Hi, friends, we just had a week vacation in Royalton Cayo Santa Maria, Cuba (Dec 6-13, 2012). As a newly-opened hotel, mostly things went well. The room is very new, clean and quiet. The food is not the best but nicely prepared. There are 2 restaurants and a snack bar. The Menu is basically with 2 pages. Not many vegetable dishes. No desert Menu. Just pudding, flan and ice-cream. No internet here. The front desk has only one lady to reply phones. The hotel managers and the local service people are working hard to improve the service little by little everyday and day by day.
The beach is great with beautiful fine white sands. The sea water is so clean that things can be seen through clearly. The sea water is not cold at all. And it feels wonderful walking along the beach.
There is a small shopping town close to the hotel (2 minutes walk). Many kinds of local art products can be purchased from there. The Spa at the town offers very good service. The Royalton clients enjoy 20% discount. For a facial treatment, the listed price is 68 and I paid just a bit more than 40. I enjoyed it very much. The massage was done by Mr. Petro L. He did a great job. He is at the age of 59, absolute an expert in massage. The whole procedure did not include any equipment. All is done by his hands. Many more service was done such as massage on hands and feet while doing the mask. Highly recommend to try the Spa.
The weather in Cuba is cooler than Mexico. We felt very cold in room for the first day when it was raining. The air-conditioner cools down the room efficiently to 19 degrees. We felt it freezing and tried to set the temperature to 22 degrees. The controller would not listen to us. We finally got to know no heater is existing in Cuba. So we turn off the air conditioner and opened the door to let the outside warm air in. It took about 2 days to bring our room temperature to 22 degrees. We then turn on the air-condition when we go out and turn it off when we get in. We feel great for the rest of our days.
There are some details that we wish to share with friends who plan to come here soon:
1. The flight from Vancouver to Santa Maria is about 6 hours. Only breakfast is provided on board. The arriving time in Santa Maria is about 5:20PM. The immigration and customs goes fast. The waiting time in bus is about 1 hour and the bus to hotel takes about 1.5 hours. Arriving time to hotel is almost 8PM. It is a long day without lunch. It would be good to bring a snack bar and have it in bus before to have the first dinner at hotel.
2. The hotel had power outs very often. We had the power off for 3 times per day during the first 4 days. A small flush light will be very necessary and a must to bring.
3. The power in Cuba is 220V. The outlet socket on wall is the 3-leg one with Cuba standards. To insert Canadian adaptors, it needs to push it in while shifting the adaptor left and right.
4. The Royalton does not have the currency-exchange service. The money can be changed at the little town (very close to the hotel) and the nearby Memory hotel. The banking fee is 12% on the amount changed. The passport is requested for currency exchange. It will save to pay the bank fees if to bring many one dollar bills. FYI, the local people do not like coins as they can not exchange the coins into local money. The tips are welcome in paper bills.
5. There are many steps in the hotel. Some are in the dark area. Walking from lobby to rooms at night needs to be very very careful.
6. Room service to order a dish can take as long as an hour. Pls call an hour before it is needed.
7. The bed mattress is covered with a mattress protector sheet which is not breathable. At beginning, we often woke up by feeling a kind of wetness from the mattress, very unconformable during night. We then used the blanket to spread over the mattress protector which helped a lot.
Hope the above is informative. Wish you enjoy your vacation in Royalton.
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