Blau Marina Varadero Resort
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Historical Traveler Reviews Blau Marina Varadero Resort
Great place for kids!
Well....after a much anticipated wait....we arrived at Barcelo Marina Palace on Friday April 1. Oh My! What a place! My husband and I travelled with our three daughters and another couple and their three daughters. There ages ranged from 12 to 7 years. All three of these girls cried on the way to airport to travel home as they wanted to stay another week. This pretty much says it all.
The mini club was a great place for the kids to get in out of the sun. They had bikes, nintendo games, pool tables and so on there. The staff at the mini club were fantastic. After working a full day, they stayed on in the evening to entertain teh children in the evening at the mini-disco. They even made costumes for the them to wear and perform in. OUTSTANDING! Gerat job to Milene and Annette.
The food was good. But...as they say, you don't come to Cuba for the food. We took a jar of Peanut Butter and wished we had taken a jar of instant coffee and coffee mate, as thier coffee was just ok. Lots to pick from at the buffett and my husband had a crepe every morning, made fresh in fron t of him with bananas, pineapple and papaya! The crepe man was awesome.
At supper time we had two different waiters fighting for us to sit in their area. We felt some pressure from them, as we knew they were looking for tips and seemed to discuss this among themselves in Spanish. With this said however, we had wonderful service as they wanted us to sit in thier area each night. Yimmy and Monica were awesome waiters and waitresses...
The beach was awesome.......we snorkelled there and even saw a clown fish..the kids were so excited.
The water slide was the best. We think our girls went down this thing one thousand times!
There are several employess that speak very little English, however others that did were helpful in translating for them.
The entertainment and sports staff were excellent. We were always entertained whether it be a dance lesson, Tai Chi, races, ...it was great!
I could go on and on...the bottom line......we were hestitant to take children, but very quickly realized that there was nothing to worry about. We would go back tomorrow...a great place to relax and enjoy! If we were young and full of energy, I would not say that this was a place to party....
Next year, this will be the place to go, once all is finished.....
End the evening with a Martini by Alberto...the best martini EVER!!!!!!
Marina Palace is the place to be...
Alain, Daymelis, Jose Luis, and Yanet will make your stay everything you wanted it to be...
The food was great, something for everyone, just remember it's an island, and it's not Canada.
The service was top notch and anyone who would expect better should stay at home, vacations are for relaxing.
The rooms couldn't have been cleaner, nor could the people be more accomodating. We lacked nothing EVER.
The resort as a whole, is new, still has some growing to do but was neverless fantastic. Take a good look around Varadero and you will see it's one of the finest around.
For those of you that care about the Cuban people, the Marina palace does look after it's employees aswell, more than any other resort around. Which is nice to know that you don't have slaves serving you.
It's a great resort and well the people are more than accomodating, more than nice, and really I would leave tomorrow and go back exactly to where I was...
We were there february 25- march 4.Brand new hotel improving each day.The rooms are nice with mini-fridge refill each day with beers,sodas and water.The food is very good for Cuba and it is the first time in Carribean the red wine is tasty...The service is very good.Don't wait to go there,the price will rise up when phase 2 will be completed.
Had an excellent time
We just arrived back from Cuba on Friday, we were at this resort from March 4th - 11th. We had an excellent time and so did most of the people around us.
The weather was great (around 28-32 degrees during the day), a little cool at night (18 degrees), but we have travelled alot and know to always come prepared. It rainned one night and by the time we had finished watching the show the rain had stopped.
We had amazing service at all the restraunts and we found the food to be great. There was lobster at the main dinner buffet on Friday night, shrimp and steak (fillet minion) at the main dinner buffet (cooked how you wanted), fresh fish and calamari and from what we've heard from others at other resorts, the food at the Marina palace was definately superior.
Breakfast Buffet: Coffee from a machine or you can request fresh ground and have the wait staff bring it to you from the Lobby bar. Fresh fruit and juices, cold meats and cheeses, fresh warm breads, crepes made to order, eggs and omlettes made to order, even champagne. There is a hot buffet section with bacon, sausages, meats and different spanish/cuban dishes (be adventurous). There is a cold buffet section with cold meats, cheeses, olives, fish, breakfast cereals, cold milk, yogurt etc. There is also a dessert section with pastries and all kinds of sweet yummies.
Lunch Buffet: Served at the restraunt by the pool. Again a huge choice of food. A hot and cold section, fresh breads, fresh fruit and juices, a bbq set up just outside to cook burgers and hot dogs, a salad bar section, pasta bar with made to order pasta, a grill section with made to order fish and different meats (chicken, steak, risoles on a stick). Again a dessert section with ice cream which is really creamy. Wine is served and it is from Spain as Cuban wine is not considered good enough for a 5 star resort.
