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Melia Las Antillas
The Whites 

May 2008
FLIGHT: From the moment we boarded Sunwing flight in St. John's, NL until we arrived in Cuba, we were treated first class and made feel we were on a holiday - champagne, movies, dinner, wine and snacks. Sunwing reminded us of the days when travel was a pleasure.

RESORT: We spent two weeks at this resort and would give it a good overall FOUR - excellent food, service, pool facilities, beach, grounds, bars, entertainment. Our only negative comment concerns the need to update the accommodations and the main lobby. Apparently, this resort was taken over from Beaches by Melia within the last 18 months and, hopefully, attention will be given this very important area. We would recommend the main building as accommodations appear to be much better.

We were a party of four and would not hesitate to return to this resort.

Happy vacationing!!
Melia Las Antillas
Tracy 
Montreal
April 2008
Arrival and Flight Got at the hotel at 10 we left Montreal at 5

Rooms were very spaces, very clean however the the mini fridge never got stocked in the first place nor were the ever restocked during our stay.. how ever we wasn't to much of a deal since we could just go to the lobby bar and the will give you a big bottle of water for the night.

Restaurants: We only got into 2 since we went to bed very late and had a hard time waking up for a max of 11am to be able to get down there and get a restaurants so keep in mind this(wake up early) we went to the Cuban which is the grill during day and Cuban at night.. both very good we both had steak in the Cuban.. which was good just don't expect a steak from home or you will be very disappointed...we also went to the Italian which was not to bad I had the chicken with grappa sauce a little rubbery but can't expect much more for Cuba and my boyfriend had the Lasagna.He said it was good however the portion's are quit small. And and All your going to enjoy the beach not the food but you wont die and you will be fed! ;)

Bars: There is a bar in the lobby, The Ron-Collin's were the best there, this bar is open 24 hours. There is one at the beach(a 2 min walk from the beach to be exact) as well as one near the pool and stage where the show goes on. All wonderful staff never once had a problem getting a drink nor felt like I had to trip everytime either. As well as a little disco after the show opens around 11:15 very quiet place usually.. nice if you like to dance a little. Bartender is very nice and will get you anything he can.

Beach and Pools:
Beach: nothing less then amazing,beautiful,awesome!!always found somewhere to sit what more to say
pool: very nice had a little waterfall like in the middle.. wasn't in it very often but usually there was somewhere you could find to sit as well.

Grounds: Very nice and well kept.. you can always go to the Gardner's and ask them to cut you down a coconut's add a little rum and your set..give him a peso or 2 they truly appreciate it. Just so beautiful, able to walk around they have a checker and chess area that you play with your feet... very nice places you can sit.You would not be disappointed with the area

Activities and Entertainment During the day on the beach as well as at the pool at different times, they have dancing lessons which is allot of fun and useful especial if you get pulled on to stage for a dancing competition!as well as water aerobics so much fun for all ages.They have a volleyball game around 3:30. and everyday the get as many people gathered to play bocci.Have to play very fun! At night that have show's different one a night. And then afterwards if you feel like being adventurous they invite you to go to a club which as well is a different club each night. We went to the Pirate's Cave and The Mambo..2 very amazing clubs they have a show and then you get to dance The cave was 10 pesoto enter and 1 peso a beer 2 peso for mix drink(stick with beer the mix drinks are watered down) Mamabo is 5 peso to enter same price for drinks. The Cave club BRING KLEENEX!! they do offer how ever you feel you have to tip. Mambo isn't the case they have in the stall.

READ BEFORE LEAVING RESORT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!: No matter where you go get the name of where you want to go in Spanish so the taxi understands 100% and negotiate price with the driver before getting in.. ask the from desk the usual the cost of your trip. 4 of us heading to a club with the hotel were told by the hotel the taxi driver knew where we were to go.. end up in no where people told us the club we were to go to was close and our hotel staff was in this other club. we played 10 peso each to enter and 10 peso to get there. No one was there not our hotel not anyone. We got out after asking the club for our money back (we only got half)Another person said he was staff of another hotel and that they were going to the right club to follow them they would get a taxi. Well they were bring us into a back ally where I can tell you was not near the club.. we left before anything coud happy.So again I before warn you get the price and the name in spanish you will have no troubles. Lession learned and to be told! ;)

Tours: Didn't go on any.. sorry cannot report on that one beacome to much of a beach bum!

