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The Urbanist’s Havana: Where to Stay

Casa Concordia (left) and Hotel Raquel.  

House or Hotel? Viejo or Moderno?
Christopher P. Baker, author of Mi Moto Fidel and Moon Cuba, assesses Havana’s hotels and casas particulares by the time period in which they were built.

Hotel: “Hotel Raquel (from $150; is a jaw-dropping example of Art Nouveau architecture. Its interior marble columns pay homage to the city’s long-departed Jewish community, and matzo-ball soup is served in its restaurant.”
Homestay: “Hostal del Ángel (from $30; is a Colonial home stuffed with Tiffany lamps and Victorian furniture steps from the Museo de la Revolución. The jovial hostess who runs it serves typical Cuban meals like shrimp enchilado, a rich stew served with plantains.”

Hotel: “Hotel Riviera (from $115; oozes retro mobster-era appeal with original 1950s décor and a massive swimming pool. It’s full of kitsch, from the royal-blue chaises paired with red club chairs to the doormen in tuxedos who man the Copa Room salsa club.”
Homestay: “One of gritty Centro Habana’s best casas particulares, Casa 1932 B&B (from $15; is full of Art Deco antiques. Enjoy a breakfast of scrambled eggs, fruits, and delicious Cuban coffee on the outdoor patio every morning.”

Hotel: “Hotel Saratoga (from $179; is the poshest digs in town; it was completely revamped a decade ago, and behind a Colonial façade are rooms that come with flat-screen TVs and ultrarare in-suite Wi-Fi.”
Homestay: “The knocked-about building is pure Beaux Arts, but the fifth-floor Casa Concordia (from $275;—a three-bedroom apartment with a full kitchen—features lamps designed from wire birdcages, plus flat-screen TVs. The English-Cuban owners even offer maid service.”