Elisa & Pepe, so nice to find in Varadero, famous for its beaches and infamous for its tourist-oriented economy, a place to stay that has a home feeling to it...
Endless were the hours we spent chatting, from politics to geography, from traditional to modern Cuban music, from... you get the idea ;) by the time we left, I felt more like a friend of the family, my visit to Varadero wouldnt have been the same without them...
but yes, the place itself: an independent room with an enormous bed, a balcony, a fridge, AC, and a great view, what else can we ask for? food? then hurry up, go and dont miss the chance to try Elisa's cooking :D
First I would like to say that I have travled all over the Carribean and Central America and I have never in over 30+ trips have I had a trip bad enough to write a review and slam a hotel.
My wife and I as well as a group of friends stayed there from Nov 22-Nov 29 2011.
It was non stop problems as soon as we arrived, First we arrived with no welcome, waited 15 minutes just for someone to notice we were there, then they had the wrong room in the wrong section booked, we then waited another 25 minutes for a bellhop to come and take us to the correct room, when we got in the room it was not ready, things were missing and such, we met up with our friends and went to get some dinner.
Now let me tell you, I wasnt expecting great food going to Cuba but this meal was the first of the worst food I have ever eaten at a resort of this caliber. Every meal was the same at the buffet everyday and absolutly terrible. When attempting to book the so called ala carte resturants we were told it was a 3-4 day wait to get into any of them as there were 1300 people at the resort.
The very first night a guy tried to start a fight with me at the disco which I quickly brushed off as a drunk idiot. The second night however, My friends and I were sitting out side the Disco on the patio when a huge fight broke out inside the bar, a friend and I ran around the side to look in the windows to see a 60 year old french dude smashing a glass over a young guys head, then he grabs a piece of glass and slashes another guys face then stabs some girl in the arm, we ran back around the front and a different big french guy comes running out the door and grabs a guy half his size and starts punching him. My friends kids were right there so I tried to get between them (with others) and stop the fight, then his buddy sucker punches me from behind and tackled me to the ground, grabbed my phone and ran off with his buddy and their wives.
The next day I went to see the Public Relations woman who at this point was very help full, it turned out that the security had taken my phone from them after but didnt know what roon I was in. I got my phone back, explained everything that happend they apoligised for everything that happend and we went on our way. Later that day I get a call to come down to the front desk to speak to the manager, I figure ok theyre gonna offer me an upgrade or something for everything that has happend. Hell no!!!!!! The "sub director" of the resort ( Hiram de Jesus Perez Mange ) proceeds to blame me and the 2 guys that slashed with glass that its our fault for everythiung that happend at the disco and says we have to pay damages. Refused quite loudly and left to my room. The next morning all involved we brought to the reception for a "meeting" this Director ( Hiram ) then explained again that we would all have to share a portion of the "compensation" by 4 at 259.00 a piece, 1 quarter for me 1 for the ( GROOM ) that was slashed the french guy that started it all ( which was removed by the military ) and the french guy that sucker punched me, whom had already left under his own accord.
I was so mad that I involved Sunwing ( my travle provider ) whom spoke to this manager un successfully the amount stood of I would have to leave. I involved the district manager from sunwing for the whole Varadero Cuba region. He came down and heard us out after the manager cornered him with all his lies. The manager which I do not have his name then spoke privately with the hotel manager ( Hiram ) and came back to say there was nothing he could do, I would either have to pay it or would not be allowed to leave the country. I do believe that the Sunwing guy was on our side but his hands we tied. We then argued another 2 hours with the hotel manager, again un successfully and was forced to pay this 259.00 or face not leaving this terrible country. After waisting 2 days of 7 with this crap we go for lunch and the Sunwing rep ( Maria ) comes and tells me she is going to give me my money back. I get my money back and never speak to another person again. There were fights again ( not involving ) us almost every night at the bars and around the pools.
This all happeneing the night before my wedding anniversary!!!!!
After all this is was still nothing but problems with flooding in the bath room, all the hallways, lights out every where, not hot water, never got clean towles, ( and I was in the "ROYAL" section ) no beach towles for 4 days ina row, disgusting food daily, 2 hours of entertain ment in the after noon but just for the cuban guys to dance with cute little russian and canadian girls, which I actually saw in the mangrove later doing the nasty, water sports are a joke, there was a cool Micheal Jackson show once. booze is watered down and gross, resort is huge and never and transports tho they are everywhere doing nothing all the time, so be prepared to walk a few km a day just for daily routine.
Dont waist your money on the Royal section all you get is a bigger rooms with a tub and shower on the other side of the resort away from all the main buildings and pools.
