Old Reviews – Aguas Azules (Formerly Club Amigo Varadero)

Photos We booked a last minute 1 week trip to Varadero from April 9th to 16th. We were limited in when we could go so we were also limited in where we could go since there’s not a lot of choice out of Atlantic Canada. Varadero was offered right out of our home town airport so that’s where we looked at. After doing some research we choose Aquas Azules (Formerly known as Club Amigo Varadero), but shortly after booking this resort a couple of really bad reviews were posted and we were really wondering what we had gotten ourselves into. Well we had nothing to worry about. Although the place was not outstanding, for a 3 ½ star resort it was quite good. In fact there were some parts that were as good as or maybe even better than some 4-5 star resorts we have stayed at. We went there just for some rest and relaxation and that is what we got at a nice resort with nice grounds, good service and a great beach. Overall rating 7.5/10.


– This is where Club Amigo really stands out. It really is the best section of beach in this area. It is long and wide and loaded with lots of shade huts and beach chairs. No matter what time of day you went to the beach there were chairs and shade to be had. No need to get up early and rush down to save a chair at the beach here. We’ve been to 5 stars resorts where this was a problem. There were even staff there to get your chairs set up for you and they would even dust the sand off of them. This we’ve never had at any other 4 or 5 star resort. The chairs too were very comfortable and even had a built in shade flap. While we were there the deck of the beach bar/restaurant was being renovated so it was not in use but once it is open again it will only improve the beach area at Club Amigo. 9.5/10

Grounds – The resort is made up of a long hotel building set back from the beach with a park like area between the lobby and the beach. So although it is a walk to the beach it is through a nice well kept park area with lakes and bridges, straight down from the front lobby. The resort is older so this means the plants on the resort have had lots of time to develop and it shows beautifully. There are a lot of flowering shrubs all around the grounds. The lobby area itself is part of the grounds since the lobby was built around a rock wall and has lots of live plants growing through out. Right off the 24 hr bar there is a very nice shady patio area with plenty of chairs- even rockers for you to sit and relax with a drink under the shade of one giant tree. This is where I’d have my morning coffee and we’d have after lunch drinks and play cards quite often with no one else around. 8.5/10

Room – Since the resort is set back from the beach none of the rooms are close to the beach. At first we were not too sure of things when we headed to our room in building 1 which is the furthest from the lobby and walked in to find a puddle of water from the fridge on the floor. The Bellman said he’d send someone back to take care of it and when we returned from supper it was cleaned up. Other than that the only other problem with our room was the fact that there was no balcony. In fact most rooms do not have a balcony. The room and bathroom however were a nice size with new tile in the bathroom. And some of the best lighting we’ve had at any resort There was plenty of closet space but no drawer space. Our maid did a great job keeping the room clean which included clean sheets almost daily and it usually was done before noon. (We’ve had problems in some 4-5 star resorts with our room not being done until much later.) There was plenty of hot water and good pressure no matter what time of day we showered. Although there was a mini fridge in the room it was not stocked.8/10

Lobby – The lobby area was very impressive consisting of 3 open levels with lots of natural vegetation throughout. The lower level had the entrance, the front desk and access pathway to the beach. Any dealings we had with the front desk went very well. Check-in and check-out were a breeze and we even received our requested wake-up call our last morning even before time. The middle level had the access to the pool, shops and rooms as well as two bars, one of which Bar Cuba was 24hrs and the other a piano bar. This was the area to hang out in the evenings since most nights there was either a piano player and/or a live band playing. There were tables and chairs available as well as comfy sofa sets and bar stools at the Bar Penon. However the bars were never overly busy and in fact were rather dead when we would go for our pre-dinner drinks. Although not a great selection of international drinks and quite often different ones at different bars, bar service was quite good and some of the servers got very use to our orders and would have them started when they saw us coming. The third level had the buffet restaurant and the long passage way to the Italian Restaurant and the part of the resort that was closed for renovations. Lobby and bars- 8.5/10

Food – This is where the Club Amigo is a 3 ½ star resort.

