Seven years after its entry into Cuba, the Canadian hotel chain Blue Diamond Resorts is consolidated as one of the three most important international chains in the Caribbean country’s tourist market, along with the Spanish Meliá and Iberostar.
Currently, Blue Diamond Resorts, which is the hotel division of Sunwing Travel Group and has more than 35 properties and 13 500 rooms in six countries, manages 17 facilities in Cuba and has a presence in the main tourist areas, such as Havana, Varadero, Cayo Santa María, Cayo Coco and Holguín.
Blue Diamond began working in Cuba with its two main brands, Memories and Royalton; However, after the good economic results obtained, it decided to incorporate two of its other lines: Starfish Resorts and Grand Memories Resorts, which allowed it to reach new market segments.
The devastating pass of Hurricane Irma caused damage to the Blue Diamond facilities, located on Cayo Coco and Cayo Santa María; but a quick restoration process allowed the reopening of the Royalton Cayo Santa María, the Memories Caribe, the Memories Flamenco, the Starfish Cayo Santa María, and the Tropical Starfish.
The tourism industry is key to the Cuban economy. In 2017 the growth of this sector was 4.4% and the authorities celebrated the new record of more than 4.5 million visitors in the year. Canada solidified its position as the main tourists’ emitter to Cuba, with more than one million tourists.
What are the best Blue Diamond hotels in Cuba? PanamericanWorld proposes to approach five Canadian hotel-industry’s facilities of excellence.
ROYALTON CAYO SANTA MARÍA
This is the best-known Blue Diamond hotel in Cuba. It’s located in Villa Clara’s northern keys, in the center of the country and has been recognized in the Traveler’s Choice Awards as the best all-inclusive resort in the world, according to users of the TripAdvisor portal. In addition, it has been awarded number one in Cayo Santa María for three consecutive years.
The five-star hotel has 122 rooms and it’s for adults only (over 18 years old). Picturesque facilities, warm staff and world-class cuisine distinguish this resort.
ROYALTON HICACOS VARADERO
Varadero is the most important tourist area in Cuba and, there, Blue Diamond has a great presence. Among the facilities, from different brands, the Royalton Hicacos stands out, a five-star hotel, only for adults, with 404 rooms (among them luxury suites).
The hotel has, in addition to the buffet restaurant Gran Plaza Hicacos, four other specialized, a la carte: Don Pascuale (Italian food), El Caribe (Caribbean), Las Morlas (seafood) and El Viejo y el Mar Beach Grill (The old man and the sea Beach Grill).
Five kilometers from the Royalton Hicacos is Varadero’s golf course, which was designed by the architect Les Furber, president of the Canadian company Golf Design Services.
Another important place for tourism in Cuba is Jardines del Rey, north of Ciego de Ávila. There Blue Diamond has Memories Flamenco, with 624 junior suites and suites. This hotel is located just 17 kilometers from the Cayo Coco International Airport.
Among this hotel’s options are unlimited gastronomy 24 hours a day, supervised activities in the Baby’s Club and the Children’s Club and the practice of non-motorized water sports.
GRAND MEMORIES VARADERO
Back to Varadero, we find another Blue Diamond brand: Grand Memories. This hotel has 960 rooms and has a section (Sanctuary) for adults only, with its own restaurant and a special cigar bar. In this hotel, the Diamond Club operates, a chain’s option that allows having rooms in special locations and advantageous access to the beach.
In the most exclusive area of Havana (Miramar) this hotel is located, which was managed until 2014 by the Occidental chain, but when it left Cuba, Blue Diamond decided to incorporate this city hotel into its portfolio, under the Memories brand.
The four-star Memories Miramar is functional for both business travelers and vacationers. It has 2 restaurants and 2 bars (it’s not “all-inclusive”). The facility is very close to several of the main business locations in the Cuban capital, such as the Miramar Trade Center, the Convention Center and the Pabexpo exhibition-venue.