Overall I am fairly disappointed with my experience at this hotel, but before I begin I would just like to note that I have been to Cuba on several occasions, which includes Cayo Coco, Holguin, Santa Maria and Varadero. So I have a good idea of what to expect and what not to expect. I also went with my two sons aged 15 and 18 for a 2 week stay.
Firstly, arrival from Toronto to Varadero was pretty straight forward and without any issues. The bus ride from the airport to the hotel took barely 40 min, compared to other parts of Cuba where you can travel for well over and hour. My flight was on the 7th at around 17:00 and when all was said and done I arrived at the hotel by 22:30.
Check-In: Upon arriving to the hotel at around 22:30 I got into a very short line in the lobby for Check-in. It was a not too late, but the I noticed that the lobby felt strangely empty, which I will talk more about later in this review. The person at the front desk spoke fairly good english and arranged us two rooms pretty swiftly in the Jr. Suite building. A concierge offered to bring our luggage to our rooms, but we wanted to walk so we declined.
Rooms: At first glance the Jr. Suite building looks decent compared to the better looking bungalows, but the rooms are far more let down. First off the room my younger son and I were in had a great air conditioner and smelled fresh and not musty, but the view was horrible. We saw a giant diesel container from our window, which powered a very loud generator several times during our stay at the hotel next to us and sometimes it even worked through to the evening. My older sons room was in much worse condition. The air conditioner barely worked on the highest setting, the room smelled musty and humid, there was a missing glass table top where the mini-fridge was making it very difficult to open, the TV remote was missing and some lights were broken. The first night we immediately complained about this room, particularly about the AC and to get a TV remote. They sent a tech along with someone else to examine the room, but they just walked in, talked to each other, checked a few other rooms and then said nothing could be done with AC and that other rooms had similar cooling (which was clearly wrong, evident from our other room which was frigid). The next day there was no TV remote as well, we did not report it as we did not really come to Cuba to watch TV, but it was really dishonest of the staff. Just as a side note, I understand that Cuba is a tropical country and these AC units get stressed a lot throughout the whole year, but in every hotel I've been to so far they have exchanged my room if I had any issues, especially if not satisfied upon arrival. The Jr. Suites in particular were not all filled and there were other unoccupied rooms, but if I had to guess most of them were probably in terrible condition to use, which was probably one of the reasons they were reluctant to find us a new room. My older son also had issues with no hot water in this room and water pressure problems a couple of days into our stay. We reported the issue to the front desk twice, which pretended to mark it down, but not one person came regarding this, so he took showers in our room for the remainder of the stay. One of the biggest issues we all had, was the noise from the disco which was located at the bottom floor of the Jr. Suites. First of all putting a disco in a building where people are sleeping is a complete joke. In most hotels we have been to in Cuba the disco is at the very least somewhat distanced from the sleeping areas, not attached to the same building or even on the beach. This was particularly annoying when we wanted to wake up early for an excursion the next day and the disco was shaking the building until 2 AM.
Service: The front desk was pretty disappointing, other then the person who checked us in (he mostly worked nights), everyone else especially during the day really struggled with english and taking any issues we had seriously. I think the gentleman that worked in the evening should work during the day, as he is much more friendly and has a lot stronger english.
Our maid was fairly good, we left her 1-2 pesos each day and a couple of small chocolate bars as a thank you. She kept our fridges stocked with water, cola and sprite, which was very welcomed as most hotels just give you water. That being said though, she was very overworked having to cover a lot of rooms alone and would often not even get to our room until 2-3 PM from time to time.
The bartenders on the hotel grounds were great, always smiling and quick to serve up drinks most of the time.
The servers/waiters, other then in the a la Carte's, were very slow a lot of the time and you would often have to wait a while for them to stop standing around and talking to each other to notice that some tables needed to be made. This is not true for everyone, there were a few very respectable servers who always acknowledged us and we would often tip them in return. For the most part, however, you really had to grab their attention to get anything done. We also got refused entry to the Italian a La Carte, because my two sons did not have long pants required by the ridiculous dress code, it's Cuba with +30c weather I am not going to pack jeans. The doorman literally said they could wear long pajamas, but somehow jean shorts ruined the ambient for people. Yes, other A La Carte's of other hotels in Cuba did have dress codes, but unless you came half naked in swim shorts they did not enforce the stupid dress code. The service in the Cuban a La Carte was great and without any issues.
