11 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
Havana is definitely a one of a kind pla...
"Havana is definitely a one of a kind place! It has culture, unbelievable architecture, friendly residents, 1950's cars and best of all the legendary, Mojito! Itâs the best of both worlds it has the coast and it has the vibrant, busy city. There are lots of places to visit and including the Capital Building, Tobacco factory and you can look round and watch the locals make some of the worldâs best cigars, and not forgetting the hustle and bustle Old Havana market where you can buy original art work, amazing leather handbags and all the souvenirs you can shake a stick at! All of these places are just 3 minute stroll (10 minutes for the market) from the Hotel Saratoga, which is based in Old Havana. The hotel is a baby, just a year old but itâs a magnificent building and the interior is out of this world! I was lucky enough to stay in a suite and it was just incredible, with views of the capital building, and most of old Havana matter it was just breathtakingly beautiful. After a hard day sightseeing you can just go to the top floor of the hotel and sit in the sun with any drink of your choice and enjoy the roof top pool, and the views from there are seriously, out of this world! I would recommend this city and the hotel to anyone, there is definitely something for everybody!"
- Travel date: 18th April 2007
Charming, but the high price wasn't justified.
"Hotel Saratoga, is clearly the best Havana has to offer in terms of appealing gringo dÃ©cor. The photography is cool, the restoration is wonderful and the bathrooms have exotic tiling, big bathtubs and large rain showers. However, when you compare the price tag of $400, versus other hotels all priced between $160-$200, it isnât 2 or 3 times better, for the equivalent price increase. We travel a lot, and expect a hotel demanding $400 a night, ( which puts it in the Four Seasons, Fairmont, Marriott, bracket of pricing) should have certain standards and amenities; luxurious bedding, large soft towels, and nice shower gels and shampoos and conditioners for starters. The buffet in the morning was disappointing, fried food, little or no fresh fruit, missing cutlery and indifferent staff. However the Moorish dÃ©cor is very attractive, and the upstairs internal mezzanine is a lovely, sunny place to sit. The unheated pool upstairs has a wonderful view over the city where you can watch the sun go down, and drink cocktails. If you are staying for more than 3 days, a pool is a definite plus. The concierge is to be avoided. He sent us on a 15 or 20 minute cab journey out of the city to what amounted to an elderly womanâgarage restaurant. ( Probably his mother-in-laws.) The food was overpriced, we could only order the âspecial,â read most expensive item, and the meal took over 2 and half hours to be served. We found the cafes within the old city squares to be charming, with plants parakeets and musicians. There was no need to venture further afield. For my money, Saratoga would be great value at $200- $250 a night. In hindsight the best location would be closer to Old Havana i.e. Hotel Floridaâs location. Enjoy the architecture, the cars and the history, but donât expect value for money unless youâre coming with British sterling."
- Travel date: 20th February 2007
a very pleasant surprise
"A group of us that had booked the Parque Centrale through the holiday place discovered upon arriving at Havana airport that there had been a mistake in the booking and there was no available space...great...however we were told that we had been booked into the Saratoga instead. I always use trip advisor to get an idea of where to stay and requested the Parque Centrale specifically becaused it was rated so highly on this. I was, therefore, quite unhappy that we did not get to go to the Parque Centrale. Upon arriving at the hotel my mood changed. The Saratoga has been recently refurbished to an exceptional standard, the rooms are large, the bathrooms enormous, and the decor is done in a tasteful, modern style. The breakfast was amazing, lots to choose from and the best buffet out of all of the hotels we stayed in during our trip around Cuba. On the second night in Havana we were told we could stay in the Parque Centrale if we wanted so we decided to change out of curiosity to see what it was like. The holiday place did not provide any transport back to the Parque despite their mistake so we had to take a taxi. Basically the Parque was a nice hotel but was dated and nothing in comparison to the Saratoga - basically it was nice but really nothing amazing. The pool was nice, had fantastic views of Havana and was a bit larger than the Saratoga's but the rooms were slightly dull and lifeless even though they were still good quality. I cannot say enough though that if you are choosing between the Parque and the Saratoga choose the Saratoga. I would also like to mention that the holiday place did not book another group into their requested and confirmed hotels when we arrived at Guradalavaca for another stage of our trip. Therefore anyone booking through this company should be aware that they might not actually get the hotel that they thought that they had booked."
- Travel date: 12th February 2007
"Hotel Saratoga is an amazing hotel. It has all the amenities and services one would expect of a 5 star hotel. The concierge, Raul, was fantastic. He was extremely friendly and helpful. Every restaurant recommendation and his suggestions for things to see and do in Havana were perfect. I would definitely go back to the Hotel Saratoga again."
