#65 Hotel Havana
Chic Boutique in San Antonio
I love playing tourist in San Antonio, even in humid July when the River Walk pathways are jammed with tourists and name-tagged corporate conferencers.
I enjoy a chuckle when watching first timers gasp at how small the Alamo actually is. And I'm amused at the crowds that will spend major bucks for Ripley's and the Wax Museum.
That's what makes this secluded hotel getaway at the north end of the river, an oasis!
The Mediterranean Revival style structure was built in 1914 by E. F. Melcher, as a residential hotel to house wholesalers for his grocery business. The hotel changed hands and became a luxury hotel in the 1930's and now the 27 room hotel caters to a unique blend of guests.
In our one night stay it was hard to draw too many conclusions, but I'd say the younger (much hipper than me) guests all seemed to be "in the know". They had not just stumbled across this place... as my brother did 14 years ago when wandering away from our family reunion crowd. "I found the coolest hotel." He announced later.
Chic, But Welcoming
There was just the right balance of antique and contemporary. Bright colored furniture and artwork, dim lighting, dark stained woodwork and creaky floors! The desk staff and even the parking attendant were all friendly and chatty. Sometimes you don't get that with Urban Chic!
Love a Grand Staircase!
Don and I did enjoy a ride in the retro elevator once, but we preferred the red carpeted stairs to our third story room. Those little glowing statues at the base just begged us to come their way!
Our room #37, had a pink spotlight from the tinted door glass at the end of the hall. I saw that as a good sign!
Not only did we have great access to a lovely little balcony that no one else used, but our room faced front and jutted out so we had windows on 3 sides!
Clean and Comfy
Our room felt larger than it was, with all the surrounding windows.
There was a comfy queen bed and a vase of fresh flowers. Striped robes hung on a wall hook and a modern ice bucket sat on a 1930's vintage dresser.
Vintage Bath and Fridge
I had to remind myself to step down, into the walkway to the bathroom. In the day, the wonderful skylight, glowing on the crazy green walls drew you right in.
I loved the slanted ceiling, black toilet lid and sleek modern fixtures. And the fridge! Rarely are we tempted by costly goodies in hotel room bars, but this was one packed with local goodies like Mexican sodas and all the fixings for Mojitos! Pretty fun stuff!
We could have practically crawled through our window to the terrace.
It was a nice, usable space with a view of the river across the street and lots of comfy seating! We were glad to have it to ourselves.
Dining and Lounging at Havana
Even though there were hints of the real Havana throughout the hotel, with Cuban furniture and decor, it was in the restaurant and lounge where we could really pretend. The drink and food menus reflected the flavors of Cuba and the airy atrium style, seemed to fit perfectly.
Of course I've never been to Cuba, but there was an old classy atmosphere, that I wanted to believe was Cuba in the 1950's. In the evening, the glass-door windows (think Ice House) were open to the river below. We had drinks and enjoyed people watching on the walk below.
In the morning, the glass doors were down and a few enjoyed breakfast under the flower covered chandeliers, since a wedding was happening that night.
A Step to the River
We skipped dinner at Ocho, so we could make use of the balmy night and stroll the River Walk to dinner. What a treat to return and see the hotel, glowing purple for us. We thank the wedding couple, for all their early decorating!
If only we hadn't been so tired, we could have braved it and enjoyed a drink in the basement bar. I think the bar is frequented by the locals, who are really... I mean truly in the know! I took a peek earlier and felt my age as I nearly stumbled down the stairs into the cave like space, lit only by candles. I'm sure it gets brighter as the crowds fill and add more cell phone light. But I think we would have been too old for that place. Then again, how could we have felt out of place? No one could have seen us!
I love historic hotels, that mix the old and new well. Havana did just that.
There was nothing cutesy or overdone. I appreciate that. But best of all it didn't feel Too Cool for School... which can happen with Chic Boutique. We felt welcome and comfortable!
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My New Year's Resolution for 2014 was to start documenting some of the memorable overnights I've had in some very odd and curious motels and hotels. Like the adventures in my Dining Blog, I have learned to enjoy the surprises that happen when you step out of the comfort zone, far away from the well-known chains.
I began with a few entries recalling my very first home away from home memories from my youth. Then, I started sharing about some of the quirky and unforgettable motels, hotels and inns that my husband and I have discovered in recent years.
The best part about this challenge was making some lists with Don and getting on the road in search of new overnight adventures. I gave myself a 2-year goal to write up 90 stories and the goal was met. Now we just keep on adding!