We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.
Nearby Hotels
Reviews (798)
Filter reviews
798 results
Traveler rating
224
293
149
74
58
Traveler type
Time of year
LanguageAll languages
More languages
Traveler rating
224
293
149
74
58
Show reviews that mention
All reviews italian guests free shuttle entertainment staff other resorts cuban staff minute walk along the beach smaller resort pool bar beach vacation hotel staff is private patio beach chairs great vacation playa del este love cuba havana city old havana
Selected filters
Filter
Updating list...
6 - 11 of 798 reviews
Reviewed March 7, 2019

Before I even start, I can't emphasize the location enough. It's so amazing to be so close to the city and to still have a tiny retreat to return to.

This hotel is for people who want a launching pad for adventures in Havana. They want a reasonably priced AI where you can put your feet up after a long day in the city. It's really for an adventure traveler who likes a touch of creature comforts.

Hotel:
Hotel Arenal is very small. For the most part this is a good thing. It's not hard to find your room even if they don't take you there. You can find all the amenities without help. The staff are very friendly and you can tell they are making upgrades here and there. We saw them painting and replacing the roof while we were there.

There are more than enough pool chairs, beach chairs and lobby/patio chairs for everyone at all times. Never a wait for anything: the bar, check-in, restaurant, etc. The beach is beautiful. You can walk endlessly in either direction. One way will take you into Guanabo if you want to eat out or go to the bank. There are horse carriages that will take you right into town for $5 CUC. There are no trees on the beach but they have lots of umbrellas they put up every morning. Because you are the only hotel there are no street/beach vendors harassing you.

The pool is large, clean, never busy, and has lots of different depths. The music is not too loud anymore (as others have said).

The bad thing about it being so small is that there is not a lot of variety. Similar activities every day. Restaurant is small and lots of repetition. I could time my watch by the daily events. We ate dinner out three nights which helped keep things interesting. If encouraged us to get out and try other experiences.

For the most part everything was clean but most of the times the plates at the restaurant looked like they could have used one more rinse.

Rooms:
Rooms are typical for Cuba, trying hard but not the same standard as higher star resorts in other countries. Some sloppy paint jobs and drawers that wouldn't open. But the important stuff was there: hot water and excellent AC. Units were new and quiet.

Location:
It's very far from Varadero so expect long drives from airport and if you choose to do any excursions like snorkeling. You'll have to go back to Varadero. But the location of this hotel is prime for people who want to explore Havana. About 25 minutes to the Malecon and old Havana. The shuttle runs for free Thurs-Sun or a cab is just $25CUC one way. We did both.

Tips:
Large bottles of water can be purchased from the bar for $2 CUC. It was very convenient for excursions or days you just needed more. We only got our room cleaned once but they didn't add more water to the fridge.

Your pool towels are in the room when you get there. We didn't figure out until later in the week you could get fresh ones at the spa.

Wi-Fi is fast in the lobby for $1 CUC per hour.

The snack bar appears pretty bare most days but they will make most things for you upon request. Guess they don't want to waste. Same for the restaurant. If you go within the last 45 min of service there will be empty options. I appreciate that i knew they weren't throwing a bunch of stuff out.

The bottom line:
This hotel is not for everyone. It has everything you need but isn't fancy. The quaintness grows on you fast.

I can't emphasize the location enough. It's so amazing to be so close to the city and to still have a tiny retreat to return to. This hotel is for people who want a launching pad for adventures in Havana. They want a reasonably priced AI where you can put your feet up after a long day in the city. It's really for an adventure traveler who likes a touch of creature comforts.

Date of stay: February 2019
  • Trip type: Traveled as a couple
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
3  Thank 341stacyg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
VillaggiBravo, Director General at Club Bravo Arenal, responded to this reviewResponded March 8, 2019
Google Translation

Estimado 341stacyg, gran placer poder recibir tan buena opinión sobre nuestro hotel y servicios, sabemos que aunque nos encontramos haciendo arreglos en la estructura, tenemos que mejorar en ofertas, lo importante es que ud nos ha hecho llegar sus opiniones para ayudarnos a crecer más, gracias por sus comentarios, los empleados del hotel y la dirección se complace en haberlos recibido en este pequeño hotel como bien ud menciona, gracias nuevamente y lo esperamos para que vuelva a vivir la aventura!!!
gracias,

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 15, 2019

The hotel is considered a 4 star hotel. In America it would equate to maybe a Best Western, The bed was very hard. They only served hamburgers one day at the eatery by the pool. The rest of the time they served what was supposed to be "pizza" but it was bread with barely any sauce. So you got that or the same bread with garlic and oil. The bar had ants on it or what I'm thinking were ants. However, the food at the buffet was good.

