Hotel Habana Libre


This classic modernist hotel – the former Havana Hilton – was commandeered by Fidel Castro's revolutionaries in 1959 just nine months after it had opened, and promptly renamed the Habana Libre. During the first few months of the revolution, Castro ruled the country from a luxurious suite on the 24th floor.

A 670-sq-meter Venetian-tile mural by Amelia Peláez is splashed across the front of the building, while upstairs Alfredo Sosa Bravo's Carro de la revolución utilizes 525 ceramic pieces. There are some good shops, and an interesting photo gallery displaying snaps of the all-conquering barbudos (literally 'bearded ones') lolling around with their guns in the hotel's lobby in January 1959.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Vedado attractions

1. Mella Portraits

0.15 MILES

Opposite the Monumento a Julio Antonio Mella outside the Universidad de la Habana are black-and-white Mella portraits permanently mounted on the wall in…

2. Universidad de la Habana

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Founded by Dominican monks in 1728 and secularized in 1842, Havana's university began life in Habana Vieja before moving to its present site in 1902. The…

3. Monumento a Julio Antonio Mella

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At the bottom of the Universidad de la Habana steps is a monument to the student leader who founded the first Cuban Communist Party in 1925. In 1929 Cuban…

4. Museo de Historia Natural Felipe Poey

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Inside the Universidad de la Habana, this is the oldest museum in Cuba. It was founded in 1842 by the Royal Academy of Medical, Physical and Natural…

5. Museo Antropológico Montané

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The Museo Antropológico Montané, on the Universidad de la Habana campus, was established in 1903 with a rich collection of pre-Columbian artifacts,…

6. Museo Napoleónico

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Without a doubt one of the best museums in Havana and thus in Cuba, this magnificently laid-out collection of 7000 objects associated with the life of…

7. Edificio Focsa

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8. Convento & Iglesia del Carmen


This little-visited church’s bell tower dominates the Centro Habana skyline and is topped by a huge statue of Nuestra Señora del Carmen, but the real…