Departure and Check Out: We had to check out of our rooms at 12 our bus came to get us at 5pm so we got to lock our bags in a room, hung out at the beach untill 3:30 the gave us a room to shower and change.Check out was smooth and easy bus was a little late but no biggy had a drink from the lobby!

Conclusion: I would recommend this hotel for anyone as long as your over 6 years old.I truly believes this I saw everyone from a child to teenagers, in the 20, 40, 50,60,handicap,90 year olds!! I will be going back next year with more friends!You will not be disappointed if so you can complain to me! ;) Please contact me for any question or picture's I would be more then happy to help. Tracyl_@hotmail.com
Melia Las Antillas
Lorraine 

April 2008
Hi we did have a let's try to stay happy no Mather what trip at that hotel
I wish i would of read the comments before going ....the travelling agency did not say that it was a 1 star hotel
The room was mouldy smelling after 20 minutes in the room we asked to be changed to a promised first class upgraded room since we had paid extra for that .....they charged me 125.00 pesos and did sent me to the top floor in the hotel we were alone on our floor at least we had the promised view on the ocean ...
the room was old need paint, the bathroom tiles old but clean
the sheet old and thin the TV with 4 channels no roberto to tell us how to get more channel thank god for Aderson Cooper it made our evening tolerable
never went to the pool it was out of order most of that week ....
the beach was beautiful enough but lot's of cigarette but ....so let's face it if you do not smoke do not go to cuba .....they smoked in the lobby restaurant rooms it stink everywhere
we manged to enjoy our self by visiting Havana and other excursion pricy too
but that hotel never again for us ......
the staff do respond well enough wih tips ....i did enjoy coca cola from australia tasted very good
i did not expect luxury but i do have a 3 stars standard minimum please
Melia Las Antillas
Joanna 

January 2008
December 2007 (Christmas eve/day) Age: 32/34

We stayed at this resort during the Christmas holidays and based on our experience at this resort, have vowed never to return to Cuba again!

Upon our arrival, we were dropped-off at the lobby for our check-in. The lobby is the most saddest-looking lobby I've ever seen - my husband fell off-of one of the lob-sided pillows on the couch! The windows were dirty and the patio outside looked worn-out and old. The people in the lobby looked lifeless and bored - surprising for a Thursday night.

We checked-into our room which was clean but very musty-smelling: thank goodness for my vanilla scented candles! The covers and pillows were very thin and the mattress was uncomfortable. Our view was breathtaking: we looked out onto the roof of the buffet-restaurant which was covered in weeds and garbage. The worst part was the smell from the "lagoon" which we referred to as "the swamp". It was murky and brown and very foul-smelling - one night, the sulphur was so strong that my husband and I woke up worried about a gas leak.

On our third night, the moisture caused dampness in our room and on the mattress. The mattress began to stink and when I called the front desk, they told me that we could switch rooms the following morning. I went downstairs and told them that this was unacceptable and demanded to change rooms immediately. They finally agreed but what was frustrating was that we were the only people on our floor (the resort was deserted during this time of year) and they were trying to get us to change the room the next morning, rather than accommodating us right away.

Food wasn't bad - the food at the a la carte restaurants was best and the Christmas dinner was lovely. Beware of the entertainment at the a la carte restaurants: the performers play music during the dinner but hastily push their CD sales on you, while you're enjoying dessert.

IRON YOUR CLOTHES BEFORE YOU LEAVE! Apparently, they don't have any irons at "4.5" star resorts.

The entertainment was mediocre and the "Fun Club" disco was desolate - no one would attend and the music blared until 3:00am in the morning, muffled if we closed our balcony door. We spent Christmas eve in our room, watching CNN, since no effort was made to make the night more memorable or special. There was no entertainment during the day at the pool or in the lobby. The Blau Veradero partied it up every night - we joked about jumping the fence and joining in!

