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“Had a blast at Club Amigo!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Hotel Aguas Azules

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Hotel Aguas Azules
3.0 of 5 Resort   |   Carretera las Morla Km 14, Varadero, Cuba   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #47 of 59 hotels in Varadero
Calgary, Canada
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
“Had a blast at Club Amigo!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 4, 2006

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”!

  • Liked — The staff, Cuban vacationers, Beach, Pool
  • Disliked — Hotel needs TLC
  • Tips/Secrets — It's okay to drink the water at the bars and restaurants
  • Stayed October 2006, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (182)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Montreal
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 1, 2006

The accomadations may lack a bit of maintenenance and the hot food is very plain. But this is a 3 star.

The bread, fruit & desserts are good to very good.

I' ve been there three times, two weeks each in February.
I know people that repeat every year.
The hotel staff offer special services and gifts to repeat guests.

This is not a five star so don' t expect a five star.
I told you about the food & maintenance.

The grounds are spacious with trees and plants.
The beach is excellent, wide, white sand, no rocks.

Stayed September 2006
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
montreal
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 30, 2006

This is a El-Cheapo hotel with basic accommodations and it’s owned by CUBAN government. Please ask your travel agent who owns the hotel that you will be staying before booking.

When you book this hotel make sure that you leave your expectations far away from your home. Like very far away from your home.

Food is horrible. Buffet is not eatable. Make sure you brink your own ketchup. Make sure you bring your own ketchup. (if you are Canadian). Food is not good at all even if it looks ok. Make sure you get a la carte restaurants. Reservations are before 10 AM. Be there at 9:30 and do the line-up. You can book as many times as you want. There was only two choices. Cuban and Italian restaurants. In Cuban restaurant the service was soooooooooo slow. In the Italian one, it was lighting fast. It was so wired.

Service was crap. People there didn t want any money or tip. They simply didn t care if you have tipped them or not. The had limited quantities of Alcohol and THEY DON T HAVE REAL HAVANA CLUB RUM. That was a downer.

Beach is simply amazing. Water is great. No jelly fish. Water was clean clean clean clean and very beautiful.

There's a lot of activities that you can pay for.

People are slow there and they don t really care if you tip them or not. Don t expect great service. They don t even smile there.

Don't buy andy rum or cigars from the store inside the hotel. IT:S OVER PRICED. Just to give you an example. Pack of 6 cigars Guantanamera was 13 PESOS at the hotel. In the duty free AirPort at the end of the trip is was 3 Pesos. Wow, and the rum was 8 pesos and there was 3 pesos.
Please don t buy anything from them unless you are stuck.

Also, clubs are empty. 10 pesos to get in. 1 peso for a GOOD CAN beer and 3 pesos for a mixed drink. in the hotel they serve the drinks in small plastic cups. Bring your own glasses from home and don t forger the ketchup also. Bring bug repellent also. A lot of mosquitoes.

Canadian girls don’t be afraid to send your boyfriends there, there’s no girls at all. There’s no club in the hotel. There was 80 % Cubans and the rest was other people from Europe and Canada. Fidel sends Cuban people for free in this hotel as it is owned by Cuban government.

Overall, the rooms was great. Food a big 0. BEACH AMAZING.
Trust me, the food counts for a lot. The animation team wants you always to go to Cuban places. They don't want to take you to international clubs. They get a commission on how many tourists they bring in Cuban places and they get in for free there.

  • Liked — CLEAN ROOMS ALL THE TIME
  • Disliked — Service was a big 0. There was too many cubans and they were serving us as we were cubans.
  • Tips/Secrets — Please book somewhere else on the Varadero coast.
  • Stayed September 2006, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
    • 1 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Scotland
1 review
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed September 28, 2006

On arrival, Club Amigo seemed fine with a nice clean reception area. However, it all changed pretty quickly. We were upgraded to a suite as we were on honeymoon which was quite good with two balconies which took in the sunset. There was no light in the bedroom however which was a bit of a pain.

The beach was about 5 mins from the hotel and was beautiful. Clear water with little fishes swimming around your toes. We were there in September and it was very quiet, probably not even half full.

The food at this place was absolutely shocking as was the "school canteen" where you were forced to eat. I wont even try to describe some of the food and how much they must have spent but considering that in one of Varadero's better restuarants a 3 course meal with drinks costs <£10, they were definately not putting the effort in. My advice would be get to the grill bar at lunchtime, much better atmosphere. Avoid the food at the beach bar, its rubbish.

