BelleVue Palma Real
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Historical Traveler Reviews BelleVue Palma Real Varadero
The best vacation I have ever been on!
My boyfriend and I just got back from a week long vacation in Varadero, and we had an awesome time. We went from Nov. 17, 2003 to Nov. 24, 2003. I am writing this review on Nov. 25, 2003. (We are in our early twenties, so we were looking for a good deal). We stayed at the Hoteteur Palma Real -- it was a great deal. Even though you are not directly on the beach it does not really matter, it is only a 2 minute walk to the beach. Plus, you can save $500 per person by not getting a hotel right on the beach.
The hotel complex is quite large, with numerous swimming pools and a swim-up bar. There were a variety of restaurants, just enough that you could vary what you eat and not get too tired of the food, if you are staying for one week. The service was good and the staff was friendly.
We took a free dance lesson and language lesson at the beach club of Palma Real hotel. Often we were too tired in the evenings to go to the nighly entertainment at the hotel. We did go one night: they had a dance performance, and the dancers jumped in the water with their costumes on and did some synchronized swimming, it was neat.
We went on two tours: Sunset Cruise to Cayo Blanco (excellent) and Day trip to Havana with cigar factory tour (very good, a bit rushed, so much to see). I think we picked two of the best tours. I heard that the Jungle Cruise is not really worth it, it is fairly expensive for only 2 hours of driving around on a jetski and seeing some animals.
The Cayo Blanco catamaran cruise: first we sailed to a complex that had 3 dolphins and we got in the water and swam with them, then we went snorkelling in the middle of the ocean, then we reached Cayo Blanco and had lunch. Had some time to relax on Cayo Blanco, and then returned back to the hotel. The tour was from about 9am to 5pm. I would highly recommend this tour.
With the Havana tour, it takes about an hour and a half to get from Varadero to the city of Havana, so we got to see a lot of countryside and the town of Matanzas, which was a nice bonus. When we arrived in Havana we went to the cigar factory first; it was fairly interesting.
Then we drove around in the bus and got out at various points to take pictures and see interesting landmarks. Colon Cemetary was a good place to visit, it was huge! I wish we would have had more time to walk around the cemetary -- they had signs with street numbers, it was so large. The cemetary was very well kept with beautiful statues and large tombs for rich familys. The lunch we had in Havana was pretty good and they had live music. I wish we could have gone to the Fine Art Museum, but there is just so much to see that it is hard to do everything in one day. The tour lasted from about 9am to 7:30pm.
Even though the hotel is only rated as a 3 star or 3 and a half star, I would give it a 4 out of 5 starts. The rooms were clean, with TV, and air-conditioning. The maids made sculptures from towels and bedsheets (swans, boats). The food was decent; I wasn't expecting anything spectacular in the food department, so my expectations were met. We weren't going on this vacation for the food or drinks -- but for the spectacular beach and hot weather. The beach exceeded my expectations, which were pretty high.
I would definitely go back to Varadero and I would stay at the Palma Real again -- a good value vacation for what you are getting. Cuba is one of the most beautiful countries in the world, so much lush green plant life everywwhere and beautiful blue sky. Varadero beach is gorgeous! Soft white sand, and clear turquoise waters which are lovely to swim in!
If you get the chance, stay at Hoteteur Palma Real and enjoy Varadero Beach! I hope I get to go back some day!!!
A great find
I just arrived back from Varadero on Nov 10, 2003 & stayed at the Palma Real, based on the price & great comments from your website site we picked this property. I found the staff at the hotel really friendly & helpful and most of the main contact personnel had good English skills. The room itself was fine we were in the Atabey wing. it was a trek to the main area but the bed was firm & the air conditioning kept the room at a good temperature. The beach is across the street, a short walk, the beach was beautiful & the water great for swimming. There is a beach stand for beverages & snacks. The food was good, I really enjoyed the fresh fish every day for lunch & we hit the Italian pizzeria a few times for supper. The fresh fruit in the morning was good as well as the dessert table at night. The lobby bar was the social center and the best place for most drinks. We had a great time & would recommend this hotel.
