We stayed at this resort from 7 to 21 Dec 09. I’m sorry to say this is the first time our review is quite negative. I must begin by saying that we have done a fair bit of traveling over the years, and so we have something to compare with. Flew with Sunwing yet again, was great yet again, just 30 mins delay (not the norm with Sunwing!) on our trip back home. Flight down was 3 hrs and 15 mins long. Upon arrival, all first line airport staff were wearing masks. Our rep said this is normal, and not just H1N1 fears. Washroom facilities by baggage collection. Drive from airport to resort was 35 mins, with super quick stops at 2 other resorts. No crazy drivers here, and no garbage whatsoever visible! Small older hotel, very nicely laid out, pleasing to the eye, landscaping very nice. Wheel chair accessible. Most rooms would be very quiet, even those at front of resort and closest to street as traffic is very light. Don’t know about noise in tropical suites as that is where disco is. Staff are wonderful! No ID bracelets, guests are 14+ in age, and no USA guests! E-mail: email@example.com (don’t expect a reply).
Room Suite was very big. From what we saw, every room was big. Tropical suites bldg had 3 levels. Regular/older bldgs were 2 levels. To enter rooms on lower level (first floor), you have to walk down 4 stairs. Separate room with couch and fridge (never stocked). Thermos in room, take to any bar for refill of drinking water. Lots of hangers in both rooms, not enough dresser space. King size bed, very hard, but we got used to it. Bedding was clean. Everything worked just fine including water pressure, got used to noisy AC. Very dim lighting by bed, barely good enough for reading on one side, and there is no light on other side of bed. Outlets are 110V like at home. Walls are cement and very sound proof. Bldg is old and so washroom is dated. Nothing wrong with dated, as long as it is kept clean. This was one of the problems. Maid was a very nice woman, however did a horrible job of cleaning the bathroom. Never mind the fact that the faucets and drains need some major CLR and scrubbing. It was the surface dirt that was not cleaned, and yes it was only surface dirt, and something she should have taken care of regularly, even if not daily. The tub wasn’t cleaned well either, neither was the counter wiped down every day. We found that sometimes the towels were not clean, and I don’t mean permanent stains, I’m talking about stuck on dirt. I don’t know what it is with this resort and mirrors, all of them were filthy, other guests complained about the same thing. They replaced our bathroom mirror, don’t know why as it was fine; but even it’s replacement was dirty. One plastic bag wrapped ‘sterilized’ drinking glass was absolutely filthy, had chalky white streaks all over it. And they call this ‘sterilized’? Bugs, oh yes, the 3 live roaches we found in our room! One in dresser, another on washroom counter and the third crawling on floor. You may wonder why we didn’t change rooms. Resort was going to be overbooked in 2 days, so where would they move us? Possibly into one of the rooms where the AC wasn’t working. Neither did we want them coming in and spraying deet in and around our clothing etc. So when we found the first roach, we decided to laugh and tell ourselves this is the caribbean, and decided to make the best of our holiday. We did not feel the same by the end of the 2 wks. We kept our munchies in fridge as of day 1, so this was not the reason for roaches. They were already living in room when we arrived. Speaking with other guests, we found out that 2 other rooms had the same problem. We have to ask ourselves how many other rooms were affected with the crawlers. The only other bugs we found were a few ants on bathroom floor and a few mosquitos. In all the travelling we have done, we have never had a single roach in our room, never mind 3!
Neither one of us was sick, but food was another overall disappointment. We did not starve by any means, but it’s true that you don’t go to cuba for the food! Not much for salad fixings; and not much fresh fruit, often not ripe enough. Most days bananas were not available, or they were badly bruised. Egg station was of course the most popular breakfast item. Whoever cut up the chicken, massacred it, lots of tiny bone fragments. They did have boneless skinless chicken breasts, but you had to wait for them to grill it, side by side with the fish and seafood. Hot food was definitely kept hot as serving pans were sitting right on burners and you could see food simmering. Food appeared to be fresh, and yes they do sometimes recycle an item into something else, there is nothing wrong with this practice. Plates were often dirty with greasy spots and stuck on dirt, would see folks sorting through them looking for a clean one. Sometimes the cutlery was also dirty, and a few glasses too. In our opinion, the chef at the beach grill was the most professional because he took care in how he handled raw hamburger meat, washing his hands, etc.
