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“Perfect Choice” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of IBEROSTAR Laguna Azul

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IBEROSTAR Laguna Azul
Ranked #27 of 63 Hotels in Varadero
Sault Ste. Marie Ontario
Level Contributor
11 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 84 helpful votes
“Perfect Choice”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 10, 2011

We are a married couple in our late 30’s and this was our second vacation in Varadero in the last couple of years, but our first stay at the Laguna Azul. We stayed here December 24th to the 31st 2010. We stayed previously at the Paradisus Princesa Del Mar.

We totally enjoyed our visit and would happily recommend this hotel to anyone. Cuba is a friendly safe place to visit and we always felt comfortable. It’s a different country with a totally different culture from home, so enjoy it.

I have to admit I was a bit hesitant to stay at a resort that was not Adults Only at Christmas, but this complex is so large and with a couple of quiet pools and a large beach you could always find a relaxing place to spend the day in the sun.

Cuba can be cool this time of year, and it was for a couple of days during our stay, but you just make the best of it. We took advantage of a cooler day to take a tour of Havana which was really good. We did the day trip which was about 12 hours round trip and really interesting.

We arrived at around 1:30 in the afternoon and were checked in quickly while enjoying a welcome drink and then taken to our room. The entire site is accessible and there are 2 banks of elevators at each side of the hotel to make getting your luggage to the upper floors very convenient. The junior suite we were given was on the 4th floor of building 17 with a beautiful view of the ocean and pool below. The room was nicely appointed with a built in sofa, chair and ottoman, desk and chair and a large luggage stand with drawers below. A large cabinet houses the TV, coffee maker and the minibar. The bar was originally stocked with 4 cans of beer, 3 bottles of soda and 2 small bottles of water. The bar was only to be stocked every second day, but was actually replenished nearly daily for some reason. I did not complain. We only got a large bottle of water twice, but you can always take an empty one to a bar and have it refilled if you need to. The closet houses the safe which was not that large but roomy enough to secure your cash and other small items, might have been a bit tight for a laptop though. There were some built in shelves and 15 hangers supplied. A couple of bath robes were in there as well.

The room was well lit and bright. It smelled good too by the way. Very clean and was kept clean all week by our housekeeper who was great. We tipped her daily and left some small gifts. We made sure to put the “make up room sign” on the door when we headed out in the morning and our room was always cleaned early. The patio was furnished with 2 plastic chairs and a small side table. There was even an exterior electrical outlet but remember to bring a converter. The patio doors had a screen door as well which was nice at night, to be able to leave the glass doors open. If you’ve read other reviews that have complained that the hotel can be noisy, well they are right. All the hard surface finishes don’t help, so if you’re a light sleeper I’d suggest packing some ear plugs. We were without hot water only once during the week and that was right around dinner time, so I imagine that was a peak period and might happen often at that time of day, depending on how busy the hotel is at the time. The bathroom is bright and has a large marble vanity and a single sink. The tub was only a soaker, a large corner unit with a handheld shower head, but it was also quite deep and may pose problems for some getting in and out. There were a small variety of shampoos and soaps provided.

The resort itself is huge and there are plenty of bars and snack bars open various hours, so you can always find a place to eat or get a drink. There are snack bars at each pool with small buffets or you can order sandwiches or pizza from a menu. We ate most meals at the main buffet and found the food to be good and plentiful. Remember they are trying to please a very large diverse crowd of people, and it has to be difficult to make everyone happy, but we certainly had no complaints. At breakfast there are all the usual things you would be accustomed to. Eggs, bacon, pancakes, cereal or you can get made to order omelettes and eggs. At lunch and dinner they had a variety of meat, vegetables, pasta and salads. There are always hamburgers and fries too. If you don’t see something you like you can always get something prepared at the various cooking stations as well. There was always a huge selection of desserts too. I do think they should dim the lighting a bit in the evening though, to make it seem less like a cafeteria. We had the grilled lobster in the Cuban a la Carte and it was very good. We don’t like the formality of having to make dinner reservations while on vacation so we only tried the one restaurant, although you are entitled to 3 for the week.

The lobby is a great place to sit in the evening and there are varieties of live entertainment provided each night, even a magician. It can get busy and if you are bothered by smokers, you can sit in the Lobby Bar instead. It’s air conditioned and smoke free. The bartenders in here will get you whatever you want, and the service is great. One evening we were out walking around the resort and there is a small bar near the main pool where we had the absolute best Pina Colada.

Money can be exchanged right around the corner of the check-in desk in the Lobby. Hours were pretty good and the supply of cash was good too. We found the service everywhere we went on the property to be very good. The staff were always friendly and accommodating. We never felt obligated to tip anyone, but we do and find it’s always appreciated. The staff at the bars and restaurants share the tips.

If you’re ready for a relaxing week at a clean resort with good service, refreshing drinks and satisfying food, you’ll be happy with this hotel.

