Travel Blogs from Varadero
Before I get to Havana, I want to show you how different publicity is in Cuba. There are no outdoor billboards advertising Coca Cola or Havana Club rum along the highways. In their place are signs advertising the glories of the revolution. It is as if the only signs you see on U.S. highways are praise for Barack Obama.
You will smile at some of the examples of the advertising arts that I have discovered along the way with my ...
... the strip at the western end is a handful of old hotels, of the 4-star self-rated type with a dirty old pool and 50 or so rooms that haven’t been touched since the 60‘s. Al Capones house is in amongst them, with a nice fiberglass homage to his gangster car, parked out the front. It’s now a kitschy restaurant. At the other end of the strip, some 10 or so kilometers up the road along the peninsula and you’ll hit the ...
... this tour, couple jeeps, and sometimes we used to lost them, and going where we want to go. So all day, the jeep driver been our guide. He was friendly and was talking in English. During the day he told a lot about the life in Cuba, and same time driving like crazy.
After some kilometers we stopped somewhere to meet others and eat some fresh fruits. They been so delicious, bananas, watermelons, pineapples and coconuts. ...
... nothing to share with them, then they asked us to buy sea stars, or Cuban cigars, rum, whatever what I want, but we told them, than we do not want anything and maybe later we will think about this. Well, these guys didn't look like thieves and been friendly, but probably the poor situation in family makes them to catch tourists and offer various stuff.
Today we stayed in a hotel territory, after the beach we went for the ...
... shops is separate. As well there are couple more restaurants in a territory, as more bars by pools. A stage for night performances and concerts is in separate building. Everything projected very smart, to make a real comfort for visitors. On the way we saw those big monolith hotels, with many floors. We been glad that we chosen exactly this one. Our house was closest to the beach, so with couple steps we can reach the sandy beach. ...
How has this resort rated in the past?
- Swimming pool
- Room service
- Fitness/Health center
- Business Services
Historical Traveler Reviews Iberostar Varadero
Overall a good experience
Just spent a week and the Iberostar Varadero. I was pleasantly surprised considering this resort was only opened for 2 months prior. This resort is about 25 minutes away from the airport. And check-in was smooth and quick as we were the only ones from our bus that had booked the Iberostar Varadero. The front desk staff were good to deal with, and effectively communicated where things were located around the resort. The bell staff were also great and provided even more info on what is going on at the resort. We had a great room in building 10 on the 3rd floor that faced the trees at the front of the resort. Building 10 is really close to the lobby, disco, and pool. The room is typical of a resort of this level (ie. tile, and marble). They did not have a dresser so we just keeped things in our suitcases and hung shirts and pants in the closet. The air conditioner did not initially work, but after a service call, we had an attendant come in 15 minutes and correct the problem. Unfortunately, we then couldn't turn the air conditioner off. But better to have that problem than a hot, humid room. Maid service was good. Always had a sculpture or two awaiting us. The fridge was stocked with both Cristal & Bucanero beer, tonic water, carbonated water, and mineral water, and an assortment of Cuban soft drinks. Our fridge was never fully stocked but we consistently had a 2 litre bottle of water replenished.
The food in the buffet was great with a pretty good variety for a resort of this size. We tried the Cuban and the Japanese ala cartes with the Japanese being the better two, however the service is fairly slow at the Japanese, due more in part by the different stages of the meal. But they do compensate but constantly refilling your wine glass. There is always 24 hour food service with the Mediterraniean serving hamburgers, hot dogs, fruits, and deserts all through the night.
The pool is beautiful but fairly cold when you first enter. Takes a minute or two to adjust. The beach is great with a nice long stretch of sand and free of any rocks or coral. They recieved about 200 additional loungers for the beach in the last few days we were there, so there should be no shortage there, however you do have to get up and throw a towel on the pool loungers by 8am. There is also a beach bar and snack bar for convience. As well, there is usually a waiter who walks the beach taking drink orders.
The lobby bar is usually quite busy at night, with it being a smaller area it can sometimes be difficult to get a table. The service was alright at the lobby bar, but I perferred going over to the bar at the theatre for quicker service. The shows at the theatre were hit and miss some nights. They did do a show from the movie Chicago that was quite well done. The animation team were excellent and full of energy all day. As you most likely already know, these folks live on 15-20 CCPs a month, and are not allowed to stay at the resort. For alot of them, they travel from the city of Matanzas on bus, which is about 35 minutes away.
