This was my first time to travel anywhere hot, and I am overall satisfied with the experience I had at the Hotel. For a first time travellor of such things, I found the experience to be equipped with a broad range of activities, if I so desired to partake in them. It was small child friendly, which was quite amusing and nice to see. Family oriented. For my first time to Cuba, I would rate it as average with an overall sight of that small part of the country but with a taste of Cuban life and the culture/politics.
We took a Signature Vacation flying out of Winnipeg and direct flight to Varadero. Flight was long, arriving us at a very early time in Varadero and then to the hotel. We were originally told by our travel agent the wait time would be a couple of hours; staff at the hotel informed us check in time will not be until after 3pm. Almost a 12 hour anticipated wait. Our room came through for us after 3.5 hours, but be prepared to wait it out. Check out time is noon and check in time is 4pm. When booking, ensure when your first night is at the hotel. Staff pleasant, and very busy. Apparantly overbooked.
Rooms: Very clean, very large and the maid was good with what she had to work with. Clean and fresh towels sometimes non existent until the end of the day, we oftened used our beach towels to clean up after showering. Slept really well; we were located on the second floor in a building close to the lobby but faced a treed area. Secluded. The only issue was the nearby construction work being done at night time….we could hear the booms and clashing of the equipment until 10pm every night.
Fridge mostly stocked every day. The toilet was a chore to flush. Repeatedly.
Restaurants and Bars:
The food at the buffet, more or less, was fine. Not overly adventurous and not wanting to get sick, we both stuck to food that was pretty safe and what we knew. A pleasant surprise to see Cassava and a steamed pumpkin side dish. Lots of choices to choose from and one of the morning chefs remembered my name and greeted me warmly every morning, which was amazing for the size of the resort (huge). Just get in, eat and continue with the day. The multiple snack bars had the same menu and limited, but okay with what we got. Partner ate at the beach BBQ grill, lovely pulled pork sandwiches which were quite tasty in his opionion.
The beach was long and I found quite relaxing. MANY people hit the beach on the hot days, so picking spots were sometimes a little wearing. But overlall, I found them clean and friendly. The only thing were the sand flea bites…I got numerous and they are still quite itchy. I didnt not go to the pools at all, but they looked peaceful and clean.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
A LOT. Two ginormous pools, huge beach, parasailing, small club, four a la carte restaurants, dancing and music at night. Local Varadero tours as well as the other normal off the resort stuff – tours into Havana, jet skiing, jeep safari, overnight to Trinidad. Caramaran. You name it, they had it. Our Signature host was very cooperative and extremely pleasant…refunded the bulk of our money after my partner got sick from possible food issues for the Catamaran tour. You could plan something every day, or just relax.
I found the staff to be quite helpful and very good with the patrons. I think they worked to the best of their ability with what services that they had at their disposal. Courteous and generous. The only thing that was misleading was the last night; we were led to believe that we had to check out at noon a full 14 hours before our flight left. This wasn t the case. Once again, be prepared to double check flight times and check in, out and the actual number of nights you are staying and be prepared to argue the point if needed.