Casa de Daniel Carrasco Guillén (Cristo #16, 2ndo piso, e/ Brasil y Muralla, tel. 07/866-2106, carrascohousing [at] yahoo [dot] com, CUC25) is recommended. The owner and his friendly family rent two lofty-ceilinged rooms with modest furnishings. Take a pick from rooms in the colonial home. Modern rooms atop the roof can get hot during midday but are cross-ventilated. Only one has a private bathroom.
Farther north, Casa de Raquel y Ricardo (Calle Cristo #12, e/ Brasil y Muralla, tel. 07/867-5026, casaraquel [at] cubacaribemail [dot] com, CUC25–30) is a gracious upstairs home; the spacious, airy lounge has rockers and mediopuntos. There are two rooms with lofty ceilings; one is air-conditioned and has its own bathroom.
Casa de Eugenio Barral García (San Ignacio #656, e/ Jesús María y Merced, tel. 07/862-9877, CUC30), in southern Habana Vieja , is one of the best private room rentals with two bedrooms with fans, refrigerators, and modern hot-water bathrooms. The old home is graciously and eclectically appointed with antiques and precious ornaments.
Casa de Paula y Norma (San Ignacio #654, e/ Merced y Jesús María, tel. 07/863-1279, CUC25–30), next door, is an identical home but much more simply furnished.
For historic ambience, I like Casa de Luis Batista (Amargura #255, e/ Habana y Compostela, tel. 07/863-0622, CUC30). Beyond its nail-studded door, this 1717 colonial gem has vitrales and a stunning alfarje ceiling. Four rooms with fans open to a long narrow patio where you can relax on rockers, shaded by an arbor of vines.
I also recommend Casa Chez Nous (Brasil #115, e/ Cuba y San Ignacio, tel. 07/862-6287, cheznous [at] ceiai [dot] inf [dot] cu, CUC30), one block from Plaza Vieja . This delightful upstairs colonial home has two large rooms with vitral windows, fridges, simple antique furnishings, and balconies. They share a spacious bathroom with hot water. There’s an airy TV lounge, plus a shaded patio with songbirds.
Adjoining, in the same building, Casa de Marta e Israel (tel. 07/862-0948, martha [at] secomar [dot] telemar [dot] cu, CUC30) is similar, though rooms are smaller, darker, and more simply furnished.
Casa de Pepe y Rafaela (San Ignacio #454, e/ Sol y Santa Clara, tel. 07/867-5551, CUC30), on the second floor of a colonial home, has a spacious lounge full of antiques and songbirds. The owners rent two rooms with tall ceilings, fridges, fans, antique beds and furniture, glass chandeliers, and heaps of light pouring in from the balcony windows. Modern bathrooms have large showers.
I enjoyed my stay at Casa de Irma y Roly (Compostela #117, e/ Tejadillo y Empedrado, tel. 07/861-1004). The hosts are a delight and make filling breakfasts (CUC4–5). The two upstairs rooms are small and lack windows.
A stone’s throw away, Casa de Luis y Mirtha (Compostela #119, esq. Empedrado, tel. 07/860-0650, CUC30) has one room up and one room down; each has double-pane windows, air-conditioning, modern private bathrooms with hot water, and firm mattresses.
Around the corner, and perhaps the best bet in Habana Vieja , is Casa de Alina Peña (Calle San Juan de Dios #154, Apto. 9, e/ Villegas y Aguacate, tel. 07/862-1533, adrpa1955 [at] yahoo [dot] com, CUC25 low season, CUC30 high season). Located on the seventh floor, this lovely, spacious, well-lit and beautifully furnished home has fabulous views over Habana Vieja. The single rented room features a high ceiling with fan and the same views. A small but modern bathroom is across the lounge. There’s even a computer with Internet.
Run by a pleasant couple, the nearby Casa de Alexis y Aleida (Compostela #310B, e/ Obispo y Obrapía, tel. 07/861-0637, CUC30) has one room with a private bathroom and a small window opening onto a private patio.
I like the clinically clean Casa de Juana (Lamparilla #254, e/ Habana y Compostela, tel. 07/862-6797, CUC25), festooned with colorful tiles, marble, and limestone. The two upstairs rooms have air-conditioning and external bathrooms.