Dinner Buffet: Greeted at the door by nightly show entertainers in full costume. Lots of selection each night. Lots of hot vegetables and other cooked meats. Pasta bar will make to order. The grill bar serves different things every night from lobster, shrimp, calamari, fresh fish, chicken, steak, kebabs, lamb. Fresh breads, frsh juices and huge selection of desserts and ice cream.
Italian al-a-cart: Great ambiance, live music consisting of string trio (they will play requests). the food is great and you can order other wines from a wine list for an extra fee, or just have the house reds and whites at no extra fee.
Spanish al-a-cart: Again you can enjoy your food while someone serinades you, 2 gentlemen playing guitara come around and strum and occasional sing. we enjoyed the food here as well.
The 24 hour grill: They have a small menu you can order from during the day and if you sleep in and miss breakfast (7:30 - 10:30) they serve a continental buffet.
Pool Bar: Fun and although you may have to wait a few minutes to be served, you are on vacation so relaxing is what we are meant to be doing. Lots of people to talk to. The staff is always on the run here. The staff have a drink menu you can request and also are very accomodating to fill peoples travel mugs and/or attempt something new.
lobby Bar: Great place to hang out and meet people. we really enjoyed sitting at the bar or at one of the many tables and enjoying the surroundings. There is someone who plays the grand piano every night, great place to relax. We loved the mojitos made here and the cappuccinos were excellent (better than Starbucks).
The Service: We found the service excellent and we felt fussed over. I think in large to the fact that when we travel we treat people around us with respect and we are also grateful and smiled alot to show our appreciation. Tipping even a little with pesos or a little gift goes a long way. Our bar fridge was filled every day by our maid compared to others who had theirs done every second day. Our maid left us little notes and made up our towels in different ways every day. The gardeners even gave us flowers from the garden as we passed by on our way to breakfast and broke open a coconut to let us try coconut juice. We were also able to get 2 reservation for both al-a-cart restraunts simply by being nice to the lady booking them. we heard people complaining on this web site about the language barrier - please remember you are in a Spanish speaking country and really if you went to Italy would you not take a phrase book to converse with people and not expect them to speak English. We found just about everyone was able to understand what we were saying. Most of the staff speak Spanish (of course), English, French and German. We're thinking that is pretty good. Most Canadians don't even know English and French.
The Beach: It is NOT man made as some people have stated. People get your facts straight. This resort has a huge section of beach to itself, so it is definately not crowded like at the other resorts closer to the town. The beach is wider here to. We also found shells and seaweed at the beaches in town. We walked in both directions for about 1/2 hour in each way and not once did we get our feet cut by shells or coral. The water was warm and every night the beach is combed by a tractor that takes the seaweed away. People this is the ocean and if you don't like seaweed or shells then swim in the pool.
The grounds: They are work in progress, but really coming along.
The Pool: Great place to cool off and just sit in. Free form pool. A seperate kiddy pool. Deepest part of the pool is only 4 feet. Lots of lounges and the pool guy will bring you a cushion and place your towel on it. Lots of umbrellas for shade.
Other services: The kids club is up and running, there are dance lessons, spanish lessons, cooking lessons, tennis, basket ball, beach volley ball, beach socccer, yoga classes, water aerobics, pool tables, fooseball. No time to be bored. There is a hair salon, massage therapy, tour desk, disco, internet room. There is a gift shop that sells souvenirs, coffee, liquor, cigars etc. NO CREDIT CARDS ACCEPTED YET. They hope to have this in place within the month. (The resort next door let us shop at their gift store so we could use our VISA). Nightly enertainment was excellent too. They have this great indoor seating area with a bar. Each night is a different show and the costunes are amazing. There is also a trio that serenades at lunch and dinner (Los Dandys), they were excellent, we bought their cd. Changing money was never a problem and we went at different times of the day and week.
In all we had an awesome time. It was just the holiday we were looking for. This resort is definately a ways away from all the hustle and bustle and lends itself to restful days. Not a party place, but enough energy going on to not be dull. If you want you can take the double decker bus into town for some more adventures (only $5 to ride all day). We did the Havana Colonial day tour ($67 each) and it was excellent. Cuba is great, and we would definately return to this resort again especially when the rest of it is finished.
