Flight – Found some of the stewards to be very unhelpful and rude on the flight to Cuba. A few TV’s were not working and were not looked at and fixed until nearly the end of the flight. Calls were ignored and there was not enough food to cater for the whole plane and as we were at the back, some of our party did not get full meals. A friend bought us a bottle of Champaign but we did not find out who it was from until we got home as they lost the message. The flight back was good except not much duty free goods left to buy.
Arrival at Airport – this was an awful experience! Long queues in a hot airport with sniffer dogs running around us. We found the questioning to be very intimidating and 5 of us had our cases emptied and thoroughly checked which took ages. Not a pleasant start to the holiday!
Check in at hotel – Nice welcome drinks but a few problems with rooms that were not allocated but that was quickly sorted out. A lot of hanging around for the train to take us to the rooms and a long wait for luggage to arrive. Got eaten alive by mossies as we hadn’t prepared ourselves!
Rooms – as we were getting married we had a superior room which didn’t look much different from the normal rooms. The rooms were nice and spacious but a bit tatty. Some rooms smelt damp or like sewage but ours was fine. We had to get maids to get rid of a giants ant nest on our bedside cabinet though! Bath mat lethal, we both nearly broke our necks taking a shower! Rooms cleaned daily but not very thoroughly. The maids made pretty towel arrangements every day which was a nice touch. We left valuables and cash out on numerous occasions but nothing went missing.
Beach – Lovely beach with white sand and very clean and tidy with plenty of sun beds. Yellow crabs and lizards running about which was good to see! The Sea was colder than expected, not sure if that’s because the time of year? We were eaten alive by sand fleas! Very sore and itchy bites that last for days. Hobbie cats, pedaloes and kayaks only available 1 and half days during 2 weeks which was very disappointing. Even when sea was calm they still stopped them going out with excuses like sea too rough or no rescue boat available.
Pool – Massive pool but water quite cold, probably because we had cloudy and rainy days for the first week. My brother got a very bad ear infection and had to buy antibiotics, ear drops and pain killers costing £50. Two others also complained about ear ache. Pool bar closed most days on first week, even if it was just overcast and not raining!
Food – Buffet Ok, nothing special! The Romantica and Italian restaurant were very good. Most the time the food was served luke warm which was off putting. Beer garden snacks great after nights out, especially the spring rolls, chicken nuggets and fries! Pool restaurant buffet was very nice for lunch but beach bar service very slow. Quite a few people on the party got the runs, including my older brother who had to spend a whole day in his bathroom toilet! I was fine though.
Drinks – Very good cocktails (sex on the beach my favourite) and nice sparkling wine! Wine quite nice in speciality restaurants but not as nice as wine back home! Fantastic coffee bar, lovely Latte’s!
Lobby – very nice, comfortable chairs with pretty ponds full of fish and water fountains. Not very well equipped for torrential rain, nowhere dry to sit and very slippery floor!
Disco – good music but they play the same every night! Very cold in there and music far too loud. I complained but they didn’t turn it down. A friend left their digital camera behind on the first night and it was handed in reception and he got it back the next day which surprised us all because in England, he would have never seen it again!
Bugs – loads of mossies and sand fleas! I never usually get bitten but I did here! We all had massive itchy lumps and bumps which were very uncomfortable. Not sure if it was the time of year?
Weather – Not good. The first day was fine but then it clouded over and we had rain for 5 days! I had to postpone the Wedding to the second week. The first few days were warm but then the temperature dropped considerably which was a nightmare as we had no warm clothes except the ones we travelled in so we had to wear them for days, it was so depressing! The staff say they hadn’t seen rain like it for a long time and rivers that were dry for 10 years were flowing! The second week was fine, a bit cloudy but nice and warm, not too hot to sunbathe and the nights were just right, not too humid.
Trips – couldn’t do many because weather so bad. Speed boat trip good except boat kept breaking down from seaweed on the engine as the water was stirred up from bad weather. Trip to Paradise Island quite good but boat trip a bit bumpy and cold on deck due to weather conditions. The food was nice and I enjoyed the jeep safari which was free as we could not snorkel as water too murky due to weather. The only reason we went on trip was to snorkel but they didn’t tell us we could not do it until we were on the coach on the way there so we couldn’t change our minds!
Holguin/Guaralavaca – got taxis to Guaralavaca and found a really good small market. Got taxi to Holguin to see cigar factory but it was closed so we went for an interesting walk around the town which was an eye opener, met a few locals who told us a lot about Cuba which was interesting.
The Wedding – Lovely, had a great day! I was so stressed out about the weather so Yaly the wedding coordinator very kindly changed the day from the first week to the second week which was a good move because the weather was perfect on the wedding day. The flowers were a bit late but very beautiful. A horse and cart took me to wedding gazebo by the beach, where a Cuban band played the wedding march. After the ceremony the band played (they were brilliant, we bought their CD) and we danced and had sparkling wine and canopies. We then were taken to beach for photos, then the lobby for more photos and sparkling wine. We all had our meal at the Italian restaurant on a long, nicely decorated table and we were serenaded by a violinist. We cut the cake after the meal which tasted great but very sweet. We ended the evening at the disco where we had our first dance. It was a great day, nice and relaxed, just as I imagined, loved every minute of it! The photos were ok but a little dark and disorganised and the DVD wasn’t bad either for 30 peso!
To sum it up – I would recommend this hotel as it was such value for money and may go back one day but not the same time of year!