Royal Hicacos Reviews

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Royal Hicacos  

Carretera Las Morlas, Km. 15, Varadero, Cuba

"good customer satisfaction"
Posted by: shontelle on Jul 15, 2014
see all reviews

Royal Hicacos Reviews
Royal Hicacos Pictures and Information
Royal Hicacos Varadero Cuba

#6
of 50 Hotels in Varadero

User rating 4.1

Based on 44 reviews

Royal Hicacos Information


Set on one of the finest locations on Varadero Beach in the province of Matanzas, Cuba, Royal Hicacos Resort & Spa brings its Ultra All-Inclusive concept to Cuba. It'll be love at first sight the moment you enter your guest room in Sandals Royal Hicacos where an island décor, sophisticated amenities and comfortable beds create a seductively inviting ambiance.

For Adult Couples only (guests aged 18 and over)

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Royal Hicacos Reviews

Royal Hicacos Review: 4.1 of 5 44 reviews
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"5 POUNDS!"

Royal Hicacos
User Rating:  Royal Hicacos Review: 4.0 of 5

Posted by:  Frances  on Mar 10, 2010  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Feb, 2010 | Leisure | With Group
150 people found this review helpful

We just returned from a week at this resort, our 4th time to Cuba.

I selected Sandals based on numerous reviews I've read both here and other travel forums and I wasn't disappointed in the least.
Here are my observations:

Rooms:
We were in bldg 6, in room 607, a second floor room and at the end of the building, so it was nice and quiet. The room was spacious and clean, with a comfortable bed and pillows. I have issues sleeping in hotel rooms mainly because the pillows suck, but I found one I could live with and rested nicely all week. The only small issue I had with the room was that the lighting could have been a bit better for the size of the place. It was dim and dark in places where you could have used extra lighting, like near the closet and in-closet safe.

Restaurants and Bars:
I have to say, this hotel had the best food I've had in any of my 3 previous trips to Cuba, HANDS DOWN!. The title of my review reflects the amount of weight I gained by eating the fabulous Cuban bread, desserts, and some main dishes and fruits/veggies too! We did 2 ala cartes while there--the Caribbean and the Seafood restaurants. Both meals were good, the Caribbean one gave us more food for each course and was more satisfying. After the seafood restaurant, our friend went and ordered a burger and fries because his meal was a bit on the small side.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
Pools: They were cold, there's no getting around that when the outside temps were only in the low-mid 20's all week, but we used them a couple of days anyways. The smaller pool near our room needed a good cleaning the first day we walked by it, but on other walkbys, we noticed it had been cleaned. We also noticed that all the hot tubs were emptied and scrubbed out daily before being refilled. On various occasions we noticed workers cleaning and scrubbing out the numerous waterways that ran throughout the resort.

Beach: What can you say about Varadero beach except it's FABULOUS!. I think Sandals could do a bit better job of cleaning up the seaweed and taking it AWAY on a daily basis. They tended to machine rake the beach and hand rake between palapas, but then left the piles of refuse between the palapas. None of the other neighbouring resorts did this, so the beach wasn't as clean as those near us. We also found a lot of stray garbage, cups, sunscreen bottles that seemed to be on the beach that should have been swept or picked up, but weren't on some days.There were lots of Jellyfish on the beach due to the rough waters the weeks we were there, so walking became a bit of a challenge.

"The Smell": We noticed it on and off during the week, slightly in our block of hotel rooms, and mainly right beside the main pool, near the Presidential Suites. One morning we heard the water being turned on, and suddenly it reallllllly stunk...we thought it would disperse after awhile, but it just kept wafting over to us. After we finally asked someone to turn off the water pipe, it immediately stopped, so I believe it is a sulphur issue and not a sanitary one.

Other Comments:
Staff:. We found most of the staff to be helpful and friendly. We never waited long for a drink at any bar or table service in any of the restaurants. I'd have to say that the most aloof staff seemed to be located at the front desk. Most said hello, but there were times when I waited while staff answered numerous phone calls rather than help me. This is bad customer service in any course I've ever taken--you always deal with someone who's in your face before answering a phone. Animation staff was engaging and fun and always said hello as they walked by you.

