Many people go to All Inclusive resorts due to their convenience or because of a good deal. And indeed many all inclusive resorts do offer amazing deals, particularly when you consider the what they include. During our trip to Cuba we decided that a day at the beach where all our needs were looked after would be a nice way to relax and unwind, even if just for one night.
Varadero covers Cuba’s Hicacos Peninsula and juts out into the Atlantic Ocean. It consists of a 20km long beach populated with all inclusive resorts. We opted to stay in the Iberostar at the northern tip of the peninsula as it offered us the best deal. Most hotels along the peninsula are 5 star hotels by Cuban standards but this translates to roughly a 3 star hotel by European standards. These hotels are luxurious compared to other accommodation such as Casas which we have talked about in a separate post.
Iberostar in Varadero was quite a large hotel and we were immediately made welcome when we arrived. We had paid €135 in total for our stay. Thankfully our hotel room (which was very large and modern) had air conditioning, we were starting to struggle with the heat! The beach the hotel is situated on is stunning, white sand and warm waters along with some nice cocktails made for a very relaxing day. In terms of food and drink we wanted for nothing, there were always bars and restaurants open and everything was included during our stay. Our hotel seemed to have a lot of entertainment options, we came down to the pool in the middle of the day to find a foam party in full swing! Later that evening there was a production of the Lion King put on.
Our experience of this all inclusive resort was very positive and we really enjoyed our relaxing stay there. However it didn’t feel like a true Cuban experience. We had just spent 3 nights in a Casa prior to this and found our experiences to be completely different. Everyone in the hotel spoke perfect English and although this is nice it means you don’t make an effort to learn Spanish. The hotel had the feel that you could be anywhere in the world such as Cancun or Spain, it didn’t have an authentic Cuban feel about it. For this reason we were glad to be headed back to Havana after a night there. Most tourists stay longer but we just wanted a day to relax at the beach, maybe it’s our adventurous side but for us this wasn’t a holiday to lounge at the beach or pool everyday.
All inclusives can be an amazing way to relax and unwind and it depends on your personality and what you want from a holiday. We really enjoyed our stay but when it comes to a place as exotic and fun as Cuba we’d rather stay in a Casa and explore the country.
Darragh & Kate.