More about Iberostar Varadero
Four of us stayed at the Iberostar Varadero from March 31st to April 14th, 2005 and loved every minute of it. This was the first time we stayed with the Iberostar chain and it will not be the last.
Property: Very beautiful. It will be amazing in another year once the vegetation grows in. The property is lit up very nicely. You can see very clearly walking at night. You always see gardeners working during the day. I would think they will be building a boardwalk from the property to the beach, as it would be much easier to walk on rather than the sand. The resort is very easy to get around; the layout is well thought out. Everything is near by. The a la cartes and buffet are located away from the lobby, which is nice.
Pool: The pool is beautiful. It was big enough that you never felt crowded. They also have two other smaller pools if you want to be alone. Nice touch. All the details around the pool make it beautiful.
Room: We booked the junior suite which, in my opinion, is worth the little extra cost. The room has sleeping and sitting areas. The location of the junior suites is the best feature. You are situated along/overlooking the beach. We were lucky enough to have a nice ocean view. Even if you don’t get an ocean view, you can still hear the waves. The bathroom is the nicest we have seen. There is a separate glass shower and soaker style bath tub. The toilet and bidet are on the other side of the bathroom in a little room. There is also a hair dryer that works very well and a magnified mirror attached to the wall. Nice little touch.
Beach: Wow, beautiful! We are beach people and we enjoyed the beach every day. We never had trouble getting a hut for shade, but if you wait until after 8am, you may not find one. Keep in mind that the resort was fully booked when we were there. They were building more sun shelters, so there should not be a shortage in the near future. We did take a stroll through the Paradisis Varadero and the property looked beautiful. I did find the sand in front of the IV finer and than the Paradisis. IV has a beautiful beach. You can walk for miles and the sand is excellent for walking.
Tipping: We tipped with clothing and money and the staff happily accepted. Not sure what all the contaversy was, but there was no problem at all with tipping.
Service: Absolutely amazing. One time we had four people waiting on our table. The waiters were always available if you needed anything. We were all very impressed with the service throughout the resort both weeks we were there.
Money exchange: Changing money from Canadian to Convertible Pecos was very easy and convenient. You can change your money right at the airport only paying the conversion rate from Canadian to CP (US). There was no service charge there. You can also change it at the hotel, but they do charge a minimal fee. The banks do not charge the service fee either. When you leave Cuba, you may change your money from CP to Canadian at the airport with no problems at all.
Courtesy room: They had two showers by the porter’s room with the luggage. The reception desk gave you towels to use. There were four of us and we had no problem getting the rooms. Nice offer for those late flights home.
Excursions: We did two excursions. One was the overnight trip to Havana. The second was the catamaran, snorkeling and swimming with the dolphins. They were both worth every penny. We were picked up at the hotel for the overnight in Havana at 8am, did the day tour with lunch included, dropped off at the five star Melia Havana, had supper there, picked up at 9pm and taken to the Tropicana show. Wow, we have never seen anything like it. You were then taken back to the hotel for the night, then breakfast in the morning, picked up at 10am, then had the day to yourself in Old Havana. They showed you where the bus would be at 3pm to go back to Varadero. The whole two days felt like a dream. If you are considering this excursion, don’t hesitate. Be sure to take the horse and carriage tour around the city. The second week we did the catamaran. The weather was beautiful and the catamaran was huge. We thoroughly enjoyed the day. We also took the double Decker bus into Varadero for $5 CP return. The park is very nice in Varadero and the markets are fun. Worth the trip.
Overall: We highly recommend the Iberostar Varadero to anyone. There was a nice mixture of families, singles and couples. The highlights of the IV are the beach, staff and service. Having been in customer service, you always know if employees are treated well by the smiles on their face, and there wasn’t one face without a smile from ear to ear. Thank you Iberostar for such a great vacation..
Spent two weeks at the Iberostar Varadero, we flew from London Gatwick on the 18th May,.
