Today a light, elegant reception area leads onto a colonial archway that gives the hotel an old-world atmosphere, making it one of the top choices in Habana Vieja. Originally built by Joaquín Gómez, a wealthy merchant, in 1836, it functioned as a hotel from 1885 to 1950, reopening in 1999 after a complete restoration. Its simple room design, lovely architecture, and quality fixtures give it an edge over many of the district hotel picks, although some rooms are far superior to others, and some need to be painted. Rooms facing the colorful Calle Obispo are your best bet. The hotel also has a lively piano bar featuring live Cuban music every night from 7 pm to 1 am.