The beach resort is a different world. The hotel is has a stunning lobby and is a wonderful sight when you arrive and the hotel does live up to the paradise of its name. There is plenty of space and the staff are immediately friendly and organized. Our room wasn't ready so they advised to go in for lunch and gave us cards to get our pool towels. The buffet restaurant has plenty of selection and immediately the quality of the food is a better standard than Havana. Once we have eaten we queued and book the a la carte meals for the week - essential as there are limited places in these much smaller restaurants.
Then we headed to the beach, which had stunning white sands and beautiful azure water. This hotel has the most beautiful pool areas but the beach is much more appealing. Once our room was available at 4pm we got unpacked and then explored the hotel. There are lots of different nationalities at the hotel we can hear Spanish, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese and French. Not that much English!
It is a family hotel and the entertainers look after the kids early evening, but to be honest, you hardly know they are there. The space of the hotel absorbs them. It is quite refreshing as the kids are building sand castles with their parents and digging tunnels. There is a good mix of ages as well of nationalities and everyone seems 'happy'. I would say the entertainment is quite cultural - violin players, saxophone, normal Cuban guitar and double base, heavy rock (one night I swear I heard ACDC!), opera, syncronised swimming show, illusionists and the cabaret!
The Romantic restaurant was my favorite it had live music and a nice ambience and there was Flambe on the menu, the Mexican was ok, the Italian was good, We did the buffet once at night which was reasonable but not a patch on the a la carte. I guess it is all down to personal preferences. We had a spa treatment on Christmas Eve - the massage I had was coffee and rum which made my skin very soft and definitely relaxed me (my body was obviously intoxicated).
Christmas Day it was wet - the only bad day though. The gala meal was on Christmas Eve - where we had a set meal which was lovely. The buffet put on chocolate sculptures in the restaurant. The hotel didn't go big time on decorations there was a tree close to the restaurant. Though the show in the evening was 'Disney Musicals' so was very colourful.
Internet connection wasn't great it was quite slow so I didn't bother checking emails and was able to chill out. The weather was fantastic, slept really well, food good. We did a lot of walking on the beach so easily covered 4km a day so feel very toned. I didn't want to leave at all and wished we could have stayed a couple more days, loved it! I think because I was not expecting too much, it really exceeded my expectations. I hope Cuba does not change - the whole experience was so refreshing and makes the destination so unique.