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Hotel Florida

This is one of the nicest old hotels in Havana…which means I didn’t get to stay there!  The Hotel Florida is booked well in advance since it’s a gracious colonial gem in the heart of Old Havana.  I can tell you that the lobby is very elegant, all marble and wrought iron and potted plants and such.  That’s about all I got to see of the place.

This beautiful statue graces the entryway to the hotel.  I haven’t been able to find out who it’s supposed to represent.  If anyone knows, please leave a comment.

In my experience, Cuban hotels leave much to be desired, and I don’t ask much of a hotel, since I’m up well before dawn and not back in my room until well after dark most days.  I’m big on cleanliness, a decent mattress, and lots of hot water, however.  Sadly, I stayed in hotels that lacked all three…

…not to mention windows.  I didn’t even know that hotel rooms without windows existed.  They do.  They are musty and moldy and did I mention that EVERY room is a smoking room, and when I say smoking, I mean cigars?  Yes, imagine a moldy room that reeks of stale cigar smoke, and there are no windows to open to get a breath of (relatively) fresh air.  This is pretty much a scratch-and-sniff version of Dante’s Inferno, to be sure.

The windowless, stinky hotel had hot water.  The hotel on the beach did not.  In fact, it had NO water.  That’s right, none.  Forget the idea of a lovely shower when you come back to your room sweaty, sticky and stinky after a long day of toting camera gear and shooting in a tropical climate.

Finally, many of the hotels, in fact most of them, had double deadbolts on the doors.  In other words, you needed your key to be able to get out of the room.  Especially since there was no window.  Can you say “FIRETRAP?”  There are either no building and/or fire codes in Cuba, or they are woefully unenforced.

Planning a trip to Cuba?  Book your rooms well in advance, travel with a reputable operator, or prepare to be disappointed.  The choice  is yours.



  1. I couldn’t have expressed myself better!! Well done.

    And Hotel Florida was accessible to us, they just didn’t want to pay the extra $20 or so more per day of our money to stay there!!!

    This article is a keeper!!!!!



    • Hi Laurie,

      I thought of you when I wrote this. After all, you’re the one who dragged me into the lobby of the Hotel Florida so that I could see what I was missing. Thanks for that, by the way…

      At least I got a pretty image as a souvenir. 😉

      RPRT Photo

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