Los Frailes is a small and nice looking hotel located in a narrow, busy street of the old city, only a few steps away from beautiful "Plaza Vieja" (Old Square), the majestic St. Francis of Assisi's Basilica and the similarly named square "Plaza San Francisco de Asís".
The hotel building was once the mansion of Marquis Pedro Claudio Duquesne, Captain of the French Navy, and was at the time visited by "la crème de la crème" of Havana's society and by renowned artists. Today it is a boutique hotel with a monastic theme: staff dressed as monks, lamps and furnishings reminiscent of a medieval abbey, and two copper statues of monks welcoming guests into the entrance and the lobby ...a very interesting place to stay, quite original.
Its 22 rooms are set around an inner patio open to the sky, with an aljibe (water reservoir), a fountain, and greenery cascading from the walkways. The rooms have patterned terra-cotta tile floors, high ceilings, spacious bathrooms and the walls are treated to convey a sense of age.
Before making a reservation it might be useful to know that some of the Standard rooms have no windows so the light is, in most of them, a little dim. Some guests find them "small, dark and claustrophobic" while others truly appreciate the ambiance of the place and the quiet that comes with the lack of noise penetrating from outside. If light is important to you, we recommend choosing one of the Junior Suites located on the 2nd floor which feature small balconies with double doors. Tons of light will be allowed in by opening these, but also music from nearby bars and the loud talking and laughter from Cubans. This might not let you sleep but will, for sure, make you feel you are in Havana.
Another downside to the rooms on the ground floor is that many tourist groups with their guides come visiting and taking photos.
Advantages are: its perfect location, in the heart of the old city with most places within walking distance, and its undeniable character, charm and peaceful atmosphere.
The hotel bar is off to one side of the lobby and the restaurant "La Marina", where breakfast is served every morning to all hotel guests, is just a few steps away in the same block.