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“Excellent Hotel” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Islazul Villa La Mar

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Islazul Villa La Mar
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2.0 of 5 Hotel   |   3a. Avenida e/ 28 y 30, Varadero, Cuba   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #44 of 59 Hotels in Varadero
ottawa
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
“Excellent Hotel”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 19, 2013

We recently returned from a three week stay at Villa La Mar and let me tell you we had a fantastic time .The food was good actually exceptional Monday night seafood night Wednesday romantic gala (candles ,sparkling cider or Spanish wines staff very formal) Friday authentic Cuban night (roast chicken ,pork and fish Cuban style) as well as all the other meals which were a lovely variety of veggies ,multiple types of breads,an assortment of meats and a plethora of desserts. The room was clean, and cleaned every day. Air-conditioning and satellite t.v. worked fine! Nightly entertainment was very good - in fact, their house band - La Crema (9 piece band) was fantastic, along with a professional dance troop!! The staff were extremely warm and attentive to all our needs. This was all a wonderful surprise after reading some of the negative reviews! Now, knowing better, I can easily dismiss them! The complaint of "red chicken" is because it is smoked chicken and fully cooked!! The smell of the refinery across the bay, which we did get a slight whiff of, one day, is equal for all of the 50+ hotels in Varadero. If your complaint is the lack or quality of pop compared with the wines and real fruit juices these people serve, you really need to seek professional help!!! I recommend this place highly, and if you would like to know more about them, they have a facebook page - Hotel Villa La Mar. For all the absurd negative reviews, please remember that when you put your nose in the air, you block the sunlight!!!

Room Tip: Rooms overlooking the orquidea 24 hr can be noisy
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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264 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (49)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Paisley, Canada
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 13, 2013

I went on vacation for the first time with my daughter alone. We were initially booked into another hotel further down the strip but I along with 7 others asked to be transferred and we were booked here for the duration. I have no complaints other than the incredibly insane partying Russians who begin drinking at 10 in the morning. Note to families: ask to be moved if your balcony overlooks the entrance to lobby as you will get no sleep as the Russians are extremely loud. The staff are so friendly, the food is not bad at all. I am a fussy eater and I found no problems with the food. The rooms are clean, and some of the mattresses are very uncomfortable. I would perhaps bring along a mattress pad or something next time. The pool is clean but cold, the beach is two blocks away but there is a bar at the beach. We enjoyed the entertainment and had fun. If you are on a budget, I recommend this hotel. The lobby is nice, the grounds are well kept and the presence of the wandering cats only adds to the charm of this hotel. Another note: you will encounter beggars who will ask you for shoes, sweaters and food from the hotel-bring them some. The staff are so nice and if you wish to bring presents, they will appreciate it greatly. The women like black fishnet style stockings, hair clips, hair flowers and candy. Be sure to tip everyone even a cuc a day. You are in good hands here.

Room Tip: book any room other than ones overlooking the entrance to lobby.
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
bridgewater
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 10, 2013

of course this was the cheapest ever, i had a top floor corner room, there was a disco there but was never open, the staff were distant, not overly friendly, nothing even spectacular about the food except chickens dont lay eggs on tuesdays and saturday, i really dont mind if they take a day per week but two? the entertainment was quite good with water ballet, dancing girls, magic show , comedy. i tripped around aimlessly for a week,the hotel staff at the bar were really slow,not caring much about tips , one fellow gave her ten pesos and she still never stepped it up for him. they discourage you so that you will go out and see varadero, dont cost management money.i guess . this being my second time in varadero i got bored quickly. quite a few from russia partying hard. you get what you pay for. overall the best part was the bar across the street,cuban lady in a wheelchair ,great voice.i paid so little 458.00 ,the flight down had to be worth that,so for a basically free hotel it was worth that, the room was sparse but clean, could have used a lot better lighting in the alleyways,corridors, the weather was perfect,beach beautiful ,nightlife poor.

