I went to this resort in April (2 weeks) and had a relaxing time. When I found myself suddenly with another week off in July, I decided to go again. After all, it was actually cheaper than staying home, since it was a last-minute, off-season deal. The hotel is old and tired, but spotlessly clean. The rooms are small, but again – cleaner than my own home! The food is not good, but it’s Cuba … get over it! Leave your gourmet taste buds at home and go for it. There is always enough to eat, even if it is rice and beans. A word of advice … they have oxtail and veal on the same buffet, and ya gotta know it’s the same beast! My rule of thumb, don’t eat anything ground up or visually identifiable (chicken legs are OK, but don’t go for chicken balls! You just never know what’s in there). The red wine served with meals is actually pretty good. The wait staff are excellent – bringing you what you want before you even know you want it. The bell boys are amazing – no one works harder than Omar (he’s either lugging your suitcases, or ensuring you have a clean towel any time you need one, or pouring your drink in the restaurant). The cleaning staff are amazing too – considering the age of the property, they keep it clean and neat. No one has a hand out for a tip every minute of the day – if you give one, they appreciate it. If you don’t, you’ll still get great service from them. Basically, if they have it, they will give it to you. Bring a little something to give the room staff every day (if you wait until the last day, it might be the one day they have off, and someone else reaps the benefits of their hard work.). I will return to Mayanabo – it’s clean, it’s safe, and you get what you need (maybe not everything you WANT, but you get what you need).
Pleasant staff. Bellboys at the ready. And the bar is right there if the lineup is long! May as well enjoy the wait!
Small, with lumpy pillows (bring your own). But clean, clean, clean! What I particularly liked was that the air conditioner was QUIET! No sleepless nights due to the noise. I like Block 3, since it’s furthest from the night club. Never had a problem with noise.
Restaurants and Bars:
The main restaurant is large, so it can be noisy. But it is well laid-out and the wait staff actually recognize you when you arrive and have your drink of choice on the table for you by the time you return with your plate of food – before you have even asked for it! They remember you – they genuinely do! The bar staff are masters with juggling ice cubes and mixing drinks and smile and appreciate a peso here and there (not necessary for every drink, but do help them out periodically).
The beach is a little messy with weeds, but it’s the north coast and that’s just how it is. There are ample chairs and shady areas. The bar is close. It’s quiet and peaceful. The pool is large and seldom used to its full potential, so no chance of not being able to find a chair or a place to float in the clean water! The grounds are tired (they don’t seem to water their plants often enough, which is a shame). But clean and tidy. The announcer can drive you insane during the day, when he insists on playing the kids games at the top of his voice – WITH a microphone! Best to go to the beach when that gets started, unless you want to hear him shout at the kids (in about 5 languages!). But I must admit, the kids do seem to like it. Just not my thing …
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
The evening shows are good, as long as you avoid the first half – that’s when they do the audience "silly bugger" games, which are loud and annoying. But the second half (around 10:00) are great – the dancers are very good.
Keep your expectations in check – no gourmet food or luxury, but clean grounds, honest, hardworking people and fabulous weather.