The hotel is clearly very old, but there’s a lot of character. Most of the people working there were helpful with the exception of one particular lady at the front desk and some of the staff who didn’t seem to understand English. It was our first time going to Cuba and it was a learning experience. The weather wasn’t as warm as we would have liked, but we had a couple good beach days. The beach was cleaned regularly but was often littered in the morning with Portuguese man-o-war. There was always lots to do around the resort. By the end of the week we had figured out the best way to get good service was tip, tip, tip.
Our flight arrived on time and we got to the hotel around 2 PM and were told we could not check in until 4 pm. 10 CUC’s got us into our room right away. The security personnel at the airport were incredibly rude, but we did’nt let that spoil our experience.
Our room was very spacious and had a huge balcony facing the ocean. There was a seperate walk in closet and the bathroom had a few "age" problems but was more than adequate. Myself & fellow travellers found there was a lot of mildew – more in some rooms than others. The bar fridge was stocked with water, but it didn’t work and we were never able to get a replacement which was disappointing as we would have enjoyed having a cold beer on the lovely balcony. The rooms were kept clean with fresh towels every day and we always left a tip or gift for our maid.
Restaurants and Bars: Once you got used to the blandness of the food, there was always something to eat. I would not recommend the a la carte restaurants. After 2 dining experiences we always headed back to the buffet for something good to eat. Part way through the week the hotel ran out of butter and wine never to reappear. This can either be upsetting or you can look at it that this is a Cuban experience. If everything was the same as where you come from you may as well stay at home. These people do the best they can with their limited resources and when you show appreciation for their efforts, you are treated with respect. I celebrated my birthday there and they went all out to make it special without being asked. The bars were always stocked but sometimes the lineups could be frustrating – 20 minutes at busy times. The pool bar made the best cappuccino’s and the piano bar made a special coffee – Cafe Bonbon that was to die for! Mojito’s were also exceptional, but avoid the martini’s – not their speciality. Get to this bar as soon as it opens to get a good seat. We didn’t find this bar for a couple days, but very nice ambiance.
The buffet always had plenty of choices – lots of fresh fruit. The pastries all look amazing, but they all taste the same – kinda funny. Their ice cream is excellent. We took our Bubba Mugs everywhere with us – highly recommended. Their cheap plastic cups, just don’t cut it.Also good idea to take your own hot sauce, salt & pepper or other seasonings if you can’t handle the blandness.
Beach/Pools/Grounds: Beach – kept clean, but jelly fish were often on the beach in the morning. The bar was only open a few times. You had to get to the beach early to get chairs. Pools were crowded with people sunbathing and not too many in the pool. No problem finding a place to sit, but lineups at the bar Grounds were kept very clean although at night there were a lot of lights along the pathways that were burned out and it was a pretty good hike to the Disco.We were able to tip a gardener into getting us a coconut and peeling the pulp out for us – very sweet treat and he seemed genuinely pleased to do this for us
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel: Day trip to Havana – There was a miscommunication between our Cuban travel agent and the bus line and we missed our ride, so we didn’t get to go to Havana and that was disappointing. However, we went to Varadero instead and had a great time exploring the markets, the rum store and cigar store Catamaran trip – Well worth the money. Kinda touristy, but lots of fun. Great lunch at Cayo Blanco. Beautiful beach! The guys on the Cat made it so much fun Got a full massage – b’day gift from my sisters – Very professional and verrrry thorough.
Had fun at the disco and pretty well missed every evening show.
Other Comments: Find your guest services person right away – they sit near the front desk. Ask them lots of questions. Find the concierge too. They have lots of info, but you have to ask for it. They know surprisingly little outside of the hotel.
My brother-in-law became ill while we were there and had to be rushed to the local hospital. Can’t say enough good things about the quality of care he rec’d and the low cost for all that was done.