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We stayed at the Iberostar Tainos in Varadero, Cuba in April 2002 for one week:
Rooms - The rooms were nice but simple. Very clean. We did have a bit of an infestation of little tiny bugs. This was only a problem if you left an empty glass in the garbage (from a fruity drink). We just made sure to toss all our garbage into the bins outside instead of our room. I'm sure this is a problem all over the Caribbean. Our room had two twin-size beds plus an extra bed that must have been a leftover from a previous guest. Great place to stow my luggage! ;-)
Hotel grounds/lobby - Really pretty grounds and lobby. All landscaping is mature. The lobby is a little small, but the entire resort isn't very large either. I had stayed at the Iberostar Paraiso in Mexico last April and that was a beautiful whopping resort. The IB Tainos was small and much more moderate. Still pretty, though.
Pool - Good sized pool for the size of the resort. Unfortunately, no swim up bar. Although there was a bar by the pool and a waiter/waitress that serves drinks.
Beach - The beach was the most beautiful thing about the resort! It was very wide and very deep. The ocean was quite calm most of the days. Some days the wind would be quite strong - those ended up being days when I would relax by the pool or take a trip into Varadero. This was the first time I have been at a resort with such a beautiful white-sand beach. Quite clean too.
Food - The food was pretty good. I could always find something to eat at the Dinner buffet. The selection was not that great, unless you are a meat lover - there certainly was a lot of that. Breakfast was great, lunch buffet was limited. But, all in all, I'd give the buffet a 7 out of 10. The a la carte restaurants were pretty good too. There were two of them - the Brazilian and the Cuban. The Brazilian served about 6 different cuts of roasted meat (including 2 kinds of sausages). I made sure I took only small pieces of each course or I would have been overly stuffed. The appetizer buffet was excellent. The Cuban restaurant had menu items that were quite good. Both fish dishes were yummy. Keep in mind that Cuba is notorious for bad food. From what I hear, the Tainos is above average in this department. I did loose some weight on this trip, but I think it was because I was so active and eating healthy (lots of fruit and veggies for this girl). I must also mention that I did not get sick on this trip. Yay! And, it was nice to have to cook for the whole week.
Drinks - I have heard complaints about other resorts serving watered-down drinks. Well, the Iberostar is definitely NOT one of them. I had to keep on asking for only a little bit of rum in my drinks, or I'd get half a glass of rum each time. When I asked for "pico de rum", I'd still get about a quarter of the glass filled with rum...sigh. The mojito's were really good - a must to try.
Entertainment - The entertainment at the resort was quite good. The entertainment staff tried extremely hard to make everyone's vacations a wonderful time. They pull people off the beach/pool to play games like archery, volleyball, water polo, horseshoes, etc. (if you don't want to participate, they will not hassle you). The staff are an extremely friendly bunch (some a little too friendly - watch out for Alex, he very much likes the ladies). The night time entertainment is pretty good - at least it is quite amusing. There is no disco at the Iberostar Tainos, but the staff will take those who ask over to the resort next door for a $10 USD cover, including all drinks. We went two nights and had a blast both times.
*If you are interested in seeing some pictures of my trip, go to: www.imagestation.com/members/TinaLazaruk
Thanks to Tina for this trip report ...