We stayed Dec. 22-29 and had a great, relaxing, fun vacation. I was traveling with my family with children ages 3, 5 and 15, my sister and her family, children ages 9, 14, 14, and 16 and my mom. Given that the ages in our group ranged from 3-68, I have to say that there was something there for everyone, no one was ever bored or hungry.
Aside from time spent on the most beautiful beach with fine white sand, the 4 teenaged boys played tennis daily, and had access to basketball, ping pong, etc. Snorkeling at the small reef at the east end of the beach was a highlight as there were several barracuda there and thousands of prey fish (sardines I think). They also enjoyed shopping at the Puebla (tourist town) at west end of the resort. We were comfortable allowing them to roam about on their own and never had any issues with feeling unsafe in Cuba (unlike Mexico).
The younger children had a great time at the beach and pool. We did notice the absence of hot tubs though which we would have enjoyed using as the pools weren't heated, but that didn't slow down the 9,3 and 5 year old one bit! We also took advantage of the kids club one day and our 5 year old had a blast. The ladies in there do a great job, are professional and very kind and caring. It is obvious they love kids!
We had 5 great rooms, all on 3rd floor of buildings 31 and 32. Excellent location, close to the lobby and buffet. An easy walk to the pool/beach and quiet with ocean view balconies. Rooms were clean, staff was very pleasant and easy to deal with. Beds were very comfortable with NO critters.
We think they probably nuke the hell out of this place because there were no bugs, no sand flies, only the odd mosquito and noseeums at night. I never saw a single cockroach. One of my nephews did find a good sized scorpion in his dresser drawer so make sure you shake your clothes and shoes out and pull back your bedding before you crawl in. Maintenance guy dealt with this swiftly. Remember, you are still in a tropical location and have to expect to see some "wildlife". The kids, though a little freaked out were still excited to have seen it! We did see a few geckos and small lizards on the grounds as well as cats and some beautiful song birds.
I get frustrated when I read reviews where people complain about the food. Everyone knows that you don't go to Cuba for the food! Having said that we actually enjoyed the food at this resort and really felt a little ashamed of the amount of waste that we saw considering the average Cuban has limited food choices. There was a huge variety at every meal in the buffet and no one in our party of 12 ever left hungry! Yes, not everything in the buffet was spectacular but with the amount of choices one had there really is no reason to write a negative review about the food. Some people will complain no matter where they go. Out in the "real" Cuban world most folks don't have flour, fish or fresh fruit so please don't complain about the spread at an all-inclusive resort in Cuba as these items are reserved for you, the tourists!
The only glitch we had on this trip was a delay with our flight. I know there will be people writing letters and complaining to Sunwing after making a lot of assumptions. I spoke with a member of the flight crew and got first-hand information on what happened. The flight from Calgary was delayed because of weather on the East coast even though our plane originated from Calgary. Sunwing did not anticipate that our flight crew would time-out even with the delay. The ground crew's turn-around on the tarmac at Santa Clara was very slow (emptying toilets, re-fueling, etc.). Not Sunwing's fault. By the time the plane was ready to re-load a fog bank had rolled in and we were grounded due to weather. Not Sunwing's fault. Waiting for this to clear timed out our flight crew and regulations require that they have a 12 hour break before flying again. Federal Aviation Regulations, not Sunwing's fault. Seriously, would you want to fly back with an exhausted crew? Not me, even though our night was horrible (7 children stuck all night in an airport), Sunwing did come through eventually and got us back to the hotel to sleep the next day and provided travel voutures to everyone and an apology for the inconvenience. It would have been nice to hear from the Sunwing rep sooner but hey, we all made it home safe and sound and I am thankful for that.
This trip was great overall and we will definitely consider going back to this resort. It was our first time in Cuba but my sister has been there 3 times at other resorts and said the same. If you're looking for a wonderful family resort this is it!