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“An outstanding hotel with excellent service and food on a beautiful beach” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Melia Peninsula Varadero

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Melia Peninsula Varadero
4.0 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   Parque Natural de Punta Hicacos | Matanzas, Varadero, Cuba (Formerly Tryp Peninsula Varadero)   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #20 of 58 hotels in Varadero
Marlborough, United Kingdom
1 review
“An outstanding hotel with excellent service and food on a beautiful beach”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 25, 2013

The staff at this hotel make your holiday a truly memorable experience. From the Manager to the chambermaid, the staff are charming and cannot do enough for you. The Mexican a La Carte Restaurant deserves a special mention for the excellent food and service and the accompaniment of a three piece group consisting of a female singer a violinist and guitarist who played songs for every nationality in the restaurant making it a most enjoyable evening.

Room Tip: We had three rooms and all were to an excellent standard
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with family
    • 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
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (290)
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Montreal
Senior Contributor
30 reviews 30 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 24, 2013

We were on vacation at the Melia Peninsula last week. The beach is fantastic, our room was clean, we enjoyed the tennis court. There are many activities at this resort, such as dance lessons or spanish lessons. Many sports activities as well. As for the food, well if you expect a gourmet experience, go to Italy! The buffet has a lot of choices, the food is more than ok. But the seafood was delicious. Stick to cuban specialities. We went out of the tourist zone and the grocery stores for cubans lack so many produces, how can you expect a 5 stars meal if the country itself has difficulties getting food to their own people. I would truly suggest a visit to Havana while you are in Cuba to have a glimpse of people's everyday life.

The staff is nice. The only problem of this resort is the girl working the currency office. As you may know, you cannot change your money for cuban pesos anywhere except in Cuba. And if you try to change it at the hotel, beware this girl steals from clients. You have to count your money and remind her to give you the whole amount. She is taking between 1 and 5 pesos per person. She also decides when she opens, changing opening hours. And unfortunately she is the only person to be able to give you change in the hotel area. All the staff always expect a tip because they earn only 1 peso a day for 10 hours of work. We understood that but it would be easier for tipping if the lady at the currency office did a more efficient job. Same thing with the little boutique, they will use the same trick on clients. Be extra careful, count your money everytime, argue, and they will pretend they "forget" or made a "mistake" and you will have your money back. But only if you argue...

That being said, we had a very good vacation.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 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
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Saskatoon, Canada
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 22, 2013

We were guests at the Melia Peninsula Varadero resort, in Room 2325 from January 26 through February 9, 2013.

The Melia offered a relaxed vacation. We encountered only pleasantness during this stay, especially as related to the lobby staff and resort workers. The office staff responded reasonably to our e-mail requests regarding room, and checkout arrangements. We were a bit apprehensive going into the vacation. However, over the course of the visit we developed a sense of belonging that may account for the numbers of guests we encountered who are repeat visitors.

Mey, sales promoter, has a most pleasant personality when dealing with guests booking the specialty restaurants. She is both efficient and friendly, a trait not often found in our experience at various AI resorts.

Dunia was our maid for the duration. We felt very comfortable leaving our room in her care. Good job Dunia.

We enjoyed the dining experiences at the main buffet. Mainly, that was due to the waitresses (like Barbara who was very helpful and concerned about my wife's brief stomach disorder) and the waiters we encountered. We thought the food preparers at the main buffet dining room did a pretty good job given that certain fruits, vegetables, and spices, etc. are not readably available in Cuba.

The facilities are showing some wear and tear. For example, some chips missing from the lobby floor tiles. However, cleaning up after the guests was constant and effective. That helped to keep potential bird, fly, and other insect problems to a minimum.

Finally, the ground workers and maintenance staff are to be appreciated. We believe that service parts are often hard to obtain, which may account for lack of working water fountains near the 2300 block, etc. We truly believe that the resort's ground were as pleasing to the eye and camera as any Varadero resort we passed through or passed by. We were especially pleased with the effectiveness of the plumbing in our room, always quality hot water on tap. Also, the sewage system apparently worked efficiently. We sensed no sewage smell anywhere we walked on this resort.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 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
    • 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.
Ottawa, Canada
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 21, 2013

My title sums up my review I`m afraid! I love Cuba, love the country, the music, the history and the people but after my latest experience at the Melia I won`t be coming back in a hurry. By no means was the hotel awful but I was disappointed is so many aspects of the resort and found it a far cry from a 4.5 star hotel. On a positive note the staff were wonderful but I have come to expect this in Cuba. What is becoming tiresome is the lack of money spent on these resorts year after year and yet they manage to retain their star rating. Taking the bus tour into town only confirms this when you witness some of the rundown hotels that somehow are still advertised as 4* - shame on the travel companies for allowing this.

