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“Our stay at Kawama”
Review of Hotel Club Kawama

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Hotel Club Kawama
Ranked #43 of 63 Hotels in Varadero
Fredericton, Canada
Level Contributor
31 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 100 helpful votes
“Our stay at Kawama”
Reviewed December 17, 2012

As I write this review, here in the Maritimes, we have just finished two days of -16 early morning temperatures. We ran in this temperature one morning and only a week ago we were running in 20+ temperatures as the sun was rising.

We flew WestJet from Moncton to Toronto to Varadero without any delays and arrived on schedule to the resort. Mr. Sax takes his road bike and had no issues having the transfer bus accomodate the bike from the airport to the resort.

CHECK IN:
Our arrival day was a Sunday and so we moved in for a two week stay. Upon checking in the first thing I was very disappointed in was a 34.00 non refundable fee for the safe. In speaking with the PR representative at a later time, I was advised that this is a topic that is being discussed at their managment level and is being reviewed. This is certainly an issue that needs to be addressed as the other resorts where we have stayed in Varadero either have a refund or no charge. We paid for a refundable beach towel deposit, and except for one day were able to have a clean beach towel daily. Reception staff were friendly and accomodating through out our stay.

CONSTRUCTION:
While we were there, the entertainment center was having the roof replaced and this was finished on our second week .The main pool was emptied and repaired which took approximately two days before water was replaced. There are two other pools on this large property, both were empty. I suspect this was due to the fact the resort was not at full occupancy.

A la CARTES and Buffet:
We registered for a la Cartes at the PR desk each morning at 10 a.m. We both particularly like the dress up for dinner aspect and you will be asked to respect the dress code for dinner at either a la Carte. We were also invited to the repeat visitor dinner which is held on Thursday nights. This was fantastic. There is a particular gentleman who is a waiter at Kawama and he has been working there since 1972. He displays such professionalism. Mr. Sax is the Chef in this family and would say at different times, "it is amazing how this Chef can put food together". We have come home with a receipe for a hot bean dish that was served at breakfast, and it is being served here now most mornings. The wait staff at the a la cartes and buffet were very professional. We were not asked for tips.

PROPERTY and ROOM:
Kawama is on a large property. I particularly liked this as it appeared at times we had the beach to ourselves. For a walk we often walked the width of the resort and were amazed at how much of Kawama Avenue it occupies. We had I think the oldest brick "villa" on the beach. It was a three room apartment, on the main floor, there was one other room above us. The villa had an entry alcove, a living room, large bathroom and good size bedroom. For those of you who know our travels you know we travel with the Bike and the Case. The bike actually had for the first time ever, its own room! The AC was two units, one in the living room and one in the bedroom, silent and worked via remote control. The AC worked soundlessly. We had hot water every day except one. When we reported this, it was fixed immediately. We were provided clean towels daily and usually the maid was in for a clean up early in the day. This villa provided us with our best living experiences to date in our many trips to Varadero. We were literally on the beach. Every morning except on a the two Sundays I was given a flower by the gardener in our section. I site this as I find it was a kindness that was displayed by most employees in different ways at Kawama. We loved this villa, loved it and hope if we get to go back, we would have this spot again. We still talk about having our coffee out in the alcove every morning. Per usual we brought out own coffee, with Tim Horton mugs/filters.

