Just got back March 2 after a week at the Palma Real and we really enjoyed it! A 5 Pack on Palma Real:
1) Location; we love the downtown location. Close to everything and the fact it’s across the street from the beach instead of on the beach makes no difference. The beach was large, lots of chairs if you got there before 10 am, and the beach bar was close by with burgers, fries, available all day long. Also, had a good beach bathroom, which is important to me! It was literally a 5 minute walk; if that. I’ve heard some that some of the bigger resorts at the tip of the peninsula take longer to get to the beach than that because they are SO huge. Lot’s of restaurants off resort to choose from if that’s your thing too; very close by; 5-10 minutes walking distance.
2) Staff; WONDERFUL. We dealt with alot of different people throughout the resort and found everyone friendly and accommodating. It basically goes back to ‘you’ll get treated the way YOU treat people’. The Cubans that work there are on ‘Cuban Time’, but that’s to be expected. We found everyone super friendly and they always seemed happy! We got friendly with one lady at reception right off the hop; made a difference for the entire trip. Also, bartenders and coffee servers; you befriend them off the hop and it makes all the difference. Just treat them how you’d want to be treated!
3) Rooms; Very Clean with good size balconies. The complex we stayed in seemed to have larger balconies than the other two complexes, and it was great! The room was very clean, our view was to the highway, with view of ocean on other side, which was nice in the mornings, and evenings. We ran into an ‘electricity’ problem one night, but I’ve read that can be a problem in Cuba and really when your in 25 above Celsius in what looks like paradise; who cares! Take things in stride while on vacation; it makes life easier and the problem was resolved the very next day; turned out to be widespread; wasn’t just our room.
4) Food; Plentiful. Palma Real has 2 al a carte restaurants; one large buffet and a pizza place. Also a BBQ that served awesome burgers, hot dogs and fries. My initial reaction to the buffet was ‘yuck’. But after closer inspection; I was always able to find a good protein; be it pork or chicken. Always lots of fish (not my thing at all) and side dishes like potatoes, pasta, fries, etc., You could build a very healthy salad too if you wanted too, lots of shredded veggies, lettuce, swiss chard, etc., and the desserts were fancy looking; although not my thing, but the ice cream was wonderful. The Cuban al a carte was good too. Lots of food, good service etc. We didn’t get a chance for the Chinese al a carte; but the pizza place was good too. Totally different pizza than here at home, but still tasty. You could get bread galore, salad too. We ate there twice, first time great service, second time not so great. The gal just wasn’t at the top of her game, which made for a slow meal, but it was our last day and we really wanted to be at the pool instead of inside so it just made us a little anxious. Other than that it was fine!
5) Grounds; Very Nice! Palma Real has two HUGE pools, and one small kiddie pool. Cold water, but hey it was 25 degrees outside; you needed that to cool you down. The water was crystal clear. Lots of chairs anytime of the day. We enjoyed the quiet pool rather than the bar pool, but hey it’s your choice! The grounds were well kept and we saw lots of people working them daily, cutting, trimming etc., Always cleaned up and chairs arranged every morning for us tourist to come out and re-arrange everything!
So in conclusion, for the price we paid, we thoroughly enjoyed the Palma Real and would not hesitate to stay there again. Because I’ve never stayed at the ‘tip’ of the peninsula where all the 5 stars are, I have nothing to compare too, but I like this location and because of that would definitely go back.