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“Great First Cuba Trip!”

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Ocean Varadero El Patriarca
Ranked #13 of 65 Hotels in Varadero
Norwich, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Great First Cuba Trip!”
Reviewed December 7, 2013

Food was "good" and the Staff was amazing! Special thanks to the Lobby Bar Staff Nestor, Jerry, Meilyn, Yania, Rosana, Yaimara, Nuriel, Ivelise, Roberto and Jorge! They provided great entertainment for everyone and were all extremely welcoming. Our room was cleaned daily above satisfaction and the entire grounds including the beach were well kept. Landscaping could use some fine tuning, but overall it was a great first Cuba trip for me.

Room Tip: I didn't investigate much, however I can't see it being worth while to upgrade to Privelidge...
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  • Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Chris B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
London, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed December 4, 2013

Our stay at El Patriarca last week of Nov was below average. The food was unacceptable /the al carte restaurants were disappointing and buffet was hit and miss at best.I lost 5lbs WOW!! The weather was mostly cloudy, windy, but still had sun a few days. Beaches are beautiful,beach bar service was excellent, they should train the rest of the staff. don't eat at beach restaurant, that was the worst of all of them. There was not a dessert that I would eat. The trip to Varadero was a nice change. The resort was clean, but we would not choose this location again. Check the weather and pack a lunch. Or just don't go. I can't believe an H10 resort could get away with 41/2 star rating. Traditional music would have been nice, it was the same tape over and over.The evening entertainment was very good but not enough to make up for the other stuff. Sorry but "THEMS THE FACTS!!!!!

Room Tip: terrace better than balcony, check yr fridge first thing make sure its working, take clothes/school...
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  • Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank rosivdapirt2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Burlington, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed December 4, 2013

Thanks to Nestor, Jerry, Eliot, Meilyn, Yaumara and Roxi for excellent service in the bar area and overall the service everywhere on the resort was polite, attentive and efficient.
I enjoyed the friendly atmosphere of this quiet resort. The beach was clean. The rooms were spotlessly maintained by our housekeeper Ari.
I would most certainly stay there again.

  • Stayed November 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
5 Thank Patrick M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ancaster, Canada
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
Reviewed December 3, 2013

We stayed at El Patriarca Nov 23-30th. Unfortunately we did not have good weather for the week - only 2 1/2 days of sun out of 7. The other days were rain, thick overcast clouds and high winds. Our review below is OUR experience at the resort and how it compares to other resort vacations we've had in the Caribbean.

We have previously stayed in Varadero at Iberostar Laguna Azul (Nov 2012) and Melia Buenavista, Cayo Santa Maria (Aug 2010). In our opinion, these 2 resorts were much better than El Patriarca. Also, we have been to Punta Cana and the Mayan Riviera many times staying at the RIU's, Iberostar's, Dreams, Gran Bahia Principe's and Excellence chains just to name a few of the 15 or more that we have vacationed at over the last 10 years or so. In terms of the resort, amenities and food experience we would rate El Patriarca near the bottom, unfortunately.

We would like to first say that this commentary should not be a reflection of the staff and other workers at the resort. The Cuban people are wonderful, warm, friendly and always looking to help or serve with a smile. Regardless of tipping or not (and there were unfortunately many that we noticed that did not) the servers, bartenders and wait staff always served with a smile.

Although we often made good attempts to speak in Spanish, we found most of the resort staff spoke very good English and communication was NEVER a problem. Front desk staff were fluent and efficient and took care of any issues such as requesting a room change the first night (we had requested a king bed upon booking but got 2 double beds upon check in). When we asked for a change they contacted us the next day with what we had initially asked for - a king bed on second floor).

Bartenders, bellboys, maids and waiters were happy to please at all times. They were extremely appreciative of any tips and/or gifts. I brought many golf/baseball caps which I gave away and everyone was SO happy to receive them. I also brought 5 old baseball gloves that are no longer used at home and gave them to several workers on the resort and you can't imagine how happy they were to receive them!

Our reason for giving the resort a low rating is primarily for the food and secondly for the boring and cheap looking buildings on the resort. The buffet was the worst of all the resorts we have ever been to including the other Cuban resorts mentioned above. The food was virtually the same for lunch and dinner. Also, the dinner buffet was virtually exactly the same every night (with VERY minor differences). There was NO carving station at all. They had a pizza station (very average at best), a pasta area where they prepared your spaghetti or rotini - this was good. One grilling station had fish (same offerings every evening) and the other firlling station had meat (same every night also - chicken strips, pork and thin beef strips). We would rate them average. Breakfast offering was also the same each day and rated average.

