 when it should be closer to CUC10, we later learned), so it won't hurt to question fares the receptionist may quote you. Otherwise, we really liked the hotel - it has a nice roof terrace, and despite no bar, the waitress was more than happy to fetch us drinks from the downstairs bar. It is on the edge of Habana Vieja, and there is a short walk through a slightly rundown area to reach Plaza de San Francisco, but we would not consider it necessarily dangerous. This is all part of experiencing the wonderful city of Havana!!!
“Book early, spend the extra money, and get the grand suite! ”
What an amazing hotel right in the heart of Old Havana! I was able to book the large jacuzzi suite at this hotel via an idependant travel agent from Cuba. The room was a very large, well appointed room with a king size canopy bed, and in floor jacuzzi tub. The room overlooked the harbour, through large shutter windows. Perfect for a romantic night! And at the price it was well worth it. We also really liked the bar on the ground floor, and enjoyed many a mojito and sandwich on the patio. We were only here for one night, but would have loved to spend more time here. Cannot speak to the quality of the rest of the rooms, but i would definately recommend this room at this hotel for the romantic ambience and location to old Havana (where you can easily walk yourself). Anyone interested in hiring a great travel service please contact Jorge at Jorge <email@example.com>. He made our trip from Varadero to Havana a breeze, and can tailor your trip to any budget or desired activities!
“Given the other choices, 5 stars! ”
We travelled to Havana last April, primarily to visit Old and Central Havana. We got to the hotel and were told that our room was under renovations... at 2230 at night!? Go figure, but we're in Cuba, expect the unexpected! The hotel staff relocated us to another hotel which's name I unfortunately forgot... The relocation and both cab rides were paid for by Armadores and the transition was very smooth! When we came back and got our room it was exactly what we expected: old colonial Spanish style with 12 foot doors and and old but positive feeling overall. The hotel is not that big, which is a good thing, has a rooftop terrasse with bar, fantastic btw, a restaurant/breakfast place on the second floor and a lobby bar/terrasse as you get in. All amenities were up to par with what we expected, MIND YOU THIS IS A GOOD TIME TO MENTION THIS WAS OUR SIXTH TRIP TO CUBA... So we knew what to expect. The hotel is VERY well situated in respect to what there is to see in Old Havana, at most a 15-20 walk from the top 10 attractions any Fromer's or Lonely Planet will tell you to visit! The breakfast was quite good and the drinks very reasonnably priced but the best part was the hospitality of its staff: always very polite, curteous and smiling!! After 4 nights we moved uptown to the Parque Central neighborhood and we sorely missed Armadores!! I would go back anytime!!
Having just returned for a 2 week stay at the Santander I can only praise the hotel. Yes it was basic and not what you would call a 4star but the staff made up for that. The hotel was very clean and is in an ideal spot for visiting Havana. The hotel was not our choice as it was booked for us but give it and the staff a chance. I was worried after reading some of the reviews on here but as I said we had no choice so were prepared to just make the most of it. We [6 of us] would stay here again if in Havana.
Always stay there
At a corner on Havana's Avenida del Puerto stands the majestic Armadores de Santander Hotel, which architectural style and decoration resemble the buildings from that beautiful maritime province in Spain. Santander’s coat of arm decorates the façade of the edifice. Big lanterns, like those used in ancient vessels, hang from the ceiling in the spacious porch. The hotel consists of three buildings (painted in different colors). Two of them are numbered 356 and 358 on San Pedro St., and a third one is numbered 2 and 4 on Luz St. The latter is the main building of the hotel. The first edifice is eclectic, and the second one is neoclassic, with a Roman façade and Corinthian columns. Both were built in the 19th century. The initials J.C. are printed on the main door, after the constructor and proprietor of the building, José Cabrero Mier. The hotel's name comes from the fact that many "armadores" (shipowners) from Santander, including the Count of La Mortera, who owned a fleet of ships that transported goods and troops between that Spanish city and Cuba, had their offices in the building. Havana's "José Martí" International Airport, 12.4 miles.
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