The Royalton Hotel on Santa Maria Cay


IMG_9916Thursday 10 March

Did nothing!

That’s not quite true though as we bagged probably the last Cabana available after a walk on the beach and a look around the shops and then sat, lay, read our books, people watched and had frequent free drinks.

IMG_9919Dinner in a different nearby hotel restaurant, again nothing special and we venture up to the reception area again this time for a local set of dancers and a Michael Jackson tribute. Well performed although in the darkness, photography not the easiest.

Need to sleep now!

Friday 11 March

No Cabanas available after a breakfast which we can only really describe as mediocre (cold coffee, milk spilled all over the place, so we head to the adjacent beach to sit and read. A couple, possibly Canadian, sit nearby and have an old fashioned transistor radio blaring out, no headphones, not very friendly.

Our noisy neighbours

Lunch in the Beach Hut with a nice Black Forest Gateaux to end up with and afternoon reading and relaxing.

No coffee in our room so ring for some but after 3+ hours, nothing materialises so ring again – nothing, so no coffee tomorrow morning pre breakfast!

Meal in Sunset restaurant is a fixed no choice menu and was probably one of the worst meals we have had in Cuba.

12 tables only occupied and from what I could see, a lot of other holidaymakers left one course (fish balls) as unpalatable. Service slow which is quite amazing as there was no choice in the menu.

Toilet broken, wouldn’t flush but engineer arrives within 5 minutes to fix the problem. Catch up on internet and watch part of a show by local dancers.

Saturday 12 March

Photo shoot for a bride
Royalton Beach area

Better breakfast service but still no good bread.

Manage to get a coffee sachet for tomorrow morning and go for sit in shade on the beach to read and relax, a late lunch, another walk on the beach watch a Bride & Groom being photographed in and near the water and a better evening meal.

Bride & Groom

I read a whole book in a day, that must be a first.

Sunday 13 March

Didn’t know about the clocks changing overnight – there was a notice put up at reception we find out later – but at least we have some coffee.

More money changed and we are off for another beach morning.

Who hoo! Watford beat Arsenal at Highbury to reach the FA Cup Semi Final at Wembley. Shame I am away for that as well. COYH.

Evening meal at Secrets which was much better than the previous 4 nights’ meals followed by more internet time although slow internet prevented a long look.

Monday 14 March

Our last day in Cuba and the wind has dropped considerably so it is much hotter. We can vacate our room at any time up to our taxi departure time of 1pm so just sit outside and read ( my 3rd book finished – the previous 3 probably took in excess of 3 years to finish ) early lunch and the best coffee of the stay before our 5 hour taxi ride to the airport.

Repairs needed?

Back to Santa Clara first on bumpy winding roads past cyclists, lorries containing workers, horse drawn taxis and we are always weaving from side to side to avoid the multitude of potholes.

Stop for fuel and a comfort break – the loos were were somewhat primitive.

After Santa Clara we hit the 3 or 4 lane highways with little traffic until we reach the outskirts of Havana.

Fire adjacent to motorway

Some very bumpy roads on approach to airport, particularly over railway level crossings.

A fire in an adjacent field gave off some interesting smoke in the early afternoon atmosphere.

Check in but don’t have to pay the departure tax, it has been abolished, and included in the ticket price, so we now have 50 CUC spare!

Head for the change desk but are directed to the one inside security after we have queued up.

Really rubbish rate of exchange to £ so opt for € which seemed a better rate.

Even managed what was probably 4 hours sleep on plane.

Tuesday 15 March

Another 6 hour wait at Gatwick before we can drop off our bags for the flight home. Frustrating.

Our Cuba adventure is over and now we just have the photographs, the memories and the coffee. It was a wonderful experience and let us hope that the forthcoming influx of tourists doesn’t spoil the character of the island.

Yes, the island needs better infrastructure but it would be a shame if everything was modernised.  The people we spoke to are very friendly and presumably happy and let’s face it, they know no other way of life although the internet has opened their eyes to the outside world.

One CUC (Convertible Peso)
Our noisy neighbours

One thought on “The Royalton Hotel on Santa Maria Cay

  1. Your experience of the final few days sounded a bit like ours. Cuba was fantastic, but we could have lived without the all inclusion stay we put in at the end. Best thing where we stayed was the snorkling – we actually found a fish that had a definite area he patrolled – and whenever we snorkled in his area he accompanied us until we left. Nice but slightly spooky at the same time. Food was boring, entertainment mediocre and it had none of the atmosphere and character of Cuba itself.

    Liked by 1 person

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