LOBBY and POOL BAR/POOL and BEACH:
There was a good selection of drinks. For example, one could have a martini, (sweet), scotch, gin, rum, beer. The lobby bar has a menu of drinks available and once again I had a Mary Pickford. The first time I ever had this drink was at the Melia las Antillas in 2006. The lobby was decorated for Christmas during our second week. The bathrooms in the lobby area are kept clean continuously thanks to the hard efforts of the primary housekeeper for that area. I did note that service at the pool bar is fast and furious, I think this is due to it being the busiest part of the tourist gathering as it is right in the pool area. There is a good selection of music and during some evenings impromtu dancing would start amongst the guests which was fun. While we were there on the second week, the beach bar opened. This was due to an increase in tourists and therefore it was opened to accomodate increased traffic on the beach. It has a little terrace area and becomes a nice gathering spot. By this particular bar, one can access all types of beach equipment such as paddle boats.
The pool was clean and provided ample number of chairs. The chairs on the beach are in need of replacement. The beach as per Varadero was beautiful. I found it to be cleaner than the beach in front of the Barlovento and Tuxpan. The beach has been hit a bit I suspect by hurricane Sandy winds, with significant sections being washed away by the Barlovento and Tuxpan. It was fine in front of Kawama. We walked 20 feet from our villa to our section of the beach. I loved our villa!

GYM/SAUNA/MASSAGE
The Kawama provides a gym, which is not necessarily new, but more than serviceable. I loved their sauna. It became a routine to leave the beach at 4 p.m. and go to the sauna, which is a traditional one. It was lovely. It has two working hot water showers directly opposite and I think I had more showers there than I did in our villa. I had a massage one day and found the therapist to be professional and certainly knowledgeable.

MUSIC
There are two great set of musicians. The first is a two person classically trained guitar players and a band of five with one fabulous trumpet player. You will be entertained at the Buffet, and the a la Cartes which was nice and at times a lot of fun!

Kawama is definitely a resort that we would return. I think we both have a preference to this side of Varadero. We enjoyed taking our drink before dinner to the canal (across the road) and watch the horses gallop home over the bridge to Santa Marta, after a day of transporting tourists in their taxi wagons. Kawama Avenue is under construction. It starts right by the Kawama and goes up to Playa Caleta. At first I thought that the avenue was being enlarged, but actually the board walk along the canal and some greening is occuring. It will look beautiful when completed. There is some discussion that Kawama, the resort will undergo a refurbishment and it it does I hope that some of the traditional buidings will be kept, especially my villa!
We are hoping to return. Kawama has a quiet Manager, always there, walking in the back ground, observing, checking. The person who is front and center is Leida, the PR representative. She is the prime communicator for the Kawama and leads by example. There are many repeat visitors to the Kawama and I certainly understand how thier return visits must be anticipated. Thanks to Kawama and staff for one of the nicest stays we have had. Please keep my villa safe!

Room Tip: I always check to see if things are working prior to unpacking, regardless of resort.
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
17 Thank saxophone
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Saskatchewan
Level Contributor
11 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
Reviewed December 16, 2012

We arrived on Dec 1st for our two week stay. It is surprising how big the grounds are at the Kawama - it's got to be close to a kilometer long. The rooms are contained in many buildings of various styles through out the resort. We were lucky and had a room that had hot water every day and a good maid ( Dora ) who provided lots of towels and toilet paper.
My wife and I had friends who met us at the resort, they didn't have as much luck with their rooms and ended up moving to another hotel. Their rooms had no working airconditioning, leaking water on the floor and no hot water.
The staff were quite nice - friendlier than staff at other resorts we've stayed at in Varadero. The food was not too bad as far as resort buffets goes (but by the 2nd week we couldn't take it anymore and began eating out).
If you go to Wikimap.org you can see how big this place is. On the photos it appears that there are several swiming pools - there indeed are but only the main one has any water in it. The rest look quite abandoned.
Walking the grounds on the west side of the resort at night is like walking in a spooky movie scene. There were only a few lights on in rooms and at the far west end where an abandoned pool is, there is an abandoned stage and buffet building.
The main bar is the pool bar off the main swimming pool. I counted 14 wooden picnic tables with benches. I think they must drain water under the bar as at night the mosquitos are crazy there and if you are not wearing long pants at night you will wake with hundreds of bites (some people seem to be immune to the bites but others like me sure are not ). The bar is not big enough for the size of the place.
The lobby bar is indeed in the lobby. It only has a couple tables, serves no beer and the servers make the worst coffee (it could be so good if they knew how to operate an espresso machine).
The lobby has couches which spills into the lobby bar.
For a couple days they had the pool drained to do repairs and both of the little concrete bridges are roped off as they are falling apart. The kiddy pool beside the main pool doesn't appear to have held water for quite some time.
People with kids there said the kids club was useless.
I see that someone else wrote that they were charged 20 cuc for a safe in their room. I was dinged (ripped off) for 34 cuc !!!!!
The beach bar opened up 1/2 way through our stay. No beer there - just rum and a bartender who wasn't shy to say he wanted cuc's for tips.
The disco which is below the buffet is a moldy small room with low ceilings.
An entertainment area was being built next to the pool bar and it's said that it will be done by the end of the year?
Get ready to pee in the ocean as the nearest bathroom from the beach is quite a hike. Speaking of bathrooms, on this big resort there are only two - one by the pool bar and one off the lobby.
Everything on this resort is in some need of repair. It must have been a swanky place in its day.
Ha, I wish Mike Holmes would go do an inspection.
This is one of the cheaper places in Varadero and is on par with the others with the same rating. I won't stay there again and am thinking that spending a few more bucks for a better place would be better.