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Saultcrew
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Nanaimo
Level Contributor
12 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 9, 2011

We tried to stay at the Iberostar Varadero for two weeks, but the price pushed us to look at the Laguna Azul for 8 nights of the 14 as it was cheaper and rated # 8. WOW were we lucky we saved a bunch of money and stayed at a hotel that was so much superior I have no idea how Trip Advisor ranking went so wrong as there is no comparison, my wife and I would stay at the Laguna Azul in a minute and would never stay at the Iberostar VAradero again. Shame on Iberostar for not having quality control on it's hotels as we haed two completly different experiences hats off to the management and staff at the Laguna Azul, we will probably be back!!

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank DAP1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lacombe, Canada
Level Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 9, 2011

Traveled with spouse, 14 & 17 year old. The check in process went smooth, we were given adjoining rooms as requested. Rooms were very clean and spacious. Bed was comfortable(next best thing to home).

Safety was never a concern the whole time we were in Cuba. We always felt very safe, which was a big deal for us, as we are inexperienced travelers.

Food at resort was plentiful, and tasty. We were always able to find something for everyone to eat. The A La Cart's were a wonderful treat and diversion from the buffet (which was still good). We had the Cuban, Steak, and Italian A La Cart's, and enjoyed each one thoroughly. We were there over New Years and were treated to a specialty New Years buffet which included fresh lobster and shrimp, fish, as well as numerous other foods. Excellent!

Unfortunately due to the weather we did not use the beautiful pools, as they were very cold, due to this being the coldest winter in Cuba in over 50 yrs. So they were mostly empty every day due to the cold water (apparently no need to heat them normally). The ocean water was also very cold, with just the occasional tourist dipping in for a moment or two. By the last day of our holiday, people were just beginning to slip into the ocean for short bits of time.

The Cuban people were always very friendly, helpful, and courteous. We always received wonderful service, in every area of the resort. We always tipped at the end of our evening, but never felt like we had to, and noticed that many people did not. Your personal choice.

Even though the days were 26-28~C, the evenings were cool outside and we didn't have enough warm clothes, not anticipating the cool evenings.

Two of us did an hour of horseback riding along the ocean which was fun, but felt a bit rushed. We hopped on a bus for an afternoon an went into Varadero, toured some of the markets there for a bit of fun. Again felt safe, and enjoyed friendly people.
We signed up for the Catamaran trip, which was a great way to spend the day and tour a bit of the ocean. Seen and visited the dolphins and watched the dolphin show, then proceeded to an island for lunch of lobster or chicken, very tastey.
We also did the day trip to Havana. That was a great amazing day. I would caution that the washroom on the buses are not always working, and it is about a 2 hour trip each way. Bring your own toilet paper to any place off of the resort. Havana is an amazing place, and I could have quite easily have spent a week there on my own, just exploring and learning about the history there. The old architecture there is really something to be seen and appreciated.

I would definitely recommend going to Cuba and staying at the Iberostar Laguna Azul, it was a great experience.

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank lacommom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mississauga, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 5, 2011

I went to Iberostar Laguna Azul with my boyfriend and another couple from Dec 26/10-Jan 2/11 and we had a WONDERFUL time! I have been to Cuba every year for the past 4 years and this was by far the best resort I have stayed at. I read some of the reviews before I left and was quite concerned! But we were all pleasantly surprised. Also, one of the tour managers made an interesting comment: all the hotels are joint ventures with the Cuban government because they are communist. 49% of the profits to the company and 51% to the government. As you can imagine that does not allow for the companies to maintain the same standards at their Cuba resorts as they would else where. Please take that into consideration before you let every little flaw ruin your vacation!

I would like to acknowledge some of the complainers out there: this is Cuba it is the cheapest place you can go on an all inclusive vacation in the carribean and there is a reason for that! They do not have the same standards as other western countries so please take that into consideration when you CHOOSE to purchase a vacation to Cuba. You are going for the beach and the sun!

The Beach
Not the best beach you can have in Varadero but thats because the locals have the best beach in the actual town! As you move further along the penninsula the beach becomes less white and a little coarser. If the beach is of critical importance to you - stay at a resort closer to the main town. Otherwise, it was clean and had lots of chairs. The water was clean and great for snorkelling! My boyfriend found tons of beautiful shells on his daily snorkells right off the resort.

The Food
It was great by Cuba standards. Lots to choose from including tons of fresh vegetables and fruits. The fish and seafood was so fresh and delicious! They make fresh Pizzas at the lunch buffet as well as at all the snack bars. The a la carte restaurants were nice. We tried Japanese (very enterrtaining), Gourmet (the food was great!) and Steakhouse (the food was awesome that night but still edible). The 24 hour snack bar late at night doesnt offer much selection Hamburgers, (sometimes) fries and if you ask cheese pizza. At the buffet they had 3 lovely men making fresh omelettes for you. Although the line was a little long at times it was worth it! Just find what you like! there is something for everyone. TIP: if you miss breakfast the beach snack bar/24hr bar has tons of stuff throughout the day! Buns, cold cuts, cheese, fruits and veggies. You won't go hungry.

