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“Not advertised as a honeymoon hotel”
Review of Hotel Club Acuario

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Hotel Club Acuario
Ranked #63 of 81 Hotels in Havana
Reviewed 9 February 2012

We kind of had our honeymoon before, during and after our wedding and this hotel served very well at a very reasonable price. Our room had an enormous bed in it, a very efficient and necessary air conditioning unit, and the cleaning was well-managed according to our needs. The all-inclusive deal gave a range of options for eating and I appreciated good coffee which I had not expected but enjoyed frequently by the pool especially early morning with the peacefulness. The peace and quiet was disturbed especially at the weekends when many holidaying Cubans on day passes turned up ordering unimaginable numbers of burgers but the atmosphere was family-oriented and very lively without being overcrowded as we were always able to get a table. The meals were plentiful and varied due to range but quite repetitive in that range. A handy tip I learned was that if I fancied something sweet at the end of dinner, or thought I might, it was a good idea to pick it up as soon as I saw it because ice-cream is in big demand. Although it is a long way from the centre of Havana, it has the advantage of being near the sea and offering some great opportunities for early morning waterside walks. All in all a very positive experience and I would definitely go back. Oh yes, and the hairdresser came to our room to do my hair and makeup on our wedding day. I hadn't expected that.

  • Stayed: August 2011, travelled as a couple
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8  Thank jackiecannon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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105 - 111 of 347 reviews

Reviewed 9 February 2012

I purchased a fairly cheap package with HolaSun, 7 nights (only 6 days due to arrival/departure times). I had gotten a reasonably good idea of what to expect from reading a number of reviews.
We arrived to the hotel approx 9:30 at night, and were greeted by Marilene(sp), and Jorge. They were very pleasant and friendly. As we were the only arrivals from our flight, check-in was very quick. Jorge, helped us carry our luggage up the long stairs to the 4th floor (elevators not working)
The Buffet was closed due to time of night, but there was an Italian restaurant open, which Jorge so kindly drove us to on his way home from his shift, it was not far, but we were unfamiliar with the area, we could have also have opted for a ham and cheese sanwich at the snackbar, but decided on LaCova Restaurant. We ordered pizza, which would have been good if we hadn't ordered bacon on it, as it was very fatty and very raw. We had tried it again on last day with other toppings, and it was pretty good. After our hungar was satisfied we purchased a few cervezas and headed back to our room, and relaxed on our balcony which overlooked one of the keys of the marina, very enjoyable.
We awoke before sunrise to sit on balcony and watched as the sun rose, we had a beautiful view.
Our room was of average size, with two double beds, with small pillows (I used a folded blanket, and gave the misses my flat pillow) room was a bit tired and dated, as expected, but clean and served us fine.
Washroom was also average in size, plenty of hot water, though had to run for a time to warm up (no problem). Our washroom had no hairdryer, she brought her own dryer and staightener from home, which fit into the outlet, it is 240V, but accepts our N.American plugs, check your specs on your appliance to see if it is 240V compliant, if so it should work, I recharged my camera batteries, and elect. razor in the washroom outlet with no priblems.

Buffet - Just Past The Pool
Breakfast - was ok, we only had the eggs, fruit, bread, and fresh orange juice.
We never had lunch there becase we weren't around at that time of day, so can't comment.
Supper - was ok, if you got there at opening, so you can have meat from the carvery station. We also had Dinner at the restaurant, just up the street on the opposite side (can't recall name) which Pedro,the other bellhop arranged for us...was very good.
Snack Bar was a hit and a miss, you could get ham and cheese sandwich most times, but had to guess when to get a hamberguesa or hot dog, I hadn't seen any f.fries...oh well, no biggie.
Pedro, shuttled us to an other key of the marina, so we could arrange for a rental car for the following day, where we passed a decent sized grocery store, gift shop, and cigar shop, all within walking distance, and easy to get to on foot, but we did not know that at the time.
Later Pedro found us an english speaking taxi driver named Gaston, and we booked him for 5 hours at 20cuc per hour, and went for our first tour of Havana. I would recommend this if it's your first time to this city, as was for us. He was great, and if you have any questions, or something in particular you want to do or place to go, just ask. Gaston very proudly knew alot about his city.
On second day, as planned we took our rented car to Vinales for a 2 night stay. We left our valuables in the safe deposit box, and unnecessary luggage in room with no problems.
......Just a side note: if you are leaving hotel anytime to visit a casa, be sure to take your passport, you will need it to register with casa.
After returnig from Vinales, we spent our last two days going too and from hotel to Havana Viejo. The buses are twice a day and free, and take about 40min., and taxis were 20cuc each way, and about 20min. It rained on those last two days so didn't do much, a bit of site seeing, and a bit of bar hopping (just a little bit).
We hung around the pool bar when at our home base as well as the lobby bar, both were very enjoyable, and service was really good.
We quite liked our stay here, the staff are great, with a special mention to Jorge and Pedro who went above and beyond to make our stay a very pleasant experience.
Also because we wanted to see Vinales in the Pinar del Rio Province, by rental car, it was ideally located for us, as I didnt want to drive in an unfamiliar city of this size, with regulations and signage I am not accustom to. (I found it difficult enough getting out of this area to find the autopista...hehe).
All in all I would be happy to stay at this resort again and use it as a home base.