- Travel date: 27th January 2007
One to remember
"We would like to thank the concierge Raul Hernandez Cano for making our brief stay in the Hotel Saratoga such a wonderful one. Right from the moment we walked through the door we were made to feel like VIP guests in this very well presented 5 star hotel in the heart of Old Havana. On our first night Raul recommended we visit a local bar/restaurant where members of the famous Buena Vista Social Club were playing. We had the most wonderful evening and made friends with the lead vocalist called Angel. Each morning after breakfast we would go to speak with Raul and he would provide us with more hot tips on how best to plan our day. This was invaluable since it was our first time in Havana and we were only staying for 3 days, much better than using a guide book. We felt that in such a short space of time we managed to get a real feel for the beauty of Havana and its people. Raul was also very caring, my wife was suffering from flu and he called around to seek medical help and showed real concern. I would also like to say that everybody else in the Hotel were very friendly and made our stay such a special one, one that we will always remember with the fondest of memories. It was our first visit to Cuba and the Saratoga and will definitely not be our last."
- Travel date: 22nd January 2007
It was a perfect start of our honeymoon in Cuba
"My husband and I stayed at Saratoga for 3 nights as part of our Honeymoon trip. It was a beautiful and memorable experience. We loved the deco of the hotel, very clean, good historical location, good size (not too big) ,very helpful concierge - Raul. We travel often together to treat ourselves but never stayed in any hotel where the concierge gives you a call to make sure you're feeling comfortable in the city. He booked us into a lovely rooftop restaurant in the middle of the Old Town that you wouldn't notice if walking along the street. Our room was facing one of the most historical buildings in the city - The Nacional, and we enjoyed the sound of Havana from the street. We used the bar a couple of times to experience cigars and mojitos which we thought were some of the best we've had in Cuba, and also cuban burgers which were very tasty. The bar men were friendly and helpful too. Breakfast had a good variety . Yes, it might be a bit too pricy, but overall we loved it !! special thanks to Raul the concierge for all his help and good advice"
- Travel date: 11th January 2007
Lovely boutique hotel in Old Havana - great concierge!
"My friend and I stayed one night at the Hotel Saratoga because of a recommendation from someone in my network. We'd been in Cuba for 2 weeks staying in the casas particulares most of the time, and had just returned from a 2 night stay in one of those all-inclusive beach resorts in Cayo Largo which was just horrible. Having spent quite a few occasions by the Hotel Nacional (one of the most famous in Havana), we had a pretty good benchmark for service and quality of amenities. Which is why when we finally made it to the Hotel Saratoga, we were pleasantly surprised to find a beautiful hotel with well kept and designed rooms that exuded peace and calm, good shower pressure(!), tasty food, and most importantly, an extremely likeable Concierge who was always professional, helpful and sincerely friendly. We really have to thank Raul who helped us out on quite a few occasions (even when we weren't checked in yet!) to provide information and good advice about where to go and how to get around in Havana. He's a lovely guy, and one of the main reasons why our stay was so enjoyable. Agree with some user complaints regarding: inconsistent service from some staff, it ranged from excellent to downright poor; food at breakfast was touch and go (why can't they cover the pastries so flies won't land on them!); mosquitoes in the restaurant bit us a few times at dinner... Still, I enjoyed myself, despite the short stay, and I LOVED the soft bed, the rooftop pool, excellent location and the old traditional architecture of the facade and design and furnishings of the interior. It looks like a world class hotel, and ALMOST feels like one too. Hopefully it can work out the kinks and get there soon."
- Travel date: 10th January 2007
Nice pool, lift and beds - but overall a very expensive disappointment.