The resort buildings had no tropical feel - they looked like boring Florida townhoueses made of cheap siding. The rooms were all functional with comfortable beds nice shower & washroom facilities. We felt the accommodations were fine with no real complaints

They had 3 al a cartes. We went to the Asian restaurant only once - average at best. We rotated between the Italian and Gourmet the other 6 nights. We would rate these 2 above average. Not a lot of dishes to select from (perhaps 4 to 6 different main entres). All in all we found the food to lack variety and the quality was no better than average as a whole. The lunch buffet at the beach buffet was terrible and we didn't eat there at all. The poolside restaurant was ok if you wanted burgers & fries.

There was no atmosphere or ambiance at any of the dining facilities. The lights every where were very bright and hardly provided a relaxing and enjoyable atmosphere. We felt like we were in a hospital cafteria!!

Not much to do at this resort. We didn't attend many of the entertainment theatre events - they were average for the ones we did. There were a few fun evenings we had in the Piano Bar with some musicians who played good tunes and engaged the small audience.

We felt that with some easy improvements, this resort could move up in our rating, but sadly we wouldn't give it more than a 3.5 star. Again, this is comparing this resort to all the other 4.5 and 5 star resorts we've vacationed at.

We would like to mention some very good people at the resort who provided excellent service, always with a smile. They are Felix (bellboy who speaks fluent English and an electical engineer by training), Aneslaidy at the poolbar & restaurant, all the bartenders at the lobby bar - Nestor, Jorge, etc. At the beach bar, John was our guy! The staff at the Italian restaurant always took good care of us - Luis, Lilly, Jenney, Chabelis.. Fantastic!!

Great people - shame about the resort and unfortunately will not be looking to return - too many other places that are much better for the same price and same star rating..

  • Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
2 Thank Hola-Ancaster
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Level 5 Contributor
53 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
Reviewed December 1, 2013

Just came back from 1 week at Ocean Varadero El Patriarca, with a party of 8 adults, all with extensive travel experiences around the world, which includes more than 10 all-inclusive resorts in the Carribeans.

This resort is nice but the only reason we felt it was marked as a 5-stars is because it's fairly new and the rooms are more modern compared to other resorts. We were hoping for the "wow factor", which we never saw.

Most staff is nice, but this you would expect at any resort/hotel.

Shows were spectacular: do not miss the Michael Jackson one and the Aquatic Ballet- it's amazing what they do in a 4 feet deep pool.

The grounds are well kept, but since it's new, it's lacking mature trees and vegetation. Don't expect to be awaken by birds or see tons of flowers, gardens.

There's no public area with a view : restaurants and buffets are far from the beach and the curtains are always down, no matter what the weather is so you can't really see outside. Even the beach snack-bar doesn't have a beach view... Very disappointing.

The food was good, but always the same, ie. You'll find the same during lunch everyday than at dinner. In a 5 stars hotel, you should expect diversity, with theme nights for example, where the food differs a little bit. It was very disappointing not to have shrimps offered every night in the buffet.

Room service: We were told on our last day that we were only allowed 1 beer/1 cola per room. This is unacceptable. In the 7 days we were there, we were given 2 waters, 2 beers and 1 cola in total. Yes, this means our room was not serviced and it's important to note that the beer we obtained, we traded it in exchange of an orange juice. The explanation was: go in the lobby if you are thirsty, you can have everything you want there. When it rains like it did for half of our stay, i'd like to be able to stay in and enjoy the balcony.

Outdoor games: there are no bikes available, shuffleboard or horseshoe set-up. Other than sit on a beach/pool chair, there's not much to do in the resort. One pool table is available, i can't imagine what it's like on a rainy day, in peak season. And as mentioned by another reviewer, the animation team takes back the volleyball lines and ball once they're done with their activity. Not ideal.

I wish there were hammocks available, or more intimate spaces on that resort.

Don't get me wrong, this place is good and would have rated tops if i was expecting/paying for a 4 stars.

  • Stayed November 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank love_travel_music
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Surrey, Canada
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed December 1, 2013

We just returned home from a weeks vacation at this resort and have mixed feelings about this "all inclusive" resort. This was our first trip to Cuba and didn't really know what to expect. We were told this 4.5 star resort was brand new (only 10 months old) upon further investigation it is actually quite an old resort that has had a facelift. I'll just give the good and bad and you can decide from my experiences if this resort is for you.

