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“7th or 8th time here”

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Hotel Roc Barlovento
Ranked #22 of 65 Hotels in Varadero
Campbell River, B.C.
Level 5 Contributor
65 reviews
30 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 67 helpful votes
“7th or 8th time here”
Reviewed March 7, 2013

Had another great 2 weeks here. A changes since last year. No bank any more so you have to go to around 30th street. No more giant cheese wheel in the Italian restaurant and that was a disappointment. We brought the hotel some pool balls and ping pong items as last year these were missing. Changed our minds on bringing arrows for archery tho in case they were deemed weapons at customs.
The entertainment crew is great and always try hard to have something for everyone. The new troupe of dancers are young and energetic.
A big disappointment this year was our maid Yamila constantly asking for items for gifts, ditto the washroom maid and the massage lady. We bring many items to give away but do not appreciate being asked.
Don't know about the comment on not getting money back for towels as this year you not give a deposit and only get a card which you turn in at the end.
Realize that if you make a comment about the bartenders selling rum to you (theft) and taking you on a tour privately and naming them as was done by one reviewer, that they will be fired. Augustine the hotel manager does read these reviews as you can see by his occasional postings.
The beach is the very best you can get.
Enjoy your trip. There is always something to eat so do not be put off by food comments. We never starve!

Room Tip: if you are a early sleeper do not get a room by the pool. The rooms near the tennis courts are quiet...
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
5 Thank champion51
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Montreal, QC CANADA
Level 4 Contributor
19 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
Reviewed March 4, 2013

I recently returned from one week (solo) at the Barlovento Hotel, rated 3.5 stars by most travel mediums, and located close to downtown Varadero. The hotel has less then 300 rooms, making it very cozy and easy to nagivate from lobby, to pools, hotel rooms, to beaches. Very handicap friendly throughout the resort.

Reception: Very helpful and friendly staff ready to answer your questions or help you if there is a problem. Probably because this hotel is small, there aren't a lot of people with tons of complaints running up to the front desk at all hours. There is a small desk with a Customer Service Rep for the hotel situated in the lobby, but I rarely saw anyone there. No deposit for towels - you are given a card that you hand in to pick up your towels, exchanges every day, and return the towel for the card to give back to reception at check out. Don't know what people are referring to about towel deposits (??)

Lobby: Lots of furnture comfortable furnitre groups and bistro tables. Small lobby bar with a coffee bar adjacent (cappacino & espresso). Very clean areas.

Rooms: Very clean although they could use some updates. All rooms are basically the same, with the exception of family suites. Most mirrors in the bathrooms have silver missing around the edges and there is no ventilation in the bathrooms. Many toilet seats are smaller than the bowls, but so what. Some of the fixtures are a little worn, but the bathrooms are all clean and equipped with lots of towels, hairdryers, soaps & toilet paper. No complaints. I had 2 double beds, a TV (that worked), dresser, credenza, chairs, night tables, free safe, and small bar fridge. Beds were on the "firm" side, but I slept like a rock every night. Yes, the rooms near the pool are noisy, with the speakers from the nightly shows and animation teams during the day. All rooms are also equipped with modern mural air-conditioners that worked just fine.

Pool: There are 3 pools, 2 for adults, and 1 shallow one for small children. Never overly crowded and most people prefer the beach. Lots of loungers and a sufficient number of umbrellas.

Buffet: Standard Cuban food. Stick to pasta, whatever is on the grill, and salads. There was a stir-fry pork with onions a few evenings that was very good. Potatoes (french fries, boiled with onions, or mashed) were often available, as were fresh carrots, peas, asperagus, and other veggies. Rice dishes with shrimp were a staple. Eggs, omelets and pancakes (no maple syrup) in the morning are quite palateable. The bread is made daily and is delicious. Unfortunately, the hotel ran out of butter after the 3rd day and I got used to eating toast and bread dry. Tip: Bring a small tub of margarine and jam/marmalade as well as syrup for pancakes. Great desserts - cakes, pastries, and ice-cream every night. One night there was a type of beef stew that was simply delicious.

A-la-Carte Restaurants: Mexican & Italian. I didn't bother with these, as I was quite satisfied with the buffet fare, but heard from other that the food was quite good in both of these restaurants.

