Old Reviews – Villa Tortuga

Just spent 2 days at Villa Tortuga in Varadero. Don’t think I’ll go back… This place was a constant balancing of good and bad. For example, the ocean is indeed beautiful, but the beach is filthy with garbage, and every morning, it’s strewn with hundreds of Man O’War jelly fish. The dangerous kind! No signs anywhere, and no staff picking them from the beach so no one steps on the stingers. This actually applies to all the hotels on that strip of beach. Nice array of food, but not much of it was edible, and certainly not tasty. There was a paella and tapas night — the paella was nothing but rice with onions, and the single “tapa” was bits of beef wrapped up in bacon, so overcooked I couldn’t remove the toothpick nor even cut into it with my knife. I didn’t go hungry, but more than half of the food never made it onto my plate. There was an outdoor grill with special dishes at most meals, though you only knew that from other guests telling you about it. Getting food from this cook was a true imposition on the man; he was always grumpy. 24-hour service at the desk, but half of the desk staff were surly. None of them was welcoming in the least. Helpful, but not friendly. There were nightly shows, but some of the acts were too dangerous for those who tried to perform them, which made for some awkward moments, and some of the dancers had never rehearsed the pieces before going on stage. I thought I was looking at an old I Love Lucy episode at times. The room was perfectly acceptable, much like those in Canadian hotels. I was even able to control the air conditioning. Also a small TV, but with a lot of good channels. However, though it looked clean, there were over 40 flies in there when I checked in. Slow flies though, so I spent ½ hour killing them, along with scores of mosquitoes. Still, I woke up the next morning with about 25 flea and bed bug bites all over my body, and even more bites the morning after that. I checked the other guests at breakfast, and sure enough, there were tell-tale marks on many people. The first night, I had to kill 2 small cockroaches on the floor — hey, it’s a hot climate… Still, after the room was “cleaned”, there they were still squished on the floor, big black spots impossible to miss. But then I did have those lovely towel swans on the beds…

The singers /musicians from the show — acceptable at best — also serenaded us at the dinner tables. Of course, out come the CDs, so I bought one for $10 — the most expensive one in the trip yet. When I got home to play it, there was absolutely nothing on it! I guess that overall, that’s what I want to do with most of my memories from this place…

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