This hotel needs a drastic facelift. Everything is old and dated. The childrens area is very rundown, there were screws falling out of the play structure! The food was typical for Cuba - okay if you eat from the fresh stations(omelette, pasta, stirfry etc) It still blows by mind why these hotels insist on attempting to cook food that they don`t eat themselves - why bother cooking burgers when they are overdone, no cheese, bread,no ketchup and buns :( Please!! Give us some credit and why not cook fresh fish, pulled pork with black beans and salads with tomatoes and cucumber. I have traveled thougout Cuba and ate in numerous casas - the food was fantastic. The wine and mixed drinks were also poor, I could only get a decent coffee from the Lobby (from the beach this is a long walk!) I don`t expect great wine but at least it should be drinkable!

Our room was large with comfortable beds. The bedding however was smelly, our television had no English channels (not normally an issue for me but when the weather fails you and its too cold to leave your room its nice to have an option to watch a movie or at least something!)

In the afternoons they had a wonderful Cuban band playing but I want to hear more music. The piano lady was lovely but I`m in Cuba and hearing classical piano albeit nice doesn`t quite fit the mood!

This was my 10th time in Cuba - 5th time in Varadero. The beach is lovely and the hotel grounds are beautiful and have been in every resort i have stayed at there. I do think its time Cuba started moving with the times and starting spending some of that money tourists spend in their country and put it back in to the hotels and tourist areas. I wont go to anything less than a five star in Cuba as of now - in fact I`ll probably choose to spend my money elsewhere until things start to improve a little.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
TPV_General_Manager, Gerente at Melia Peninsula Varadero, responded to this review, February 24, 2013
Dear Friend
Receive a nice regard from the Melia Península Varadero. First of all we appreciate that you have made your comments as we will work on the statements and achieve the satisfaction of our clients. Really deeply regret that we could not meet your expectations, and we can assure you that we will consider all the suggestions and we will do the best we can to improve all the mentioned points. We do hope, to have another opportunity in the near future, to make your holiday unforgettable.

Best regards
General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Montreal, Canada
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 20, 2013

I gave this hotel a 3 stars because the staff is friendly (even though they were pushy in wanting our clothes),management were always there and ready to listen (but did nothing with any of our requests unless we really fought for it and it went to customer relations) and because the beach is gorgeous. But other than that.... not worth the money at all. Spend an extra 100$ and go to Mexico or DR

we were 13 ppl. all different ages. from 1 year old baby to 72 year old grandpa. We had couples, singles, parents and children. All of us were disappointed ... no exception!!!

Being an avid traveler and traveling with my kids (3year and 1 year) everywhere I go, I could say that it's not a family friendly resort.

Food : below average. they only good thing for breakfast was omelette, or toast with butter. line up was always long since there's only one buffet area. Lunch and supper, grilled fish or pasta was good. Very repetitive and very bland and not much variety. ok for cuba standards.
I brought food for my kids with me so that they can eat properly. BTW: if you are traveling with children ... THEY don't have apple juice. You can however buy it from the store at 0.60CUC for a 250ml. or bring some with you. They only serve you orange juice or guava juice (sometimes pineapple).
The 24 hours snack bar service was extremely slow.... I mean 20-30 minutes wait to order a pizza, and they had french fries only 2 days of the whole week. (barely good).

A la carte that we tried : mexican was horrible, japanese average, french (4 of us got really sick that night).

Drinks: They don't know how to make mixed drinks, they don't have blenders (except lobby bar), so don't expect good margaritas or daquiris, stick with pina coladas and cuba libre. cappuccinos were good

Pools : average... (however my 3 year old and my brother in law, both had an allergic reaction to the pool, my 3 year old swam in the kids pool the first day and both his legs were swollen red, the next day was spent at the beach and he was fine, the 3rd day he swam in the kids pool, his legs were all swollen again. ... thank god I brought Benadryl. ... and we didn't take them to the pool again. (btw, he's been to jamaica, florida, mexico, on a cruise, st-maarten, st-thomas and never had a reaction.)

Beach: very nice however very far from the room we had (block 11). We had to walk what seems endless when you have 2 kids and have to carry a whole lot of toys and towels and stuff.
bars at the beach : 2 of them, one opened 11-4 and didn't have much selection and the other was a bit of a walk. So needless to say, we didn't enjoy much of the drinks.

Cleanliness : rooms are old and smelly. big and spacious however. When we entered our room the first time, one of the "clean" towels hanging had a red spot on it the size of a toonie (very visible). disgusting. the thick blanket in the closet had dirt marks on it too. So we asked to change them.

the grounds were acceptably clean.

