19 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
Good, cheap hotel
"This hotel was much better than I expected. The only down side was the traffic noise as the Egyptians drive on their horns morning, noon and night. However, if you don't mind this, the hotel would be a good choice for an economical stay. The rooms were comfortable and clean.
Breakfasts were served in the dining room on the ground floor and there was quite a good choice, including eggs cooked as you liked.
The internet service was not too expensive."
- Travel date: Thu 26th of February 2009
Nice Staff, overpriced though....
"I travelled to Egypt alone in December, a big mistake on my part, I suppose...I'm well travelled, so thought it would be an interesting place to experience on my own.As a woman alone though, Egypt was more than a little annoying...However,I"ll stick to the Havana Hotel...I did think it was overpriced for the room I got, however it was during Eid, so that's prob a good reason for it. The hotel looks quite charming from the outside, and yes, area was quite good...although I didn't venture out much as I was afraid to get hit by a car...(crossing streets takes extreme caution and good sense of, well, everyhing! lol), The staff were very friendly, particularly Mohammed and George, really nice guys...and although they were prob just doing their jobs, I really thought they were cool guys, enjoyed talking to them. When I first arrived, got a room on first floor. I had booked thru bookings.com and had requested a quiet room so was a bit nervous when they brought me to first floor...(rightly so!)...when i settled in, realized the AC didn't work...well, one of the staff guys was so friendly (sorry can't remember ur name, worked as porter), he got on it right away, and the maintenace guy came..an older Egyptian man, who was so efficient at his job...and so friendly with the biggest smile...I felt, wow, this place is so amazing (Egypt)...he fixed it up for me very quickly, however, the worst was yet to come. The hotel neglected to tell me there would be a "party" at the hotel that evening..so the "disco" went on til like 3 am...I thought my head would burst...when i look back on it now, I suppose I shuld have joined the party...as I didn't get out in Cairo...after that introduction, low and behold there was construction going on right outside my window...OMG, this started at like 4 am..so I went my frist night sleepless...I phoned frontdesk to complain, they got my into another room ...I knew though it'd be another headache when I looked out the semi-closable window...noisy, noisy, noisy, so I moved rooms yet again..the room was clean, staff were friendly and did whatever they could to accomodate me..I live in the Gulf though and have no qualms about raising complaints...;) Breakfast was pretty good...and it was included...I love foul (egyptian beans), so it was great there...they had breads and stuff, but I stuck to the foul..coffee was just ok..as stated earlier, there's a shwarma place down the street.. I went once, they looked quite shocked that i was sitting in..ha ha..woman alone, sat upstairs with a bunch of men, hello...paying customer here!! I'm vegertarian, so ordered the falafel,,,waited way too long for it, like 40mintues, and the place began to get smokier and smokier, I know Arabs love to smoke, but man!! i asked a waiter if I could get it to go , as I was choking from the cigarette smoke, but they all got angry (at least that was my percepton when they began to yell loudly in Arabic and stying, no, no,no outside..lol) but i saw them getting take aways ready, so maybe they just wanted me to stick around, lol..i was glad I did as they gave me a weclome lentil soup which was so delish!! falafel was great and friendly staff..ok, back to Havana...it was my BIG mistake to take the offer of private driver and guide....they ended up charging me $250 for it...ok 2 days but it was a drive to the Gaza Pyramids, with a young Egyptian woman who didn't know what she was talking about and was more intereted in talking about how her boyfriend had broken up with her the day before, she was lovely, but um, not the time or place for that. she also took me to shops where i was majorly hasseled!! very annoying...the thing ended after the visit to the shops and i was quite confused as thought it would include Sakarna,etc...i got back to the hotel, mentioned this stuff, etc etc, they're like, What, yes she was suppose to take u to Sakarna, etc, i met the manager,...he said he'd fix it up for me....i got a new guide the next day, went to Egyptian museum which is absolutely amazing...!! He was very informative...also went to Coptic Church, the Mosque, and to a wonderful restaurant. I was going to Luxor for cuple of days and returned for a final evening to Havana as I did really like the staff, felt safe there and comfortable...the private driver, big mistake as they charged me way too much, and the tourguide, however, as I was alone, I didn't want to deal with more hassles...The driver, Basam, is a very good driver, but he seemed disinterested in talking much about Cairo, lol...oh well...and I hate when these guys always talk about their hardships..we already know life is hard in Egypt, but we're on holidays...no need to depress me! Went on Nile Dinner Cruise, suggested by hotel..food was just ok....I was glad I went, as it was an expereience...was a bit strange though as I guess I was the only single person on it, lol..see photos below...the manager had said I would be sompensated fro the tourguides mistake the first day, which was a wasted day, he was all talk..he didn't do much for me in the way of compensation..what really makes Havana as good as it is, is it's wonderful sfaff..thanks guys!!"