Room Tip: it's a long climb to the top floor, but very nice views
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  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank guardalaron
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 February 2012

I believe in writing honest and forth right reviews, so here goes....

My husband and I planned to stay a week at this hotel, we stayed 3 nights and moved to a different location in Havana. Our plan was NOT to use thie hotel as a R&R lounging experience, rather a home base from which to explore the city of Havana. I did not have high expectations, but even my moderate expectations were not met.

Location: about 20km from the old city but there is a free shuttle 2x per day, or about 20 CUC for a taxi one way. The view of the marina is very nice, there is a restaurant near the resort (not sure of the quality because we did not eat there) as well as a small grocery/liquor store where you can buy snacks, etc. Overall not a bad location.

The Resort: much of the resort is not usable and deserted because it is in such a severe state disrepair. The rooms are dingy and very shabby, with tired furniture and sagging beds. Patio doors do not lock, air conditioner did not work well in our room. The first room they attempted to give us was so dark, smelled and had gouges in the walls. Our second room had intact walls, a door that locked, but smelled very damp/musty as the air conditioner did not work properly. The rooms ARE clean. The grounds are kept well, the stairs and walkways are crumbling in many areas. The pool is nice, and appears to be clean. There are no inroom safes, but you can get a safety deposit box at the main desk. Internet service is average, with only 1 working computer. You cannot call out from the phone in the room, only to the front desk. Pedro had to assist me by using his code on the phone in the main area of the resort.

Food and Bar: the buffet is limited for selections, if you do not get there early the best will be gone. Even by Cuban buffet standards, this one is poor. You can get salads and omelets and pasta as staples. The bar is limited, but the standards are available.

Staff: we did not find the staff to be rude, but they were certainly not friendly, except for the bellman Pedro. He is great, the high light of the hotel.

Overall, our 3 days were not horrible at the hotel, and if you cannot afford any more, then it would certainly do. We do not expect perfection and are not what I would consider high maintenance, but we were much happier when we upgraded to a 4 star in the Miramar district. You do get what you pay for and if you do not pay very much (as in our case here) you will not get very much. Any questions about this review, please feel free to email me.

  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled as a couple
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8  Thank Michelle B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 January 2012

I traveled early January 2011 and I used the hotel as a home base to explore Havana moreso then for lounging. There was bus service that departed 2X a day to and from the Old City. I found the wait staff and the security staff very, very pleasant. This is not a true 3 star resort, but keeping in mind you are in Cuba, this was more then adequate for my trip - particularly based on the price I paid via Hola Sun. Transfers to and from the airport were flawless. Food is just OK and same with the beverages. I had a lot of fun at the resort when the large group from Paraguay (Montevideo) was around = they were a lot of fun and well mannered. The small group from Valenzuela the one night were rather rough and looking to start trouble. Speaking with the staff, groups from there were at one time banned and I think I can understand why. Not a shot at anyone or any country, as I know there are wildcards from everywhere.

  • Stayed: February 2011, travelled solo
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Thank George Randall H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 January 2012

All in all we had a great time both at Club Acuario and on our almost daily tours into Havana. 3 star hotels are definitely not for everyone, but this resort served our needs well. The room was basic - the standard two 3/4 beds, shower, dresser, desk, table and two chairs, and a great balcony looking out onto a canal (part of the Marina Hemmingway). The first night we arrived the floor between the bathroom wall and the first bed was covered in a small pool of water, but we discovered that the water was running from the air conditioning unit. We damned it up with a towel so that it did not spread right across the room. We pointed out the problem to the cleaning staff the next day and they adjusted the unit - although there was still water coming out of it and we still kept a towel on the corner, it was not as bad for the rest of our stay. We asked for extra pillows - no problemo - they immediately responded with two more. I would recommend to anyone (unless you really like staying over a bar and entertainment area) to find a way to stay at the back of the hotel where we were. There are also several other Club Acuario buildings on the streets leading up to and away from the main building where we were. They seemed like good places to stay as well.

The guests who stay at Club Acuario are a great mix of Canadians from across the country, Cubans (who were on vacation that week), other Spanish speaking folks (probably from Venezuela) and one American (that I was aware of).

The food was to our liking, but in chatting with other guests, they were disappointed. I am not sure what they were looking for, but we were fine with the salads, pastas, assorted beverages, piles and piles of fruit, fish every day, pork on some days, lamb on others and twice there was turkey. It was, as with the room, basic, but quite good.

Generally, the Marina area is very interesting... we were not looking for beaches, so our daily 2 kilometre walks out to the sea wall and the Straights of Florida watching the fishing boats and the crashing waves were just perfect. There is a relatively well stocked grocery store, a cigar shop and a sports shop, and a bowling alley nearby - all within walking distance.

