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“Not 5* but still great” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Blau Marina Varadero Resort

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Blau Marina Varadero Resort
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4.5 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   Autopista Sur final Punta Hicacos, Varadero, Cuba   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #21 of 59 Hotels in Varadero
wiltshire
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
“Not 5* but still great”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 12, 2014

So firstly let me start by saying we moved from our original hotel after one day. I came over to the Blau for a look around and was pleased with what i saw so made the move with my family. All the main areas are well looked after. There are always a maintenance team looking after the grounds, buildings etc. When you first arrive the main reception area is large and airy and has a great feel with a busy sociable bar. It is a large resort and is (including the premier island) 2km long so if you are not a walker then it might not be for you. Although there are electric carts always around to help out. The grounds were generally well looked after and the gardens are very well established with loads of palm trees - the gardeners are always happy to give you a coconut and straw or make you a palm tree leafed hat. There was some standing water around due to storms but i did see gardeners spraying to reduce the mosquitos (definitely take your bug spray as Cuba is no stranger to sand flies and mosquitos).
The beach is awesome and you could walk forever to get deep so really safe for kids. We always got shade and chairs and there was always volleyball going on for those energetic ones! We went out with the catamarans on the beach and paid some money to the beach staff who took us to a small reef where we snorkelled with the fish - well worth it.
The most disappointing part of the trip was the room. Im sure when the hotel was new (8 years ago) they were lovely but they are just a little bit tired and because of the humidity can feel damp. The aircon worked well. If you can, make a request go for a 2nd or 3rd floor room as they dont feel anywhere near as damp. The bathroom was compact and the shower was over the bath. The hot water did run cooler the later in the day you showered but it was never cold. There are a couple of accommodation blocks that face the main road so be careful as you might be opposite the development over the road at the marina. The staff on reception were very helpful and i have no doubt if we wanted to move rooms they would have accommodated our request.
We have heard a lot of things about cuban food but didnt really have any issues with it at this resort. My two girls loved the buffet and tried lots of different food. If you are high end cuisine then cuba is probably not for you. We had lobster one night and lots of choice of fresh fish and shrimps every night. Book early if you want to eat a la carte. We ate in the Cuban restaurant one night and it was pretty much the same as the main buffet. If dishes finish the staff are always restocking. The only thing that would run sort was the morning omelette stand which would occasionally run out of cheese. If you like your eggs cooked in 50 different ways you wont be disappointed as i think it is a main staple in Cuba.
My kids didn't do too much in the kids club but the are looked great and one of the pools (3 in total) has a tube slide. The main pool to the west of reception has a swim up bar which was a little crazy on our first afternoon as this is also the pool families are more than likely to use. Being an all inclusive hotel you have to accept that there are some drunk people swearing - wasn't too much of a problem really. The middle pool by the lighthouse is nice and bit more quiet but the last day we went to the pool at the end of the resort and it was really quiet with a swim up bar. Our kids were the only ones there. This was a very picturesque area with an infinity pool.
The evening entertainment for the adults was generally pretty good but if you are looking for Las Vegas then cuba might not be the first choice. My kids loved all the performances except the "romantica' performance which was a little slow. The kids entertainment in the evenings was probably good for little kids but my 11 year old only really watched. In my humble opinion the main kids entertainment team leader seemed like she might be better suited with adults - very few soft skills!!!! We thought it was funny how she would demand the kids and adults to 'clap clap clap' at any time. Still chuckling.
Having never done an All inclusive before we were not sure what to expect - my advice to you would be tip hard before the service and the service will be great! Many times whilst standing at the bar a 'big tipper' would be served before anyone else. They love the tips!! We also got asked several times if we had any spare kids clothes as i think they are hard to come by for Cubans. Maybe think about leaving unwanted clothes there - they will be muchly appreciated.
Would i go back to this hotel - probably not as i like to try different places. Would i recommend it - definitely. BUT dont be fooled into thinking it is a 5* as Cuban 5*s are different to Mexican (so i have been told).
We went on one trip on the Catamaran and i would 100% recommend it. The company was Gaviota and their marina is just over the road from the resort. You get to swim on a reef, have a dolphin encounter and then go to an island (with 100s of other tourists) and have a lobster lunch. Great day out and the staff on the boat were awesome. The dolphin experience was fairly limited but we stayed behind and tipped 10 cucs and my 11 year old got to swim with the dolphin. You can also pay extra for a great photo with the dolphin. I was very concerned about the wellbeing of the dolphins before i arrived and was pleasantly surprised at how healthy they were. Their enclosures are in the sea in a fort like building but the sea water and fishes come and go. My 11 year old also spotted some wild dolphins near the enclosure. Would i rather that dolphins weren't captive - of course but to have an encounter like we did in the wild would be almost impossible.
Varadero is worth a couple of hours to visit but sadly for us the day we went it rained.
All in all a great holiday and we will definitely go back to Cuba.

