This was our first time in Cuba. After reading many reviews and speaking with people who have already been to Cuba, we figured we pretty much knew what to expect. Our first night there was kind of disappointing because it seemed as though the hotel over booked rooms and we were stuck in what I think was an "over flow" area. The rooms were, well to sum it up in one word, nasty. They were really dated, only had 2 single beds, just a shower stall and no hair dryer. The next day we were able to get a better room with a king sized (none of the beds, I've heard are all that great in Cuba anyways), bath tub and hair dryer(turns out if you have any natural curl or wave in your hair, the humidity in Cuba really brings it out and I ended up not having to use the hair dryer!), but only after bugging the front desk every hour or so. Most of the employees at the front desk are a bit on the rude side but the rest of the staff are pretty awesome, some more then others. The maids and the rest of the cleaning staff are top notch (well at least our maid was wicked-awesome AND she was like 7 months pregnant!). Everyone leaves gifts and tips for the maids and the bartenders/servers but I didn't see many people giving anything to the ladies who clean the lobby and around the grounds. I gave a few gifts to these ladies, they were tickled pink and each time they saw me they would smile from ear to ear.
The bartenders are all pretty cool and friendly, like I said earlier, some more then others. The drinks aren't all that great but after a few they seem to taste much, much better! I recommend the rum punch, can't go wrong with that AND bring your own mug cos the little plastic glasses don't hold a lot and they're really flimsy. The food, well it's not that great. The pork is really good, the bread is really good the paella is awesome and some of the soups are good too. I was a little disappointed with the quality of fresh fruit but I heard that tropical storms wiped out a lot of crops or it could have been the time of year we were there, who knows? You need to get to the buffet early for breaky and make sure you stop at the lobby bar and grab your coffee before you go eat cos the coffee in the buffet is freakin' gross! There's a Cuban open air restaurant and a Mexican a la carte restaurant that are only open for dinner. Make your reservations in advance OR get in good with the waiters. For lunches, go over to the area where the Cuban restaurant is cos they serve some of the same food they have in the buffet as well as the paella and bbq'd pork or chicken or fish whatever they're making that day.
We ate a few times off the resort and were quite happy with the food. You can grab a taxi or hop on the beach tour bus that will take you up and down the strip. At some point during your stay in Cuba you MUST stop at Josone Park. There are a few restaurants in there and if you're a lobster lover you MUST go to La Gruta Del Vino and have the grilled lobster. You won't be disappointed. For 4 mojitos, 1 appie, and 2 main courses it was like 35 cucs. AND you get to sit in this cool little "cave"
We did a lot of walking/stumbling at all hours of the day/night and felt very safe on and off the resort. We went on 2 excursions. The Colonial Havana day trip and the Jeep Safari Trip. We booked both through Sun Wing and were pleased with both. However, I would recommend going on the over night trip to Havana as the day trip was too rushed. The Jeep Safari trip was totally worth the money. We were gone from 8:30am and didn't get back to the hotel until 7:30pm. Oh yeah, Barlovento is one of the last hotels they pick up from and the first one they drop off at after the excursions.
So we really enjoyed our trip to Cuba. You have to remember that compared to Canada or the USA or The UK, Cuba is in a sense, a 3rd world country. So what is considered a 4 star hotel in Cuba is really maybe a 2 star here. It's all what you make it. Cuba is all about 3 things, sun, sand and RUM.
just a few quick points/tips:
-bring your own mug.
-bring your own reusable water bottle
-carry toilet paper with you EVERYWHERE, and learn to "hover" or "squat" cos a lot of the toilets, especially in Havana do not have toilet seats (the resort was fine).
-if you use black pepper, bring your own cos I'm not sure what they had on the tables but it WAS NOT black pepper.
-if you have any clothes for small children that are in good shape bring them and give them to the workers...they will really appreciate stuff like that.
-don't buy cigars from anyone except from a store or an actual cigar factory. Otherwise you could be smokin' poo rolled in banana leaves!
- 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