At the suggestion of our travel agent we chose Memories Azul in Cayo Santa Maria Cuba for our 2012 get away… .in retrospect, this was a bad choice. This resort is an hour and a half away from the airport and not worth the extra travel time.
After approximately 10 hours of travel (from home to final airport) which included a stop-over at another airport in Cuba for 45 minutes, then onto Santa Maria where we were subjected to an additional 50 minute wait on the tarmac in the aircraft before we could de-plane as another plane was late in leaving. Added to this, a 90 minute bus ride to the resort… This was just too much travel time for the eventual destination which turned out to be a huge disappointment. Check in was quick as we were given our keys before boarding the bus….however we did have to fill out one document upon arrival at the hotel. We then all went in search of the 24 hour grill as we were all starving at this point… the food at that time of the evening was both cold and dried out as it had probably been set out for hours.
The rooms ‘seemed’ clean, however we never got the adjoining rooms as requested and confirmed in e-mails to us (one in our party has mobility problems and needs to be situated next to us for assistance). Our disabled party member was situated in ‘another building’…. It took us three visits to the front desk the next day before she was moved to the same building with us. As it turns out… THERE WERE BED BUGS… by the first morning I started waking up with little bites on the exposed parts of my body (head, neck, hands and legs)… I complained but this continued all week. We were given clean towels everyday however I don’t think our sheets or pillow slips were changed all week.
Restaurants and Bars:
I can honestly say of my twelve visits to Cuba, this was the best selection and quality of food we have ever had… Because of this we elected to have all of our meals out of the main buffet… we didn’t book any Ah La Cartes. Added to this, based on the size of the resort, there were always long line-ups to book anything…. The bars were your normal Cuban stocked bars… nothing special. The many restaurants and bars were well placed so you never had to venture too far to get food or drink
Because of the size of this resort the beach area is inadequate, as a result everyone is literally sitting on each others back. Most people seem to congregate in the mid-section where most of the service and activity is located… there are a few other areas on the beach, but like I said… this beach is way too small for the size of the resort which at capacity welcomes over 2,000 people…there were 1,300 when we were there and I felt crowded as there were line-up for EVERYTHING (food and drink) even the people who elected to buy the ‘Diamond Club’ option was caught up in these massive line-ups… that option was a total waste of money for those who purchased it. There are pools conveniently situated in thee sections of the resort all clean and well maintained (but cold). The grounds are tidy, well kept and well maintained.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
This resort offers the usual pool / beach activity, in addition there are a number of private areas and courts set up for the various small games and sports. They also offer a full array of off-resort tours,…. just keep in mind that this resort is 90 minutes away from anything… add your tour time to that and it makes for a long trip to and from. I personally found most tours expensive.
Other Comments: This resort is by no means a 5 star or even a 4 1/2 star as posted… I found it way too big and hugely understaffed for the volume of guests they host… as a result service is lacking UNLESS YOU TIP OFTEN AND GENEROUSLY… the good tippers are quickly recognized and they get the service… things like a second cup of coffee at breakfast is not forthcoming most days.
I WILL NOT BE RETURNING TO THIS RESORT.