This was our first holiday to Cuba. We had always been somewhat hesitant to choose Cuba as we prefer resorts and destinations where four and five stars means four or five stars. I hope this review is helpful for anyone who is not sure if Cuba is for them. Travel date Nov 5-11, 2012.
Rooms: Most important the rooms clean, towels and bed linen are clean and changed daily. We were very happy with our housekeeping staff. We did tip daily and left small gifts items of bath gels, soaps, lotion and candies. The decor is Cuban, therefore simple, but well done for what is available to them. The mini bar was stocked daily with two cans of pop, two beers and a large bottle of water; all local brands. The rooms have both 110v and 220v outlets, iron and board and a digital safe.
Pools and Beach: The resort is divided into three sections each with its own pool area, bar, buffet and beach access. The pools are very large and provide adequate lounge seating for everyone. The central pool also has a children’s area which is separate for the main pool. The beach had a lot of seaweed every morning; however, staff did clean the beach daily. The Beach Butler setup and cleaned our chair every morning and was timely with drink service. The beach is beautiful although wind during our visit.
Dinning: Our holiday included three a la carte restaurant nights. We booked our holiday last minute and were only able to make reservations for two nights. The Mediterranean restaurant is Mediterranean in name only. Nothing on the menu spoke Mediterranean to me. After leaving the restaurant we went one of the buffets for pizza. Our second reservation was at the Italian restaurant. The menu was Italian and the food was good not outstanding. It happened to be my birthday and they provided a small cake and champagne. The cake was the worst cake ever, absolutely uneatable. It was a nice jester. My wife and I felt bad to leave the cake, but it was just so bad we had no choice. We laugh it off and went on with our evening. The main buffet was better than the one at the pool. The same food was offered more or less at both buffets. I am not sure why the quality difference. The cheese selection and pizza bar are nice. I am a vegetarian and found I always had choices, however, sometimes limited. Beer and liquor were local and ok, the wine, also local and was one step away from store brand grape juice. You can pay extra for the Diamond Club and have access to premium brands. After speaking with several people who purchased the Diamond Club package, it was unanimous they found little value in the product and would not do it again. Recognize you do not go to Cuba for food and drink and keep your expectation around the mall food court level.
Resort: The overall resort was clean. The grounds are little below standard that’s not big deal. Staff are friendly and always willing to help for a tip. The entertainment was surprisingly enjoyable. The resort has built a market area they share with their sister resort next door. It is limited however, provides the tourist souvenirs you expect. The resort is on an island which is a one hour and forty minute bus ride from the airport. There are no locals on the island. Resort staff are bused in from the main island daily.
Closing Comments: This is a 3 to 3 ½ resort not 5. We were happy with our experience overall and would go back again. I strongly suggest you always keep in mind this is Cuba. Access to food and other produces we take for granted are not easy to come by for them. This includes services such as electricity, water and gas. These services are controlled by the government not the resort. We had no issues with these during our visit. Relax and do not worry about you do not have or “it’s not like this in Canada” and enjoy what Cuba and Memories Azul has to offer.