Room Tip: Not 5* but still really good
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (412)
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English first
Montreal, Canada
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 12, 2014

We visited this resort in December and the kids loved it. The food is OK but the hotel staff is amazing. Our room was next to the pool area which made our life very easy. The resort has enough to keep young kids busy

Room Tip: Request rooms close to the pool...
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  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
london, on
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 12, 2014

We were at the Blau Marina from Jan1st to the 8th . Our group ranged from 9 to 40ish. We all enjoyed our vacation time at this hotel.
It is a large resort so if your looking for something small this may not be the place for you. It has a huge beach front. That was lovely. We never had a problem finding loungers. But there is no bar on the beach you have to go to the main building. A quick walk. They also served drinks at the lighthouse if you were closer to that part on the beach.

I also feel they needed more bathrooms in the common areas. The bathroom beside the beachbar/evening entertainment area had 4 stalls in the ladies room and on a good night only 2 were functional.

We were is building 22 which was a 5-10 minute walk from lobby/buffet. They do have shuttles. The only inconvenience to this is when you get settled and you realize you forgot something its a ways back to your room. If you want to be closer building a slip of a $ tip to the check in ladies will get you a closer building. I would say that I would not like to be any farther than building 16.

The food was good. This is my 4th visit to Cuba and always find something yummy. The pizza in the light house was great. The buffet was good too. Always fresh bread. alacarte chicken, beef and fish. My family enjoyed the chicken and my friend and husband loved the grilled fish. There were cooked carrots, green beans, corn, even brussel sprouts one night. French fries were always available. Myself and my children are picky eaters and we always found something yummy. They never ran out of butter or ketchup. The pasta bar and crepe bar was always a popular area. The omelettes in the morning were great! And the gentleman who prepared them was always happy singing and greets you with knuckles. (a closed fist high five). The kids thought he was awesome.

We did a private trip in to Havana. We got Jose a staff member who helps you with your beach loungers to arrange it. We had 9 in our group 5 kids, 4 adults. $40/adult $20 for kids 12 and under. We took a taxi van and Juan Carlo was our very informative guide and we had a driver too. We were able to customize out trip however we choose. We let Juan Carlo make most of the recommendations as none of us have been there before. He was very attentive and when ever anyone needed the bathroom he made sure we had a clean place. I'm glad we went in to Havana I love architecture and old world charm and we enjoyed our self. Even the kids. We left at 8:30 am and returned at about 5 pm. We went to a tourist restaurant for lunch which cost approximately $15-20 CUC per person. If you take the bus excursion its $69pp and lunch is included. But you stop at other resorts and pick up other people and it more time wasted. I guess what each individual chooses is best for themselves.

The staff was always friendly and made this trip so enjoyable. I always love that about the Cuban people. Our room was always cleaned will. The pillows are flat as pancakes but if you leave a note for the nice ladies who clean your room they will give you more. As for the beer in fridge if you plan on leaving more pesos is fridge hoping to get more beer... well you can get Cristal cans in store for $1 a beer.

Yes bring Bug spray. It is a humid warm climate and it rains there. Mosquitoes are a reality. Like our Canadian summers. Wear it especially if you watch the evening shows.

There were 3 pools open that I discovered. We never went to the animation pool it was the furthest away from our room. It had the water slide. But I must warn you, like most resorts that have water slides. They are not supervised. So kids pile in don't wait for it to be all clear end up landing on each other in the water with sometimes resulting in injury. Bigger kids go down faster and land on smaller ones. I watched on child get landed on under water and had a knee to the head. I choose not to have my kids play here.

