This was our 6th trip to Cuba since our first in 2005 to Tryp Cayo Coco, we’ve traveled to Cayo Coco twice, Cayo Guillermo once, Manzanillo de Cuba once, Varadero once and to the D.R. once, but prefer Cuba and it’s people. So now back to Varadero, to the Allegro. This resort has gone through many managment hands in the last 5 or 6 years and recently has changed to the Occidental Allegro in the last 6 months and there seems to be a genuiene effort to make things better and to spruce up this huge resort to bring it up to the 4 star status it deserves.
Your Arrival: Having only flown Sunwing once before (Montreal to Manzanillo de Cuba) I was looking forward to a good flight with lots of room, West Jet our favorite airline with Sunwing a close second. Well not sure if Atlantic Canada gets older planes or my memory is getting bad but this plane was anything but comfortable. Seemed to be an older plane, there was ashtrays built into the armrests, so that may be a sign. Flight was the roughest I’ve ever encountered, the seat belt light was on for 4 hours of a 4 1/2 hour flight, but that’s life eh? Check in went smoothly and we had a room immediatley, although I believe others had to wait an hour or two as our arrival time was before the stipulated check out time of noon.
The bellboy grabbed our bags and wisked us off on the golf kart to the Cayo Largo section of the resort, although far from the main area of the resort this was definatley an upgrade to the main building.
Rooms: We arrived at room 6314 and found a very nice an spacious third floor room, not dericly on the ocean but with an ocean view. It was clean and came with a king sized bed so all was good. The room was fitted with an ironing board and iron, a small mini fridge with a large bottle of water, a coffee maker, a safe and the usual things found in a cuban resort room. Although there was no dresser to store your cloths, we have gotten used to this being hit and miss in Cuba. We found the room quite warm and stufy on our arrival and the bellboy turned the A/C on and it blew air so we though give it a few minutes and it will cool down. We dropped our bags and went exploring this huge resort, (they say it’s 2 kms in size, not sure if that’s 2 square kms or two kms long, but it’s huge!) We returned to a warm and stuffy room, and dropped down to the desk to see if someone could have a look, they said they would send someone up, it was almost 4 and nowing Cuba I didn’t expect to see anyone til morning. We went through the night with the patio door open and found this ok, but couldn’t do this during the day as your patio is easily accessable from the main stairs or another room. We checked again with the desk and they said they would send someone, but it seemed like they knew nothing of our previous concern. Day tow is almost over and no A/C, now I’m getting a little miffed, we meet the tech this time and he says the third floor has no A/C, there is only 4 rooms on the third floor, but all are occupied, and patio doors are open on all. We go back down to the desk, a long walk, and ask for a new room, they say they will send a tech, we say there have been techs and it’s the whole floor. We want a new room. they insist on sending a tech as they have no free rooms. We head off frustrated but it’s not gonna ruin my vacation that’s for sure. In the moring we call the desk after figuring out the crazy way to reach them on the resort phone. They said no problem they have a new room for us, great! The bellboy reachs our room and we load up and head down closer to the pool at the Cayo Largo section, back up to the third floor and wow a realy nice room and right on the ocean. We step in and bam, no air, he turns the switch and nothing, no way, we walk past the bathroom and I look in to see the ceiling on the floor. ARRGGHHH! The Bellboy calls the desk and they say all they have is a room in the main building with an ocen view, at this point I’d taken a view of the street.
So off we go on the golf cart again and up to the 4th floor and walk in to toom 4318, slightly smaller, with no ironing board or iron, but that’s OK, the A/C works! All is good and although we would have rathered be in the Cayo Largo Section, we are fine with this as we didn’t book the Cayo Largo section and had just lucked out on that.