"Stayed twice over the new year period - once for 5 nights and then for another night after seeing other parts of Cuba. Let's start with the positives: 1. The beds are incredibly comfortable - I slept very, very well. 2. Pool on the roof is very nice and the views are interesting 3. Lift is fast and very cool (and very technically advanced for Cuba) 4. Raul the concierge was friendly & helpful and booked us into La Guarida (very nice paladares). But, there are a number of downsides to consider: 1. Service isn't good enough for a $300 night hotel - we experienced dozens of situations that ranged from slightly annoying to utterly infutriating - too many to list them all. 2. We always had to ask for milk at breakfast - even though there were plenty of staff - not one ever realised that after asking for it once, you may want it again. 3. Food ranged from adequate to the truly awful - again too many examples to list. Breakfast buffet ranged from pretty good to inedible and was different every day. 4. All males employed by the hotel made comments about my girlfriend or looked at her innappropriately - she found them sleazy and I just ignored them as all Cuban blokes seem to think they can walk on water with women. 5. One day no towels at the pool most days towels arrived at noon or much later. 6. One day they dropped the chlorine into the pool at 10am and then casually said 'don't swim for at least an hour' - we had to warn some poor lad who was about to jump in who walked up afterwards so he wouldn't burn his eyes (why wasn't this done at dawn or last thing at night?) 7. The toilet for the restaurant had no toilet paper for the entire stay. 8. After being upgraded to the top floor (the 7th) on our final night - the bath taps broke and water literally exploded everywhere and nearly flooded the bathroom. 9. The showers aren't that great and drain very poorly 10. The rooms weren't cleaned properly - to test this out we used to leave rubbish about the room - they were never moved or picked up. 11. New Years Eve a band for a private party soundchechecked all day at ear-splitting volumes around the pool (even with ear plugs it was a challenge) - having seen many a soundcheck this was easily the most inept one I've ever seen. Most of the people around the pool left in disgust! The general manager of the Saratoga needs to be trained on how to run a hotel like this - only then do you have a chance of making Cubans customer service orientated - 48 years of communism has made them ill prepared for most of the jobs in this hotel. Most smiled, but to add insult to injury - quite a few were surly AND useless. Cuba is a unique country in good and bad ways - the Saratoga is also good and bad - mostly bad and certainly unique."
- Travel date: 8th January 2007
check out the roof top pool area
"We only spent an hour by the pool but in that one hour we fell in love with this hotel. Make sure you look at the pictures on the wall near the elevator. They are classic Cuba. We wanted to purchase the one of the Dachshund in front of the laundry. It was just darling. Don't miss the very interesting little grouping of bonsi trees over in the corner that you will only notice on your way to the restroom out by the pool. The drinks were delicious and nothing can top the view of the city from the pool area. We would definitely stay here next trip. Make sure you check out the photography-- especially the dachshund in front of the laundry. That dog is the cutest little dog in Cuba."
- Travel date: 8th January 2007
Great Hotel Experience
"My husband and I have just returned from a fabulous holiday in Havana, Cuba. We stayed at the Hotel Saratoga which is an exquisite boutique hotel in Old Havana. There is a great pool area on the roof with excellent Mojitos and amazing views of the city. The architecture is fantastic and though much of the old city is very run down, it is reasuring to see a lot of restoration of these grand buildings is underway. The biggest gem of the hotel is,however, the charming concierge Raul Hernandez Cano, who is perhaps the best concierge we have ever dealt with. My husband and I travel a great deal and are seasoned travellers, yet we were highly impressed with Raul's warm and professional service. It is refreshing to find hotel staff who knock themselves out to make sure visitors have the most up-to-date information and great insider tips so that we could have the best stay possible. Raul even stayed late to help us out when our dinner reservation fell through. It was just like having the advantages of staying with a friend who is a local. The rest of the staff were friendly and pleasant with the exception of one incredibly grumpy front desk woman who has no business being in the hospitality industry and actually implied that I had lied about the room rate I had paid. Everyone else was just fine. The restaurant is not bad, but is a bit overpriced. Be prepared to be regularly approached to buy black market cigars, even by the restaurant staff. This is part of any stay in Havana. Be sure to check out the fabulous old 50's cars as well as the Cocotaxis which are fun to try. For people who love trying new places for holidays, my husband and I are planning a repeat visit - that's how much we loved it, and the people."
- Travel date: 22nd December 2006
An oasis in Havana
"Recently travelled to Havana with a group of friends and decided on the Hotel Saratoga. It was an excellent choice. From the level of service to the quality of the facilities, this is an ideal inner city hotel with the primary goal of seeing the sights with the option of relaxing by a pool, with a stunning view. Nicely appointed boutique styled rooms with spacious bathrooms and comfortable beds. Raul, our concierge contact, was very helpful in in making recommendation, and Antonio, our barman, took very good care of us. The hotel is a short walk to many restaurants, bars and the many historic squares of Old Havana. While breakfast was not piping hot, we were pleasantly surprised by the variety of the buffet, from fruits, smoked salmon, eggs, cheeses, crepes, the Cuban espressos, you get the picture. Each night we visited one of the Paladars, those are the restaurants that have been set up in private homes. By far the best was La Guiarida - a must visit. This is our hotel of choice for Havana"
- Travel date: 12th December 2006
Saratoga Hotel is also called
- saratoga hotel havana