I travelled to Memories Varadero at the end of April with a group of around 10 people. I have been to Cuba before, at different resorts each time, and I will say that Memories Varadero is certainly not the best all-inclusive resort in Cuba. However, I had to adjust and lower my expectations a little, and I did end up enjoying my time there.
ARRIVAL - to start off, I have no complaints with Sunwing. Both the departing and return flights went smoothly with no delays. Our plane for the trip there was fairly small and quite cramped, but we were served champagne and breakfast which was actually quite good. Checking in to the hotel was NOT a good experience. We arrived around 11 am but were told that our room would not be ready until 4. Luckily only one person in our entire group had a room ready, so we were able to store all our luggage in there. However, we returned to the front desk around 4 and were told our room was still not ready. We ended up having to stand by the front desk for almost an hour while the staff paid little attention to us, sometimes completely ignoring us even when we asked a direct question. There were several other hotel guests standing around waiting for their rooms also. We didn't end up getting a room until almost 5pm, 6 hours after our arrival. I know we were lucky to even have a room to store our luggage during that time, but it still sucks to not have a room for almost the entire day, especially after being tired from traveling. Needless to say, the horrible service at the front desk did not give me a good impression of the hotel from the start. I would say the front desk is the worst service we experienced in the entire resort.
ROOMS - our room itself was nothing to complain about. It was not the cleanest nor the most luxurious hotel room I have ever been in, but it was adequate and clean enough. We had a room in the 20's, meaning we were closer to the lobby than the beach. This is a good location if you want to be near the buffet and/or the quiet pool. The rooms in the 30's are farther from the lobby but are much closer to the loud pool and beach. The rooms in that area are also a little bit nicer inside than the rooms in the 20's. Some of the people in our group were given rooms in the 30s, so we requested at the front desk to also be moved to that area. However, again the staff at the front desk were quite rude and told us that we would not be moved there because those rooms cost more money, even though everyone in our group paid the exact same rate through Sunwing. Anyways, the rooms in the 20s are a hit and miss. The ones on the inside facing the quiet pool have a nice garden view, but the ones on the outside face the outskirts of the grounds and are not a nice view, as they face other hotel buildings and there seemed to be some kind of construction going on. Luckily we had a nice pool view. We tipped our bar fridge guy a peso at the beginning of the trip, and our maid a peso every day, and we always had a stocked fridge, a clean room and new towels daily.
BEACH - the beach in Varadero is always stellar. Never had a problem finding a lounger on the beach, there are tons. However if you want a hut for shade you might have to go a little earlier to reserve one. There are peddlers on the beach but they are not pushy. If you go to the beach in the evening to watch the sunset, locals will try to sell you shells. We heard from some people that they had things stolen by these locals, so just a warning. The animation team was great. There are paddle boats and catamarans to take out, however most days we were there, it was too windy and no one was allowed to use these. The weather during our stay was great, considering it was the rainy season. It rained almost daily but usually in the evenings, so it didn't affect beach time too much.
POOLS - basically I found the pools very dirty, I tried to avoid swimming in them. The quiet pool is more family-friendly, as the loud pool can get very rowdy. The resort was 80% young people when we were here because of the time of year, and they seemed to congregate at the loud pool which looked a little like spring break at times. This didn't bother us but some people were offended by it.
SERVICE - all in all, the service at this hotel was good. My only real negative experiences were with the front desk. There are many great servers at the buffet (Kirenia was lovely) and a la cartes, the ladies who made eggs in the morning were wonderful, and the men at the towel exchange always made us laugh. If you have a peso to spare please give it as a tip to a helpful staff member! They really appreciate it and deserve it as they work hard and do not make much to begin with. It was embarrassing to see the amount of young people who would be rude and make the staff's work difficult, and then leave without so much as a tip. Bar service was lacking, because this hotel ran out of alcohol pretty much daily, at various locations throughout the resort. It was kind of ridiculous that it happened so often. One day, the beach bar ran out of every type of alcohol besides rum by lunch time. This is something the management of the hotel needs to pay more attention to. It is very annoying for guests to pay for an all-inclusive hotel, but then be limited on what drinks are available to them. This didn't really make or break our trip but it's definitely something that can be improved upon. Another thing that irked me was that this hotel claims to have internet - that is a lie, they did not have it for our entire stay.
EXCURSIONS - we did the Havana day trip excursion, and I would highly recommend it if you have never seen the city before. It is a beautiful city full of history, culture, and gorgeous architecture. Even the bus ride there is full of beautiful scenery. Our tour guide and bus driver were great. The lunch they provided for us was at a beautiful outdoor cafe, and the meal was actually very delicious. The Sunwing rep who booked the trip for us was also great. He answered all our questions and even helped us reschedule our trip for another date after we changed our minds. I highly recommend doing an excursion of some sort, we heard the catamaran trip was also good.
FOOD - the food here is not gourmet but it is definitely not as terrible as some reviewers make it seem. If anyone claims to have gone hungry here, they must be an EXTREMELY picky eater. The buffet breakfasts were actually delicious. The omelettes, hash browns, and pastries were always something to look forward to. Buffet lunches and dinner were not as good but they were okay. Tip - the main buffet has MUCH better lunch than the smaller beach buffet. We found the food at the beach buffet to be barely edible. Sometimes we would go to the pool snack bar for lunch for a burger and fries, but sometimes they did not really cook the burger. The beach barbecue cooks them more thoroughly. Also the burgers are not beef, they are pork. Some people were upset by this. The best place for dinner is the a la cartes, try to pick up more a la carte reservations by getting the cancelled reservations of other people. Definitely the best a la cartes that we tried were the Japanese and the French. We did not really like the Mediterranean, mostly because it is the only a la carte where they don't let you order off a menu.
ENTERTAINMENT - I thought the entertainment was pretty good here. There was usually a band or something playing in the main square of the resort at night, sometimes people would salsa dance. The shows were usually okay, but the Michael Jackson show was actually fantastic and I would recommend seeing that if nothing else. There was also a disco around 11pm, but it's mostly filled with wasted young people so we tended to skip it.
All in all, we had fun on this trip. Memories Varadero is not a top-notch hotel and it's lacking in many areas, but none of the issues were serious enough to prevent us from having an enjoyable trip. If you want luxurious first-class vacation, then go somewhere else. If you don't expect too much then you'll be just fine.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Pamper yourself on the pristine white sand beaches of Varadero, Cuba with a stay at the luxury Memories Varadero Beach Resort. The resort offers incredible value and impressive all inclusive features and is the perfect destination for a romantic getaway or a fun family vacation. Guests will be dazzled by the elegant rooms and suites that feature rich wood furnishings, luxurious amenities, and stunning décor. Relish a culinary trip around the world at the buffet restaurant and several à la carte restaurants, which offer sumptuous global cuisine, including Italian, Japanese, Mexican, and more. Spend your days basking under a golden sun on one of Varadero’s most beautiful beaches, or revel in an array of fun land and water sports and activities. Children will also have the time of their lives at the Kids Club and Baby Club with supervised games and activities. Memories Varadero Beach Resort ensures fun for all ages and helps create unforgettable vacation memories for the whole family. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Sirenis La Salina Varadero Beach Hotel Varadero