I arrived at this casa at 1am in the morning after a Friday evening flight from Holguin to Havana, which was routed via Santiago de Cuba. I was originally booked into the Manuel Martinez casa on the 2nd floor of this building but he was overbooked and so had arranged for me to stay in this casa on the 5th floor.
I was met by the casa owner and another lady, who appeared to be a receptionist, as I entered the building and this lady explained the situation re. the overbooking and said that I would be staying in the casa of the other gentleman who was there. He took me up in antiquated elevator to the 5th floor and into his casa, which I noticed had the official casa particular sign on the door, and then into my room.
The building in which this casa is located is a large building of 7 floors in the Vedado district of Havana and was built, apparently in 1947 and it lies on a street just behind the entrance to the National Hotel. It seems that in this building there are 4 very large apartments consisting of several rooms on each floor, many of them casa particulares, and in the centre of the building is a large spiral walkway than can be used to access all levels, presumably if the two elevators are out of action.
I took an instant dislike the room as, though it was large, the furniture was old and antiquated and I couldn't believe that this could possibly be marketed as a casa particular in 2011. Had it not been 1am in the morning I would have refused to stay here and searched for another casa, however I thanked my lucky stars I was only here for one night.
I can assure you that the furniture etc. looks much better in the photos than it did in reality. The only thing remotely new in the room was the refrigerator and in the bathroom the toilet. The bed was truly awful, it was hard and lumpy and I just didn't feel comfortable in it and it took me ages to get off to sleep. In fact, at one stage I thought of sitting up all night, but in the end I decided to lie on top of the bed and eventually I fell asleep.
You had to stand in the old bath to have a shower but fortunately the water was hot. Two rather worn towels and a bar of soap was also provided. The floor tiles around the hand basin were badly worn probably indicating that these were the original tiles laid when the house built.
Breakfast was taken in the adjoining room and was adequate for the 3 CUC charge. Originally the owner wanted 35 CUC for my 1 night stay but I told him that was far too expensive and I would pay him 30 CUC which he agreed to without any problem. That was still too much for this room. The owner and his wife were an elderly couple and spoke little English but they were very nice and it's such a pity that I have to give their casa such a lousy review but in my opinion the standard is so poor that I couldn't possibly do otherwise.
I only needed the casa for one night as I was flying back to the UK the following afternoon. I can honestly say I wish I had saved the return taxi fare and the price of the casa and stayed at the airport for the night. I stayed in this casa in early December 2011.