It would be churlish to award anything other than the full five point rating to this excellent hotel. We've stayed at Riu Hotels in the Dominican Republic and Mexico (both also great) but this was better yet.
Some specifics. We stayed in a junior suite, the rooms for which are in a separate block situated close to the beach, pool and dining area. The room was very spacious with a great bathroom. We we're on the ground floor and a line of trees separates the beach from the main hotel grounds, so we couldn't see the sea from our room (not an issue). Didn't see the normal rooms, but by all accounts they were of a high standard too.
The pool was absolutely fantastic, without doubt an outstanding feature of the hotel - its enormous, and there are separate smaller pools for games, children. The water was very inviting and warm, especially in the afternoon. I found there were plenty of sunbeds around the pool and plenty of shaded areas. To get a good seat, you didn't need to get up ridiculously early either.
I thought the beach was great, certainly better than anywhere i've been before. The water was crystal clear, and had a very gentle slope - you could wade out for miles!
Food was good, and pretty varied, I had no complaints. I'm pretty consersative in my tastes, so those preferring more exotic arrays of food might be slightly disappointed.
The other main highlight for me was the service - it was incredible. You hardly needed to lift a finger to get served with drinks etc. Everyone was polite, happy and keen to provide good service. The star friends were also a great bunch, offering plenty of entertainment throughout the day. Irecommend getting some tennis lessons from the resident pro - its part of the all inclusive service, and its great fun.
Entertaining and Relaxing!
I stayed at the Iberostar resort in Varadero Cuba from April 13th -20th, 2005, along with my husband and some friends. We had a week full of relaxation and entertainment. The Recreation Staff at this resort are amazing group of multi-talented people. They work 14 hrs a day 6 days a week. When you hear "Wakie, wakie" at 10 am you know that your entertainment has begun. They entice you with water areobics, yoga, dance lessons, games and activities, and pool side dramatics. This mostly occurs at the pool side however there are games and activities on the beach. I have to say that along with the sun and the drinks the recreation staff and their entertainment were the highlight of my vacation.
When the stars come out at night so did they. Every night there is a show at the threater which is located next to the Lobby Bar. These people light up the stage with singing, dancing and acting. BRAVO!
There is a theme for each show. For example one night is Ms. Iberostar night and four ladies are choosen from the audience to compete for the title. I will not disclose any more details for fear of spoiling the fun. However I will say if you are shy and do not like to be put on display choose your seating in the theater wisely because at every show audience members are required to particpate, my husband being one of them. During one show, he had to do the limbo, sing and dance (he cannot sing and dance) and sing while gurgling and so much more. It was hilarious because he does not like to be put on display. However a note of caution for the shows they do contain some sexual and violent content.
When the shows are over you can enjoy drinks in the very nice Lobby Bar or go to the Disco. The Disco is located next to the Bathrooms in the Lobby Bar. The Disco is really cool. There are swings on one side and a Jeep that the DJ uses to play his music. Once again you will see the Recreation Staff there enticing you to dance. However it was really awesome just to watch them dance. As one friend commented to me "now they dance we jiggle"!
The rooms were spacious and clean. Ask for a room with a view. We were in building one which is located right next to the Lobby, very convient. The maid service was excellent. Every morning I left a little gift and some pesos for the maid and in turn was rewarded with extra towels, cookies, fresh flowers, towels decorated in the forms of swans, etc., it was really nice. The room was a nice place to retreat to after a long day in the sun.
The food was great. Time and time again I was told that the food was not as good in Cuba as it was in the DR. I found that to be the opposite as did my husband. Throughout the week there were great selections of beef, pork, chicken, fish, shrimp, lobster, pizza, pasta, eggs, bacon sausage and so much more. I actually gained 7 lbs as did my friend. There are 2 buffets, one is located next to the pool and is an open concept. The selection is very limited there but good. Everyday there was rotisser chicken, french fries and of course hot dogs and hamburgers. The chicken was excellent. Just outside the buffet most days there was also several BBQ's fired up. They grilled shrimp, pork, fish etc. at times they also had entertainment during lunch. The bigger buffet had a big selection all the time. Now after a week the food do tend to be the same so if you are staying two weeks it may wear thin.
