We just returned from Arenas Blancas on Jan 30. This hotel has gone downhill since the last time we visited 2 years ago. Lets start with the food. The food was disappointing at the least. Not much variety, unless you like fish, which seemed to be served at almost every meal, except breakfast. Now, I know you don’t go to Cuba for the food, but at least you should have some variety. The best part of each meal, was the bread………….its incrediable There is a lot of theft on this resort. I left a $250 pair of sandals of the beach, while we were helping the beach guy stack the beach chairs. We walked away and I remembered them about 20 minutes later. I walked back to the beach and the guy never saw them. …………yeah right. I offered a reward to the pool and beach staff to get them back, but it never happened even though you could tell by talking to them, that either they had them or they knew who did. I met a lady that had left her sunglasses on the table in the buffet, she walked to the elevator about 100 feet away, remembered them, went back, and they were gone and the staff never saw them. Tourists would never steal sandals or sunglasses as they usually bring their own.
Our arrival was ontime and very friendly.
rooms were decent. Very old mattersses and fixtures. If you want a nice shower, forget it. The water pressure is non existent and it is iffy if you can regulate the temperature. At one point, our room was full of ants, which the chambermaids didn’t care about and either did anyone else. We had to put up with them
Restaurants and Bars: The buffet restaurant was a big disappointement. The food was way below the quality we enjoyed 2 years ago. If you like fish, its the place to go. There was no quality or selection to any of the dishes. We tried the Italian restaurant twice, which was a big disappointment both times. The food was cold and bland both times. Don’t have the soup, unless you like it cold as was the case with all the dishes including the Canneloni, lasagna, pizza, etc. We kept trying to order the lobster pizza, but it was never available. The Internnational restaurant was fantastic on our first visit. The lobster was terrific even though there was an extra $12 charge for this, even though it was only a $10 charge for the same lobster being served out the back door of the same restaurant to the beach bar. Our second visit was a disappointment as we got an inexperienced waitress who messed up all 8 of our orders, then brought a dish that no one at the table had ordered, so, she just left it anyway. The waitresses were supposed to remove the lobster tail meat from the shell, which is a very simple task but being inexperienced, she totally shredded the meat, leaving a pile of shredded lobster on the plate, which could have been used for the lobster pizza in the Italian restaurant…..lol. The other 5 people in our group had no problem removing it. They don’t give you any dipping butter, as you don’t need it, because of the way its cooked. When done right, its amazing.
The downfall at each of the restaurants is the tipping. You are expected to tip at every meal, regardless of the quality. The more you tip, the better service you recieve. You also have all the staff trying to sell you either coffee beans, or rum, stolen from the restaurants and bars.
The beach is amazing. All 20 kms of it is groomed every night and the water is clear and clean. You have the lifeguards trying to sell you cigars which are either stolen or made from bannana leaves. You can buy them single or by the box. The problem with buyiing them by the box, if you are thinkng of taking them home, is you had better have a reciept if you get stopped at customs on the way home. The pool is kept clean . the only problem with the pool is they have way too many lawn chairs around it. You are side by side and have no room the move. They don’t have pool bar service or recreational entertainment during the day
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
There are no activities on the resort that we saw in the 2 weeks that we were there. They would announce different activities by the pool, but they never developed. We didn’t see any activities on the beach. The only children’s activities that we saw were feeding all the cats that hang around the buffet restaurant. That kept the kids busy after each meal.
This hotel has gone downhill since the last time we visited 2 years ago, It doesn’t matter where we went in Varadero, everyone was trying to rip you off. From trying to charge you tax, which doesn’t exist in Cuba, to removing price tags if they see you looking at something, then raising the price when you ask about the item, they are all out to try and rip you off, which is very disappointing to say the least, and is the main reason we will not be visiting Cuba in the near future