- Travel date: Wed 25th of February 2009
Nice stay-would recommend
"We just returned from 6 nights at the Havana Hotel. I agree that the place may be a bit pricey for the neighborhood, however, it is very near to a Metro market where you can actually buy things at a fixed price, which is a rarity in Egypt. At that market, you will learn the real value of things like water and be able to stock up cheaply for your trips in Cairo. It is literally about 5 buildings away from the hotel.
Also, there is a very nice and cheap restaurant about two blocks or so from the hotel where you can get yourself an excellent roasted shwarma sandwich with the locals. This place is very popular and has a drive in business in front of the restaurant where people order from their cars. Very nice food there. We ate there several times and highly recommend this stop. The hotel staff can direct you.
We found the staff very friendly and accomodating and our rooms were large.
The street in front of the hotel is busy, however, I suspect you will run into that problem in most places in Cairo. It's hard to hide several million vehicles in a city and the Egyptians are up late.
Taking cabs from the hotel to various places around the city should cost you anywhere between 15-40 LE at the most.
The hotel certainly pushes their own "tours" and drivers. We found this elsewhere in Egypt, as well.
I would say you are better off trying to arrange prices w/ taxi drivers on your own.
The hotel staff says that most taxi drivers don't speak "any" English, and that was false in my experience. They tend to speak some and usually understand numbers, or you can always show them a bill of currency to set your price.
I'd advise against taking the hotel tours, personally. You will save yourself money going it on your own.
We found the breakfast at the hotel nice considering it was included in the rates. You had a selection of breads w/ honey and jam, fruit juice, coffee/tea, potatoes, yougurt, fried sausages, cheese slices and omlets made to order w/ onions, peppers, tomato and "meat"-not sure what it was-probably not ham.
The showers and bathrooms in the two rooms we had here were large w/ plenty of hot water. There was kind of a stagnant water smell in both bathrooms, but nothing too seriously offensive.
We used the free airport pick up twice and had no problems w/ it. The drivers were waiting for us prior to arrival both times. This is a very nice perk as cabs back to the airport cost about 70 LE from the hotel.
I would certainly stay here again despite the imperfections."
- Travel date: Wed 18th of February 2009
okay, but some problems
"We stayed in havana for 2 nights. The hotel is decent, even though a little bit overpriced for the neighborhood. The room is clean but noisy since it overlooked a busy street, we had to buy earplugs to sleep. The staff is friendly, the pick up from the airport went smoothly too. We had a big problem with one of the hotels drivers, we asked about the price of a taxi to get to the pyramids, so they offered us a ride. The driver took us to a place to buy a tour -pyramids with one camel and one horse- and made us pay 130$. We had to go the police to get our money back and we ended up paying 33$. The hotel later claimed that the driver had nothing to do with the tour, he "only brought us there". As for the breakfast, it was ok, but you'd rather go out and look for egyptian restaurants where Egyptians have their breakfast, it's cheap , authentic Egyptian and delicious."
- Travel date: Wed 18th of February 2009
Xmas at Havana
"I booked a family room with my grown up kids over Xmas day and Boxing day 08 and we were very happy with our stay at the Havana. They collected us from the airport free as previously organised by email. The food was very good, we had no health problems. The rooms were very clean and lived up to the website photos. I would have no hesitation in suggesting this hotel to anyone. Cairo is a very dirty city and it was great to get back to a clean hotel. Very well priced"
- Travel date: Fri 23rd of January 2009
Liked the Havana
"I had booked the Havana for my short stay in Cairo 2 nights and 1 night on the way out on our 11day tour of Eypgt. However on arrival we weremet by our tour operator One world who told us that the Havana hotel was booked out and that we had to stay in the Zayed. This was very annnoying , but at 11pm at night and after travelling all the way from Houston, we just agreed. However on the way out we insisted on the Havana...in my opinion a much better hotel."
