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“Interesting stay, but be careful” 2 of 5 bubbles
Review of Casa Abel

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Casa Abel
Ranked #493 of 690 Havana B&B and Inns
Rome
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Interesting stay, but be careful”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 19 April 2013

This review is pretty negative but I did actually have a good time staying at Abel's house when I was actually there. However, I would like to describe our experiences and warn people about Abel, because he was not honest with us. I have seen lots of reviews from travellers saying he is a great person and friend, but I don't know if going to Cuba thinking that the people running the casas are your friends is a good attitude, however kind and hospitable they are.

I stayed in Abel's casa with my family last month. We arrived late at night and were told one of the rooms was taken because another couple had decided at short notice to stay an extra night (reading other reviews, this is not the first time this has happened so they probably didn't 'decide' at the last minute but he had double booked the room to ensure business) so my sister and I were sent to a different house, which was clearly not a casa particular, or even a home at all. We are not fussy or demanding at all and have both stayed in some pretty rough hostels in our time, but this was not roughing it, this was slumming it. It was almost indescribably awful. Because of how bad it was, we thought we would be given a discount at the end but we were charged the full price (35 CUC, NOT cheap and NOT the 20 CUC stated on the website, which clearly reads, "The nightly rate is 20 pesos convertibles (CUC) per room per night all year round. Our price remains the same during high season. We remain firm on this policy". AN OUTRIGHT LIE).

After that, we went to Abel's home where we stayed for 2 or 3 nights, I don't remember exactly. He is funny, entertaining and interesting (if cynical - he will show you around the grotty areas of Havana to give you the impression that it's all doom and gloom) and you can enjoy some rum and a drunken chat with him (him being the drunk one - he got through about a bottle of rum one afternoon), sitting in rocking chairs in the beautiful, high-ceilinged sitting room at the front of the house. His wife, Aidee is lovely, sweet and always smiling and I enjoyed her cooking very much, and there is another lady, Greta I think, who is also very nice.

However much fun Abel is, though, he is also very shrewd. When we left for Vinales, he convinced us that we would have a very hard time getting tickets for the Viazul bus, telling us the bus station was on the other side of town and tickets usually sold out days in advance, and that the cost of a taxi for the four of us would be around 3 CUC per person more than the bus (60 in total, 48 for the bus). In the end we decided to take a taxi and he immediately rang a friend of his to arrange it. Our mistake was not to confirm the price with the taxi driver before leaving. We were in the taxi, about to leave, when the door opened and Abel's grandson, also named Abel, told us to move up so that he could get in. He came with us all the way to Vinales, making it a very uncomfortable journey because of the heat, lack of space, springs digging into our legs, and Abel Jr's high-pitched 3-hour monologue. He was extremely annoying. He told us he lived in Vinales and we realised that he was hitching a ride in the taxi we were paying for, and he obviously wasn't planning to pay anything. When we arrived, we were charged 100 CUC and the driver (who was very clearly NOT a taxi driver but just a guy with a car with a taxi sticker, which you can buy in souvenir shops) refused to negotiate on the price. When we said that it was way more than what we had agreed with Abel, Abel Jr said that the driver had come to the house to pick us up and so it was more expensive. The whole thing was clearly set up by Abel just to give his grandson a free ride to Vinales and make some extra cash at our expense, and it was pretty disappointing to realise this. We did laugh about it afterwards, but it made us realise that we had to be careful not to think that people were our friends just because we had had a few drinks and a chat together, and that it wasn't a good idea to ask people for help.

My advice is this: If you stay at Abel's house, you will have a good time, be close to the centre and very close to the Malecón, eat nice food and enjoy talking to the hosts, but DO NOT tell Abel where you are going afterwards or accept any "help" with anything that involves money. Do not ask him for help finding a casa in another town, or getting a taxi, or changing CUC to moneda nacional (as a tourist, you shouldn't even be trying to use MN anyway). If you really want to take a taxi, find it yourselves and agree the price beforehand. Lie and tell him you are going to stay with friends, or have already organised accommodation in your next town. Also, be prepared to spend the first night in an absolute dump that not even rats wanted to live in.