For 2 days they had issues with the laundry and no fresh towels were provided.

lots of mosquitoes.. (bring repellent and after bite)

Another issue : my 1 year old was running around the lobby on the day we arrived and she fell in the pond (situated right in the middle of the lobby, with no fence). She didn't injure herself, but she got an eye infection from that water. The infection didn't go away after 2 days without us seeing the doctor and he gave us antibiotic drops. We told the customer relations of what happened and we said that the pond is not safe and should be fenced or put something around. I know it's the parents responsibility to keep an eye on their kids, but kids do run around. They didn't even apologize or didn't even ask if they can do anything to make it better.
We got a phone call to our room to see if she was better.

Kids show : SAME EVERY SINGLE NIGHT!!! our kids were bored out of their minds. No effort put into it. (compare to shows at other all inclusives).

Rum: as example the 7 year old Havana Club : at the resort 16.90CUC ... at the duty free 21.90cuc ... if you go to another shop at the airport, rest next to the duty free it's 19.90CUC
there's a coffee shop in the middle of the departure area that will sell it for 13 CUC
So really.... no fixed price, so you gotta shop

True the weather was horrible for 3 days, but the staff tried to keep everyone entertained in the lobby.

exchanging money at the lobby : expect long lines.

trip to varadero on a double decker was good, however it was a good 30 min ride with the stops along the way. Negotiate prices of any souvenirs you want to get. They will even exchange items for souvenirs. (Makeup products, hygiene products, clothing).

Bring all the medication that you can think of.... you might need it. Gravol, immodium, tums, benadryl, tylenol, antibacterial hand wash,

we had 2 cases of severe Gastro ... (a 2 year old and 24 year old).

overall, will never go back and won't recommend it.

Room Tip: not worth the upgrade.
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TPV_General_Manager, Gerente at Melia Peninsula Varadero, responded to this review, February 24, 2013
Dear friend,

Receive a greeting from Melia Península Varadero. We review all comments and really felt sorry that you had that perception of the hotel services. During that time we present difficulties with the laundry service, which was perceived by customers and also the weather was not favorable. We can assure you that we have taken into account all your comments and suggestions to work on continuous improvement in customer satisfaction. We look forward to welcoming you back in the future, we hope we have that pleasure.
Best regards
General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Woodstock, Canada
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 19, 2013

Check In:
Went very smooth. Arrived at 9 pm. Had envelopes waiting with everything we needed. Taken to room by cart.

Rooms:
Had 2 single beds put together. Also had a cot behind the sofa and a playpen when we arrived.....obviously left from previous guest however did indicate how large the room was. Stocked frig....bottled water given daily. Large bathroom with standup shower and a separate tub. Had some problems with leakage around our toilet Moved to another room with no question however noticed our first room was occupied almost immediately. Husband a contractor so knew what would have been needed to fix the problem so obviously it wasn't.

Food:
5 a la carte restaurants. Went to the Italian & Japanese. Both had very good food. Book early in your stay.
Japanese-->cooked in front of you. Chef very personable and made it interactive with the guests. Lots of fun.
Italian-->Very nice atmosphere. Had 3 musicians playing (2 violins, 1 guitar). Very talented & went around asking guests if they had any favourites they wanted to hear. These musician would be perfect if you were having a wedding at the resort.
Buffet-->For Cuba very good food. Had turkey at least 2 nights. Fish was very good. Indoor & outdoor seating options.
Pool Restaurant-->Good pizzas, french fries & hamburgs.
Beach Restaurant (Cuban a la carte in the evening)-->Had fish, spaghetti, hot dogs and hamburgs.
Lobby Bar-->Has the best coffee on the resort.

Beach and Pool Areas:
Varadero beach always awesome. Lots of chairs in both areas. Never had a problem getting one. Staff member on beach that assisted you. We always managed to get under a palapa. Noticed activities on the beach early in the day such as aerobics in the water, etc. Later in the day the activities moved to the pool area.

Family Area:
Several buildings of rooms were set around the children's play area separate from the rest of the guests for families. It appeared that they had programs for all ages during the day. Couple of pools and water slides suitable for children as well as playground equipment in this area.

Valentine's Day:
Right from first thing in the morning staff were engaged in Valentine's Day activities. One dressed up as Cupid going around the buffet and lobby area. In the evening they decorated the restaurants setting a romantic atmosphere with dim lights and candles. If you wanted you could purchase a lobster dinner in the Cuban Restaurant. Overheard staff assisting husbands in arranging to have flowers sent to their spouses. Had a dance party outside the buffet instead of having a show that night. Had it early enough in the evening that both young and older guests could participate.

Cadeca:
Had very long waits of at least 1/2 hour to exchange your money. Didn't seem to matter what time of day it was, there always seemed to be a long line.Closed from 1 - 2 for lunch. Needed to have passport with you......new government regulations. Never had enough $1 pesos if you were wanting it for tips. Try not to take cash advances. Apparently there is only one line among 58 resorts so it is very slow getting through. Easier and quicker to exchange cash. Figure out early what you think you will need so that you only have to go once.