We took several tours with Graviota - the City Tour and the Hemmingway Tour and recommend them both highly. The caveat emptor associated with tours is that the excellence of the tour is related to the excellence of the Tour Guide. Our first guide (City Tour) was fabulous who not only knew his material but made sure he spoke with everyone and made us all feel comfortable, in both English and Spanish and could have also done it in French, if he had needed to. The guide on the Hemmingway Tour took us to some great spots including a fishing village (Cojimar) where Hemmingway had his ranch, but was lacking in the communication skills of the first guide. It's the roll of the tour guide dice, which could happen in any city. We also took advantage of the twice daily free shuttle into the city (about a 25 minute drive) to wander the streets of Havana and absorb the sights and feel of the city.

The staff at Club Acuario were friendly, hospitable and did whatever they could within their means to make our stay comfortable.

Tipping in Cuba is de rigueur. We tipped in relevance to services rendered. Employees in the tourism industry depend on tips and most of them work hard for them.

Tourists to Cuba should never be in a hurry. Things happen, but leave North American timing behind. A very good example of this was our return ride to the airport on New Year's Eve. It was not only a ride to the airport, but also a stop at a mountain top scenic viewpoint for coffee and a bathroom break and an opportunity to buy souvenirs. And, later the driver spotted a man selling legs of pig on his front veranda, and remembering that he needed pork for his family's New Year's celebration, turned the bus around and pulled up to the house so he could buy his leg of pig. Thus our drive to the airport included a pig stop ...try that on the way to the Ottawa airport and see what happens :-).

The next time we go, we will find a way to fly into Havana, rather than Varadero - the drive from airport is between 2 to 2 1/2 hours long. So if you leave Ottawa on the 4:30 pm Sunwing flight into Varadero (3 hours and 45 minutes to 4 hours), by the time you land (sit on the tarmac for 20 minutes or so), work your way through Immigration (which can take up to 45 minutes in length and a note here - have all of your paperwork in order and ready to show the immigration officer: your passport, tourist card, boarding pass from your point origin and proof of where you are staying), wait for your luggage, 20 - 30 minutes, exchange your money (if you are going to do it at the airport) - another 20 minutes, and then drive to Club Acuario (about 3 hours) - we finally arrived around midnight.

A recommendation about exchanging money into Cuban convertible currency - the Cadecos associated with the Banks in Havana have a better rate than the Cadeco at the Airport or at the Hotel. By the way, the hotel does not always have money available for exchange.

And just to sum up...as a 3 star goes, we were very pleased. If your expectations are 5 star and your food tastes are constant gourmet style, then you should probably stay somewhere else.

Room Tip: The middle back side of the main building facing the canal.
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  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled as a couple
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14  Thank Harrigan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 December 2011

Have been to this hotel 3 times in the last 2 years and have just rebooked to return again. Staff and management are very friendly and welcoming. The location of the hotel is ideal for visting Havana. Although the hotel does not have a beach, there is a free shuttle bus. There is a great selection of food.Rooms are clean, request the rooms that overlook the Marina and ocean for the best views. Has one large pool which is kept clean. There is weekly entertainment. I would highly recommend this hotel to all couples and single people.

Room Tip: For good views, book block 34 or 37 0r 39
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  • Stayed: November 2011, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank 3sandy3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 November 2011

I just returned last night from my stay here. This hotel is in a nice location (at Marina Hemmingway) however it is a full 30-40 mins from Havana. The drive to Havana is exciting though and passes quickly.
The free shuttle only leaves twice and returns twice during the day. It leaves at 10 am and I think 1ish (pm) and returns at 5pm and 2:30pm. If you take a cab it will usally be $15.
My room was clean and modest. I upgraded for $25 (for the entire week) to a junior suite which is 2 full rooms joined with a door. Two beds in one and some chairs etc in the other.
I decided to stay here because I was travelling alone and heard it was quite safe ~~ which it was. I used the safe behind the reception desk. The front desk people barely speak english so I found a Cuban to help me out with that.
I met many nice people here. The reservation restaurant sucks and only has 3 food selections. The buffet however was pretty decent... turkey, burgers, omelets and pasta to order... lotsa salads. Typical food for Cuba.
The pool is superb and the patio bar and area was nice. Very nice staff.
Many people had problems with their air conditioning and toilets but I did not. I had LOTS of crystal clear HOT bath water which was a nice surprise.
Their weren't tons of people staying here which was nice... until I left when tons of people booked in.
I would stay here again if it weren't for the long distance from Havana.
Overall I liked it and had a great time. It was usally nice and quiet.

Room Tip: I stayed in room 3485 (fourth floor but they call it the 3rd floor). I LOVED this location. Very q...
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  • Stayed: November 2011, travelled solo
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9  Thank kimmmmmmy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hotel Club Acuario

Address: Calle 248 y 5ta ave | Marina Hemingway, Playa, Havana 10400, Cuba
Region: Caribbean > Cuba > Ciudad de la Habana Province > Havana
Amenities:
Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #63 of 81 Hotels in Havana
Price Range: $100 - $174 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Hotel Club Acuario 3*
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Also Known As:
Acuario Hotel Havana

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