Look what you get for $1000-a-night Penthouse in Havana

  havana-live-penthouse HAVANA, 13 Mar  A friend in Mexico City reached out a couple days ago asking what the heck was going in Havana. He wanted to hop over for the weekend later this month but couldn’t find anyplace decent to stay.

All he could find was a room at a three-star hotel far from the center. He’s not alone. Americans rushing to see Havana under the eased travel restrictions are finding rooms few and far between this season.
Havana’s high-end hotels — the Melias, the Parque Central and the venerable Hotel Nacional, which some old-timers still refer to as the Hilton because it was managed by the U.S. brand before the revolution — are said to be booked solid for months.  havana-live-penthouseAnd it’s not likely to get much better. I told my friend in Mexico that he should look into renting a room at a private home, or casa particular, as an alternative. The government has allowed such B&B-like operations since 1997, and a huge network has sprung up in all corners of the country. 

Accommodation in these casas run the gamut, from very basic to luxurious by Cuban standards, and can cost as little as $20 a night. Most of the amenities of a hotel are offered — towels, meals, toiletries, etc — and guests are afforded the added bonus of getting to know average Cubans on a personal level.

  havana-live-penthouseService is typically much better and friendlier than at even the most expensive luxury hotels. The main disadvantage to living like or among the locals is suffering through the same shortages they do. More recently, a few newcomers have popped up at the higher end of the market that are trying to bring some Airbnb panache to the game.

  havana-live-penthouseConexion Cuba is a Spanish website that list dozens of houses for rent in Havana, Santiago, Trinidad, Varadero and several other Cuban cities. Most listings have lots of pictures, just like Airbnb, and a short description of the property, many of which rent for between 20 and 30 euros a night per person.

The booking process is nowhere near as seamless as Airbnb, however, and requires an exchange of emails to finalize. Another newcomer, Point2Cuba, comes from Canada and has what must be the most expensive rental properties on the island. havana-live-penthouseFor about a thousand bucks a night, one can rent a luxury penthouse overlooking the Malecon in Havana’s Vedado neighborhood. The four-bedroom (each with their own private balcony overlooking the ocean) Atlantic Penthouse has a rooftop pool, two jacuzzis, 24-hour multi-lingual butler service and flatscreen TVs with satellite in every room. And, yes, it has Internet, too.  havana-live-penthouse   havana-live-penthouse   havana-live-penthouse