The disco was pretty good and played a good selection of typical north american music. Spanish music was played from the DJ booth in the theatre pretty much the whole day. Had great weather pretty much the whole week with the exception of some rain one night. It was a pretty good downpour that flooded both the disco and the first level rooms. But there was an immediate small army of cleaning staff to help get things back on track.
Like other reviews have said, there is work being done, but you don't really notice it. And yes, there is a smell, not often but occasionally likely from a sewage pond just outside the southeast side of the resort. We noticed it primarily at night time.
All in all a great resort, with good staff, and an excellent animation team.
An excellent place in Cuba!!!
We really had a great time with our children. The mini club is the best our kids have ever been to. The staff is really friendly. That's a 5 stars indeed!!!
We just returned from the Iberostar Varadero after a two week stay ending Feb. 25th.
We were a little aprehensive at first as this is a new hotel.
This resort is beautiful with marble and elegance everywhere.
The rooms are terrific, nicely appointed and very large with large luxurious bathroom and a nice balcony. We had a jr. suite.
The main buffet restaurant was astounding, with a fantastic variety of fresh and varied items expertly prepared, fresh, beautfully displayed and lots of it.
The three a la carte restaurants were also good but we were happy with the buffet because of variety and quality. It is possible to eat 24 hours a day at this resort. There is always somewhere to get something to eat no matter what time it is.
The entertainment crew was at your beckoned command and they had a different performance every evening. Pretty talented group. We went to the Tropicana in Havana and then realized how great our entertainment at the Veradoro actually was.
The entire staff was truly there to serve and they did so with professionalism and enthusisam. We were always greeted with a smile and we did not lack anything. The service was outstanding from everyone from the guys who looked after the catamarans on the beach, to the front desk personel, the maids, the bartenders, and the waitresses were always right there to look after your every need.
Also very importantly, we felt very safe and at home. I did not have any aprehension leaving anything in our room.
This was a most enjoyable experiance and I would hightly recommend this resort. Probably the best vacation I have had. Outstanding!
A definate 5 star in my opinion.
Thanks Iberostar Varadero
Lobster ? What lobster ?
We stayed at Iberostar Varadero february 6 to 20...While we were there the beach bar and beach snack opened. Gardeners were working like crazy planting shrubs and trees to embellish the grounds. Potted plants and trees were coming in everyday for Lobby , theatre , lobby bar and pathway leading to Buffet.No turf yet around blocks 17, 16,15,14,13 and 12.
Flight: Air Canada, comfort class, were at the airport 3 hours in advance 2.30 for 5.30 departure. No one in sight at Air Canada. Airport runways closed because of fog. At 4.30 they checked in our luggage but told us we had to wait for fog to clear...Finally left around 10.30. Ottawa International Airport is a shame. No central runway lights. The reason we were told no plane could land or leave. They just spent millions for a new terminal.Beautiful fountains and sculptures but Ottawa Airport has to be the most people unfriendly Airport we have ever seen.First floor before passing security has about 6 benches all already occupied by poor stranded people trying to get back to London. At around one in the afternoon Air Canada served us Guess what? Breakfast.Arrived at our hotel late afternoon.
Arrival: Rushed to the bank counter to change money, no wait, took a Taxi to I.V. Were told it would be aroud 25 C.P. s. Ended up being charged 35C.P. Couldn't care less at that point too tired...
Check-In : Very fast, polite, all the women at front desk do a good job...Ivan the bellboy was very fast and effective took us by cart to our room..
ROOM; junior suite 1748, full ocean view , two double beds, third floor, very nice, clean.Downside: the nozy chambermaid to whom we left 5C.P.daily and gifts everyday who wasn't happy with the fact that all the gifts I had in a suitcase weren't all for her.After a couple of days she stopped replacing water bottles and did not replenish the fridge every 2 days as supposed.We had to ask the front desk for water even though we kept tipping her..The lady next door had the same treatment with same kind of tips and gifts. Contrary to us on the third floor people on first floor had super nice maids who left sweet Thank-you notes and were all appreciative and happy.
Lobby bar: very nice , very clean, best drinks in the place.Very nice personnel.Downside: no bar stools at all.(I think this has to do with the new law that asks that hotel employees keep contacts with tourists to a minimum required by their jobs) Not enough place to sit down between 6 and 8 even though 3 units were still unfinished.
Buffet : same exact food as Daiquiri, same recipes, same salads with too much oil, same chef transferred from Daiquiri. Never saw one lobster in our two weeks stay. Some people on a site claim there was but even though we ate at a la carte 4 times, everybody was complaining.We were told that the lobster season was over ???? Other people were told that the hotel was on a 20 day roll for food and that lobster was on day 19 which was supposed to fall on last saturday we were there. Still no lobster. You can now order it a day or two in advance at the Mediterranean restaurant for 25C.P.s.
