Our stay at Club Amigo was fantastic! We were there from Oct. 7 to 16th, 2006. Highly recommended if you like a beautiful beach and you are looking to have fun. Read on for more details...
When you arrive you have to use their bellboy, but because it is a big hotel it is nice to have an escort. Oh and just so you know, the bellboy won't leave your room until you give him a tip (or kick him out I suppose) so make sure to have some loose pesos upon arrival. You can exchange some money at the airport. He was the only one staff member that expected a tip and it did make us feel uncomfortable.
The hallways to the hotel rooms are in need of some TLC but the rooms themselves are okay. The floor tile in the hallways is chipped in some places and there are marks on the walls where people have rubbed their luggage. The hallways have poor lighting at night and since the hotel doesn’t seem to own a vacuum the carpet is not very clean. In fact, one day we saw a maid mopping the carpet with a wet mop. Thankfully the only carpet is down the hallways. The room we had was very clean and in good repair, and the maid cleaned well. Our bed was comfy and the shower had hot water all the time except on one morning. That was the same morning they were re-filling one of the pools so we figured that was the reason. The hair dryer worked great for us. In our room we were given 2 bars of soap, 2 bottles of shampoo and a bottle of hand cream.
We ate almost every meal at the buffet and were always pleased to see the variety of dishes. I tend to be a picky eater yet I always found plenty to eat. We actually always looked forward to our meal. The hot food was never “hot” but it was still good. There are always potatoes, rice, pasta, breads, fresh fruit and a good selection of cold veggies and salads and something was always being cooked fresh on the grill. Each meal would also have a variety of proteins – fish, beef, and pork – rather than just one main course. Make sure to have omelettes and fresh squeezed juice for breakfast. They are delicious!
We did eat twice at the a la carte restaurant, once for Italian and once for Cuban. Both nights we were disappointed in the food and would have rather been at the buffet where we could see what we were getting before having to eat it.
We also really liked the French fries served at the pool or beach bars. When they are freshly cooked, they are hot and crispy and so addictive! And yes the ketchup there is very different than what we have in Canada, but it’s not bad. It reminded me of plum sauce in consistency. At the beach bar they also make great sandwiches.
All of the bars serve very strong drinks but you can ask for them to make it weaker. Try a “Club Amigo” when you have a craving for a sweet drink. The best rum they serve there is Ron Cubay dark; they do not serve Havana Club. Ron Cubay is very good though and is actually our preference so we were happy! Not all bars have the same types of alcohol because they are rationed so look around if you want something specific. Also, on the night of the beach party the Lobby Bar and Beach Bar both ran out of rum because everyone was out drinking.
We were there on low season (October) so it was fairly quiet. The beach and pool were never crowded and there were always tables and loungers available whenever we were out and about. We also had brought mugs with us for drinks (recommended by other travelers) but rarely used them. One tip though – bring a bottle of water for each person traveling, then when it’s gone you can fill up the bottle at the buffet or at any of the bars. Our travel rep told us not to drink the water in our room but that the water used to make ice or that is served at the restaurants and bars is all filtered. Everyone we met there (with the exception of one family) was drinking the water and ice and no one had problems with it.
The animation staff at Club Amigo was fantastic! They do activities at the beach every morning (dance class, water aerobics, aerobics, volleyball), then at the pool in the afternoon (Bingo, games, dance lesson, Spanish lesson, water polo). It is always a riot to get involved or at least sit and watch everyone participating. The animation staff really made our trip because they added that element of fun that kept us from ever getting bored. We also attended the evening show every night. It starts at 9:30 and is usually at the plaza on the walk towards the beach. The shows we saw when we were there included Scottish dancing, acrobatics (Circus), Cuban “boy band”, Traditional Cuban band, Cuban dancers, magic show, Beach Party and the ever-fun audience participation show. Try to get involved whenever possible because that is the easiest way to make friends and have fun!
This hotel is one of the ones that allows Cubans to stay there. Cubans are not allowed to just book a holiday there though, they must earn the opportunity to stay there from their work. The government rewards very good workers by allowing them the opportunity to vacation at a resort but then the Cubans still have to pay for it. It is very expensive for them so those that are able to go truly enjoy themselves because they’ve worked very hard to get there. Take the time to meet some of the Cubans that are vacationing there because they are truly happy and grateful people. We actually really enjoyed staying at Club Amigo because we weren’t just on holiday with a bunch of other Canadians we had the chance to meet some wonderful local people. For us, it was a new twist on a traditional Caribbean holiday.
The beach is so fantastic there – beautiful, clean, white sand and clear, green water. The beach hut is a great place to spend some time when it’s stifling hot out because it is well shaded. There is always music playing at the beach hut that you can hear all the way down at the water.
The pools are also very clean and well kept. There are 2 main pools, one kids pool and a whirlpool that we jokingly called the “cold tub” because the water is about the same temperature as the regular pools.
We found that the staff does not expect tipping of any kind but are so appreciative when you do give them something. They were definitely more pleased when we presented them with gifts rather than cash. They like getting clothes and shoes because those things are very expensive. They also appreciate any hygiene products like shampoo, soap, laundry detergent – basically anything that can help them out. They only earn about 10 pesos a month (which is less than $15 Canadian) so it’s the little things that make them smile. We found all the staff to be nice and so great to talk to. Most of them spoke some English, especially the ones that were in direct contact with you (servers, bartenders). They also love to teach you Spanish so don’t hesitate to ask for a personal lesson!
Other notes… They have an onsite souvenir store, corner-type store, money exchange, hair salon and cigar store. The exchange rate was the same at the hotel and the airport. Everything at the stores was pretty expensive. Bring your own sunscreen because they only sold SPF 4 at the store and it was 8 pesos for a tiny bottle! Also bring bug spray if you are prone to bites. Most people hardly got bit at all, but I am super prone to bites and I probably had about 60 by the time we were heading home. Also, the toilet paper in the hotel rooms is like paper so bring some cushy stuff from home. Finally, the gym is not air conditioned so unless you like to really sweat you probably won’t be using it.
I would say that the sleeping quarters of the hotel is about a 3 star and the grounds, pool, and beach are a 4 star quality. If you want a ritzy or classy place, stay somewhere else. If you are looking for somewhere that you can feel at home and meet some down-to-earth people, then you’ll do well here. The staff is incredible – we fell in love with the animation staff, our servers at the buffet and we enjoyed seeing our favourite bartenders throughout the day. We felt it was really worth our money and we would definitely go back again.
-“Miss Cuba” (Andrea) and “Mike from Canada”!
- Also Known As:
- Resort Aguas Azules
- Aguas Azules Hotel
- Club Amigo Varadero Cuba
- Club Amigo Cuba
- Amigo Varadero Club Cuba