We took the bus into Varadero its slow and can be crowed. When your at Blau Marina were the last resort so your the last off and can be last on. You can negotiate with the taxi drivers for $15-20 each way. ( my friends did this one day because it was quicker and less crowed. ) We stood a the bus stop in town and had 3 busses blow passed us because they were full and waited at least an hour or more.

All in all we had a fantastic vacation at this CLEAN WELL MAINTAINED resort.

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
Montreal
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 12, 2014

Overall, we tough we had gotten a great last minute deal for this package, but it turned out we just paid a fair price. People paying the regular price are probably getting screwed. This resort has some serious wear for a place that's only 8 years old. It's certainly not a 4 stars, more like a good 3 stars resort. Of course, you absolutely have to consider that you are in Cuba and adjust your perspective in consequence. That's exactly what we did for our week long stay from last december 31st with our two kids. But still, there were some disappointments. We did not get frustrated with the lack of clean beach towels, ice shortage or food variety, but then again, we knew what to expect when visiting a communist nation that's been under embargo for six decades and in an economic crisis for the last two. We learned quickly to enjoy things while it's available.

The beach at this resort is beautiful and very long, so you can always have plenty of space and find a nice spot even if you like to be quiet and isolated. The people were nice, helpful and the room was clean. That answered our most basic expectations.

Food was ok, probably better than we expected. Of course there is a lack of variety in fresh fruits and vegetables, but that's not a problem related to this resort, it's a nationwide problem. You want a wider variety and better meat ? Pay more to go elsewhere.

The safe in our room was broken, not even attached to the wall and our patio door was "locked" by an absolutely useless chain. Being on the 2nd floor, we decided to keep the room. Mostly because the location was great, close to the beach and the pool and also because those safes and hotel rooms doors are always openable by whoever really wants to get in anyways. You have to protect your stuff in other ways, and that's what we did. Even if we did, we never felt thievery might be a threat, but I understand this could have been a problem to many people.

Our disappointment mostly came from the fact that this resort is identified as a great resort for kids by Canadian tour operator Nolitour (They class it in a family category called "NoliKids") and we felt the kids (3 and 6) were not considered as full guests of the resort. We had to negotiate for towel for them (both beach and bath) and an extra bed because our room had 2 large single beds (or very small doubles?). Same thing with water provided in the room: we asked for an extra bottle, and got it the first morning only (even with tips). At lunch or diner, there is no juice available, only soft drinks, so the kids drink water or you have to go to the bar to get orange or pineapple juice.

The kids pool is very large and has a great water slide. Unfortunately, it's a pool with an aqua bar, so it's also where they organize activities for the afternoon "drunken crowd". That's a weird mix, especially when the drunk adults begin to use the water slide with the kids and the music starts getting loud.

I had seen pictures of the grounds and tough the kids would be able to run around in the large grass areas. It was not possible. This resort seems to be built on land that was once swamps or something like that, so as soon as it rains, everything gets and stays wet. Even some access to the beach stayed under 30 cm of water for many days. This also mean mosquitos at night. Lots of them.

Like I said, we had a great price for this package so I'm comfortable with what we got. We had a great relaxing time and the kids had a blast at the beach. But if you are paying regular price or if you expect north american standards in food and amenities, just don't go there.

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
Fort Erie, Canada
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 12, 2014

This resort is top notch. We stayed here for 2 weeks again . The rooms are clean Everyone at the resort was helpful once again. Always my Amigos. Jimmy, Jamie, Onay and Yoslady, and the rest of the gang Juan Migel and Maylene at the bar, were there with a cold drink and a smile. [They love good chocolate. Upper management Raul, Victoria and Tolo still doing a fine job. Keep up the good work. The restaurants are clean with great food. New themes and food. And the buffet has great new variety. Urbano,Lexi, Belmy and now Wilma are still great servers. Try the mango juice. We have stayed here six years in a row now, I would say to anyone this resort is the they have to offer in Varadero. We are going back next year for sure. Check out the Island when you get there. Thanks Blau for making it great once again.

