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“Excellent service, food and coctails - but make sure you have all inclusive” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Iberostar Laguna Azul

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Iberostar Laguna Azul
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5.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Autopista Sur Km 17 | Punta Hicacos, Varadero 42200, Cuba   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #14 of 59 Hotels in Varadero
Bratislava, Slovakia
Top Contributor
106 reviews 106 reviews
42 hotel reviews
Reviews in 34 cities Reviews in 34 cities
49 helpful votes 49 helpful votes
“Excellent service, food and coctails - but make sure you have all inclusive”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 8, 2014

I was sceptical after the reviews I was reading, but in the final it was just Excellent. The hotel is a hudge complex so you can live either in the main building or in smaller houses ( more quiet, but you have to walk a bit for breakfast, dinner). We had our room with the view on the beach, extremly spatious with living room and a walkable closet. The humidity causes that the room smells a bit and nothing goes dry but this is something you need to calculate with going to Cuba as well having a gecco or small frog in the room. The beach is excellent, hotel offers free water activities, we really enjoied the coctails and food ( you could always find someting as the variety is big), I personnaly enjoyed more the common food than the ala-cart restaurants as we visited them 2x. There is plenty of program / animations going on. The hotel and several travel agencies offers trips directly in the lobby. I recommend this hotel as it was all perfect.

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
Director D, Gerente at Iberostar Laguna Azul, responded to this review, April 11, 2014
Dear clients,

Thank you for having chosen our resort for your vacation. On a behalf of the staff and management here at IBEROSTAR Laguna Azul we would like to thank you for your nice review. If you decide to visit us again, please do not hesitate to contact us. It would be our pleasure to welcome you again!

Kind Regards,
Online Reputation Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
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Milton, Canada
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 8, 2014

After reading a lot of the reviews on TripAdvisor before and after our vacation, I would agree that they are pretty accurate. We have been to Cuba once before and knew (pretty much) what to expect. Here's a summary:

Beach
Larger than other hotels, with lots of chairs and plenty of shady spots to choose from. We went in the morning and had no trouble finding a spot, but it fills up by around 11. Nice and sandy, and yes there are bits of shells, but its a beach after all.

Pools
3 in total - we spent most of our time at the "quiet" pool near building 12. There is plenty of space and it wasn't crowded at all when we went. The staff get to know you and your drink preferences which is nice.

Food
The buffet is large and there is a lot to choose from. Normally I am a pretty particular eater, but I could always find something. Unfortunately there are foods that I would consider "basics" for a North American palette (fried eggs, french fries, pasta) that were not cooked properly. One morning I got eggs "fresh" from a new tray that had just been put out and there were cold. French fries were stale and pasta is gummy. A lot of items are cooked with sauce and unrecognizable. Last time we went to Cuba, my husband and I both got sick on the first night. This time, we were "smart" and took Dukoral before we went - didn't seem to matter because my husband got sick again. I think it was the pork stir-fry from the grilling station. I have read other reviews about questionable food safety and I'm willing to bet that was the situation for us too. We packed snacks (granola bars, fruit snacks) and brought peanut butter and ketchup which was a huge help.

The A La Carte restaurants are better and we loved the rice cooked for lunch at the grill closer to the beach. We ate at the Cuban restaurant, Italian, and Japanese. The Japanese was the best of the 3, and closest to what we are used to. My "lemon sorbet" at the Italian restaurant was neon green... not sure what that was about.

Anyway, I say all this knowing that they do the best they can given what is available. They have different standards than we are used to. You do not travel to Cuba to eat, and you might just lose a few pounds! It is what it is.

Accommodations
Our room was fine, and a good size. We ended up on the 4th floor of building #12, looking out on the quiet pool. It was not musty, but we kept our screen door open the entire time to get fresh air and a good breeze. The A/C worked when we needed to cool down. I agree that the beds are rock hard and the sheets did not fit the bed properly; I don't think I had a full night's sleep the entire time. Good thing I could catch some ZZZZ's snoozing by the pool in the afternoon.

The other thing was a lot of noise outside at night - whether the compressor at the bar going on constantly, or drunk people yelling "DAYO" all night long. I think this contributed to the sleeplessness.

Customer Service
Very nice people, although I found in Varadero they were not as friendly as when we stayed in Cayo Guillermo. Some of the staff would noticeably avoid saying hello or catching your gaze when passing in the halls.

