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“Great Value,real Havana Experience!”
Review of Hotel Raquel

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Hotel Raquel
Ranked #19 of 81 Hotels in Havana
Reviewed 17 February 2012

Hotel Raquel gives a real old Havana feel, the location was great and in walking distance of almost everything.
There is a lovely roof top garden with nice views of old Havana. I like that the hotel has maintained so much of it's character, I think it used to be an old treasury building.

We stayed here for two nights in June a couple of years ago the staff were really helpful and friendly.

We went for drinks in NH Central and National de Cuba, both of those hotels were also worth a visit. We listened to some amazing cuban music in National de Cuba and there was great views from the roof bar in NH central.

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank kate006
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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313 - 319 of 726 reviews

Reviewed 2 February 2012

Just returned from a week's stay at the Hotel Raquel. After the first night we noticed our funds were down by £100. We didn't report it because we couldn't be 100% sure (did we press £100 instead of £200 at the airport ATM?) and we didn't want to accuse the staff unfairly. The only time our money had been out of our sight was in the taxi from the airport (our bags were placed in the boot/trunk) and when it was placed in the safe in our room. Having now returned, checked our bank account and the comments on TA, we are convinced this money was taken from our room safe. Travellers beware. After the money went missing, we started writing the amount of cash we had left in our envelope every time we removed some for exchange. No money went missing after this. It is a real shame that this thing happens, it seems the thieves rely on people not reporting it/wanting to unfairly accuse/not being sure if it is a mistake, etc. Our advice is to be very aware. Apart from this the rooms are a little tired/noisy but the hotel is fabulous!

  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank Rhian E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 January 2012

This may be the best hotel in Havana to really experience the Old Havana flavour. Yes, the breakfast was poor, the plumbing bad and the service "different" from what I expect from top hotels around the world, but the same can be said for the other 20 plus hotels I've stayed in all over Cuba. One year ago we stayed in a "modern Hotel" out in Vedado and guess what? Poor breakfast, plumbing and "different" service was there as well. If you want everything to be like home, stay home!! If you want to experience old Havana, stay at the Raquel and wander the exotic streets of the old town. Rant over, back to the review.
The location of this hotel is among the best in Havana. Just two blocks from the Plaza San Francisco, one block from Plaza Vieja and an easy stroll to the Plaza des Armes to watch the tours come in from Veradero to gawk at the buildings and try not to touch anything (the CIA says you can catch anything from mild socialist idealism to full blown terrorist fanaticism just from sniffing the air here!!) I highly recommend a walk through the nieghbourhood at night. The lighting on the hotel and on the buildings in the plazas just has to be seen. Also the restoration work on the buildings (sponsored by UNESCO) is proceeding at a great rate. We were surprised by the changes in just one year.
If you are a light sleeper, try one of the rooms on the back of the hotel. They have no outside windows and are very quiet (and dark). Rooms on the front are slightly noisier, but you are within the pedestrian area, so there's not much noise other than the odd motorcycle and rooster. Don't miss the rooftop patio. You can enjoy the sun, a drink and a nice view of the old Havana skyline.
I should try to explain the Cuban concept of service. There's no bowing or scraping that seems to be expected at most high end hotels these days, but if they can provide a service to you, they go out of their way to help. The night before our departure I asked our doorman to arrange a taxi for 4:30 AM as we had an early flight. He confirmed that he had done this when we got back from dinner, no problem. When we came downstairs the next morning, there he was (now off duty is his street clothes) just waiting to help us. Yes, he was hoping for (and got) a tip, but more than that he wanted to be sure that we got what we had asked him for and that we were happy with the arrangements.
There were four of us in our party and we all agreed that the Hotel Raquel was a great Havana experience. The staff, the rooms and the location are all great. The food is even good for Cuba. If you want to experience Cuba as it was 60 years ago, this is about as close as you can get. Don't miss it, it won't last forever.

Room Tip: If you want quiet, get a room at the back (no windows)
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  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled with friends
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5  Thank rogerlodger
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 January 2012

Just returned from Havana and spent first 3 nights at the Raquel. Highly recommend it for location in Vieja. Beautifully restored old bank with original old lift, art deco glass ceiling and impressive marble hall. They honoured our booking (more than can be said for other Vieja hotels), were courteous, helpful & efficient. First room had no window (problem with many of these old hotels in the centre as the buildings are deep) but they moved us to a lovely room with a balcony as soon as they could. Plumbing was a bit leaky and some of the fittings a little worn but not a problem. And despite other comments they made a real effort with breakfast - take a look in the local foodstores and see what Cubans eat and be grateful for the choice!

