Casa Mercedes is an excellent option if you wish to stay in Havana Vieja on a budget - great for one night or if you wish to stay for a few days. It is an old apartment in the heart of old Havana, a few minutes walk from La Floridita Restaurant, Calle Obispo, market, the Central Park (Parque Central) and Museo de la Revolucion. From this "casa particular" it is easy to walk everywhere, so no need for taxis.
Mercedes, the owner, is so organised. She answered all my emails very quickly and took care of everything I needed. She helped me with a few things that were not even related to my stay with her.
The double room was 30 CUC per night. The room was spacious, with 2 beds, and very clean. I never saw a bathroom that clean! There is no window, but with the A/C you do not really notice. The streets are noisy and it is hot and humid, so you would end up not opening a window much anyway.
The breakfast, 5 CUC extra per person, was lovely; large plate of fresh fruit, fresh bread, cheese, butter, jam, fresh fruit juice and coffee and tea. Everything was ready on the table for us by the time we got up.
Mercedes really took care of us, even making coffee for us at 10pm! Water, sodas and beer are available at this "casa". There is a safe and A/C in the room.
Negative points / tips...
1) Mercedes recommended we had dinner at "la familia", a restaurant ("paladar" as they call it) near by. La Familia was not a nice place at all; dirty (especially bathroom) and the view depressing. I am not a fussy eater, but the food was terrible. We paid 39 CUC for dinner, which is quite expensive for a Cuban "paladar". In the restaurant, there is a horrible, small cage with what I can only describe as a rat in it. I am an animal lover, so almost left when I saw this little poor animal in this small, sterile cage and everybody would give it food (fried and full of salt). I think they are Mercedes' friends and that is why she sends people to them. I cannot think of anything else, as the place is depressing and food is very bad and expensive.
2) At Casa Mercedes, they keep a medium-sized turtle in a sink. I slept at the casa for a few days and the turtle was in there for the entire time, kept in poor / unacceptable conditions. Her shell would go white because it was so dry. I think this is not acceptable at all. I hope they will find a better place for the turtle to live.
3) Avoid using the Internet at Casa Mercedes. It is expensive and it does not work. It is so slow it is basically unusable. This is the way it is in homes around Cuba. Please note you cannot make any international calls or use Skype from Casa Mercedes.
4) I trust Cubans earn a commission for anything they help you with. It is easy enough to take a taxi outside the airport. If you let hotel owners organise for you, you end up paying 5/10 CUC more than the going rate. It is very easy to take a taxi outside the airport, so no need to ask the hotel to organise that for you.
Overall, I highly recommend Casa Mercedes. It is supre clean, the rooms are spacious and the owners are organised and professional. The "casa" feels safe and the location is perfect.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located in Vedado, 5 minutes from the Malecon and one block from La Rampa and the Coppelia. Our home is located on a quiet and beautiful street in the cultural heart of Havana. Close to all attractions, restaurants and nightspots. Let us help make your stay in Havana enjoyable and memorable. Services: Clean, spacious and comfortable, 2 rooms each with private bathroom, air conditioning, television in each room, filtered water and refrigerator in each room, balcony, English speaking hosts, meals available on request. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Casa Mercedes Habana Vieja Hotel Havana