Room Tip: There are only two rooms and one of them might have been unexpectedly taken by someone because of so...
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  • Stayed March 2013, travelled with family
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Hammy B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Write a Review

20 reviews from our community

Traveller rating
    11
    5
    2
    2
    0
See reviews for
3
11
2
Business
0
Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (2)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
3 reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 15 April 2013

Warm family. Mama's cooking is the best. Banans frites... Yum. We loved these people. They were so gracious. Like family! The rooms with 16 foot ceilings and everything was clean. Typical casa in the Old colonial stye and very central to everything. This is not fancy. This is true cuba.

  • Stayed November 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Kathrin_Lake
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Baddeck, Canada
Level Contributor
13 reviews
5 hotel reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 March 2013

My son and I stayed here and had a wonderful time. The food was fantastic and while I only spoke a tiny bit of spanish, Abel spoke a bit of english and we had some good conversations and I learned a bit.

The house is beautiful too!

  • Stayed February 2013, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank vextorspace
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Vancouver
Level Contributor
15 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 February 2013

We had booked this place well before hand and even called again the morning of our arrival and supposedly all was good. Got there and the room was not available. Apparently the people who were there had "problems with their visa" so we were moved. From reviews on here and from our friends we know that this happens regularly here. My guess, and only my guess is that he overlaps by a day or so just to make sure he is always booked in case someone leaves early or arrives late.

Also his website says $20 per night but when you get there it is $25.

Room is nice but bathroom is tiny, very low and old and musty.

The place we went to was nicer, bigger bathrooms and the hosts were amazing.

  • Stayed January 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank maxglide
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kampala, Uganda
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 20 January 2013

We had the chance to stay at Calle Blanco 111 between Ánimas and Trocadero and it was a great decision! This is a great place if you want to be fully immersed in the day to day life of a Cuban for although you will be situated in "Central Havana" you are only three blocks away from the Malecón and from "Old Havana" and that walk by itself is an amazing experience for you will see how the Cuban people go about their daily business. In regards to the hosts, don Abel & doña Aidee are amazing and really welcoming and of course doña Gretel is not far behind. All three of them were great at giving advises, feeding us, talking and answering any and all questions we had regarding any subject whatsoever. In regards to the food, don't even think about eating out for you will miss the BEST food in Havana in terms of quality AND quantity. You will not be disappointed. Enjoy your stay at don Abel's ... it will be and unforgettable experience.

  • Stayed November 2012, travelled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank JSmith987
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Vancouver
Level Contributor
21 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 12 January 2013

We stayed here for 5 nights over the Christmas season, including New Year's Eve. Aidee and Greta were the most welcoming, patient, and friendliest Cubans we met on our trip. Our room was large and comfortable although the bathroom was small. The food was excellent and well priced and the casa is a lovely place to relax in their front room our in the back terrace. While they do not speak English (and we spoke very little Spanish!) we felt at home and welcome and they were so patient with us looking up all our words in our dictionary!!! On New Year's Eve they invited us and all the other guests to join their family for a big feast. It was delicious and great to see how Cubans really celebrate instead of at a tourist bar. The casa is about a 5 mins walk to the Prado and while the area seems run down it is very safe and authenticate. Aidees son Rigo owns a casa just down the road and speaks very good English and went above and beyond answering questions i had via email before our trip. He manages the email bookings for them and can be reached at rbarroso@infomed.sld.cu. we will stay here again for any future visits.

Stayed December 2012, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank ali-e-s-c
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Exeter, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
8 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 19 January 2012

Abel and his wife are perfect hosts in a great location with lovely breakfasts BUT on two occasions when we booked with them we were moved to the neighbours house. They are also lovely but rooms can be noisy so just check where you are booked in.

  • Stayed December 2011
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank hendytravels
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Casa Abel

Property: Casa Abel
Address: Calle Blanco 111 | entre Animas y Trocadero, Havana, Cuba (Formerly Casa Abel y Aidee)
Region: Caribbean > Cuba > Ciudad de la Habana Province > Havana
Hotel Style:
Ranked #493 of 690 B&Bs / Inns in Havana
Number of rooms: 2

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