Not too bad, but not exceptional either
Myself and my husband were supposed to go to Cuba, but this was sadly cancelled due to the hurricane so on the Tuesday we booked Sunset Marina and on Wednesday we arrived for 2 weeks.*First impressions*Well sadly first impressions were average. We had been travelling for approx 15 hours and had to wait 50 minutes for our room to be ready. We were also jumped on by the concierge who kindly told us about the hotel etc but also tried to talk us into attending a 2hr meeting for a discount website or something. I think it is poor doing this to people when they've just arrived and are tired. *Room*The rooms are unusual. We went up a flight of stairs where we opened the door to a little kitchen, wardrobe and the bathroom. We then went down a flight of stairs to our bed. Sadly our bedsheets were covered in stains, but we were so exhausted from travelling we turned a blind eye and hoped the cleaner would show us the courtesy of changing them the next day (no such luck!). The room has plenty of space, but if there were 4 people it might be a little cramped. We had a balcony looking out to the lagoon which was nice, it was also quiet on this side of the hotel, as the other side looks onto a busy road. If you're all inclusive you have a fridge with soft drinks and water. Most frustrating was that we had to phone most days to have this refilled, and they didn't exactly fill the fridge. They gave us 2 bottles of water, 1 can of coke, fanta and diet coke. Then 2 cans of beer. There is also a coffee machine in the room, but no kettle to make tea...We availed of room service once which was ok. *Food*The food was distinctly average in this hotel. It was often lukewarm (probably because they keep stacking the food up in the middle of the dish above the sauce - stop doing this), and I often struggled to put together a complete dinner. Breakfast and lunch was always lovely though, and the omelets were good in the morning. I also noticed one morning a hotplate for tacos. What a shame to not do this for dinner though! Also, they do an extra large fish buffet on Sundays. I particularly enjoyed this. I had cod one Sunday and Paella another. We went into the a la carte restaurant a couple of nights but again this was distinctly average and if I was paying for that dinner I would have sent it back. I had chicken pasta, fish pasta, lasagne in this restaurant. My husband had the salmon. The chicken, fish and salmon all tasted like they had been fried on the same hotplate/grill and therefore all had the same bad taste. In addition, you can't order sides for your main. Bizarrely, my husband and I had to have salmon and lasagne on their own. Most restaurants would have a side menu of salads, potatoes etc, but nothing. The waiter told us to order a pasta. Again, nothing went together. I had Pizza and Calzone in the little place behind the stage. This was nice but they are only personal sized pizzas so order more than one if you want to share. I spotted a menu lying beside the pool one day for a snack bar. This included burgers, hotdogs, chips etc. They don't really advertise this as I suspect they don't want to do the additional cooking. *The pool*The pool is good, not too cold, not too warm. I think there is a lot of chlorine in the water, which I was surprised at as I often saw a man checking the chemicals in the water. We went in low season so there were enough sunbeds for everyone, but in high season I would say it's a struggle because there aren't really that many. There is a pool bar which you can swim up to which is nice. However, I think there should be a cocktail menu or poster on the wall of what you can choose from. In addition, we were never served drinks at our sunbed, which would have just been a nice extra. Perhaps every hour offering a cup of water would be nice. Finally, my major complaint about the pool area was the volume of the music. I came away to relax for 2 weeks, and I felt like I was in a club every day. Music should be background noise, not foreground where you literally have to shout to hear each other. Please turn it down! Also please remember when doing the activities that others chose not to participate and this means they want to relax, not be overwhelmed by shouting and screaming over a mic. *Entertainment*The entertainment in the evenings is fab. You can see that the hotel has invested in paying professionals to come in and put on a show rather than using their own entertainment crowd. We thoroughally enjoyed the Michael Jackson show, and Mexican band. I just thought it was a shame that they were held in the lobby each night, even when the sky was clear and no sign of rain. The lobby bar is VERY cold so hard to sit in. In addition, it was a shame they performed so early as there was no atmosphere in the hotel once they finished. I suspect they were performing in Sunset Marina early, so they could go to another hotel after. Shame really. The entertainment throughout the day is quite repetitive. Volleyball, aqua aerobics, cooking, yoga, bingo. While this was all great in the first week, it would have been good to have something different in the second week. Perhaps they could work out a two week rotation of activities?*staff*The staff are the saving grace of this hotel. They work tirelessly and if you show basic manners they're happy to help you (too often I saw people not say thank you or even acknowledge they were there - RUDE). The staff are so polite and say hello to everyone who passes them. Big shout out to Artemio (lobby bar) and Raul (morning and lunch waiter) and Gabriele (pool bar) for their hard work. I think while I was there they worked 2 weeks solid. I found it a little irritating seeing all the timeshare staff in the lobby in the mornings. I think they should be in a side office somewhere because as I walked through in my swimwear, I felt uncomfortable with all these people in suits. It just doesnt give a nice relaxed atmosphere. It felt like they were vultures waiting to pounce. *sister hotels*We often visited Sunset Royal so we could go to the beach. It's beautiful there. The nice thing was at this hotel they have a pool service so I didn't have to move. I also spotted at this hotel there was a freezer with icepops/creams that their guests could take and also a buffet with snacks available throughout the day. These are probably the things missing from Sunset Marina. In addition, my husband used the gym at Sunset Royal because there was none at Marina. Finally, we did not avail of the spa as it was $150 for two massages. There are no bargains to be had, everything is priced as you would expect to pay at home which feels a bit of a joke. *final thoughts*All in all this wasn't a bad holiday, but for the money I paid and the 4 star status I expected more. I probably wouldn't return here but perhaps would go to Sunset Royal as I much preferred it there. That being said I think the whole Sunset chain needs updating.