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“Our home in Havana!”
Review of el81 Guesthouse

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el81 Guesthouse
Ranked #7 of 688 Havana B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Kirkland, Washington
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Our home in Havana!”
Reviewed December 10, 2012

I was lucky enough to stay with Melba and Alberto when I first visited Havana and couldn't wait to return to see them again when visiting the second time. They have a wonderful sense of humor, a lovely family and make their guests feel so comfortable. Their cooking is delicious and plentiful, the location is good to walk everywhere, the home has a great view, the rooms are clean and both bedrooms have on-suite bathrooms. Melba and Alberto are so helpful in arranging anything their guests need while in Havana. Alberto's english is quite good; Melba speaks some english - not that the language barrier seems to be a problem! Staying with Alberto and Melba is a reflection of our the warmth we found through most of Cuba. Can't wait to see them next time!

Stayed September 2012, traveled with family
Helpful?
2 Thank Jerrie664
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (60)
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English first
Level Contributor
13 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
Reviewed December 8, 2012

My wife and I stayed one night (Nov.29) at Alberto and Melba's. Wish we had stayed longer. The view from our balcony room was absolutely stunning. They gave us a great breakfast the following morning and were genuinely sad to see us leave so early (10 AM).

We spent an hour or two with Alberto and his son during the evening drinking coffee, rum, and smoking fine cigars. They are a beautiful family, inside and out, and it was a pleasure to learn more about Cuban culture and life firsthand.

We can't wait to go back in April with friends and spend more time with this outstanding family. Thank you once again, Alberto and Melba. We loved staying with you!

Geoff & Tamara

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Bareus
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
los angeles
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed December 2, 2012

Spent three nights with Alberto & Melba and their family in Nov 2012. The location is safe and very convenient to all of habana. A few blocks to the beautiful Malecon, short walk to Old Habana (touristy), but you are right in the middle of an authentic cuba neighborhood in El Centro where their 8th floor apartment is at. I did a lot of research before picking this apartment and I am pretty picky about finding the right place. Aside from the wonderful family, there are a few things that really make this home stand out- Being on the 8th floor-you have a great terrace/balcony view of the city-AND a perfect ocean breeze. My husband is a photographer and we spent a lot of time just at the home taking pidtures. The bedroom is on separate floor from living room/dining area-so lots of privacy and you have your own bathroom. You can come home late or leave early and not worry about disturbing the family since you have keys to the front door as well as keys to your own unit. These were my main concerns when debating about whether to stay at a hotel or at someone's home. You will love this casa, very warm family, clean home, hot water, cool breeze, great food.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank miranda70
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Burlington
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed November 27, 2012

First of all, if you are planning on staying anywhere else I would seriously reconsider. It was like living with family. $30 was a steal to stay there

I was on a 6 day stay as a first timer in Havana. The Casa is very easy to find and is in a very safe part of the city, actually I found the entire city very safe.

From the street the building does not look like much to go crazy about but wait till you get inside.
Melba & Alberto keep the entire place very, very, very, very clean, to the point that I would take my sandals off before entering. I stayed in the room with the balcony the entire time, it has an excellent view of the city and ocean. The washroom & the room itself are spotless, plenty of hot water and working plumbing. The room has A/C, plenty of lighting, storage space, ceiling fan and a fridge. The balcony is one of the best features about the room I spent a lot of time out there just looking around, smoking cigars and drinking the excellent coffee that Alberto & Melba make. I took a lot of great pictures from the balcony and there was always something to see. This is a prime location to stay because it is located within walking distance to EVERYTHING and I mean “EVERYTHING”. They can make arrangements for airport transfers too, I found that out when my self-arranged Cabbie shafted me on the morning of my departure.

Alberto & Melba can connect you with almost anything that you might need during your stay. They first sit down and give you the rules of the house & and quick run-down of the Do’s & Don’ts (take what they have to say seriously they have your best interest and safety in mind).

