Rates: Doubles from $77 CUC and up
A cigar smokers paradise, the former residence of Count Villanueva was turned into a courtyard-style boutique hotel in Old Havana in 1998. One of the 20-odd hotels run by the city’s hotel brand Habaguanex, the nine-room hotel has a red façade that opens up to a lush courtyard. A café is hidden in the back of the courtyard, where free-roaming birds and peacocks amble lazily. The lobby and reception are well furbished and the front desk staff are more than willing to provide suggestions for visiting Old Havana.
Out of its total nine rooms, seven are standards and two suites. It is designed for hard-core cigar lovers: each of the nine rooms is named after a famous tobacco growing region. One of the suites, for example, is named San Juan y Martínez, a municipality in Pinar del Río province, which produces the country’s finest tobacco leaves. Smoking is allowed in each room, but one lacks a window. Rooms are spacious and comfortable, with a decidedly vintage feel. All the rooms are air-conditioned and are recently renovated. Some can be a little dark.
Conveniently located close to two of Havana’s plazas – Plaza Vieja and Plaza de San Francisco – the hotel is close to some of the area’s best restaurants such as El Templete and Doña Eutimia. Outside of the hotel there’s a small park where musicians are playing every day. Transportation is easy as well, as taxis can be found near the two main plazas.
The hotel has a café, and a restaurant that offers Cuban and international food. The Vuelta Abajo restaurant on the first floor of the building took its name from a famous tobacco plantation, as a part of the hotel’s overall cigar theme. Perhaps the highlight of the hotel is its top-notch cigar shop, a temple for cigar lovers. Its “sommelier” Joel says it has more than 10,000 Cuban cigars in stock. Inside the cigar shop, there’s also a cigar bar and a cigar manufacturing workshop.
Address: Calle de los Mercaderes No. 202 esq. a Lamparilla, Lamparilla, La Habana, Cuba
Tel: +53 7 8629293