I only got to stay at the Hostal del Ángel for one night but it was easily the most beautiful place I’ve stayed. I mean Hotel Nacional is beautiful but in the historic sense, this place is just a straight up gorgeous home. I didn’t get the purple room like I hoped but my blue room had clouds painted along the ceilings edge. The dining room of the house is painted a persimmon-peach color with family photos hanging ten feet up the wall. The floors are all those old tiles you see everywhere in Latin America, the ones that are trending now in California or Austin restaurants. (I LOVE THEM ALL!!) The sala / living room overlooks the Iglesia del Santo Angel Custodio and a pie shaped plaza where the Cafe & Boutique is located, which is a cafe and boutique as the name implies. Down the hall from all the bedrooms is the kitchen and a spiral staircase that leads up to a small and cozy balcony / library / office type space, all done up in wood. That’s where I found this ridiculous book I’m reading, where scriptures are quoted for half a page and the characters have names like “Puny.” It was the only book in English and I was exhausted by all the academic image and Cuban history books I brought!! The entire house is filled with amazingly gorgeous antiques, my favorite being a chinoiserie painted cabinet in the living room. My room was kind of dark but the AC was highly welcomed. The location is this “up and coming” area to the north of Habana Vieja and just east of Prado (the Cathedral area actually), there are a handful of nice little restaurants with tables set up in the alleys and small galleries all around. The whole area feels newly restored and clean and at lunch I was writing in my journal how interesting it is that we find certain environments comfortable and at ease in. This area of town felt very familiar to me, it was “my scene” so to speak.
I still can’t believe that Tom, Carmen, Isabel and I stumbled upon the Hostal del Ángel almost by random because it’s the prettiest casa particular that we saw. They have a Facebook page and a website for all the homes the family owns. The Hostal del Ángel books three months in advance because of its popularity, just FYI. But maybe if you’re lucky…and your Spanish is good enough (or your friend speaks Spanish!) you’ll be able to sneak in there for one night. (:
The Casa Vitrales hostel, which I found online and fell in love with, is across the street from the third house and also has a good website. We toured the Casa Vitrales and it was really nice as well, more contemporary with a Marfa, Texas aesthetic (bare bulbs, white walls, mod furniture, cool antiques, hipster art). The bathrooms were large and updated, the bedrooms comfortable, and there was even a rooftop patio! They were asking 100.00 CUCs a night (with breakfast) for the smaller rooms and 150.00 a night for the larger rooms. Hostal de Ángel was 65.00 CUCs a night (with breakfast) to give you some comparison. I’d love to stay at the Vinales next time but only if I have someone to split the cost with. (: