Pools, amenities within the resort were great and the beach is to die for. I would reccommend an ocean view suite and just as a heads up the buffets aren't great. Outstanding stretch of beach
Strangely enough, when I started looking for a place to stay in Varadero, I pretty much ended up picking this resort based on the negative comments I came across while looking at hotel reviews. The Barcelo Solymar has a bit of a reputation for being a party place, but that's exactly what we were looking for! In the end, I don't think we could have picked a better spot. The location was great - the hotel is within easy walking distance of town, which gives you access to many nightclubs. We very much enjoyed the atmosphere at the hotel, it was easy to meet people and have a good time, but things never got out of control. The staff working at the reception desk were not very friendly but everybody else was, including the waiters (Luis working at the buffet was our favourite), barmans (another Luis working at the pool bar was awesome), the entire animation staff and our lovely maid Vima.
The beach and grounds are beautiful and clean, the hotel itself has seen better days but it wasn't enough to put us out. Other guests experienced some problems with hot water and the A.C. not working right, but everything in our room worked fine. The beds were comfortable and we had a balcony with a really nice view. As for the food, we were pleasantly surprised: there was always a good selection of fresh salads, cold cuts, fish and other hot dishes at the buffet, so unless the only thing you had in mind was to eat steak and seafood all week long, there was more than enough to make you happy. We tried three a la carte restaurants, the Italian one wasn't very good, but the Spanish and Cuban ones were both excellent.
So while I might not recommend this place for a romantic getaway or to someone looking for a real 5-star hotel, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to anyone wanting to spend some good time in a friendly atmosphere in Varadero.
Stayed in2005, had a great time. Hotel is modern and well kept, with lovely gardens and pool areas. Friendly ,helpful staff , nice buffet(get there early,and you will be expected to dress for dinner,this just means long pants for men,no swim wear.)
Unique Quality: Great Beach
The hotel is a nice 4 star property.
It is close to the beach and it offers hotel accommodation as well a bungalows.
The food is OK and although the selection is not too big, the variety is. The food changes choices change every night and include lobster, fish, pork, .....whatever.....
The hotel rates itself a 5 star, but it is definitely NOT A 5 STAR!!!!! If you want 5 star- stay at the Paradisus, LTI Varadero, Melia Las Americas.....
Alos, if you want 4+ star.....stay at the Tryp Peninsula, Melia Varadero, Sol Palmeras.... not here.
Tour operators and guides will tell you that this is a new resort. Well, it is new to Barcelo, but it is an older hotel.
Anyhow, we got it for a bargain on a last minute deal, so we didn't complain.
For pictures and more, go to
click on Reviews and - Barcelo Solymar
Unique Quality: The hotel is a screaming yellow color!!!!!
At firas it kind of pokes your eyes because it stands out so much....but after a while you get used to it:)))
Directions: On the entrance to Varadero....beside Arenas Blancas
When staying in Varadero make sure you choose nothing but a four star and above resort. Make sure you read the fine print on the hotel's offering of ammenities. The Solymar is fairly new and was just finished in December of 2001. When I was there in April of 2002 they were still putting the finishing touches of paint here and there. The nice thing about this hotel are the bungalows NOT the main hotel. When booking make sure you ask to stay in a bungalow rather than the hotel. The bungalows are much more private and face the fabulous white beach.
Unique Quality: I would say that the beach at the Solymar is spectacular. You can walk about fifty feet from your room and hit the hot sand. There are lots of grass umbrellas and white plastic lounge chairs to go around.
Directions: There's only one way in and one way out! All the resorts are situated along one strip.
