Architecture graduate Denis Lopez and his wife Mirta Jover have become successful self-employed entrepreneurs.
Why do you need 5 star hotels with abundant buffets and swimming pools to pleasure the tourists? The real beauty lies in simplicity and the smaller things that make a stay wonderful. For those who love a relaxed atmosphere, 167th Columbus Street in Santa Clara is the ideal location. That’s where Mirta and Denisse welcome you at La Casona Jover.
Mirta knows about economics, Denis knows about architecture, and together they know a lot about hospitality. Together they run one of the finest bed & breakfasts (or Casa Particular) in Villa Clara, home of the French , German and Swiss tourists who pass by this town during their trip on the island.
The house comes with a lot of history. The house was built in the 19th century, and one of the previous owners was July Jover Anido, founder of a patriotic front in 1894 and owner of one of the earliest and most advanced observatories that existed in Cuba.
In the words of Denis Lopez, “the house has enormous appeal. I am one of those who believe that buildings have their own spirit and, therefore, there are places that you go for the first time and you feel as if you know it for years already “.
But there’s another reason why tourists find their way to their bed and breakfast. La Casona Jover received the Tripadvisor Excellence Award in 2014 and last year it received the Quality Award by the Union of Hospitality and Tourism. This award is only given to 25 accommodations across the island.
“You can find great accommodation anywhere across the island, but it’s the lever of service that stands out at La Casona Jover.” says Denis. He still remembers the first clients that they attended about 8 years ago when they opened. An American couple rented a room and when they asked if they could have diner Denis was completely surprised. With nothing in the fridge he had to be creative, but with the help of some friends he did manage prepare a decent meal for his first guests.
Later that year the casa opened their 3 rooms to rent. That was the maximum allowed by the government, but recent changes made it possible for Denis to rent two extra rooms.
The couple was lucky, with their background of economics and architecture they both knew how to lift their business to the next level. The result is a colonial mansion with a surrounding tavern. In Italy they would say “Tractoria”.
Today they serve different types of dishes, like their famous honey roasted chicken. “The honey chicken you eat here is the result of my desire to experiment. I learned to cook just because I didn’t like what my grandmother prepared for lunch when I was still in college. The dish even received recognition from a major gastronomic guide because it’s completely different to the traditional Cuban cuisine.”
In January 2016 they officially opened Restaurant Casona Jover, together with some representatives of Havanatur and the Celimar Agency. Denis Lopez recalls that initially “we feared that opening the restaurant would harm the tranquility, peace and atmosphere of the hostel but we’ve done well so far to keep that unique atmosphere which represents La Casona Jover.”