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Since all hotels in Cuba are operated by the Cuban Ministry of Tourism, it can be tricky to find the kind of small-scale charm we prefer. We’ve found a few lovely exceptions to the rule though, and in much of the country you’ll stay in unique casa particulares – these are the Cuban version of a B&B, locally owned and run, and offering comfort, character and a warm welcome. You’ll always have your own bathroom, and a key to come and go as you like.
We’ve put our casas into slightly different categories, which are explained below.
Casa Tradicional – The majority of casas in Cuba fall into this category – comfortable and well-located, with a warm welcome and a hearty breakfast. You may find that the interior decor isn’t what you’d choose for your own home (think bright shiny pink duvets and kitsch ornaments on your bedside table) but it’s all part of the charm. You could be staying in a brightly coloured cottage in Vinales, or an old colonial house in Trinidad filled with antique furniture.
Casa Ambiente – In some parts of Cuba we’ve found casas which offer something a little extra, whist retaining the charm and personal touches which make Cuban casas so special. It may be a room in La Boca with views overlooking the sea, or a beautifully presented casa in Havana with a lovely roof terrace. You might also find that the rooms are a little larger and that the interior decorating is more to your usual taste!
Hotels – We’ve searched high and low in Cuba and found hotels offering small-scale, local charm to give you a real taste of Cuba. You can expect plenty of atmospheres and a great location. It could be a colonial hotel in Havana Vieja, a former Spanish fortress on the east coast or a cosy island cabana.
Casa Boutique – A new wave of casas has begun to spring up in recent years, with spacious rooms, tasteful decor, king-sized beds and beautiful terraces or gardens. Sometimes you may not even meet the owner, and it feels more like you’re staying in a small hotel – although you’ll encounter a better level of service than in many of the Cuban state hotels. There aren’t very many casas in this category yet, and they do cost a bit more of course, but a nice option if you’d like a little more luxury.
In Style Accommodation
In some of Cuba’s locations, all you’ll find is all-inclusive hotels. Although these aren’t our usual type of accommodation, the beaches are just too good to miss, and it’s also a great way to relax at the end of your Cuba adventure. You’ll also find a few Havana hotels in this category.
Something to bear in mind
During the past few years, commercial interests have gained popularity in Cuba. However, this trend hasn’t swept across the whole country yet. Water supply problems and electricity blackouts are still regular occurrences in Cuba, even in the Varadero beach resorts. There are emergency generators at these resorts so you won’t be in the dark for too long. Most Cubans don’t really think much of these problems; they just shrug it off and wait until everything is in working order once again.