Blau Varadero Hotel Cuba
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Historical Traveler Reviews Blau Varadero Hotel Cuba
Excellent new hotel
My boyfriend and I just got back from Cuba on January 20th after a very enjoyable week at the Blau Varadero in Cuba. We read the reviews that were posted prior to leaving and were somewhat worried about the comments that we read. We were very pleased to see that the negative comments were likely posted by people that are extremely picky about everything and/or never satisfied with anything (we all know people like that, unfortunately).
The hotel is beautiful. It is large and bright, set beautifully in landscaped grounds. While the vegetation is not all yet mature, the grounds are lush with lawn, palm trees, flowers and a variety of bushes and trees. It is a very nice setting with a beatiful pool area and a very nice boardwalk to the beach. The beach is separated from the hotel by lush natural vegetation and is clean with a good number of lounge chairs and sun shades. There are staff at both the pool and beach to provide you with lounges and to set them up for you.
The food was much better than that which I had at the Sol Palmeras during my last stay. I would say there is enough variety that everyone should be able to find something to their liking (vegetarians beware though - there is seafood or meat in most of the dishes). The only caution is not to go to breakfast too late. We went around 9:30 one morning and there was not a great selection left. There was still plenty of food but the selection was diminished. We usually went for breakfast around 8:30 and there was plenty to eat and drink. The coffee was not great and we chose to drink juice at breakfast and then have a espresso or cappucino at the lobby bar after breakfast.
The bars are all very well stocked and carry a variety of international brands. The bartenders are very knowledgeable and we always had our drinks made with great care. The staff were very patient even with the over-consumers and the people who were quite demanding and needy. Service did not seem to improve or deteriorate with or without tipping. The staff were friendly and always said hello.
The a la carte restaurant was very good. The service was excellent, the food was very good and the ambience was wonderful. There was a string quartet playing throughout the evening adding to the pleasant mood.
Here are some tips. When we got there we asked if there were ocean rooms available and they upgraded our room for free - it doesn't hurt to ask. Souvenir t-shirts are only 10 CUC on the beach and twice as much in the shops. Asking for your drinks to be put into "big gulp" cups or travel mugs makes you look like a dork - have a little class. Watch your step around the pool. There are a few little one-inch steps that really hurt when you jam your toe into them. It won't kill you to say thank you to these extremely nice people that run around trying to cater to your every need.
We will be keeping Blau Varadero in mind for our next beach holiday. The water, beach and hotel are spectacular. Because the staff are so friendly and make people feel so welcome, it was hard to leave at the end of the week.
We just returned home from Blau Varadero tonight, so I wanted to write this review while everthing was fresh in my mind.
The Hotel: Its a big fancy hotel...but seemed out of place because of the height and size. (Its not good if you are afraid of heights and have a room on one of the upper floors). It seems more like a big city hotel than a tropical resort. The lobby, atrium and the buffet restuarant are big and nice looking. There is four very small glass elevators for the whole building...they are slow and only hold about 6 people.
The Beach: Fine white sand, the color of the water is amazing. Shallow and nice to swim or spash around in. The beach bar is nice. There is a wooden boardwalk to the beach. Everyone leaves there sandels on the end of the boardwalk before going on to the beach.
Pool Bar: It has the best staff and good drinks. Its a fun place to hang around and visit with fellow travellers.
Lobby bar: Its okay..but a little cold if a wind is blowing. Nothing too special about it.
Pool: Its nice...but quite cold in January.
Rooms: Nice and comfy. The maids do a wonderful job of cleaning and making towel art. No complaints about the rooms.
The Buffet: Huge and nice looking...Service wasn't all that good and the food wasn't too great. (I am not a fussy eater) They even ran out of coffee at breakfast. Mashed potatos and mini eggrolls and tough meat at breakfast, lunch and supper. I thought the food really needed improved. (But we didn't get sick from it). The Buffet was a big disapointment.
Lunch Buffet (By the pool bar) Okay, but nothing special.
Kids Club: It looked cute...but I don't even know if it is open yet.
Staff: Most of the staff at this hotel were very professional (sp?)..but not all that friendly. The pool bar staff and the maids were the nicest.
Entertainment: It is held inside the hotel..not the greatest spot. We seen a couple of shows but didn't find the entertainment that great.
The Grounds: Nothing has had time to grow in yet. It might look a lot nicer in a couple of years. All the plants are still small. You aren't going to see many flowers.