Buildings and Grounds:
Very well maintained, Buildings looked freshly painted. Very beautiful gardens, trees, vegetation and water areas. Visited some friends at Memories Resort and noticed immediately the difference in the overall appearance of the grounds.

Staff and Entertainment:
As always, and this is what we love about Cuba is the people, were very accommodating and helpful. Could not do enough for you.
We ran into some cold, rainy weather during our stay. Staff quickly changed up the activities bringing music & fun to the lobby areas in order to keep everyone occupied to help pass the day.Lots of activities that you could do. Times and locations were well documented in the package you received upon arrival. After dinner always had some musical entertainment in the lobby area. We did not go to any of the shows but heard they were very good.

We knew before we arrived that the Melia chain had taken over this resort from Tryp in December 2012.
Quickly identified who the Manager was and noticed that he was very hands on with both staff & guests often stepping in to assist his staff.
On our last day we actually had one of their Customer Relations staff stop at our table to talk with us about our stay. She went from table to table in the buffet talking with guests. This is the first time we have ever seen this done at any resort we have stayed. We have always had surveys we could complete but have never before talked with anyone.
We did not sign up for any excursions as we have done a few of them on previous trips but did take the double decker bus into Varadero one day. Had previously loved the trip to Havana and the Cataraman day.
Talked with a couple that had done the Mantazas City tour.......they thoroughly enjoyed it.

Another couple we spoke to had shared the cost of a taxi with another couple - negotiated the cost to 80 CUC each for 4 hours. Driver had very good English........took them to the Du Ponte house, Al Capone's house, a restaurant and a tour of Varadero before heading off to Cardenas. Apparently it is famous for the number of bicycles and horse-drawn carriages that it has. Actually lasted about 5 1/2 hours.
We heard of another couple doing the same by hiring a taxi for their trip to Havana rather than the guided tour.
Of course the tour operators do not recommend this as they cannot assist you if anything goes wrong. Apparently taxi cabs pay huge licensing fees to the government in order to operate so they are aggressive but willing to negotiate price. Most speak good English and make good tour guides.

This has been our best resort yet and the best value for money spent in all of our trips to Cuba.
Only negative for us is that English speaking guests were very outnumbered by guests from other countries------Chile, Argentine, Russia and even from Quebec.
However we will definitely come here again. Next time we will bring our friends.

Room Tip: Rooms on the ground floor near the pool area are pretty central to everything - beach, buffet, lobby...
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 18, 2013

The overall stay at this resort was astonishingly special, treated so well, memorable and awesome. We had so many special treats especially we celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary.....something that we won't forget and will treasure the rest of our life. Had a surprise dinner with another English couple with the 2 Managers served by 2 waitresses and butler, a pre-anniversary dinner and the romantic anniversary dinner with our own butler. I can't fault Raul Garcia, the Manager who made everything possible and special. We are also grateful to Romelsh, Entertainment Manager. Our room was upgraded to the wedding suite which was a bonus.
There are 5 restaurants to dine within the resort and the Playa Buffet, choice of champagne and other fruit drinks on every meal and variety of food selection +++.
There are 2 children's pool and 1 adult one with bar and the white sandy beach is just few yards from the bungalows. It has a vast landscape grounds immaculately preserved. Entertainment shows every night, party time on a Friday night and beach and pool activities every day. Creche and other children facilities are available including gym, massage sauna, beauty parlor, water sport activities, etc.
Staff are very hospitable and help you as much as they can.
The only minus is an update of the rough edges.
We will certainly go back again at this resort.
There is an open double deck bus to take you to Varadero by hopping in and out as you pleased in a day with a cost of 5cuc. It is a must to see the Buena Vista Social Club perform and few days in Havana will complete your visit in Cuba.

  • Stayed February 2013, 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 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Melia Peninsula Varadero

Address: Parque Natural de Punta Hicacos | Matanzas, Varadero, Cuba (Formerly Tryp Peninsula Varadero)
Location: Caribbean > Cuba > Matanzas Province > Varadero
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#5 Best Value Hotel in Varadero
#15 On the Beach Hotel in Varadero
#15 Romantic Hotel in Varadero
#17 Top resorts Hotel in Varadero
#18 Luxury Hotel in Varadero
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:4 star — Melia Peninsula Varadero 4*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
All inclusive resort ideal for families, with a dedicated children's area, a marvelous tranquil beach, full of activities for all ages. Honeymooners also get special treatment in a quiet special area. Tennis courts, gym, non motorized water sports, drinks, a la carte and buffet dining included. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Tryp Peninsula Varadero Hotel Varadero
Tryp Peninsula Cuba
Peninsula Varadero
Tryp Varadero
Varadero Peninsula
Tryp Peninsula Varadero Cuba
Tryp Peninsula Hotel Varadero Beach
Varadero Beach Tryp Peninsula

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