Let me start by saying this, I've travelled around the world and The Royalton is the first property I've ever taken the time to put up a review for. That should tell you something!
Before my wife and I travel we ask ourselves what we are looking for out of a vacation, the list this time went as follows;
1. Some peace & quiet. (we've worked 6 days a week for nearly 2 years)
2. A beautiful beach to walk.
3. A clean resort.
4. Great food.
5. Friendly people.
The Royalton had reviews that made us want to go and once there, we were FAR from dissapointed! The Royalton is remarkably quiet and restful for a resort and despite the two additional resorts available being rather "touristy" and loud, they do not interfere with the soothing bliss that is The Royalton. Don't get me wrong here, The Royalton is NOT boring! It's just that if you want to slow it down a little like we did at the time, The Royalton and it's superb staff will make it happen for you. If you want to 'play' and party like a kid, there are The Memories locations just a short walk away to do so. It's really the best of both worlds!
The beach is AH-mazing! There are about 6 or so kilometers to walk to the west of the resort and another 1 or 2 to the east. The water was clear and warm and the sand, very soft between your toes. Take advantage of the little known natural fish aquarium! I'll keep it a bit of a mystery to keep it from getting too crowded all the time but pay attention to the Pellicans, evryone knows that they eat fish right? :) You can walk in the water at about hip depth and be surrounded by millions, that's right! Millions of unique and colourful fish.
Describing anything in Cuba as "clean" can often be followed by, "for Cuba". NOT The Royalton! This place could be the freshest, brightest and cleanest spot on the planet! From our room to the pools, the restaurants to the beach bar it was obvious, everyone wanted to maintain the incredibly high standards of cleanliness that the management team had set for the resort.
As with clean, good food in Cuba is also followed by "for Cuba" more often than not. The food was amazing is a term that I do not throw around lightly but trust me, THE FOOD WAS AMAZING! Every little detail was catered to and if one small thing was requested by any guest we noticed, it was taken care of to perfection. There's a great variety too so go ahead, try everything! I did and anything that didn't tickle my fancy was MY fault, not the resorts!
As for friendly people, The Royalton staff and guests set the bar VERY high! We felt like we'd won the lottery of friendship by the time we'd left. How many places do you go for vacation and get a genuine invite to someone's house for Christmas Dinner? We were actually going to take them up on the offer at first because we were missing our family rather bad, but then we realized that the poor soul was going to drive in and back, 2 1/2 hours each way, just to make our Christmas a bit better. UNREAL! Thank you SO much for making us realize we had 'family' around us the whole time! There was also the Cuban festival at Remidios on Christmas Eve where a large group of guests went to experience the true taste of Cuban culture. Each one returned telling stories about what they saw and heard, what fun it was and to a person, how wonderful the people of The Royalton truly are.
I've tried to think of anything I didn't like or was dissapointed in and I think when you hear my one gripe, you're going to know that it is rather petty to tell the truth.
I missed Cuban music. There, I said it. The two pools are seperated by a fair amount with what seemed to be the "quieter" pool up top by the lobby and the other, just a short jaunt down the path to the center of the resort. Both are quiet and incredibly beautiful places to have a drink and relax or go for a swim when cooling down is required. My issue as little as it seems to be, (even to me!) was the background melodies being rather elevator'ish North American tunes by Celine D. or Elton John. I casually mentioned this along with a few others and PRESTO! The last 3 days in the afternoon Cuban Music softly filled the air and made my hips feel like swinging from side-to-side. This was NOT Cuban party music. It wasn't loud and obnoxious EVERYBODY GET UP AND DANCE NOW music. It was music that let you know exactly where you were and that's Cuba! Exactly where I WANTED to be at the time.
Having been to The Royalton in only it's fourth week of operation I do know one thing for certain, it's only going to get better with age! The staff and management wouldn't have it any other way. I could throw a list of names together to say thank you to but honestly, I'd be devistated if I forgot one name out of the dozens that made this trip SO very special.
So Royalton crew, ALL OF YOU,
Gracias por hacer que nos sintiéramos como en casa en su casa!