The Room
Our room was great! We had a king size bed (although the other couple we were with got to double beds but they just push them together - no big deal) in building 11 near the beach and the pool and away from all the main building commotion. Our friends were in building 16 right beside the lobby - which was convenient when we were socializing in the lobby. I found the beds to be very comfortable - I took a nap every single day that how much I liked it!! The bathroom was very large. Sometimes we had luke warm or cool water but when every person in the resort is taking a shower at the end of the day there is a possibility that they hot water would be low. There is a fridge that is restalked every other day but if you ask the maid she will gladly give you whatever you want.

Bars/Disco
There are TONS of bars. Main pool area had 3 bars, each of the other two smaller pools had a bar, beach bar, 24hr bar, lobby bar, cigar bar, Theater bar, disco and I'm sure more I didn't discover. The lobby and cigar bars are open until 1am which is most people are heading to bed or the disco. The drinks are fantastic (try the Mojito) and the service from the waitresses amazing! They were constantly refilling our drinks! The disco was the best disco I've ever seen at a resort. Lots of bartenders, lots of alcohol to choose from and the music was a great mix of top 40, cuban, euro (something for everyone). My boyfriend HATES dancing and "clubs" and he loved this disco! Its open from 11pm-2am. After that you can head to the 24hr snack bar where they serve beer and wine all night.

We had a great time and I hope people will take into consideration where they are travelling to before they start complaining about everything! Remember your on vacation - so relax and enjoy!

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
10 Thank M0nikaS
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
toronto
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 5, 2011

To put it in a food hierarchy perspective, I'd rank most of the food as better than most TV Dinners but worse than a continental breakfast at a Hampton Inn or Super 8 Motel. That said, if you look hard enough in the buffet, you can find some okay, but not great items, at every meal.

The resort itself has nice grounds, and a great staff. Another negative is frequent hot water outages in the shower. Also, although the sign at the Disco warns, in four languages, that nobody under 18 is permitted, that doesn't stop families from bringing their small children in there.

If you can afford to go somewhere better, I'd recommend doing that, but if you're on a budget, you can still have a good time there if you search the buffet for the better food.

  • Stayed January 2011, traveled with friends
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank hbball
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers are raving about these Varadero hotels

Montreal, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 5, 2011

My girlfriend, daughter and I spend December 27- January 3rd at the Iberostar Laguna Azul......probably the best decision I have made. Very leery of spending the sum I did and not have good weather but except for the first day (December 28- I think we brought cooler weather from Montreal) the weather was hot- not a cloud in the sky. The food was extremely good, always fresh. The service was excellent, including the groundsmen whom made palm leaf hats for us. All our request were well received.....staff very curtious and helpful.

The nightlife was amazing....the resort comes alive at night, whether it be in the lobby with live music, the theater with live nightly shows or the discoteque to dance the night away.

I read a lot of reviews on this resort before choosing the Iberostar chain.....for those who have spoken poorly of the resort- GET A LIFE!! I can tell you, as an ardent skeptic who is very value oriented- if I could suggest a location to any one of my friends, family or acquaintenance, the Iberostar Laguna Azul would be the location.

Looking forward to seeing my new Cuban friends next years at the AZUL!!

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank MohitoManiac
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
london
Level Contributor
30 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 3, 2011

Although most all inclusive food gets repetetive there was such a huge selection we never got bored it's always well presented piping hot and permanantly being topped up. We are fussy eaters and yes some bits are bland but amazing fruit and veg and always a good dishes to be had. When u have over a hundred dishes for lumch and dinner to choose from its impossible not to like something . We ate out 3times to break it all up but to b honest it want worth it .

People complain that the Laguna is not 5 star well i probably agree but much higher than a 4* people forget it's cuba plus the holiday price.
I've visited many of the varadero hotels and this is a good one, the other being the paradisus varadero which is pretty nice. We had friends at the Blau and snuck in not bad but very dated smaller rooms, average food and much smaller selection but lovely location for the beach. when our friends made the return visit they couldnt rave enough about the Laguna azul and were very impressed and felt a little peeved.

The staff are incredible here and regardless of a tip ran around after you and the for the most smiled non stop. The pools are pretty cold though as are all the other varader ohotels but the warmest sea I've ever visited literally like a hot bath. The whole development was immaculate and my only faults were minor. We are extremely fusst and we know what good is and you'll be pleased you booked. We came on a budget this year took a gamble and was incredible value. Also if you buy cigars get them in Havana they are 1/3 of the price than the resorts and airpot. Also try Mambo club typical cuban music and excellent fun I was forced to go but loved every minute of it x

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank dynham
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about IBEROSTAR Laguna Azul

Property: IBEROSTAR Laguna Azul
Address: Autopista Sur Km 17 | Punta Hicacos, Varadero 42200, Cuba
Location: Caribbean > Cuba > Matanzas Province > Varadero
Amenities:
Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#2 Business Hotel in Varadero
#7 Family Hotel in Varadero
#8 Romantic Hotel in Varadero
#22 Luxury Hotel in Varadero
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:5 star — IBEROSTAR Laguna Azul 5*
Number of rooms: 814
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located on a beautiful stretch of Varadero's Beach. Approximately 160 km from Havana and 20 min. from downtown Varadero. 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 Ranchón 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 
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Also Known As:
Iberostar Laguna Azul Hotel Varadero

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