Wait until Phase Two is completed
We travelled with Go Travel Direct out of Ottawa on Feb.12/05. We were expecting to fly Zoom Airlines with their new Air Bus but instead our carrier was an old 737 out of the UK, We weren't impressed but we didn't crash and got there so I guess that wasn't all that bad.
Lets talk about the Resort....It will be a 4 Star when it's finished, But it's no way close to being finished yet. There were no Beach or Pool towels availabe for us for the first two days. The Pool water was colder then the Ocean....It had only been filled days before we arrived so the Sun hadn't had time to heat it up. The Pool sprung a leak on the Thursday of the week and lost about 5" over night. The Pool maintenance staff tried to refill it but were losing the battle when we left on the Sunday. Don't know if they have fixed it yet.
The food wasn't labelled so you never new what you were getting at the Buffet. They burned the food that should be server either medium or meduim rare and under cooked the things that should be well cooked like bacon & eggs. If you can live on Salads and Fruit you will be ok.
We've been to Varadero twice before and new we weren't going there for the food but this was really a disappointment it was really awful.
The Room we stayed in was fine 2nd floor Ocean View, but others staying at the Resort didn't have hot water all week.
The Grounds... Well, When the Palm Trees grow and the Shrubs get planted it will start to look ok. It's all concrete and mud right now.
If you're paying more then $2,200.00 CDN for a weeks you're paying to much.
Give this place a pass. Wait a year or even 2.
Very good and getting better!
I was there from 24 Feb to 3 Mar. This was my fifth resort in Cuba and is the best so far. The resort is new and is experiencing some minor problems but overall we were extremely pleased with it. First the problems: the large fountain near the pool and the tube slide at the pool were not yet operating; the landscaping, while well underway is still quite sparce; there is not yet a bar at the beach. To us these were very minor problems. Now the good stuff. The staff were exceptional - most spoke some English and all were helpful and friendly, even the front desk staff. There was no problem exchanging currencies although sometimes there was a shortage of $1 CUC coins. The service at the bars was good with usually no waiting. At the busiest times there was maybe a 3-4 min. wait. Tipping was not an issue - service was good with or without a tip and no one ever asked or implied that a tip was wanted. The rooms were nice and kept very clean. The fridge was kept stocked with softdrinks, water & beer (2 per day). The food was the best we've had in Cuba. There was entertainment in the piano lounge from about 4 to 9 and live 3 pc bands in the ŕ al carte restaurants. The nightly shows in the theater were also quite good. The beach is not as nice as those closer to Varadero but there was lots of shade and chairs. There were a couple of fellows at the beach (and the pool) to set up and clean-off the chairs for us. The water was clear and while there was some seaweed there was lots of clear areas. The pool is large but the deepest area is only about 4 ft deep.
This resort is good now and is only going to get better. One week was too short!
Good, but not great.
My husband and I traveled to Varadero, Cuba between February 13-20, 2005. We booked with Signature Vacations and had booked at a 4 star plus closer to the town but upon arriving at the airport, we were informed that we had been "upgraded" to a brand new 5 star as our original choice was overbooked. We were offered a full refund but considering we were two hours from our departure time, we decided to go.
Anyhow, the resort is brand new and had been opened only one week before our arrival. While, like any new resort, it has many bumps and will experience growing pains, it wasn't too bad. This resort only has Junior Suites and they are quite lovely. Our room was on the second floor and faced the Marina across the street which is very nice. Unfortunately, there is still construction going on next door and we were awakened early every morning by construction crews and trucks driving down the street. Also, when the doors open and close inside the buildings, they slam very loud and will wake anyone up. Most of the other guests we spoke with here complained about this.
The resort was still being landscaped during our stay but you can already see what the place will look like when it matures and it's going to be beautiful. The pool is big and clean with a great swim up bar. The service here is second to none. Our rooms were kept sparkling clean and we had a fantastic maid. The bar fridge in our room was restocked daily.
There are three bars: the lobby bar, the pool bar, and the bar in the theatre which becomes a disco at night. As we were forced awake early every morning, we did not go to the disco at all and went to bed early every night. Service at these bars is good although the lobby bar can sometimes get very busy and it's hard to get in to order a drink. The buffet was well stocked and although not great, you'll always find something you like. The omlettes are very good! There are two a la carte restaurants, an Italian and a Spanish restaurant, and we were lucky enough to eat at both. We had the Spaghetti Bolognese and it was amazing. At the Spanish restaurant we had Lobster and Filet Mignon and it was also very good. There is also a 24 hour grill located next to the pool that serves hotdogs, hamburgers etc. and this is great for clients like us who arrive late at night. Just make sure that if you order a hot dog, they split the wiener down the middle and cook it as I ordered one and it was still raw inside. There is a beautiful theatre for the evening entertainment, which is very amateurish but good nonetheless.
