Travel Stories: Memories Holguin Beach Resort Review

memories holguin beach resort review, memories beach resort reviews, memories holguin, memories holguin review, memories holguin reviews, memories holguin with kids, memories holguin with a baby, memories holguin with a toddlerWe travelled to Cuba as guests of Sunwing for the purpose of a Memories Holguin Beach Resort review. 
All opinions remain my own.

This was our family’s seventh trip to Cuba and our first to the Holguin area. I hope this Memories Holguin Beach Resort review will inspire you to consider this resort, as it is a place we fully intend on returning to. We needed a place to relax and recharge as a family. But we wanted to feel connected to the beauty and culture of Cuba. Memories Holguin, and the surrounding area, allowed us to do just that.

Our very first family vacation was to Cuba. We visited Varadero when our daughter was just shy of a year old. Fidel Castro had just turned 80, and we were sure once he passed that the US embargo would immediately be dropped. We feared Cuba (as most of the world knew it) would be forever changed. But, unfortunately for our American friends,  a true Cuban vacation that the rest of the world can enjoy is still not a feasible option.

Memories Holguin Beach Resort Review:
Location & Overview

Getting there:

The drive to Memories Holguin Beach Resort was just under an hour. Most tour operators run buses from Frank Pais International Airport. You may need to wait for fellow passengers and guests before leaving. It’s a pretty comfortable ride and the resort area is not that remote. There’s not a rough-road-in-the-middle-of-nowhere feeling that can occur with some transfers in Cuba. Booking a private airport transfer is a small luxury that is worth considering if you’re traveling with a baby or toddler. Take off right away if you’re ready to go, or, take your time getting sorted with luggage and car seats.

Checking in:

If you opt for the Diamond Club upgrade, you’ll receive a personalized check in which is much faster (with a cocktail while you wait!). Checking in is usually one of the less-than-pleasant aspects of an all inclusive vacation, so the upgrade benefit right off the bat is a nice touch.

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Room Exterior | Memories Holguin Beach Resort

The resort’s grounds are pretty vast, and they’ll likely bring you to your room via golf cart. The ride there seemed incredibly long and confusing but that’s because the path system bypasses all the stairs. The resort is built into a hill, and the main thoroughfares are via stairs. This is not the easiest with a baby and a stroller and lots of gear. But once you familiarize yourself with the layout, you’ll pick up on the shortcuts. Families with sturdier jogging strollers found it easier to get around, and I would have appreciated the long, winding paths for walks with the stroller at naptime.

Memories Holguin Beach Resort Review:
Rooms

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Connecting Room | Memories Holguin Beach Resort

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Connecting Room 2 | Connecting Room 2

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Doorway Between Connecting Rooms | Memories Holguin Beach Resort

Our room at Memories Holguin Beach Resort was one of the larger and more spacious ones we’ve had at any Cuban resort, made even more spacious by having two connecting rooms as a Family Club room upgrade. We were staying for 11 days, so having this much space allowed us to spread out a bit and also enjoy some privacy. With the Diamond Club you have a mini-fridge stocked with water, beer, and/or pop and juice, as well as a mini-bar set up with spirits. We left notes with a tip for extra water, and always had plenty.

The beds were pretty comfortable! My husband and I actually had a Queen-sized bed (in Cuba it’s usually two twins pushed together) with a spare twin to the side. Over on the kids’ side there were three twin beds with lots of space to spare.

The bathroom has a shower only, which can be tricky with babies and toddlers. In the past we’ve either showered while holding the baby or bathed them in the sink. Another option is to bring along an inflatable bathtub ( which could double as a beach or pool toy!) if your baby really prefers a bath. Cribs are available and should be requested at time of booking. Depending on your luggage allotment, you may prefer to bring your own travel crib.

Our room was located near the main pool, which meant we had (VERY SPORADIC) access to wifi. The wifi is decent if you are sitting in the lobby, but everywhere else it is hit and miss. The cards to access wifi can be purchased at the front desk.

Memories Holguin Beach Resort Review:
Food

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Hello from our breakfast table | Memories Holguin Beach Resort

We found the food at Memories Holguin Beach Resort to be great. As with every all-inclusive resort, there are always mystery items at the buffet that look less-than-appealing. But, at every meal, there was lots of delicious-looking and actually delicious things to choose from. All of the restaurants, save for the “Romantic” a la carte, are open-air. We didn’t find it too hot, nor bugs or flies to be an issue. There are cats running around. We saved treats for them for after our meal and called to them outside the restaurant. Some people fed them straight from the table, much to the staff’s (and our) chagrin.

