My family and I stayed at the Iberostar Veradero between January 20th - 27th, and we loved every minute of it. My party consisted of four adults and our eleven month old son, and we were visiting from Vancouver, British Columbia. During our stay, we found the staff to be OUTSTANDING with us and our son. Not a single need of ours went unmet, and we found the facility, pool, and beach to be in fantastic shape.
Below I will try to cover off all of the main points of the resort. If you have any questions, please feel free to send me a message here and I will be sure to answer it the best that I can!
Previous to attending this resort, I read some negative reviews pertaining to the check-in process. I have nothing but POSITIVE things to say about the check-in process, as I found it efficient, fast, and the desk staff to be very friendly and happy. We were greeted with a tropical drink, and were escorted to our rooms in Building 17 within twenty minutes or so.
THE RESORT / ROOM / POOL / BEACH:
My wife, my infant son, and I stayed in a second floor junior suite at Building 17. The building itself is well maintained and clean. There are no elevators, which made for a little bit of grief dealing with our heavier baby stroller. Luckily, it was nothing we could not manage ourselves. I did find myself thinking of disabled guests who cannot take the stairs, and was curious how the hotel caters to them if the first floor rooms are all taken. Regardless, we saw many guests in wheel chairs and they all seemed happy.
The room itself was perfect, and the hotel staff had a crib in the room for our son. The king bed was very firm, much to my happiness and my wife's dismay. There was a fully stocked mini-fridge with Cuban pop (orange, lime, cola) and Cuban beer (Cristal and Bucaneero). The room had a wall-mounted flat screen TV, a couch, coffee table, desk, hair dryer, etc. The bathroom had a very nice shower facility and seperate bath tub. The bath rub was a Godsend for giving our son his night time baths.
We read reviews about bugs in the rooms, but I need to say this was not the case for us. The only bug bites we received were from these small flies that come out in the early evening outside of the resort. The bites were similar to mosquito bites here at home, and while itchy, vanished within a few hours to a few days.
The pool was chilly, but very refreshing. The pool setup is perfect for a family with young children, as it starts on one end with maybe two inches of water, and progresses to nearly five feet in depth. Needless to say, my son loved splashing in the shallow end of the pool. The staff at the pool bar were energetic and happy to serve - one of the female staff members even taught my son how to blow kisses!
The beach was very nice with white sand, although the sand was full of shells and rocks. The hotel clearly grooms the beach every day, but it would be impossible to keep the beach clear of ocean debris with the waves rolling in. The water is crystal blue and generally warmer than the pool.
I purchased one hour of WiFi from the front desk for $10 CUC, and that hour lasted me my whole trip. I used the WiFi to check and send e-mails from my iPhone, and the time stops and starts with each log in / log out. WiFi is not available in your individual room, but rather, only in the lobby. WiFi is slow at the resort, but really, who cares? You're on vacation - send an email or two to your family to update them then get back to the pool or beach.
The house wines are nice, and the bars are fully stocked with alcohol brands we usually see here in Canada. Where they do not have certain specific brands (ie: Captain Morgan, Bailey's, etc), they have Spanish brands which taste EXACTLY the same. For those of you who enjoy Captain Morgan Spiced Rum or Sailor Jerry's Rum, try the Havana Club Reserve Rum, which tastes like spiced rum.
The resort carried the two Cuban national brand beers, but if you go off the resort you can find other brands, such as Corona, etc. You will not find American or Canadian brand beers anywhere (at least, from what I saw).
RESTAURANTS & FOOD:
We found the food at the resort DELICIOUS. Full of flavor and plentiful. I don't understand why people complain about the food or offer silly advice, such as "bring your own ketchup" or "bring your own salt". This resort had plenty of condiments and spices, so just bring your appetite.
The buffet was always a sure bet, with an assortment of foods (pizza, cheese, sushi, soups, sandwiches, etc). I loved the sugar donuts in the morning - they went well with the amazing coffee they serve. There is also a mini-buffet called the Snack Bar near the pool which offered some of the highlight foods from the main buffet. Great place to grab a mid-afternoon snack if you are peckish.
The beach side grill was one of my go-to places for lunch. Orlando at the grill cooks up some mean burgers and hot dogs. Orlando seems very serious and all business, but once you start talking with him you see that he has a great personality!
We enjoyed the Japanese restaurant, however, we found portions with the appetizers (especially the rolls) to be small. Coming from Vancouver, where sushi restaurants outnumber the local Starbucks, perhaps we were a little critical... but the main course was plentiful. Our infant son was highly entertained by the chef's show (especially the steam and flames). My son's reaction had our entire table and the entire service staff laughing.
The international restaurant was decent, and offered some great seafood choices. I enjoyed the salmon while my mother-in-law enjoyed the red snapper. Delicious fish, but my wife was not impressed with the steak.
The mediteranean restaurant was a favourite - try the lobster!!! So good!
STAFF THAT MADE AN IMPACT:
Every time one stays at a resort such as this, certain members of the staff stand out as going above and beyond their duties. I like to mention these people, not just to share with you readers, but also in the hopes management at the resorts will read this review and perahps offer a compliment or reward to the staff. The staff I would like to recognize here are as follows:
Orlando (Beach Grill) - thank you for the amazing burgers and hot dogs. Keep on grilling!
Ricardo (Buffet) - you were so great with our son, and we enjoyed hearing about your beautiful family as well. Thank you so much for all you did for us, and for making my son laugh so much.
Mabel (Buffet) - you always greeted us with a big smile and and made us feel so welcomed. Our son loved you as much as you loved him, and I think he misses you at dinner time!
Suset (Buffet) - you were always so happy to serve us and were always so pleasant to talk to. My son developed a bit of a crush on you, as was clear by his huge smile and sticking his tongue out at you every morning when he saw you! Thank you so much for all you did for us!
I think I covered off everything about the resort... you will enjoy your stay, with or without children.
Some tips - take a day tour to Havana. The history, the culture, and the people are something you need to experience at least once in your life. I also went on the jeep safari tour, and found it to be so much fun.
If anybody reading this has any questions, just drop me a line and I'll answer the best I can!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Directly on the beach of Varadero. Iberostar's first 5 star hotel in Cuba. Luxury and comfort in an elegant atmosphere. Top gastronomy and excellent service. Equipped for every kind of meeting, gala dinner, party, etc.. Ideal for groups & incentives. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Iberostar Varadero Hotel Varadero
- Iberostar Cuba
- Iberostar Varadero Cuba
- Varadero Iberostar