Lunch Grill: Between the main section of the resort and the beach, this grill/buffet served decent enough food for lunch and for those that didn't want to "dress" for the main buffet (no bathing suits allowed in the buffet). I usually had hamburger patties, potatoes, and tomatoes for lunch or fish from the bar-b-q. I brought packets of Heinz ketschup for the bar-b-q patties.

Beach: Short walk thrugh the resort straight to the beautifully groomed beach with lots of umbrellas, palm trees, and soft white sand. Nice beach bar serves drinks and most people brought travel mugs so as not to have to trek back and forth all day with the tiny cups the bars provided for most drinks.

Entertainment: First class dance troup consisting of 6 gals and 4 fellows. Great dancers. They perform 5 nites a week, with one evening featuring a magic show and the other evening a local boy band that the younger ladies really appreciated. Bring panty hose for the dancers - best if they are the fish-net type.

Tips/Gifts: Toothpaste is worth its weight in gold down there. Very hard for the residents to get hold of. Chamber maids like all sorts of cosmetics, panty-hose, and lightly used clothing. Again, bring things for the entertainment troup as well (they don't get tips and probably aren't paid very much, but they work so hard to show us a good time). I tipped the director of the dance troup 10 pesos before I left. He was very touched by this and told me that he bought a lot of the make-up and props from his own pocket. Bartenders and kitchen staff like pesos, as do the front desk staff. Children's clothing is another big hit with the Cubans, as clothing is very expensive in Cuba. The hotel staff all get uniforms, but their kids don't have much to wear other than school uniforms. T-Shirts, running shoes, jeans - very much appreciated.

I travelled alone to Cuba and met lots of friendly travellers. Most were from Quebec. Only negative things that happened was when one Quebecer got over-zealous about his political affiliations and hung a fleur-de-lis over his balcony for all to see (very distasteful for most Canadians). After a number of Canadians complained to the Customer Service Desk, he was asked to remove the flag.

Will I go back? Definitely.

Room Tip: First floor is handy and has good water pressure. I had no problems with bugs or anything. Rooms n...
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled solo
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
5 Thank Janet C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Blind River, Canada
1 review
Reviewed February 24, 2013

Unfortunately, up until our last day of a two week stay at Barlovento, our stay was enjoyable. At check-out, we were astonished to find the front desk refused to return our deposit on beach towels; in fact, they insisted we had not paid for them! In fact, we did pay 10 CUC's each. In fact, we paid for an extra towel as I left mine in the dining room and when I returned it was gone (disappeared, probably returned to the beach towel shack for washing). However, I could not prove that and I believe front desk staff thought I had stolen it. The exact opposite was the truth. My friend and I left many articles, as gifts, for hotel staff especially chambermaids and dining room staff as well as a peso tip. Needless to say this "put a sour taste in our mouths" toward Barlovento.

My recommendation would be to get a receipt of beach towel deposit from the front desk as proof. They only provided us with a card upon purchase of 10 pesos which we turned in at the beach towel shack. Once the towels were turned back in to the shack, they cards we received from them were taken to the front desk and they did not acknowledge them. We were shocked!

Apart from that, other staff, i.e. chambermaids, dining staff were most charming! Food had a large selection as a rule, although one does get tired of "all inclusive food" after two weeks; however, you can enjoy other restaurants on the Veradero strip.

We also had a phone that was disconnected the entire time.

All in all, I would not return to Barlovento!

Room Tip: Ask for the courtyard overlooking the tennis court although an odour of diesel could be noticed occa...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank Chris C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Winnipeg, Canada
Level 2 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed February 20, 2013