Pools, amenities within the resort were great and the beach is to die for. I would reccommend an ocean view suite and just as a heads up the buffets aren't great. Outstanding stretch of beach
FLIGHT / TRANFERSWe were pleased that the flights departed on time and also arrived on time, if not slightly ahead. Service on Air Transat was good. I asked for a blanket and after much searching the flight attendant was able to find an extra one. However, three weeks prior to our departure we were informed that our flight times had been bumped 12 hours back. This caused a degree of inconvenience at missing another full day of school and work that was not planned on initially. Needless to say we were not impressed and did not get us started off on the right foot. The transfer from the airport and return was comfortable and somewhat informative, drinks were available for a cost. As you enter and leave Cuba, each person must present themselves individually to Cuban customs, not in a group. On your departure from Cuba dont forget there is a $ 25 US fee to be paid before you can leave the country.RESORT / ACCOMADATIONOur check in at 0300 Hrs was very quick (less than 5 minutes). With the assistance of a porter (and a $ 1 tip) we found our 2 story bungalow quickly. In my opinion and others there, we feel that the bungalows are approximately 15 - 20 years old. As advertised, the main complex is only 14 months old and is well maintained and modern. Our boys 17 and 15 had cots to sleep on downstairs. One cot had a support missing that was replaced after a couple of days. We had a large spacious bedroom upstairs with a full bath. The room was cleaned and restocked everyday with 2 colas, 2 beer and 1 bottle (1.5 litre) of water. A couple of evenings when we were getting ready for dinner, there was no water. However, after a call to the front desk we had running water within 10 minutes. We also lost power a couple of times, which was frustrating. Our air conditioning worked very well for the duration of our stay. FOODAs expected the breakfast buffet were bland and with little taste. After the first day we stuck to eggs, toast, fruit and juices. The sliced meats did not stimulate an appetite and the other cooked meats were seating in oil. The best lunch we found was down by the beach. They had a variety of foods on the buffet. Lunch at the pool was satisfactory. We were lucky enough to sample all four a la carte dinners. Reservations for these must be made in the lobby in the morning each day. Waiting times for reservations vary depending on how many are there of course. There are 2 times available each evening.BARS / LOUNGESThere is 10 bars in the resort and the rum runs freely. We visited each one at least once. Should you like your drinks on the stronger side, this is the place. Dont be afraid to tell them to cut back on the rum if you like your drinks on the weaker side. We recommend to take a large insulated travel mug as the plastic glasses that the drinks are served in are on the small side. An insulated mug will keep your drink cooler longer and result in less trips to the bar. We heard the legal drinking age in Cuba is 16, but is hardly ever enforced. My boys freely sampled a variety of drinks and were never questioned. There is also an abundance of non-alcoholic drinks available. Water from the bars and restaurants are treated and acceptable for drinking. We experienced no problems with the food or water during our entire stay. As this was our first experience with an all inclusive resort, we never once saw any one that was overly intoxicated. DAY TRIPSThere is no shortage of day trips to choose from. We took a day trip to the Bay of Pigs. This was a good trip for the $ 59 US per person. We also took a horse drawn carriage into Varadero to the markets. The horse drawn carriage cost $ 3 US per person into town and is somewhat negotiable and a return trip of $ 2 US per person. Should you wish to walk it can be done, but with temperatures exceeding 30 C, bus or horse drawn carriage is recommended. We also rented scooters (available out front of the sports bar) and found them to be fun, but, with no helmets available and other vehicles roaring by you, it left you feeling slightly vulnerable. There is a double decker bus available, that allows you to get on and off at designated stops as many times you want in a day for $ 2 US per person. This type of transportation was probably the best value for our money. POOLS / BEACHThere a 2 large well maintained fresh water pools that have bars adjacent to them. There is a plentiful supply of chairs, tables, and lounge chairs available. At the beach, the sand is very soft and deep, again there is a good supply of lounge chairs. There is also bamboo cabanas. The cabanas can be reserved by throwing