"There's no point in spending your life in the pursuit of something that's easy." - Alice Kuipers

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Memories Flamenco in Cayo Coco

On Sunday, I got back from a vacation to Cayo Coco, Cuba. My husband and I had a lovely time, spending almost the entirety of the week lying on lounge chairs in front of the ocean. We picked the perfect week to go too, while we were basking in summer temperatures, it was -40 degrees Celcius at home. The reason we took the trip (aside from the obvious: who wouldn't like a beach vacation in the middle of winter?), was to give the budget vacation a try. We have a lot of family and friends who like to mock our addiction to luxury. We're rather spoiled, especially when it comes to taking vacations, which means we don't get to go very often. So, when we saw a rather good deal for a week's vacation at the Memories Flamenco All Inclusive Resort in Cayo Coco, Cuba, we couldn't think of a better way to dip our toes in a more budget friendly vacation. Who knows? Maybe we'd like it just as much and therefore could fit in a lot more vacations.

Over the course of the week, we discussed our impressions of the resort and compared it to our other beach vacations. These are the conclusions we arrived at.

The High Points
  • The resort was pretty and the landscaping was lush with flowers and palm trees. 
  • Our room was bright, clean and spacious. 
  • The staff were friendly and helpful.
  • The beach was beautiful, with sparkling turquoise water. Although I should note, it was rather rocky. You had to walk gingerly over a couple of yards of rock before reached the softer sand in the water. But altogether pretty good.
  • It seemed to be a really good fit for families. It was pretty, affordable and had a big pool for splashing about.

The Low Points
  • The food was truly awful. I'd been warned that it would be bad, but nothing prepared me for how bad. I kept hearing from people who had food poisoning, so I tried to stay clear of anything that seemed iffy, but despite my caution, my husband and I both had bouts of it. If you plan to go, bring food. Lots of it.
  • The hours for the restaurants were terrible. I'm used to an all inclusive with food available 24/7. Not so at this one. The buffet was only open from 7:30AM-10:00AM, 1:00PM-3:00PM and 6:30PM-10:00PM. There was a 24 hour snack bar, but it was definitely not open 24 hours. It seemed to operate along the same hours as the buffet. The other A La Carte restaurants required a reservation and were only open in the evening. If you missed the window of opportunity, you were going hungry until the next one.
  • The resort was needlessly complicated. Although we got the hang of it by the end, it was irritating dealing with the complicated process of getting your towel, finding your room and figuring out where to go for what.
  • The hotel website boasted that their resort had an adult's only pool. It did not. It had a pool where adult supervision was required for children. That is not the same thing. 
  • Cuba appears to be a big draw for smokers. They were everywhere and they were allowed to smoke everywhere. By the time we were sitting in the lobby waiting for the shuttle back to the airport I was on my last nerve. It was only my pina coloda that saved random strangers from threats of being burned with their own cigarettes.

The Conclusion

The resort was pleasant enough, and it was nice to sit on the beach for a week, but we agreed we wouldn't be going back. We like our luxy vacations too much to give them up for something mediocre. Don't get me wrong. We're still happy we went. It was a fun experiment and we figured out just what we need in a vacation. I won't deny I sorely needed to see a beach this winter. But next time, I want a cushier cabana and a massage to boot.

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