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The main buffet restaurant | Memories Holguin Beach Resort

Breakfast:

For breakfast, my kids usually went for the same thing. My daughter would get a made-to-order omelet and my son enjoyed the pancakes. The syrup is different from what we’re used to at home, but he seemed to like it ok. The bacon in Cuba can be pretty hit or miss; here it was closer to a hit! I’d opt for chorizo and roasted vegetables with poached eggs, and I was rarely hungry for lunch. In addition to hot options, there was always cereal (Frosted Flakes would go fast when they were there!), yogurt, fresh fruit (and a fresh fruit smoothie station), and always lots of delicious fresh bread. This was the first resort in Cuba where we liked the pastries and desserts, which isn’t exactly a good thing 🙂

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Lunch is served! | Memories Holguin Beach Resort

Lunch & Dinner:

For lunch we’d drift between the beach bar (burgers, hot dogs, pizza), the snack bar (same as beach bar but also awesome french fries), and the buffet–again with lots of great options that even my picky eaters pigged out on. At lunch and dinner there would be a grilling station with beef or chicken (or both) and also a fish and/or seafood. My kids usually ate from there with either plain rice or pasta and a few fresh veggies from the salad area. The food is seasoned plainly–usually with just salt and pepper. That is our preference, anyway.

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Entrance to the Italian Restaurant | Memories Holguin Beach Resort

The “Romantic” restaurant and the Italian restaurant were the only two a-la-cartes that were open during our stay, but the Italian would sub in for the Cuban food on that night. These meals were also great–the soup usually being a really tasty choice–but with picky kids it’s always nice to have the “insurance” of the buffet to return to if the kids won’t eat.

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Romantic Restaurant Exterior | Memories Holguin Beach Resort

Frankly, I was afraid the ocean would call for how much grilled shrimp my son consumed. He also devoured the calamari, which was fried with salt and pepper. Totally delicious!

For young eaters, Memories Holguin Beach Resort always had plenty of baby- and toddler-friendly foods to make up meals or supplement anything brought from home.

The milk in Cuba can be hit (Tetra pack) or miss (powdered). To be honest I’m not sure what version they use at Memories Holguin but my son drank it and the kids both had it in their cereal with no issues.

Memories Holguin Beach Resort Review:
The Beach

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Vamos a la playa! | Memories Holguin Beach Resort

Memories Holguin Beach Resort is the only hotel on Playa Yuraguanal, which is a great little stretch of sand that suits babies and toddlers as well as older kids who like to do more than splash. There are a few weedy patches but they’re not squishy or gross. Beware a few shells and sharp bits but there are not so many you need swimming shoes or risk shredded feet.

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Diamond Club Beach View | Memories Holguin Beach Resort

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Main Beach View | Memories Holguin Beach Resort

There is an area reserved for Diamond Club members that includes beachside service. It’s pretty nice. I don’t mind getting up and getting my own drinks, but it is a treat to be waited on from time to time. There are a lot of palapas for shade, but the “best” ones up front were usually “reserved” with bags and towels by people who didn’t show up for hours, if at all. This is an annoying fact of this kind of vacation but we had no issue finding a good spot on the Diamond Club side.

There is a reef a ways out that breaks the waves, so the water isn’t overly rough. It remains shallow for quite a ways, so toddlers can wade in for a bit without the fear of a scary drop off. We encountered a few fish and other sea creatures, but nothing to worry about. Strong swimmers can make their way out to the reef for some more serious snorkeling, or sign out a paddle boat to head over with the family.

Included Beach Activities:

We loved going for catamaran rides (when the winds allowed) but note that the life jacket situation, especially for babies and toddlers, is not the best. To ensure your child has access to an appropriate life jacket in their size, probably best to bring your own. We brought our own snorkel gear as well. There is no cost to sign out the boats or gear. For the catamaran rides we tipped about 10 Pesos.

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Hola Senor Frog! | Memories Holguin Beach Resort

The paths throughout the resort can be a bit bumpy in parts but are mostly well-lit and well-maintained. At night, my kids loved exploring the paths down by the mangroves leading to the beach. They found all kinds of crabs and frogs and visiting these creatures became a nightly ritual for them with their dad. I enjoyed a post-dinner rum and cafe con leche listening to live music in the square by the lobby, natch!