In terms of cooks, I had a great experience with the grill guy on the beach, he was always cheerful and always cracked jokes with everyone, the burgers, hotdogs and mini-pizzas he also made were top notch. The younger fellow that made eggs in the morning was also great, he always greeted us and always knew what we wanted ahead of time. The other cooks especially, the guy in charge of cooking the meat at dinner was very disappointing. He was always grumpy and when you asked him for a couple of pieces of meat he would throw in the smallest piece you could possibly think of and then when you asked for more he would look confused as if he thought it was enough. He did this a couple of times to my sons as well and overall seemed to be struggling with the grill.
Food: People will often say that when it comes to food do not really expect much in Cuba, but this is probably by far the worst hotel we have been to in terms of food selection. Some days there would be something good like grilled fish, tacos, calamari and a good selection of fruits (mango, banana and pineapple) but for the most part it was the exact same thing day in and day out with a very low selection of fruit for most of the day. The tacos, calamari and that particular grilled fish for example was only served once during our 2 week stay. The beef was far too chewy as well and some meats were not cooked thoroughly enough and in terms of fruits most of time it was just grape fruit and guava with mango's and bananas only being there some of the time. There was absolutely no consistency in terms of food at all. There was also no station for fried cinnamon bananas, which we had come fairly accustom to as a popular Cuban desert in most hotels we have gone to. We went to the Cuban a La Carte restaurant a few times and the food was decent, but the main coarse meals were average at best. We however did like the interesting selection of appetizers you could get before the meal, but for desert there was not really much but ice cream. As I mentioned before the grill on the beach was pretty good and although it was just burgers, pizza and hot dogs my sons and I enjoyed them. They tasted great and were cooked thoroughly. I just wish they had fried calamari like the other hotels I went to prior.
Hotel Amenities/ Entertainment: I knew the hotel had an open concept buffet before reserving, but this trip reminded me why I hated them so much in the past. Birds would swarm your food in the morning (poop on the chairs/tables), temperatures were unbearable at lunch (we ate lunch at the beach grill) and mosquitoes would bite you all over at night. Air conditioned closed concept buffets are the best in my opinion. The lobby as I mentioned before, was strangely empty, which is the exact opposite in most hotels, where it is often bustling with people and there would often be some some of musical performance there. The piano bar was almost always empty and nobody was on the piano except on casino night. The staff would often just watch TV in the Piano Bar area. One thing that this hotel was really lacking was a dedicated area for nightly entertainment. The stage was located in the buffet area and sometimes they would start some sort of show while people were still busy eating. This is the only hotel in Cuba that I've been to that combined the buffet and a theater/entertainment area into one, which does not bode well at all. In terms of overall performances here, it was very lackluster with the staff repeating a bunch of silly trivias a couple of times over. The pool in the hotel was great and in the few times we went there weren't many people crowding it. There was no in-pool bar but the bar was a couple of feet from it. The design of the pool, however, seems a little dated compared to the new extravagant ones newer hotels are making. The hotel also had a games room with 2 pools tables, 2 ping pong tables, darts, a TV and a couple of chess/checkers tables. My sons spent a majority of their evenings there playing table tennis/pool and their only complaint is that only 1 out of the 4 AC units were actually working inside, making it a little hot. Other then the Liquor and Tobacco shop the other store was a little lackluster and did not many Cuban crafted works compared to stores of other hotels we have visited. The beach water sports like the katamorans, kayaks and pedal boats were just like with most hotels. They run until 3PM and they do not operate if the sea is very wavy.The TV channels in the rooms would also frequently have issues with lost signals or missing tone for some reason. The one complaint I have on the beach is that nobody really maintains the beach chairs, they often are covered in bird poop, some are broken and people spill food on them. They could at the very least have someone go over and look at the chairs every couple of days.
Beach/Hotel Grounds: There is nothing much to say about the beach, other then Varadero has some of the best if not the best beaches in Cuba. The sand is groomed every morning by tractors, so it's always nice and flat. The hotel grounds are taken good care of by the gardeners, just like most hotels I've been to. Staff will rarely let the look of the property slide in 4+ star hotels.
In general from the experience we had with this hotel it is at best a 3-3.5 star hotel similar to Arenas Doradas or the old Arenas Blancas. This does not mean everything is entirely that bad, for example if it is your first time coming to Cuba and you are able to get a good deal at Breezes Varadero, then go ahead you will have a good time, just don't have very high expectations. If you have gone to several hotels in Cuba before and know the ins and outs of all the possible issues and have some sort of baseline expectations I would move on to a different choice.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.