This was our first winter holiday with our six year son to a hot destination. We chose Cuba because of the temperature and the cultural environment. We chose Sol Palmeras because of the availability of bungalows, the reviews of the beach and the reviews of the quality of food. Thanks to trip advisor, we feel we made a good decision staying at Sol Palmeras.
Our vacation to Cuba did not start off on the right foot - two hour delay at the Winnipeg airport due to Sunwing and a school band was on the plane with us. Great for the school band to be playing in Havana but at the Varadero airport the only luggage, etc that came out first was the school band stuff. Needless to say, we were 2+ hours late checking in ~ 2:30 amish. The front desk gentleman was very friendly and personable. We were delivered to our bungalow by club car by another friendly and personable staff member. Varadero had a couple of bad days of weather before we arrived so early morning the garden staff was out and about raking up the leaves and coconuts. How did the gardener know that we did not get to bed until 3 am!
Service all around was very good - front desk, restaurant (buffet and a la carte), and housekeeping. The buffet service staff was exceptional. We always sat in the same section for breakfast and for dinner. In the morning, we sat over by the station that made omelets and the two gentlemen that looked after us were great! They always kept an eye out for us and always made room in their section. In the evening, we sat over by the windows looking out onto the garden. The young man that looked after us there was personable and again catered to our every wish i.e. making sure that our wine glasses were full! Our housekeeper in the bungalow was very good at her job. The bungalow was always clean and tidy. Sure there were little ants around the fridge and in the bathroom on the shelf above the vanity but there were not bothersome. There was nothing that she could do about that! She always left us something designed out of a towel, etc.
I can't really speak to the location of the resort as we only left twice - Havana day trip and the dolphin excursion. The location of the bungalow was something of question. Now, I am not sure that we had booked a standard bungalow or a luxury bungalow. We were under the impression that we had booked a luxury bungalow which was supposed to be closer to the beach and the hotel. Now this issue, I feel is not an Sol Palmeras issue but a Sunwing issue. Our bungalow (402) was certainly not close to the hotel and certainly not close to the main beach. We did have some issue with the location of the bungalow at first however, as the days went along it was an enjoyable walk to the hotel for meals and entertainment and to the beach. This would be the first vacation that I did not put weight on! The exercise was good for us.
The bungalow as I mentioned previously was on the outer edges of the resort but it was quiet which was one of the reasons that we chose a bungalow. We have stayed at many hotels were partying has been going on all hours of the morning; children running up and down the halls; doors slamming; and bathroom noises i.e. showers running and toilets flushing. We never heard our neighbours and most of the time never saw our neighbours. The electrical outlets in the bungalow were the only thing that we had problems with - could not plug in our dvd player for our son. The plug covers did not allow the plug from the dvd player to be connected. However, the resort handyman fixed that problem with a make shift extension. So, from our experience take an adapter/extension.
Food was of good quality and abundance. That was one of our concerns but we always found something to eat and it was good. Now, you have to remember you are in Cuba not at home in your kitchen or in one of your neighbourhood restaurants. We always had omelets in the morning, croissants, fruit at the buffet. In the evening at the buffet, there was stations set up for salad, cheese, cuban food, pasta, seafood, grilled meats, dessert etc. It was good, we never left hungry. We dined at three of the a la carte restaurants - Italian, Chinese and Seafood. The Italian was good - a lovely antipasto bar, my husband and I had the minestrone soup which was good. The only questionable meal that we had at the Italian restaurant was the lasagna my husband had but that maybe a preference thing. Decor and ambiance was in keeping with the Italian theme. I think that our favourite a la carte restaurant was the Chinese. General Thompson's chicken entree scored a 10! Again, the decor and ambiance was in keeping with the Chinese theme. As we had read in reviews before we went, the best steak was at the seafood so we had the steak of course and it was good. I particularly enjoyed the seafood salad! The beach bar and restaurant served average beach fair food when we were there - paella, hamburgers, grilled sandwiches, etc. We always at the beach for lunch. The plus at the resort for our son was the ice cream hut just on the beach side of the pool. Ice Cream every day!
This is the one thing that we were a little disappointed with, the children's activities. We were looking for something a little more organized and structured. Our son is our only child and we thought that this would be a great way for him to meet other children. We found that he met children at the beach. He in particular met and made friends with a boy from Argentina who was on vacation with his family. I think that this is something that Sol Palmeras could invest some time and money in developing a great children's activities program. Now one of the young women that was involved in the children's activities commented that it was a slow week. Not sure, we were not the only couple there with a child. Something to consider.
We enjoyed Sol Palmeras and look forward to staying again!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located in Varadero Beach, this 4 star, all inclusive hotel offers all of the great dining, activities and entertainment facilities that have made Sol Melia a recognized leader in quality hotels! Ideal for families and honeymooners. 376 comfortable double rooms, 28 junior suites, 4 suites and 200 bungalows with direct access to the beach. 6 Restaurants, 7 bars, mini club and mini-disco, mini-golf. Motorized water sports. Sol Palmeras combines great fun with a beautiful beach. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Sol Palmeras Hotel Varadero
- Sol Palmeras Cuba
- Sol Palmeras Varadero Cuba