Casa de Jorge Coalla Potts (Calle I #456, Apto. 11, e/ 21 y 23, Vedado, tel. 07/832-9032 or cell 5283-1237, www.havanaroomrental.com, CUC30–35) is my favorite casa particular in Havana; it’s where I stay, if possible, when in town.
This delightful home is run by Jorge and his wife, Marisel, who offer a large, well-lit and well-furnished bedroom to the rear of their spotless ground-floor apartment, only two blocks from the Hotel Habana Libre Tryp. The room has a telephone, refrigerator, a double bed with a firm orthopedic mattress, a lofty ceiling with fan, and a spacious tiled bathroom with plentiful hot water. There’s a TV lounge with rockers. There’s also secure parking nearby. The couple and their daughter Jessica (fluent in English) go out of their way to make you feel at home.
The remarkable art deco Edificio Cuervo Rubio, at the corner of Calles 21 and O, has 14 casas particulares. They’re more or less identical in layout; consider Casa de Alejandria García (#42, tel. 07/832-0689, CUC35), on the fourth floor. Take an east-facing apartment for ocean views.
Also on Calle 21, and highly recommended by a reader, is Casa Mercedes González (Calle 21 #360, Apto. 2-A, e/ G y H, tel. 07/832-5846, CUC30). This graciously furnished abode has a mix of antique and utility furnishings, a modern bathroom, and its own balcony. And I like it, too!
Casa de Magalis Sánchez López (Calle 25 #156, e/ Infanta y O, tel. 07/870-7613, magalissanlop [at] correosdecuba [dot] cu, CUC30 low season, CUC35 high season) has two rooms to the rear of a patio. Both have a TV, fridge, and radio-cassette player. Guests get use of the centenary home with lofty ceilings, a kitchen, and TV lounge. There’s secure parking.
Casa de Basilia Pérez (Calle 25 #361, Apto. 7, e/ K y L, tel. 07/832-3953, basiliapcu [at] yahoo [dot] es, CUC25–30) has two rooms in a pleasant home secluded behind an apartment block. Each has an independent entrance, fridge, fan, TV, and telephone.
Nearby, Casa de Dania Borrego (Calle J #564B, e/ 25 y 27, tel. 07/832-9956, CUC20–25) has two upstairs rooms in the home of this pleasant family. Each room has fans and modern furnishings. Guests have use of a well-lit lounge, plus secure parking.
I also like Casa de Enrique y Mirien (Calle F #509, e/ 21 y 23, tel. 07/832-4201, mirien [at] enet [dot] cu, CUC30), a beautiful option with an independent entrance, security box, a nice modern bathroom, a delightful bedroom with TV, and a patio with rockers and a shade tree.
Another independent apartment nearby is Casa de Humberto San Pedro (Calle 25 #567 e/ G y H, tel. 07/833-9670, sanpalbearcuba [at] yahoo [dot] es, CUC30), tucked behind a massive vine. It has a small kitchen and tiny lounge downstairs; the bedroom and small modern bathroom are upstairs. The only drawback is the low ceiling, and it can get hot. I’ve stayed here twice with no regrets.
The breakfasts—including crêpes with honey—are reason enough to choose Casa de Eddy Gutiérrez (Calle 21 #408, e/ F y G, tel. 07/832-5207, carmeddy2 [at] yahoo [dot] es, CUC35). Two independent apartments are to the rear of the owner’s colonial mansion; both have fans and refrigerators. One apartment has its own small kitchen; the other is larger. There is secure parking.
Casa de Marta Vitorte (Av. de los Presidentes #301, e/ 17 y 19, tel. 07/832-6475, martavitorte [at] hotmail [dot] com, CUC40) is a splendid two-room, two-bath apartment that takes up the entire 14th floor and boasts wraparound glass windows on a balcony offering fabulous views. The beautifully maintained rooms feature antique beds. Martha is an engaging conversationalist who speaks fluent English. The only drawback is the rickety elevator.
Hospedaje Gisela Ibarra (Calle F #104 altos, e/ 5ta y Calzada, tel. 07/832-3891, latinhouse [at] enet [dot] cu, CUC30) is a beautiful colonial-era home decorated with antiques and modern art. The delightful owners, Gisela and her daughter Marta, have two rooms with antiques (including antique double beds), safety deposit boxes, and refrigerators. There’s a roof terrace, plus parking, and a TV lounge gets the breezes. Meals are served in a gracious dining room.
Nearby, I like Casa de Fifi (Calzada #508, e/ D y E, tel. 07/832-3133, fifiacosta [at] yahoo [dot] com, CUC30), an 1892 house in colonial style entered via a dramatic carriage door and opening to an arched terrace with planters. The two rooms, simply furnished with aged pieces, are spacious and have lofty ceilings and large modern bathrooms. The hostess is a delight.
Run by a savvy, politically well-placed owner, Casa de Aldo Vásquez (Calle B #154, e/ Línea y Calzada, tel. 07/832-3223, CUC30) is another well-kept colonial home with a wide front porch with rockers, plus a TV lounge full of antiques. The two spacious bedrooms each have TV, fan, and modern clean private bathroom. There’s secure parking.
One of the best options in Havana, Casa Blanca (Calle 13 #917, e/ 6 y 8, tel. 07/833-5697, CUC25), in the heart of western Vedado, is a gracious colonial home with a front garden riotous with bougainvillea. The home is replete with antiques. It has one room with two double beds, stereo, safe deposit box, and a clean, modern bathroom. It has email service for guests.
In Nuevo Vedado, Casa Mayra Sardaín Piña (Av. Zoológico #160, e/ 38 y 40, tel. 07/881-3792, CUC40 low season, CUC50 high season), close to the Víazul bus station, is a graciously decorated house with a sun-kissed lounge with wicker furnishings and modern art. Two pleasingly furnished rooms, reached by a spiral staircase, have TVs and fridges. There’s a small swimming pool in the rear courtyard.
Nearby, Casa de Cecy y Raul (Av. Zoológico #112, e/ 36 y 28, tel. 07/881-3727, ceciraul [at] enet [dot] cu, CUC40) is a pleasant 1950s home with an independent apartment complete with lounge and kitchen.
Casa Jorge Araoz Agero (Calle San Juan Bautista #62, e/ 35 y 37, tel. 07/883-7378 or 05/270-3364, CUC35–45) is another lovely property with two rooms.
© Christopher P. Baker from Moon Cuba, 5th Edition