Room Tip: i enjoyed the top corner,peaceful good sun for tanning
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 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.
Toronto, Canada
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 25, 2013

Me and my boyfriend booked this hotel for our first vacation together. At first i was a little nervous booking this hotel because of the bad reviews but honestly it isnt as bad as people make it out to be. We had a room outside the resort across the street and our rooms were cleaned every day, the air conditioning worked and we saw about 2 bugs the entire week, we also always had hot water. The only bad thing about our room was that the toilet would not flush down the toilet paper.

The staff was all super friendly and the entertainers were great, after the show one of the entertainers brought us to a club in varadero where it was $10 cover and unlimited drinks all night long. The beach was less than a 5 minute walk and it was BEAUTIFUL. There was a bar at the beach for this resort too, no beer at the beach bar tho, only the pool bar served beer.

The hotel advertised a 24 hour snack bar, but this is across the street and you need to pay for it, also they stop serving food after 10. So if you get really hungry at night the only option is to walk about 5 minutes to a hamburger place open 24/7. The food at the hotel wasnt great but honestly better than i had expected anyways, they had a delicious soup one night. There were many restaurants around though, me and my boyfriend went to an italian place we both ordered a drink, an appetizer and an entree plus tip for 20 pesos.

I recommend renting the scooters while in varadero 25 pesos we paid for 8 hours plus 4 pesos to fill up the gas tank. You can drive all around varadero as it is so beautiful. We paid a little bit more for this hotel since it was reading week, but if you can get it for $600 it would honestly be a great deal. Dont expect luxury but expect a fun relaxing week.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Montreal, Canada
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 19, 2013

I visited this hotel in March 2012. I often travel and the important thing to me is a bed to sleep and food to eat. I went with a friend and she was a student so we couldn't afford more than 700$ so we ended up paying 560$ (taxes included) for the week. The hotel is well situated and you are a few blocks from bank or from main street and even the beach. On the main street you can take a bus that goes all the way to the end of the hotels and to the other end. The place was great cause it was in the center of everything and we got to meet really nice people our age. It is a very popular hotel for the Russians as they were lots but we had a really nice time with them. Even got to party in a cave nearby. You can go to the Disco beside the hotel but you have to pay for your drinks. The only thing I was disapointed about was the drinks. The did not have all the available drinks even lack of soda... But I bought some in front and used it for my mixes.

The beach is very nice and we always had chairs to lay on. It is two blocks away from the hotel and you even have a bar for some drinks.

Food was okay but I'm not very difficult. It's the same thing after 3 days but If your not happy there is a resto in front and they make really good fries.

The hotel is small so you get to know everybody and get to make new friends. The beach is beautiful and everything is near. You can decide to come here on a very low budget but don't expect luxury.

Enjoy your stay I would recommend it if you are not difficult.

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 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.
Toronto, Canada
1 review
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 18, 2013

I would like to begin by saying that my trip to Varadero, Cuba was a very enjoyable one, and our stay at ‘Villa La Mar’ a comfortable one, considering the price. The fact that we went to Cuba in the midst of a serious cold wave in Toronto (-25C and 30cm of snow) was in my opinion what made Cuba a paradise for all of us. I have just finished my Medical School training, and went to Cuba with my parents, for a family oriented vacation, and all of us had a very great time. And there are also enough attractions for younger people as well.

At this point I would like to start out by saying that I lived on a Caribbean island for around 2 years for my medical school, and I found Cuba (Varadero especially) a VERY safe place to visit as a tourist. In my opinion, that is the most important factor when going outside N. America for a vacation, irrespective of costs, food, lodging etc. And I would like to commend the Cuban authorities for keeping proper law and order in spite of widespread poverty in the country. That of course does not mean that you are not careful about your own belongings (I would avoid taking along expensive phones, laptops, tablets etc).

PROs:
1. Extremely friendly and happy STAFF. Whenever we had any problems, they were quick to help us out and effectively tried to accommodate all our needs. Me and my family always felt welcomed and did not feel as if we are on a ‘budget vacation’. And this also goes for the ‘Sunwing People’ as the whole trip was very well organized, with the Toronto and Cuban airport staff well informed, all the shuttle buses having knowledgeable and informed tour guides to answer any queries. Sunwing people also sent tour guides to the hotel, just in case people had any other questions during the trip.