Buffet -Although we always found stuff to eat and never left a meal hungry there was nothing that was outstanding. They do seem to have a problem with keeping food hot which made some dishes not as good as they could have been. Breakfast at the buffet was the usual stuff including a made to order egg station which was surprisingly not that busy. The best part was the fresh squeezed OJ every morning. Lunch and supper were OK – not bad, not great – just OK! There was not the selection we’ve had at other resorts but the house wines were as good as or even better than some 4-5 star resorts we’ve been to. The best parts were the Fresh Fruit station with the fruit being sliced right on the spot for lunch and supper, the bread station and the desserts which although limited were some of the tastiest we’ve had at a resort. There also was not the usual made to order pasta station. There was a good selection of salad items and there always was a choice of beef, pork, chicken or fish for lunch and supper.The layout of the buffet had been well planned and the flow around the food stations was very easy. Tables were nicely set for dinner although not always with matching glassware and service for us was very good. We usually sat in the same section and the servers got quite used to us. One would see us coming down the hall and would have a table ready for us and would be right off for our drinks. Dirty dishes were cleared right away and she was always checking if we wanted drink refills. There was a snack grill just up from the beach for lunch but it only offered hamburgers and fries, which were not that great. 6.5/10

A L Cartes – There are only two a la carte restaurants at the Club Amigo; a Cuban and an Italian. Both are very nicely decorated with nice furniture including some antiques. Both were very easy to book. Bookings can be made for the same or next night at the Public Relations desk after 10am and there never was the wait I’ve had at other resorts. It might have just been the time of year we were there but we were not limited in the number of times you could book and I always got the restaurant I wanted at the time I wanted. The Italian is located on the third level with huge window walls on both sides offering lovely ocean views. The Cuban is located off the pathway from the lobby to the beach. Both are enclosed and air-conditioned. Service at both was for the majority very good with our water and wine glasses never being empty. We ate at each one once. We had booked the Cuban for another night but it was pouring rain that evening so we didn’t make our reservation. Food at both was again OK but the menu was quite limited especially at the Italian. For Transat vacationers the lunch time grill snack bar just up from the beach also does special dinners; one Paella dinner and one BBQ. However if the weather is bad these meals are cancelled with no notice. It took us 3 tries before we actually made it to one, the Paella night. You sit at a long table and they serve small plates of 7 different appetizers to be shared in groups of 4 followed by a main Paella course and a desert. The apps were very good but the paella was not. Although none of the a la cartes offered food that was that much better than the buffet it was nice to be able to sit in a nice atmosphere with nice table settings and be served a nice relaxing meal with some good attentive service. I would suggest you do the a la cartes just for this experience. 7/10

Staff – Overall the staff were just OK. They did not seem to be as friendly as some of the other resorts and there were none that really stood out. They gave good service on the most part and by the end of the week there were some that did warm up and got to know us. Overall they didn’t seem to serve you differently whether you tipped or not. One thing that was missing was name tags for the bar and restaurant staff. A lot of the staff were quite friendly however when they were trying to sell you stuff. 7/10

Few things of note-

• Some of the pathways back to the rooms were not well lit. • The lobby was the centre of everything and it was on 3 levels. So no matter where you were headed you had to climb stairs or take the elevator. • Most of the resort did seem to be wheelchair assessable. • Bottled water is only available to be purchased (1.50 CUP) in the lobby shop. You can get it refilled at the bar or buffet however as often as required. • The whole resort was very clean including the bathrooms. • At times there was a shortage of glassware in the bars and buffet. • Bar glasses are small so bring your own travel mug. • There is a bank on site that has the same rate as at the airport and in town. • On the path to the beach there are a couple of vendor huts

Overall we enjoyed our stay at this resort and for the same price would consider returning except for the fact that there are so many others to try plus we do prefer ones with more dining options.

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