I dont understand the whole "we are French and have different wrist bands" thing.

I would stick to drinking as much rum and beer as you can to get rid of the taste of the food. Alternatively eat out in Varadero as its cheap and the places we went to were excellent.

My advice would be to pay the extra and move further east along Varadero to a nicer place or stay an extra few days in Havana.

  • Liked — Beach and Mojitos
  • Disliked — Food and Mosquitos
  • Tips/Secrets — Stay in Havana longer
  • Stayed September 2006, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
    • 1 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Saskatchewan
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 15, 2006

The hotel is very nice, the rooms were clean, the staff were friendly. The beach is absolutely lovely. The pool is great but very cold, the hot tub was nice though. If we had any complaints, the food was only so-so and getting into the resturant is quite hard since it is so busy all the time and the waits can be tiring.The nightly entertainment was good. The bus to go to the market stops not far from the lobby, and comes by about every 20 minutes or so , very handy. The hotel was full of Canadians having a great time.We met people staying at the Breezes and they did not enjoy their hotel nearly as much as we enjoyed ours. The grounds are really lovely, I highly recommend this hotel.

  • Liked — The beautiful grounds
  • Disliked — Main restaurant
  • Tips/Secrets — The "sugar and steam" tour was very good.
  • Stayed January 2006, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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Toronto
1 review
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 10, 2006

I stayed at Club Amigo from August 25th 2006-September 1 2006. It was my first time in Cuba, so I had no idea what to expect.

After being hounded at the airport by people wanting to carry my luggage for me, it was nice not having people do the same thing once arriving at the resort. We arrived around 11pm. The lobby was not air conditioned, so the wait in line to check-in seemed even longer.

Once checking in, a worker took our luggage (since the hotel is so big, it is impossible to bring your own luggage with you to the room, so you HAVE to use a bell-boy). Finding the room was very difficult. There are a few adjacent buildings and the rooms don't necessarily follow any order. We made it to our room in 20 minutes, but after doing the treck to the front from our room many times, we found shortcuts and brought it down to two minutes by the end of our trip!

The lobby and hallways were clean enough. There were bugs etc, but it's a three star hotel so it wasn't that bad. The room was air conditioned and came with satellite tv (with many English Channels (MTV!)). We asked someone where we could eat and were told that the buffet dinner closes at 9. There are no real snack bars (only alcohol). No restaurants/stores were open either, so that was a real downer. Then we were told that the lobby bar carries a few sandwiches after midnight. We waited until then and were given a dinner roll with ham (only one per person).

A note of warning: if you get bitten by mosquitos easily, BRING insect repellant. I cannot stress that enough. You will get bitten and the mosquito bites do not leave for a long time! I learned that early on in the trip. The repellant they had in the gift store wasn't effective enough.

So the first night was ok, but I guess I was just really tired. The next day, we went to the buffet lunch (we missed the breakfast that day, and every other day so I cannot comment on it unfortunately). After reading really bad reviews about the food, we were very nervous. However, there was a lot of food to choose from and they had french fries so we were happy! The key is to go early. Otherwise, the food will run out and you'll be stuck with the leftovers. The one problem we did have was getting the servers to give us forks and knives. We could never find the server in our area, and when we asked a server from another area they told us to ask the server in our area. Very frustrating! (and we're not the kind of people that don't tip, so that didn't have anything to do with it). However, we learned where to get the utensils, so the problem was solved!

Next we went to the beach. We were blown away. Having vacated the polluted beaches in Toronto, I was very, very impressed. They have a bar right near the beach which was perfect for ice cold water. I spent a lot of time on the beach! They have non-motorized boats that you can take out (for free) and motorized ones that you can rent. I saw some workers organize games at times, but I preferred to bake in the sun.

I had a great time. While the online description said that they had internet access, they don't. I had to walk to the next resort (only 5 mins away) to use theirs. It cost me 15 Pesos for 1 hour (about $18 Canadian) which was a lot, but I really needed to use it for work.

