This was the first vacation that my wife and I have had in over 24 years. We have always wanted to visit Cuba. We were not disappointed.
We flew from Ottawa, Canada, leaving on a Wednesday. Arriving at the Varadero Airport, we had no difficulty in entering the country. The airport personnel were very friendly and to my surprise, even had a translator on site. Our hotel bus was waiting for us and clearly identified as such. No baggage hassle, no waiting lines, and no feeling of being "rushed".
Our room was in perfect condition. Throughout our entire stay, we never encountered any infestation of Cuban insects; not in our room nor in any other section of our resort. The two twin-beds were extremely comfortable, the washroom facilities were impeccable, (shower, bath tub, bidet, hair dryer) and all walls were painted in lovely pastel colours. The floor was tiled and always swept. A colour TV and phone were at our disposal. Clean towels each day, soap, shampoo, hygene paper were all standard procedures. Our balcony overlooked a beautiful walkway surrounded by palm trees and groomed lawns. Outside noise was extremely uncommon. No loud screaming, fighting or ugliness. Security people always visible and ready to "assist".
Restaurants and Bars: The three bars offered a great selection of drinks, all beginning with a rum base. Bartenders, male and female, were polite, amiable, professional and well dressed. The ice for the drinks was made from bottled water and was not a cause for concern.
Food was very good and available 24/7. I was not expecting Canadian style cooking but I was definitely unprepared for the choice and array of dishes offered. Fish, chicken, eggs, ham, salads, soup, cakes, ice cream, Pizza, hamburgers, fries, etc. The eating areas were clean and well managed. Drinking glasses, dishware, eating utensils, all were 100% satisfactory.
Beach/Pools/Grounds: Magnificent stretches of sand and sea. The beach was amazing and graded every morning. Clean, soft and granular. Ideal for the feet. Cabana huts for sun shade every three meters. The use of Kayaks and Catamarans was on request. Sand, sand and sand. Beach chairs were always clean and available. Never a line up. The pool was in excellent condition. I personally did not use the pool as I was always on the beach.
The grounds were manicured to perfection. Any litter was immediately noticed and "it" disappeared very rapidly. No broken glass, no strewn papers, etc.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
The guided tour into Havana was an eye-opener. For a historian, a walk into the past. For car lovers, plenty of 1957 Chevys and Fords along with a few Opels. I spotted one Nash. Swimming with the dolphins. A most joyous activity. There were many other oportunities to leave the resort but time was not on our side.
Other Comments: For the price, this is by far the best deal. We were able to meet other tourists from other resorts and when comparing "notes", we scored a perfect 10.
My wife and I both felt extremely safe and well taken care of in Cuba. As I said in the title, first time to Cuba, will be back. To the same resort. YES!