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Iberostar Daquiri Christina Montreal, Canada

We were a group of four, my husband and I and our 2 pre-school children

Flight: Our flight to Cuba from Montreal via Air Transat went very well. I was impressed with how the attendants helped us occupy the children throughout the flight. Flight back was cancelled and put to the next day because of last-minute technical difficulties with the airplane. Air Transat put us up at the El Senador for the night. We were happy to have a sneak peek at the El Senador and I must say that at first glance the El Senador looks more fancy but I still believe the Iberostar Daquiri was the right choice.

Check-in: Unbelievably quick, staying at a smaller hotel definitely has its advantages.

Room: Fairly standard room, a single bed and crib were waiting for us as requested. Very clean and good maid service. Our only complaint was that the main door could not be closed without a loud slam. Very annoying to hear fellow guests slamming doors at 1 am or at 7 am.

Beach/Pool: We did plenty of research before choosing this hotel, so we knew to expect a fairly narrow strip of beach when the tide was in and we took it in stride. When the tide is out there is plenty of beautiful white sand to play with. The beach stretches 21 km (not all belongs to Iberostar!) and offers a great walking opportunity. Windless days were best; the water would be as calm as a lake and the temperature would be warm. Windy days meant rougher waves and a cooler water temperature. I was so happy that there were no vendors annoying us every 5 minutes as they have on other vacations.

The pools are quite smaller than those we have seen at other resorts. Nonetheless, our children enjoyed the baby pool and big pool thoroughly. I only went in a couple of times as the water temperature was very cold. Our children were always shivering when exiting the pool.

Food: We were pleasantly surprised with the food. Our expectations were very, very low (due to a previous trip to Cuba at a different hotel) so we were happy with the variety and the quality of the food. The restaurant was very, very busy at breakfast and supper, however the staff did their best to minimize any waiting time. Paez is the banana flame-thrower at the supper buffet. My kids loved him!

Entertainment: This is the area where Iberostar Daquiri gets top marks. The animation team is the best I have ever encountered. If you are travelling with young kids as we did, your kids will love Yanara at the Kids' Club. The entire team knows how to mingle well, dance well and get the guests involved without getting on anyone's nerves. The evening shows were quite entertaining and some were very original. Kudos to the team for helping us out when our cameras (digital and video) disappeared on our second day.

I would like to give a special thanks to the person (I don't know how to spell his name) who gave our children (and all the other guests) pony rides around the hotel grounds and beyond. Our children rode in the carriage every day at least once!

Socializing with other guests: The resort is one of the smaller ones we've been to (about 324 rooms); one advantage of this size is that our children were able to meet and play with their newfound playmates throughout our vacation. My husband and I aren't exactly Mr. and Mrs. Social, yet we still met wonderful people from England and all across Canada.

Final comments:

We were happy to note that most days/evenings the mosquitoes weren't around.

The hotel features a park right near the beach - fantastic plastic play structures.

When the hotel features "barbecues on the beach", the food should actually be bbq'd on the beach, not cooked at the restaurant and then brought to the beach.

The Iberostar Daquiri should be on every Cuban tourist's short list!