Might have been a Sandals – but now it’s Cubanacan!!
Arrival by Air Canada Vacations left on time and arrived a couple of minutes early, met at airport and Shuttle Van was waiting. Arrived at the hotel with 2 other couples from the same flight. They got welcoming champagne and we didn’t!! If we wanted one it was available at the bar – good job Marcelo!!
Easy registration and help to the room. It was located in the front of the Hotel. Room was in order and everything worked, but obvious signs of deterioration – blinds don’t adjust, grout in bath/shower falling out for a while, tub very scratched and while i’m sure it was clean, didn’t look like it. Rooms were kept clean with fresh linen every day and the room staff were very friendly. Just remember the floors aren’t that clean – same mops in your room that clean the hallways and i don’t believe they change the mop rags from room to room.
Restaurants and Bars:
Buffet was pretty good but repetitive with pretty large selections and efficient service. Tippers got preferred seating and immediate direction to their preferred seats. A la Carte restaurants were a slight step up on food quality and had excellent service. I really enjoyed the beef tenderloin at Don Pasquales. I must say that the Christmas Eve Buffet was spectacular in the Buffet restaurant. The Beef Tenderloin, Lobster(and I’m not crazy about Lobster), Turkey, Oysters, and Prawns were very, very good. The Beef Tenderloin was cooked exactly the way I like it and as much as you could eat. Buffet selections were a big step up over the rest of the week. Bars – well it’s Cubanacan, sometimes they come with liquor – sometimes they don’t, regardless if you tip. Service in the bars was lacking, beach bar supplied the beer in those irritating 6 oz plastic glasses – you need a refill by the time you got back to your palapa!
Beach was excellent, although not quite as nice as the spectacular beaches at Cayo Coco, and kept very clean, and the water was warm, although we didn’t get as much use as we were hoping because we only had 3.5 sunny days out of the week. Pools were cold and hardly any body was making use of them. Grounds were well maintained. 3 evenings there was a pretty heavy sulphur smell from the swamp/lagoon across the road.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
We are early risers and didn’t stay up for the shows although a couple of people mentioned they thought they were pretty good. We took the double decker bus to Plaza Las Americas and into Varedero and enjoyed the walking around on the first couple of cloudy, cool, and breezy days. Cost 5 pesos each for the day with as many stops as you wanted, so it may for a cheap timely tour of Varadero.
The cuban peso now costs $1.25 (approx) Canadian, so you kind of choke at $2.50 for a can of coke or beer for your room at the hotel. Snacks are even more expensive – half tube of Pringles converted to $6. Take your own snacks if you think you might need them. Price for cigars was determined by the clerk and varied greatly between them. I think that now Cubanacan operates this facility there is some attitude that the level of service by male staff is lower than that of the female staff. With the exception of the Bars, and there male and female patrons are equally invisible to all the staff. For the price there is much better value in Varedero, and my experience after 4 stays in Cuba is that you don’t stay at Cubanacan resorts.