By Mayté Solano Gómez
We have recently talked to you about the best things to do in Havana. The capital of Cuba is a destination where you can spend your whole vacation, without repeating one single moment.
But you’ll need somewhere to stay. So, let me tell you about the best places to stay in Havana!
Lodgings in Cuba
People who visit Cuba for tourism or work lodge mainly in hotels, although ‘casas particulares’ have become more popular in recent years.
Best hotels to stay in Havana
- Cuban National Hotel
The 5-star Cuban National Hotel is the most famous and emblematic hotel in Cuba. With more than 90 years of existence, it has welcomed great personalities from the fields of culture, politics, sports and entertainment, such as the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and the scientist Alexander Flemming. It was also known for being the headquarter of the mafia on the island, in the 1950s.
The hotel is very centrally located, in Vedado. Facing the Malecon, the garden of this hotel is a great place to enjoy sunsets and the sea view.
- Iberostar Grand Packard
The Iberostar Grand Packard is a 5-star luxury hotel located in Old Havana, right on the Prado Walk. It offers high-quality services in an elegant and sophisticated environment. If you stay there you can enjoy and relax in the SPA Sensations with the panoramic views of Havana Bay and the Morro Lighthouse from the pool on the sixth floor.
Very close to the historic center of Havana, it is also just one block from the Malecon, 2 minutes walk from the Revolution museum and 5 minutes on foot from the Capitol, some of the best landmarks in the city.
- Iberostar Parque Central
Iberostar Parque Central is a 5-star hotel located in Old Havana, right on Central Park. It comprises two buildings, a colonial section and a modern tower, linked by a stylish, underground tunnel. The roof terraces of both sections have pools, so the Parque Central hotel is an attractive option for families with children who want to stay in the city center. The views from there are astonishing.
From the Parque Central hotel you can discover Havana’s historic center on foot, starting with the Capitol, the Havana Great Theater ‘Alicia Alonso’ and the Fine Arts Museum, the international section, all 1 block away or less.
- Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski
Also in Old Havana, on Central Park and next to the Iberostar Parque Central Hotel, is the 5-star luxury Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski. It comprises 246 luxurious rooms, including 50 suites. The view of the city from the rooftop is breathtaking; you can also enjoy fine dining and smoke a cigar paired with a rum in the cozy tobacco lounge, Evocación.
- Melia Habana
The Melia Habana is a 5-star modern hotel located in the residential neighborhood of Miramar. Featuring a large swimming pool with palm trees and a sea view. It is mostly recommended for business travelers, due to the two convention areas with multi-purpose event rooms, a business center with space for up to 700 people and also its proximity to the Miramar Trade Center.
- Melia Cohiba
With a very modern design, the Melia Cohiba hotel was considered one of the most luxurious when it opened in 1994. Located in Vedado, next to the Malecon, it offers beautiful views of the city and the sea.
It is also an excellent choice for congresses and conventions in Havana, due to its extensive event facilities, multi-purpose event rooms, technology, multiple venues and space for up to 600 people.
There are also large galleries, Cuban art, boutiques and a ‘Casa del Habano’ for lovers of Cuban cigars, including the famous Cohiba brand.
The Melia Cohiba Hotel hosted the Prince of Wales, during his visit to Havana in 2019.
Among the best places to stay in Havana, there are some other hotels that we recommend to you, smaller but also nice. Los Frailes, Raquel and Santa Isabela hotels are located in the heart of Havana’s historic center, between the Arms, the San Francisco de Asis and the Old squares. Los Frailes is religious-themed, and even the staff dress like monks. At the Raquel Hotel, the rooms are named after Biblical matriarchs and patriarchs, and the restaurant serves kosher food, such as borscht and latkes. As for the Santa Isabela Hotel, it has recently hosted personalities such as President Jimmy Carter, Jack Nicholson, Robert Redford, and Sting.
Best Casas Particulares in Havana
In Cuba, there are at present plenty of casas particulares, the Cuban Bed and Breakfast. Offering a more personalized customer service, the casa owners have improved the quality of the facilities more and more over the years. That’s why you will now find in Cuba luxury as well as standard accommodations.
You can also expect to receive in these casas information and assistance, as part of the customer service.
To make this list of casas particulares, among the best places to stay in Havana we consulted different online travel agencies, including CubaCasa website.
