First off, you have to remember that you aren't in Canada. You are in a third world country where they do things a lot differently than we do and have different food. Stop listening to the little things that people are complaining about just go in with an open mind and have fun.
We travelled to Memories March 14-21, 2014. We arrived in Santa Clara 1/2 hours early and promptly went through me customs. They ask you to go into a little room and look at a camera, sounds scary but its not. They don't stamp your passport so you have to ask them to stamp it if you wanted it stamped. After this, we went outside and were greeted by the signature vacations rep and he pointed us in the direction of the man that had a basket with envelopes that had all our check in neccecities. The envelope had our room keys, a map, our wristbands, and the check in paperwork. The 1 1/2 hour drive went by really fast. It is a guided tour and you can see real Cuban living. Lots of horse and buggies, motor bikes, and old American cars. The causeway is really neat! For about a 1/2 hour you're driving over the ocean. We didnt see any sea life on our drive to the resort but on our bus ride back to the airport we saw a dolphin swimming quite close to the road. Once we arrived at the resort, we were greeted with a smile and a drink. Check in went quite smoothly. We had to wait in line for a little bit but that is no big deal. When there are 50 other people checking in at the same time you can't expect to not wait in line. After this, we were on our way. Our building was close so we just walked to our room and minutes later our luggage was delivered to our room with a smile. They have little carts to take you to your room or the market if needed. We didn't use these at all as we enjoyed the walk. This resort is HUGE so be prepared for lots of walking. But as I said, these carts will take you anywhere as long as they weren't full. On our second day we had very little water pressure and no hot water but this was a problem that was affecting the whole island. It was fixed the next day.
Rooms - we were in building 52 on the azul side so we were close to everything, the lobby, theater, relaxing pool, buffet and the beach. It wadsOur room was OK. Dated, but it did the trick while we were there. The bathroom wall was filthy though. This bothered us and was never cleaned. The rest of the room was spotless thanks to our wonderfull maid Janaisy. The room didn't have the musty smell others are talking about nor did it have a damp feeling. The beds are on the harder side but I had no troubles sleeping. TV was fine, there are lots of english channels. But lets be honest, who is on vacation to watch TV?! Our patio door didn't lock and we were on the main level so we felt more comfortable to have this fixed. It was fixed within a couple of hours. Very happy with the speedy service!! We couldnt open the door after that but we were ok with that as it eliminated bugs and lizards. We only had a couple ants in our room but no biggy. Overall, we were hapoy with our room aside from the dirty wall in the bathroom.
Food/drinks - I am pretty picky but I found something to eat every night. It was a bit repetative but I don't vacation for the food. I highly recommend the fried rice station! It is made right in front of you and quite delicious. I went to this station everyday. I am not much of a meat eater and I don't eat seafood so i was limited but it was still tasty. I was quite impressed with the food. After reading the reviews I went in with low expectations but waspleasantly surprised. There was salt and pepper on the tables and spices in the food. It is a little more bland than we are used to but just remember you aren't in Canada. The buffet staff was fantastic! Always greeting us with a smile and checking on us. Special mention need to be made to Heidy. She took the time to get to know us and tell us about her family. We didn't do any of the a la cartes but heard the Cuban and Italian ones were great. Drinks were relish! I have no complaints about the drinks. The rum punch was my favorite. Rubin at the relaxing pool bar made the best rum punch. If you didn't know what you wanted, just say surprise me and they would always bring something new and delicious.
Entertainment - There is always somethingto do. We stuck around the relaxing pool so there wasnt much for entertainment there but that was oj as we just wanted to relax. On the days we were at the beach, they had music and dancing and games. Tons of fun! The nightly shows were great! My favorite was the horror show. There was a Grease show and Michael Jackson show, as well as a participation show. On Thursday night there was a beach party with music and dancing. The entertainment team really knows how to show us a good time. They are very talented dancers and singers as well. Before and after the shows in the theatre there were live bands with Cuban music, this was a very nice treat. The best band was the Cuban rock band. They had the crowd rockin! All in all, the entertainment was great. Not too much of night life but after the shows and live bands we would head over to the lobby bars if we wanted a little more fun to finish your day.
Staff - In some reviews i read, there were complaints about the staff. Im not sure who these people were talking to as i did not come across one single rude staff member. They are always smiling and friendly and whenever they pass you they would say 'hola' and ask how we were doing. The man with the cushions for the pool chairs would give the ladies a fresh picked flower in the morning. The bar, buffet, and front desk staff were great! No complaints about the staff at all.
Beach - I have no words. The most beautiful beach i have ever seen. The sand is so soft it feels like powder between your toes. The water....wow! Its warm and you can walk out for miles before it gets deep. On wavy dayswe would play in the waves. Just be careful because those are some powerful waves. We had the green flag for a couple days. But the red flag was up for most of our stay but that also means the lifeguard is not on duty.
Make sure you visit the market. There are tons of things to buy for pretty cheap. The vendors change every 2 days so if you see something you like, buy it. There is a tower that you can climb and get a fantastic view if the ocean. Worth the climb!
Overall, we had a really nice time at Memories. Some little things were not what we liked but we are in a different country and things are different there. Don't fret and complain about the little things and just have fun, you're on vacation!
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