Paseo 206 exterior view in Havana Cuba

5 Superb Hotels In Havana That Surpass the Saratoga (R.I.P.)

For years, the Saratoga Hotel in Havana was consistently one of the city’s best hotels—combining historical charm with the refinements and amenities of a modern hotel. The the location, the grand entrance, the hotel bar, and the rooftop pool were just a few of its many draws. 

Unfortunately, the tragic incident that resulted in the destruction of most of the building has meant a years long restoration project that is still far from done. In the interim, tightened U.S. regulations on Cuba travel have landed the Saratoga on the State Department’s prohibited accommodations list, further diminishing hopes that it will be bookable by U.S. citizens anytime soon. 

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New Alternatives: Private Boutique Hotels 

Fortunately, the growth of private lodging options has ushered in a new era of high end boutique hotels in Havana. Dozens of historic homes have been carefully restored, allowing guests to experience Cuban hospitality at its finest. 

So while visitors to Cuba wait for the Saratoga to rise again, we offer our recommendations for where to stay and experience the same quintessential Cuba charm and superior service. (Or, for those interested in our recommendations at all different price points, check out our complete hotel guide for U.S. travelers.)

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Claxon Hotel Boutique 

Claxon Hotel Boutique is a masterfully restored mansion in Vedado, replete with tasteful touches of 1950’s nostalgia and every modern comfort a traveler could desire. The various sprawling patios, gardens, and rooftop serve as areas to dine on a delicious menu by the in-house restaurant Fangio, or to luxuriate as you see fit. Frequent live rooftop performances add a dynamic, vibrant layer to the atmosphere. 

Paseo 206

interior room of Paseo 206 Hotel

Paseo 206 sits along the grand, tree-lined Avenida de Paseo in Vedado. Owned and operated by an Italian-Cuban family, the menu at Eclectico, the in-house restaurant, infuses the two cultures brilliantly, and the hotel’s design details also take cues from the old country. 

La Reserva 

La Reserva Vedado blends old-world allure with modern comforts. Set within a meticulously restored colonial mansion, the hotel exudes an atmosphere of timeless sophistication, with traditional Cuban artwork and furnishings adorning each room. The rooftop terrace offers spectacular views of the city skyline, and La Bodega, the hotel’s stellar in-house eatery, completes the experience with impeccable service and attention to detail.

VOYA

VOYA Boutique Hotel offers a sophisticated urban retreat in a quiet, unassuming neighborhood outside the city center. The outdoor pool, unique among our picks, is a tranquil oasis nestled amidst lush tropical foliage, offering a serene escape with its sparkling waters and elegant design.

Booking Lodging? Taxis? Activities? Restaurants?

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Tribe Caribe Cayo Hueso

At Tribe Caribe, every inch of space has been carefully curated—the Black Box performance venue, the rooftop restaurant and bar Manteca, the street-level coffee shop Tribe Café, not to mention the meticulously designed rooms, and suites, each unique unto themselves. The Tribe Caribe team has seemingly thought of everything—there is even a beach house available exclusively for hotel guests. 

Booking to Arrival: What to Expect

If you book accommodations through Airbnb, Expedia.comHotels.com, or another U.S. based company, you’ll complete an extra step in the booking process. You’ll be asked you to declare your reason for travel, with a list of options corresponding to the 12 legal categories of travel for U.S. citizens. We recommend that you select Support for the Cuban People. Regardless of which you choose, this information isn’t meant to be an official declaration and isn’t shared with anyone. 

Once your booking is complete your host will typically contact you to confirm arrival times and share information about getting to the house. Even small family run B&Bs typically offer to have a trusted taxi service pick you up at the airport. The price is often slightly more than if you were to hail a taxi, but for many travelers the convenience is worth the few extra dollars. 

The transfer from Havana’s airport takes around 30-40 minutes depending on where in Havana your accommodations are located. If you can handle diesel fumes, feel free to hail an American made relic or boxy Russian Lada. If you’re more of an AC and seatbelts type, go for any vehicle that looks like it was made in the past 30 years. 

When you arrive at your hotel you’ll likely be asked for your passport by the concierge or host—don’t be alarmed! Hosts are required to record passport information to comply with Cuban laws. Otherwise, you should expect nothing less than great Cuban hospitality. 

Documents You’ll Need

Before you take off, make sure you have a valid passport with plenty of time until it expires. You’ll also need to have your Cuba visa and complete the official Cuban health form within 72 hours prior to your departure. 

Cuba also requires visitors to have proof of health insurance coverage, but if you book a flight on a U.S. airline, the required insurance is included in the price of your ticket. This insurance gives you access to Cuba’s network of tourist hospitals and clinics should you need them. 

If your flight originates outside of the U.S., you can purchase insurance independently or pay a small fee when you arrive for access to Cuba’s tourist system. 

More Cuba Travel Tips

Our team is dedicated to helping U.S. travelers plan safe, legal, independent Cuba travel. In addition to our curated maps, we offer free phone consultations, customizable itineraries (coming soon) and helpful guides and articles

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