Best places to stay in Havana: Luxury casas particulares
In Cuba, luxury accommodation is located mostly in Havana, the capital of the country. Staying in a luxury casa particular in Cuba means enjoying better conditions, more space and more personalized services. In these houses, decoration, furniture and design provide the customer with a feeling of joy and sophistication but also a feeling of history and heritage historic ambiance.
This premium casa particular in Old Havana rents luxurious, spacious and tastefully decorated rooms. The casa is decorated throughout with art and antiques and has a spacious living room and dining area for breakfast and relaxing.
Located close to the famous Revolution Museum, the casa is very central. Note that breakfast is included and rooms with 2 single beds convert into a king-sized bed, so ideal for couples too.
They also own a restaurant on the first floor of the building, where customers lodged in the private house benefit from a 10% discount.
Residencia Mariby, a luxury colonial mansion rents glorious rooms decorated with a mix of 18th Century antiques and contemporary Cuban art. This huge casa particular in Havana Vedado is located next to the Avenida de los Presidentes and the Malecon, so has great transport links to the rest of Havana. Despite being close to the Vedado’s vibrant nightlife and jazz bars, this leafy, breezy mansion is very tranquil so the large garden terrace is a lovely place to relax.
To make your stay perfect the casa’s chefs provide breakfast and fine dining, and you can also book massage, pedicure or manicure services. If you want ultimate relaxation and luxury in Havana, this is a great place to stay.
The owner of this casa particular, a tourism studies graduate fluent in English and Italian, rents comfortable rooms in this meticulously renovated and decorated boutique private house in Old Havana. The mix of colours has been tastefully chosen and matches the original stain glass fittings.
Once you have rested and scouted the terrain from your roof terrace, head out from this ideally located flat to discover Habana Vieja on your doorstep. Breakfast is included in the price of the room.
This is the beautiful art-deco casa particular of a retired Cuban diplomat in francophone Africa. Here you can rent two glorious rooms overlooking Havana’s romantic Malecon and delight in glorious views of the Caribbean sunset, tasteful art throughout and lots of character.
With bay windows looking out to sea, you may be tempted to stay homebound instead of walking 5 minutes along the romantic Malecon to the historical wonders of Old Havana!
The owners of this casa particular in the heart of Old Havana rent out two clean and comfortable rooms. They are a kind and helpful bilingual English-Spanish couple who own the Antique Cuban shop downstairs.
The casa has an amazing garden roof terrace where you can relax and the rooms are spacious, so this is a great place to come back to after a day exploring Havana.
Best places to stay in Havana: Cheap casas particulares
You can rent two clean and comfortable rooms in this large and tasteful casa particular in Old Havana, built back in 1924. This colonial casa particular is very peaceful and offers a perfect place to come back to after a day strolling about Havana.
You couldn’t ask to be more centrally located so it will never take long to get back to this breezy, friendly casa.
A chef and an architect who speak a mix of English and Italian, rent three tastefully decorated rooms in this newly refurbished casa particular in Old Havana. Located on the top floor of the building, the colonial casa is tranquil, breezy and has an amazing roof terrace with 360-degree views of Havana.
The owners will happily provide you with information and help you with logistics (taxis, etc.), and once you’ve enjoyed the sights and sounds of Havana you can be sure of a delicious dinner on the roof terrace!
During your visit to Havana, you can rent rooms in this centrally located casa particular in Old Havana. The colonial casa dates from 1921 and has proudly preserved cornices.
An extended family lives here and is always happy to serve you with their grasp of English and their spontaneous smiles. The breezy patio is an ideal place to relax before visiting the plazas and museums on your doorstep.
Best places to stay in Havana: Family friendly casas particulares
The owner of this house, an accountant, rents 5 clean and comfortable rooms in this lovely colonial casa particular in Havana. The casa looks and feels refreshing thanks to the decoration, sheets and color of the walls, which are all white. The garden roof terrace is also a refreshing and relaxing place to enjoy breakfast or a drink in the evening.
Located right next to the Revolution Museum and close to the Parque Central, this is a great casa particular to choose for your accommodation in Havana.
The incredibly friendly and welcoming casa owners rent rooms in their meticulously preserved casa particular in Old Havana, dating back to 1909. The rooms are sparkly clean and the colonial casa is permanently refreshed by the soothing sea breeze.