Palma Real The Boom
Visted varadero in august. the place was off the hook. it was like paradise.my chambermaid was nice. the waitresses was kind and friendly.
the entertainment staff were fun and a pleasure to be around. i would recommend the palma real to anyone, for the price i paid to go to cuba i could have gone to a 5* hotelbut i still got value for my £1100. i have booked again to go in december, thats how much i enjoyed it.
Who Cares About the Hotel, Its All About Varadero!
Well me and the boys went back to Cuba on Aug the 23 for the 3rd time this year. We stayed @ the palma real, right in downtown varadero. It was cheap and you get what you pay for. $900 taxes in, got us one hell of a party. The hotel is crap. The food at the buffet is nasty, to lobby bar smelled like attila after he ate taco bell, the booze they used was cheap quality, the bars at the hotel closed at 1, we had to cross a street we named "diaper hill" (because of the stench) to get to the beach, the people there are useless and jacka##es, the entertaiment sucked and yes I WOULD GO BACK AGAIN. Its not about the hotel its about the night life, la rumba, priates cave, mabo club, havana club and internatioal. In the last year we alos stayed at Trypp Penusial (really nice, all old people and exspensive $2200) and the villa cuba (nice and really fun pretty cheap too $1200). If your looking for fun stay at the villa cuba or breezes varadero. PS. Varadero is not a couples town, its a good place to party better than cancun.
Nothing was too much trouble!
Excellent value, delightful people. can't wait to return
You really have to go
I stayed at palma real in november of last year,the hotel had only just been refurbished and it was fantastic.Ihave been to cuba twice before(varadero)i stayed at super clubs puntarena and sol club sarenis and palma real was by far the better hotel.The food was superb ans as for the entertainment team they were the best,especially two people inperticular,gustavo and alex they were both ace,me and my friend went out most nights to the night clubs with them and we had a really good time.Ithink palma real is under rated and should easybe a 4*.I highley recomend this hotel to every body as it catered for every age group.I have travelled the caribbean extensivley and found that this was the best value for money hotelthat i have ever been to.I would go back tomorrow if i could,but i recomend a two week stay as theres so much to see and do,those beaches they will take your breath away.
I actually just got back from Cuba yesterday so my memory is still fresh! I really enjoyed Palma Real. I was lead on to believe that our room would have a fridge (which it did not) so that was kind of disappointing. The resort is absolutely beautiful. The beach is across the street (3 min walk), and there you can find gorgeous blue water, white sand, palm trees, and of course, lounge chairs. I recommend you ask the boat guys (the rentals are free btw) to take you snorkeling.
It's $15 - kind of pricey but you'll never get to do something like that anywhere else. The bars - OK I consider myself a "social drinker" but it came to a point where I couldn't stand drinking the cocktails anymore. They either put too much rum or too little....and that's another thing: only 2 bars have alcohol other than rum. The beer is OK (reminds me of Heineken). The entertainers are crazy! I really enjoyed the performances. The staff was really friendly and helpful. Sometimes there's some pressure to tip (personally, I find that annoying), but most of the time the service is excellent. We didn't go to the nearby nightclubs ($10 for open bar). The restaurants are average. The buffet can get BORING....ask the chef to make you an omlet in the morning...the desserts are yummy (try the ice cream!)...there is a pizza/pasta restaurant (ask for well-done pizza)...there is a BBQ restaurant as well (they always got our orders wrong here), and there is a Chinese restaurant that you have to make reservations for. In all, the experience was great! We rented mopeds and drove around the city; people are really friendly, and they love hearing about Canada and other countries. Palma Real was great.