When we arrived we were put in room 15105 which is on the first floor, right beside the buffet. We discovered right away that the lock on our door did not work, and didn't lock at all. After having a mechanic come to look at it, and try to fix it, we requested another room and were moved right away without any problems. I'm sooooo glad we were moved, because this would have been an awful location and way too noisy. Being on the 1st floor also means that you probably won't want to leave your door open at all, since the screens don't lock. The room was noticeably musty there too and in disrepair compared to where we ended up. Weird, since its all the same hotel, but obviously was not kept up to the same standards.

OVERALL
Beautiful resort, location, and beach. Couldn't have asked for better weather. We truly enjoyed our vacation at the Iberostar Laguna Azul.

The food is what it is - the standards are different. You will understand more if you drive past their homes and see what the living conditions are like. Bring snacks, and observe how the food is prepared when you can. Oh, and don't forget the Immodium.

Room Tip: Try to get a higher floor - building 12 was great
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  • Stayed April 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Director D, Gerente at Iberostar Laguna Azul, responded to this review, April 11, 2014
Dear clients,

Thank you for having chosen IBEROSTAR Laguna Azul for your vacation. It was our pleasure to host you as our guests. We appreciate your positive review and haven taken all your suggestions into consideration to make some improvements. Thank you for your feedback. If you decide to visit us again in Varadero, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Kind regards,

Online Reputation Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mount Pearl, Canada
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 8, 2014

Me and my fiance stayed at this resort from March 18th-March 25th. Overall we had a great time :) The beach was fabulous, and you never had to wait long around the pool or lobby to be tended on for a drink.

A few things though. When you book this resort and it is rated a 5 star, like alot of others have said, do not expect a 5 star like your would in ie: Jamaica or Mexico. The rooms have that damp musty smell to them - which I expected as this was my 2nd visit to Cuba but my fiancee's 1st. Cuba is just a little dated overall, and that's just the way it is. Alot of people come back to Cuba beacuse of its old charm. So if this is your first trip, just it give a few days and I'm sure you will love it :)

When we arrived we were checked into our rooms fairly quickly, however the only information packages they had left for the resort were in French. We could pick out most things, but not all. Like where the Al a Cartes were located, or the Theatre. We were also not given any information on how to use the telephone in the room - which we had to use in order to contact our tour rep. (FYI there is a small charge for local calls that we discovered when we checked out), nor a menu/information for the room service.

The mini bar was always restocked with beer every 2 days - which was great! But had a very, very hard time getting water. Took a few phone calls to the front desk to get some. We asked the maids when we seen them but if she wasn't the maid doing your room then she wouldn't give you any of the water in her cart.

Bring your own face cloths as they are not provided.

The food was ok - I will say that we did get stomach sick a couple of times. I believe it was due to the amount/type of oil used on the resort because it only happened when we had something that was cooked in what seemed like alot. Also, we ate off the resort twice and we were fine. According to other reviews, there have been similar issues with the oil. So just keep this in mind when you do eat there. The buffet offered enough that you could find something - I relied on the salad bar myself for breakfast, lunches and dinners. I would also have omeletes and french toast or poached eggs and pumpkin puree. As for my fiance...he wasn't as satisfied. He's not a big vegetable eater so he would eat the bacon, fruit, baked goods and the chicken. The fruit was decent, not as big of a selection as you would think and the pineapple they served at the buffet was never actually ripe enough - but the ones garnishing your drink were. Go figure.

We ate at 3 of the al a cartes - Cuban, Japanese and the Romantica.
-The Cuban was good (my fiance's favorite) - they have lobster on the menu and I recommend it as well as the Havana custard. I had wheat turned out to pork on skewers which was ok...but the lobster (which my fiance had) was better. The black bean soup was delicious though.
-The Japanese was not that good at all. People here on Trip Advisor raved about it and even some people on the resort did as well. I have been to other Japanese al a cartes in other countries/other resorts and while the cook did a good job entertaining, he/they cooked the fried rice, vegetables, shrimp, beef and chicken in the same seasonings and a lot of oil! So everything tasted the same. He used garlic, ginger and white wine and oil for everything. I will also mention that the air conditioning wasn't working either, so here you are in 80% humidity, plus, and sitting around a hot grill with the chef flambaying stuff. Everyone I sat with were too hot to actually enjoy their meal. I'm glad I ordered the ice cream for dessert here!
-The Romantica was my favorite. The only problem here was how salty the food was. We both had the smoked salmon for an app, and smoked salmon is already a little salty, but this was more than a little. Also, don't be fooled by the shrimp and risotto dish if you're looking for a good filling meal. I suspected this but my fiance ordered it anyways. Its basically a large bowl with a white wine broth in the bottom, a cup of risotto in the middle and about a doz shrimp surrounding it. I had the lamb - delicious, but again salty. The beef medallions looked very good as well.

