My new husband and I stayed at the Iberostar Laguna Azul for one week on our honeymoon. As my husband is originally from Cuba, and we've been there dozens of times before, we are quite accustomed to the idiosyncracies of the Cuban system; however, it was our first time staying in a 5-star hotel, and overall we were very pleased!
The food at the buffet, of course, was bland. But there was always plenty for everyone, and any dishes that were empty were quickly replaced by the hard-working dining room staff. We were never hungry. Our servers were wonderful, and we returned to the same seating sections every day so that we could visit with them. In particular, there is a manager there (unfortunately, I didn't catch his name, but he's a tall, bald gentleman) -- he works unbelievably hard, and I personally saw him cleaning tables, picking up things off the floor, and coordinating services in the dining room. I was very impressed with his drive and initiative.
The main pool is beautiful, and the waterfall is a great touch. Very refreshing! Fantastic pool bar, with excellent drinks (including a decent piña colada!). If you're looking for some peace and quiet, try one of the other 2 pools (one located on each side of the resort) -- they tend to have less people, and the music isn't as loud. The hot tub was great!
Our room (12416) was fantastic: clean, spacious, and everything worked. We especially enjoyed the shower and large tub, and we liked having the ceiling fan over the bed, so that at night we could sleep with a breeze, instead of the air conditioning. We appreciated the bathrobes provided in the closet -- we both enjoyed throwing those on in the mornings and evenings, or after a shower; it was a nice touch, that made us feel more at home.
Our only negative experience was trying to get a reservation in one of the à la carte restaurants. Early Saturday morning, we tried to make a reservation at the "Romantic Restaurant" (which was included in the Honeymoon Package we booked from Canada), only to be told that there wasn't a table available until Thursday evening. (We were leaving on Tuesday.) I balked. Speaking to the reservation staff in Spanish, I asked how it was possible that they were booked for the next SIX nights!? I reminded her that in that case, even guests arriving that day might not get to make a reservation during their entire week's stay. She nodded, and told me that she was sorry but that's how it was. I asked her if there was anything she could do. She said she'd put our room number on a waiting list and give us a call if anything opened up before we left. Angry, I left the reservations office and stormed off to the reception, where I launched a formal complaint with the manager. I explained that we were on our honeymoon, and couldn't even get the one reservation that had been promised us in our all-inclusive package. (Technically, you should be able to try more of the à la carte restaurants during your stay...) After some quick work in the office, the reception staff member brought us a printed ticket for a reservation that night at 9:15pm. A little late for dinner, but better than nothing. When we got to the Romantic Restaurant that night (starving, at 9:15pm!), the place was more than half empty. On the bright side, both the service and the food were excellent.
Lovely, helpful staff, a wonderful lobby bar, and a beautiful building... But someone needs to go in there and manage the place with a view to improving overall customer satisfaction! Overall, a great spot -- I would definitely recommend this hotel to close friends and family.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located in Varadero beach. Approximately 160 km from Havana and 20 min from downtown Varadero. It has 814 rooms allocated in different buildings, 24 are suites and 8 are for handicapped. Reception 24 hrs. open, currency exchange, internet 24 hrs. Buffet restaurant with show cooking and 4 a la carte restaurants and Ranchon near the beach. Lobby bar, Cigar bar, aqua-bar, and 2 snacks bars at the pool. Conference rooms, SPA, gym, and beauty salon, 2 tennis and paddle court. Ice cream saloon, animation theatre and disco. 5 outdoor swimming pools. Miniclub (4-12 years). ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Iberostar Laguna Azul Hotel Varadero