Japanese Restaurant: Excellent, beautifull sushis as entrees, choice of chicken, beef or prawns for main course.Includes chicken or seafood soup. Vegetables in tempura ,choice of white or fried rice.Cooks have learned fast and give good knife show. Excellent service. Downside: the bunch of Cheapos who fly out of the restaurant immediatly after coffee and dessert without leaving a one cent tip...This happened to a lot of people who tip.You end up tipping for the whole table.These cheap people should stay home. I was stunned by the number of people who pay themselves 5 star vacations but can't leave a tip.
Mediterranean restaurant:Tried it twice.Awfull both times. Asked for mussels with Pernaud sauce got overcooked mussels in tomato and onion sweet sauce. Mussels had a taste like cod liver oil.We ended up at the buffet as others did after...
Entertainment staff: star friends work like crazy morning till night.There very nice, polite, friendly and even though their shows need to be practised some more they do a very good job. There's Tae-bo, beach volleyball, archery, riffle, crazy games, bingos, salsa and merengue lessons, spanish,and other things I forgot.Please be generous ...
Music: Very disapointing, house band plays very short times at beginning of shows and play mostly American lounge music probably aimed at older crowd. Not as good as other Cuban groups we heard at other hotels. A group comes in once in awhile for dinner near the pool.Not great either. Don't expect to be serenaded in the restaurant or buffet, musicians are none existant there and so is Cuban music.Hotel band plays on second floor of stage.Music doesn't make you lift, it crushes you as the sound comes down on you. We could not hear the bass or the keyboards , trombone too loud for rest of the group.
Excursions:Tried the 3 Cities tour, Cienfuegos, Trinidad and Santa-Clara. Lobby 6.30 return 9.00 Very long day. More than 700 kilometers in a day. Make sure you are in good shape. We lost an elderly man in Trinidad. Found him later, because of cobblestone the poor man watched his feet and got lost...Went to Havana in rented for the day taxi 120C.P.s The driver took us where we wanted all day.It was great. Had a drink at El Floridita, mood was grim on feb. 19. Law had passed about not accepting tips from tourists .Tipped anyways. They did not seem to know what to do yet with the new law...
Conclusion, Very, very nice hotel and personnel except for the usual exception, I rate it a 4 not because of unfinished touches but because of food..Same as Iberostar Daiquiri which is a 3and a half, 4 star by Cuban standards. Without any lobster the pool and decor cannot explain the 1000 a week difference between the two...Not enough good Cuban music or musicians...That was very disappointing. Want good lobster ? Try El Rancho on first avenue...15C.P.s huge lobster with garlic butter, served with salad and lots of rice.Tip: skip the salad offered as an entrée ,same as sidedish and you will save and have plenty...Hope this review will help some of you. I am sure that with time things will improve and that nature will be gorgeous. But unless we say what we did not like there will be no place for change.Where are all the unhappy people who told us they would write a review when they came back????
I had a great experience there
Just got Back Feb 7/05. And The Facilities were Fantastic.
---- FOOD was always beig cooked, and lots to choose from. The 3 Restaurants were good, however it was bland at times. You will mant to add Salt, and either take some Garlic, or Look for it at the Main Buffet.
----ENTERTAINMENT- some nights better than others, but the Sunday night Show is a Must see, as we were crying throughout most of it. ----BEACH- Fantastic, Absolutly no rocks, White powder sand and great Bar servive.
---- POOLSIDE Nice Pool facilities and seperate sports pool. could use a few more chairs on windy days, Bar Delivery service could use some help, but 2 Bars Close so best to get up yourself.
----ACTIVITIES - Lacked in structure, and could be posted somewhere for planning , but there is a schedule at the Towel Office, and there was always staff calling out the activities,
---- ROOMS- I heard a few complaints of people moving that were not in Junior Suites, But those of us that paid the Little Extra were extreamly please with the size and location. If you have the chance upgrade before you go and try to get into Villa 17. The best Beach view available -
----BARS - Good service overall, one suggestion, If your Canadian & like Clamato Juice, Bring your own, as the food can be Bland and we were sure looking for some spice in our drinks and Tomato Juice doesn't cut it.
