Whenever we expand to a new destination, a big part of our product goals is to find experiences that other DMCs cannot provide and to deliver something curated, unique and authentic. In our newest destination, Cuba, we believe we have successfully done so by having sourced private accommodation properties. While many of the tour operators and agencies in Cuba work with the public sector, we work successfully with both the public and private sectors. This opens up a range of unique product offerings that will enhance your customers’ overall experience.
Thanks to our supplier relationships here, we have managed to source private-owned holiday homes and hotels. These Cuban properties are full of eclectic details, often nostalgic, and always classy. From old-style grandeur and historic houses, to ecological experiences and luxurious 5-star hotels, we have a property selection that meets the most discerning, curious tastes. Below, we’ve selected some of our favourites across Cuba’s different regions.
A member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, Paseo 206 is a refined boutique hotel truly deserving of its ‘luxury’ description. A family home built in 1933, this unique property was refurbished and restored with careful preservation of its original architecture by the Cuban-Italian family who now owns it. Paseo 206 provides 10 romantic suites and is set between art décor buildings and modern skyscrapers.
What Regional Manager for the Americas, Simon Lindsay, had to say: “Eloquently vintage, Paseo 206 transports you to that Havana of a gone-by era whilst cushioning your stay with all the sought-after amenities of a world-class luxury property. Not-so-secretly, my favourite thing about it is its restaurant, Eclectico. Being a foodie and lover of Italian cuisine, I think the menu at Eclectico is top-notch – authentic Italian recipes with a Cuban touch. The food and ambiance just make me feel right at home.”
Quirky art adorns the interior, sincere and attentive staff are on-hand at all times, and spacious rooms welcome guests for comfortable relaxation. This eclectic four-bedroom Vedado house was built at the beginning of the 20th century and today continues to honour its Cuban heritage. While this 4-star property exudes exclusivity and an artistic flare, it remains intimate and homey.
Simon: “Napper is really an experience in of itself. It’s not just a property to spend the night. It means spending time in an art gallery. Rottenberg, its owner, is a world-class artist, and Napper is perfectly curated to showcase his art and tell us the story behind the artist. The artsy essence of Napper is not limited to its walls, it overflows in its furniture, book collections, bed linens and bathroom amenities. When at Napper, ask Claudia, the house manager, for a lemonade, and have her spice it with just the right amount of Havana Club for a next-level mojito!”
Located just one kilometre from the centre of Viñales, Balcón del Ermitaño offers exceptional contact with nature and relaxation after a day of activities (think hiking, horseback riding and cave explorations) in the picturesque Viñales Valley. The house comes with two standard rooms and one family room, and an incredible view of the surrounding limestone hills (mogotes) and famous tobacco fields.
Christian Ricardo, Discova Tour Guide: “In the entire valley of Viñales, there is no property like Balcon del Hermitaño. Perched on a hill, overlooking the valley, you can enjoy the most mesmerising sunrises and sunsets. And at night, the tranquility of the house and the taste of a mojito become the perfect setting for nature’s display of beauty.”
Casa Barmarin describes itself as a “cultural house”, and with its historic location, hand-painted murals, and colonial yet tastefully preserved interior, there’s no questioning the title. The house was built in the 18th century and restored in 2017, and sits along a quiet pedestrian street near the city’s much-loved embroidery market. Local hosts ensure a curated experience filled with art and history.
Simon: “Walking into Casa Barmarin truly feels like stepping into an 1800s colonial house. Everything here is in the details. Every little corner, every piece of art, every piece of furniture is there to transport you back in time to when the town was bustling with merchants and grand dames. It feels a bit like a movie set for a period film.”
What makes this particular hotel so unique is its past. Built in 1920 by famed Italian architect, Alfredo Fontana, the mansion was once the private residence of a wealthy tobacco manufacturer. Only in 2004 was it refurbished, but the historic building retains its colonial style and art décor influence. The small boutique hotel features rooms with modest furnishings and views over Cienfuegos Bay, a Moorish-style tower, and is conveniently located close to the cultural and architectural highlights of the city’s main square.
Simon: “With its bay and city views, the Palacio Casa Azul stands out as one of the most stunning properties in Cienfuegos. I can only imagine what it was like when Casa Azul was a private residence, the glamorous dinner parties. Today, it’s without a doubt one of my favourite accommodations in Cienfuegos: an architectural gem standing in the perfect spot.”
You will have noticed that the homes and hotels we have chosen to highlight here are small and exude a more exclusive, intimate accommodation experience. While we have larger property offerings in Cuba too (Gran Hotel Menzana Kempinski has over 200 luxury rooms and suites, for example), our goal is really to provide something more curated and personalised for FITs, couples, families and other smaller groups. We want you to be able to sell Cuban holidays that bring your customers closer to the warm and historically rich culture of this Caribbean island. One of the best ways to do so is to provide privately-owned (often smaller) properties that exude Cuba’s unique character and zest.
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