We traveled to Cuba with 4 other couples in January 2013 and stayed at the Barlovento Hotel and found the entire trip to be amazing and cannot wait to go back next year. The hotel was a quaint older hotel in need of a little paint but otherwise very nice. The room had two double beds but was always clean. The hotel has two pools, 3 bars (one being right on the beach), two ala-carte restaurants (Mexican and Italian). Make sure to book your ala-carte meals when you first get there as they go fast. We ate at the Mexican Restaurant and thoroughly enjoyed it. The two buffet restaurants (one specializing in BBQ) have good enough food. The omelettes they make for you are great! I asked for bacon every morning as there never seemed to be any out and they got it for me no problem. If you thoroughly enjoy dining out when you travel then maybe Cuba is not for you. The food is someone bland but otherwise perfectly fine. We brought spices with us but ended up hardly ever using them as they did have some spices there at the buffets. The hotel is located in a perfect location to enable you to walk down the main road and do shopping, siteseeing, sitting at outside areas having a drink. You can smoke almost anywhere and drink anywhere. We brought thermos with us to avoid drinking out of their small plastic cups...best thing ever! We brought our thermos everywhere we went. Every morning I would bring our beachbag and towels (our own from home) and put them on our chairs at the beach then go for breakfast and never had a problem with our things being touched. The beach is beautiful, the water amazingly blue and so close! The staff at the Barlovento were always super friendly and we even ended up booking our tour to Old Havana with our bartender, Cesar. If you go down there (and you should see Havana if you are in Cuba) ... definitely book through him (front lobby bar). He rented a van and driver and took us down there (our personal tour guide)..there were 7 of us. No going with a big group and being on their time schedule. Old Havana was a must see! We also went on the Jeep Tour (another must do while in Cuba). It costs about $70 per person but you are gone from around 8 am to after 6 pm. You drive the jeeps, drive the boats, go to the cave for a swim (amazing), snorkeling (weather permitting) and get a free lunch....definitely worth the price. You see the poorer people of Cuba waiting along the side of the roads (they definitely know when the jeeps are coming through). We had brought a lot of things to hand out to the locals and hotel staff (nylons, tampons, razors, medicine, clothes, paper and coloring stuff, candy, etc.). Anyone you give something to is truly appreciative... we tried to give out more to the people who were not working in the jobs that get a lot from all the tourists (ie: maids, bar staff, beach staff) such as the janitors, maintenance workers, people along the Jeep tour route, etc. for example. My husband and I ventured from the hotel daily and never once worried about our safety. We wandered around where the locals in Veredaro lived and everyone was super friendly ... they love Canadians! We walked to Al Capone's house on the beach (now a restaurant) at night and had a great time! The shopping is mostly wood carvings, paintings, shorts, hats, jewellery, purses, beach coverups, etc. and everything is super cheap. We packed an entire suitcase with things to hand out for the locals and used this suitcase to bring back all the souvenirs. The bartenders will give you three bottles of booze for $10 (amazing deal). Cigarettes are available in vending machines for $1.25/pack. The music that the locals play is great too! We would sit having a drink and be entertained daily! You can also get into the old cars (used as taxis), the horse drawn carriages (you can barter), the coconut cabs, rent scooters or ride the double decker buses (a must as well). You pay $5.00 for a ticket for the bus and get on and off throughout the day...just keep your ticket. The weather while we were there was anywhere from 26 - 30 degrees celcius and the water was wonderful! Not sure what else to tell you about Cuba other than my husband and I paid $1818 (all taxes in) for our air fair and all-inclusive hotel. We spent around another $500 in tips, excursions, drinks/food off the resort and souvenirs. Well worth every cent .... and already planning our trip for next year!

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
11 Thank Viivianne
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Red Deer, Canada
Level 2 Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed February 10, 2013 via mobile

We had 10 days there, had a great experience .... Dec 10-20 ...The staff were wonderful, some of the visitors can learn at thing or two on behaviour ..... But that being said it was great we met a lot of great people from all over .... The hotel could use an up date and the food at the resort was the same as at any hotel.....if u want good Cuban food go off the resort and follow a Cuban.....lol...grounds very beautiful, beach ...Beautiful .... Will go back, this our 8 trip to Cuba, and back in April ....helen and Dan
Ps if my friends see this Sweden - Belfast -Hamilton on.....lost contact info.....

Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
2 Thank Helen T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Regina, Canada
Level 6 Contributor
80 reviews
36 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 99 helpful votes
Reviewed February 8, 2013

We’re repeat visitors to the Barlovento, so we obviously like the place. I do like to post a review each time though to highlight what has changed since our last visit and the things we still love and dislike about this resort.

The Barlovento remains cozy and pretty well maintained. A bit of paint and some minor upgrades could really enhance the place, especially in the rooms which are starting to show their age. We learned early on to pack a couple of pillows in a vacuum bag as the ones in the room are terrible. That said, our room was probably one of the best we’ve stayed in at Barlovento. The fixtures and AC worked great and it was freshly painted, with two balconies (only one set of balcony doors opened though. . . . es Cuba). Probably our biggest complaint about the hotel was that we had hot water problems for much of our two week stay. I’m used to lukewarm showers in Cuba, but some days we didn’t even have that and the problem seemed to be common on the resort.