---- LANDSCAPING - Being worked on daily, The Courtyard is complete but the walkway to the Villas is not yet ( about 200 feet) there is a wide sidewalk, and unless your falling down drunk or planning on a Grass Nap, you will not even notice it bu the third day
BEST EMPLOYEE - In my mind, Vicente, Found at the Lunch hall and starts @ 4:00. All the others were good, but Look him Up and give him something,
Also, if the staff bring out suggestion cards, fill them out with the Good and the Bad. We were offered, filled it on the Wednesday, and Thursday AM we already saw 2 suggestions addressed.
SIGNATURE REP - Germaine Hernandez, not to eager to assist in excursions.
HAVE A GREAT TIME, WE DID
FINAL WORD - I would go Back, as the hotel wants to improve, if you are going, be a little patient and you will not be disapointed
Hola Cuba! Pass me another Cuba libra!
Looking at the discussion board, I know that many have vested interest in hearing about reviews from this new hotel...
We had a great time! Great friends, great new friends, good food, good party atmosphere, excellent staff, wonderful memories...We (two couples) visited for a 1 week all inclusive stress relieving vacation on January 22, 2005.
THE PROPERTY: There are many 3 story buildings situated brilliantly around a pond, pool area and health club/tennis court. The health club and all activities were fully functional at the time of our visit. The area around the "pond" were buildings still under construction that in no way affected our travel experience (I think most of the work is aesthetic in nature and isolated to the fine details of the rooms interiors). The landscaping was nice. They have planted fully/partially grown vegetation throughout the property so it gives the illusion of being there for a while. If you are looking for a jungle - like some of the other properties - you will not find this here. Personally, I like being able to view the ocean without great obstructions and to see my friends when they are in the pool.
The lobby is wonderful...very pretty. The beach bar opened while we were there...very nice....very convenient! Food was bbq'd by the pool bar when it opened...even nicer. The palapas...if interested...were fully constructed on the beach when we left. There are lots of beds by the beach and pool...no need to reserve at 6am!
It was actually very nice to be at a hotel that was not at "full" capacity when we visited. We normally wake up late in the morning and have difficulty finding chairs....but not here. There was a great bunch of people that we met but the capacity was not so overwhelming that we could not take advantage of many of the amenities!
"The smell" - well...its there...don't know what it is or where it is coming from exactly, but there is a smell that creeps up every once in a while. I smelled it only in the early mornings. Sleep with your patio door closed and it probably will not affect you at all!
THE ACTIVITES: Nice! The activities staff are veterans...I think...from other hotels in the area. They are very natural in their role! They know when to persist and when to leave peaceful vacationers on their own. We were a crazy bunch and as we gained more friends we became even nuttier so they preyed upon us quite a bit. They work long hours and still smile and have the energy to go on and disco to the break of dawn with the tourists! Invite them to lunch and dinner (if you like them!)...they are not allowed to eat in the tourist dining areas unless accompanied by a tourist!
THE FOOD: Loved the buffet and Japanese! Not so excited about the Mediterranean or the Cuban. However, I am very particular about Mediterranean, so I may not be the best person to comment. The cuban...I did not eat the main course after the first bite. I am not super picky, actually I am quite experimental when it comes to food, but this place did not make me crave cuban delicacy!
THE ROOMS: What a bathroom...very European if you have stayed at nice European hotels before. There is a separate area for the toilet and a bidet. The other part of the bathroom is fairly large and it includes a large vanity, large size tub (great for bubble baths - if you have time!) and shower. Both the tub and shower are equipped with removable shower heads. They provide you with shower gels/shampoos (not high end, but doable if you forget your own), kleenex, a great shoe shiner (the best I've seen at any hotel), lotion etc. I'm sure they would replenish this as needed/when requested - we brought our own so can't comment specifically. There is a hair dryer available - not the best for those ladies/men who rely upon them. If you do bring your own I suggest you bring a voltage converter. The reason I say this is because I broke my own hair dryer when I was using it there. The outlet actually makes provisions for all kinds of voltages/connections, however, I am not sure that it "really" works as required. My dryer now only blows cold air!
THE DISCO: Nice size...good design...swings surround the dance floor. Good music. Don't waste your money at the Mambo club down the street... it sucks! And the Mambo club also shakes their tip jar and asks you to tip when you get your drinks! I don't like that...I tip for service...not attitude. The salsa/cuban dancing that happens at the mambo club can be seen at any bar in Toronto when they have a latin night...and you would probably have more fun!