The people are very nice: the staff was friendly and helpful and grateful for their tips. This and the beautiful 30C+ weather, which we were blessed with daily, made our stay a little more enjoyable.

I would not recommend this resort to anyone - this was more like a 2.5 star but definitely nothing close to a 4
Melia Las Antillas
Francine 

August 2007
This hotel is everything it claims to be. The food was not just okay, but really good. The fresh bread and butter imported from Germany was amazing... the desserts were incredible. Everything was clean. There was plenty of alcohol and water. The beach was beautiful, even with all the waves, thanks to Hurricane Dean, bringing in some seaweed. Most people were helpful, the pool was nice. I have no complaints except that the water in the shower kept fluctuating, but I survived.
Melia Las Antillas
Jerry & Jana 

April 2007
We stayed at the Melia Las Antillas from March 25-31.07
After reading few reports about the resort we were not sure if we would choose this resort for our holiday. After talking to our travel agent, she told us this resort has been taken over by Sol Melia Cuba company and has been renovated. We booked it and we were on the way to this resort. Lot's of travelers rate this resort as low rating but we could not say that. We stayed in room 5207, this room had all you asked for and the view was absolutely fantastic .This was also my wife’s 50th birthday .We tried to book the a la carte dinner for this night which was March 25.07 but no space available , so we made it for different day and did not worry about it , but when we got to our room later that night we had an envelope under the door with letter and reservation to the Romantico restaurant from public relation attendant Alberto Fenren. I have to tell you this was an unexpected experience for my wife to have her birthday in Cuba. It was well done by hotel staff, cooks and all personnel at this restaurant included live music and every one sang happy birthday song with restaurant lights off and birthday cake lit with a candle for her. It was a nice surprise which we were shocked to see.
In other comment we should say the best experience was a catamaran trip to Cayo Blanco. It is a trip to paradise an enjoyable trip with friendly staff on the boat, great lobster cooked in sea water and we have incredible memories from this trip .See attached photos.

Main Hotel
The main lobby is nice – it features the piano and lobby bar, some big comfy couches, a TV and the check-in desk. There is also a small store and the money exchange booth. TIP: The door to the store opens opposite to what you expect… When standing in line to exchange money. There is a large circular staircase in the lobby going down that takes you to the Buffet restaurant, the “Romantico” a la carte restaurant and the doors leading out to the gardens, pool, villas, etc. We also noticed some tour desks down there however, since we traveled with Sunquest, we simply met with the Sunquest representative when we needed.
The king sized bed was unbelievably comfortable and so were the pillows. We were quite surprised!

The Pool
Truth be told, we rarely spent time at the pool – why? You have such a beautiful beach to lay on! The pool is quite big and features shallow areas and then I think the deepest it got was 1.5 meters or so. The water was a little “cool” but very refreshing!

The Beach/Ocean
I can’t say enough about the beach at the Melia Las Antillas. It is beautiful… and clean. There are tons of new loungers and we never had an issue finding a spot whether we went down first thing in the morning or closer to noon.
The beach is spectacular!! The water is turquoise, shallow and cool. The sand is white and it goes on forever. A friendly man will help you with the loungers, so make sure you tip him. You should tip everyone, even the waiters at the restaurants; it will be greatly appreciated.

Entertainment
Every night there is a show – and every night the shows are different. They start around 10:00 and take place at the stage. They are fun to watch .The trumpet player in the house band is amazing! We would get to the show a little early and grab one of the tables to the side of the stage to watch the show and have drinks…

The People
The people at this resort are absolutely what makes this such a wonderful vacation… All of the staff are incredible and work VERY, VERY hard. Please don’t be rude or demanding. Treat people as you would like to be treated – it goes a long way. By the second day we were there, many of the staff already knew us.

Thank you our travel agent Diana Vanek at Sears travel in Sudbury which made this happened to us her email:dvanek@sears.ca
Melia Las Antillas
Richard & Wanda 
London, Ontario
April 2007
This info will help inform other people booking the Melia Las Antillas of what to expect.