Room Tip: rooms are a crap shoot as far as I can tell ! Hope to get one with hot water and air!
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
5 Thank rkcleveland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers are raving about these Varadero hotels

saskatoon
Level Contributor
9 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 62 helpful votes
Reviewed December 4, 2012

Club Kawama was originally built as a private beach club in 1930. Parts of the hotel are 82 years old.Newer cabanas have been built. Two hotels on each side have been amalgamated. Parts ot it need a lot of reconstruction. The Ranchon for the shows is currently under reconstruction. It will be in a continual state of repair for years.
Meanwhile it is operating with some superior rooms and some not so good rooms. If you don't want to gamble on your rooms book a superior room. The hotel has a high percentage of repeat customers.
The food is typical Cuban but I found as good or better than any other 3star. The staff is very friendly and helpful. It has a wonderful beach. Not much night life . The location in Varadero is prime.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled solo
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Helpful?
6 Thank Cuba59
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Orangeville, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed November 23, 2012

Arrived November 16th 2012 for 1 weekI have been to a few other rersorts. I would say the buffet needs to have a bigger and a better selection , could do wonders?, although we could usually find something to eat, The rooms need work, our first room had no hot water and was a long way from the lobby. They changed our room when they could and it was satisfactoy although it would have been nice to have clean linen at least every other day.. Beach was simply perfect, entertainment was few and far between. They really need a motivated staff for the entertainment. Otherwise staff seemed to be trying their best. The Italian a la carte was simply divine, the International? I would Pass! I heard rumors floating around our last day that the resort got approval for a $1 million makeover, i hope they spend it wisely!

Room Tip: The 4000 plus rooms are OK if you like to get away from it all. They seem to be rooms adopted by Kaw...
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
5 Thank peachescream_12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
8 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed November 22, 2012

Myself and my boyfriend stayed at the resort from the 15th November until 17th November (2 nights all inclusive): the worst experience ever! We were not happy with the service provided, wouldn’t return to the hotel again & wouldn’t recommend the hotel and as consequences we feel to leave negative review about Club Kawama.

We arrived on the 15th November around 21.30hrs (after a long bus journey from trinidad) and been told if we want food the restaurant buffet “La Tasca” is open until 22.00 hrs. We went there straight away and the restaurant was already closed (30 min before closing time) with a big number of your staff sitting around. We went back to reception who told us to go to the snack bar “El Dorado” and will be serving food at 23hrs.

We waited until midnight but no food was served, we asked few times and didn’t really get any certain answer. After few customer complaining about the service a bar tender said will be done in 20 minutes as food needs to be prepared. 00.30 hr (1 hour and 30 min later) we got cheese & ham sandwich (toast) ... 1 hour and 30 min later for cheese & ham sandwich??? You can imagine our surprise & disappointment. The main clients of "El Dorado" bar are actually members of the hotel staff... I advise you to spend a day in this bar and to count how much your staff is drinking alcohol and eating sandwich in front of the customers: you would be surprised.

