You can do better
Melia Las Americas was built in the early 1990s. Dim lighting in lobby, hallways, outdoor walkways and stairs. Many steps to beach, golf course and restaurants -- great leg exercise but a problem if you need handicap access. Only two small elevators in main hotel. Location is a short walk to the Las Americas Shopping Mall and the Hop-on Hop-off double-decker bus. Rides cost $5 equivalent for all day and you can go to the end of the 21-kilometre long sand spit and into Veradero town to buy junky souvenirs at the flea markets. The Las Americas beach is small and blocked at each end by rock cliffs. Most upsetting is that you cannot walk on the beaches of nearby hotel Melia Varadero (even though it is the same chain) or the tourist police will demand you leave. Wrong color wrist band? Leave now. Real friendly move! This has nothing to do with security. It is just the Cuban government need to control people. So, choose a hotel with a long beach if you want to make long walks on the beach. The other problem is converting money into the Cuban tourist Monopoly money called CUC. The exchange rates in Cuba and at the hotel are a rip-off so try to make just one exchange while you are there. The food was plentiful and the local beer plus wines from Argentina were good. The hotel musicians at restaurants and night shows were good and, of course, all had CDs for sale in the $10-$20 range. The La Robleza poolside restaurant is a nice spot for lunch but stick with the regular plates. We waited an hour for the Las Americas version of paella which was a disappointing heap of rice, turmeric, one shrimp, one chicken chunk and a piece of shellfish. You cannot wear shorts and sandals into the buffet cafeteria-style main dining room -- and this is a beach resort? Sure, I get it for other more formal restaurants but a serve-yourself-squat-and-gobble eatery? The Las Americas lists itself as a 5-star hotel. No way. Try 3-star. A serviceable hotel but nothing special. A final cutie is the $25 equivalent Cuban departure tax (called "Tasa Aeroportuaria") each tourist must pay at the airport before they are allowed to leave. The Security Department guards in military uniform will not let you on your plane unless your boarding pass has a sticker indicating payment IN CASH.
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