The drinks at the resort we ok - I stuck to the crystal beer and the mojitos. The coco locos and pina coladas were good as well. The margaritas were terrible! I saw a few people order them and send them back. They were served unchilled in a rim-salted glass.

The coffee served in the buffett area was also not that great - BUT the espresso at the lobby bar was EXCELLENT!! I loved going for cappucinos :)

I enjoyed this resort, but would possibly try a different one if/whenever I decided to visit Cuba again. And that's mainly because I never go back to the same resort twice. I would reccomend it to anyone who hasn't been though - and just keep the little tips in mind :)

Room Tip: The other travellers who reccommended rooms in buildings 17-20 were absolutly right! I emailed the r...
See more room tips
  • Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Director D, Gerente at Iberostar Laguna Azul, responded to this review, April 11, 2014
Dear clients,

First of all I would like to thank you for choosing an IBEROSTAR resort for your holyday.

We apologize for all of the inconveniences you mentioned and we are very sorry that the service received was not up to the standards you expected and deserved.

We sincerely thank you for your comments. Please be assured that we will take them all into consideration, in order to improve our services and make IBEROSTAR Laguna Azul a better choice for our clients.

Best Regards

Online Reputation Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Grande Prairie, Canada
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 7, 2014

We were a group of 31 that were there for our kids Grade 12 Grad trip from March 29- April 5th.,16 kids and 15 adults. Overall, everyone enjoyed themselves immensely! The beach and Ocean were fantastic. The rooms were very average but that is exactly how I thought it might be. They could use some updating and cleaning. The side chair and couch in our room both had stains on them and were definitely not in good condition. The food was just ok but I expected that. We all found something we liked in the buffet or snack bar to eat and no one got sick.
The entertainment was good and the disco was a lot of fun.

We did go into Varadero and had dinner one night at Veradero 60. I would highly recommend that as it was a great place to dine. We had the special which was 2 lobster tails for $25 peso's.

Overall it was a very good trip but if I ever went back to Cuba I would try a different resort.

  • Stayed March 2014, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 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
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Director D, Gerente at Iberostar Laguna Azul, responded to this review, April 11, 2014
Dear clients,

First of all I would like to thank you for choosing an IBEROSTAR resort for your holyday.

We apologize for all of the inconveniences you mentioned and we are very sorry that the service received was not up to the standards you expected and deserved.

We sincerely thank you for your comments. Please be assured that we will take them all into consideration, in order to improve our services and make IBEROSTAR Laguna Azul a better choice for our clients.

Best Regards

Online Reputation Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nl
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 7, 2014

We stayed at Iberostar Laguna Azul from March 22-29th and had a great time. There were 3 girls in our group and I have to say it has been the safest I have ever felt on a vacation. The staff were very friendly for the most part, the only issue we had was obtaining bottles of water. 1 bottle of water/day in our room between 3 people was not sufficient, we ended up buying some. Our room was fairly clean. Gym was sufficient, it had enough equipment to get you through the week (if you want to work out) The food was mediocre but you will always find something to eat! We tried the Japanese and Romantico restaurants and both were decent, the Japanese was the best! Omelette in the morning was a sure thing, George is the best! Entertainment staff were amazing, very friendly, and did not bother you if you wanted to relax! Adrian, Randy, Yucel, Julian, etc they were all great! The pool bartender Fidel and waiter Kensi? were so friendly and and kept the drinks coming!! :) The pool was clean, yes the chairs were hard, but plentiful, you did not have to reserve a chair early if you dont want to (unless you want shade). I brought an air mattress which kept me comfortable! The beach is great and noone hassles you like at other destinations. We hired a cab driver to go to Havana and had an amazing time, I cannot wait to go back! Also, we went to Varadero for nightlife, and it was completely safe! Overall, our experience at Laguna Azul was awesome, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and can't wait to return!! We also met some great Canadian friends! I recommend this resort to anyone who wants to have a good time and meet some friendly Cubans! Don't forget to tip for the service, it goes a long way and they are appreciative of it!