SCOOTER SALES: I promote renting scooters and taking them into varadero! For two scooters (3 hours) it costs as much as taking a cab (round trip). The only thing I would suggest is asking for directions on where to turn to reach the "varadero market". It is very easy to take the main road to Varedaro but people fail to tell you that at some point you need to make a turn - there are no signs indicating that there is a market anywhere. Fortunately, my boyfriend was with me so I asked "locals" where to go and finally found our way into varadero markets. Don't let the travel people at the resort discourage you from taking a scooter. The roads have less potholes than a normal street in Toronto! The cars driving by are very courteous to scooters as well!
MEDICAL: I work for the health department....so I had to add this one in! We got our hep A shots. This prevents you from getting diarrhea that can last up to a month...yuck! Hep B is if you plan on sucking someones blood while you are there or plan on having sex with multiple parters! None of us got any sort of gastrointestinal illness while we were there. Ate very liberally and drank very liberally...with ice cubes too!
MARRIAGE: Would I get married at this resort???!!! Yes. The grouds have very nice areas for pictures. Besides...what does it matter really if you are with the person you love???!!!!
PARTY ATMOSPHERE: We met quite a few aquaintences/friends during our stay. I guess it depends on what you want - we love to make new friends and to party late into the night! There are many people from Canada, Germany, Russia, England etc. You could easily be schooled in global geography, if you chose, while on vacation at this resort. The evening entertainment was great! Its amazing how quickly activities staff can learn so many different skits and still make it look quite natural! Obviously, if perfection is what you are looking for (this is not a broadway show or anything - go to NYNY if you want this) but you will definitely find a lot of heart, passion and dedication!
I think that I have answered most of the questions I have seen on the discussion board. I have over 150 digital pictures from the trip....400 if you include those of the other couple we went with. Send me your e-mail if you would like pictures...I will try to construct an on-line photo album that hopefully will satisfy your needs! If I don't get back to you right away...don't despair...I will try to send emails out on weekends when I have more time...too busy during the week since I have come back to the world of deadlines and outbreaks!
Cheers...have a great vacation!
Loved the Iberastar Varadero
Obviously, some folks go on vacation looking for only the worst aspects of any location, and not appreciating the best!! We, too, spent 2 weeks at the new IB Varadero at the beginning of January and came home from one of our best vacations ever. Yes, there is some work to be done, but we knew that before we left home. It stated quite clearly that this was a new resort and that all facilities may not be completed. We also paid about 60% of what we would have paid for a 5 star resort somewhere else!! We found the rooms lovely, the food well varied and delicious, the staff friendly and anxious to be helpful. The entertainment enjoyable- if you want a Vegas review go to Las Vegas! The people who put on the evening entertainmant report for work at 8-8:30 AM and put in a full day with guest activities and most days don't leave until 11:30 at night! And they work a 6 day work week- And they get paid approximately 20 Conv. Cuban Pesos($20 USD) per month!!! The landscaping that is being completed is in no way intrusive to the activities we so thoroughly enjoyed. As always, it's very much easier to find fault than give credit.
We went to the Iberostar Varadero from Jan.18 - Jan. 25. This resort is beautiful. We had a great time there. The weather was not as good as it could have been, but that is the nature of the beast.
Food: The food was great. We had no problems with anything in the buffet. People that say they couldn't find anything to eat are just too picky and should not be going to a resort. We ate at the buffet most night, but did try the Japanese restraunt. They tried hard to put on a good show, but it needs a lot of work. They chop so slowly its almost painful to watch. Hopefully they will get better with practice. The mediteranian restraunt, which is suppose to be the fancy one was ok. The range of appy's was good and had variety. The food was nothing special, I would have rather eaten at the buffet. Monday night was lobster night at the buffet. Not to sure if its every Monday but at the other Iberostar resort that we have been to, they had a set night that was lobster night. The lobster was sooo good.
Drinks: They have many different drinks to choose from at the many different bars around the resort. They do pour there drinks strong, so if you don't like that all you have to do is ask and they will tame them down.
Grounds: The grounds are very nice, It is not complete yet so with time it will get better. It is going to be a beautiful place once everything grows in. To us it didn't matter that it wasn't done yet, It will take time for everything to grow in. I would guess it will be at least 6 months till they get the grounds complete.
Staff: The staff is great. All very friendly. We traveled with our 11 month old daughter and the staff were always wanting to play with her. They went out of there way to make sure you were enjoying yourself. It seemed like they were helping cause they wanted to to enjoy yourself. These people make very little money and still are very upbeat and eager to help. I was told by one person that they only make $10 month. So please make sure you tip these people. They deserve it. Plus a little tipping goes a long way.