Would I go back to Sandals? Yes!...the resort is laid back, friendly, fairly quiet, with good staff and a nice atmosphere.

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"ripped off"

Royal Hicacos
User Rating:  Royal Hicacos Review: 4.0 of 5

Posted by:  J.C.  on Feb 28, 2010  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Feb, 2010 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
177 people found this review helpful

We stayed at sandal royal hicacos for a week. The resort itself was fine, the food was good and the service was very good as well. The weather was less than favorable as we had a lot of rain and or very cloudy days. We had a late flight back home and as most are aware, we must still vacate our rooms by 12:00 noon. The hotel assured us that our luggage would be secured and provided us with change/shower rooms should we need them. However, upon opening our suitcases at home, we noticed that my shaver, camera with battery charger missing as well as my wife's gold necklace. As I see it. this could only have happened at the hotel or at the varadero airport. Very disappointing. One excellent reason to stay away from this country as we are dealing a large criminal element.

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"The beach was AMAZING"

Royal Hicacos
User Rating:  Royal Hicacos Review: 5.0 of 5

Posted by:  Cara from London Ontario  on Jan 7, 2010  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Nov, 2009 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
151 people found this review helpful

We had the concigerge package, so we had a taxi pick us up from the airport. It was great because we were on our way before the others on the flight were even on the bus! we were taken to the concigerge office and welcomed with cold towels and a glass of champagne.

Rooms::
The rooms bright and spacious we were in room 2901. It had a nice sitting area and a HUGE king size bed. The bathroom had a huge tub area with great water pressure and plenty of hot water. We had a nice view of the concigere pool and hot tub, but didn't find we had a lot of foot traffic by our place.

Restaurants and Bars::
Because we upgraded we didn't have to wait in lines to book our resturants for dinner. We ate at all the different resturants and did not have a bad meal! The T-bone steak that we had a the beach grill was one of the best i've had! Overall I would say that the food here is great there was always lots of choice and the quality was great. I always ordered the cappuccino in the morning because I liked it more then the coffee , and the omelette's were yummy! The only dissapointment was the fruit.....it just didn't have much flavour. But the orange juice made up for it! We always went to the main bar before and after dinner and always found the service to good, the drinks were always tasty where ever you went!

Beach/Pools/Grounds::
The beach was AMAZING, this is were we spent most of our time. When we went for a walk I noticed that our beach was a lot bigger then the other resorts. The water was warm and we brought some bread with us and attracted some small fish to look at. Lots of loungers and huts to lay under! We always tipped the guy and he remember us and always got us the same spot. We went to the pool a few afternoons after the beach and it was clean and warm, very nice to get all the saltwater off! Also we had no issues with any bugs or mosquitos...no bites on either of us all week.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel::
We went on the double decker bus and went into Varadero. The day we went was SO HOT so we didn't do much wandering around because we were dripping in sweat. BUt we felt very safe and the people were friendly and no one was begging for things and trying to get us to buy anything!

Other Comments::
We went to the dollar store and brought with us about $60 dollars worth of stuff. It went over great the people around the resort were excited to get anything from you. We would always come back to our room and find a nice note from housekeeping and the night turn-down maid. Overall we had a wonderful vacation!!!!! I would go back!

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"Amazing! Never encountered the "towel wars"."

Royal Hicacos
User Rating:  Royal Hicacos Review: 5.0 of 5

Posted by:  Kris from Ottawa  on Jan 7, 2010  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Nov, 2009 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
124 people found this review helpful

Our first time vacation to the Caribbean. In fact, our first "beach" vacation together. Over 40, with no kids, we chose a resort that catered to an older crowd or maybe more appropriately, NOT a party crowd. For the most part, Sandal's met all our expectations.

