A review of Casa Obispo, the best private home in Havana

Posted: 01-Jul-16 10:41

When deciding where to stay in Havana, one frequent travel writer says there is nothing that compares to casa particulars, specifically the location of Casa Obispo. While there are hundreds of casas to choose from, she describes this particular one as a place she will never forget, enamoured by its unpredictable beauty and charm.

A review of Casa Obispo, the best private home in Havana

As a new wave of expected tourists make their way to Cuba this year for the first time one of the biggest decisions that needs to be made is where to stay. While there are several fantastic choices in Havana hotels, one familiar travel writer says there is no better choice than "casa particulars".

Contributing author Kristin Braswell recently shared her views in an article published by Forbes Lifestyle. According to Braswell, a casa stay offers up a true local experience, staying with a local family and immersing yourself in Cuban culture.

Taking weeks to study the hundreds of available online options, her goal was to avoid any ostentatious or minimalistic choices, instead finding one that resonated an authentic island experience. With that in mind, she finally settled on Casa Obispo 307, located on one of Old Havana’s busiest streets. Cubans Leo and Milagro opened the private home to guests in April of this year, showcased in photographs with pastel yellow walls, soaring ceilings and accents of bright green along the ceiling, furniture and patterned floors.

With an array of interesting features, including gold plated mirrors and antique lighting fixtures, the space is described as recently renovated, with four guestrooms, two of them connecting and three including balconies. She suggests that all of the home’s accents were purchased locally, chosen to compliment the sense of an open floor plan and excess of natural light.

The terrace provides an ideal location for dining or simply basking in city views, while the surrounding neighbourhood encompasses what Braswell proposes would have appealed to esteemed novelist Ernest Hemingway during his time in Cuba, the crumbling buildings accented by laundry hung on the balconies, the faces of locals and squares, made more enjoyable with a mojito in hand.

Most of all, though, this travel writer enjoyed the rush of opening up her balcony doors each morning, greeted by the sounds of street vendors, salsa and the glittering beauty of locally produced artwork bathed in the sunlight of a new day. She also describes sharing conversation with Milagro each morning while feasting on homemade omelettes, fresh pineapple and mangoes. Other highlights included sipping Leo’s version of "canchancharas", a Cuban drink made of lime, honey and rum, listening to a serenade outside her window and watching people passing by on their way to salsa at Florida Hotel.

While she was most clearly a tourist in Cuba staying alongside a busy Havana street, her stay at Casa Obispo is where Braswell claims she felt most removed from tourism, secluded within the confines of this spectacular home. Overall, she describes her words and pictures as likely inadequate in capturing all of her vivid memories as she inspirationally reflects on life in Cuba, somewhat hesitant to share too much information about a country she gained so much from in return.


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