Memories Holguin Beach Resort Review:
Pools & Kids’ Club

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A Pool with a View | Memories Holguin Beach Resort

The pools at Memories Holguin Beach Resort are built into the hill. The ones at the very top and the very bottom are probably best for babies and toddlers due to their shallowness and also their quietness. The one beside the beach bar is obviously the noisiest and the busiest.

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Baby Pool with Play Structure | Memories Holguin Beach Resort

None of the pools are very deep. We thought they were pretty clean and were in decent repair, compared to other resorts in Cuba.

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Kids’ Club Exterior | Memories Holguin Beach Resort

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Kids’ Club Pool | Memories Holguin Beach Resort

The Kids’ Club area also has two pools. Memories Holguin Beach Resort offers the supervised kids’ club programming for children 4 and up. Younger babies and toddlers can enjoy the amenities with their parents in tow. There is an air-conditioned quiet room, as well as shaded areas to play. The Kids’ Club staff are very warm and kind–great with the kids. They’ll do pizza making and arts and crafts, as well as other games and activities with the kids.

Memories Holguin Beach Resort Review:
Excursions & Nearby Activities

The animation team at Memories Holguin run a number of small daily outings, most of them free.

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BioParque Rocazul | Memories Holguin Beach Resort

BioParque Rocazul

About a kilometre down the road there’s a small petting zoo called BioParque Rocazul. You can walk or take a horse & buggy. The entrance fee was 12 Pesos per adult. For us, it was a fun change of scenery. We loved exploring alongside Cuban families as much as the unique attraction itself. Experiences like this are uniquely Cuban. The surroundings here are are quite different from the parks and petting zoos that we are used to. However, it’s obvious that the animals and birds are truly loved and cared for.

Paco the tortoise stole the show. He walks where he wants to, when he wants to. Watch your toes!

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Entrance to the Batcave | Memories Holguin Beach Resort

The Batcave

The “batcave” is, literally, a batcave. I don’t recommend this outing if your kids are younger than five. It’s about a 15-minute walk from the lobby. The path is mostly clear, but shoes and socks (that you don’t mind getting a big mucky) might be the best footwear choice (my flipflops were not).

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SURROUNDED BY BATS | Memories Holguin Beach Resort

The cave is really coo, it was once used as a bunker/hideout. Some of the infrastructure from that is still there. It didn’t actually occur to me that we would venture further inside. But–by the light of a few iPhones–on we went. You can’t see them, but you are literally SURROUNDED BY BATS. You can hear the woosh of their wings, and you can feel the breeze they leave in their wake. I was grateful to be wearing a hat. I also cowered on the ground as my kids ventured into a literal tornado of bats swirling around. Not one of my proudest parenting moments.

On the way out, we saw a Tarantula. An actual, giant spider Tarantula.

Again, this was the kind of experience that is totally unique to Cuba. Your (school-aged and older) kids will love it, and you’ll feel kind of weird about it but also enjoy.

I highly recommend seeking out the batcave, but be sure to wear insect repellent and bring water and snacks.

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Gibara, Cuba | Memories Holguin Beach Resort

Driving to Nearby Playa Guardalavaca, Gibara & Holguin City

On a couple of occasions we hired a cool old car and went out to explore. This would be a judgement call on your part since there are no seat belts in these cars (so no car seats). Car seats are not legally required in Cuba. I only started doing this once my guys were out of car seats. The great irony here being their cries of, “We don’t feel safe!” when we first did it in Santiago.

Holguin’s tourist infrastructure is pretty built up, and there is no shortage of modern taxis that are air-conditioned,  with seat belts for your car seat installation. If you’re like to head out to explore for a few hours or for a day, check with one of the tour reps or your Diamond Club concierge. They can help you locate a driver and secure a price, so you can head out and explore according to a time frame that works best for you and your kids.

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Cayo Saetia, Cuba | Memories Holguin Beach Resort

Cayo Saetia Excursion

I’ll write more about our excursion to Cayo Saetia elsewhere. We LOVED it, but it’s not a great outing with a baby or toddler in tow.

See Also:

We travelled to Cuba as guests of Sunwing for the purpose of a Memories Holguin Beach Resort review. 
All opinions remain my own.

 

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One Response to Travel Stories: Memories Holguin Beach Resort Review

  1. Kyli at 02:58 #

    All the information which is shared by you are absolute correct. Honestly, that was the most great post about memories. T x a lot!!

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