All in all: We were very dissapointed with our vacation. It would have been VERY boring if we hadn't met some great new Canadian friends. We made our own fun. The hotel was very nice looking on the inside...but it just wasn't tropical. There were no bands at all playing music. We really missed that.
This resort is more suitable for older people and families looking for a quiet, do nothing vacation.
This was our fourth vacation to Cuba...to the fanciest hotel...but we had more fun at other resorts that were rated lower. We know this hotel needs time to grow and become better.
Loved Blau Varadero watch where you are walking
The Blau Varadero Hotel is one of the finest in Cuba. We where there from Jan.8 until the 15-2006. There were 4 in our party. The Hotel is new and is going through the "getting the bugs out stage". The Staff is very pleasant and helpful. The food was good and plentiful. The rooms are well appointed all with either a view of the Atlantic Ocean on one side or the Caribbean Sea on the other side. There are 4 elevators and at peak times they are a little slow.
The only thing that I would caution you about is at the Pool Bar about 8ft.out from the bar and about 90 ft. around the bar on 3 sides there is a 3in. step up without any visual marking. One afternoon I counted 19 people triping into the bar one was the bar waitress. You could get hurt here.
At the one end of the Pool Restaurant there is a 60ft. long 3in. step that you can not see with all of the tables and chairs that are present again without any visual marking to warn you of this step. One of our party tripped and fell cutting her arm and both knees. And finally in the area where you would go to reserve a tour with your travel representative there is a 40 ft. ledge with an 18in. drop off. This area should have a rail or a plant wall to stop you from walking off this ledge. You think that you are just going over to one of the many sofas to sit down and the next thing you are flat on your face on the marble floor with many cuts and bruise's. It happened to me this afternoon I am going to my Doctors. I think my elbow has a broken bone in it. So please be careful walking around this Hotel.
This problem could be solved with a bright Yellow Visual Impared tape that can be applied to the edge of the riser.
Great Resort but still needs to work out some bugs.
Our trip was from Jan 7 - 14, 2006 and this was our first time in Cuba and we chose Blau because it was new (4-5 months old depending on who you spoke to). This hotel was very nice and modern but I wish someone had told us about the little card box that we're supposed to insert our room card to activate the room's electricity and since we arrived into our room at 3am in the morning wondering around the room in the dark was not fun. Once the card is removed from the box the power shuts down including the fridge so get yourself a extra card to leave in the box to maintain power if you plan to charge batteries and maintain cold drinks while you're out of the room. The washroom was a nice size and even had a bidet beside the toilet too. We had satellite TV (Dishnetwork) but only had a few channels but good enough for when your spending time in your room.
The lobby (floors 1-3) of the hotel is open concept so when it gets really cool and windy, which we had afew days of, there is really no where to hide from it except for your room or just brave it cause you only have one week to get you moneys worth.
The food was OK but not horrible and served for the most part at room temperature. During lunch watch out for the cooks behind the grill to be sure they are not cross cataminating the food by using the same tongs that were use to handle raw meats with the already cooked meat. I was very displeased with this discovery on day five of our stay cause "Mr.Softie" had visited my wife and I the second day and had to take imodium to control the bathroom visit. As for the "Snack Bar" your choice is grill cheese, chicken salad or tuna salad sandwich is all you have to choose from. I talked to other vacationers from other hotels and our "snack bar" is a joke compared to the other resorts.
As for the booze... we're not drinkers but from what we saw doesn't look like any negative issues except I hear it's not really 24hr service but would be consider 24hrs if you include the 2 cans of beer that is in your room fridge.
The hotel staff where friendly but discovered that beyond their main duties they had little information or knowledge you may be looking for, stick to the front desk for any kind of help. And if you or any member of your group falls seriously ill and need medical help, stay calm when asking for help as the language barrier can be frustrating. Agian stick to the hotel managers or director or any main hotel staff that speaks your language well for assistances.
Tipping... it's really up to you. The hotel staff are not on top of you expecting tips for everything they do for you. And what you tip them with is up to you as well, either Cuba convertibles or ANY THING bought from the dollar store i.e: toiletry supplies, female accessorices, gum and candies, toys for kids etc, etc.
We gave to the chambermaid everyday, guess that is why we got bathrobes the second day, and to one particular waitress that served us daily for the most part but the remaining staff was off and on depending on our mood. But if you're really into drinking and want a bottomless glass then tip the bartender for contiunous service. As for tipping while off the resort, ie: while on tours, agian it's up to you and how you felt the quility of service from your tour guide. Just a note, it got really tiring for us to see every public and resturant washroom a person standing in front of the door with a tip jar expecting a tip before we could use the toilet. It came to a point where we just looked and walked right passed them as if they weren't even there. Another note, keep tissue, wet-naps and/or hand sanitizer on you when off the resort as most washrooms have no toilet paper, soap or even a tiolet seat.