THE GOOD; the beach, the nightly entertainment, the piano bar (Tania is the life of the place) rooms are very spacious and clean.

THE OK; The food was actually not too bad once you got to know what to choose, unfortunately the selection is limited and the buffet seems to be the only place for breakfast.

THE BAD; No clock in room, no face cloths, no tissues, limited to one roll of toilet paper per day, no ice machines, only one beer in the bar fridge daily (unless you leave $5/ day in the fridge and you will get 4 more), the bed was very hard and uncomfortable, No WIFI unless you pay $10/hr. no hot tub, no beach or pool drink service, I didn't like the grounds staff always asking me to go and get beers for them from the bar. Drinks seemed difficult to get from the onsite bars. I felt that I always had to tip $1-2 pesos for every drink or we would not see the waitress again. The spa was closed when we were there,

In general I feel that this 4.5 star hotel would be a 2 1/2 - 3 star accommodation in Mexico and the service lags behind the service that we have experienced in Mexico, would I return to this resort in Cuba......probably not as the only "WOW" factor for me was the beach. We will stick to the Mayan Riviera for our next vacation.

Happy Trails and adventures

Room Tip: Get an upper floor room closer to the beach as it is quite a long walk from the lobby area
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  • Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank Andrew B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
St. Albert, Alberta
Level 3 Contributor
20 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed November 30, 2013 via mobile

We were there between November 18 and the 25th. We were so lucky with regards to the weather. A cold front had just moved off the day before we arrived and brought in spectacular weather for the next 6 days.

The free catamaran trips on the beach were great. Antonio was our guide for the free catamaran trip out to explore the sea and we were able to book him the next day to take us out snorkelling. The cost was minimal compared to other tours. We saw so many fish and he took such beautiful pictures of the coral and plant life as well as of our group under water. We have wonderful memories of this excursion.

We took the double decker bus into Varadero for a shopping trip and we were not disappointed. We purchased many little trinkets for family at home and stopped at Del Quijote, where we had an amazing Seafood Paella. On another night we took a taxi into Varadero to have the lobster special at Varadero 60. It was the best meal we had on our entire trip. Unbelievable!!!!

Our main tour was a classic car ride to Havana and I have to tell you .... if you do only one tour while on this beautiful island this is the one. We had our own driver (Carlos) and tour guide Neil who was amazing. I have never been on a tour where the guide knew so much, spoke such awesome English and was able to convey the information with so much love of his country. Neil was able to take us to areas that the normal tours don't go and we were able to see a good portion of what real Cuban life is like.

The resort itself was beautiful and very clean. We stayed in the privileged block with our rooms facing the ocean. A special thanks to "J" for making this possible. Our rooms were amazing and clean.

The place to be on this resort after 7:00 p.m. is the piano bar. What a great place to sit back, sing, dance and enjoy your evening.

We were celebrating a special Birthday and Romilio was wonderful for organizing all the little details that we forgot. I will definitely upgrade on my next trip here it is well worth the money.

The buffet was very good with tons of choices. Maybe not all of the food had that stand out taste, but over all you will never go hungry here. We ate at all 3 of the a` la carte restaurants, and I personally had the fish at all 3. I could not have asked for better dishes. Moist and so full of flavour. My companions all had one of the other choices at each of the restaurants with the shrimp pasta at the oriental being their favourite.

The beach was very nice with a decent amount of room on the privileged side. One comment would be that they need to monitor it better for those who have not paid for that upgrade as a number of the nicer spots were taken by the non privileged guests.

One other note is, having been to Jamaica a number of times, I would love to see some type of bar service available on the beach. Something to think about.

Over all I would highly recommend this resort and I will be returning with my husband very, very soon. Awesome Place and Country!!!!

Stayed November 2013, traveled with friends
Helpful?
7 Thank Smokey777
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Ocean Varadero El Patriarca

Property: Ocean Varadero El Patriarca
Address: Autopista Sur km 18 | Punta Hicacos, Varadero 42200, Cuba
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Cuba > Matanzas Province > Varadero
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #13 of 65 Hotels in Varadero
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:5 star — Ocean Varadero El Patriarca 5*
Number of rooms: 420
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Prime oceanfront property stretching more than 200 meters wide, Ocean Varadero El Patriarca is a five-star resort reflecting the 40’s and 50’s Varadero historic architecture. Complete with 420 deluxe rooms, Privilege Deluxe and Privilege Junior Suites; an array of thematic restaurants; a Despacio Spa Centre; Privilege Exclusive Rooms and Services, Privilege Lounge and upgraded amenities. ... more   less 
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