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“The good The bad The ugly... A long review”

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Hotel Roc Arenas Doradas
Ranked #19 of 64 Hotels in Varadero
Reviewed May 6, 2013 via mobile

I stayed at the Arenas Doradas April 27-May 4. The following is the raw truth based on my experiance. I travelled with no expectations of lavishness or luxury just prayed for relaxation, clean living conditions and edible food. I travelled as a couple with another couple. I stayed in the 200 block of buildings which is a great location directly in front of the pool n in the middle walking distance of either the beach or main lobby/ disco.

The Good:

- beach is absolutley beautiful
- lots of chairs n huts for shade
- free parasailing, boats but book early
- pool is beautiful, again alot of seats and a swim up bar
-the entertainment that i did see the synchronized swimmers, live music, salsa dancing was pretty good but other than that the activities were not the greatest
- made to order eggs for breakfast and pasta for dinner
- medical service is efficient ( became very sick) and i was taken care of very well with follow up calls/ assessments

The Bad:

- food ( never hot, flies n birds are eating the buffet food as well)
-al a cartes are not good
- bottled water (1 per room ) two days we recieved none
- staff are not the friendliest

The ugly:

-2 days there were cuban police in front of our room door for long periods they never said anything to us but literally were so loud at night and appeared to be taking samples of our door handle
- we had to go find the manager to then be told what had happened
- third day we had to write statements documenting if we saw anything which we did not
- forever running out of toilet paper and towels took half a day to get either of the two.

Suggestions:

- clear covers over the food will keep it warmer and keep potentially virus borne insects n birds out
- staff look straight up annoyed most of the time .. Why?
-bottled water.. A must everyday
-if a situation happens where security or police are involved it would be nice for some member of the hotel to keep guests privy to the information for peace of mind and safety.
- better food hygiene all around by staff...cooks using bare hands to touch the meat then touched the bread ... Meat left out in the heat for long periods especially at the pool grill
- what is that horrible smell in the main buffet area ???

Essentials to pack:

-Ketchup or condiments you like
-Salt n pepper
-Peanut butter
-Lots of snacks... Lots
-Lots of bug spray.. Lots , after bite
-Your own bottled water just in case
Imodium or a laxative one of the two situations will happen
- travel mug
-medicine/ i.e cough/ cold or allergy whatever you need just in case no where to buy this unless you want to pay 50$ consult fee for the doctor
- bring less than zero expectations and an open mind
- do not overpay for this resort

  • Stayed: May 2013
    • Value
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5  Thank Crystal G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed May 3, 2013

I have been to the Arenas Doradas on a number of occasions and every time the staff makes it feel as though you never left. I had a wonderful room, the food is getting better all the time as they have a chef brought in from Mexico, and there were a lot of tasty things to eat. I have no grand illusions of what I think the buffet should be like, I accept if for what it is and never leave hungry from either an a la carte or the buffet. It's complicated to get certain supplies etc for the kitchen to work with, so cudos to them for putting it together the way they do. The front desk staff is lovely, I found them helpful as is the lobby/pool bar, our maid was super and friendly and the coffee bar ladies always smiling and last but not least the bellboys that help you with your bags coming and going, get you a cab and tell the driver where you are going etc, all exceptional! Once again the manager walked around to stay in tune with what was happening with guests etc and takes suggestions as well. I took my 18 year old daughter with me this time and I always felt safe with her wandering about there,as the resort is small and you get to know the staff and fellow guests easily and they all watch out for everyone. We met some fantastic new friends and hooked up with some I met there in January and they all added to our great trip (Dave,Lisa,Señor Hilfiger, Tizzie, Beibs, Yvette, Pat,Wayne, Joe, Brad, the B sisters and lovely Bianca the Guysborough/Canso and Islander group and so many more,everyone we met added to our overall successful trip in one way or another. Lobby bar is the best place to meet people for a lot of laughs. If you like pizza go and try Pizza Nova upstairs at the plaza Americas you won't be disappointed. It only took me this long to write the review as I had written one from January and it was too soon.