Cuba in general & safety::
Even easier than travelling to the US (both of us have travelled extensively for work). Never felt harassed at the airport with bags and our transportation was immediately identifiable (thanks Marcello), both coming & going. Although we didn't leave the resort, many fellow travellers took the bus into Veradero; feeling nothing but safe and happy.

The hotel/rooms::
Large, spacious, and well laid out. Yaima, our maid, was friendly and grateful for the gifts and CUCs we left her every day. Huge bed and bathroom! We were in the 900 block, with a south-facing balcony that was a pleasure to sunbathe on, during the one really windy/cool day we had. We were totally sheltered so the wind never bothered us. I'm sure the moat-thing that winds itself around the complex would look nice with running water in it. After the amazing thundershower one night, it filled up a bit and the guys were out screening up the bugs and tossing powder on the water. Wonder if they know that all they have to do is keep the water moving to avoid the mosquito problems. Which were not bad, BTW. The sand fleas, however... more of a problem. There was also that stench others have mentioned - it was strong at times.

The Food::
We had heard not to expect much in the way of flavour and that eating off the resort was a way to find some. We were happy with the selection and variety of foods at the buffet and weren't into adventuring during this trip. The Grill was the only a la carte we tried. It was so good that we booked last minute for another night (thanks Karenia). We made friends with Andres and Yenny and Osvany, (the egg guy), was always a pleasure every morning. The only complaint about the food is the vegetables. Just not done well. Salad is almost non-existant but everything else was plentiful. Service was always fantastic (wine refill, clean-up, coffee, etc.). The only other challenge was FINDING anything to eat between 3:30 - 7:30. There were supposed to be snack options but, we never found them. Once we understood the buffet's schedule, all was well.

Beach::
Amazing! Never encountered the "towel wars". Maybe because they stacked the loungers every night and they maintained the ones around the pool just as well. No towels were left out and the guy was out on the beach earlier than you are, ready to take down two loungers wherever you want them. There were two rows of large palapas at the back of the beach so, plenty of shade for everyone who wanted it. There were always some loungers stacked at the back so no lack of space or chairs. Water was gorgeous! Warm and clean. Not much to see for snorkeling but there were other options for that kind of thing. Some days the bar staff would come get your drink order right on the beach (JP and Karenia were awesome!). We enjoyed the quiet aspect of the beach (as opposed to say a March-break, young party crowd) maybe since we were all mostly couples.

Nightlife/Alcohol::
Sorry we never stayed up late enough to catch any of it. The main shows didn't start before 10:00PM (10:30PM Caribbean time :-) and we were already in our rooms by then. The lounge performers were all entertaining while enjoying an evening drink. Even some of the guest were entertaining :-)

Other Comments::
We tipped liberally and gave away everything we could but, next time we'll be bringing more specific items. Most said when prompted, that things for their kids (shoes, socks, clothes) and OTC meds like Tylenol, polysporin, Advil, cortizone, bandaids, etc. were most welcomed. Feminine products are well received as are pantyhose, hair accessories, deodorants, and shampoos & soaps. If you can bring bicycle tires, you're their hero. Rubber is hard for them to get there and most get around by bike. No tires, no bike, no transportation. It costs many a 6 month's to a year's salary to afford them, if they can get them.

We'll be going back to Cuba for sure. To the same resort? Undecided at this time.

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"Might have been a Sandals - but now it's Cubanacan!!"

Royal Hicacos
User Rating:  Royal Hicacos Review: 3.0 of 5

Posted by:  Itch  on Jan 1, 2010  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Dec, 2009 | Leisure | Family and Kids
373 people found this review helpful

Might have been a Sandals - but now it's Cubanacan!!

Your Arrival:
Arrival by Air Canada Vacations left on time and arrived a couple of minutes early, met at airport and Shuttle Van was waiting. Arrived at the hotel with 2 other couples from the same flight. They got welcoming champagne and we didn't!! If we wanted one it was available at the bar - good job Marcelo!!