Date of stay: February 2019
  • Trip type: Traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
1  Thank Safari296377
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
VillaggiBravo, Director General at Club Bravo Arenal, responded to this reviewResponded February 16, 2019
Google Translation

Estimado Safari296377, es un placer recibir sus opiniones, la variedad de alimentos en nuestro snack es de gran preferencia de los que nos visitan, y si se decide a realizar el almuerzo es fabuloso y de gran aceptación, lamentamos su insatisfacción al respecto, sus sugerencias nos sirven para seguir mejorando nuestros servicios, gracias y un abrazo cubano,

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 10, 2019

Pleasantly surprised; was the best of both worlds with a beautiful pool area, quick walk on a private path to the beach and a 20 minute ride in to Havana.
Seems they listened to the reviews and have turned down the music around the pool as I did not find it loud at all.
Did get tired of buffet meals with little variety but that is typical of all inclusive meal plans; as per other comments, the best options are the made to order omelets and pasta.
Resort staff were very friendly but definitely cater to the Italian and Quebec visitors that seem to be the main visitors; understood English OK for the most part however.

Date of stay: February 2019
  • Trip type: Traveled with family
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank Melanie H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
VillaggiBravo, Director General at Club Bravo Arenal, responded to this reviewResponded February 11, 2019
Google Translation

Estimada Melani, es un placer para nuestro staff recibir sus opiniones al respecto de nuestros servicios, ciertamente el Arenal se encuentra en un lugar donde puedes disfrutar de sol y playa, además ciudad, maravillosa que pronto cumplirá sus 500 años, más hermosa y rejuvenecida,hermosa piscina, limpia, higienica, pasta excelente, trabajamos para satisfacer cada una de las necesidades de todos los que nos visitan, gracias por hacernos llegar sus sugerencias,
gracias

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 5, 2019

We, along with friends, booked this hotel for the same reason many others do - close proximity to Havana with free shuttle. Having read many reviews of it our expectations were not high but the reality is that we were very underwhelmed !
We arrived by Bus around 2 pm and there was no one to great us and no information package for the Resort. Throughout our 9 day stay, though, many times we did see other guests arriving to great fanfare and welcome drinks ! NOTE: All guests should be treated equally ! The young lady checking us in was also less than friendly. When we asked how to get to our rooms we were told "Out door, down steps and go that way" pointing right. Not a good start to our vacation !!
We gradually found our way around the Resort by ourselves since there was also no information in our rooms. In fact, i'd say about 98% of anything in print or verbal by Resort Staff was in Spanish, Italian or French. leaving very little in English. We did know that there was a large Italian clientele but still expected more consistency in regard to language.
We have always treated all Staff at Resorts we've been to with respect and friendliness but found it very frustrating and disappointing when there was very little shown in return by most Staff especially at meal times in the Buffet. Very, very few smiles and they appeared to do the bare minimum looking after tables. This was not just with us but noticeably with most other diners as well. Our Chambermaids, though, were very nice and it was a joy having them look after our room which they did very well. A special "shout-out" goes to Chiara on the Animation Team. Outgoing, personable, high energy and very friendly to everyone.
The Hotel is not as "All Inclusive" as you might think. There are a number of things you must pay extra for. As well you get one bottle of water in your room and then must pay 2 CUC for each one after. We had seen that you could book an A La Carte dinner at extra cost. We found out there were 2 specials - one for 20 CUC and one for 30 CUC, I believe, but they were served to you in the Buffet area !!
The Laguna Bar (Beach Bar) is only open 1 1/2 hours in the morning and 2 hours in the afternoon yet the little piece of paper we received with various hours for services on it showed it to be open from 9 am to 5 pm. It is also NOT at the Beach rather it's about 1/3 of the way down from the Pool area. Quite a walk to/from the beach or back to the Pool Bar for a drink when it is closed. Be careful on the walkway to the beach as the wooden slats, I feel, are spaced too far apart and many are very loose as nails have rusted off and have not been repaired.
The pool area and surroundings were very nice with plenty of loungers and the patio areas were very clean but as many other reviews have indicated the music around the pool is unnecessarily loud and is NOT very relaxing contrary to what vacation should be. It was disappointing, too, that the narrow beach was only cleaned of seaweed 3 times during our stay. Cleaning throughout was inconsistent as many times when the doors opened for breakfast there was the same "stuff" on the floor here and there as there was the night before at dinner. The Snack Bar was hit and miss for food availability and also many birds landing on cooking equipment and surrounding areas making it very unsanitary.
This Hotel did serve it's purpose for us but certainly did not come close to Standards we've been accustomed to at other Resorts.

