The relaxation of laws relating to the Cuban accommodation scene over recent years to allow private owners to open up hotels (previously the sole remit of the government) has resulted in a much greater choice of accommodation options for those visiting the island. Leading the charge are a group of extraordinary boutique hotels in Havana. Ideally located in the La Habana Vieja (Old Town) and Vedado neighbourhoods, they aim to not just match, but outdo the quality and standards of their international cousins and larger hotel chains.
What more could you ask for?
Some of our favourite boutique hotels in Havana Old Town (La Habana Vieja)
The UNESCO listed Old Town of Havana is rightly considered the traditional heart of the Cuban capital. Comprising a series of public squares filled with architectural wonders connected together by often cobbled streets, this is the area of the capital to stay to absorb that quintessential Havana atmosphere you’ve heard so much about.
With a phenomenal location right in the heart of the Old Town near Plaza Vieja, Loft Habana is able to boast views of the capital’s harbour from its Terrace Mirador, from where breakfast is served. This boutique hotel is also close to the finest artisans’ market in the capital, the Almacenes de San José, and also the Factoría Antiguo Almacén de la Madera y el Tabaco (more commonly known simply as the Beer Hall).
But more than just being situated in one of Havana’s most attractive neighbourhoods, Loft Habana comprises a beautiful recently renovated three-storey colonial building. Each of the six en suite rooms consist of a duplex-loft with salon and views of the old town and port. And as an extra incentive for the coffee addict, each room has its own Nespresso coffee maker!
Our final favourite in Havana Old Town is not just a boutique hotel room but an entire boutique two-bedroom apartment, meaning you can really feel like you are living like a local. And all our favourite boutique hotels in Havana this is the only one to provide its own fully-equipped kitchen within the spacious dwelling in addition to the other facilities you can expect from boutique hotels in Havana such as fine bed linens, hairdryer, and WiFi internet access.
It’s clean and fresh décor harks back to the best of colonial design while also showcasing works by well-known Cuban artists and providing all the comforts of home. Situated in the muddle of streets that makes up the Old Town, and with the ability to attempt dishes you’ve tasted on the street in your own private kitchen, Suite Havana adds something extra to the boutique B&B scene in the capital.
And our favourites in Vedado
Havana’s Vedado neighbourhood is the capital’s trendiest, formed from a lively mix of hotels, cinemas, theatres and historic places of interest. With a more youthful population that other parts of the capital, there’s also a huge range of places to eat and drink centred on Calle 23, one of Havana’s main thoroughfares.
Boutique Paseo 206
Just a short distance from the bustling Malecón seawall esplanade on one of the cities elegant tree-lined avenues, Boutique Paseo 206 aims to have the warmth of a private home and the facilities of a hotel – everything from 24 hour room service and daily turndown service to hairdryers and air conditioning.
The Italian and Cuban owners have created eight comfortable rooms can be divided into three different ratings, although all offer the same comforts and king-sized beds with imported Italian linens. Master suites offer more space than their junior counterparts, while one also has views right out over the sea as a result of its position in the building’s domed roof. The restaurant, Ecléctico, has the motto ‘from the field to the table’ and offers superb Italian fare using locally-grown Cuban ingredients.
Boutique Vedado 5tay8
Boutique Vedado 5tay8 is able to offer its guests not just a terrace but some tranquil garden space, and rooms that overlook it. However the main draw for many guests is its focus on local art. With both the renovation and decoration of the hotel overseen by the detail-orientated eye of Cuban film director Alejandro Pérez, you won’t be surprised that every aspect you can think of has already been taken care of.
Its walls hang with the works of a huge number of well-known Cuban artists, as well as famous names from Latin America that include Enrique Iglesias, Marc Anthony, Pitbull, Paulina Rubio, Alejandra Guzmán and Gloria Trevi. Just five minutes from the Old Town this is the perfect boutique hotel in Havana for those seeking to mix comfort, art and location.
La Reserva Vedado
Hotel La Reserva Vedado has perhaps the best range of accommodation options of any of our favourite boutique hotels in Havana. As it name suggests, it too is located in the cosmopolitan Vedado neighbourhood, close to Avenida Paseo.
The presence of a small private patio garden where breakfast is served to guests daily makes this hotel particularly special, and offers a relaxing escape for guests whatever the time of day, while its location on a residential street means you’ll be able to rub shoulders with the locals. Created out of a restored colonial-era mansion, it boasts just five rooms, each uniquely decorated with antique highlights while ensuring modern comfort prevails.
ARTEhotel Calle 2
As you might guess from its name, art is an important aspect of staying at ARTEhotel Calle 2, located in a completely remodelled 1920s mansion just four blocks from the Malecón. Indeed, each of the rooms is dedicated to a different style of art, be that painting, music, poetry, cinema or dance. What’s more, an exhibition room has 51 metres of exhibition space, enabling its Cuban artworks to be displayed at their very best.
A terrace lounge provides guests with a shaded area in which to enjoy breakfast, relax at any time, or even share in a meal cooked by the in-house chef, while the rooms all have WiFi connectivity and a welcome drink on your initial arrival.
Far from being a destination of non-descript hotel rooms, Havana now offers visitors an amazing boutique hotel experience that aims to cater to every interest and need.
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