Room Tip: We were lucky enough to be in a suite in the 1100 block and it was fabulous
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  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with family
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2  Thank Terra G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 27, 2013

From going thru customs to the bus ride to the hotel and check in, it was all smooth and no stress. The food was bland, but with some Hellmans and Heinz the food tasted fine. Always something to eat. The pool snack bar was the choice of the week and the pasta at the buffet was to die for. The rooms were out dated but, for the amount of time we spent in there it was just fine. The pool was fine plenty of chairs and shade. Was a bit crowded as we were there during cuba spring break so a lot of locals at the resort. Would go back, but prolly not the same week. The beach was were it was at. Beach huts and chairs the water was perfect no sea life swimming around. Love love Varadero cant wait to return..

  • Stayed: April 2013
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4  Thank vickster780
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 27, 2013

I have been to this hotel 13 times. The most recent was April 18 to 25. The reason that I keep returning to the same place is because of the staff. I also have been to other resorts and none compare to the Roc Arenas Doradas. There are many returning guests. I don't understand the people that say the staff were not friendly or not helpful. They staff are extremely friendly. Just take a few minutes to speak to them. The rooms are always kept clean. The grounds people try hard to keep the grounds clean but some of the guests seem to feel that someone should clean up after them. There are cups left beside chairs, glasses left on window sills. There are boxes on the buildings for plates, cups and glasses.
I totally agree with everything Jason On The Rox has said. There are many things being done at the resort. Mangement appears to care about the resort and what people are saying about it. They have made a large chess board with seating around it. They have put benches along many walk ways and a few have swings. The walkway to the beach looks great, with new showers to wash the sand away.

The beach is amazing. The pool has a swim up bar.
I can't wait to return again in November!!.

Room Tip: There are only 11 buildings. Some say that building 1 is loud because it is near the disco but only...
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  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
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4  Thank Pat U
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 25, 2013

Just was there again April 15 to 19th and AMAZING once again!!!!!!

To start with i want to say the staff was outstanding as usual!!!
Daniel and Milady at the pool bar should be given 5 stars!!! they are wonderful and amazing and work really hard at making sure everyone is happy!!! By far the best bartenders in Cuba!!!

We are amazed every time we go to see all the new improvements that are made. This hotel has just been taken over by ROC and there is a new manager named JUAN, He is doing a lot to improve the resort. Compared to the old manager he was out talking to the guests, walking the grounds, i even saw him fixing things himself. i spoke with him and even had a drink with him!....good guy.

I laugh at some of these reviews that ppl write at how horrible this resort is...some of the comments i read...to clarify on some of them;
the lobby bar is open 24hrs always, gone to clubs, back at 4am and still open
the grounds are always beautiful
drinks are not watered down...trust me, we are drunk every day!
Staff are wonderful...smile at them, they will smile back..if your rude...why would they be nice?

food, its ok, it is Cuba remember but the new Chef is good guy and is doing good things.

Front desk is open 24 hrs, even at 4am drunk they are there to help haha!!!
i would reccomend this resort a 1000 times, we have been there 5 times in the last year. and will be going back in June.
i have been to cuba 20 times, so i have seen other resorts. Yes there are better, of course! but you will pay for it, as well i find the 5star resorts boring.
If you want to go to relax and be in bed by 10, go to a 5 star.

I have to say again the staff are amazing!!! Daniel, Milady, Mirielys, staff in the buffet, the new chef...and Juan!!!
I must not forget the entertainment staff!! Julia , and Katia!!!!!!

our group always creates the party at the pool bar every afternoon, 2 weeks ago we had everyone dancing in the pool everyday!!

Nighttime....everynight..meet in the lobby than take a cab to the club thats hot for that night!
sunday - International
Monday - The cave
Tuesday - havana Club/ la compasita/ casa de la musica
wednesday - La rumba/ havana club
Thursday- international
friday and saturday any of them

see everyone in June!!!!