There are 3 a la carts, Japanese, Mediterrian and Cuban. We only ate at the Japanese and Mediatterian. Although the dining experiences at both were superb I perferred the Japanese food.
The best drinks were at the Lobby Bar. The drinks at the Pool could be hit or miss. If Elizabeth is working ask for a banana milkshake with rum, they are yummmmy! Only she can make them because it is her own receipe. The drinks at the beach were nice as well. The only complaint I have for the beach is that there is nowhere to sit down and have a drink if you want to socialize and get out of the sun. It's basically a stand up bar. The beach itself is beautiful!
If you are travelling to Iberostar Varadero you will have a great time. Here are a few suggestions: It cost 2.05 in pesos to call Canada. I made a 12 minute call home at it cost me 30 pesos (almost 50$ Canadian). You are not permitted to call home collect or use a calling card. There is Internet Service. It is cheaper for home to call you. 1.20 a minute.
You lose money converting to pesos at the hotel (however convienent).50$ will get you 34 pesos and change. There is a bank located at the Plaza America just a few resorts away (a short taxi ride) where you can convert your money for a better rate but bring your passport. They will only allow one foreigner in at a time so there may be a long wait.
Bring a adapter and converter for the electrical outlets.
Instead of taking the bus back to the airport take a taxi, you will avoid the line up. Or pay the 20$ for the VIP room, they take care of everything for you.
Do not go over weight because they will make you pay BIG TIME!
Tipping was no big deal at this resort for us. I found that I was tipping because I was receiving great service rather than tipping to get great service.
If you have any questions or would like further clarification do not hestiate to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a great trip!
Lovely new hotel
This was my 7th trip to Cuba and the 4th to Varadero (different hotel each time). I have also travelled extensively throughout the Caribbean, Europe and the U.S. As such, i believe i have a fairly good idea of the various hotels not only in Cuba but in other places in the world.
Overall, i found the Iberostar Varadero (IV)a delightful place to spend a week and would definitely rate it as the best of all hotels i've visited in Cuba (other Varadero hotels i've stayed at include the Melia Varadero, Iberostar Bella Costa & the Riu Turquesa).
BEACH: Fantastic! This beach could easily compete with some of the "higher end" Caribbean island beaches.The water was clear, warm and calm during my stay (May 22-29). The beach is nice and long for walks. The hotel to the right of the IV (if facing the beach) is the Paradisus and it is pretty well the last hotel on this stretch of the beach. The last hotel to the left is the former Club Med (can't recall the new name). A leisurely walk from the Paradisus to the former Club Med would be approximatetly 45 -55 minutes to give you an idea of the length of the beach.
Had no problem finding a palapa/hut between 8:30 and 9am. A waiter came by about once daily (around noon) to take drink orders which was great. The only thing that could have been improved on was the location of th showers...not as close to the beach as in some destinations but definitely not far.
NOTE: If sitting in the palapas in front of building 17, watch for broken glass on the walk to the showers. I picked up 10 larger pieces during my stay. Encountered same problem close to Paradisus
GROUNDS: Again, very nice. Beautiful flowers and young trees. THis hotel only opened on December 22/04 so the grounds are not as lush as in other more mature hotels (Paradisus had the most wonderful lush grounds).
The hotel rooms are situated in various 3 story buildings around a large fountain/pond with a gazebo. It is a short walk from the restaurants/lobby but great as it was very peaceful. I believe only building 17 and some rooms in building 16 have ocean views. The rest appear to face the fountain/pond.
LOBBY: One of the nicest i've seen in the Caribbean. Lobby bar is also a great place for a cocktail and listening to soothing music (piano and sax player on a few occasions). There is a disco which you access through the bar. I peaked in...not very big but sufficient for the hotel size.
