Cuba invested heavily in tourism between 1990 and 2000. New hotels continue to be built, and older ones are being renovated. It’s important to remember some of these resorts are 30 years old and have gone through some wear-and-tear. You also need to keep in mind that Cuba is very challenged with getting supplies into the country. So your five-star hotel in Cuba will not be like a five-star hotel at home. That’s OK, it is part of the charm of Cuba.
If you need information or have a room issue, remember that is what the front desk in the lobby is for. Speak to them and see if they can get the issue resolved. If they can’t they might switch you to another room. Don’t expect that this will happen- the resorts are often fully booked. You may see a building that appears vacant, but that is because they are repairing it.
Only drink the bottled water provided in your room. Don’t drink water out of the tap, even if you are brushing your teeth. Be careful not to accidentally ingest water when taking a shower. If you are leaving the resort and will need water, bring that bottle along with you or decant it into a smaller bottle. Please read about how to deal with Turista here.
Your room will have a safe that can be used to store your documents and cash. Some are programmable, others have a lock and key type configuration. If you think you have lost something, double-check that safe! Sometimes the fabric liner is loose and papers can slip under that. They are also really dark inside. One time I went into a panic thinking I lost my black cell phone, only to find it was leaning against the side inside the safe. I felt like such an idiot.
Keep your Tourist Card in the safe.
Noisy Air Conditioner?
Tamara and I have never slept well with air-conditioners running no matter what country we are in. We usually let the AC unit run at night while we are out and then turn it off when it is time for bed. The room stays cool enough for decent sleeping and it’s quiet.
Like most resorts in the world, there is a move towards trying to process less laundry. Your laundry is probably not processed on the resort, and is likely shipped away to a bigger facility to be washed. This expends a lot of energy and creates pollution. Many resorts have policy that if you leave your towels on the floor, that means you would like them cleaned. Bedding will have a similar policy.
Your fridge may not be restocked by the same person who cleans your room. If you want something specific like no orange pop (which is actually pretty good in Cuba) leave a note. For fun use Google Translate and try to write a message in Spanish. The same idea goes for the cleaner. Little notes with a small tip are fun.
Being a room cleaner is actually one of the better jobs at the resort. It is hard work, but the pay is pretty good through tips and gifts.