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“Just ok!” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Hotel Riu Varadero

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Hotel Riu Varadero
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4.5 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   | Parque Natural Punta Hicacos, Varadero 42200, Cuba   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #25 of 59 Hotels in Varadero
Toronto, Canada
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
“Just ok!”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 30, 2013

This resort is only worth 3 stars in my eyes. Now I understand it is Cuba but I feel like there are somethings that can be done to this resort to definitely raise the quality of the experience you get there. I notice they clear regularly but not well, there are some things that if done just a bit better come improve the RIU a lot. It does not live up to the name RIU. The highlight of my trip was all the amazing people I was able to meet staying at this hotel from other parts of the world, I made some great friendships here! The beach was amazing, always enough chairs so there was no worries with that! The pool was great when it was clean, on my last day it was a nasty greenish-blue and was disgusting so did not even bother get in. The Sunwing rep was helpful and helped as arrange to do some things off the resort. But this resort was just ok, I have definitely stayed at way better places! The food was bland, boring and the same thing just about every night. I knew not to expect anything amazing but after a few days of eating the same thing I started to get really hungry and miss real food. Tried one of the restaurants on the resort, the seafood one and that was a horrible experience, I ended up going to the buffet to eat right afterwards because I was still hungry! Drinks were not bad, sometimes watered down but with clear instructions some bartenders got it right! Only watched 1 show and it was good and went to the disco and it was what should be expected from anyone going to a disco on a resort. Had an issue getting a beach towel, there just was never any!! After using the good ol charm we managed to get 2 from one of the guys working in the little towel house by the pool. On the last day were told by a maid that we would be charged if we didn't leave the towels in our room although we never got them from a maid, anyways we returned them back to the same little house we got it from and never got charged. On our last day we woke up to no power or water! You can imagine the frustration, especially on the last day! Because of this there was very limited food! Not Happy!! Overall, this place served it's purpose, it was a quick getaway to relieve some stress, would I go back, probably not!

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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3,068 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (996)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Polish first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
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English first
Toronto
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 29, 2013

This was my second time to Varadero and, in comparison to the other older hotels, RIU really is good. The resort is huge and has lots of options for travellers of different ages. Varadero has a wonderful beach and the resort staff make sure the guest have a good time. One issue with this resort was lack of towels- we were only able to change towel twice during our 8 days stay. Not a huge issue, but nevertheless not great either.

All in all, we had a great time and would recommend this hotel to others visiting Cuba.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 29, 2013

Love this place, first time I visited cuba and had a great experience. Great food and entertainment!! Nice and close to the ocean. Staff was very pleasant and they always were polite. Would come back for sure.

Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
Was this review helpful? Yes 9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vaudreuil-Dorion, Canada
Top Contributor
63 reviews 63 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
122 helpful votes 122 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 29, 2013

My husband and I and our 13 and 15 year old stayed at the Riù Varadero from December 21 to December 28.

This was our fourth trip with Sunwing. Travelling with Sunwing is always easy and convenient. For travelers who spent too much time complaining about the late departure: really? Did you not experience the same snow storm that we did?

Weather during our 7-day stay was perfect; it rained only two nights, while we were fast asleep. 

We occupied joining rooms 23331 and 23332; perfectly located between the beach and the main pool. Rooms were spacious, well air conditioned and clean, but there were tiny ants roaming the bathroom floors and counters. The balcony was also spacious but the screen door was broken and couldn't be used ... Not a big deal in our books. Beds were comfortable (bed bug free contrary to what some have indicated) and we had just enough tv channels to stay updated on local news. Water pressure was perfect, but we lacked hot water on the Thursday morning.

Yes, as many have mentioned, there was a lack of clean towels ... This, we are told, was a problem for all hotels in the area. We had packed extra beach towels from home to accommodate and recommend you do the same! 

Your extra towels are also a great way to reserve your favorite spot at the pool early in the day. Getting a chair on a couple of busier afternoons appeared painful for some tourists. We spent our afternoons at the main pool where the entertainment was but there was a quieter second pool onsite as well, with beautiful stone surroundings. The swim up pool bar is always a fun treat! There are no cushions provided on the hard plastic chairs unlike at the Iberostar Laguna Azul; they were missed.

The beach was beautiful and clean and offered free kayaks (one double/ three singles), pedalos and a 20-minute catamaran ride.  For 20 pesos per adult and 10 pesos per child 12 and under, you could go out on the catamaran to a reef and snorkel with many beautiful fish ... They gave us the kid price for our 13 and 15 year old and we spent 90 minutes swimming with the fish; definitely worth it! All equipment provided if you don't have your own.

The entertainment team was great: they encouraged participation and were very friendly. We participated in the bacci ball competition on the beach, pool water aerobics, and bingo.  We went to three shows and were unfortunately disappointed with the quality, very amateurish compared to the breathtaking shows we attended at the Iberostar Laguna Azul last Christmas. On the last day, there was an impressive juggler for the pre show that we very much enjoyed.

Service at the bars and restaurants was great, although finding a table during peak periods was somewhat annoying at the buffet, eating outside was a very pleasant alternative. There was a wide variety of foods for every taste but the grilled meats, fish and roasted chickens and turkey (for Xmas) were our faves, as were the omelets cooked to our liking every morning. To those who felt is was okay to touch more than one bagiuette or roll from the delicious table of breads: really?! Where are your manners?  