POOLS: I didn't spend any time sitting around the pool as i'm a beach person but i stepped into the main pool and the water was warm. Pool was nice with what appeared to be a jacuzzi/whirlpool in the middle. There was also a small children's pool next to a kids playground. In addition there was a "sports" pool and a small, more private pool for complete R & R next to the spa/gym.
RESTAURANTS/FOOD: Best food i've eaten in Cuba and by any standard, everything i ate was good! Having said this, i only ate grilled and fried chicken, turkey, roast and fish. I also ate vegies, potatoes (mashed,etc), delicious crab and shrimp.Loved the pizza! I did NOT eat anything that had mayo in it or had a lot of sauce covering it. Good choice at breakfast also. Desserts were Ok (better at the Melia Varadero)...my fave were the flambed bananas.
I ate at the Buffet every night except one when we dined at the Japanese restaurant which was a lot of fun. The sushi and california rolls were good as was the shrimp,chicken and fried rice. Pool grill was also good for a bite if you didn't feel like changing from your swimsuit.
ROOMS: I had a junior suite (full ocean view) which was great. It looked brand spanking new (no marks on the walls and smelled new). Bathroom was great as there were 2 "showers"...regular shower and one in the tub. Towels were nice and clean as were the sheets. Balcony had a place to hand wet clothes and an iron and ironing board.
NOTE: Had problems with the electrical plugs. I have an adaptor that i've used in other cuban resorts but i barely placed it in the sockets (no matter which one i tried) and my hairdryer and curling iron did not work the whole time. Thankfully, my flattening iron worked with the adaptor..strange. Also, make sure you have the lights on otherwise the plugs don't work (at least in my room). Just a minor note but for those of you who have "hair"issues like i do, bring a hair tie. The blowdryer in the bathroom is useless unless you have little hair.
On one occasion,had to call for help as the safe wouldn't work and help arrived fairly quickly to fix it.
DRINKS: Red and white wine (from Spain) with lunch and dinner (no rose which was disappointing as Spaniards usually have a nice Rose). In terms of the other drinks, hands down the best drinks were at the lobby bar or at the pool bar if Pablo was serving (banana/Bahama mama).
If you want a banana daiquiri, tell them to use a real banana otherwise they use the syrup which made it horrible. Overall, the mixed drinks that i ordered were not very good. Generally, i stuck to Cava (champagne) at the lobby bar, wine with meals and the occasional rum punch. Lobby bar also served cappucinos, expresso,etc.
SERVICE: Give or take the odd person, the staff were very pleasant (nevertheless, you will wait a few minutes for your morning coffee). I did not get the cold shoulder as i have in other Cuban hotels if i didn't tip them immediately. As a matter of fact, one bartender (when i apologized for not having cash with me that moment, told me not to worry as i was on vacation). Having said this, they are appreciative when you tip them and don't forget the gardeners. Often times, i took them cold pop and water from the mini fridge in the room. I was amazed however at the lack of tipping after the dinner at the Japanese restaurant. Of a party of about 14 people at our table, only 2 parties (including myself)tipped.
Overall, a delightful experience.
We went to the Iberostar Varadero from April 12th to April 26th
Arrived at 11:00 am via air-transat. Great flight with no delays. Got through customs, exchanged money ($692.00 CUC for $1,000.00 CAD) and on to the bus in under 30 minutes. Signature rep conducted a very detailed briefing on rout to the property, very well done.
Was a snap, we were directed to the check in desk where three staff members handled everything quickly and efficiently. Received our package of room keys, map of the property, towel cards, etc and were whisked to our room in one of their golf carts. Porters took our luggage to the room and we were in paradise at last.
We opted for a suit in building 17 on the third floor. The best rooms are 1741, 1742, 1745, 1748, 1751, 1752. These have the corner balconies with the best view. Building 20 is closer to everything but will not have a beach view because of the trees and berm obstructing the view.
