I was pleased with the resort and I would gladly go there again. The resort is only 15 minutes away from the airport – which I found convenient. The food was plentyful and varied. Most of the staff were very friendly and helpful.
The pool and the beach were exactly what I was hoping they would be.
Arrival and Check-in – the bus (greyhound type) was ready and waiting for us at the airport. It took about 15 minutes to get to the resort. There were no problems checking in. Our room was ready.
Rooms: Room – 1206 (if you can’t handle stairs make sure that you get a ground floor room) We stayed on the Laguna side of the resort. The room had sliding doors and a small patio outside. The room was clean. The sheets were not always clean. The maid left a large bottle of water in the fridge every day. We left gifts on the beds for the maid every day and she seemed pleased to look after us. The air conditioning worked fine. We never had a problem with hot water in the shower, although the toilets didn’t always flush so we poured water from the garbage can and it helped the toilet to flush. We always had 2 rolls of toilet paper. The bathroom was clean and if you wanted new towels (because they didn’t dry from day to day) toss them on the floor or they won’t get changed.
Restaurants and Bars: Restaurants – the buffet had an assortment of foods available. My daughter has celiac and lactose intolerance and she even found food she could eat. Omelets, eggs, and French toast were made to order plus chicken, pork, and seafood grilled right in front of you. Good salad bar and fresh fruit. They also had hamburgers, hotdogs, and pizza. The staff was pleasant. We loved their cheese. Regardless of rumours, they do have ketchup and mustard. If you eat at the restaurants on the water make sure you use bug spray – my daughter got bitten alive. The a la carte restaurants were okay, but nothing special, there were only three entrée choices at the Cuban El Gallo, VIP, and Seafood El Malecon restaurants. Our reservation at the VIP restaurant was at 8:30 at night and it was pouring rain and there were no lights – we could hardly see where we were going. Bars – the bar in the Laguna lobby had a better assortment of drinks available, the poolside bar on the Laguna side was okay. One of the poolside bar bartenders made rounds at the pool and brought us drinks. We took refillable water containers and the bar staff had no problem putting our drinks in them (much easier than carrying around plastic cups). Plus the bartender put lots of ice in them to keep the drink cold.
Beach/Pools/Grounds: Beach and Pools – We were able to get a hut every time we went to the beach. There was a man who brought us beach chairs and cleaned them off for us. The sand was white and the water was very clear. There are huge rocks in the water in some places – they can be seen from the beach if the water is still. If there are waves it is harder to see the rocks and they are very rough if you catch your feet on them. We didn’t find a washroom near the beach so you had to go back to the resort which was a good walk. The pool was clean and refreshing. Plenty of chairs for guests. The towel hut was nearby. Grounds – The resort is quite large so there is a lot of walking involved. The grounds were clean and well kept. There were usually grounds keeping staff hiding in the hedges to give you items made from the palm fronds. There was security on the grounds. The Emperador side seemed to be closed which was where the VIP restaurant was and there were no lights on at night.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel: Activities and Entertainment – The entertainment was very good. There was a fashion show by a local designer with great musical accompaniment. Two nights the entertainment was guest involved. The other nights were mostly Cuban music with entertainment and dancers with a ton of costume changes. If it was raining the show was held in the Disco. Every night they had a special show earlier for the kids called mini disco.
Other Comments: Bank – there was a small bank in the court of the lobby and if it was closed you could change your money at the front desk. I was disappointed by the lack of information. We were given a map and told to attend the orientation the next morning (but we missed it as our clock was wrong). No clock in the room. We had a hard time trying to get information from the hotel staff. Our WestJet rep wasn’t around all week. The hospitality staff rushed us out. You had to make reservations for the a la carte through hospitality which was located in the court of the hotel (no one told us this). Note: If you think you can wash some clothes by hand while you’re there – don’t even think about it – it takes at least 3 days for a bathing suit to dry. We took 2 clotheslines – hung one in the bathroom and the other we attached to the sliding doors so the clothes would dry in the morning sun.
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