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“Stay like a Cuban is this pleasant casa particular” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Casa Mer

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Casa Mer
Ranked #31 of 250 Specialty Lodging in Havana
Certificate of Excellence
Oakland, California
Level Contributor
65 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
“Stay like a Cuban is this pleasant casa particular”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 26, 2012

If you want to experience Havana not just as a tourist, but also as locals experience Havana, I recommend you stay in a casa particular. And what better place to do that than in leafy, residential Vedado?

This big, 1940s home houses a small extended family that has lived here for generations. A family of doctors, they have registered with the government to run a guest house, in order to supplement their incomes. They are really lovely people.

When I was there, there were a couple of rooms available, each with two beds, and one big bath that adjoins the two rooms. There is a nice porch in back, with rocking chairs, a big yard with fruit trees, and at the end of the yard, views of Havana.

I ate at Hotel Nacional, government cafeterias, cafes, paladars, and they may have had the best food at Casa Mer. Breakfast was 5 CUC and every morning it was a different kind of eggs, a pitcher of fresh-blended juice with mango, banana, etc., fresh fruit, different breads, strong Cuban coffee... dinner 10 CUC we had chicken and potatoes one night, lightly battered and pan-fried marlin another, always with more food than you could eat - tomatoes, cucumbers, rice, beans, breads, soup, desert, etc. Sorry travelers but Wilfredo if you are reading this you should raise your dinner price!

I also really enjoyed Vedado. Cabs are everywhere and you can get one to Habana Vieja for no more than 10 CUC. There are a number of paladars nearby also - El Farallon is pretty good. It is very close to Necropolis Cristobal Colon, a nice walk to Plaza de Revolucion. Various small businesses nearby, and also a CADECA money exchange. And a little farther away in Vedado, towards the Malecon, there are all sorts of bars, nightclubs, music venues, and of course Hotel Nacional.

Oh, at time of visit rooms were 30 CUC.

Highly recommended Cuban experience!

Casa Mer
Calle 28 Nº206
entre 21 y 19
Vedado, C.Habana, Cuba
telefono (537) 833 4412
licencia Nº 8804
www.casamer.justincuba.com/

email Wilfredo at casamer@justincuba.com

Room Tip: Oops, there is no swimming pool!
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank SantoGabacho
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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82 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    62
    18
    2
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (7)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Nottingham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
108 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 84 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 21, 2012

Casa Mer is an Oasis in Havana. If you really want good, trustworthy accommodation then this is the place for you. We had an up and down trip to Cuba, our last trip was our honeymoon 10 years ago-we had a fabulous time. It was inexpensive and the people were amazing. You'll see in some of my upcoming reviews that this is now not always the case but I can say with conviction that Casa Mer rescued our vacation. We booked 3 days with Mercedes and her son Wilfredo in this well maintained gem but were so disillusioned with our previous lodgings that we called to extend by a further 3 days. This was no problem at all for them. Incidentally, they both spoke a little English which was helpful.
I am a big Deco fan and this was a real treat. The place is in very good order with many original features, It is furnished with classic pieces from the 40's and 50's even the General Electric fridge that Mercedes remembers her father buying. It still works perfectly, we chilled our champagne for our anniversary in it and shared it with our hosts. There is a quiet, clean and tidy relaxing garden behind with views over to the river. Reading in the sun on the rocking chairs is most pleasant.
The area is mainly residential and you feel safe at any time of day or night. It is not in the centre of all the action of the city or old town which is perfect after a day of tourist overload. There are no street hustlers or worrying people here. There is plenty to occupy yourself with nearby with some architectural beauties. We loved going over the bridge to Miramar, home to some spectacular embassy buildings. Getting further away is best achieved on the hop on hop off Havanatur open top bus, only $5 for the whole day until around 6pm. There are many local restaurants and peso stores. They have good food and are very good value.
The proprietors are what really make this establishment work so well. They are kind, helpful and charming, they really can't do enough for you. You are in good medical company here, Mercedes' 3 children are all doctors.
They made us fabulous coffee each morning. We did not try breakfast but I am sure it would have been good. Unlike other Casas they did not charge for coffee and telephone calls, Wilfredo told us it would not feel right. I think he should charge but we left a good tip to cover this anyway, I think you all should too. The price at 30cuc per night represents extremely good value. We have stayed in many of Havana's "top" locations and if we return we'll stay here again.
Now I have said before that I am a bad reviewer because I give top marks so often but really this place would be getting 6 if I could add another mark!

Room Tip: All the rooms looked good but we noticed some were twin so if you want a double just ask.
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  • Stayed February 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank ajscubapro
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Level Contributor
9 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 9, 2012

This beautiful art deco house in a quiet, green neighbourhood is just what you wish for when you spent the day in busy, noisy, dirty havana vieja! Wilfredo and his lovely mother are very friendly and the breakfast is wonderful. We spent 30 cuc a night an 5 cuc for the breakfast. Grandson Alejandro will drive you to the citycentre in his old lada for 6 cuc and taking a taxi from there back to casa mer will cost you 6 to 8 cuc. Taxi from their house to the airport is 20 cuc. Walks through the neighbourhood are certainly worthwhile, more real cuba than havana vieja!
Wonderful garden full of fruittrees, great diningroom, ok beds and almost warm shower. We loved the original details and antiques in the house and praise Wilfredo and his mother for being so careful with this special house!
The best restaurant we found in Cuba is just two blocks away. It is called Havana Chef , on 24th between 21 and 23. Discount in may/june and september/october since then it is low season but tax must be paid anyhow.....