- Travel date: Wed 7th of January 2009
Decent Hotel - Not first choice
"My boyfriend and I stayed at the Havana Hotel for 3 nights in mid-November 2008. It was a decent hotel. We paid $70 USD + tax per night (there was a 3% fee when paying with a credit card).
We didn't stay anywhere else so we can't compare it to other mid-range hotels but we did like its location even with the usual Cairo traffic to get to the Mohandiseen neighborhood. We had to make a choice last minute and this hotel had the availability.
The front desk did not seem to help us get the best deals for taxi cabs (we spent 15 LE to get to the Egyptian Museum). There were holes in the sheets. The room was very basic though it did have a refrigerator. Our room was clean and the bathroom shower was large. The television had channels with American shows. The walls and doors are thin so there is noise from the hallway and from the sidewalks outside. Ear plugs were key to restful night. The view from our window was of a dark, dirty alley, so effectively our view was the curtain that covered the window.
The lobby had a professional and comfortable atmosphere. There was a metal detector at the entrance that was manned by a security guard 24/7. We used the lobby safe to store our valuables. There is a room with computers available to check one's email for a fee.
The buffet breakfast was also decent. No complaints. The made-to-order omelets were a nice treat.
There was a confusion and our room wasn't cleaned the second night. We were told it was because we hadn't left our room key at the front desk when we went out for the day but somehow our room was cleaned after the first night.
A great nearby restaurant that is within walking distance is called Cedars (Lebanese). The wait staff spoke English. They have great seasonal fruit smoothies!"
- Travel date: Fri 26th of December 2008
Nice Location and Decent Value for the Price
"I picked this hotel after reading trip advisor and I trust this site wholeheartedly which is why I leave candid reviews even if they are unpleasant to the hotel. i like the Havana and it delivered what it promised without any puffery as to the quality of their services and hotel.
We were collected at the airport by their driver. He transported us to the hotel and then asked us we wanted a ride to the Egyptian Museum, which we accepted. The hotel staff is not as pushy as the general populous but those not accustomed to Egypt be prepared that only the air you breathe is free, In general a tip is expected and demanded repetitively by most people. The staff, lives by those principles but not as pushy as most Egyptians tend to be. After a few days of Cairo traffic (as a cab passenger) and as a pedestrian, I realized that Cairo is a chaotic free for all without any laws to follow and even for a New York after 2 days it was time to leave and I'd never return. Egyptians are pleasant and very hospitable, but that hospitality comes with the expectation that they are tipped even if you snap a surprise shot of them to capture everyday life and they notice you have done so, they will chase you down for a few pounds and demand it, nudging at you and just gets to the point you want to scream.
The hotel offered a clean room, tv, refrigerator and a safe haven from Cairo Chaos. Negotiate your price for everything everywhere in Cairo it seems to be the way of life. This would include taxis which should not cost more than 15-20 E. Pounds from the hotel to the Egyptian Museum and that area. The hotel area is safe at any time as mentioned in other reviews and within walking distance there are tons of European like cafe's restaurants and being Cairo beer and drinks are a bit difficult to find, although the hotel offers some drinks. The breakfast buffet was good and decent, it did not seem to change not one bit from day to day, but it was a good healthy start. Words of warning, be very careful what you eat in Egypt as me and my buddy both came home with stomach problems to the US requiring antibiotics. I did not mind the coffee at the hotel although you have to ask the waitress for a second cup as if she were passing out communion wine, with an attitude. Perhaps I did not tip her as much as she wanted-which again seems to the be Egyptian Customer Service Skills.