Room Tip: The rooms on the top floor of the building have better views.
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 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 12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
HELSINKI
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 11, 2014

Just got back today from a week at Blau Marina. Experienced all that Cuba had to offer, plus a minor earthquake :)

Was a great time. The food was great, as far as Cuba goes. This resort had a much larger selection of foods than other Cuban resorts. The drinks were decent, albeit slightly lacking in substance. Most of the mixed drinks were made using lower quality ingredients, but still tasted good.


The staff was phenomenal. Constantly smiling, always with a greeting. Even the security guards were friendly. The Cuban people never cease to amaze me with their genuine personality. I'm glad there is that common respect between Canadians and Cubans.

The pools were lacking at first, although 1/2 way through the week the second pool bar opened up. Was nice because the main pool was over run with kids. You almost had to watch where you stepped, otherwise end up accidentally kicking a kick into the pool.

The beach wasn't the best as far as Cuban standards go, but it was still that nice white (mostly soft) sand that people tend to except from the Caribbean. Lots of sea shells, and the occasional seaweed in the morning, until the staff gets around to cleaning it up.

Disco is pretty decent, tip big and they will let you grab a bottle to take to your table.

I was there jan 4-jan 11. If these peeps are reading this, look me up.
Sasha from toronto
Kostya from Toronto
Vlad from Toronto
John from Brantford
Adam from toontown
Tasha from toontown
Roger from Vancouver

Facebook dot com slash
Steven.p.elliott

Will definitely return to varadero, although maybe to visit a different resort.

Stayed January 2014, traveled solo
Was this review helpful? Yes 10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Milton, Canada
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 11, 2014

This was our third trip to Cuba, and for this one we chose to visit Varadero (having visited Guardalavaca and Santa Lucia in the past). Based on generally favorable reviews and a reasonable price, we chose Blau Marina for this trip. Before I begin the review, I'd like to mention that we aren't particularly picky and are fully aware that you can't expect a Mercedes when paying for a Hyundai.
When we first checked in, we were assigned a room in block 15, first floor, overlooking the road (which was very close) and a construction site. Previous reviews commented on the construction noise, so we asked to be moved to another room despite being assured by the front desk that the construction was completed. That said, we did stay in this block for the first night. While the main construction work may be completed, there was still a fair bit of activity on the site and the proximity to the road ensured a fair bit of traffic noise.
The front desk finally accommodated our request to be moved, but not until we had to check back several times to see whether the new room was ready. The new accommodation in block 16, third floor was much better.
The room itself was spacious and fairly well equipped with a free safe and a fridge that was replenished daily. On the downside, the pillows were wafer thin and the mattress might have been better suited to the prison at Guantanamo Bay rather than a resort. There were no issues with hot water in the shower, but the power did cut out may times. If this should occur to you, I'd recommend unplugging the phone as the restoration of power causes the phone to loudly announce that happy fact.
The staff was friendly for the most part, which is entirely what one would expect when your livelihood depends on tips.
The beach was fine (though very windy) and we never had any problems finding a lounger. It was a relief not to be at a resort where you had to be up at the crack of dawn to claim your spot on the beach because everyone else was doing exactly the same thing. Towards the end of our trip, the beach was not cleared of seaweed at all, so that the whole thing resembled a field during the hay harvest.
The buffet was among the best that we've enjoyed in Cuba despite the inexplicably weak coffee they served, and of the restaurants, the Spanish one stands out.
We didn't do much in the way of excursions with the exception of the double-decker bus to Varadero. For 5 CUC per person, you can jump on and off the bus as you wish. This might be a good trip to take at the beginning of the trip if you did not have a chance to exchange your currency at the airport and want to exchange money at a better rate than is available at the resort. If you do this, remember to bring your passport.
On a final note, the relatively low price point of this resort ensures that it is within reach of a fairly young demographic. While most were well behaved, one particular group in the "quiet" block to which we were moved chose to express their joy at being away from la belle province to bay at the moon at 3 am and carry on with the kind of selfish buffoonery that copious volumes of alcohol can unleash. I certainly don't blame the resort for this, but it's something that will inform my future decisions regarding vacation destinations.

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
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Additional Information about Blau Marina Varadero Resort

Address: Autopista Sur final Punta Hicacos, Varadero, Cuba
Location: Caribbean > Cuba > Matanzas Province > Varadero
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #21 of 59 Hotels in Varadero
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Blau Marina Varadero Resort 4.5*
Number of rooms: 548

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