We didn't do a lot of touring although we did do the day trip into Havana. This is a must if you haven't already done so. This city is something to see and you sort of get an idea of the "real" Cuba. Yes, the peddlers on the street can sometimes get annoying but like anybody else, they are just trying to make a living. If you politely tell them "No Thank You", they will usually leave you alone. We also went to see the Tropicana Show in Matanza and while I'm sure it's nothing when compared to the show in Havana, we had a great time and it was wonderful to watch.
The only two disappointments for me was the location of this resort and the beach. As mentioned earlier, we had booked elsewhere and were supposed to be much closer to town on a great stretch of beach. The Marina Palace is the last resort located on the Varadero Hotel strip so it is quite the distance from town. Also, the beach wasn't that hot - definitely not what I was wanting or expecting. Because of this, my husband and I hopped the double decker bus into town a couple of times and used the beach at another resort which was much better.
Overall, we did enjoy our Cuban vacation even though it was not what we had paid for or expected.
Needed a lot of work
Like most of the people staying at the Barcelo Marina Palace for the week of Feb. 12- 19, my girlfriend and I were bumped from the Playa Varadero 1920. How a resort could make such a crucial error as overbooking 50 guests is very suspicious, but I digress.
The Barcelo Marina Palace bills itself in various websites as a four-star plus or five-star resort depending on what you read. Let me say that judging from what I have seen, this is going to be one of the best resorts in Varadero.
Too bad they started booking guests about a year too soon.
The resort is only half finished and is still going through a number of start-up bugs. It's clear that Barcelo wanted to get the influx of money coming in from the spring break visitors from Canada rather than wait for the second half of their resort to be completed before opening for business.
Here, I've detailed my Barcelo Marina Palace experience:
Reception: Checking in was a relatively stress-free experience. Of course, it's going to be easy when there are not a lot people at the resort. We learned it just opened the previous week from a couple of friends we met down there. The staff was helpful and courteous, but we encountered a few problems. Don't try to order a wake-up call; you won't get one. We tried to convert some of our Canadian money into convertible pesos, but were told they didn't have any left. We took a tour of Havana the next day without any money to spend.
Room: The room is actually quite nice and spacious. The maid arranged the towels in a different design each week and was quite gracious with our gifts (soap, nylons, gum). Satellite cable with CNN and ESPN let me keep up with the news around the world (NHL cancellation). HBO was also good for a late-night movie when we were winding down before bed.
Beach: The most disappointing aspect of the resort. When we arrived at the hotel and tried to look at the ocean, our view was blocked by a big wall of sand. The beach isn't finished and hasn't been groomed yet. You have to walk up a huge pile of sand to get to the beach and watch your toes; there are shells everywhere. Watch your step in the ocean as well. I stepped on a couple of cinder blocks (I have no idea why they were there) and found three sea urchins in just 30 minutes in the water.
Food: The buffet was good, but the resort only gives you only one a la carte restaurant per stay (a choice of Spanish or Italian). Most resorts let you dine at each one for every stay.
Pool: Get there early. Although there weren't many people at the resort when we were there, chairs were hard to find in the afternoon. The waterslide, the main attraction at the pool, wasn't working yet.
Internet: It took them six days to establish an Internet connection and it was quite slow. We couldn't send any mail via Hotmail and it cost us $10 US an hour. We still had to pay although we were forced to wait all of this time.
Phone: If you can avoid it, don't call home. A call to Toronto cost us $2.20 a minute. The phone system wasn't working when we arrived and we had to wait a half hour to call home at the Infocentre.
Day Entertainment: The Barcelo staff is hard working, but activities are sparse during the day. Aside from the odd volleyball game and some good ol' line dancing or salsa, there wasn't much to do at the resort. We didn't care; we just needed a good book. For those more ambitious people, it might be tough.
Night Entertainment: Ahem...there is none. The daily entertainment at 10 p.m. is...how do you say it gently...boring. Most of the shows were the singing-and-dancing type with a Wayne Newton wannabe wearing various bad outfits and white pants crooning to a number of Cuban songs. The dancers were good, but still needed to practice on their routines. After the entertainment, there was nothing to do. The theatre was supposed to double as a discotheque, but nobody wants to dance on a stage. The club is on the unfinished side of the resort.