Great value, great location, nice resort
This is a newly refurbished, tastefully decorated, and very pleasant resort with 4 swimming pools (good sized), 4 bars (incl. swim-up and special daiquiri bar), offering exceptionally good value. The resort's property is spacious, well maintained and host to flowering bushes, Palm trees and other greenery while enjoying close proximity to a lovely section of calm, clean Varadero beach (two min. walk/2 short blocks).Rooms are said to be the nicest in the more recently renovated Hotel Atabey block, however, I saw rooms there and in the Siboney block, and it appeared there's little difference except for the chance of differing sightlines and view.Rooms were clean, well appointed (sufficient toilet paper, soap, shampoo, towels, men's combs, hairdryer, and even portable shoe shine kit), and ours was serviced by a friendly chamber maid who regularly sculptured swans and other neat things from towels and other novel accessories (including my sun glasses, flowers and more)! for us, the only problem was the sliding door which tended to stick a bit. Satellite TV (with HBO, sports TV, and more), overhead and lamp lighting, and our large bed (actually 2 beds made into one, due to demand, I was told), and ample BALCONEY space with a wonderful view of Cardenas Bay and the swimming pools made for a GREAT holiday experience!! A word of caution though about rooms: If you prefer ocean or pool view, request it, as some rooms (like some in the Atabey building), offer views of roof tops and the other adjacent hotel building on site. Though this didn't bother my girlfriend, I requested a room change immediately upon (late) arrival, and was granted a room change the very next day by 1 PM, however, one might not be so lucky during peak season.As for the FOOD, my girlfriend and I thought it was great! The selection was wide ranging with fish, pork, chicken, beef, delicious ham, eggs, custom omeletes, sausage, home fries, delicious cheeses, fruits and vegetables, rice dishes, pasta plates, and much more in bountiful supplyferent types of food on my plate, all of it good!!The deserts and ice cream were to die for and thru the week, variety was there although the special shrimp dinner was served only on the Friday of my 1 week stay. Now while it's true, one night the green peas "could've have been cooked a little longer," and on another, the "green beans were skinny and wanting," as 2 guests complained to me, that's NO big deal if you ask me! From our experience, we didn't think the food was bland at all, and those who complained typically were guests who like their red meat, fat filled, greasy bangers type food. To us the food was exceptionally good and healthy! As for the Pizza restaurant, I was VERY impressed, it was gourmet-ish, with interesting toppings and tasty thin crust pizza dough. Finally, the burgers and dogs at the Beach bar were good although I was disappointed they didn't offer pickles, tomatoe and onion. As for the Chinese restaurant, it was pretty, had good ambience, and although Chinese obviously isnt a Cuban specialty, we found it very enjoyable. (Note: Chinese was limited to just 1 ni. a week though so be sure to book your reservation right away as there's the possiblity of not getting one especially during peak season (even though I got in no problem as cancellations or no-shows often occur).About food & drink, there were a couple of nights when garnishes ran low and even ran out late ONE night at the hotel main lobby bar. Herein lies my only problem with the hotel. Though they have 4 bars, 3 shut down betw. 10:45 & 11:00 PM leaving everyone to go to the lobby bar where it can get busy and supplies, as a result, can dwindle. As a result, midnight closings aren't unusual, so if you like late nite drinkin, this isn't the place for you. On the other hand, the various bars scattered throughout the resort feature cosy, comfortable furniture seating, one a tele, and another a special daiquiri bar where the bartending is exceptional and ingredients, like freshly picked spear mint and freshlye, I found the front desk to be extremely friendly and helpful, the entertainment staff warm, entertaining and professional. Like every where else, some bartenders - can get a little frayed when some guests become a little rude about this or that. Others can be plain business like, and yet again others just shy. Overall though, customer service was good-to-excellent, wine re-fills plenty and I never felt any pressure to tip nor poorer service when I didn't (far cry from Spain, Barbados & the D.R.). Finally, an example of the standard of Palma Real customer service occurred the night before our day trip to Havana when front desk staff, hearing we might miss out on breakfast because of the early morning departure, cordially offered and arranged to have a breakfast/lunch waiting for us in the morning!Last but not least, this "mid-range" 3 - 4 star resort (depending on which tour operator you consult) comes in as a pleasant surprise, and although it isn't a 5 star babe, it is a really nice property, with an EXCELLENT eastern-central Varadero location (opp. Arena Blancas) where you have plenty of on-site local and tour operator managed tours available, a convenient retail shopping and liquer boutique handy as well as a nearby 24 hr. restaurant bar featuring free live Cuban music entertainment and inexpensive food and beer ($1 U.S. burgers and $2 beers). $10 fresh lobster at another restaurant, Mallorca, next door, is another area bonus (cash only).Finally, aside from the odd late night drunk at the hotel's main lobby bar, which you get everywhere if you ask me, guests were interesting and friendly! In short, I'd return in a wink!! As a matter of fact, I can hardly wait...PS: I'd also recommend 2 weeks here cause theres lots to do in this beautiful area of Cuba.
