Hotel Review: Melia Las Americas, Varadero, Cuba

11 Feb

We spent a long weekend in Varadero, Cuba at the adult-only all-inclusive Melia Las Americas resort.

We flew in to Varadero Airport from Fort Lauderdale and took a taxi to the resort. Taxis were readily available at the airport but, to my dismay, they were just regular small cars, not the beautiful old cars you think of when you think of Cuba. You can reserve an antique car taxi, but it’s not an easy feat from the US. While the travel ban has been lifted, Cuba isn’t truly open to Americans. The Melia group of resorts cannot even give basic info on their Cuban resorts to Americans.

Anyway, the ride was 30 Cuban Convertible Pesos (CUC) and took about twenty minutes. (You can read about the currency and other Cuban travel tips here.) It was a beautiful ride along the water and I saw plenty of the old cars I was hoping to see.

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But I never got to ride in one.

We were immediately impressed when we walked into the hotel. Check out this view from the lobby!

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No wonder Canadians have been vacationing here for decades!

The lobby itself was really pretty. There were plenty of sitting areas, multiple bars (did I mention it was all-inclusive?!), and a simple but elegant decor.

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The only negative about the lobby is there are lots of odd shaped steps and undulations in the floor that made it a bit treacherous for both drunk people and older people.

You have two options for checking in to the hotel, since American credit cards can’t be used. One option is to book online and pay in cash when you arrive. I was a worried that a reservation without payment wouldn’t be secured, but our friends booked online and paid with CUCs when they arrived, and they didn’t have any issues. (See here about money exchange.)

The other option is booking through a Canadian travel agent. We booked our room through A. Nash Travel, paid them, and they sent a voucher to us confirming our room. Our room was ready and fully paid when we checked in.

We booked an ocean-view room. It was a basic room but it has a lovely little balcony and a beautiful view. The king beds were just two twin beds pushed together; they each even had their own blankets. They weren’t terribly comfortable but the addition of the extra pillows from the closet really increased the comfort level.

The worst part was the mini-bar or, I should say, lack of. There were a few beers in the fridge, a few cans of soda, and two bottles of water. For an all-inclusive, we were really disappointed by the options in the room. It was also very difficult to get more bottles of water, which was super important since we were in Cuba and not about to drink the water.

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Another trip to a place with a bidet and I still couldn’t bring myself to use it! Someday, maybe…

They had a breakfast buffet as well as a restaurant that served breakfast. We generally stuck to cafe con leche and toast, too eager for mimosas and paella to have anything else.

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We had paella for lunch everyday. We literally counted down the minutes until we could have it. Each day it was a little different but still amazing. I could live solely on this paella for the rest of my life.

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Of course, we also had to drink out of a coconut.

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We made dinner reservations when we arrived for each night. The first night we had the BBQ restaurant and it wasn’t great. Even more disappointing, it was at the same place that had paella at lunch but they didn’t offer it for dinner! The only good part of dinner was the never ending flow of vino tinto.

The second night we had dinner at the fancy restaurant. I had lobster and caviar while listening to the violinists play, and it was delightful.

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The third night we had Italian. Most of it was pretty good and the Husband was thrilled to finally have something that he liked (pizza, of course).

Of course, the drinks were endless. We had mimosas in the morning, draft Cristal beer, mojitos, lemonade and vodka and lots of Cuba Libres (rum and coke) throughout the day. Although Cuba is known for mojitos and rum, and it seemed like most people drank lemonade. So naturally we had to as well. Dinner always included wine, vino tinto or vino blanco, and it was a constant flow; take one sip, get two more sips poured in your glass.

In addition to the food and drinks, the resort also included activities. You could take out paddle boats or kayaks, or go out on a short guided ride on a small catamaran.

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It’s so nice when someone else does all the hard work.

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And, of course, they had the beach. There were plenty of chairs and umbrellas, and the view was too pretty to look away from to do anything else. But if you wanted to, you could also play beach volleyball, do yoga or water aerobics classes, or get a massage.

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Isn’t the water just spectacular?!?!

If you got sick of the beach, there were plenty of pools to choose from.

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If that’s not enough to convince you to go, they also had parties in the lobby! We went to the white party on our last night and we danced and drank and had a fabulous time!

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The resort is also next to the gold course, and is accessible to resort guests. We didn’t golf (who’s got time for that?!) but we did walk around for a bit. It was so beautiful and I could see why people like to golf there.

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The view from the top of the golf course!

We had a fabulous time at Melia Las Americas and I would absolutely go again. Everyone was super nice and people were very interested to hear about the US when we told them we were American.

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