your beach towels on one in the morning, we never had a problem with towels being removed or reserving a cabana. There is also a bar on the beach. They have a coloured flag system for the ocean, depending on the severity of the waves and the weather. Most days we had green flags, but we did have a couple of yellow flag days. As for towels, a voucher can be obtained from the front desk for $ 10 US per towel. This is then presented to guy looking after the towels down by the beach. Towels can be exchanged daily for fresh ones. At the end of your stay, you hand in your towels and receive your voucher and get your money back from the front desk.TIPPINGWe had heard that tipping was not excepted but did improve the service received. We took a good supply of magazines, hotel bar soap and shampoos etc., as well as cash for tipping. In my personal opinion, tipping did not improve the service regardless of where or who you tipped. However, it was appreciated. SERVICEThis is one area that Barcelo needs to do some major improvements on. The service is not on a par with what we have come to expect here in Canada. The day after we checked in, we requested a second key and were told that they would have one cut, it never arrived. Do to the flight times being bumped on us, our travel agent had made arrangements for a 5:00 P.M. check out time. When we inquired about this late checkout the day of our departure, we were told no in a somewhat unpleasant way. There is a secure room where your luggage can be stored while you wait to be transferred to the airport. When we wanted to store our luggage there we were told the room was full. I got a look in the room and saw that there was lots of room for additional luggage. When I discussed this with the bell hop, he told me that we could leave the luggage in front of the room in the lobby. I asked him if he was going to watch it until we came back to claim it and he said probably not. After more discussion with him, he allowed us to put our luggage in the room. After all of this, we still had one more surprise in store for us. We had been told that there was a courtesy room for guests that had to check out early to freshen up before departing for the airport. When it came time to find where this room was, there was no such room because they were full. On a positive note, we got to know the 2 guys that looked after the beach towels and the pellet rifle range. They were pleasant to talk to and very interesting, as well as very well educated. Service at the restaurants and bars was substantially better.SUMMARYOverall, if some one was to ask me if I would return to Cuba, I would say yes for sure. If asked if I would go back to Solymar, I would have to say probably not unless they made some improvements to the level of service. This is the only way to take a vacation, at an all inclusive. Feel free to e-mail me with questions, I will do my best to answer them.
My friend & I went to Solymar the week of March 22nd, 2002 (just discovered this site!) and we liked it so much we are going back again next week! One great feature is that its within walking distance to Varadero. We walked almost nightly to a sidewalk cafe/bar where we enjoyed ice cold bottles of Cristal for $2 US each (you can only get draft at the hotel) & watched a live cuban band on the street. The lobby bar at Solymar is open 24 hours and is a great place to meet fellow travelers and socialize with the bartending staff who worked very hard and were attentive & friendly. The nightime entertainment was pretty corny but there are bars & discos just a short walk or cab ride away.The food was so-so but even the pickiest eaters could find something to satisfy them as there was plenty of variety. Don't go to Cuba for gourmet dining! Go for the sunshine, which there is plenty of and the beautiful beach! Overall this hotel was bright, cheery, clean with decent view from rooms on either side, friendly staff and all the amenities you would expect from a 4 star. I can't wait to return to Solymar and have no qualms recommending it to others.
Recently I stayed at Solymar Barcelo for a March Break graduation trip. It was amazing, great weather and a perfect place for a group of teens to have a week of fun in the sun! Everyone was friendly, the place was full of people from Ontario... all the people (teens) that we met down there were from neighbouring cities, towns or highschools even. Cuba gave the illusion that it is a small world.... as it seemed you knew everyone there from a connection of another person. I have been other places but Cuba by far stands out as the most friendly, conforting Tropical Island I can think of. They always have hotdogs and hamburgers , bread, friends and lots of chocolate specialities for after dinner.... It was Great!