If you need to warm up, enjoy a bit of relaxation on the sun-soaked balcony before visiting the multiple museums and plazas all around you.
A hairdresser and an economist rent 3 clean and comfortable rooms in their colonial casa particular in Old Havana. There, after enjoying a delicious breakfast, you will receive some insider tips on what to visit.
After the day of exploring, the garden roof terrace is a delightful, breezy place to relax in the evening or you can do some people-watching off the pleasant balcony.
Where to stay: hotel or casa particular?
Pros of staying in a hotel
- Comfort: rooms in hotels are usually bigger and less noisy.
- The hotel staff: people who work in hotels in Cuba are very well trained, they can even speak 2 or 3 languages. English is mandatory.
- Variety of services: in hotels, you will find a different kind of customer service, from information to spas, massages, swimming pools, restaurants and others.
- Internet: if you stay in a hotel connecting to the internet is easier, the service is available, sometimes, even in the room.
Cons of staying in a hotel
- The price: hotels in Cuba are expensive, mainly if you expect optimal facilities.
- Poor relation quality- price: although the service in hotels is professional, it is also less personalized. The staff focuses more on maintaining the hotel standards more than the needs of customer s individual.
- Impersonal service: being bigger and with more customers, the hotel staff must attend all and every one of them. That’s why service is more impersonal.
Pros of staying in a casa particular
- The price: even if you can find hotel rooms with different prices, casas particulares in Cuba are generally more economical.
- Getting to know the genuine Cuban people: this is maybe one of the main reasons to stay in a casa particular, meeting ordinary Cubans and getting to know how they live. Cubans enjoy talking and sharing stories and passions, so you can find out about their beliefs and traditions.
- Getting personalized attention: you can even expect to be called by your name if you stay in a casa particular. The casa owners will also be there to give you information, help you with any bookings or advise you about what not to miss or what to avoid.
- Facilities: maybe not before, but today if you stay in a casa particular you can enjoy almost the same services and facilities as in a hotel room. These include a private room with a private bathroom included, and room service in some of the houses, massage sessions and jacuzzi.
- Value for money: The attention and services you receive are truly worth what you pay. Believe it, you will definitely get more than what you pay for.
- Making new friends: you will probably meet new friends in the casa particular where you are staying, if they rent more than one room. One of the main advantages can be sharing some travel ideas and experiences and, why not, some expenses.
- Contributing to the local economy: you should be aware that by paying any service or product to private local business owners, you make a great contribution to their economic wellbeing.
Cons of staying in a casa particular in Havana
- The casa particular staff: people that attend to you in a casa particular are not professional or experienced. In many cases, the casa owners or their relatives are the place’s staff. So, you will receive a warm service but not always a professional one.
- Comfort: rooms in casas particulares can be smaller and noisier than hotel rooms. You will need to book in quiet and modern neighborhoods.
How to book accommodation in Cuba
Nowadays, there are several travel agencies and websites, where you can book accommodation in Cuba, whatever this is. Anyway, we recommend you to stay in a ‘casa particular’ for a genuine Cuban experience.
Some of the best known ways to book online a ‘casa particular’ in Cuba are through Booking and Airbnb. Nevertheless, if you want to contribute to the local people’s finances, then you can use CubaCasa LTD travel agency. It is a professional online booking system for a network of quality, hand-picked Cuban Casas Particulares. They were recently recognized with the LUXlife Magazine’s 2021 Travel and Tourism Awards as the Best Online Accommodation Booking System – Caribbean.
With a team located in Cuba, they offer tourists 24 hours- assistance and help them minimize any issues, right from the moment you start organizing your trip.
To sum up…
Although in Cuba you will always find the joyful and helpful character of Cubans, if you want to book the ideal accommodation in Havana, you must consider, in first place, the kind of trip you’d like to enjoy.
For a standard trip, a bit more distant from Cuban reality, there are plenty of hotels in Havana you can choose from. But if you want to experience and know from first-hand genuine Cuban life, then a casa particular is a perfect choice. There are online travel agencies, such as CubaCasa, that will help you find the best places to stay in Havana, and provide other services.
If you are interested in the idea, contact us here. We can also help you with your accommodation in a casa particular and transportation to the following destinations:
To get your Cuban Tourist Card, even if you are coming from the USA, you can do it through EasyTouristCard.com. Here you can order all the tourist cards you need at the same time. In this way, you will only pay one shipping charge.