Tips:
- bring an air mattress
- bring a travel mug for your drinks
- toilet paper or tissue (especially when you go off the resort as many bars/restaurants ask you to pay for your toilet paper, usually one peso). If you like soft toilet paper, bring your own.
- They have ketchup, but it's not like Heinz, so if you are picky, bring your own.
- We also brought peanut butter which was nice when there was slim picking at the buffet.
- bring ear plugs if you sleep light

Love Cuba!! :)

Room Tip: We stayed close to the lobby but on the 2nd floor (lobby is on 3rd floor). It is noisy but very conv...
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  • Stayed March 2014, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Director D, Gerente at Iberostar Laguna Azul, responded to this review, April 11, 2014
Dear clients,

On a behalf of the staff and management here at IBEROSTAR Laguna Azul we would like to thank you for your nice review. We all are hardworking people always seeking the best for all our clients. Should you choose our hotel, or some other IBEROSTAR Hotels, for your next vacation, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Kind Regards,
Online Reputation Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
cape breton
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 5, 2014

we were a group of 24 we had an awesome vacation everything was just perfect from cleaning staff to cook's bar staff what a resort we will be back thank's for a wonderful time keep up the good work see you soon.

Room Tip: no bad room in this hotel.
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  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 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 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Director D, Gerente at Iberostar Laguna Azul, responded to this review, April 6, 2014
Dear clients,

Thank you for having chosen our resort for your vacation. On a behalf of the staff and management here at IBEROSTAR Laguna Azul we would like to thank you for your nice review. If you decide to visit us again, please do not hesitate to contact us. It would be our pleasure to welcome you again!

Kind Regards,
Online Reputation Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ottawa, Canada
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 5, 2014

We had an opportunity for a five day trip and used Sunwing to help us choose a hotel to fit the dates that we required on short notice. The flight was direct from Ottawa to Varadaro leaving early morning and we were on the beach by noon. The seats on the Sunwing flight was be tight for a person of over six feet. The resort exceeded our expectations and the staff was friendly and very helpful from the time we arrived to the departure. Special mention to Yoalkis and Kensi for the wonderful afternoons sitting at pool bar for their great service and daily welcoming smile and many fun laughs. We will be back to Iberostar Laguna Azul again.

  • Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 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.
Director D, Gerente at Iberostar Laguna Azul, responded to this review, April 11, 2014
Dear clients,

First of all we would like to thank you for choosing IBEROSTAR Laguna Azul for your so valuable vacation.
Thank you very much for your good comments and reviews about the hotel, staff and services, opinions like yours are very important to keep working every day to exceed the expectations of our customers and achieve ever greater improvement of our staff.
Hoping that you do decide to visit us in the future please accept our best regards

Carefully

Online Reputation Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Iberostar Laguna Azul

Address: Autopista Sur Km 17 | Punta Hicacos, Varadero 42200, Cuba
Location: Caribbean > Cuba > Matanzas Province > Varadero
Amenities:
Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#2 Business Hotel in Varadero
#7 Family Hotel in Varadero
#8 Romantic Hotel in Varadero
#13 Luxury Hotel in Varadero
Hotel Class:5 star — Iberostar Laguna Azul 5*
Number of rooms: 814
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located on a beautiful stretch of Varadero's Beach. Approximately 160 km from Havana and 20 min. from downtown Varadero. 814 rooms allocated in different buildings, 24 are suites and 8 are for handicapped. Reception 24 hrs. open, currency exchange, internet 24 hrs. Buffet restaurant with show cooking and 4 a la carte restaurants and Ranchón near the beach. Lobby bar, Cigar bar, aqua-bar, and 2 snacks bars at the pool. Conference rooms, SPA, gym, and beauty salon, 2 tennis and paddle court. Ice cream saloon, animation theatre and disco. 5 outdoor swimming pools. Miniclub (4-12 years). ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Iberostar Laguna Azul Hotel Varadero

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