To end this review we had a very enjoyable time and have no regrets on our chioce for the Blau Varadero resort. Give it a year or two to get their operations in order and I believe they will be operating smoothly and in line with the other older/established Varadero resorts.
One final note about the Varadero Airport... slow paced and smokey/poor air quailty so be patient and keep your inhaler on you.
My boyfriend and I stayed at BLAU VARADERO from December 30th - January 6th 2006. We flew direct from Windsor with Skyservice. I travel 2-3 times a year to different Caribbean islands, and BLAU is one of the best and my new favourite resort!! Blau is a brand new hotel, which is a bonus because everything is NEW. The hotel room was very clean, and we did have a fridge and was stocked up daily with pop, beer, and water. The maid makes your bed in a different animal or picture every morning. The hotel staff is very nice, always saying HELLO. The entertainment team had different activities going on during the day around the pool. They will ask you to come and participate but no pressure if you say "no thanks." The nightly shows started at 10pm and were different every night.
The FOOD- This is the best food I have ever had at a resort. I am picky eater to begin with, and everything in the buffet was delicious. It changed a little day to day, but the presentation and the taste was amazing. The hotel did have one specialized restaurant. We went there twice; first time was awesome, good service, good food. The second time we went was not so great. So I guess it is just your luck. The Lunch buffet is good too, they have a jug of water on every table. They have servers too which will get you any drink of your desire! They have international drinks, CC, Bailey's, Frangelica, Kahlua, Beefeater, and much more.
The beach is beautiful. The beach is something that makes me keep wanting to go to Varadero (been there 3 times)
The pool area is nice as well. They have a pool boy that will bring you a cushion for the lounge chairs (no charge) which is much more comfortable then the hard plastic. They have a server sometimes that will bring you drinks.
I would definitely recommend the scooters. They are available to rent right on the ground of the resort. The best thing to do is rent it for 24 hours. It costs you 24 pesos. You can ride right into town, shop (bring a backpack), go up and down the strip and look at all the hotels, and to see scenery. The first time we just got the scooters for 3 hours (15 pesos), but we were too rushed. A couple days later we got it for 24 hours. Downtown is very safe. The people that work at the markets are not pushy, they don't come chasing after you if you don't want to pay there asking price (like in Punta Cana), But everything is pretty reasonable pricing anyways.
We went to two different night clubs. It costs you 10pesos for the cab one way, and 10pesos to get in and it is all you can drink! They play salsa, top 40, and some rap and R&B music. We went to THE INTERNATIONAL (my favourite), and LA RUMBA (very small and hard to get drinks) I didn't make it to the PIRATES CAVE this year, but this is a neat club to check out too! It is in a real cave.
I can't wait to go back to BLAU!
Feel free to email me with any questions!
We stayed at the Blau Varadero from Dec 26-Jan 2 (05-06). I must say that this hotel was one of the best we saw from Havana to Varadero. It is brand new and a beautiful facility.
The property of the resort is not as large as some you would see in Mexico or other Caribbean locations. You have the hotel, the pool and bar area, and then you walk down the boardwalk to the beach. Everything was very new looking, but I wonder how it will look over the next 5-10 years as they do not seem to keep up with the maintenance in Cuba.
The food tasted very good, and did not cause any 'problems' with our digestives systems! There was not a lot or variation of the food from day to day. It was generally the same food each day, with a change in maybe two or three dishes. However, New Years Eve dinner was spectacular. They dressed up the buffet area and made pianos, vases, horses and carriages out of chocolate. They had trees made out of fruit and the seafood area was decorated with a sailboat, and netting with seafood in it. The service for the buffet lines were slow (especially at lunch by the pool) I would contribute this to the fact that they are still 'brand new' and haven't quite gotten into the swing of things.