Rooms are clean, staff is nice, and they try to push their tours which seemed adequately priced. I took a tour through EOL tours which seemed to be comparably priced although the staff tries to nickel and dime you to their tourist trap locations and whine about tipping the guide and driver although EOL, not affiliated wiht the hotel, discussed that all service charges were included as were gratuities. I guess you can imagine, If I tipped you once for your services and I pay for those with the price of the service, I do not expect to be harassed over money to tip you two or three times and this is just the impression Egypt gave me.
As for the hotel tours, I was more concerned that their staff was taking me to the pyramids with their limited fund of English and although they can check me into the room and give me service at the hotel, they did not seem to have such a command of the language as to take me to pyramids that I have spent a lot of money to travel from the States to Egypt to see. I was pleased with EOL minus my complaint mentioned above and if you are direct as I am, tell them no and realize you will never see these folks again in your life, despite how nice they were to you.
I would recommend the Coptic Cairo and Citadel from hotel it should not cost more than 25 E. Pounds taxi and also see some of the mosques in the Old Cairo area. I would mention that I never felt uncomfortable walking in Cairo, air quality is horrendous though, dusty and just poor car emissions. Other than that I would not do more than 2-3 days in Cairo before going on to see other areas of Egypt. more than 2 days really would be more than one can stand in Cairo. The havana seemed well worth its price and location offers some relaxation from inner city Cairo Chaos."
- Travel date: Fri 5th of December 2008
Liked the area
"We chose the Havana Hotel after reading reviews on Trip Advisor, and were very happy with our choice.
We were collected at the airport as promised, and taken in a modern taxi to the hotel.The Havana is a small cosy hotel, clean and comfortable with friendly non pushy staff. The hotel is arranged on two floors, but there is no lift, which was no problem for us, but it might not suit others, The rooms are a good size, and the beds comfortable ., although the pillows rather hard. We thought we might be bothered by noise, but found the precautionary earplugs unneccessary ! The shower is powerful, although you have to wait a while for the hot water to come through, I thought the breakfast was very good for a 3 star hotel, with cooked food, eggs.cheeses and,yoghurts available. The only thing I really didn't like was the coffee.However, there are good coffee shops in the area.
This was another thing we liked. You could go for a walk in the area at any time and not be bothered by anyone, - and you could actually cross the road there !
The hotel has some handy hints for first time visitors to Egypt on its website, and all in all we thought it was excellent value for the price."
- Travel date: Sat 29th of November 2008
Comfortable, friendly and affordable
"Booked this hotel via their website and was very happy with the decision. We arrived early in the morning to friendly faces and a clean room for us to freshen up prior to seeing the sites.
The hotel offers free collection from the airport but unfortunately their was a mixup with the times and the driver was not there. No problem, I was refunded the taxi fare with a smile. For a clean friendly and affordable stopover I would be happy to recommend Havana Hotel."
- Travel date: Tue 25th of November 2008
Nice comfortable stay
"Booked from home through there website. Very helpful and no problems. We were picked up at the airport in cairo for free and met by a very helpful and happy receptionist at the hotel who help us book sleeper tickets to luxor and a 1 day guide around the giza, sakara and dasur pyramids. The tour was definitely over priced but we were very happy with day and thats what counts.
Food is ok but not the best, but all in all a nice stay in a hectic city."
- Travel date: Tue 4th of November 2008
When you want to feel like family!
"After two days of travel from the United states the staff of Havana made us feel right at home. Upon arrival we were greeted with a welcome drink and the friendliest faces ever. We had orginally booked to stay at another hotel but realized that it was a total mess (lost reservation etc) and moved immediately to Havana. This all was taking place at midnight...but no worries Havana welcomed us, gave us a great room with AC and large and comfortable bathroom. Additionally the breakfast was great...omelets, potatoes, quiche, sweet bread, veggies, cheese, tang, cranberry juice, coffee and tea. This hotel also has a weekly dinner buffet pretty good. This hotel is in a very nice area safe and good location to markets and falafel stands and cozy euro style cafes. Arrangement of tours was fantastic oh thoses air conditioned buses are super fantastic after a hot day of pyramids! Every tour guide works at the hotel so it is nice for making friends.
Stay at Havana and safe travels! From the girl who travels the world and her travel buddy!"
- Travel date: Wed 11th of June 2008