We stayed at this resort on our fourth trip to Cuba and were very disappointed with a lot of aspects. (We travel every March to somewhere in the Caribbean and always pick 5*.) The beach was wonderful and clean, service excellent, but there were problems with the food. While one never goes to Cuba for the cuisine, there is usually something decent for someone who is allergic to seafood and fish. This wasn’t the case here. I ate something "disagreeable" that has lasted a few weeks, which usually isn’t the case in Cuba.
We arrived on-time via Air Canada (excellent flights) on March 28th and were whisked through so quickly it was unbelievable. Our luggage was waiting for us on the other side of immigration. The airport was super-efficient and clean when we left Cuba also. It’s a long (90 minutes) but pleasant drive from the airport and our guide was extremely chatty and informative. Check-in at the resort was very quick as they merely handed out envelopes and directed people to their buildings. At our building, our concierge, Osmami, greeted us and gave us all the information for dining, the beaches, entertainment, and everything. He was wonderful! Such a gentleman and so very very helpful. I cannot say enough about him.
Rooms: Our room was a disappointment after reading all the previous reviews. Our easy chairs and chaise-lounge were stained and dirty and the floor wasn’t very clean. We were also missing the luggage rack.It was the smallest room in the resort which was frustrating since we booked in September and people who had booked two weeks prior to the trip got suites. I guess they start from the bottom up.
The bathroom was very nice marble and there was always tons of hot water. There were lots of white fluffy towels too – something that’s always appreciated and not often, even in Canada, provided.
Restaurants and Bars: The main buffet was the biggest disappointment. As I’ve said before, you don’t go for haute cuisine but you do expect the chicken or pork to be okay but they weren’t. Instead – tough and leathery. While they had a salad bar, there weren’t any salad dressings – something that could be easily made with oil, vinegar, garlic and a few other spices. The breakfast buffet was good -anything you wanted – but dinners were disappointing. The pasta bar had a line-up that was 30 minutes long one night. Also, some of the table linens could have been refreshed more often. The specialty restaurants were, thankfully, better. We ate at the Cuban, the Italian and the Steak and they were all pretty good. The service everywhere was usually excellent. The guys at the beach grill worked hard but the burgers were horrid – not their fault – just awful gristly beef. The pizzas featured pickles. Enough said?
But the service was extremely good everywhere and, while they appreciated tips and items unavailable in Cuba, they didn’t begrudge serving you even if you were empty-handed. (We like to show our appreciation at the end of the week.)
Beach/Pools/Grounds: The beach was beautiful, like so many Cuban beaches. We never made it to the second one but that’s because we were too busy on the main one. It’s a nice walk to the end, you can walk out to the sandbar when the water is low, snorkel around the sunken boat and snorkelling from the beach was a lot of fun. (Bring your own mask and snorkel but don’t bother with the fins as they will only be a nuisance.) I saw starfish, crabs, shrimp and tons of fish – from 1" to 2′. Great, free entertainment. BUT PEOPLE DRIVE ME CRAZY – I saw at least two people carrying starfish out of the water and that means they killed them. They suffocate out of the ocean so PLEASE LEAVE THE STARFISH IN THE WATER!!!!! It’s also illegal to bring them back to Canada. The other neat thing at the beach was that you could feed the fish some bread or banana while standing waist-deep. Hundreds of hungry fish come up to you and you can spend a lot of time just watching them. There were lots of palapas and beds on the beach but people still claimed them early in the morning. I found this area of the beach to be quite congested. The guys sailing the catamarans were terrific and they had a great time trying to scare me by tacking hard and getting us wet. Great for a laugh and nice to go out on a short trip to the island.
The pools were lovely with lots of wonderful palm trees providing shade and great service. The grounds are well kept and the bougainvillia are lovely.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel: We didn’t take any of the day trips as we were just there to relax. While you can find a lot to do, there isn’t a program director coming around to get you "up and at ’em". I think many people appreciate the quietness of this resort and that’s why they return so often. This is not a great place for teens as they were few and far between. However, they can make their own fun if they talk to the guys at the sports desk.
The spa was lovely and I had a great massage. The guys at the tennis courts were fun and love to talk sports, especially baseball.
Other Comments: Our concierge, Osmani, was wonderful. He booked our dinner reservations, took very good care of us and ensured that when our toilet broke, someone was there in 5 minutes to fix it. Reception had ignored my 2 previous requests for help and it was frustrating because, let’s face it, we all need a functioning loo! He also looked after a few other little problems for us and we appreciated it. Because of the room we had and some of the disappointing food, we won’t return to this area of Cuba. This was rated a 5* for Cuba and taking into account everything, we think the 5* in Varadero were better. I’ll miss the beach, the palm trees and Osmani however.
Thank you for giving us your opinion.