The clubbing scene was excellent. Club Internationale is a really good one, as is La Rumba (a little empty, but if you're going with a bunch of friends, you won't notice). The resort will also have people (for us it was a guy named Union) who organize beach parties. You pay 5 Pesos to get in, and it's a club on the beach. When the club closes at 3am people pour onto the beach and continue the party. The night that we went, people ended up going home instead of going on the beach. They play good music (a mix of salsa, reggaeton, hip-hop, r& b, pop, house) and have people who can teach you to dance salsa. I had a great time. I was initially told that once I paid cover, all drinks would be included. However, Union told us that all the clubs in Veradero changed that a week before we came. At Club Internationale, drinks were 3 Pesos (and they were huge) and 10 pesos to get in. At La Rumba, cover was 15 Pesos and you get 5 drink tickets included (which could buy you about 2 drinks, depending on what you get. I was told that La Rumba used to cost 10 pesos and was the best club to go to, but since they hiked the cost, people stopped going.

The guys there are a bit agressive. We are from Toronto, and the guys are very laid back. In Cuba, the locals (and even the tourists which consisted mainly of tourists from Toronto...who knows, maybe it was something that changed them on the three hour plane ride to Cuba) are not shy about making the first move. I had a few problems with the locals thinking "no" meant "I'm playing hard to get". Stand your ground ladies and you will be fine. Also, don't be alarmed if they tell you they love you. It's a language barrier :)

I realized that you could probably bring your cab ride down a few pesos if you bargain. I even brough one down 50% once (my greatest accomplishment!). Bring a dictionary. While a lot of people do speak english, it would be good to know a bit of spanish.

A lot of time, being very hungover from the night before, we not only missed breafast, but lunch as well (lunch ends at 2:30pm). There is nothing to eat on the resort! We met some people from some other resorts, and were told they had a 24 hour snack bar (a real one, unlike the fake one at Club Amigo which serves only drinks) that served fries and burgers. We would've had to wait until 6:30pm for dinner. We went to a few restaurants around town. We went to one called Dante (an Italian one). They have the best Italian food I have ever tasted in my life. The food isn't expensive either (it cost us 40 pesos for three of us). We also went to another one right next to it. They have an "international cuisine". I had delicious lobster there. The price was about the same for the three of us. We also went to Plaza Americana where there is a Pizza place.

There is a section that is meant only for French people. They have their own bar and restaurant. I think they even have food! I discovered it only on my last day, and I regret that I didn't find it earlier. The pool is less crowded and much cleaner. The restaurant portion is closed to everyone but the French (who paid more to get this included) but the pools are open to everyone.
You must go there! Plus, the French guys are hot.!

The trip overall was a success. The key is to go with an open mind. You are not going to have the same service/experience that you would in a Western Country, but you have to realize that you're not in a western country. You're in Cuba. Things are different over there. As long as you do that, you will have a great time.

  • Liked — The BEACH!!!!
  • Disliked — The mosquitos
  • Tips/Secrets — bring insect repellant
  • Stayed August 2006, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hamilton, On
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 21, 2006

The beach was amazing other than the large amounts of jelly fish it was great. Sand and water were beautiful couldn't ask for anything better. Pool was nice (French pool that is off limits is beter). Staff were all very friendly and helpful. The entertainment at night was always a good show. The room was nice had lots of space and you could put a card on your pillow to have the sheets changed as often as you liked (apparently some people didn't read the card). The room was very clean and the maids were great. It was a short ride to the shopping centre and into town but was well worth the trip.
Piece of advice bring down snaks granola bars peanut butter and ketchup. Food was bad. Ate a lot of rice. Most of the buffet was cold very little fruit and most things didn't taste right. The bars offer a ham and cheese sandwich add some ketchup (your own not theirs) and its pretty good. For breakfast stick with the omlette or fried egg and toast. And wouldn't bother with the Ala Carte they weren't good either. We did hear at the end of the week that at the shopping centre there is a Pizza Nova and has very good food. Did a day trip to Havana and I wouldn't be in any hurry to go back but it was an experience to see. Cuba was much nicer than expected and for a 3 star resort it was very nice would go back especially for the price.

  • Liked — The beach and pool
  • Disliked — The food :(
  • Tips/Secrets — Bring snacks
  • Stayed August 2006, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 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 Aguas Azules

Address: Carretera las Morla Km 14, Varadero, Cuba
Location: Caribbean > Cuba > Matanzas Province > Varadero
Amenities:
Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#28 On the Beach Hotel in Varadero
#31 Top resorts Hotel in Varadero
Hotel Class:3 star — Hotel Aguas Azules 3*
Also Known As:
Resort Aguas Azules
Aguas Azules Hotel
Club Amigo Varadero Cuba
Club Amigo Cuba
Amigo Varadero Club Cuba

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