Robaina's plantation

Wednesday 20 April 2016

Hotel Ambos Mundo (Havana) Hemingway stayed here

                    You can't miss this building as you walk along the main pedestrian thoroughfare in Old Havana known as Calle Obispo. Painted in a pinkish hue and being one of the taller buildings in the area, it's hard not to notice it. If you look closer and read the plaque pasted by the entrance you realize it's the hotel where the famous writer Ernest Hemingway resided for seven years during the 1930's and where he wrote part of his classic novel 'For Whom the Bell Tolls'. It's quaint, the building has a history and they play up the Hemingway connection as much as they can....even keeping his old room 511 a museum. It's a typical hotel of this type, excellent location but the rooms are small and missing the usual amenities that modern day travelers are used to. If history and location are your thing, then this hotel is perfect for you. Otherwise, there are better hotels (or ones more to your liking) within Havana Vieja that may be more suited for you. Since 1987, off and on and to varying degrees until 2005, the hotel has gone through extensive renovations and for the most part, on the outside and what's visible to the passing tourist, the hotel has been made to look quite attractive. However, the rooms are the rooms and they're the usual cramped quarters that you'll find in pretty much any of the hotels of this size from this time. What this hotel does have is a huge rooftop patio that serves food and drinks, with a nice view of this part of the city. I can attest to the mojitos, very good, but I haven't tried the food. I remembered hearing they served breakfast up here, it might be worth re-investigating if my travels take me to this part of the city at that time in the morning.
                     The five floor hotel was built in 1924 on the site of what used to be an old family home. The site was bought by Antolín Blanco Arias from Manuel Llerandi y Tomé and demolished the old building on the site in order to build the hotel. Within a decade the hotel became popular due to the famous tenant residing there for a long stretch, it would be Hemingway's first home in the the time he paid $1.50 per night. As I said previously, that room has been turned into a museum or shrine to the writer. A corner of the lobby downstairs is dedicated to Hemingway with pictures of the man hanging on the walls. Originally the hotel was only suppose to be only 3 stories high but once complete on January 6, 1925, it turned out to be 5 stories instead. Today the hotel is run by Habaguanex which is owned by the Office of the City Historian of Havana. They say all their profits are reinvested in the restoration of the city’s historical center. They were to have begun a renovation on their 5th floor from June 2014, that would have been including Ernest Hemingway’s museum room. I wonder how that worked out.

Hotel Ambos Mundos
Calle Obispo #153 esq. a Mercaderes.
Habana Vieja
Phone    +53 7 8609530


lobby bar

Hemingway corner in the hotel lobby


View from rooftop patio

Rooftop Patio

Hemingway Room (museum) 511

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