Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

October 24, 2021
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Paradise on a shoestring

Make the most of winter seat sales with affordable hotels in Cuba, Mexico and Hawaii


What: Casa Antigua (tel: 011-53-7-833-5175; www.

Where: A casa particular (private home) on a quiet residential street in Havana, within walking distance of plenty of attractions, restaurants and clubs.

Rooms: Two air-conditioned rooms, with a shared bath. Sheets and towels are changed every five days, so you might want to bring an extra set.

Amenities: There's a very pretty terrace which guests can use, and local calls are free, but you'll have to look elsewhere for entertainment. Owners Marta and Horacio are happy to answer questions or offer suggestions. Kids under eight aren't allowed.

Rates: $CUC25-30 per night. Breakfast and dinner are offered at very reasonable prices. Credit cards aren't accepted. The Cuban convertible peso (CUC), also called the tourist dollar, is exchanged at a one-to-one rate with the Canadian dollar. US currency is no longer legal tender in Cuba.


What: Hotel Ancon (tel: 011-53-7-204-0575; www.

Where: Beachfront property on Playa Ancon, Trinidad.

Rooms: 279 rooms, all of which are very simply decorated and include a/c, satellite TV, telephone and safe-deposit boxes. The hotel has made improvements over the last couple of years, so try to snag one in the newer section.

Amenities: Two restaurants, four bars, tennis courts, volleyball, watersports and swimming pool.

Rates: $CUC75 per night, double occupancy, all inclusive.


What: Hotel El Castillo (tel: 011-53-21-45-195;

Where: A former military fort, the hotel is perched on a hilltop overlooking Baracoa.

Rooms: The 34 decent-sized but plain rooms come with private baths and either two or three twin beds. There are only two rooms with double beds, so ask if one is available when you book.

Amenities: Restaurant, grill, two bars and a lovely patio area with swimming pool.

Rates: Starting at $CUC45 per night, including breakfast.


What: NH Parque Central (tel: 011-53-7-860-6627;

Where: In front of the Parque Central, right in the middle of old Havana, putting you within walking distance of several attractions.

Rooms: There are 277 spacious, modern and very well-maintained suites with marble bathrooms and Internet access. Some of the rooms' windows face into the hotel atrium, so ask for one with a park view when you reserve.

Amenities: Two restaurants (El Paseo serves an outstanding breakfast buffet), a lounge with inconsistent service, a fitness centre and a popular rooftop swimming pool and bar.

Rates: Doubles start at $CUC100.


What: Tamarindo Bed & Breakfast (tel: 011-52-987-872-3614;

Where: Near the central plaza in Cozumel, within walking distance of restaurants, beaches and other attractions.

Rooms: There are five spotless rooms with daily maid service and fresh linens. Only two of the rooms have air conditioning (the others come with ceiling fans), so if you've got a low tolerance for heat, the extra few dollars per night may be worth it.

Amenities: Internet service, babysitting, laundry and massage can all be provided for an extra fee. There's a communal kitchen for use by the guests, and the hosts -- who are fluent in English, French and Spanish -- are happy to help book excursions or rental cars and suggest places to eat, shop and swim.

Rates: Between $US41 and $US52, including full breakfast.


What: The Mexican Inn (tel: 011-52-624-143-4987;

Where: A few quick blocks from the centre of Cabo San Lucas and a short cab ride from several beaches.

Rooms: Nine newly renovated rooms are decorated with Mexican tiles and hand-painted sinks, and come with DVD players and queen-sized beds.

Amenities: Friendly, attentive service, but it's no mega resort. There's a lovely courtyard with a Spanish fountain and a small palapa-covered café.

Rates: Doubles start at $US70 per night, including breakfast.



What: Hotel Los Flamingos (tel: 011-52-744-482-0690;

Where: The Flamingo -- once owned by John Wayne -- sits on a cliff 150 metres above Acapulco Bay.

Rooms: All 40 rooms are bright, clean and have huge terraces. They've recently installed a/c, but the elevation and ocean breezes will likely keep you comfortable enough.

Amenities: Restaurant, coffee shop, bar, small but nice swimming pool, stunning gardens and friendly service. There's not much in the way of nightlife, but it's a short trip down the hill into the city. It's worth a stay for the sunset views alone.

Rates: Doubles start at $US60 per night.


What: The Bungalows (tel: 011-52-624-143-5035;

Where: Five blocks from downtown Cabo San Lucas and about a 20-minute walk to the beach.

Rooms: The 16 airy, hacienda-style suites come with living/dining room, kitchenette, TV and VCR. Guests also have access to the hotel's free video library.

Amenities: A lovely swimming pool and lounge area and lush gardens. There's also a cute little nook where you can enjoy fresh coffee and juices as well as the daily gourmet breakfasts, including strawberry-pecan pancakes and Bungalows Benedict -- poached eggs and black beans in a tortilla "bowl" covered in poblano-onion cream sauce.

Rates: Starting at $US115 per night, double occupancy, including breakfast.


What: Kona Tiki Hotel (tel: 808-329-1425; www.

Where: Oceanfront hotel near downtown Kailua-Kona, on the Big Island.

Rooms: The 15 guest rooms are comfortable and clean but offer bare-bones accommodations. The bathrooms are small and there's no a/c, TVs or phones. There are mini-fridges in all rooms and kitchenettes in some. Snag one on the second floor if you can -- they're quieter.

Amenities: There's a nice freshwater pool with a patio and a barbecue that guests are free to use.

Rates: Starting at $US61 per night, including continental breakfast. Credit cards aren't accepted. This is about as cheap as it gets for an oceanfront stay in Hawaii.


What: Inn Paradise (tel: 808-822-2542;

Where: On the east side (Coconut Coast) of Kauai, about five kilometres from the beach, shopping and restaurants.

Rooms: Three bright, spacious rooms have private entrances, kitchens, televisions, DVD players, bath products and a welcome basket stocked with fresh fruits, coffee, juice, cereal, bread, muffins and jam. The big wraparound lanai is shared with all of the guests.

Amenities: Library with guidebooks on Kauai, beach equipment (coolers, chairs, snorkel gear and towels), laundry facilities, a barbecue and a Jacuzzi.

Rates: $US70-95 per night, double occupancy.


What: Royal Grove Hotel (tel: 808-923-7691; www.

Where: In Honolulu on Oahu. Less than five minutes' walk to the beach.

Rooms: You couldn't miss the six-storey, flamingo-pink building if you tried. Its 85 no-frills rooms are clean but dated -- decor isn't a high priority -- and equipped with kitchenettes, phones and TVs. Maid service is twice weekly, but clean towels are available on request.

Amenities: There's a nice swimming pool, a small sushi bar and a health-food deli. Boogie boards, beach mats and towels are available for free.

Rates: $US45 per night, but we strongly suggest spending the $US62 for a room in the newer wing, which also has air conditioning and balconies.


What: Poipu Plantation Resort (tel: 800-634-0263;

Where: A short walk to pristine Poipu beach on Kauai.

Rooms: There are four well-maintained and clean rooms with hardwood floors, air conditioning and big bathrooms. Not all have phones. There are also nine one- and two-bedroom condos available with private lanais, huge living rooms and full kitchens.

Amenities: Hot tub, gas barbecue, beach equipment and laundry room. The friendly hosts are full of great suggestions on where to eat, what to see and what to do. Tennis, golf, snorkelling and more are a short drive away.

Rates: Doubles start at $US115 per night, double occupancy. Breakfast is included.


This article was accurate when it was published. Please confirm rates and details directly with the companies in question.