2. Rooms – I am not a very stuck-up guy, and didn’t mind the rooms. My father likes to travel and live in luxury, but doesn’t like paying too much for it, was kind of disappointed by the rooms. I mean, the rooms were very clean, fresh bed sheets, clean basic bathrooms, very good A/C’s in all rooms, working TV with one American and one Canadian channels, absolutely NO mosquitoes in both the rooms we had, no insects, nice huge balcony for each room, maid service everyday. And for those complaining about a couple of ants and a cockroach, grow-up, get out of your little shells, and realize this is a tropical country.Take a bug spray for mosquitoes if you want.

3. Nightly Hotel entertainment – although I believe there is a couple of good clubs nearby, my two 50+ parents weren’t too excited about the clubbing scene obviously. Usually there wasn’t much to do in the evenings besides dinner, and having good quality evening entertainment near the pool was very enjoyable. They had some very beautiful Cuban women come over for the magic show, latin show, salsa dance lessons etc

4. Fun activities – the hotel had a dedicated desk and a person who spoke good English (& Russian, Italian, French) to give information and book different tours around Varadero. I would highly recommend the Jeep safari, Boat Adventure and the Havana Day tour.

5. Pool & Beach – Very clean pool and we always spent time over here playing volleyball with other guests. Beach was just a block away, clean, NOT over-crowded and always found a nice spot to relax and unwind.

6. Good family environment: I was afraid that the hotel in general would have prostitutes (male and females) walking around, but this was NOT true. Except the Russians, everyone was very respectful, always greeted each other with smiles and there were kids around as well.

Cons:
1. FOOD was horrible. This is one area where Cuba as a country needs to look at. When they are having international tourists, I feel this standard of food was not acceptable. I remember even beach bars having better food on the other Caribbean islands. ONLY the breakfast with the omelets, fried eggs and bread at the hotel was eatable. Juices were not fresh and tasted weird. Even the smell of the Lunch and dinner at this hotel was not appetizing and we never ate at the hotel. Coffee was horrible, and never in my life have I seen more watered down milk. I would recommend taking your own coffee, tea bags, condiments etc. Of the outside places, I would recommend the Italian Dante’s Restaurant and El Rancho.

2. Bars are not well equipped. No beer at the beach bar (ridiculous!!!), no beer in the hotel bar either. Beer was served only at the pool bar. Need to improve the quality of cocktails, even if that involves charging a small fee.

3. Russians/Eastern Europeans – I found them to be generally very rude, weird, and lacking basic manners and courtesy. Of course not the hotel’s fault, but it adds to the environment, and they acted as if they had not seen another human being besides themselves. Overall, we found a way to avoid them, talking and getting to know more Canadians, and not spoil our wonderful vacation.

Hope this review was helpful to those who cared to read it. Cheers!!!

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fredericton, Canada
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 3, 2013

Date of Visit: April 2011.

Here was the scenario: Four 24ish year-olds wanting to book a vacation south for some sun and relaxation. Digging into our very shallow pockets, we each produced $800 taxes in per person to fly to sunny Cuba for a couple's vacation. We booked through Sears Travel in Fredericton NB (GREAT SERVICE, ps) and flew out of Halifax NS.

When we arrived at the Cuba Airport, we were a little bit freaked out. I have to been to the Dominican a few times and let me just say there were no happy dancers / singers welcoming us. What we did find were women in uniform with no friendly faces to be seen. There was this huge area that all people had to go through, doors lining one wall that led you through security. I saw a mother who was forced to send her 4 year old through a door alone BEFORE she could go through.

The ceiling was literally falling down, and if you looked up you would see where you needed to stand in order to not be hit by a ceiling light which was suspended by only one frayed cord. A little bit disconcerting, but once we all got through it was alright. We found each other, got our bags pretty easily and then exchanged our money. You need to bring Canadian with you and exchange it once you get there. Make sure you exchange it back before you go home, it's worthless here!