Perhaps we were spoiled at our previous visit in December 2006 at Breezes Jibacoa where you certainly steered us right. As we discussed with you before, we don't like surprises and that's why we book with you and not online. As you know with Wanda taking early retirement in June we are planning on doing a lot more traveling. Another resort like Las Antillas will scare us off. We were wanting to see different parts of Cuba and that is why we just didn't book back at Breezes Jibicoa.... but we will certainly be going back there soon. Wanda wants to visit Holguin ... but I'm leery after this trip.

We will try to give you a step by step progression of our stay in Veradero. First of all the flight with Sunwing was great and we would certainly go with them again. Check in at the resort went smoothly. I gave a nice tip and asked if our room would be a good one. Yes, the clerk assured me and it was on the second floor.

Before going to our room I inquired about reserving the 'a la carte' restaurants. She pointed to a desk across the lobby and we went there. It was just before noon as we asked to make reservations. Come back to tomorrow at 7:30 AM the gentleman said. We found out later he only accepts reservations between 7:30Am and 12 noon. I guess he was in a hurry to get somewhere!!

Upon arrival at out room we found it was on the right side of the complex and our balcony faced the concrete side of the Blau Veradero. A short distance from the balcony was two fences. One on the Las Antillas property and one 40 or so feet away on the Blau property. In between the two fences was an assortment of trees,shrubs, fallen and cut down trees, decaying leaves and various pieces of junk and garbage! We have photos available.

The room itself was nice. However we had no power or air conditioning. I called the front desk and he asked if the card was in the wall. It took several moments to realize and find what the client service fellow was referring to...our keycard had to be put into a slot near the door to turn on power.. mission finally accomplished. This was not explained to us at check in.

Next we realized that no safe key was in the room or given to us. Another phone call to client services. The key is at the front desk he informed us. You must go there to pick it up. Again this was not explained to us at client services.

Next Wanda looked for the iron and ironing board as she didn't iron our clothes before leaving .. on purpose. Another phone call to client services who told us none were available at the resort. My sister who was there 3 years ago,when it was Beaches, said they had irons.

We didn't unpack and went to get our safe key. While at the desk I mentioned to the girl that our room was not what we were expecting. She nodded at me and then moved on to someone else. I didn't push it but we found out later that many did push to have rooms changed for different reasons (large ants and gecko's)... not all were successful but many were.

In the morning we found that taking a shower was a 'hot & cold' experience as the temperature kept changing. Wanda then found out the hair dryer barely worked as the hose was melting and in very bad shape. She wrapped a towel around it to try and get enough air flow through to dry her hair. A day or so later we finally reported it and asked for it to be replaced. Within a few hours the hose was removed... but not replaced. At supper time I went to client services (they were not answering their phone). We explained the hair dryer problem. "Ah.. hair dryer.. is big problem" . She informed us there were over 50 broken and some rooms only had holes in the wall! Sorry... no parts...no air dryers... but will try to get one tomorrow. I then asked her where were all the improvements made over the 6 months of closure. She said it was actually closed for 9 months since April 2006 and that there were few improvements made during that time!!

We asked our maid for a hairdryer two days in a row. 'sorry senor..is problem.. no hair dryers in this section. With Wanda hesitant each day to venture out without being able to dry her hair I finally said to the maid. "If you find us a hair dryer I will give a very good gift". Actually we were already tipping pretty good. However when we arrived back to our room a few hours later...lo & behold! A working hair dryer was there.... as well as Roberto the mechanic who was waiting outside our door. He followed us in to show us the hairdryer and fairly good hose. I tipped him some money. Roberto then went to the TV and picked up the remote. We had not reported a problem with it as since there were only 4-5 stations and all but one Spanish we kept it off. However ,Roberto kept pointing to the top right hand button and then scanning channels. Press twice.. Voila.. channels up to 31 with 3-4 of them English were there. Again we were not told this at check in! Roberto then starting talking about his family and kids.. on & on... we got the hint. We put together a gift bag and gave it to him. Actually later we even gave him another one. Guess what... Roberto showed up the next morning... to fix our hairdryer again... sorry Roberto... it is already working!!