Restaurants and Bars: Allego Varadero has 1 buffet, and 3 a la cartes, International, Steak House, and Italian. There is also 3 snack bars that are open from 12-6 everyday, one between the main building and the Cayo Largo section, one at the Cayo Largo Pool and one at the Cayo Coco section, at their pool. There is 6 bars, La Habana beside the main pool (which I never seen closed, the others hard varying hours), the Cohiba Bar, which house a baby grand piano being played every night, and was huge with little pocket rooms and comfy couches and chairs, get there early in the evening to get a seat, and the fancy drinks, like irish coffee and other special drinks and 15 year Havana club is available for extra $$. Cayo Coco, and Cayo Largo Pools each have a swim up bar, there is a beach bar and one at the snack bar between the Cayo Largo and the main building. All seemed to serve different drinks and those that were the same were made different, so find which one you like and keep going back. The snack bar had slushy drinks but closed ar 6 so get your bubba Keg filled early and get it in your fridge if you want an evening cool drink. We sampled all A la carts and found all to be very good and nothing like the buffet food. The buffet was a surprise as past reviews on another site were quite hard on the buffet. Knowing Cuba and their struggle sometimes to get variety we didn’t expect a lot, but were surprised to get a lot. For lunch and supper there is a pasta station where you can get premade or have them fry up a dish for you, then a large aray of premade dishes, of rice potato and other meat and fish. then a carving station, we saw beef, lamb, meat loaf, chicken and turkey over our stay, then there was the grill section, usually 3-4 different choices, of either beef, pork, chicken or fish, and hotdogs and burgers at lunch as well. Not sure what other people eat at home, but to me that’s a good variaty. Breakfast was your normal fare of two egg staions making basic eggs or omlets, as well as premade eggs and other dishes, bacon, sauge seemed available everyday. With your normal toast, cereal, yogurt, and lots of fresh fruit. No worries about the food here, they even had a special area for the kids, with burgers, fries and chicken nuggets.
Beach/Pools/Grounds: The beach is secluded from the rest of Varaderos beach by a large coral outcroup on each end. The sand is a bit darker than the average white beach, and had a good mix of shells and coral, but overal is a very nice beach, lots of loungers and a good number of umbrellas, thay have staff who will drag you a lounger to where ever you want it and whipe it clean for you, tip this guy a pesso or two as he’s out in the sun all day and trying his best. There are three pools, one main pool just off the side of the main building, nothing special a very larg squarish pool, but nice and clean with lots of loungers around. They had a guy who would drag an extra one out of storage if you needed it and offered cushions for the lounger if you wanted them, like the beach guy show him your gratitiude for his hard work in the sun. The cayo largo and the cayo coco section each have thier own smaller pools, visually nicer than the main pool and each with a cold jacuzzi off to the side and their own bar.
This resort is huge if you get to walk the whole thing you will see this for sure. Gardeners are everywhere keeping it clean and attending to the grounds and greenery. All the trees and plants are marked with a small sign saying the speciaes, we found this a nice touch. They have a long system of fish ponds linked up in fron tof the main building with a version of coy in them, most are orange in color and some are quite big, maybe 12 inches or so. There is also a white heron type bird who has taken up residence and if your patient youl see him dive in for his own version of a cuban buffet.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel: Activities seemed light on the first few days with only Aqua Aerobics and dancing being offered the first half of the week. The last two days seen way more going on from orginised water polo to mini putt. They need to work on having the animation crew more involved with the guests and doing more around this huge resort, I never saw the archery being offered once while we were there, and they have a nice range. We finally, after many years of trying to get on the catamaran tour, got our catamaran excursion. We have tryed previously over the years only to be cancelled by the weather at leat 4 times. We enjoyed this trip, on the cat, and got to visit the dolphins in the huge concrete enclosure out in the ocean, way better for the dolphins then the set up in town. It is made so water flows through and even fish mingle with the dolphins and it’s huge so they have louds of room. Then off to Cayo Blanco for a lobster lounch and some beach time, The lobster was OK, being from Nova Scotia we are slightly pickier about our seafood. We would have rathered plain lobster grilled with some garlic, but this was a large tail in a tomato based sauce, good but not great. Then we sailed back to port, with lost of singing and dancing by all. The bar was open from start to finish, and the drinks were good. We set into town twice during the week and wandered around and checked out the many open air markets. We took the double decker bus both times as it was most economical with $5 all day, hop on hop off. We didn’t get to Jesone park, or try any restaraunts, so no reviews of this trip. We did Jesone park two years ago and recomend anyone looking for a quite walk or a really good pina coloda to wander through there. The nightly shows were very well done, although we were surprised that there was only 1 audience partispation show in the 7 shows we saw, not that this is a bad thing, but it makes for some good laughs. The dancers were first rate and they even had many different singers who were quite good.
All in all worth staying up for.
Other Comments: The Allegro Varadero is a huge resort with equally huge potential. They have a good management team who seem to be around day and night to be making sure the progress of stepping back up to the 4 star level is happening. At the moment this resort is a strong 3.5 star. With many little issues holding it back from being a 4 or more star. For a resort that saw life first start back in 1977 it’s in amazing shape, but give it a year or two if the shine and glitz factor are important to you.