Royal Hicacos Reviews – Cuba Hotels – Royal Hicacos

April 17-24 2005 Wife (35) and I (36) Canadian Previously have stayed at Sandals Negril Jamaica, Barcelo Maya Mayan Rivera Mexico, Occidental Grand Flamenco Puerto Plata Dominican Republic, Sheraton Buganvillas Puerto Vallarta Mexico My rating: 3 ½ stars Paid: $1520 CAD tax included from Toronto Signiture/Skyservice booked 20 days in advance Would I go back? Probably not, better resorts out there with better price points. This resort is not typical of a Sandals resort. The Barceló Maya is a better deal than this one which I paid $1285 CAD tax included. Don’t pay too much for this one!

Regular room #314 far right hand side of resort, overlooking adjacent resort and bare dirt field, nicely appointed room with large king, good ac, fridge, large tub made for two, lots of hot water and water pressure, no sign of small ants in sink or other bugs. The sewer smell is overpowering at times especially in the morning and just noticeable during the day. The large doomed sewer-holding tank is nicely disguised with flowers and bushes and located adjacent to the walkway on the way to the 300 block of rooms.

Beach is really picturesque. Water is Caribbean blue, warm and wavy. This is a great beach! I snorkeled 700 meters off shore and saw nothing but sand. No fish, weeds, or rocks. Super soft sand which was great for walking. We walked lots! There are lots of huts and chairs facing the ocean. It was really wavy for most of our stay, which cancels all use of cats, boats, sunfish, snorkeling, or dives. We did enjoy the waves and it did calm down for a couple of days. An external company owns all of the equipment not the resort. The beach staff that runs the equipment is nice enough but not the typical Sandals experience you might be used too.

Food: Average. Selection was limited and very repetitive. Just did not compare to any of our previous vacations. Restaurant service is really inconsistent and really slow. Tips might help but only if you locate the same waiter each day. I observed dirty plates and tables all over the place at breakfast buffet. The food was acceptable as I didn’t go hungry and tried almost everything. There is no lettuce on this resort. No sickness or craps throughout vacation.

Resort Layout: poor. I am not sure whom to blame. The resort builder or the resort architect. The winding “mirror” river is such a waste. It could be the largest lazy river run ever, if modified just a bit. The huge fake SMELLY rock just before you start on the wooden bridge to the beach is ridiculous. Why any builder would place a powered forced air sewer vent in a fake rock at this location is beyond my understanding. Wait for it, Wait for it…UGH it hits you everytime you go the beach grill and bar. Our bathroom flooded the night we used the Jacuzzi when we tried to drain the tub. Oh well it happens. The room safe is excellent.

Tips: 1. Bring your large insulated mug…bar service can be slow and drinks melt fast 2. Bring pants as men must wear them in the buffet restaurant for dinner 3. Put towel under door when sleeping small geckos everywhere 4. Change money at hotel, easier, quicker, just 3% difference than Varadero bank 5. Flea market at Varadero is ½ price of beach vendors 6. Cigars best price Varadero, look for log home on 31st street and ocean side 7. Ask for bottled water at front desk if going on trips or tours 8. Bring change for the toilet, women need to buy toilet paper (airport, tours) 9. Bring Canadian money, they do not want American, not even for tips 10. Even if it looks cloudy put lotion on your feet, mine burned, so stupid! 11. Get cappuccino at Pizzeria before breakfast or anytime much better than coffee 12. Don’t wear yellow shirts they really attract the bugs “death flower” 13. Don’t walk through bush to get to beach, saw 4 foot snake, scarred wife to death 14. East side of resort very quiet at night but birds are noisy in the morning 15. Open your tub blind from outside patio door, lets a lot of light in 16. Walked to Beaches (20 min) and Princess del mar (1 hr, 20min). Wear your water shoes as there are lots of broken sea shells, coral, and other sharp edges on the way. Go in and have a look at the other Sandals, have a drink as they cannot tell which resort you’re from. No wristbands! Don’t tell them or out you will go. 17. Friday Buffet is rib night..good 18. Tuesday Buffet is seafood night 19. Crystal beer and Buccaneer beer is excellent, $1/beer in Varadero outdoor bar. 20. Eat dinner early at beach grill as mosquitoes due come out once sun sets 21. Take the Havana day tour thru Cubacan $67 cuc, good tour guide, and pack a lunch from breakfast buffet 22. Get on the Varadero tour bus early as it gets packed by early afternoon and ride it the full circle to see all the resorts 23. Don’t get on the Varadero tour bus after 7pm, as you will be stranded in downtown Varadero. Learned that the hard way. $15 cab ride home (set price) 24. Get your ice early out the machines. It goes fast. 25. 11.5% fee on all Visa, M/C transactions, bring cash! 26. Snorkel for free at resort and bring a few small bananas, lots of fish! 27. Bring key ring or tether for safe key. 28. Bring hats, pens for kids, shampoo, old earrings, sample perfumes and give away 29. Watch your luggage weight as they will charge you upon departure

These are my perceptions of the resort. Whether a review is negative or positive its just information, don’t get hung up if its different. Take from it what you want.

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