Date of stay: January 2019
  • Trip type: Traveled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank Old-Grapes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
VillaggiBravo, Director General at Club Bravo Arenal, responded to this reviewResponded February 6, 2019
Google Translation

Estimado cliente, gracias por haber tomado su tiempo para escribirnos, el HTL Arenal se complace en recibir a todos nuestros clientes, cada una de sus insatisfacciones serán visto con nuestros empleados, trabajamos para garantizar una estancia satisfactoria a todos los que nos visitan,gracias por sus comentarios, y los problemas ya estamos trabajando
gracias

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 25, 2019

The taxi driver had a job finding the hotel as it was further out of Havana than he believed. Our accommodation was beautiful and extremely spacious, well maintained, and attractively decorated. The grounds were beautiful too and it was lovely just to sit in the grounds away from the pool people and enjoy the tranquillity, the vegetation, and the bird life. The walk down to the beach was nice too, with local salesmen selling local handicrafts at the far end. The beach was disappointing though with a wide area of decaying seaweed at the water's edge extending as far as the eye could see. On two occasions the water was switched off in the apartment for relatively short periods without warning, which could be awkward if you were just soaped off and getting ready for departure for a flight home! Entertainment was noisy at times and some guests complained about the noise in their rooms, but we did not have any such issue in our room. The biggest failing in this hotel was the food. While all staff were friendly, helpful and hardworking, the food, although plentiful and colourful, was generally not hot, or even warm really, I found myself eating pasta every lunch and dinnertime as that at least was freshly prepared before your eyes and was hot. There was a lot of food left uneaten on plates. Another issue was availability of the all inclusive offers. We asked at the pool bar for a tea or coffee on one occasion and were told it was not available , only at the lounge bar. I asked at the lounge bar once for the advertised Irish coffee. I was told this too was unavailable, and I never did get one during our stay. Black tea, which my wife drinks only, was often not available at any of the locations. Thankfully we had taken tea bags from home! Also. while understanding staff need days off, without warning one breakfast time the egg chef was off without replacement so no egg dishes were available for breakfast. Another evening the pasta chef was off so I was bitterly disappointed not to have anything to eat that appealed to me. We did, however, enjoy the relaxing time the hotel afforded us but would not return because of the food situation. I'm afraid we like our food hot and expect advertised offers to be available when required by customers.

Room tip: The rooms generally had no terrace/veranda, just sliding doors with an immediate barrier outside.
Date of stay: January 2019
  • Trip type: Traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
1  Thank Ottley
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
VillaggiBravo, Director General at Club Bravo Arenal, responded to this reviewResponded January 25, 2019
Google Translation

Estimada Ottley, es un gran placer para nuestro equipo de trabajo recibir sus opiniones al respecto de nuestros servicios, sus sugerencias o inquietudes han sido analizadas en conjunto con nuestro staff, para la solución de las mismas, por eso agradecemos se tome su tiempo para escribirnos, gracias por habernos elegido, el Hotel en su conjunto es verdaderamente relajante y fascinante, su naturaleza lo hace único, gracias y esperemos nos elija como destino turístico, sería un placer,
gracias,

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
View more reviews