Monday, May 18, 2015

Cuba – Day 7

Today, we said goodbye to Parque Central Hotel and took our pre-booked taxi to our next ‘home’- Paradisus Princess Del Mar in Varadero – until Thursday.

Bye-bye to the View from Room 548

Our Taxi was early, picking us up just before 9.45. We hit the highway heading east, and two-and-a-quarter hours later, we arrived in the sweltering heat of our latest destination. First impressions? a little bit chaotic, and very noisy, but  we think our arrival coincided with a gazillion guests biding their time in Reception waiting for their taxis.

Reception at Paradisus Princess Del Mar

This is an all-inclusive resort with some 765 rooms - and enough restaurants to satisfy Kettering for the next hundred years!

Initially, we couldn’t check-in, so we grabbed a bite to eat, and were immediately impressed with the waitress, as she tried to ply Ralph and I with free beer and Ann with even more wine – at regular intervals! An hour later, suitably stuffed and slightly woozy, we headed back to Reception to get our room key. The other priority was internet access, and as in our previous hotel, connectivity is an approximate process, and like before, there’s only one provider – the State. This time, the added challenge is that the router doesn’t reach any of the rooms (what!?), meaning every log-in requires a walk back to Reception! No matter, it’ll keep me fit!!


We’re staying in room 4208 with a nice view from the balcony plus, we’re a short walk from both the beach and an eatery! Sounds ideal!

The View from 4208

Booking our first evening meal here proved a challenge, in that the comprehensive ‘Services Directory’ didn’t provide any information on how to dial room-to-room (so we could check R and K’s preferences) and the way the restaurants’ opening hours were listed made it very difficult to sus the trading hours (the typist clearly got carried away with the use of the carriage return key!) Eventually, we solved that mystery and then contacted our first choice, but it was closed (no information as to why!). OK, we opted for our second choice – also closed!, but there was apparently TWO seats left in the Japanese restaurant – not so good if there’s FOUR of us. Reception suggested the trougherie – sorry – ‘BBQ round the pool’, but we didn’t fancy that based on the number existing guests we’d seen with insect bites!

So, we opted for ‘pot luck’ by wandering into the main eating area, to see if an alternative to the BBQ existed. Err, it didn’t! and we reluctantly joined the whole community at the obligatory trough. I hate communal dining with a passion, and the combination of lack of seating, chairs labelled as ‘reserved’ (that weren’t really!) and zero queue management for the trough (resulting in ‘Collision at Centre Point’), meant this was a night to remember for all the WRONG reasons! All we need was some form of ‘Cuba’s got Talent’ as the entertainment and… oh dear, we have! Still, at least the drink is free… and I’m reminded somehow, to add bleach to the shopping list when we get back!

On the positive side, at least we could retreat to the Hotel Reception/Lounge – only to discover that the Cuba’s got Talent sound system was battling it out with Reception’s muzac! Cacophony rules!

I think this might be some awful nightmare where I’ll wake up somewhere more comfy and soothing – like a dentist’s chair.

Ah well, only four days to go – it can only get better!