Prior to receiving the hairdryer we talked to our Sunwing representative *****. This was on our third day there I believe. We outlined our problems and he was very sympathetic. He was surprised that we were informed that Las Antillas was a 4 or 4 1/2 star resort. He said maybe in one or one and one half years after improvements perhaps but at present it was perhaps a 3 star!! We also expressed disappointment in the fact that we seemed to have paid the most for our trip than anyone we met. One couple complained to us that they paid the most they ever have, $1100.00 per person. Others they talked to paid $800-900.00 a person and several paid only just over $650.00 a person for the same week...less than $1400.00 for both of them.... over a $1000.00 less than us!!! They felt better when we shared we paid over $1200.00 per person! The Sunwing rep asked where we were staying as he thought we had an upgraded room. When we told him our location room 6417 he was surprised as it was just a standard room and probably had the less scenic view of all. People paying much less had ocean views! He said we should write a letter to our travel company within 48-72 hours with our concerns as we were deserving of a refund of some kind. He took down information as he said he would also report our concerns to Sunwing and they would contact us later.

***** then informed us of why the resort was closed for 9 months. The Cuban government wanted the resort upgraded with improvements. Beaches agreed to this. However when the government asked the amount of money Beaches would be investing, they said 'none'. After months of not being able to reach an agreement the government cancelled their agreement with Beaches and looked for another partner. They found the Melia chain willing to manage it. However they too were not willing to put much money into it. Finally they agreed to put some for paint and touch ups. The lobby and I believe the outside buildings were painted and freshened up. That said ***** was the total of 'updating' done. He did say however that Melia has plans over the next year or two to replace badly needed appliances and fixtures etc to bring it back up to a 4 star or better. But it was not there now by a long shot. We are surprised travel agents are not aware of this?? Do none go on a 'fam' to verify what was or not done during this long closure?

This email is getting quite long so I will just highlight some of the other concerns.

On Saturday the third day of our stay I spent in the bathroom with a touch of food poisoning I believe. For some reason Wanda wasn't affected however we didn't eat the same items. Could have been the shell fish or hotdog at the beach grill?? I ate only bread and toast for 36 hours or so. I actually lost 1 pound on the vacation.. at an all inclusive!! I drank mostly water and Sprite over the week and probably had more Pina Coladas in one day at Jibacoa than all week here!

The lagoon/river had no Koi fish to help keep it clean like my sister saw in 2004 and neither did it have water fountains working. At the end on the side we stayed on three pipes poured water into the lagoon... probably the filtration system. One had to hold their nose when passing by to avoid the terrible smell. With wind changes we even smelled it in the rear where we stayed. But worst was around the pool when the wind blew that way.

On Monday the entire resort ran out of water (other reviews mention this problem) at 5 PM until the next morning!! Some guest had to use the outdoor Jacuzzis to clean off. No toilet flushing could be done, making this a potential disaster in the making. However one benefit of no water was the filtration system at the lagoons were off for 24 hours... and the smell disappeared... however the scum built up over the water looked terrible. Again we have photos available.

Another thing you should inform your clients about is that the guests here are about 90% Quebecers. While many were nice it is next to impossible to strike up a conversation with them as many there either don't or won't speak English. (This helped in a way because when several other couples heard us speak English they latched onto us) .. AND they do like to smoke... even in the none smoking buffet area. One waitress even puts out ashtrays on certain tables for her regulars. We had to move tables several times. Amazingly however our room did not smell of smoke thankfully.

Service.. we found it lacking here no matter how much we tipped. And we even tipped more than at Jibacoa in order to get better service.... doesn't work here. Also the staff while fairly fluent in French do not speak or understand English much in our experience. One waitress who could not answer simply questions has worked there for 8 years!! For some reason the wait staff spent down time talking to each other instead of checking tables. When we tried to engage wait staff in conversation with questions .. they had to go ask someone for the answer or meaning of our inquiry! We (and others) usually had to get our own coffee... but it was so bad we stopped drinking it. The buffet hostess Marisa however was pleasant and helpful and when informed of the service problem had us seated near her often and it helped... a bit. She was in London here in 2001 for a one month intensive training in French. They obviously cater to them here.

