The beauty of Havana's historic heart, which keeps a treasure of traditions, colonial architecture and spaces for culture and commerce, is one of the main tourist attractions in the Cuban capital.
With a nearly five-century-old history, Old Havana shows a renovating spirit aimed at preserving the best exponents of the past for future generations and foreign visitors.
Over 30,000 buildings marked by different architectural styles sit in an area of 240 hectares. Those constructions range from fortresses from the Spanish colonial period to churches, museums, logistics establishments, and even schools, health centers and lodging facilities for tourism.
Among the latter are small hotels, which have been designed as a sort of Spanish-style shelters and are highly demanded by foreign vacationers because of their small size, excellent location and intimate and cozy atmosphere.
The list of such establishments ranges from those with over 20 rooms to others with less than 10 rooms, as in the case of the El Comendador Hotel.
El Comendador, run by the company Habaguanex S.A., is housed in the former mansion of Don Pedro Regalado Pedroso y Pedroso, who was a Prefect of the Order of Carlos III in the island.
The 18th-century building housed an inn on the ground floor, with a bar and a cigarette shop, and was later used for offices with dormitories on the upper floor.
The building underwent painstaking restoration works that gave birth to the El Comendador Hotel, which has 14 rooms (suites, singles and doubles) decorated in a cozy Spanish-colonial style, in which antique furniture is combined with modern amenities such as air conditioning and safe-deposit boxes.
Its sober furniture, adorned with simple elements from the Renaissance and some original pieces from Cuba's heritage, is beautifully combined to create the modern comfort so much demanded by guests.
The decoration of each room gives the establishment a peculiar touch of solemnity linked to old times, which is very appreciated by vacationers looking for history in modern cities.
The building also benefits from an excellent location in the old part of the city, at a walking distance from cultural institutions such as the Wifredo Lam Center, the Car Museum, the Carlos J. Finlay Science Museum and the Guayasamín House.
Regarding gastronomy, El Comendador offers the services of the Mesón Onda, which is a magnificent reproduction of a Spanish tavern and is known among its regulars by its delicious bar snacks of sausage, pepper and other delicacies, which can be accompanied with a jar of cold beer or excellent wines.
Another singularity of the El Comendador Hotel is its Hall of Archaeology, which displays artifacts found by researchers from the Office of the City Historian while exploring the site to learn more about the Pedroso family's life.