Beach and ocean are most definitely awesome! For the first 3 days the ocean was so calm there was barely a ripple. Then we had some waves to jump and play in. The last 4 days the weather changed drastically, like someone had flicked a switch from summer to winter. These were major red flag days, life guards vigilant in not allowing anyone to venture in. We have never seen it this bad. The waves came in all the way to almost where the palapas are, no kidding! It was definitely very cool, very windy, overcast and some rain. Folks dressed in jeans and long sleeves. This is cuba’s winter now too, and so unfortunately weather like this is sometimes the norm. With the storm, came the portuguese man of war jelly fish washed up on shore. Lots of shade on the beach, approx 95 small palapas; no trees. Property is long, you can spread out, not elbow to elbow. No need to reserve chairs (none broken), could still find a palapa at 10:00. No security issues on beach or anywhere else at resort. Sand is nice and smooth, no roots or branches to trip over, just some small broken shells and such. No ants or wasps whatsoever. Ocean floor was very smooth, no seaweed, and very clear most days, absolutely beautiful. Very few fish to see and so no real snorkeling; sargeant majors, ray, flounder, and a star fish. No beach bar service, sorry. You have to get up yourself and stretch, walk to bar by the grill and towel hut. Most folks brought insulated mugs, resort plastic glasses are very small. Three paths to the beach; 1 on each of the far ends of property, and then middle section which is the most popular as is closest to the bar. This path is where you will find tree roots and branches. Could use widening as is not wide enough for 2 people to walk side by side. There are no washrooms on the beach. Are on beach level, but located under the buffet, close to beach bar and grill. Would strongly suggest that you return to your room to use facilities as both mens and womens are disgusting. The mens has only 1 urinal now, and it was always plugged and overflowing. The womens wasn’t much better. Of the 4 cubicles, 1 had no lock, and 3 or all 4 often did not flush, and sometimes no toilet paper in some. Stretch of beach goes on forever, beautiful.
Immediate neighbors are Sol Sirenas on one side; other side are Tuxpan, then Superclubs Breezes Bella Costa. Visible on hill is shopping center and golf course. Shopping Gift shop in hotel is useless. Go into town, or buy from one of the bicycle beach vendors which travel up and down the beach. They don’t hassle you, they wait for you to approach them. Prices are very reasonable, we did not haggle. Currency can be exchanged at reception. Basically almost nothing in the way of name brand alcohol at varadero airport.
We cannot say that we had a fantastic holiday, but we made the best of it. We travel to the caribbean for the ocean and warm weather, and really only sleep and shower in the room. The resort is a perfect small size with everything within easy distance, and very safe. During our stay, 2 bldgs were closed for renovations, no noise disruption. The staff are VERY pleasant, no complaints except for gift shop staff. Most speak english very well. Our favorites were our buffet waitress, a young lady by the name of Niuvis; and the grill chef. We will definitely return to Varadero, but unfortunately not to this hotel, unless they seriously clean up. Portion of resort was recently closed for 3 mths for renovations. Our bldg was one of the ones that was spruced up. Room was painted, and it may have been the only thing done. As mentioned, bathroom needs serious scrubbing. One light switch was so filthy we hated touching it. You would think these kinds of housekeeping chores would be part of regular cleaning; and if not, well then at least seriously addressed during renovations. We are easy going and can put up with a lot, and always try to make the best of it. This time unfortunately all the negatives, trivial and not so trivial, plus others which I did not mention and which normally never bother us, well…..it all added up on this trip. The whole experience did not leave us with a warm and fuzzy feeling. We found a guest comment form in the desk and definitely took the time to fill it out. Thanks again to Debbie for creating this wonderful site!!!