flight down was good but we had a long wait ot pick up luggage,seems my bag was almost last one off of the plane Rooms: room that i had was great,it was on the ground floor, atip to all do not leave anything out over night, i had my swim trunks and sandals swiped on thursday night some time after 2am Restaurants and Bars: the food was good and the drinks were excellent, the staff here were outstanding Beach/Pools/Grounds: the snorkeling and scuba was fantastic Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel: we stayed on the resort had a ball doing water exercises,and beach vollyball,met a lot of people there. HEY lawrence i" lost" my wallet at the airport along with your email so PLEASE email me Other Comments:
the staff was great, but the dj would have gotten a big tip if he had played the music we requested
Rooms were modest, clean and comfortable. For the price, we weren’t expecting luxurious accommodations. I wouldn’t say the rooms were shabby as much as ‘dated’. We requested and got a 3rd floor room, with a beach view (although palm trees blocked our view – but that was ok; There was all sorts of interesting little tree frogs and birds living in the trees) The rooms are air-conditioned w/ fridge, which is stocked daily with water, pop and beer (2 cans) Nice little balcony, which was sheltered from the wind. We were on the 3rd floor and our villa was the furthest from the reception/bar/pool area but we were still only a 3-4 minute walk away. Bathroom was fine and came with a bidet! Woo hoo! And lots of toilet paper. Again: woo hoo!
Restaurants and Bars:
Again, for the price, we weren’t expecting 5 star dining. We don’t eat meat, but do love seafood and enjoyed the buffets of fresh salads, fruit, fish etc. The buffets that are served more or less all day long, at one locale or another have something for everyone and like most people, we were more then satisfied with them. We liked the Mexican restaurant and found it the "fanciest" of the three Ã la carte restos. Food was nice there. A minor point, but I was a little disappointed in the shrimp served generally, both on the buffet and at the restos. I guess I’m spoiled, living near the ocean and having access to plump, juicy shrimp all year long. These ones were kind of mushy and had an unpleasant taste. The Cuban resto, which is the beach bar/resto by day and converted to an Ã la carte at night, was a little lack lustre, in terms of service, although my spicy grilled fresh tuna was pretty good. We like spicy food and expected a little more zing in some of the Cuban dishes! , but there was hot sauce etc, available that you could add. We didn’t try the Italian. Beach bar/resto was good, as was the general buffet served 3 times a day. That became our favourite and we found the service there really excellent and tons of choices (even for non-meat eaters)
Grounds were lovely, very tropical, Hibiscus, palm trees, lovely climbing flowering plants on some of the villas. Watch the little prickly thorns near the beach though, if you’re bare-footed. Loved the beach. Water is not too cold and lots of sandbars so you have to go out a way, to get to deeper water. Lots of chairs and little thatched shady "trees" to lie under. Even when the beach was really crowded, we always found chairs and shade, at any time of day. Windy in the afternoon but we found sheltered spots and it didn’t bother us. Pool was way too noisy for us; Loud music blasting and lots of people and noise – but it is sheltered from the wind – so for some people, that was preferable to the beach. Even when it was very windy (which was always later in the day) there are always hot, sunny spots you can find, if you want to escape it.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel: We went to Playa Pilar, touted as a beach you "must" visit. It was lovely and the sandy area was bigger then the beach at the resort, but we didn’t really think it that much superior to the beach at the resort. We took a Cuban taxi which cost us each 5 convertible pesos. Warning Ladies: If you need to use the restroom there, there are two stalls both with no door (although the washroom itself is reasonably modern) There was also no toilet paper, a common complaint I guess in some of the public areas of Cuba. There is a large restroom near the reception area, which has lots of traffic as the restos don’t have their own bathrooms (but are all just a minute away) and this washroom sometimes doesn’t have toilet paper either, particularly in the morning. I carried lots of kleenex and purell with me. We also took the regular guided tour of the city of Moron, the only city on the island. This was one of our favourite days as we were very curious about Cuban life in general, as we had talked to lots of the staff. We knew we’d be shocked by the conditions in Moron and we were but it was still an amazing experience. It’s like the clock stopped there around 1959, when the revolution happened. Very, very dilapidated buildings and general chaos on the Main Street. Dogs running everywhere, horse drawn carriages, occasionally someone ON horseback, old American cars from the 50’s, bicycles,(with 3 or 4 people on them) rick-shaw type vehicles etc. and no street signs. Lucky it’s one-way! In the 45 minutes that you have to wonder around the downtown area, we were hassled a little by beggars and various people trying to sell stuff, but with the exception of one guy who was a little more persistent, they backed off if you said no. Everybody was polite and friendly and while we were ki! nd of stunned by the heat, poverty and craziness of the Main Street traffic, we were also totally charmed by the people. Our group was taken to what would be considered a reasonably upscale bar for some live Cuban music which everybody really enjoyed (again, no toilet paper, soap or toilet seats; And of the two toilets, one didn’t flush. eeeee)Then a speed boat ride on a big fresh water lake and a tour of some mangrove swamps, with a crazy guy who had us in stitches. We loved the guide from the resort who accompanied us, and thought she did a wonderful job. We really treasured that day.
I also had a very good 60 minute massage and reflexology session that was certainly comparable with anything that I would have here at home. (Cost about $30 Canadian dollars, I think)
I guess you’re under no obligation to tip, we ended up spending a little more then $200 in Canadian in tips in the week. Perhaps that is excessive (? Not sure) and maybe we’re suckas, but we got fantastic service from almost everyone we encountered. Many of the resort workers are professionals (our chambermaid was a history teacher, our guide a translator, one of the bartenders a doctor working a second job)and they’re doing this kind of work because they can make a better living working with tourists, then working in their profession, because of the tips so we were happy to oblige, because they made our experience so special.