Four Points Sheraton Havana, an Honest Review
As one of the only chain hotels in Havana, the Four Points by Sheraton is in a very unique position to cater to the wants and needs of international travelers looking for a brand that they can trust.
Being that the Four Points just came into existence in July, there weren’t any online reviews to fall back on. The hotel was formerly known as the “Hotel Quinta Avenida” (fifth avenue hotel) and became a joint venture between the government of Cuba and Starwood.
How we booked it
The hotel is bookable via Starwood’s page, and is PRE-PAY only. Note that all reservations made with Starwood can’t be changed, modified, or altered in any way once booked. This ended up being a sore spot for me, as the rate for the room dropped $45 a night just three days before our arrival. When I called to ask for a refund, none was offered, considering that it was a non-refundable rate.
How to get there
The hotel is about a 20-25 minute drive from the airport and easy enough to get to, but you have to know how to talk to the taxi driver. Most drivers don’t have it programmed into their heads yet that the “Four Points” is in existence, and since Four Points doesn’t really roll off the tongue in Spanish, it can be quite confusing. If you let them know it’s the “old 5th avenue hotel” or the hotel “next to Memories in front of Melia Habana” they will find it no problem.
To make it easier, cut and paste this and print it out:
Four Points Sheraton, esta al lado del Memories en la Quinta Avenida y esta en frente del Melia Habana. Antes se llamaba Hotel Quinta Avenida.
That should make it 100% no problem for the taxi drivers to get you to where you’re going!
The signs outside of the airport as you’re driving around are pretty self-explanatory.
It translates to “A true example of Brotherhood…”
The branding is out in full force as you drive up.
But not so much on the inside…
The lobby is big with the check in desk off to the left hand side and as it was Christmas time (yes, it’s Christmas time until January 6th) the tree was still up in the lobby. As a fun side note, the morning of the 7th they started to take it down, as it should be.
We were not upgraded to a suite at check-in, which was kind of a let down, but then again, I’m not even sure that this hotel had suites.
The pictures of the hotel on the website made it look like a fancy Super 8. The sheets were old, the pillows flat, the curtains drab, and the place run down. When we walked into the room, I fully expected that experience.
Here’s what the beds looked like:
Yup! Four Points branded sheets, comforters and pillows. The jury’s still out on the mattresses, as I found them comfortable but Ben’s was a bit lumpy.
Off to the side was a seating area and coffee machine, but no where in the room was there coffee to make!
There was an in room safe and beach towels…
Robe and plenty of closet space…
The bathroom has both a bathtub and shower, and both are equipped with a shower head and full Four Points supplies…
The view from the room was towards the water and offered a great view of the sunset.
There was a little note from management and a bottle of Havana Club rum saying “Thank you so much for choosing us. We wish you a most pleasant stay!” That bottle made went straight into the luggage. A great touch!
As platinum members with Starwood, we received free WIFI at check-in. It comes in 6-hour blocks, and since it’s included, when you run out just tell the front desk and they’ll give you another 6-hour code. We only ran out the last night, and that’s probably because we had no reason to be conservative with the WIFI. Six hours should be MORE than enough for most people, as when you turn off the WIFI signal, it shuts off your session.
The thermostat was another adventure. Everything except the on button was inverted. In other words, if you wanted AC, you had to put the bar to the hot setting. If you wanted 3 fan speed, you had to put it on 1, and if you want it frigid, drag the circle to point at the 35 degree mark. Again, the one thing that I’ve learned while in a foreign country is to just “go with it.”
Breakfast the next morning was a bit of a let down, but I think that has more to do with the accessibility of food in Cuba, rather than the ability of the hotel to provide decent options. Food options are limited in Cuba, and they make do as best they can.
The hotel has 4 Cuban breakfast options…
Bread for days…
Two hot sections with assorted hot foods such as eggs, bacon, etc…
Two coffee machines (which actually put out a decent coffee)…
A fruit bar…
And a meat/cheese station…
You could choose to have your meal outside on the terrace or inside, but be forewarned, it does get hot during the mornings, so with no fans or AC, you’ll have to rely on a nice breeze if you decide for the terrace option.
The views can’t be beat though!
Spa and Fitness
There’s also a spa and fitness center with reasonably priced services. Fitness center access is free with your stay, but the Sauna is extra. Make sure to call an hour ahead so they can heat it up for you. The average cost for a 1 hour massage was around CUC25
Shuttle into Havana
The hotel offers a very convenient shuttle service that runs on a set schedule to take you into the city. Departures are at (approx.) 8am, 11am, 2pm, and 7pm. Make sure to ask the front desk about the schedule so you don’t miss out. The taxi rides from the hotel to town run about 15 CUC each way, so if you can snag one of those into town, you’ll save a bundle.
Should you stay here?
The Four Points Sheraton Havana wasn’t the best value at $260 a night, and it is pretty far from the city. As long as you don’t mind taking a cab or the free hotel shuttle bus, this could be a solid way to earn points for your stay. We stayed for the three nights and earned a total of 3,986 points for our stay (including bonuses, etc). If you want to earn points in Havana, and want an experience that you know you’re going to get, then the Four Points is your place.