Rooms:
Easy registration and help to the room. It was located in the front of the Hotel. Room was in order and everything worked, but obvious signs of deterioration - blinds don't adjust, grout in bath/shower falling out for a while, tub very scratched and while i'm sure it was clean, didn't look like it. Rooms were kept clean with fresh linen every day and the room staff were very friendly. Just remember the floors aren't that clean - same mops in your room that clean the hallways and i don't believe they change the mop rags from room to room.

Restaurants and Bars:
Buffet was pretty good but repetitive with pretty large selections and efficient service. Tippers got preferred seating and immediate direction to their preferred seats. A la Carte restaurants were a slight step up on food quality and had excellent service. I really enjoyed the beef tenderloin at Don Pasquales. I must say that the Christmas Eve Buffet was spectacular in the Buffet restaurant. The Beef Tenderloin, Lobster(and I'm not crazy about Lobster), Turkey, Oysters, and Prawns were very, very good. The Beef Tenderloin was cooked exactly the way I like it and as much as you could eat. Buffet selections were a big step up over the rest of the week. Bars - well it's Cubanacan, sometimes they come with liquor - sometimes they don't, regardless if you tip. Service in the bars was lacking, beach bar supplied the beer in those irritating 6 oz plastic glasses - you need a refill by the time you got back to your palapa!

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
Beach was excellent, although not quite as nice as the spectacular beaches at Cayo Coco, and kept very clean, and the water was warm, although we didn't get as much use as we were hoping because we only had 3.5 sunny days out of the week. Pools were cold and hardly any body was making use of them. Grounds were well maintained. 3 evenings there was a pretty heavy sulphur smell from the swamp/lagoon across the road.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
We are early risers and didn't stay up for the shows although a couple of people mentioned they thought they were pretty good. We took the double decker bus to Plaza Las Americas and into Varedero and enjoyed the walking around on the first couple of cloudy, cool, and breezy days. Cost 5 pesos each for the day with as many stops as you wanted, so it may for a cheap timely tour of Varadero.

Other Comments:
The cuban peso now costs $1.25 (approx) Canadian, so you kind of choke at $2.50 for a can of coke or beer for your room at the hotel. Snacks are even more expensive - half tube of Pringles converted to $6. Take your own snacks if you think you might need them. Price for cigars was determined by the clerk and varied greatly between them. I think that now Cubanacan operates this facility there is some attitude that the level of service by male staff is lower than that of the female staff. With the exception of the Bars, and there male and female patrons are equally invisible to all the staff. For the price there is much better value in Varedero, and my experience after 4 stays in Cuba is that you don't stay at Cubanacan resorts.

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"Varadero has a great beach but it isn't good for snorkeling"

Royal Hicacos
User Rating:  Royal Hicacos Review: 4.0 of 5

Posted by:  James  on Nov 1, 2009  >  6 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Nov, 2009
104 people found this review helpful

Arrival: Nov 2009
Executive Summary

Good hotel, great food, good value, great sandy beach, comfortable room on lower level. Bit of a walk to the beach 2 smaller pools in each wing c/w hot tub and a large one in the centre of the resort. 4 bars; beach, piano, main and swim up. Didn't make use of the spa or the a la carte dining. Slow wifi.

Review:
General impressions:
Arrived late at the hotel and was met by one of the staff he wasn't the most pleasant people that I've ever meet but I didn't know what sort of day he had but every time I wanted something from the front desk he just seemed out of sorts. We arrived on the heals of tropical storm Ida and a lot of the resort was in storm mode but not so that it would disturb the tourists. The guy at the front desk said that we could leave our bags there and get some dinner before the buffet closes. All in all I found the staff very friendly except for that one guy.