Rooms: We were upgraded to a suite, which was so beautiful. There was so much room in there. We contacted the resort before we got there and requested a crib, and it was all set up in our room with extra linen for our baby. The maid had our room spotless everyday, which is not that easy to do when a 11 month old it randsacking it everyday. The bathroom is huge, there is a shower and a tub. Huge counter with lots of space for everything, a separate room with the toilet with a bidet in there as well.
Beach: We took walks along the beach a few times. It is really nice. A few seashells around so you had to watch your step a bit, but they were few and far between. The water was nice. We had a green flag most days so going out in the water was a breeze. There are no vendors on the beach which is really nice. You did see the odd person that had stuff for sale but they never came to you, you had to go to them if you wanted. We were told they are very strict on that.
Pool: Huge. What else can you say about it. It is so nice. The water is heated by the sun so it wasn't all that warm yet, but it will be. There is a nice swim up bar in the main pool. You can spend all day there and yu cup will never be empty.
Entertainment: They try. The workers work hard to put on a good show. Its something to do in the evenings. The better shows are when they bring people up on stage. We had a good time on those nights.Its not a vegas show.
Smells: There is a foul smell that came around, especially at night. I think it was the septic system that's not right yet. A couple of nights was really bad. It woke me up one night and we couldn't get back to sleep after that. I think it is something that is being worked on so hopefully it gets better.
Golf: We golfed twice. The course in nice, Not that hard so everyone can play it. We were told it was $85 to play plus $33 for the cart. You can barter with that price lots. We got it down to $48 each. Once there we were told there was no tee times for the day. We went straight to the caddie master and slipped him a hat and a few $$$ and we were the next ones on the tee. We met two guys from Toronto there and they had some passes so they gave us 2 and joined us on the tee. We had a great afternoon playing this course.
Overview: The resort is going to be beautiful. It is far from being done though. There are some buildings that are still being drywalled , but unless you looked for it you would never know. The shops in the main lobby area are not near being done, it will be a while till they are up and running. There is no beach bar yet, it was under construction but nowhere near being done. The grounds need a lot of time to fill in and they need to finish planting the grass everywhere. This resort is going to be a 5 star resort, there is no problem there, its just going to take time to get completed. As for all the people going that are worried about it being so new, don't worry. We had a great time. The things that were not done yet we didn't mind. There was nothing in complete that effected our vacation. The only really negative thing was the smell. Soebody said it was from the lagoon in the middle. It was not from there we know that for sure. We are pretty sure its from the septic.
Questions: If anyone has any more questions you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org we will also be posting our pictures on webshots asap.
Not up to par!
Hotel opened on December 22, 2004. Should not have done! The hotel is nowhere near finished, with only 60% of the rooms open, and the grounds not fully landscaped (no grass and a lot of mud/sand) They should hawaited until February to open properly at 100%.
Although it is on a very nice beach, between the Sandals and the Trypp Peninsula hotels, we didn't think that it deserved a 5 star rating. Probably more like a Mexican 3 1/2, or a Cuban 4 star. The rooms are very nice, the beds comfortable, but they have cut corners on cheap hair dryers, odd pieces of wrought iron furniture and an incredible mishmash of diferent building decors. The overall planning of the place seems to have got lost somewhere, with all the rooms clustered around a small lake near the lobby where the events theater and the lobby bar competed for music, somtimes at the same time. While we were there, they changed the imported spanish chairs in the lobby bar to cuban wooden traditional, which was very low, hard and uncomfortable. Made me think that they were trying to keep us moving out! The main buffet restaurant is on the other side of the lobby area, with only the spa at that end. The disco is right beside the lobby bar. (All the noise is concentrated is one area, close to the room complex.)
The food is good by Cuban standards, but very bland...they don't use spices of any sort....I understand that this is because the German tourists don't like spicy foods. So therein lies the direction of the marketing.
There are three a la carte restaurants: Japanese (very impressive, with good sushi to start), Mediterranean (lots of sea foods), and Cuban....didn't go, and it didn't seem to be very well patronised.
The evening entertainment was the same as the old Barlovento and is exactly the same at all the Cuban Iberostars. Got a bit monotonous after five vacations at Iberostar.
The Disco seemed pretty good for the people it was aimed at: hot, smoky and noisy. Funny, though, that there were many who left for the pay disco down the road. I guess they could meet REAL Cubans there!
Will I go back? Probably not, in spite of a lot of Cuban friends working there. It's nice, but nothing special compared to the cheaper Barcelo Solymar.