The hottest guest houses in Havana right now

"В моем словаре нет слова «невозможно»." Наполеон Бонапарт ©
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Not long ago, a stay in Havana meant a choice between a run-of-the-mill government hotel and the spare bedroom in an abuelita’s home. But a 2014 foreign-investment law that encouraged joint ventures between native partners and outsiders paved the way for more exciting boltholes as well as big-name imports such as Kempinski. Still, these were slow to roll out, hindered by the flip-flop in USA-Cuba relations. Phil Winser and Jamie McDonald, key players in New York (Winser with The Fat Radish; McDonald with upstate’s The Brampton), saw the gap in the market. ‘We were blown away by the raw beauty of the city,’ says McDonald, ‘but few places offered a local experience without giving up modern comforts.’

The hottest guest houses in Havana right now

Living room at Gardens Havana

Chris Schalkx

After testing the waters with Twins, two whitewashed, mid-century apartments with Old Havana views, they opened mini-hotel Gardens Havana last year, taking over a crumbling townhouse near bar-packed Plaza del Cristo. They worked closely with neighbourhood artisans to craft the furniture and restore the building’s colourful telework. Now, the four bedrooms, palm-shaded courtyard, peaceful reading room and lobby with its grand piano encapsulate old-world Cuban charm. Guests also get access to a secret online guide with insider spots, including El del Frente’s rooftop bar, arty café HAV Coffee and club-gallery Fábrica de Arte Cubano, to fully tap into the city’s evolving scene.

Keep scrolling for more pictures of Gardens Havana

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