The following morning we went to have our breakfast & wasn’t very late 8.30am, no food any more, everything was very dirty & messy, no one went to replace the food missing or at least to tidy up we left with no eating at all. After the unpleasant breakfast we went to chill on the beach but left straight away for the pool (the beach is very dirty and not cleant as it should be, most of the long chairs are broken). We wanted to do some aquatic sport but nothing from the big all inclusive list was available. As there was noone on the beach in the "water sport centre" we went to "El Dorado" to ask if it is possible to organize some activities, we were told "probably not" for some vague reason.

After the not really nice breakfast we went to have lunch hoping will be a bit better. People going to the restaurant half naked, with towels around, no shoes or flip flop, full of sand and the food was really horrible.

Dinner we didn’t even try, lucky enough the town of Varadero has nice restaurants, where we meet few people from the hotel. We spoke with few people & everyone said the same food is disgusting & few people complained about it.

The price of the hotel wasn’t cheap we paid 2 nights for £177 and we feel was far to expensive for what they offer. The hotel premises are nice but that's it: the service is amazingly poor and corresponds to a 1 star hotel. I would never recommend this hotel to anyone.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
10 Thank 481Angela
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
13 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 115 helpful votes
Reviewed November 8, 2012

Wow. I have been to Varadero 7 times different resorts everytime, and this was the worst! Believe me, even a lower-rated hotel (Sunbeach) had better qualities than this place. I know the timing of the year can make a difference but let me start with the bad before I mention any positive things.

Room- AC worked, but power did go off randomly so the cable would black out on the tv or the mini fridge would power off (so nothing in there stayed super cold). The water pressure was LOW!!!! hahah as a woman I could not wash out the conditioner in my hair so I stopped using too much hair product! The water temp was never super hot either so my showers were cut short in time. The beds and linens the dirtiest I had ever seen. I even tipped and had gifts the first 2 days for the maids but did not get any better service or change for bigger towels! First time the maid did not respond to a little extra from a guest. This was a standard room by the way but I heard complaints of the better rooms from other guests. Safe for keeping things 20 CUC and my card would not open it the last day so they had to reset it (imagine my passport being stuck in there!!)

Staff - once again little response to tips. There were a couple really nice ones but the rest just really did not show the usual friendliness of Cubans! One lady at front desk DID help me to call a local number but my last day when I had an emergency to call my tour operator- I had HELL to use the phone! I almost missed my flight due to this issue (this was a different woman of course). I really do not knwo what you can do here to make the staff give better service.

Food - worst selection and quality. Basic but because there was so little to choose from, it made it worse! The real good simple stuff like fruits were LIMITED! bread was stale. Meat they gave you the portion everytime, other places have it out for you to take your own. This was a strategy to limit how much meat each person took on their plate (once again a first experience for me). NO SERVICE in the buffet, maybe one drink served and I never got refills or anythign else and nothign in the morning offered EVER. There were decent food options at times so I survived off omelette in the morning, salad or burgers from the pool bar at lunch (OR BEER) and finally dinner I ate more pumkin than ever in my life! Ice cream - never did I see chocolate or vanilla! Just strawberry and mint and orange...talk about NOT satisfying a sweet tooth! I was definitiely disappointed.

Drinks - Beer and rum. Don't expect fancy drinks. No selection. No wine except for at dinner. The pop was nasty pop from a dispenser so it is not real, and there were almost never fruit juices. They had good slushie machines but I wanted real orange or pineapple juice and it was never available. GREAT coffee at lobby bar ONLY. This was also the first time I felt the rum was watered down, maybe I am better at alcohol tolerance or this place REALLY watered down their supply! I recommend buying your own rum.