Food... the a la cartes restaurant were excellent. And the wine in the buffets and a la cartes was fairly good. The buffet was boring and the same each day. When I asked if they had themed food nights they stared at me not knowing what I meant. The buffet room also had an 'odor' to it that made one lose their appetite as they walked in. The pool restaurant was good and we ate there often to avoid the buffet. Outside the buffet they did do grilled shrimp,chicken and beef. This was nice but long line ups turned people away at times. The beach grill/bar was a distance from the actual beach and so-so.

Entertainment... we did not go for this so it didn't matter much. The 10 PM shows were too late for us although we caught part of a few and all of one... all similar it seemed and all Spanish. Little if no English was spoken and there did not appear to be a host. There was little entertainment during the day and no games room, no bingo, etc,etc,etc. There was little signs of entertainment staff anywhere. However since we were on the backside facing the Blau Veradero we heard their entertainment nightly... word for word... much better than ours...lol.

The grounds... they were tired looking. Instead of the dozens of gardeners like we saw at Jibacoa we saw only three on the entire resort and they did mostly watering of plants. The walkways from the beach were not marked and we often found ourselves walking over dunes and through bushes to get to the small paths through the sand from the beach. The resort could not be seen at all from the beach.... a definite minus.

There is a management problem here. The resort manager was actually all over the place.. but he spoke to no guests that we could see. He simply walked and hovered around. Staff seemed to ignore him and certainly did not give better service when he showed up!!

Well, there you have it ... not all but most of the disappointments we encountered on our recent Cuba trip to the Melia Las Antillas. It was not the 'trip from hell' but it was a surprise and disappointment to have spent much more and received so much less than our last trip in December.
Melia Las Antillas
Leonarad 

April 2007
Melia Las Antillas in Varadero , Good Resort, Great Manager.

We visited the Melia Las Antillas on March 23rd 2007.

Good flight with Canjet from Montreal.
Check-in was quite fast. We stayed in room 5131 in the main building fifth floor ,nice and large room , great ocean view with all convenience needed.
Efficient and pleasant maid service.
Hotel is being upgraded and will definitely reach the Melia standard in a year or so.
The food in the buffet was more than acceptable .
The quality of the Spanish wine was one of the best we have tasted in AI resorts.
The A La Carte restaurants are “Haute Cuisine” and should be rated 5 stars.
The Manager Manuel A . Diez Sanchez is a very special person, always inspecting and checking even the smallest details.
We enjoyed very much friendly conversations with Manuel. He certainly is a 5 stars person.
As for the beach , well it is Varadero and for the pool lovers, large pool, really nice.
If you like a quiet and relaxing vacation with great food and good service then this hotel would be a very good choice. .

For pictures see :
http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/lcupryk/album?.dir=/e216re2
Melia Las Antillas
E & P 
Carlisle, Ontario
March 2007
My husband and I just returned from a vacation at this resort. ( Mar. 3-10) This is our 7th trip to Cuba and we always choose Varadero because of the fantastic beach. Although we had a great time I would have to rate this hotel a 3 star at best.

Upon arrival we asked to upgrade to a concierge room which we were (with no extra charge) but it didn't really make any difference as the concierge room was not open all week and our room itself was no different than any of the other junior suites. (Concierge was located on the 5th floor) When we asked we were told it would be open later in the week but this never happened. We were hoping to take advantage of the internet and we also thought we'd be able to book dinner reservations.

Our room was clean ,with a fridge that was stocked daily and a coffee maker, however it needed major updating. The grounds were lovely and well maintained except for the horrible smell that would waft by the pool area. The beach was gorgeous and looked like it was cleaned daily. Lots of palapas and chairs and the beach restaurant was great for lunch.

