Cubanacan Gran Club Santa Lucia Reviews – Cuba Hotels – Cubanacan Gran Club Santa Lucia

Arrival: March 2 – 9:
We (family of 4, including boys 14 and 10) flew out of Toronto on March 2nd for a 1 week stay at the Gran Club Santa Lucia in Cuba. The same package out of Montreal was approx $1500 more expensive. We parked at DirectFlight Parking ($60 for the week) which gave us excellent drop off and pick up shuttle service. The Sunwing flight was a few minutes late taking off but the time was made up en route. The service was very good for what some consider "no frills". We had champagne, a decent airline meal with a glass of wine and saw a movie (High School Musical 3). Ok so the movie was a bit lame for the older folks but my kids were happy. Luggage pick up and customs were a breeze although the bank was closed so the bus driver ended up with a couple of US dollars. The bus ride was exactly as described: 90 minutes on a Montreal-style bumpy) road. FYI if you want your passport stamped you need to ask the customs officer to do it.

Rooms:
Check-in was uneventful. There seemed to be a lot of returning visitors who seemed bright enough to get out of the way with their luggage and let 1 family member stay in line until the actual check-in when all adults had to sign a damage "waiver". The crowd seemed to be in pretty good spirits and I thought that it may be a pretty good bunch for the week (more on that later). We stayed in the Junior Suite (#303) and the room was again, exactly as advertised. The slight musty smell went away in about 5 minutes once the AC was turned on. Suggestion: you only get 1 key and the power/AC is controlled by a key slot so if you can get ahold of any hotel key card (or any card with a magnetic stripe) it will work and you can leave the AC on when you are out. Our room was very clean (including the bathroom). We always had pleanty of hot (sometimes too hot) water and the maids did a great job of cleaning and replacing the towels. The bed linen was changed 1/2 way through the week. We left some gifts every day (the usual Dollar Store stuff: Hair clips, body lotions, razors, etc.). We found that the people appreciate gifts as much as a peso or 2 and the maids made some nice swans/hearts with the towels.

Restaurants and Bars:
The food was OK. Not great…but not bad. The buffet was very clean and had a good selection but not much variety from day to day. Breakfast was good. There was an omelet station and quite a bit of fresh fruit. There were several types of breads for toast and usually 2 types of cold cereal. Our waitress was very nice and brought us our coffee and tea and juice every morning (again, the gift/tips seemed to help). The snack bar at the beach had hotdogs, hamburgers, fries and fruit. The lunch/supper buffet always had a couple of choices at the grill and there were at least 2 pasta choices. We went to the Cuban and Seafood a la cartes. They were not bad. The Seafood is actually the beach snack bar that is converted at night. One pain in the a$$ for both is the presence of cats looking for scraps. Of course they will stay away until some Muppet decides to feed them. Speaking of Muppet moves we pulled one of our own and forgot that there was a time change on the Saturday night and missed our reservation at the Italian a la carte. The bars had an ample supply of rum and fruit punch etc. The only blender to speak of was at the lobby bar where the Pina Coladas and Iced Cappuccinos were outstanding. There was also a Coffee bar where you could get Expressos etc. Suggestion for tea drinkers: bring a few tea bags from home as there seemed to be a shortage at times. One common point at all the bars/restaurants is that the people all work at the same slow pace. No complaints (at least not from us…but more on that later) but be prepared that the service speed is not the same as it is in Canada.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
The pool was big and clean. It also had a pool bar. The chairs were quite close together and if you want one you should try and grab one early by placing your towel or t-shirt on top. The beach was a bit of a disappointment. There was a lot of debris and seaweed. It was VERY windy the week we were there and the sand was blowing everywhere. You can walk a long way up and down the beach. There were a few local vendors but a simple "no gracias" usually did the trick. The grounds of the hotel were pretty nice. It was apparent that last year’s hurricance did some damage but the resort is trying the replant some small trees on the grounds.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
We played beach volleyball with Pluto and some of the other staff. My wife and son went on a Catamaran ride on the last (and least windiest) day. They also went horseback riding (6 pesos per person).

Other Comments: All in all we had a good week. The weather was not great but it was better than snow and minus whatever. The staff was pretty friendly. We have been to Holguin and enjoyed it more and would probably try somewhere else before considering Club Santa Lucia again. We can’t complain about the price though. A family of 4 for under $3000…you can’t go wrong. Now….I mentioned that crowd of the week. Here are some observations that not only my wife and I had, but some things that were noticed by our boys (remember our youngest is 10). I’m sure we have plenty of faults so I hope the comments are taken constructively: To the guy who freaked out about being placed in a room next to the disco. Take your complaint to the desk. The 80 odd people at the orientation really didn’t want to start their vacation by listening to you explode at the Sunwing rep. We also didn’t really care about how you stayed at many other resorts and blah blah blah. To the people who complained about the food yet took more that they could ever eat and left it on their plate without even saying or grunting a "gracias" to your server…take a second to look around the surrounding areas and wonder what some of the locals would give to have even a portion of that "lousy" food. To the people who seemed to not realize that the napkins on the loaves of bread where there to be used…WAKE UP!!! I’m pretty sure if you think about it long enough the thought of someone picking sand out of their butt crack and then picking up the loaf with their bare hands may make you may think twice before ignoring the napkins. Oh yeah people…In case you didn’t realize it, you are in Cuba…While the staff did an excellent job of trying to accomodate the unilingual speaking (English, French, Italian) guests, it may be a "bonne idee" to keep your racist comments to yourselves. You may not want to assume that the staff (and/or other guests) don’t know what you are saying when you laugh at an employee who mispronounce "merci". Hey, not everyone was a Muppet. There was the guy who had enough of the heavyset guy who did the 3 plate balancing act without watching where he was going. Ok so maybe the guy could have avoided some of the language he used when informing the "gentleman" that he was not the only guest on the resort but I think he said what was on a lot of people’s minds. There was also the couple with 3 kids under the age of 5 (including a 5 month old). Congrats… you have very well-behaved children and it was nice to see that they did not waste food and were very polite.

Last thing before I get off my soapbox: On the flight home…you know the one that lands at 2AM? Is it really necessary to get up and walk around and hover in someone’s personal space after a hot day at the beach and perhaps forgetting that extra swipe of deodorant? Hey..at least we got to see Madagascar 2.

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