I would recommend that a friend stay there

Rooms:
We had a lower room in the 800 block. It was nicely appointed with a VERY large king size bed. The room was divided into a sitting area and a sunken bedroom area. In the sitting area there was a bar that was stocked with wine and hard liqueur and a mini fridge with beer and soft drinks. The bathroom was large with a double tub & shower only down side was that the toilet was in another smaller room off the bathroom and this is where the exhaust fan for the bath room was. Therefore the bathroom steamed up quite easily. The TV was a bit of a problem we didn't have a remote for the TV and had to use the buttons on the front that became a large hassle at the end of the trip because they were becoming flakie. Also there were only a couple of English channels it would have been nice if they had of grouped the languages together; German, English, Chinese and Russian. But you don't go there to watch TV so I guess it can be a moot point but I didn't want to kill my liver wai! ting for the nightly entertainment to start.
Our room had a little musty smell when we opened the door but that soon cleared out. The air conditioning had a lot to be desired and once the room cooled down it was OK. There is a place next to the door for a key card or other card (fold the do not disturb in half length wise or use a timmies card) for the power to the room. Keep that card in there all the time to keep the power on (THIS IS IMPORTANT NO POWER NO AIR CON).

Restaurants and Bars:
The main restaurant's serving areas were divided into; Pasta/Italian, Sea food, and Meat, there was also a desert station and two salad stations. I used the pasta & meat stations the most during my stay and the food was excellent. I would recommend for breakfast having the omelet and for desert at lunch and dinner having the crepes. We didn't try the a la carte restaurants because on holidays we like to eat when we want to and not at a set time because reservations were required for these. We also tried the beach bar for lunch and snacks its OK and does have a lunch and supper menu also you can get snacks there (burgers, dogs, fries) Our fav was the piano bar because it was usually the quietest but we also sat around the outside of the main bar near a small waterfall.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
Clean wet and warm we mostly splashed in the ocean

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
We recommend the Seafari tour to Cayo Blanko, we also took the tour to Trinidad, that one is a LONG day not for someone traveling with kids. When there DO buy some linen there because you won't get it anywhere else. There is also an eco park and bat caves near the resort worth giving it a go when you have a red flag day.

Other Comments:
The resort does have wifi but it is slow and you have to register your device with the tech on site. He wants the MAC address of your device to authorise it on the network. With my PSP I was only getting a marginal signal (best 60%), I suggest sitting at the tables near the little waterfall fountain in the main bar. Get a drink and wait for your page to load, it beats sitting in the lobby. Varadero has a great beach but it isn't good for snorkeling. Pick up a beach towel at Walmart before you go and leave it there that way you know your lounger from everyone elses. Bring little gifts for the staff things YOU can get at the dollar store that they can't.

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"Concierge rooms have the best views in the resort"

Royal Hicacos
User Rating:  Royal Hicacos Review: 4.0 of 5

Posted by:  Mark  on Nov 1, 2009  >  7 contribution(s) United Kingdom
Visited on: Nov, 2009
110 people found this review helpful

Arrival: Nov 4-11 2009
My wife wanted to go to Sandals for her 50th birthday, and frankly the one in Cuba was the only one we could afford. I warned her it wouldn't be the same, but where the Sandals mangagement has made a difference is in the staff. The people here were all great.

Rooms:
Except for two bungalow suites near the entrance all the rooms in this hotel are the same. So one thing at Sandals, you'll never have the suspicion someone got a better room. Maybe a slightly better view, but not better room.

Restaurants and Bars:
We talked to some of the regulars, of which Sandals have many, and we were told that the best food was usually at the buffet. We found the food uneven. One night a dish would be great, the next night the same thing would be so-so. But we never had a bad meal. The restaurants were nice, the service good and the food presentation excellent. Meal tip: the portions are small, so you can order an app, starter and main and still have room for desert. I for one didn't miss ridiculously large north american size portions.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
As far as I can determine, you can't get a ocean view room at this resort. There is a jungle break between the grounds and the beach, I assume to protect against hurricanes, and the trees are high enough that you can't see over them, even from a third floor room. So if you are a fan of ocean views, forget this place. Try the Blau just down the beach (assuming you get an ocean side view high enough). Much has been written here about the water moats. When we arrived they were mostly dry. After a couple of nights of rain they were mostly full. But as they don't move much they seem to be big mosquito breeding grounds. Bring bug protection. My wife as badly bitten (she wouldn't use the stuff I brought). We noticed wiffs of sulphur written about in these reviews. I was told that's from off the resort, not the water features. It wasn't a big deal.

