This was a brand new hotel, opened November 2015 and parts of it were still under construction while we were there in early 2016. The weather was pretty awful the week we were there, but this hotel helped make our vacation great!
CHECK-IN: I read somewhere that room upgrades are available for honeymoons and anniversaries at this hotel. When checking-in, I asked is we can upgrade our room for an anniversary and the lady looked at me like I was on another planet. No problem, just thought I’d give it a try. Maybe I’m doing it wrong
ROOMS: We could have quite possibly had the worst located room in the building: right over the bar and stage area. There is no chance of sleep while the shows are going on, but by 11:00 each night the party moves elsewhere and the noise gets back to an acceptable level. We used earplugs to sleep and had no problems nor felt the need to request another room.
The rooms are very nice for a couple, but I imagine the glass shower wall could be awkward when sharing a room with friends or children – not much privacy. Also, if someone is using the bathroom in the middle of the night, the light shines through the glass, lighting up the room where everyone else is asleep. It’s a minor inconvenience, but still slightly annoying. The door to the bathroom is a sliding barn-door style that leaves about a 3/4 inch gap with a perfect line of sight to whomever is on the toilet, so, you have to be intentional about not looking in that direction to provide privacy.
There were 2 times that there was no hot water in the shower. Other than that, it was very hot all the time. There is a rain shower head and a hand held. It took a little figuring out how to get which one to work vs how to change the temperature.
IN THE ROOM: There is a large umbrella in each room, which came in handy. Also nice was a dozen hangers, half of which had pant hanging clips. Inside the closet was a three drawer dresser that was perfect for keeping all the things you want to grab before you head out to the pool/beach (this awesome storage also meant having an uncluttered room). Highly recommended to bring with you – flushable wipes, the toilet paper isn’t luxurious, no big deal for daily business but if you encounter even one day with your system being out of sorts you and your bottom will be glad you have them.
BEDS: The mattresses were better than expected, but still quite firm. PRO TIP HACK IDEA: The room came with two thick fleece comforter blankets, which are not necessary for a Canadian in warm Cuba We put these blankets on the mattress, under the fitted bed sheet, to add an extra layer of comfort.
POWER OUTLET: The outlets in the room say 220 Volts. We brought an adapter and we could charge our devices just fine. The bathroom hair dryer has an outlet that reads 110 volts, but it did not work for us when we tried it. Best to bring an adapter just in case.
FOOD: We were in Cuba 6 years ago, so we had realistic expectations on what is available for food in Cuba. Having said that, we were pleasantly surprised at the high quality and variety of food in the buffet restaurant. I cannot image that you’ll find a better buffet in Varadero; there was really nothing missing, and they even changed a few items from day to day. Some of our favorites were the curry chicken and the ‘beef meat’ which was a sauce with super tender beef and veggies.
From a vegetarian/veggie lover viewpoint, every meal had offerings within the buffet. My favorite was the pumpkin. The salad bar (open every meal) maybe had lettuce once but almost always had a wide rainbow of color; shredded beets/carrot/squash, beans, cabbage, peppers, chickpeas, corn, pasta salad, etc.
As a parent with picky eaters, your options are pretty decent at the buffet. Breakfast had cereals, yogurt, eggs, toast, pastries, pancakes, French toast, waffles, fruit (which even the pickiest eaters should be OK with). FYI: the only jam I ever saw was peach and plum, both were nice tasting and easy to spread but if you can’t survive without strawberry jam or peanut butter find yourself some little packets to bring to Cuba.
Lunch always had burgers, hotdogs, French fries, pizza, pasta, and things to make a sandwich. The one thing a child will definitely miss at the main buffet is ketchup (which was available at the snack bars).
I loved the coffee at breakfast. We were told the brand served is “Cubita” (if you’re looking to buy some to take home with you). Some mornings they have hot chocolate (in the place where they usually serve soup at lunch and dinner) and it was nice to mix this with coffee and create a mocha Also a bonus was the orange juice was actually orange juice, not orange flavored. One morning there was passion fruit juice that was amazing, almost like a passion fruit smoothie.
The dessert table changed slightly daily and sometimes even during the meal before you got a chance to get your dessert. You can always count on the ice cream and the cookies which are yummy when eaten together.
I love the fact that if you are doing a day trip (or on the day you fly home) you can make yourself a sandwich to take with you, even at 7am (just bring a Ziploc bag from home).
I will say that the experience in the buffet changed depending on the amount of people that were there. Some days seemed a little crowded, while other times there was hardly anyone there and you could take your time looking at the various items. Either way, they keep bringing out fresh items as needed, so we found there was no need to “beat the rush” and get there at a certain time.
The hamburgers by the pool were fantastic. Get a ‘vegetable salad’ with it and you can really load it up with tomato, lettuce, onions, cucumbers, pickles. French fries and ketchup were decent too. For some reason they don’t offer cheese by the pool, so grab a few slices from the buffet and add it to the burger yourself; yum!
We tried the Caribbean/Mexican a la carte restaurant and it was a great experience. Nice décor, great tasting food, and nicely presented!
TIPPING: One reason I choose an All-Inclusive resort experience is so that I don’t have to carry cash around to pay for things or leave tips. I was very pleased that I never felt pressure to leave tips at any time. We did chose to leave tips anyway here-and-there throughout the week, but it was to bless the hard working staff and not to receive some kind of increased level of service.
BEACHES: There is access to 2 beaches. The beach to the right of the hotel seems to only go for a little bit and then is blocked by another hotel. But it’s easy to walk on the rocks past this hotel and then a whole other strip of beach is available to you and it goes for miles; we walked for 4 hours along this beach one afternoon.
Overall, I highly recommend this hotel. It was a real treat to experience a newly constructed building; it felt so fresh!
Hotels | All-Inclusive | Reviews & Recommendations
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