Money - Bank to the right 5 minute walk off the resort is SLOW but proper exchange. Closed on weekend so I got ripped off bigtime exhchanging money at the front desk!

Stores- snacks, alcohol, cigarettes outside the resort to the right or on the resort little souvenir shop. At least it was close by.

restaurants/town - close by walk. The location of this place is good.

beach - AMAZING! Lots of shady places and chairs available. Really nice huge quiet beach and I did use those pedal boats to go on the water.

A La Carte- Italian restaurant- best food I had all week. Pizza and than shrimps and chocolate ice cream! Decent wine as well. I would definitiely ensure you book this place on your trip but I went in the morning to book and had to do it for the next night. Usually it is same day reservation. I recommend you book your first morning there so you don't get told it's booked all week!

Entertainment/Disco club - They were dancing in the disco instead because construction of the stage was happening. It was a terrible environment to watch the performances and they did have 2 good dance groups on 2 different nights followed by a little disco night with bar and drinks.

24 hour drinks - YES with food. (Not all resorts have this)

SO all in all, the people you are with can make or break the vacation. I had fun because I laughed at all this stuff and I did not cry over the little money I spent (450$) and I met some hilarious tourists as usual. I do not know if becuase there were so many Cuban guests, that the staff and service was so poor but there was something definitiely off about the morale and runnings of this hotel during my stay (october 30 for a week). I would recommend every other hotel over this one in Varadero if you spend a little more money (considering all the aspects of course). If you know people here and come back all the time, that can make the vacation even better and frequent Cuba travellers know the friends they have are the reason to keep coming back!

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
9 Thank donkeykongprincess
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Alkmaar, The Netherlands
Level Contributor
83 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 60 helpful votes
Reviewed November 8, 2012

Oct. 27th to Nov. 7th/2012. We arrived with a delay during the evening there and the Receptionist on duty was absolutely unqualified and uneducated about giving service to new guests. That same receptionist we found sleeping on the couch at reception area 6 a.m. which is absolutely unacceptable according to our expectations. Room was good according to the quality expected. Wide beds, functioning AC a safe box and a terrace. The all inclusive does not include bottled water in your room but just the 1st day. Entertainment and animation was equal to ZERO. Everything inscribed on the activities info board was not done except for the BINGO. No dancing lessons, no stretching in the morning .... The next thing is that Kawama had a great base for outdoor sports like basketball, tennis, table tennis and they are all included but there are no tennis rackets but only one, no table tennis rackets - were broken and no spare, and the basketball ball ones given is never returned so if you expect to go on a vacation for a week or two and stay only at the hotel you will be really bored. Breakfast is relatively good and Ignasio /who prepares the omelets and fried eggs is great/, also the fresh made juices are not bad. Dependable on who will be your table server you might be asked for a coffee but you may also be neglected. Drinks menu is poor and there are no good cocktails in it. There were few really helpful people there like Dora our housekeeper and all other cleaning personnel as well as the lobby barkeepers. We selected the hotel because of it's great location and once we knew there is nothing to do there we stayed at the property all together 3 days out of 11. Cuba is a beautiful island and we loved the vacation there but if you are looking for a peaceful vacation at an all inclusive resort with a lot of entertainment Kawama is not the place to be. If you just use it as a start point for your trips it is excellent choice. The beach in front of Kawama is the best on the coastal line we could say and for a short break it is just perfect. And there is always a good draught if Cerveza Crystal just at the beach bar.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Evgeniya S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel Club Kawama

Property: Hotel Club Kawama
Address: Calle 1 | Reparto Kawama, Varadero 42200, Cuba
Location: Caribbean > Cuba > Matanzas Province > Varadero
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Restaurant Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#30 Top resorts Hotel in Varadero
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — Hotel Club Kawama 3*
Number of rooms: 235
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Also Known As:
Kawama Hotel Varadero
Resort All Inclusive Kawama
Kawama Varadero
Club Kawama Varadero

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