Other Comments:
Some people have written that the Concierge Suite is not worth it. Again, the upgrade is something my wife wanted. I didn't think it would be worth it either. But how do you ever put a value on luxury? When we arrived at the airport we were wisked away in a cab. By the time our fellow travellers arrived by bus we were on our way to our room. When we got to our room there was a nicely stocked bar waiting. Sure, I could have somehow got my favourite bottles into the room. But I didn't have to worry about it. Every day we passed a line up of people waiting to book one of the a la carte restaurants. We just told the concierge people where we wanted to eat that night and it was taken care of. When we left early on a day trip to Trinidad we told them we'd like a morning breakfast and it was waiting at the front desk. When we told them our flight didn't leave until late in the evening they let us stay in our room no charge until 7 pm. Would all that add up to what we paid extra for the Concierge Suite? Probably not, but it sure made for a nicer, easy vacation. Plus the Concierge rooms have the best views in the resort and they invite you to a pretty nice cocktail party.
Finally, checkout at Sandals is dead easy. Give them your safe key, say goodbye and you're away.
I'm still struggling about whether Sandals Veradero is worth the money compared to what else is available in Cuba. My wife thought so, and it was her birthday. And if you have one or two weeks to go before you get your free Sandals vacation(after 72 nights)it's an easy choice. Pay a little than average for a Cuban vacation, then get a $10,000 vacation somewhere like Sandals St Lucia for free. Think of Sandals Veradero as a loss leader for the brand and it starts to make a lot a sense.

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"Our son was married on the beach"

Royal Hicacos
User Rating:  Royal Hicacos Review: 4.5 of 5

Posted by:  Robert from New Brunswick  on Nov 1, 2009  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Nov, 2009
102 people found this review helpful

Arrival: nov 1st-8th 2009
A group of ten went to Sandals for a weddding. Flew from Moncton via Toronto with West Jet..there first ever flight to Varadero..great price and flight. We were met at airport and taken to resort with no stops..changed some money at airport and bought some beer for everyone. At the resort met with champagne and taken to our rooms with no plastic bracelets!

Rooms:
As mentioned by previous reviewers rooms on two levels small fridge,hairdryer,converter, some english TV and daily water replenish, beach towels in room. Very clean and comfortable

Restaurants and Bars:
My wife and I only went to the buffet..others in our group went to the a la cartes..nothing special. Food in the buffet was ample..always great soup and lots of choice. The lobby bar was terrific..fantastic service and quality drinks..a great meeting place. The beach bar was well used by our group and featured service right at out beach chairs. The Piano bar was a favorite of mine as the piano playing was really good.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:

The beach was the main attraction and did not disapoint. Plenty of loungers and good walking in either direction. The grounds were quite nice and the resort was spread out..so lots of walking involved. Never went to the pools but they appeared to be clean..pool swim up bar was always busy!

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
The only day it rained we went into Varadero on the double decker bus. Had been there before so we knew what we wanted to see..several markets mainly.

Other Comments:
We have been to Cuba numerous times..Varadero 3 times We have stayed at the Solomar and the Barlevento. We would rate the food better at the solomar. and the barlevento as being better located but we must give the Sandals high marks for having the best staff probably overall a 4 star resort. In addition we found the quality of the drinks at Sandals to be the best we have seen in over 20 visits to the caribbean. And yes the wedding went off without a hitch..our son was married on the beach and the small reception was held in a gazebo near the lobby bar complete with a great 3 piece Cuban band. We highly recommend this resort!

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"Greeted with a smile!!!!"