Contrary to what was done in the past, booking à la carte restaurants had to be done daily AND early in the morning to ensure our selection was available ... We were not happy with having to wait 45 minutes in line at 7:15 a.m. on three different days. In the past, we had always booked our three allotted selections on day 1; not sure when or WHY this changed?! We went to the seafood, Japanese and creole restaurants and enjoyed all; surprisingly, they were never fully booked once there.

We particularly enjoyed the live music ... The duo "Hurrikane", as they did two years ago at the same hotel, kept up smiling and singing along on two different nights. There was live piano and other groups in the lobby, at the buffet and at the back of the theater. This made for a wonderfully festive and Cuban atmosphere!

We couldn't help but ask ourselves if the hotel was suffering economy wise?! Contrary to our previous visit, there weren't straws given with drinks, missing paper hand towels in the bathrooms, burnt out light bulbs around the resort and even a lack of Christmas decorations at the different buildings (our Christmas "tree/branch" was there one day and gone the next?! ) There was also a lack of serving utensils at the buffet ... There should at least be one serving spoon/spatula at each of the platters, and the appropriate tool for what is being served, no?

So although we enjoyed our stay, we probably won't return to the Riù for a third stay. The overall quality was far different from that of the Iberostar next door. Thanks for reading! 

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bobcaygeon, Ontario, Canada
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 29, 2013

My family has just returned from 2 weeks at RIU, Dec.9-23, 2013..This was my first all inclusive getaway and first trip to Cuba. We have not one complaint about this resort. The food was good, the rooms were kept clean and the staff were incredible. I had read other trip advisor reports before we left and noted the negative comments while we were there but seriously who cares if they don't have teaspoons?, put less on a large spoon!! The guests who went to the bar with the larger mugs looked like glutens!! I felt safe at this resort and loved the entertainment provided to our 7 year old throughout the day and at the mini-disco at night. Lourdes does an awesome job with the young ones. The buffet provided a variety each meal, including custom made omelette's each morning. The specialty restaurants added a change throughout the week. Management were available throughout the day, and made time to chat with guests. Housekeeping staff, our favourite was Jimny, did a great job and were crafty with the towel/blanket creations left on the bed. The entertainment staff made the day fun with crazy games on the beach, dance lessons by the pool and water aquatic classes. Janier wasn't too hard on the eyes!! Coffee with milk at the bar in the hallway was delicious mid morning. I know some guests encountered problems but that happens anywhere. The language spoken in Cuba is Spanish however all staff made an incredible effort to speak English...we had fun making the effort to learn spanish and you could tell that they appreciated our efforts....I would recommend RIU and went based on a recommendation we received. The beach and sand were indeed beautiful and clean.

Room Tip: So what if you tip 1 peso to the staff or housekeeping!!, they deserve it!! We were in block 21 bot...
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Stayed December 2013, traveled with family
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 28, 2013

It was my first time in Cuba, I have to admit that all the stories I read about the place and the people impacted my will to come over for a visit.
Following personal circumstances I decided to book my trip South 3 days a head of my departure.
After comparing available places and prices we have decided to take the "risk" and to pay a visit to Varadero Cuba.
In order to minimize the risks and unpleasant surprises we went for 5 stars hotel the RIU Varadero.
The staff in General we're very friendly and preformed high level of motivation!!!!! ( I do appreciate the training and the extra efforts that the management invested to achieve the right level)
The rooms were specious , clean and nice.
The beach and the swimming pool were we'll maintained and it looks like some one is really taken care.
The sounds of music were every where in the hotel almost all times ( dining room, lobby and bars)
The Christmas Eve was an investment production of the hotel and it was above and behind!!
The only bug in our vacation was the food!!!!!
I guess they have some restrictions of importing food products and they are using local products, anyhow the food was reasonable with almost the same menu every day ( the good news is that you won't gain weight ) but there is a long way to go to meet the North American standards .
The Cuban people we met were warm and nice people, it looks like they are very proud to be Cubans, some of our guides tried to re-educate us regarding the Cuban revolution and I had the feeling that I am back in the 60’s ( come on guys walk up! we came for vacation in order to relax and to enjoy our self and we do not care about your past , who was right and who was wrong.)

Varadero.
The cheapest way to go down town is via shuttle bus (5 pesos per person) the only problem is a 20 minute drive become 1 hour because the driver might meet some of his friends during the route and he might speak with them for 5-10 minutes while all the passengers are on board, some times the drivers is thirsty and he is taking 5 minutes break and by the last station he is doing 20 minutes break.
Be careful when you are taking a sight seen via horse and carriage I was asking to know the price upfront the ride and I was told the is 10 Pesos when we finished our tour (we were 3) I was asked to add 20 Pesos more because the price is per person (It was the only catch we face!)
Bottom line I marked a V on the country and I have no clue if I will come back in the future

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mississauga, Canada
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 26, 2013

I recently returned on Dec 20th with a group of 6.Overall resort is 10 times better than the Iberostar which we stayed at last year.And yes Cuban food is not the best but none of us starved.
Over all the resort is very well maintained and clean unlike the dump next door which is the Iberostar.
I prefer Jamaica over Cuba but if I had to return it would be to the Riu

The manager of the Riu is very responsive to your needs and is always around the lobby asking guest on how to improve the resort

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 14
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel Riu Varadero

Address: | Parque Natural Punta Hicacos, Varadero 42200, Cuba
Location: Caribbean > Cuba > Matanzas Province > Varadero
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #25 of 59 Hotels in Varadero
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Hotel Riu Varadero 4.5*
Number of rooms: 1110

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