I will never reccommend this resort to anyone. the absolute worst place I have every stayed with service comparable to a 1 start or less.
Dont ignore the bad reviews.
We did and paid dearly for it. I know for a fact you will probably see at least another 5 reviews with the exact same story.
If your going to Varadero stay at the Iberostar resorts or paradisas las salinas, heard lots of good things at the air port coming home,
I expect to hear from a rep from RIu resorts over all this crap I had to go through or I will be taking this much much further
It was described as a 4 star hotel but according to us it was a 2 star hotel: the rooms were very old and not so clean, the bathroom doors were not closing, the TV remote control was not working.
The food was not good, it didnt taste of anything, the animation was almost inexistent
Tuesday December 7 to Tuesday December 14, 2010
As we were looking for a week getaway spot with hopefully a little sunshine and to celebrate our "39th" Wedding Anniversary, we picked Varadero, Cuba. We had been there three years ago and really liked the beaches there. We chose the brand new five star RIU VARADERO.
When completed, the resort will offer 1110 guestrooms.
The Beach area was smaller than the resorts either side of us, but had loungers and some parasols with bamboo thatched roofs. The staff at the beach are very helpful and bring a lounger to the spot you like on the beach.
The swimming pool area was huge, also with lots of loungers and comfortable pads. There are some sheltered areas (I counted about ten and they were snatched up by the early birds in the morning). There is a swim-up bar in the middle.
There were five bars open when we were there:
Lobby Bar "Mariposa" - also a Cappuccino Bar was opened up here
Theater Bar "Azahar"
Poolside Snack Bar "Adelfa"
Swim-up Bar "Ortencia"
Our room - #21128 in Pod #21 - was on the first floor as we requested at check-in. We had a huge king-size bed, 2 comfy chairs, one small table, a desk, mini fridge, stocked with 2 cans of beer, 4 cans of soda and a bottle of water. As we were on the ground floor, we had a small patio with garden view and 2 chairs with one small table.
Other amenities included, a coffee-maker, radio/CD player, Satellite TV, Large closets with safe (no charge), iron and ironing board, bathroom with hairdryer and supplies- shampoo, bath gel, soap bars & body lotion. Towels are exchanged daily.
The RIU does offer internet services. The charge is 5 CUC per half hour. From others, I heard the service was very slow.
A few nights there was entertainment in the Theatre. The "Animation Team" consisted of about a dozen amazing young local dancers who put on shows such as "Michael Jackson Night" and "International Night".
In the Lobby Bar, there was an awesome guitar player/singer. And there was also a wonderful lady singer, accompanied by a piano player.
Our package was 7 night all-inclusive with Signature Tours. Included was flight - room - all meals - all drinks - taxes. Our all-inclusive price was $555.00 + 240.00 airport fees for a total of $795.00 CDN per person.
Rated as a two star hotyel. I have stayed here many timjes. It's the most reasonably priced hotel in all of Varadero. Last time it was $40/night including a buffet breakfast with a limit of one egg. The pool and rooms are clean and there is a safety deposit box, T.V. with cable, and on a good day hot water!
They have Cubans staying there as well.
we stayed for two weeks on all inclusive. The food does get repetitive, but the quality of it is not too bad. The rooms are bright and cheerful and the pool is of a very generous side.
The beach is absolutely lovely! There is a slope of sand in order to get to the water, but is nothing daunting. The beach is clean, well served by the hotel staff should you need a sun lounger or drink or fruit snack.
All in all, a lovely stay.
Try Rancho Luna outside Cienfueguos and get the best of both beaches and the Cuban people. There is usually less wind on the south side of the Island and you are close to Trinidad also.
Some of the Cubans in Varadero have been around too many tourists (or the business attracts that type anywhere)and only see easy marks whereas the less heavy tourist areas there is are more smiles.
The Tropicoco at Playa de Este outside of Havana is not the Ritz but gives you a great Cuban beach within a 15 minutes drive of Havana. there are fancier hotels here also.
Check out Cuba Junky for great tips and Hotel/Casa connections.
Spent two nights in a 2 bedroom suite. Unlike the 4 and 5 star Varadero hotels, poor water pressure, thin pillows and amateur evening shows blended with the Cuban atmosphere at this cheap beach resort. This is what most of Cuba is all about. No frills or pretentiousness, just the basic needs.
Close to a Repidor store where you can get a grande agua for 0.7 CUC.
Went here in December 2005.
-Nice pool and great beach
-Good capuccino's :-)
-Location is off the main highway so it is not walking distance to downtown Varadero. It will take 15 minutes on the moped to get the markets.