We have just come back from the Solymar at Varadero and it was the second time that we had being to Varadero in 1 month. We first booked a trip and after Jan !st found that we won a trip to the Solymar. The food was Horrid. It seemed it was recycled every day. What was not eaten yesterday, you got today in a different form. The buns were constantly hard as if there were left out for a few days. The bread was sliced in 1/4 inch thickness so when you toasted it, it was some dry or burnt. The bacon looked like it was cooked a week ago. The food was never hot, maybe times luke warm. The desserts were of little variety. The only al-a-carte we liked was the International and the steak was good and of course the best place to eat was the Snack/bar at the pool where the hot dog and the fries were the tastyest food on the whole resort. I was quit dissappointed with the beach as well. We arrived on Friday and there were the same 3 broken pieces of chairs there on the next Friday. The Beach was never cleaned up. Bottles & glasses all over, The rooms were all right and the area grounds were pretty fair, but the people working were not as open or friendly as the last resort we were at. The 2 examples I could give about the food from others that were there at the same time comes from a couple of girls who worked on cruise ships and a couple that own a restaurant and there thoughts are like mine. If the meals have any thing to do with the rating and in my books ,it does, than this is about a 3 1/2 star resort. It was nothing like the Iberostar Tianos that we spent 2 weeks there also in March of 2003. Read that review.. Wayne & Tillie
My girlfriend and I just got home from The Solymar and have only positive things to say! After reading some of the reviews about this resort we were extremely worried, only to realize that the people writing some of these reviews must have abnormally high standards!!! Its Cuba people!!!! The beach was beautiful and the weather was extremely HOT!!! The coldest day being semi cloudy and a high of 33C! The warmest was somewhere in the area of 35C and clear. The food was good with a fair variety (even cereal for breakfast). I do recommend the Italian a la carte, very similar to a decent Italian restaurant in Ottawa! But remember to book the restaurants as soon as you arrive, because people book them right away for the entire week and you may be out of luck if your looking to reserve for the same day. The room we had was decent yet could have used a better paint job, but I also think it wasn't the hotels best. We had brought a 3rd person along with us so the room contained 3 beds creating smaller quarters! Our room was very clean and had a nice balcony. Air conditioning had 2 levels...cold and very cold. We had a small problem with our fridge and A/C one evening but after a few calls a repair man was in our room repairing everything! We recommend a day trip to "HABANA"...quite the eye opener. The people of Cuba (even the poorest) were very receptive to Canadians and became even friendlier when they found out you were from Canada. I really suggest that you bring soap samples along with lotion for some poor people on the street (they beg for soap). Little do we know how good we have it! My girlfriend had visited Dominican Rep. a few years ago and claims tha Cubans are "so much nicer and they really don't harrass you on the streets like they do in DR". I would agree, after visiting the flea market in Varadero (a must for shopping), I noticed that I HAD to go looking to find a vendor most of the time. Very refreshing! I recommend that you bring a pile of US $1 bills for tipping andr bed everyday and you'll notice little creations made from you towels and the maids are very appreciative considering that there salary is apperently $10 US per Month. Als booked a day trip on the "Reef Goddess", a boat tour along with about 45 mins of snorkeling and an open bar and lunch. All in all the vacation nice and very much worth the money! Remember Cuban RUM is very potent and drink in moderation, as our roommate learned the 1st night (she spent the entire next day in bed) Booze and food are available 24/7. We also found a neat feature..the hotel provides internet access, 30 mins for $4US (I suggest that you open a Hotmail account before you go) We will be returning to the Solymar next year but this time for two weeks.
Just got back from a week of fun in the sun. The Staff was great, the food was more than we expected.
Take in the beach or pool the first couple of days, then shop for cigars etc. Talk to some of the staff or people that are in the second week of vacation to get a feel for what you should spend for items. The cigars in the hotel store are pricey
Barcello Solymar an me
View from Solymar hotel
Has anyone stayed at the Barcelo Solymar lately? Do you know any of the waitresses and who might still be working there? Do you know Yolie or Yanara?
Thanks for your help.
Carretera Las Morlas KM 15, Punta Hicacos, Varadero
Carretera de las Morlas, , Cuba, 42200, Caribbean
Crta. de las Morlas, Matanzas, Cuba, Caribbean
Crta Las Morlas km 16, Sector Punta Hicacos, Cuba, Caribbean
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Address: Carretera Las Americas Km. 3, Varadero, Caribbean