If you thinking about eating , stick with the meal plans that Alberto & Melba offer. The breakfast is $5 a day and is worth every penny. Breakfast consists of plenty of breads, meats, eggs made to order, fruits(the fruit is off the hook). juice and excellent coffee. I often skipped lunch because the breakfast were so hearty Dinner is $10 and is also worth every red penny. I had dinner 3 times fish, lobster tail & BBQ chicken. You can’t lose on this one …. The lobster tail was almost the length of my forearm, the fish was fresh and Alberto can grill a mean chicken on the BBQ (the BBQ is the best). They were so nice as to even have a cake made for my birthday. Save money and bring your sport water bottles with you Alberto & Melba have a water purifier located in the dining area. The local area restaurants are overpriced offering small portions and the food is not always that fresh.

Alberto, Melba & their children are excellent Hosts. The one thing that stood out the most was their sense of caring and down to earth mature. I would recommend this Casa to anyone ESPECIALLY for the first timer to Havana.
I really can’t wait to go back and stay with them.

Thank you so much for making my first trip to Havana one that I will remember for the rest of my life.


SR Wil

P.S – Bring them DayQuil and NightQuil, Cubans have a hard time securing any good cold medications. I brought them lots of soaps, lotions, dental floss & tooth paste

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled solo
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Helpful?
4 Thank Bubba1971
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
Level Contributor
15 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed November 25, 2012

We stayed in this casa for 2 nights. The hosts were very friendly and helpful. The food was delecious. The breakfast was served on the terrace. The room was very clean. We had one without the balcony. Melba and Alberto were really nice to our 5 year old. Had lots of patience.
The view is incredible. I would not say it is stunning, because it might be a little sad what you see but still I would not miss it. They were very helpful with advising on how we should see the city and called us a cab to get to the airport that was actually the 50 years old Chevrolet, which was really cool. It was the first casa in Cuba where the water pressure was 'normal' ;) Good location, walking distance to the sea and Habana Vieja.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank Monika G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco, California
2 reviews
Reviewed November 24, 2012

Situated in the center of town, this casa is well worth a visit. Alberto and Melba opened their home to us and made us part of their family. We dined on the rooftop and the meals were superb.

Highly recommended!

ML

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank RMLE
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Prince Albert, Canada
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed November 18, 2012

My spouse and I stayed at Melba and Alberto's place for 10 nights. It was a great experience. It is located in an apartment with an amazing view. There are two rooms available. They are both very nice. One even has a balcony. Each room has private bathroom. The rooms are kept very clean. Melba and Alberto were the perfect hosts. They were very friendly and helpful. It was a treat to stay with them. Melba's cooking was some of the best food we had on the trip. Her breakfasts were hearty and delicious. Suppers were also great. Meals were a small extra cost on top of the room. It is a great location. We walked to museums, shopping, a cinema, and jazz clubs. It was a safe area of town - we walked around at night and had no problems. You are within walking distance of the tourist bus that goes for city tours, and a tourist bus that goes to the beaches, which we enjoyed. This is a great location for someone who wants to be downtown in the center of it all. However, being downtown in a city of this size also means it is loud. I had trouble sleeping in because of the roosters crowing in the early morning hours. That being said, it was still a a great stay.

Room Tip: Both rooms are great. One has a balcony and one queen bed. The other had 2 twin beds.
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank C_Thebaud
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about el81 Guesthouse

Property: el81 Guesthouse
Address: 115 (Galiano) Italia Ave. Apt. 81 | Btw. Trocadero St. And Animas St, Havana 10400, Cuba
Location: Caribbean > Cuba > Ciudad de la Habana Province > Havana
Amenities:
Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #7 of 688 B&Bs / Inns in Havana
Number of rooms: 2
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
We are located in a privileged location in Centro Habana (Central Havana), on Italia Avenue (also known as Galiano). Very close to Old Havana (10 minute walk) and the very popular Malecón seafront. Our flat is a beautifully renovated modern duplex on the eighth floor of a building developed in the fifties. From the flat, you can enjoy a breathtaking view over the sea and the city. By staying in our house, you will benefit from one of the highest levels of privacy, security and featured services, in a family-friendly environment. We recommend our accommodation for vacation or business trips. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Casa Alberto & Melba Hotel Havana
Casa Alberto And Melba

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