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank inge1963
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 1, 2012

I have been to Cuba twice and really love the place. I stayed in casas particulares everywhere I traveled. I stayed in mostly lovely ones that had been recommended to me, but this was my favourite and that's why I went back there again.

What I found in this home was a lovely family who welcomed me as one of the family. They are very very honest, which is not always the case in Cuba. Their English is not the best and my Spanish is very poor, but we managed fine. Staying with a family is by far the best way to really see Cuba.

The rooms are large, comfortable and clean. There is a wonderful bathroom. I notice one of the other reviews mentioned low water flow - that is standard throughout Cuba. There is a lovely garden and you can sit out and drink Cuban coffee in the morning in the garden. I'm happy to strongly recommend this casa to you. It's not just the home itself, which is lovely, but it gives you a chance to spend some time with some really wonderful Cuban people - you wouldn't find better than Wilfredo and his family.

Vedado used to be one of the wealthiest areas of Havana and it still shows in the architecture, which although crumbling is still beautiful. I used to walk into the city most times and it took about 30 minutes each way. It is a lovely walk. You can get a taxi and a tourist taxi was about 5 CUC each way when I was there three years ago. It's best to take a taxi in the evenings, and not such a good idea to go wandering round on your own in the dark, but this is the same in most cities isn't it. I traveled mostly on my own and as a woman I never felt unsafe there, but I was sensible.

The first time I stayed in Casa Mer my brother had already been staying there for a few nights and then he went to stay for one night in one of the five star hotels in the old city - he thought this Casa Mer was much better than the hotel!

All the casas seem a little expensive at first but not when you look below the surface at the fact that the owners have to pay huge license fees even when they have no guests, eg in the very hot season and hurricane season. And food and supplies that would be acceptable to tourists, eg bottled water, is sold at tourist prices and not local prices. One thing I really appreciated in the Casa Mer is that they were never after anything more from me - tourists are incredibly wealthy compared to local in Cuba and although you won't usually get direct begging because it's illegal and the police fine people heavily if they catch them doing it, but it is still there. This house always felt like a place I was welcome and not for what I might give them. These are very honourable people and the home is a place where you can relax and enjoy getting to know Cuba and Cuban people, which is such a joy!

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Gillian A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Havanna
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 26, 2011

Spent my first three nights in CasaMer - Winfredo is trying to help as much as possible with plans/accomodations/hints&tricks... and yes; his drinks are amazing.

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled solo
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Hans D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 2, 2011

A lovely house with warm friendly hosts, very helpful with lots of good advice about the local area and traveling in Cuba. The rooms were clean and functional, excellent breakfast, we chose to have our evening meals at the casa which was the right decision the food was good. Wilfredo possibly makes the best Mojito in Cuba.
Highly recommended.

  • Stayed April 2011, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank bozo09
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Manchester, United Kingdom
2 reviews
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 16, 2011

This is a very clean lovely 40s casa, nice friendly family which is run by an lovely landlord lady. We actually stayed for 10 days in the end just before Christmas. The rooms are clean and safe. Nice bathroom areas -water flow from the shower is not great. We met some other travellers at the casa who were lovely people and nice.

They make a big effect with the breakfast – when we arrived they didn’t seem to have any milk but it just a question of letting then know what you want (later we got milk), later I realised standard milk is very expensive in cuba so I guess this is why the breakfast cost us 7.5 CUC each which is fine by us (i hope they didnt mind us requesting milk). It has a lovely dining area that opens to a nice garden – it was great to go out in the garden after breakfast in the morning. The food most places in CUBA is average (we are not there for the food) but there a few great restaurants – for 10 CUCs we had the most amazing lobster – huge in fact at the Kasalta 5ta y 16.. Again this is a residential area and this is a none tourist restaurant – café looking but try their lobster. This also a great restaurant on 17y 6.

By the way, they have a dog- we don’t really like dogs but this dog was super friendly. All the casas seem to have dogs. They will do washing for you,, we had a lots of washing but we were still a bit surprised when we were charged 20CUC (a month salary) … but hey ho … The casa cost us 35CUC per day assuming this is a peak price for Christmas.

It is in a quiet place in Vedado (nice part) of Havana but one minor thing, I would say this particular casa seems to be next to a community house and it does get noisy (people noise) very early in the morning. Didn’t bother us. Just a few houses up the road is a little mini café part of a house – good for small bit.

The area is a few kms out of the main town and the same distance again for the old town/ harbour which is an amazing area, there are some nice restaurants local but there are not lots of places as it’s mostly residential (I spent days walking around the area – I always felt safe). You need to get a taxi to town – we went to the National hotel a few times. The family chap called Alejandro will drive you if he is around no problem, he gave us a lift to the bus station 7am which was greatly appreciated.

In this location, you need to get a taxi to go anyway, and some of the taxis will try to rip you off. For anything in Cuba you must agree prices first– the taxi from this casa to the National should be 3-4 CUC – lots tried 7-8 CUC? Take a map/ tourist book before you arrive, ,a must.

Their English can be a struggle in the casa if you don’t speak Spanish but there is a more popular Casa Antigue just a few doors away (always full it seems – we could get in) run by Horatio and Maria and Horatio speaks great English and have a lot of information via an their extended network throughout Cub to help you. He would welcome you and do most Cubans. Havana is a great place

Again a lovely 40s casa, nice friendly family which is run by lovely people.

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank CoolDandBlondie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Casa Mer

Property: Casa Mer
Address: Calle 28 # 206 | e/21 y 19, Vedado, Havana, Cuba
Location: Caribbean > Cuba > Ciudad de la Habana Province > Havana
Hotel Style:
Ranked #31 of 250 Specialty Lodging in Havana
Number of rooms: 25

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