Old Reviews – Melia Las Americas

This was our second trip to Cuba, stayed at the Sol Melia Santa Maria in January 2004. We flew Skyservice and the trip was uneventful.

Airport in Varadaro: No problems at the airport, other than waiting for luggage to be unloaded. Seems as if our two bags never get loaded or unloaded together. There was a line up at the money exchange and we were asked to load onto our buses prior to getting any pesos, so we had to tip the porters in US dollars. There are lots of shops in the departure area to purchase cigars and rum while waiting for the trip home.

Hotel Registration: After a 30 minute bus ride we were met at the lobby and handed a registration form to fill out. This procedure could use some refinement. Trying to write sitting on the furniture in the lobby was not the most comfortable way to do this.We are members of the MaS programme for the Melia Hotels and this was to get us prioity check in. It did seem to help is some respects, but since our arrival was about noon, rooms were not available and everyone was asked to return in about 2-3 hours for room assignments.

Money Exchange: Last year everything was in US dollars, but this year we had to buy Cuban pesos. The exchange rate was based on the US dollar, and Canadian currency could be exchanged at the front desk..the rate varied during the week, getting anywhere from 76.8 to 78 Cuban pesos for $100 Canadian. We were advised not to take Traveller’s cheques as they charge a commision to cash them. Candian currency seemed to be the easist way to get pesos. The Las Americas Shopping Mall which was nearby had a bank, but they allowed only one person in at a time and took for hours to exchange money. Most of the stores, with the exception of the vendors in the halls, were government run and accepted Canadian dollars. While we didn’t have enough pesos at the end of the week to worry about, we understood that they could be exchanged back to Canadian currency at the airport.

The Hotel: The Melia Las Americas is a fairly large hotel. The views from the hotel are either the Atlantic Ocean or the Varadaro Golf Course. People who were in the hotel rooms seemed to be pleased with the accomodations. The other form of accomodation is in the two story buildings located throughout the grounds. Our ground floor unit had a living room with a tv, dining area and a small kitchen with a mini fridge and sink, coffee maker, a large bedroom with two 3/4 beds, a tv and a full bathroom, tub and shower. We were located beside 3 swimming pools and the swim up bar and garden grill restaurant. We could see the ocean from our balcony. Take a electric converter as the power is 220 and I was unable to plug in my razor.

Food: We found that the food was very good. The buffet had plenty of choice. Breakfast choices were many, from cereals to omlettes prepared as you liked them. There were always lots of variety in breads and rolls. Lunches could be eaten in the buffet, or at one of the many other resaurants, the pizza bar was recommended by many, the beach grill had excellent kabobs, the pool grill had very good fish, the evening meals also had lots of choice. Everyone can sign up for 3 meals in the a la carte dining rooms and everyone gets a coupon for lobster.. We suggest you sign up on days other than Sunday or Wednesday if you are a lobster lover, as the buffet has lobster, stone crab and other seafood on these days.

Beach: While we were there, the weather was cool, due to a cold front in Florida, but there were plenty of lounges on the beach and around the pools, there did not seem to be a need to get up early to reserve your spot.

Golf: 4 rounds of golf were included in our package. While I only golfed once, the course is great. You must rent a cart, but no caddy is required. I rented clubs and they were Taylor Mades, with a 540 driver. Course is only A 4 minute walk from the hotel lobby. While not a long course, the proximity to the ocean and the winds makes it very challenging.

General: We would recommend this resort to anyone who has no mobility problems. There are a lot of stairs due to the many levels in the resort.

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