Good value for the money
Overall the experience was pleasant. Palma Real consists of what were formerly two independent hotels that the Spanish company Hoteur bought and rennovated. As well they added some new structures. (Note that the voltage is 220V using the two round-prong recepticle) The hotel is quite clean and well maintained. Satellite TV is provided in the hotel rooms for those rainy moments.Yes, it is not right on the beach but the short walk is quite insignificant. The hotel has a bar/grill on the beach so you don't have to leave the beach to eat/drink. The beach is clean and populated with many tanning chairs and about fifteen umbrellas (reserve/put a towel on the umbrellas early!) and there are state and hotel security guards on the beach to keep it safe and relatively free from locals selling illegal cigars (though Cuba is probably the safest hotspot to travel to). As well they ensure that the Palma Real part of the beach is only inhabited by guests of the hotel.On the beach there are several kayaks, pedal boats and a couple of catamarans that are rented out for free to hotel guests. Pay the guys working there and they'll take you out snorkelling on the catamaran for a couple of hours - much cheaper than the cubanacan run day trips.The hotel caters mostly to European (English, German and French) guests - a few bus loads per week - but there are a few Canadian guests each week.The food is relatively good, though the buffet gets boring pretty quickly (as is the case with most AI resorts). There is always plenty of fresh fruit and lots of food. The Chinese a la carte restaurant was terrible. The Pizzaria offered quite good pizza (ask for it to be well done!) but the pasta is less than tasty (I think they use some variant of Ketchup in Cuba for tomato sauce - I've seen that in many places there!)I have two complaints - first, the staff are less than friendly. There were a few of them that were always quite cheerful and happy to help, but most seemed miserable and never said hello or cared to be helpful - especihe event staff until midweek until two busloads of English arrived when the staff was outside to greet them with drinks, help them with there luggage, etc. (We didn't get any of that!) There were about twenty of them, though after seeing who they were, we recognized about three of them from previous days. Only after the hotel was rammed full did they start holding beach activities, etc. And they were definitely not the nicest people.The bartenders were also less than friendly - we tipped them quite frequently - but you only get a smile after that has been done. That brings me to my second complaint....The drink selection is quite limited. Lots of rum, but if you want something more complicated than a rum and coke don't expect it to taste like what you're used to. For example, a strawberry daquiri consists of rum, grenadine, orange juice and banana liquer - no strawberries! Every bartender makes the drinks differently - usually leaving out ingredients to simpify the task. Some of them like to make Mojitos and Cuba Libres as they should be. The Pina Coladas were quite good as they have a slush machine for the mix, and the beer is better than expected (leans towards a German beer). However, other than the attitude, you'll have this same drink issue at most Cuban hotels unless you stay at a five star.Overall though it was definitely great value for the money paid for the trip. One last note: avoid the overpriced Havana day trips. Try to hook up with a local you trust to take you around.Enjoy!
A charming place to stay!
I have been to my first trip to Varadero, Cuba and stayed at the Hotetur Palma Real Hotel. I had a great stay. The staff is extremely friendly. The food was quite good: typical Cuban meals were served alongside Occidental and Chinese food. The variety of deserts is just amazing. The rooms were very cute, with private balconies, nice colors and were irreproachably clean. There was also animation at the hotel (shows at night, sports and classes - spanish, dance, etc) during the day. If you did not wish to participe to those activities, you could also easily escape. The clientele seemed to be mostly composed of Canadian, French, English, and Spanish people. The only minus is the location of the hotel: it is not located right on the beach, but it was only a five minute walk away from the beach (the most amazing beach I have seen in my life - a real postcard beach). I highly recommend this hotel. It is not the most expensive hotel and is considered by many as better than many 4* hotels (it is a 3*1/2 hotel). By the way, I have seen many children on the site, so families should not hesitate to opt for this location.
TripAdvisor Reviews BelleVue Palma Real Varadero
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