For $10 plus the price of a taxi, go to the Mambo Club. It's all you can drink and although we didn't get there, it's apparently a good time if you like to stay up past midnight.
Drinks: If you plan on spending a lot of time at the pool bar, bring a big thermal mug from home. The bartender is overworked and you can wait up to 15 minutes to get a beer from a small plastic cup.
Medical Centre: Although it was built, we didn't see anybody in the medical centre. A friend cut his finger and went into the centre and found just a couple of beds and nobody in attendance. This is disconcerting if you hurt yourself. Bring your own band-aids and Tylenol.
Basketball: I was actually excited when I heard they had a basketball court. Unfortunately, the net is about two feet too short and they only have one basketball that's too small and a little warped. The court isn't finished yet, as well. The pavement is uneven.
Landscaping: The grass was yet to be laid down, making it quite unsightly. There was mud and a number of stagnant pools of water around the resort.
Towels: We picked up two towels when we first arrived, but were unable to exchange them for clean, fresh ones. The attendant kept on telling us there were no fresh towels available. We had the same grungy towels all week.
VISA: Want to use your visa in the shop? Well, it wasn't working when we were there. Cuba also doesn't allow any American credit cards.
We really enjoyed our stay
We stayed at the Barcelo Marina Palace from Feb 7 - 21, 2005. We got there the day after it opened and they were still filling up the pool and planting trees, etc. The water slide never got started when we were there but the fountain was very cool for the kids and of course the beach was spectacular. We really didn't know what to expect when we booked our trip to Cuba and were apprehensive and I think that because of that, we ended up having an awesome time. The resort is the very last resort on the pennisula and they are still constructing about 1.5 km more buildings and facilities (such as a gym). The staff was friendly and helpfull. We also found them to be very loving and kindhearted. The quantity and quality of the food in the buffet was great. You would have to be a VERY picky person if you can't find something to eat there. I have a 6 and 8 year old and they did not live on burgers and hotdogs. Just a note though, the pizza was unbelievably good and the local dishes were delicous. There were 2 a-la-carte restaurants (one Italian, one Spanish)--both of which we enjoyed and there was a grill but they hadn't yet decided what they were really doing with that yet. The kids' club staff was great and, during our stay, spoke 2-5 languages depending on which girl it was (for our first week, my kids and one other were the only ones there so they were treated especially well). The only "construction" noise I remember was the building of the umbrellas on the beach. The staff worked very hard to keep the place clean. The only problem that we had was that the front desk kept running out of Convertable Pesos in the second week but I'm sure that has more to do with with resort being brand new and the fact that the number of guests went from about 50 to 600 in our second week. By the way, Havana is a must do (but shopping is cheaper is Varadero) and so is the Catamaran trip to Cayo Blanco (very cool since we had dolphins swimming with the boat while we were sailing back to the Marina).
Save your Money
To make this short and to the point, this Resort is brand new, just opened in February 2005, and phase two is still under construction. Phase one of the Resort is completed, and it shows that this Resort was built very quickly, with little thought going into it.
Guest Rooms; very standard, consist of a bed, small couch, standard washroom; tub toilette, the sink and mirror are outside of the washroom. Walls are paper thin you hear everything from other Guest rooms. These rooms are not Junior Suites as advertized
Front Office Services; very slow services, and no seemed seem to care that anyone was there.
Restaurants; four in total, two are fine dining, and lack all services of what a fine dining restaurants should be from the service to the menu selections, and the preperation and quality of the food. One main buffet restaurant opened for Breakfast and Dinner, which lacked in every aspect of service, poor food quality, and wines that should only be used for cooking. One buffet open air restaurant located next to the pool which is only opened for Lunch and late night snacks, which lacks is food quality, presentation, and service. The Chefs at this Resort seem to use hot dog winners in almost every dish on the buffets, there are a lot of mystry foods.
Bars; slow serice, poor quailty of cocktails and staff are still learning how to make drinks. There are only three bars; one in the lobby, one by the pool which also houses the swim up bar; and one in the theather for the Animation shows.
Housekeeping; was actually the only good point of this Resort, the ladies kept everything very clean.
Kids Club; was avaiable but never opened
Beach; very poor, lots of shells, sand dunes to climb over, sea weed all over the place and sharp coral rocks, water is murky.
Pool; very shallow; and poorly located.
This Resort is very windy, the main foyers which lead to the lobby are open air concept and there is no shelter from wind anywhere on teh Resort unless you are indoors.
We would never return to this Resort; nor recommend it.
TripAdvisor Reviews Blau Marina Varadero Resort
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