Ambos Mundos - Hotel Description
Though the figure of Ernest Hemingway is immediately and almost invariably invoked in any description of the hotel, the Ambos Mundos' most attractive attribute is doubtless its magnificent location: steps away from the Plaza de Armas, the restored, 1920s establishment stands at one of the liveliest intersections in the Old Town, close to just about all of the most interesting sites of Havana's colonial centre.
Hemingway, who stayed and wrote most of For Whom the Bell Tolls here during the 1930s (his room, 511, is today a much-frequented museum), is not the only famous writer or luminary the hotel welcomed in times past: Federico García Lorca is rumoured to have made a stop here, and Cuban filmmaker Tomás Gutierrez Alea (director of Strawberry and Chocolate) was among the young intellectuals who participated in the festivities once held in its roof garden.
A spacious and tastefully decorated lobby opens to Obispo and Mercaderes, main arteries of the sightseeing circuit often crowded with tourists. The lobby, decorated with an attractive and modern-looking corner fountain, housing art exhibits and featuring a piano bar where jazz and other musicians occasionally perform, is itself often crowded with visitors and is a lively stopover in its own right. The old, 1930s elevator, though said to demand some patience, is a charming detail.
The Del Monte meeting room, with capacity for as many as 100 people, can accommodate conferences, business gatherings and weddings.
Not all of the Ambos Mundos' rooms have views, but those that do overlook the cobbled and picturesque expanse of Obispo and Mercaderes, which benefit from their proximity to the Plaza de Armas: costumed performers, including mulatta florists in colonial attire, old fortune tellers, a squad of soldiers in period English uniforms and a carnivalesque troupe of actors on stilts, are sure to enliven these vistas during your stay at the hotel.
Though close to the action, the Ambos Mundos is not lacking in the quietude and intimacy one will probably seek after a day around town.