Overall, the cleanliness and maintenance of the public spaces is much improved over the four years we’ve been visiting. The pools were noticeably cleaner. The bathrooms throughout the resort were really clean all the time, which is a definite change for the better since our first visit.
The on-site cadeca has closed. The front desk is exchanging money at a much more reasonable rate than in the past though, so it wasn’t the end of the world. The desk was at 91CUC for 100CND versus the official rate of about 95CUC when we were there. When we factored in the notoriously long waits at the bank down the road, this seemed pretty reasonable.

Food in general remains fine, with reasonable variety and quality. We don’t stress too much over this as Barlovento’s reasonable price allows us to eat out when we want (and there are some really solid new restaurants in town that warrant a visit). We attended the repeat guests dinner and the food was excellent. The Italian a la carte, which used to be good, wasn’t great this year. The service was still fine, but the food was bland and mushy and the giant wheel of parmesan was MIA. Too bad, as this restaurant was always a highlight for us. The Cuban and Mexican a la cartes were still quite good.

Drink choices were appropriate for the price we paid, with some better Cuban rums and more international spirits being available at the bar this year than in past years. The table wine was also markedly improved this year, mostly lower end South American but drinkable. Sadly, we couldn’t get a mojito at all during our stay and there is still no beer at the beach bar.

Speaking of the beach, there was fair bit of erosion during the last storm season that has left the beach tiered with a two foot grade difference between the top of the beach and the water. This isn’t the hotel’s fault and they were working at re-grading it by bringing in new sand and levelling it out. I only include it because it could present a challenge for someone with mobility issues, which is unfortunate as the property is actually quite accessible otherwise.

Most of the staff were familiar faces and remain one of the reasons we return to this hotel (its cozy size, casual atmosphere and excellent location being the main others). We had warm and attentive service from nearly everyone and we always love catching up on what is going on with the staff each year.

All in all, we had a good trip and enjoyed a couple of relaxing weeks back at Barlovento.

Room Tip: Ask for a room on a higher floor overlooking the tennis courts if you're wanting something a lit...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
3 Thank Edradour
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hamilton, Canada
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed February 6, 2013

love going there staff and people are great. easy acess to everything. beach is fantastic. will be returning again to get spoiled by all our friends there. keep up the good work staff and friends at the barlovento

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
6 Thank colleen651
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel Roc Barlovento

Property: Hotel Roc Barlovento
Address: Ave 1ra e/ 9 y 12, Varadero, Cuba
Location: Caribbean > Cuba > Matanzas Province > Varadero
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#6 Best Value Hotel in Varadero
#18 On the Beach Hotel in Varadero
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Hotel Roc Barlovento 3.5*
Number of rooms: 293
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Hotel Roc Barlovento is located on beachfront and just a few meters from town centre of Varadero only 25 km away from the airport.This large Caribbean-style resort is in perfect harmony with its natural surroundings along an extensive, fine white sanded beach and turquoise waters .Adults only hotel, over 16 years.Services Around the gardens, there are a tennis court, a solarium, three swimming pools and one jacuzzi. 3 Out Door Pools Sunbeds & Umbrellas Reception 24 hrsStores, shops Air Conditioning Tourism office GardensInternet, with charge Telephone and fax, with charg eMassage, with charge"All Inclusive" Services Buffet service for breakfast, lunch and dinner 3 á la carte restaurants (prior reservation required and upon availability) Fast food, snacks, grill y paellas. Cocktails, beverages: national and international brands. 24 hrs Service. Non motorized water sports (upon availability), snorkel, windsurf, kayak, pedalboatl, catamaran, windsurf . Voleyball, football, tennis, ping pong, billard, petanca, dards, archery and table games. Basket, beach volley, water polo- Gym Sunbeds andbeach/pool towels Day time entertainment programme: aerobics, yoga, dancing lessons, Spanish lessons, pool/beach games. Evening entertainment with a variety of international shows and theme nights (resident band and dancers)GastronomyThe All Inclusive offer includes, in addition to the three complete buffet meals per day, à la carte meals in the 3 specialty restaurants (with reservation) snacks, alcoholic as well as non-alcoholic drinks throughout the day. A great variety of gastronomical treats awaits our guests in the hotel’s 4 restaurants and 4 bars . The hotel offers a 24 hrs service. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Barlovento Hotel Varadero
Barlovento Cuba
Gran Caribe Club Barlovento
Hotel Barlovento
Barlovento Varadero

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