Royal Hicacos
User Rating:  Royal Hicacos Review: 4.5 of 5

Posted by:  Fran from Toronto  on Sep 1, 2009  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Sep, 2009
103 people found this review helpful

Arrival: Sept 26 - Oct 3, 2009
Arrival was awesome! Baggage taken to the room! Greeted with a smile!!!!

Rooms:
nice and clean, loved the towel art ... every morning we had something different! cant tell because that would ruin the surprise! we had a balcony room! was nice bc it was not to hot and of course it was NOT as noisy as the ground rooms were!

Restaurants and Bars:
this one is hard because the staff went beyond what u could imagine! there was a mix of food ... not to my liking ... we lived off the pizza and bread and butter .... there was something different most times. but i would have to say i was not to into the food. although to them it was good food - they did the best they could with what they had to work with. very bland ... a lot of the deserts were different shaped but the same taste. the restaurants i found were just as good as the buffet. i would def. eat at the grill for lunch ... FRIES!!!! and sandwiches! lol ... and the breakfast at the grill go early! actually if u were to go for breakfast lunch and dinner at the buffet go as soon as the doors open ... it is fresh and warm ... the food sits out for 4 hours! and there were lots of flies! but there were flies in all the restaurants ... did not matter where u ate! most people it never bothered! i always took the bread at the bottom!! they had one bar it was nice! and air conditioned! loved the music!

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
breath taking ... very very very clean! it was beautiful! lots of scenery!!!! speechless!!!!

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
we did the catamaran excursion with the dolphins and snorkeling ... and the private beach for lunch ... i would do it over again! it was amazing! and the crew were a blast! lots of drinks and music! u must do it! u will love it!

Other Comments:
overall - i would go again! because of the people and the staff! they were amazing! anything u needed u got! the staff were the best part about the trip! it was expensive in the stores! very expensive!
u can ask for water and pop they will give it to u for ur room! dont pay extra for the conceirge!
we got wine, and other drinks for free and were allowed to take to our rooms!
YES - bring bug spray!
bring medicine for your stomach.
bring sun screen
bring shampoo
bring presents for the maid! they love everything! and it helps them out!
tip as much as u can - even one dollar! it all counts!
remember they free poor!
bring tylenol!
the entertainment was awesome! they really show u their dancing etc.
make sure u see the beach games and participate in all activities! u win a prize!
dont listen to any negativity about this place - although the food was not the greatest i would still go back! it was a great time and vacation!
if u have to call canada no worries it is NOT expensive ... we made 4 or 5 call and it was $8.00 we did go to the american mall - very expensive! it was impossible to talk anyone down in price --- the lower i went the higher they went! lol ... all in all it was fun! had great weather and met some lovely people that i will stay in touch with!

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"Don’t pay too much for this one!"

Royal Hicacos
User Rating:  Royal Hicacos Review: 3.5 of 5

Posted by:  Betty Ann  on Apr 1, 2009  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Apr, 2009
97 people found this review helpful

April 17-24 2005
Wife (35) and I (36) Canadian
Previously have stayed at Sandals Negril Jamaica, Barcelo Maya Mayan Rivera Mexico, Occidental Grand Flamenco Puerto Plata Dominican Republic, Sheraton Buganvillas Puerto Vallarta Mexico

My rating: 3 ½ stars

Paid: $1520 CAD tax included from Toronto Signiture/Skyservice booked 20 days in advance

Would I go back? Probably not, better resorts out there with better price points. This resort is not typical of a Sandals resort. The Barceló Maya is a better deal than this one which I paid $1285 CAD tax included. Don’t pay too much for this one!

Regular room #314 far right hand side of resort, overlooking adjacent resort and bare dirt field, nicely appointed room with large king, good ac, fridge, large tub made for two, lots of hot water and water pressure, no sign of small ants in sink or other bugs. The sewer smell is overpowering at times especially in the morning and just noticeable during the day. The large doomed sewer-holding tank is nicely disguised with flowers and bushes and located adjacent to the walkway on the way to the 300 block of rooms.