There were several problems with this hotel, the major one being the buffet in the evening. There was either not enough food , it wasn't hot or it wasn't replenished on a regular basis. Thank goodness for the pasta bar, except for the lineup it was good. One night they wouldn't let people in because they had run out of cutlery! If you wanted to book one of the 3 restaurants you had to line up in the lobby between 9 - 12 to book. We stood in line for 1 1/2 hours to book. (not something I want to do while on holiday) and then you were only allowed to book 3 nights in total. The 2 restaurants that we went to (Italian and Mediterranean) were quite nice. Breakfast and lunch were very good.

We tried to use the internet and of the 2 computers only one worked all week. The cost was 3 pesos for 15 minutes but once again there were long waits. There was no sign in so you were left to keep track of your place in line. One woman I spoke to had waited 2 hours on several occasions. I wasn't that interested in waiting but went during beach time and only waited 15 minutes. The other problem we had was with the water in the shower. The pressure was unpredictable and the temperature fluctuated between hot and cold. One night when I went to get ready for dinner there was no water at all. We called down to the front desk and were told the water in the whole hotel was out. Thankfully it was repaired within the hour.

Now the good........ the staff was friendly and very accommodating, the beach was beautiful, it had a great lobby bar and the most delicious cappuchino's! As I said before we did have a great time but this hotel has some problems it needs to work out.
Melia Las Antillas
Tony 
Mer and Company
March 2007
We are a couple in our 50’s and have traveled to Jamaica, Dominican ( P.P & P.C.), Cancun, Mayan Rivera Florida, South Carolina to name a few. These was our first trip to Cuba and choose Vararado primarily for the beach and Melia Las Antillias, as it was new and the ratings were positive. We were a group of 7 adults over 50, and (3) 20 yr. olds and by no means a fussy bunch. We arrived on March 10 at 10 pm and the rooms were not ready, go figure. We along with 25 other passengers were escorted to the buffet while they prepared the rooms. The buffet which was to become my nightmare over the next 7 days was not set up, not to mention liquor service was no longer available. After a long day of traveling we all longed for a cold drink and a snack. We finally managed to get a mystery wine that was obviously batched the day before in some old rubber boot, along with food that had been sitting since supper and probably lunch. We finally got our rooms (only 1 desk clerk to register about 30 people) but not what we had asked for. We were given assurances we could make changes the following day.

The following day all of us except one couple got better rooms that couple got their room around 3 pm, the resort was by no means full. The rooms I would rate as a modest 3 . We booked our al la carte restaurants and could only get 2 out of 3, we choose the seafood night and the Italian.

The grounds are lovely, spacious and surrounded buy a large pool (no swim up bar). Around the property is a lagoon and the water is so stagnant that the smell leaves something to be desired depending on which way the breeze is blowing. The beach is fantastic, soft sand and you can walk for miles. You don’t have to worry about beach chairs there are lots to go around but I would recommend that you get your Palapas, if you want shade, no later than 830 am. There are the local traders on the beach, they don’t come to you, you go to them, which are nice. The beach bar is situated just off the beach area over a sand dune; it’s only a short walk for a refill depending on where you’re located. BRING A MUG, the drinks are in small plastic cups and chances are you will spill some if you’re carrying more than 3 back to your station.

The food right down to the eggs leaves a lot to be desired, I’m not sure what they cook it in but on a scale of 5, I would rate it a 2 . We noticed that many of the resorts including ours did not have “bracelets” so we decided to venture to a few at lunch time and taste their cuisine as well as drinks. Arenas Doradas, Iberostar and Sandals were sampled and all of them I would rate as a 2 . Our final days consisted of making subs with the cold cuts and cheese. The Seafood dinner was awful, they kept the tails and gave us the remainder that tasted like wall paper paste. It rained that night while eating outdoors although we were covered the water was seeping into the restaurant and some women had to put their shoes on their laps. It took forever for a squeegee person to clean up the floor. For some strange reason they can’t make a rum punch, pina colada or other exotic drinks, they try but god knows what you’re going to get. Their Khalua, Baileys, Tequila, Gin are pretty good I’m not a rum fan but my winger seemed to enjoy them. The nightly entertainment is what it is; the disco only opens around midnight which was a disappointment for the younger crowd.