Well, most of info I put on Cuba accommodation tip. Just a shortcut. Very simple but clean. Food fresh but repeatable. Quite far from Varadero Center. Taxi costs 10 peso one way. If you are looking for comfort, dont look there..
Ultra All Inclusive Beaches hotel is part of the Sandals family of hotels.
Excellent Buffet restaurant including an outdoor BBQ which includes Lobster every Friday night, get there early as there is always a queue!
Schooners is a la carte and has a dress code, long trousers and shirts for guys. Again includes Lobster and Prawn dishes.
The Arizona is a grill restaurant doing steaks etc.
The Italian was a little disappointing I found as the starter platters hadn't been replenished and the staff seemed a little aloof for some reason.
Several bars around the place, all staff very friendly.
The rooms were spacious and included a coffee machine with free packs of percolator coffee every day and 2 litres of bottled water, although the tap water is safe to drink.
A good sized free-form swimming pool, loads of sunbeds and floating mats.
Volleyball and water polo organised everyday by the staff who were good fun.
Air rifle target range.
My one gripe was about the water sports team.
I switched to this hotel as it included scuba diving for certified divers.
On the first day I went down to the dive shop and tried to book a dive only to be told that diving was cancelled for the day as it was too rough. I looked behind me at the ocean which was brilliant blue, the 'waves' about 6 inches high and seriously thought he was kidding...wrong!
A Canadian guy told me he'd done 1 day's diving in 2 weeks.!! hmmmmm...
A word in the Thomas Cook's rep's ear and I was booked on a dive trip to the Bay of Pigs the very next day, which was great.
I did manage to get a couple more dives in from the beach but I feel that something should be done about this as they advertise it as a facility and don't seem to provide it very often.
Strangely, whenever they offered to take divers out to a site where they had to pay, the weather seemed to be ok....
My wife and I have stayed at this hotel on three occasions. We have become used to hearing opinions that vary considerably. Answering the common negatives, slow service, this is a tropical country and staff often work 12-14 hour shifts, they are not going to break sweat if they can avoid it. Poor choice and standards of foods, not offering the cosmopolitan varieties found in "wealthy" countries. Cuba struggles to grow enough food to feed it's own people and relies heavily on importing foodstuffs for tourists from countries such as Canada and the EU, Beware of critisising your own countries exports! Positives, the staff at Beaches work very hard to maintain the cleanliness of the hotel, responding sympathetically to customer requests (even though some are completely absurd) and attempting to ensure your stay is enjoyable. If you come to Beaches (technically part of Sandals) and expect the Royal Bahamian, forget it and stay at home, save up your money and go to the Bahamas. Clubbers will be disappointed as there is a nightclub onsite which does not get much custom, however there is a nightclub a short taxi ride away. My wife and I and our traveling companions were offered a free upgrade in March 2005 to Sandals Royal Hicacos. This was because Beaches was over booked and we were offered this as returning guests, within a couple of days of arriving, (I hoped they did not want to get rid of us!.) We thoroughly enjoyed the warmth and hospitality of the staff at Beaches and will return, you have been warned! Royal Hicacos reviewed.
Nice established gardens, pool a bit cold. Some days difficult to get sun lounger. Beach is what people go back year after year for. A hotel that does not discriminate regarding individuals sexual orientation, unique for Sandals eh? Food is edible normally, sometimes you may find an element of improvisation when they have run out of what you have ordered, i.e. order fresh fruit salad and get chocolate cake, nice!
Lovely accomodations. Try to get the last villa to the west of the main building. It is closest to the pool, and beach bar where all the activities take place.
Food was great, and the staff were wonderful. The Animation team was the greatest.
I would recommend this resort to everyone and anticipate returning myself one day soon.
Not on top of the beach but not too far of a walk. I would have to say the staff was one of the most outstanding characteristics of the hotel.
Accomodation was quite nice. Very nice grounds and pool area. Right on the beach.
Lovely lobby bar with great Mohitos. Very friendly people.
Bahia Principe (chain) just recently bought the Varadero Club Med. Not all tour companies even know this, and most will tell you that it's a new hotel. Wrong!
Now, the good news is - the Bahia is much cheaper than the Club Med used to be - so you are getting a deal, beacuse it is a very very nice resort:)) There.
***** just came back from it. Changed my tips from SATISFIED to VERY SATISFIED. Gorgeous place. For this price, you can't get better. It has it's own 1200 m private beach, and tons of sports activities.
You can look at pictures and reviews of Bahia Principe by going to
and that Reviews - Bahia Principe Varadero
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