Nice rooms, very spacious and well appointed. The rooms are very high tech in respect to the air conditioning and lighting. There is a panel by the bed that controls the ceiling fan and AC. (a little tip, no matter where you set the digital temp control, you must push the “run” button on the bottom right to activate it) There are motion sensors in the room and bathroom that will turn the lights off and AC down if you leave the room for more than an hour. As soon as you enter the room, everything comes back on again. Nice touch when you come back from the evening show after a few drinkies! “Let there be light!”
There is not a clock radio or alarm clock (like you need one except for morning departures) but we took a travel alarm. We called for a wake up call on our departure day and a personal wake up call was right on time.
There is room service until 11:00PM that is ordered from the menu in the room. This was not advertised. Safe is the usual program your own code type which was included.
Mini bar id re-stocked every other day.
I will not get into too much detail as others have in the past.
The food selection really is impressive for Cuba. Lobster, crab, steak, roast pork and turkey, baked ham, and a wide variety of other main dishes. All the condiments you would expect in Canada , HP and A1 steak sauce just to name a few. You will not need to do the specialty restraints but are worth the trip.
There was only one thing we found disappointing was that everything seemed to be warm or sometimes cold, never hot. On the last week there was what seemed to be a QC sweep from Iberostar on the premises. You would see them talking to the cooks and explaining how to do things and sometimes were not that happy. Shortly after they arrived things were picked up at least a notch or two. The steam tables were actually on, everything was hot and delicious. I definitely gained weight.
Overall, the food was great. I would not have expected food this good in Cuba.
Just a note, the deserts were not as good as the Melia, but then again they had an award winning pastry chef. Very good though.
The beach was great. I am not a real beach person so I am not an expert but the sand was just like icing sugar compared to some others on the strip. It was a little narrow at high tide if the wind was up but it was great. No seaweed or jelly fish to be found and very clean. According to the beach experts I met during our stay the beach was superb.
They finished the beach buffet while we were there, nice marble counters and steam tables. They were almost finished of the changing rooms and beach bathrooms as we left.
I can not say enough about how exceptional the service is at this property. Everyone is so happy and want to help you in any way they can. Right from the bartenders to the gardeners, when you meet them they always have a big “Hola” and a smile.
There were a lot of weddings while we were there. They have a nice little chapel set up on the edge of the beach with a table of Champaign and lots of flowers. The decorate some of the golf carts and have a little precession down to the beach. The photographer seems to do a good job as the party strolls down the garden path to the chapel. The also have a few musicians and a DJ for the music and Champaign reception. Looked like they did a great job, There are two presidential suits available with a kitchen and two bedrooms in each that would suit the occasion well for the wedding party.
We had a few no see-ums usually at night and man do these little critters leave a mark. The DW had quite a few on the back of her legs the first few days so she just wore long pants. It didn’t seem to matter if you wore repellent of not.
The DW had a bout of over exposure to the sun and we went to the medical clinic in Varadero for some help. In less than 30 minutes she had seen a doctor, got a needle, pills, and cream. Total cost was only $111.00 CUC. The wild thing is that the nurse came to our room at the resort at 7:00pm and again at 1:00am for two more needles. Try getting a nurse to come to your house in Canada let alone at 1:00 in the morning. WOW
We have done everything already in past trips except the Varasub so we decided to give it a try; It was about a two hour cruise on basically a glass bottom boat to the coral reef off of matanza. A pretty good value for $25.00 each. Five years ago I was in a real submarine that was awesome but it is not there anymore. Too bad, it was great.
We went on the Catamaran cruise with the dolphin show because it was the most enjoyable chill out excursion. If you really want to swim with the dolphins as highlight of your trip, then go to the dolphinarium and pay to do it separately rather than taking the catamaran cruise that includes swimming with the dolphins. The one with the cruise is VERY short and is disappointing.
As always, we met a small row boat (last year it was a real boat) where we picked up some very fresh and lively lobsters. This is probably the closest you will get to our own tasting lobster because they boil then in sea water and apply garlic butter. Simply scrumptious!