We took the Catamaran tour to swim with dolphins which included a lobster lunch on a remote Island for 85 pesos each ($1.31 Can.) this way we did not miss a day of sun. The Catamaran holds 65 people and f your expecting lobster tails at the end, forget it that‘s 10 pesos extra. You get beer and rum on the boat, picture with dolphin for 10 pesos, lunch with 4 other Catamaran tours, free beer, mixed drinks ( line up big time for this) meal consists of 1 squid, French fries, green beans and 3 small pieces of lobster in a weird spicy sauce. Oh hell ya they got tails, but that’s an extra 10 pesos. The only washroom for all these tourists is an outhouse (good luck).

Phone calls room or calling card forget it , my daughter made 2 calls (4 mins and 8 mins ) 26 pesos. Internet, only one for the resort and it is on dial up. I can’t recall the cost but you don’t get your full allotted time not to mention waiting in line to use it. Make sure the individual who logs you on doesn’t take their break because it will be another 45 minutes before you can get on ,no matter if you get the manager involved which I had the please of observing one gentleman venting his frustration.

The staff is friendly but not overly motivated to do more than they have to. I left tips ranging from 10 to 2 pesos at this buffet and you get the same service. On our last day, at the buffet from hell, a table outside was set for 2 and there was 4 of us. I proceeded to get the extra chairs, cutlery, napkins, and glasses from the table our waiter was siesting at which gives you an idea of some of the service. When he came to I asked if we could have wine, he said they had none. This is the same person who 3 days earlier at breakfast told us they were out of salt and pepper shakers. Politely, I ventured inside the buffet and 2 kind waitresses, who previously served us, came outside (although this is not their territory) and served us along with our other companions. They earned a huge reward for this. Don’t worry their tips are not shared with the outside waiters.

Hotel check out, once again only 1 person to look after 30 of us, very frustrating. Airport departure, now here comes the real true test of patience. 4 planes loads of people departing at 7pm with all their baggage in hand and only 1 teller to take your damm 25 pesos, the line up was over 1 ½ football fields long. Recommend you get you booze and cigarettes at the airport duty free.

Would I go back, I’ll let you be the judge.
Melia Las Antillas
V G 

March 2007
My wife and I just returned from Melia Las Antillas.
We spent one week there. This is our fifth time in Cuba and the most unpleasant experience.

Good things- clean rooms, good coffee in the buffet, fresh towels, beautiful beaches /they are beautiful everywhere in Varadero/.

Things that could throw you off- piles of dirty dishes in the buffet, mugs and glasses in the bar, chitchatting and heavily tipped, ignorant waiters, restaurant reservations 7-10 days prior, while some ppl dine there every evening bribing the stuff, min 2 hours of waiting time before you check in, Italian restaurant is terrible by Cuban standards, “helpful front desk employees” offering you to take a cab to get to the delphinarium in 5 minutes, yet it’s across the street and takes you 1.5 minutes to walk there.

Overall vacation is ok. Resort is terribly overrated.

Would I be back again? I don't think so. This is the opinion of at least 6 other couples from Oshawa, Toronto, Quebec and Calgary. There are plenty of other resorts out there. I don’t recommend anybody to waste their money and time in this one unless this is your first time to Cuba or it's all good for you.
Melia Las Antillas
L & H 
Canada
February 2007
My husband and I have just returned from 2 weeks at the Melia Las Antillas formerly the Beaches Varedaro. It was closed and re-opened Dec. 29 2006. We were not sure what to expect but were pleasantly surprised. This is our second time in Varedaro and this place was as good or even better in some areas as the Barcelo Solymar. The beach of course was beautiful, clean, and had plenty of chairs and palapas. We were upgraded to the fifth floor oceanview suite as there was not very many people there at this time. The food was amazing. They actually cooked with a little bit of spice and the food was always hot which is not always the case at some resorts. The staff were always pleasant. They are still busy fixing up certain areas like the pond and fountain, so I'm sure it will be even nicer than when we left. We would most certainly recommend this resort to anyone looking for a relaxing vacation.