I think there are a couple of ways to experience Havana. One is staying in Old Havana, eating at the restaurants there, drinking at the bars there, and taking collectivos in 50's eras cars anywhere else in the city.
This is one way to experience Havana.
But this is not the experience you will have at Charly's apartment. And this, I would argue, is important. Because staying at Charly's is the only way we were able to really experience Havana. Its history. Its culture. And the way these are tangled in the present.
The apartment has everything you will need to get by for a stay of two weeks or so. The kitchen is stocked with what you will need to cook, the water in the showers is consistently warm and air conditioner is wonderfully cold. Charly provides a phone to use while you are there and can arrange a ride to and from the airport. Charly was an incredible help and source of information prior to our arrival - he answered all of our questions quickly and thoroughly.
The neighborhood is authentically Havana. The apartments are right on top of one another. The families will gather for dinner. They will sing. They will talk. Or debate, passionately. The cats will gather in the alleyway. The kids will play ball in the street. The neighbors will chat on the front porches. The market goers will gather around the entrance early in the morning. The cafeteria around the corner will fry chicken until late. The ice cream vendor will serve until she is out of all flavors. And the walk into Old Havana and the Malecón will be long and it will be hot. And the interactions with the locals will be endearing. And funny. And challenging. Sure, you can hole up in a hotel somewhere, or crawl in a cab, or eat at fine dining establishments, but I think this misses most of the Cuban experience. Staying at Charly's is authentic, and it will be a trip we will never forget.