Austin hotelier Liz Lambert, the owner/designer of the Hotel Saint Cecilia and San José in Austin, purchased this historic San Antonio boutique hotel a few years ago and set out to make the already near-perfect accommodations a bit more hip. Rooms are sparsely decorated, featuring cool white walls, dark wood trim, and handsome wood floors. Some travelers might not fully understand the funky colored furniture, pillows, and retro refrigerators in the rooms, or the Mexican candy and soda pop in the mini-bars, but those who do get it will absolutely love it. Flat-screen televisions, iPod docking stations, luxurious linens, and complimentary Wi-Fi and local phone calls all are big pluses. Beyond that, the Havana oozes atmosphere, and offers a good value at decent rates. Set in a three-story 1914 building with good bones, the hotel sprawls along a serene stretch of the river, six quiet blocks from the center of town. Although it's not technically in the heart of downtown, it's certainly not far from all the fun. Restaurant/bar "Ocho" is becoming quite the happening nighttime spot with locals, and its basement-level bar area makes for a dark, clandestine retreat from the sweltering Texas heat. One thing some guests complain about is the parking: The little lot, which runs along one side of the hotel, is long and narrow and hard to back out of, yet the hotel still charges $17 for the privilege of parking your own car there. Lambert's style is clearly geared more toward Austin hipsters than San Antonio siesta-lovers, though that description may not mean much to those outside Texas. Suffice it to say, the Havana is unique. It's a favorite of mine, but perhaps that's because there isn't anything else quite like it in the Alamo City.
San Antonio› Hotel
Havana San Antonio River Walk
Bar, concierge, limited room service, Wi-Fi (free)Web site Havana San Antonio River Walk