Tip, they usually have extra lobster which you can buy for $5.00 each or less just when you reach the island. Much better than the lobster served at lunch on the island.
Went to Josone Park again to have the best Pinacolada in Varadero. Ask for Noel and he will use his 18 years of experience as a bartender there to make you one of the best pinacolada you will ever have. Trust me on this one.
We also went a visited father Bastarache in Varadero. He is truly an amazing man if you know his history over the years in Cuba. The church is located directly across from the market.
First time with signature instead of Air Transat and I honestly can not say enough about their good service. Right from the greeting at the airport, the briefing on the bus, to our orientation meeting, our rep Edel was the best rep we have ever had. Anything you needed, he was there. I had reserved a top floor room and was assigned a ground floor room, when I mentioned it and it was no big deal, he dropped everything and went and handled it for me. I was relocated the next morning without ever having to speak to anyone else. He was always at the property and was extremely friendly and helpful.
The bus came on time to pick us up and the rep spoke to us all the way back to the airport telling us jokes and stories about Cuba. He put all newer travelers at ease with the departure procedures and accompanied the group into the airport to ensure everything went smooth for us all. He put a lot on newer travelers at ease and reduced their stress level considerably. Top notch service for sure.
Food selection was better than I would ever expect in Cuba.
Service was impeccable, there were always a friendly and helpful staff member there to see to your every need. The Starfriends were totally amazing and some of the hardest working people I have ever seen
Amenities were all top notch. Everything was squeaky clean and sparkling,
•Although the food selection was very impressive, it was often warm or cold, never hot. There was a LOT of flies around especially in the pool buffet. I realize it is outside but a few well placed ultraviolet flytraps would reduce the population by 75%. They did have them in the kitchen and outside to kitchen door out back but none in the dining areas.
•The door of the rooms must be the loudest doors when closed that I have ever heard. Sometimes they sounded like a shotgun going off. All it would take would be a few rubber door stick on’s in the jam and the problem would go away. Not a big thing until you actually experience it at 6:00 am
•Towel game that was played by a lot of the guests. The first week you would not get a spot near the pool unless you were there by 8:00 am. I personally followed a gentleman that at 6:15am placed four Iberostar towels on chairs at the pool and then placed four more personal ones at the beach, then back to the room until 11:00. I would have liked to throw him and his towels into the pool. It was not bad the second week and you could still get a spot by 9:00 but after that, forget it. They have built more palepas but are waiting for the construction yard next door to be dismantled before they finish the far right side of the beach.
We knew it was a new property and the landscaping would not be mature for several years but were amazed on how lush it was already. Because we are both gardeners, we felt the layout of the room blocks seemed like a group of apartments rather than a tropical destination. Even when the trees mature it will still seem like that in that one area. Everywhere else on the property is great and will get even better in time. They are still planting trees and shrubs at night. We went to our favorite “crows nest” by the pool one morning and there was a new 6’ palm bush behind it that was not there the night before!
Iberostar has definitely grown on me and although we like the more intimate and lush feeling of a smaller property, the service, amenities, and above all, the staff would have us back in a heartbeat.
Have lots of pictures at http://community.webshots.com/user/cubabeech
Any question you can E-mail me at email@example.com
Jason Crummey in Varadero, Cuba
Jason Crummey and Varadero, Cuba
local sport in Varadero, Cuba
a pic of my post cards of Varadero Cuba
Hi, I'll be going to Varadero in April and staying at the new Iberostar Varadero. Has anyone stayed there and what is it like? As of December 24th, they hadn't opened so I hope things are up and running by April.
Re: Iberostar Varadero
hello you should try :http://community.webshots.com/user/monk99102. there's only 5 pics! Go also to the site : tripadvisor ,it will be helpful if you want comment regarding this new hotel. Let me know if you checked. thanks
Re: Re: Iberostar Varadero
Thanks! I already viewed those pictures and another person is sharing her ten or so photos from the resort. It looks very nice. It would be great to get some reviews on this new place.