|Flew into Varadero and it is about a 2 hour drive from the airport. The resort is in need of some major renos and as a result it is closing for 8-11 months effective April 2008. It is a 3 star so one shouldn’t expect more than that. There were clearly better rooms than others. I got one of the less appealling rooms but I paid $630 for the whole trip so can’t complain. The rooms could have been cleaner but weren’t realy bad. Everything worked in my room and it was nice to get 2 big bottles of water everyday in my fridge. Never had a problem getting hot water which was also great. Food isn’t the greatest (never tried the snack bar or the a la carte though) but I could always find something to eat. The fruit, salads and bread were the best options. The grill stations offered some good food i.e. fish, chicken etc but I found a couple times it wasn’t cooked completely so watch carefully. Service was pretty good. There was an obvious which people did/did not tip. Beach was great; very few people there. Few umbrellas for shade, but if you get there before 10 you could typically get one, as well by the afternoon. They have unusual beach chairs; not the ones that lie flat so I ended up lying on my towel for tanning. The pool seemed nice and there are lots of chairs, but again minimal shady spots. There uis a town to the right on the resort which is nice to walk through. You get to see real Cuban life. There is a restauarant just over the bridge that I heard was very good. Farther into town there is a store where you can buy groceries. I bought my coffee there (Cubita which is fantastic). You can’t buy it in the resort store. It is the same price as in the airport. The rum is the same price at this store, the resort store and the airport. The resort has a shuttle twice a day to Havana for free which works great. I only went one day and regretted it as Havana is a cool city. Make sure and get beyond the hot, crowded market which is right where the bus lets you off. There are definitely lots of poor people there that you want to help. But beware because like with any place there are lots of scammers too i.e. asking for milk for their babies, saying they are deaf mute etc. Shows and staff are quite good. Mostly Canadians here and when I was there it was mainly a middle aged crowd. Not a party resort. After the show its pretty quiet. Few people go to the disco. The resort is small enough that you get to know people which is great. Its also small enough that you can go back and forth to your room when needed. It doesn’t take long to get anywhere.
In sum, I got an amazing price, it was a great trip and well worth it. If I would’ve paid double I wouldn’t have been too impressed but once the renos are done it will be a different place. Its definitely the best place if you want to spend time in Havana. Its Cuba (paradise) and the perfect place to relax.