The drive to the hotel was fun - I love being able to see the area around me when I travel. We bought some beer from a guy outside of the airport and drank a couple on the way to the resort. Cuba is gorgeous, and Villa La Mar is the first stop! :) Not a long bus ride, maybe 30 minutes.

When they dropped us off at the lobby we came in to a friendly lady with GORGEOUS fingernail work! I commented that I loved them and she laughed a little at the bright yellow polish I was wearing. There were no other couples checking in, just us, and it was done in a breeze. It was earlier in the morning, but our rooms were ready right away and a bellboy took our luggage across the street to our building in the El Delfin area.

We were on the top floor and directly beside each other. We had a large balcony outside of our doors that looked over the small town. The rooms were older, dark wood and cool tile floors. The bathrooms were all done with tile - no bath tub, just a stand up shower, sink and toilet. The mirror was definitely old, you could see around the edges where the reflection was no longer there, but it served it's purpose. Beds were clean and comfortable, TV worked and the plug ins were normal as well.

The best part of the room was the air conditioner - SO COLD. We actually turned it off one night because we were shivering. It was so wonderful, my mother and sister were staying down the road at Playa Caleta and came to visit us and hang out one day in the cold room!

The grounds are very small, pool is a little on the older side but was clean. Chairs were set up each day nicely. The water is actually a block down from the hotel itself, but if you are in El Delfin you literally walk out of the front of the building and two minutes later are on the sand. You walk by a little store where they sell beer and other things, convenience store.

The bars left everything to be desired. No ice the entire time we were there. They had warm pop (no fridge, cola and orange) and beer. The beer was cool (not cold) but good! Some days they had a slushie machine going, but it was normally gone by the time 11am rolled around. Unfortunately, this was the downfall of our trip, but for what we paid I really can't complain.

The food was alright - we didn't get sick, and we didn't starve. I wasn't brave enough to try the "Bird Soup (?)", but we munched on cucumbers, rice and beans, pork (pulled pork at one point - YUM), chicken, fried meat of some kind that was delicious, and tons of bread. The desserts were home made (ice cream, cake, cookies) and were really good. The breakfast egg bar was the best. The juice that they served, Papaya I think, was warm and not very good. The 24 hour snack bar was not included and only sometimes served food. We got Pizza and French fries there one day, but when we asked again it was like "We dont serve that here." Really strange. We bought beer from here after hours though, super cold cans for $1 which was worth it. They also sold Cafe Americano, and one morning I came downstairs early to get one for myself and my boyfriend to bring up to the room. The lady and man working there were the best! She made the coffee, and he came around the counter and started to sing, grabbed my arms and danced me around the restaurant while singing. The lady saw the look on my face and said "Don't worry, he goes the other way." and they both laughed. The people that work there were really friendly.

We actually ended up eating out at restaurants in town a few times, and they were AMAZINGLY good and cheap! A beer, soup and pizza and fries came to about $3.00 pp. Sort of weird flavours (I had tuna pizza - Good!) but good nontheless. I included a picture from our favorite, we ate there three times.

We did the Catamaran excursion (about $100pp) and it was amazing, my favorite part of the whole trip. I could do without seeing the Dolphins, but it was alright as well. Unfortunately, when we arrived home someone from here stole the underwater camera from our car. They left $10 worth of change but stole a disposable camera. Figures.) The man on the boat never let our little beer cups get empty, they played dance music the whole time. We really loved it.

All in all, we were happy we went and don't regret going. If the drinks would have been better we may even have returned, but as it was we were young couples there a whole week and didn't even have one crazy night because we just couldn't stomach the warm cola and rum in 85 degree weather.
Feel free to ask me any questions! :)

Room Tip: El Delfin area!
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 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 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Islazul Villa La Mar

Address: 3a. Avenida e/ 28 y 30, Varadero, Cuba
Location: Caribbean > Cuba > Matanzas Province > Varadero
Hotel Style:
Ranked #44 of 59 Hotels in Varadero
Hotel Class:2 star — Islazul Villa La Mar 2*
Number of rooms: 264
Also Known As:
Islazul Villa La Mar Hotel Varadero
Islazul Hotel La Mar
Islazul Hotel Varadero

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