The bar service varied from bar to bar. The beach bar was nice and close to the beach but just didn't seem appealing to me to use often. The pool bar was always busy, but you were still able to get a drink relatively quick. The bar that we visited everyday and for most of the night was the main/lobby bar. The staff was excellent and spoke English quite well. Yoel and Oniel were the best bartenders at that bar, throughout the week they would know your regular drinks, and make them for you within minutes of sitting at the bar. The only problem I had with this bar is that when it gets busy service becomes slow. The hotel was not at full capacity yet, and we were told that when it does fully open that there will be more staff. Another great staff member was Anelys (waitress/bartender), I had forgotten my purse at the show and she held it the bar for us. She was polite, friendly, and liked to sing and dance while she worked! One important thing to note: NOT 24 HOUR DRINKS!!! The brochure was printed wrong and they have not fixed it yet. Drinks stop at MIDNIGHT. Although you can get a couple in at the pool bar after.
WE were at the hotel for New Year's, which was awesome! Best New Year's I have had. The guests were given a bag of New Year's treats including a hat, mask, streamers, noise makers, and a bag of grapes. WE shared with the staff and had most of the bartenders wearing masks. It was nice because we were able to do some shots with the bartenders and then when midnight came, they soaked us all with champagne! It was really nice to see that the staff was able to celebrate with us as well. And at 1:00 we celebrated again because it was New Year's in Canada. A great time!!
The rooms were wonderful. We had an ocean view room (at the front of the hotel) which was nice because we could not here everyone at the pool late at night. Our maid Kenia cleaned our room twice a day and made spectacular towel animals, also twice a day. We had housecoats in our room (which I don't think all of them do. I had requested a honeymoon/anniversary special which could explain the extra service. Rooms were great!
There was a nice choice of excursions to do with the travel agents. We chose the Havana tour, "Colonial Havana" (all day). It was a very informative trip but it seemed to be a little scatterbrained and on the bus...off the bus. If you want to go with another group/couple on the trip book at the same time as they use a few different buses for the trip. Also, it seems the tour guides have a habit of stopping by their homes along the tour, the reason for this, I think, is so that you see the conditions they live in. They make it seem like they forgot something and have to stop, although they give you no explanation as to why you are waiting on the bus. This happened to another couple on a different bus as well. I liked seeing Havana, but would not recommend the full day trip. A private tour (driving around in a cab, with no guide) would be cheaper and better if you did not mind staying in the car and going for a drive.
Overall, we really enjoyed our trip to the Blau Varadero and would definitely recommend this hotel to anyone looking to go to Varadero. Again, it easily looked the best hotel on the peninsula. A great job was done by the staff to keep us fed, drunk, and entertained. Enjoy!
We spent a week at the Blau Varadero, Nov. 28-Dec. 5/2005. Had a great time. There was only maybe 100 guests at the hotel, except on the week-end, during our stay. The hotel was big, tallest on the Varadero strip, new and clean. The inside lobby area is an open atrium. Check-in and out was quick and efficient but there was only a few of us. The 4 glass elevators to get to your room are lovely but very slow. We can only imagine what they would be like when the hotel is full.
Our ocean-view room was large with 2 queen beds, a marble bathroom, tile floor, a fridge, TV, new rattan furniture and a free safe. The beds had a plastic mattress cover on them which we found hot and sweaty. I put a blanket under the bottom sheet, which made it better and the maid left it intact for our stay. The A/C worked well, just make sure the sliding door to the deck is COMPLETELY closed, otherwise it doesn't work at all. The maid srevice kept the room spotless, even folding my boyfriends clothes, and organizing our shoes!
The hotel grounds are still very new with the planted vegetation small and the grass not grown in yet. There are bridged pool/fountains around the buildings, one of which was full of slime and green algae. They were cleaning at the time, and we assumed is was dirty from the previous hurricane. We didn't spend much time in the pool and we did not use the tennis courts. The pool bar was nice, lots of good drinks, and especially liked the rum punch. The drinks are however, served in small glasses so when ice is added it's only a few sips and it's gone. Recommend bringing your own large tumbler glass. This pool bar is also the 24hr snack bar which was a joke because all that was available was ham and cheese sandwiches, which the bartender makes on request. We found service at the bar to be great but we tipped the bartender on a regular basis.
The boardwalk to the beach was nice and the beach beautiful. Using the snorkelling equipment, kayaks and Hobie Cats (with a staff member only) was easy. As there were not many guests at the hotel, there was good availability. Lots of chairs on the beach and by the pool too. We had no problem using the equipment. The hotel beach staff even offered a 2-3 hr snorkelling trip for $15 pesos (=$15 US). They took us on a Hobie-Cat, we fed the fish and had a great time. On that note, just a reminder, one cannot easily use $US in Cuba and there is a huge service charge to exchage $US. We took Canadian money, exchanged it into Pesos at the Varadero airport while waiting for our luggage, and then exchanged the rest at the hotel. Also note that Canadian coins, even loonies and toonies are useless to the Cubans. They cannot exchange coins into useable Pesos. It's better to tip with Pesos.