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
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4  Thank JasonOnTheRox
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 25, 2013

The only positive thing i can say about this resort is the location and beach access. The staff were not friendly nor helpful. We checked in and enquired about the safe in our room and found out that we had to PAY $16 USD to use it!!! we arrived in the evening and there was no one to help us find our way to our room. We ended up going down several windy paths (in pitch dark) and got lost for about 15 minutes until we found our building. The food was atrocious. Whatever we had for breakfast we also had for lunch and dinner (just a different variation, so guaranteed the food was recycled). I stayed away from any and all meat and i still got sick on our second last day.
The room: was run down, beat up, and dirty. the shower didn't work properly and we didn't have a toilet seat.. Then again, the bathrooms in the lobby didn't even have toilet seats so why would i be surprised? I know it's Cuba and you can't go in with any great expectations as you would with Mexico or another popular vacation spot ... But the least i would expect is a functioning shower, toilet seat, edible food, and a safe we don't have to pay for... Pretty disappointing

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled with friends
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Thank BBINA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hotel_Arenas_Doradas, General Manager at Hotel Roc Arenas Doradas, responded to this reviewResponded April 30, 2013

Dear Customer,

We are sorry for the problems you hadfinding your room.

We have a portier service 24 Hrs. He was attending another arrivals, if you had waited for him he could have taken you to you room in the golf troley that we have for this purpose.

The technical problems in your room should have been fixed before you arrive, we feel sorry for that. If you should report them they will be fixed as soon as possible.

We do not recycle the food from one service to another, perhaps you see the same variety of fruits or vegetables as this is the variety we have, but all hot dishes and mixed salads are made fresh for every service and different every day.

In the brochure it is advertised that safe cost 2$ per day. We shall think to include it in the package in the near the future.

Yours truly,
Juan Antonio Fernandez
General Manager - Roc Arenas Doradas

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 25, 2013

Was at Arenas Doradas from apr.16-23, and had a fantastic time! I have been to Cuba 4 times now, this was my second time there, and in my opinion it is a great spot to vacation.

I think a lot of the bad reviews you see are a bit unfair, people have to remember that it is Cuba not Canada, so things are going to be different and with their climate, upkeep on buildings is a lot harder! Having said that, not everything was perfect, but you can see where they are trying hard to improve the resort. I noticed a lot of improvements/ repairs since my last visit 5 yrs. ago, such as the walkways, and wooden boardwalk to the beach, a lot of new lanscaping, and the fact that the water feature that runs through the resort was being kept clean, and the water was moving to keep down the mosquitos. Really a lot of the negative things were related to the tourists! Empty cups, cigarette butts on the pool deck or beach, empty coffee cups, glasses from the bar left on the walkways.... But the staff seemed to always be working hard to keep it clean, and I think they were doing a good job!

The food was good, I had no problems finding something to eat, amazing fresh bread and ice cream!! Also the drinks were good, and definately not watered down.

The room was a little dated, air conditoner worked better some days than others, but it was always at least cool. Also the maids did a good job, and the room was clean and there was always toilet paper.

The gounds are well kept, and the beach is amazing!

Thanks to Daniel and Myladis at the pool bar, Maria at the coffee bar, and Islay at the buffet! Also several other staff members who unfortunately I can't remember their names, but who were friendly, and provided great service!!

I will return as soon as I can!

Room Tip: Was in building 3 second floor
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  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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Thank tartanfool
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel Roc Arenas Doradas

Address: Autopista Varadero km 17 | Playa de los Tainos, Varadero 42200, Cuba
Location: Caribbean > Cuba > Matanzas Province > Varadero
Amenities:
Beach Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#13 Top resorts Hotel in Varadero
#15 On the Beach Hotel in Varadero
Price Range: $138 - $304 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Hotel Roc Arenas Doradas 3*
Number of rooms: 316
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Also Known As:
Arenas Doradas Varadero
Arenas Doradas Cuba

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