  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank anarchy130
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 January 2012

This hotel has great potential to become one of the best boutique hotel in Havana. The location is unbeatable for sure. The hotel was restored in 2003 and the interior of the lobby will take your breath away. It's beautiful and caged elevator adds more to the old fashioned style of the hotel.

Some of the staff were really helpful with above average english compared to the other hotels in Havana. We were trying to find a room during busy period in the last minute and one of the lady was really helpful. At the end we got the top floor room which I guess it's supposed to be the suite room. The room is huge with furniture that start to show some wears and tears. I guess they are only good in restoring the building but not maintaining them. Just like the other places in Havana, you can forget about water pressure in the shower and the bathtub looked dirty with all the stains.

The breakfast was awful but the hotel is so close to Cafe el Escorial at Plaza Viaje which has excellent coffee and good sandwich.

Overall, I would still recommend this hotel for short stay in the city if you can get good price. The 200 CUC that we paid is definitely too much for this hotel.

  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled with friends
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3  Thank LeoLHR
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 January 2012

This hotel is very well located (in Vieja Habana, yards from Plaza Vieja) and looks quite spectacular, especially at night when the outside of the building and the mouldings are illuminated. Inside, the illuminations from the first and second floor are also lovely. For the money, I felt I got a good deal - yes the showers were disappointing but they worked well enough. In Cuba don't expect boiling hot water. The furniture was fine - antiques and wrought iron, although don't knock your shin on the bed frame, ouch! People at reception were very helpful. They let me store my bag when I came back from a few days in Vinales on my last afternoon before I flew back to Europe. I had sorted it out before I left the hotel and it was no problem whatsoever. A good tip ensured good service and I'd like to mention the bellboy Yan (not sure of spelling) in particular who ordered taxis and negotiated decent prices on my behalf. Breakfast was fine (loved the wee pancakes), there was enough to keep you going until mid-afternoon, although the choice of teas was a bit weird - no 'proper' tea or green tea, only herbal stuff. I didn't try the bar. In the building at the opposite corner of Amargura and San Ignacio people have hens and a rooster on their roof. So I was wakened by the rooster in the early mornings... But that's the charm of Havana (and Cuba) so it was fine. I left a tip and a couple of notepads for the cleaners because they did a great job. The roof garden was a little disappointing - there was no bar and it was quite blowy, so not very warm (evenings are cool in December). But great views and I'm sure that in the very hot season it's lovely in the evenings. Note that some bedrooms have no windows. I personally didn't like the one I was given on the first night (Room 101 I think) although I take the point about not being bothered by the light. And no noise from the street. However the fridge and air conditioning were noisy and a nuisance. I prefer natural light and the crowing cockerel! If you prefer natural light, ask at reception for a change of room.

Room Tip: Rooms looking onto San Ignacio and Armagura have windows. I think probably about 6 rooms have no wi...
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  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled solo
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2  Thank Emmanuelle1960
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 December 2011

We stayed at Hotel Raquel for the first 2 nights when we arrived in Havana before staying in Casa’s for the remainder of the trip.

I’ll premise this review by saying that Hotel Raquel met most of my expectations; however I hadn’t set my expectations too high! Everything in Havana is a compromise between location, character, cost and quality. For me location and character were great, while cost and quality were both ok. The small irritations (leaky showers or flies around the food) weren’t massive concerns for me.

Hotel Raquel was a great base for our first couple of days; letting us find our feet and explore a lot of the old city. The building (a former bank) has been nicely restored a number of years ago, but as with many places in Cuba there isn’t a lot of money for ongoing maintenance and some of the non-public areas were a bit tired (the bath had rust starting to appear and splits in the shower head cord).

We stayed in room 211 (Hannah) which has a window over the street but we didn’t really notice much street noise in the room. The rooftop is perfect for a drink while watching the sun go down and the bar staff are happy to bring your drinks up for you (and keep the drinks coming) for a tip.

Yes, there may have been a few flies around at breakfast, but if you get in early you can beat the flies for some snacks to get you going for the day! I ate up every morning and didn’t have any ill effects.

I’d recommend Hotel Raquel to someone looking for a beautiful old building with character in a central location who isn’t expecting perfection.

  • Stayed: September 2011, travelled with friends
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1  Thank dazza1979
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hotel Raquel

Address: Calle Amargura 103 esquina a San Ignacio, Havana, Cuba
Region: Caribbean > Cuba > Ciudad de la Habana Province > Havana
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Room Service
Hotel Style:
#5 Best Value Hotel in Havana
#12 Luxury Hotel in Havana
Price Range: $138 - $342 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Hotel Raquel 4*
Number of rooms: 25
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
I would emphasize that the services offered are FREE gym and sauna for guests staying at our hotel It is also good to note that hotel guests are entitled to free parking ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Raquel Hotel Havana

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