Beach is really picturesque. Water is Caribbean blue, warm and wavy. This is a great beach! I snorkeled 700 meters off shore and saw nothing but sand. No fish, weeds, or rocks. Super soft sand which was great for walking. We walked lots! There are lots of huts and chairs facing the ocean. It was really wavy for most of our stay, which cancels all use of cats, boats, sunfish, snorkeling, or dives. We did enjoy the waves and it did calm down for a couple of days. An external company owns all of the equipment not the resort. The beach staff that runs the equipment is nice enough but not the typical Sandals experience you might be used too.

Food: Average. Selection was limited and very repetitive. Just did not compare to any of our previous vacations. Restaurant service is really inconsistent and really slow. Tips might help but only if you locate the same waiter each day. I observed dirty plates and tables all over the place at breakfast buffet. The food was acceptable as I didn’t go hungry and tried almost everything. There is no lettuce on this resort. No sickness or craps throughout vacation.

Resort Layout: poor. I am not sure whom to blame. The resort builder or the resort architect. The winding “mirror” river is such a waste. It could be the largest lazy river run ever, if modified just a bit. The huge fake SMELLY rock just before you start on the wooden bridge to the beach is ridiculous. Why any builder would place a powered forced air sewer vent in a fake rock at this location is beyond my understanding. Wait for it, Wait for it…UGH it hits you everytime you go the beach grill and bar. Our bathroom flooded the night we used the Jacuzzi when we tried to drain the tub. Oh well it happens. The room safe is excellent.

Tips:

1. Bring your large insulated mug…bar service can be slow and drinks melt fast

2. Bring pants as men must wear them in the buffet restaurant for dinner

3. Put towel under door when sleeping small geckos everywhere

4. Change money at hotel, easier, quicker, just 3% difference than Varadero bank

5. Flea market at Varadero is ½ price of beach vendors

6. Cigars best price Varadero, look for log home on 31st street and ocean side

7. Ask for bottled water at front desk if going on trips or tours

8. Bring change for the toilet, women need to buy toilet paper (airport, tours)

9. Bring Canadian money, they do not want American, not even for tips

10. Even if it looks cloudy put lotion on your feet, mine burned, so stupid!

11. Get cappuccino at Pizzeria before breakfast or anytime much better than coffee

12. Don’t wear yellow shirts they really attract the bugs “death flower”

13. Don’t walk through bush to get to beach, saw 4 foot snake, scarred wife to death

14. East side of resort very quiet at night but birds are noisy in the morning

15. Open your tub blind from outside patio door, lets a lot of light in

16. Walked to Beaches (20 min) and Princess del mar (1 hr, 20min). Wear your water shoes as there are lots of broken sea shells, coral, and other sharp edges on the way. Go in and have a look at the other Sandals, have a drink as they cannot tell which resort you’re from. No wristbands! Don’t tell them or out you will go.

17. Friday Buffet is rib night..good

18. Tuesday Buffet is seafood night

19. Crystal beer and Buccaneer beer is excellent, $1/beer in Varadero outdoor bar.

20. Eat dinner early at beach grill as mosquitoes due come out once sun sets

21. Take the Havana day tour thru Cubacan $67 cuc, good tour guide, and pack a lunch from breakfast buffet

22. Get on the Varadero tour bus early as it gets packed by early afternoon and ride it the full circle to see all the resorts

23. Don’t get on the Varadero tour bus after 7pm, as you will be stranded in downtown Varadero. Learned that the hard way. $15 cab ride home (set price)

24. Get your ice early out the machines. It goes fast.

25. 11.5% fee on all Visa, M/C transactions, bring cash!

26. Snorkel for free at resort and bring a few small bananas, lots of fish!

27. Bring key ring or tether for safe key.

28. Bring hats, pens for kids, shampoo, old earrings, sample perfumes and give away

29. Watch your luggage weight as they will charge you upon departure

These are my perceptions of the resort. Whether a review is negative or positive its just information, don't get hung up if its different. Take from it what you want.

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