Arrival Feb 8 2009: Flight – Arrived 40 mins EARLY on Skyservice, great flight, great service from the totally talented and gorgeous crew onboard – especially Aurora, the best flight attendant in the skies, EVER! We were served a hot supper too. Through customs and on the van to the resort within 20 mins of arrival, clutching a cold beer. Arrived at resort, fast, friendly check in, walked the beach at 1 AM, totally beautiful.
All rooms bungalow style – that is fine with this hick. Nice clean #37. Had a larger room at the back last year, preferred this room. TV broke first day, they replaced it right away. Why the heck do you need a TV in paradise anyway?
Restaurants and Bars:
Lots of variety, meats, fish, salad, home made bread and soups (I’m drooling) the mai-mai catch of the day was delicious! 3 kinds of ice cream at lunch every day…coconut was my favorite. The ice cream is made on the resort, by the way. Omelets in the morning – outstanding! Pancakes and french toast (these were not the best feature the kitchen put out) but the syrup was awesome – a very light strawberry syrup that was very pleasant. Beef, chicken, rabbit, pork, all yummy. The best orange juice in the world…super delicious! and jugs and jugs of it. Bar service at the buffet. Wine is only served at the buffet – not at the bars. dang. Bring pantyhose for your waitress, its appreciated. Cuban sandwich (ham n cheese) and hotdogs at the counter in the a la carte restaurant during the day if you get the munchies. You will get one a la carte meal in a week, two if you are a returning guest. The bartenders will make you anything they can. They will even do the occasional tequi! la boom BOOM…you have to see this for yourself. Spanish coffees are a work of art, daquiris are delicious, the beer is surprisingly good – usually Cristal on tap, they also have Buncanero. Us Canucks are beer snobs.
We were here last year, and it had rained a lot before we got there, ergo the grounds were quite wet and smooshy. This year the grounds looked immaculate – the trees and flowers were blooming and they have put a lot of work into the grounds and general upkeep. The beach is cleaned every morning, the pool is pristine. Freddy gets there at 6 AM to get the pool area ready for the day. The grounds crew is a bunch of older smiley guys. The same gardener is there – he will give you a flower every day for your hair, or if you are a guy he will ask you to take it to your wife…this gets you in the good books pretty quick! There are always loungers available on the beach, if not go ask. You will get one.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel::
Activities all day long if you want to take part. Snorkeling is fabulous, we had 6 out of 7 "green flag" days in the water to go explore the reefs. What a salty pair we were! Morning aquasize and stretching in the pool, hikes to the farm twice weekly – wear good shoes (non slip anyway, the trail can get kinda slick) on the road back from the farm, some of the locals have souveniers to sell. Bring pesos if you want to buy, they will not have change. Dancing and games at the pool in to afternoon. Excursions if you like, some can be pricey. Ask for Hobie cat rides, paddleboats, snorkel assistance at the dive shack. If the staff takes you out on any of these, you should tip.
Other Comments:: Bring Canadian bills that are flawless. No rips, marks or even a pinhole sized piece of material missing from the corner. If you can, get new bills from your teller at your bank in Canada. The "Head Office" will return the money to hapless employee at the hotel and have them provide perfect currency. This leaves the unfortunate worker out of that money until they can replace it. This is big $$$$ for them. The airport and bank in Varadero had better exchange rates than the resort at that time, anyway. Tips are appreciated, not expected, but face it, we can spare the cash for our Cuban friends – they work hard for us! We hope to return again and again!