Overall, the food was good. Nothing from "Fear Factor", as I had been warned. Most food was identifiable as there are no signs saying what each selection is. There was lots of choice at the big main buffet, but as with big buffets, the food wasn't hot. The lunch buffet by the pool was good. Great burgers, just ensure they cook them long enough, and great chicken too. We didn't have any problem with the food, always able to find something yummy to eat. The ala carte restaurant was great too, and as someone else stated we too had to make a reservation and eat there on the wed. night as the the buffet wasn't open.
On the week-end of our stay a large group (200+) arrived from ZOOM Airlines, celebrating their Xmas party. We must note that the food selection dramatically improved and the service dramatically declined during those 2 days. The hotel staff seemed to have difficulty coping with such a large group. And maybe the food selection is better when the hotel has more clients. Who knows?
Lastly, prepare for a hellish airport departure. The Varadero airport is small and poorly run but thats all part of the Cuban adventure. Huge unorganized line-ups to check-in, then line-up to pay your Cuban departure tax (must have your boarding pass to do so...), then line-up to go though customs/immigrations, then line-up for security, then wait in a very crowded area for your plane. Now we know why they picked us up to go to the airport 4 1/2 hours prior to departure! In the chaos, the time went by quickly, and we still had enough time to buy that delicious Cuban rum from duty-free.
Overall, the vacation was great, loved the Blau and hope one day to return.
My spouse and I stayed at the Blau from Dec. 11 to the 20th.
We arrived there at around 11 p.m. and we were very impressed by the spectacular interior design of the center portion of the 14-storey hotel where you can see right up to the roof.
Check-in was very fast due to the fact that only the two of us got off the bus at the hotel (we were maybe 40 people on the plane!). I guess we avoided the rush of Christmas time, which is great. There were no more than 100 guests at the hotel during our stay, so the service we got was excellent.
I think that since there were so few people, everybody got an oceanview room (even though we did not ask for one). Our room was on the 6th floor, so the view from up there was superb. No complaints about the room, except maybe for the foul smell sometimes emanating from the bathroom (more precisely from the bathtub drain, we think). The balcony was fairly large, so you could just sit there after a nice day at the beach while drinking a beer from the daily-restocked fridge (cola and water are also available) and enjoying the view of the pool and the sea.
If your room is located on the upper floors and the hotel is crowded, you should expect long waiting times for the elevators (there are 4 of them in all). As you know, elevators often break down, so I could see some problems there. Of course, you may use the stairs if you are in good shape.
There are two buffet-style restaurants (one for breakfast and dinner, and one for lunch). You can also get food from the pool-side bar 24 hours a day I believe. There is a third restaurant (à la carte) currently open on Wednesdays only. I heard that it will be open on more nights when there are more guests. Dinner at this last restaurant was great, so it is worth making a reservation. As a matter of fact, we had to go because the other restaurant was closed that night (everybody had a reservation). Food was very good in general.
We are not "pool people", so we spent most of our days at the beach, which is beautiful. But the pool was very large and I am sure that nobody will complain about it. There are 2 tennis courts and 1 soccer/basketball court. All the equipment is new as you can imagine. There is a mini-club for kids (small pool, playground, etc.).
If you expect a large piece of land with luxuriant vegetation, you will be disappointed. There are some palm trees and exotic plants, but nothing spectacular, compared to other hotels like the Iberostar Varadero.
Great staff, with large smiles on their face. Say a few words in Spanish and give a little tip and you will see even more white teeth.
Some evening shows were great. Some weren't. At the airport, it will cost you roughly CAD 1.30 to get one peso (CUC). All in all, we had a great time.
I stayed here from 5th tp 12th December. It's a beautiful facility, though not fully operational yet. The staff have to be the nicest of any of the many all inclusive resorts I have stayed in. This was my first visit to Cuba, and i would certainly return. Great beach; large rooms, with spacious balconies. Nice pool area. Good bars. Food improved through the week, after a shaky start. Would return here "in a heartbeat".
I stayed at Blau Varadero from dec 3rd to 10th.
This place is amazing. Everything is made from pink and white marble. The ceiling is all hardwood. It is only 2 months old and the beach, the food and the rooms are amazing. the booze is all premium brands and i could spend the rest of my life at this resort.
TripAdvisor Reviews Blau Varadero Hotel Cuba
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