Arrived at 11:00PM and took about 1 hour to clear customs and get to the resort. Really not bad at all.
Very clean rooms, stayed in the villas offerred by my tour provider. Furnishings were dated but functional. Two TV’s but only one worked, only a minor inconvenience. 220 volt outlets, take a converter. Lots of hot water and no power outages. Maid service was excellent, consider a small tip such as nylons or other hard to get embargo items, it will be appreciated. Villas were excellent since they are away from the noise of the main pool area, quiet and very close to the beach.
Restaurants and Bars::
Restaurants were clean, service was good. Main buffet room is large and noisy, needs an update. One negative of the buffet, one entire wall are glass windows that look on to the main pool area and need a good scrubbing, a little unpleasant to look through streaky dirty outside windows when your eating. Food was OK, but not great. Very little variety from day to day and far too bland for me. Bars were well staffed and drinks were good. Take an insulated mug for cold drinks and ask for lots of ice or your drink may not be cold or stay cold for long. The three other restaurants, Martino’s (pasta and sea food) and Musani (Japanse, sushi) and the beach open air restaurant were all good. The best was Martino’s, book it ASAP.
Beach is great, best we’ve ever seen. Water was warm and crystal clear. Pools were good, a little cool. Hot tubs were not hot, only luke warm. Grounds were very clean. Watch for some uneven footpaths and surfaces.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:: Stage shows each night at the hotel, nothing special, about the same as any other resort stage show. Took one sort of private tour to Havana. We booked a cab company and driver that took us to Old Havana, Revolution Square and the Capital building downtown. Old Havana was the best by far. Quite interesting. Hired a local guide that approached us, paid 5 CUC’s person person, 5 of us in the group, for an almost 2 hour walking tour of the area. Guide spoke excellent english and was quite knowledgeable. Revolution Square and the Capital Building were waste of time. Revolution square is just that a square with not much else, interesting if your a politics/history buff. Capital building was closed, so we only saw the exterior.
Market area of Varadero was OK, worth an hour or so…walk off the flea market area a few interesting small places to see.
Over all the hotel was quite good. We were told it was built in the mid 90’s and is starting to show it’s age. However, the staff were all very helpful and most spoke excellent to good enough english. Grounds very clean as were the rooms. Never been to Cuba before, the food was OK but, very bland compared to other places in the Caribbean. One major good point, the hotel and all places we went, appeared to be very safe and clean. Can’t say that for other holidays were have been on.