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“Surprisingly good and Surprisingly bad”

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BelleVue Playa Caleta
Ranked #50 of 64 Hotels in Varadero
Reviewed June 9, 2013

This vacation was booked generally with a budget in mind. Wanted an ocean view room at an all-inclusive with a great price at a hotel with UN-atrocious reviews. The Playa Caleta looked like a great option. The 3.5 star rating made me uneasy but I was willing to give it a try. My past experience in Cuba was at a 4.5 star hotel so that will be the base of my comparison.

The good:
- The hotel is the first stop after the airport, so this is good to get off the bus quick. Took a day trip to Havana and we were also the last to be picked up, so that minimized our time on the bus.
- The staff is very friendly and helpful
- The beach is amazing
- The air conditioning worked great
- The water in the shower was warm and the bathroom was fairly modern and fully functional.
- The room was clean
- The view was also beautiful
- This hotel was "coupled" with the next-door hotel "Puntanera" of the same design, so our wrist bands worked as though we were guests at both hotels.
- There was always food available.
- The safe was large and reliable
- The TV worked and had channels in several languages
- There was also a functioning fridge in the room. We found it very useful.
- Didn't get sick (much)


The Bad
- The road from the highway to the hotel was under construction. It was messy walking and the Varadero 5$ all-day tour bus would not come to the hotel on its route as the road was too bad. We felt a bit disconnected/trapped as a result. Not sure when the construction will be complete, but this was not cool.
- The room was ice cold and had a very strong smell of insecticide when we arrived and the bellboy/man was very aggressive/desperate for a tip. The insecticide smell dissipated through the week, but it was always there.
- The buffet was pretty much the same thing at every meal. Sometimes strange, but sometimes we got lucky and it was very good. - Best to take little bits of things to test, then go back for what you like.
- A la carte restaurants were just OK.
- There were not a lot of people staying at the hotel. It appeared that they only were using the top 2 floors during our stay. It was a bit of a ghost town at that hotel but I assume this was because it was the beginning of the rainy season.
- our front door would not lock properly. We found this out at the end of our stay when we tested it. The security guy came and fixed it, then left. 15 minutes later, it happened again. He played with it and showed us a trick for it to lock properly, then it was ok.
- There was a sulfuric smell of exhaust coming in the room at times. Perhaps exhaust from a generator near the central air conditioning intake?
- The decorative pillows and comforters were majorly stained and really gross.
- The pool was closed (but the Puntanera pool was open to us right beside)

Conclusion
All in all, the value of this trip was there for the price that we paid. We spent a nice week in an exotic, sunny location. My advice would be to check out and test everything in the room, and if unsatisfied, ask to be transferred to the Puntanera next door, which has newly renovated rooms. Once the construction on the road is done and the area is cleaned up a bit, I would go back for that price before the rainy season.

Room Tip: My advice would be to check out and test everything in the room, and if unsatisfied, ask to be trans...
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  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled as a couple
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10  Thank Thomas B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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138 - 144 of 1,375 reviews

Reviewed June 3, 2013

Sunwing customer service terrible. Watch for overcharge seating. Elite service seating with priority entry to aircraft is non existant. Washroom in aircraft were only accessible for 5 tob10 minutes during flight because of area restriction. Hotel currency exchange was not available. Elevators were always out of order or very slow. Carefull with drinks because the ice is made with tap water. We were sick.

  • Stayed: January 2013
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7  Thank lineandrick
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 1, 2013

I'll admit, when I first booked this resort, we were all a little skeptical. The reviews ranged from amazing to terrible, but Im so happy we did.

Pros

-Great location, we had 2 ocean view rooms on the upper floors. The views were amazing. Watching the sunrise every morning was spectacular.

-Beach, soft sand, gorgeous ocean

-Cleaning staff were absolutely amazing. Everyday we'd come back to the hotel to find cute little designs made from our towels (hearts, swans etc) and the place was clean.

-Food was fine. Everyone knows you dont go to Cuba for the fine dining. This resort offered amazing breads, croissants, omelets and pancakes plus fresh fruit and juices (and much more) every morning. In general we were away on day excursions for lunch and if we were at the resort the hamburgers and sandwiches at the pool bar were fantastic. Dinner always had a lot of options and spectacular cakes for dessert! We were well fed.

-Bars, wow, can those bartenders ever make a Pina Colada. the morning, ask them to poor some hot coffee over a full cup of ice and add a shot of coconut rum, and chocolate rum. You wont regret it. The bar locations are good as well. The swim up wasnt OPEN but while we were in the pool, one of the bartenders came down to pour us some drinks. Pretty great service if you ask me.

Entertainment was pretty good. Every night we planned on going to see the shows but got caught up hanging out on the beach. We finally went on the last night for the end of the show and had a great time.


In general, the resort could use some upgrades, it shows its age but they work hard to keep it clean. The beach, pool and staff are amazing. The price was unbelievable and Id go back in a heart beat!

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled with friends
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5  Thank Jessie-Lyn G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 30, 2013

We had a great!! Miguel and Eduardo were wonderful!!!! The pool bar was closed, but everything else was good! You won't be sorry staying here. The food was as expected, but the juice and coffee was spectacular!!

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled solo
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3  Thank Patzturn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 28, 2013

I have been there twice and hope to go in 1014.The people are great you make good friends
Food i always put on wight its that good.its 3 and ahalf star ..the only thing is if your used to4 5 star
it might not be good for you..But its closer to down town you can walk .
AND ITS SAFE I GO ALONE NO TROUBLES , Enjoy.

Room Tip: the rooms are good .if you are on the canal sid you see the lights very quite the sun comes up this...
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  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled solo
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5  Thank sisterchick_11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 21, 2013

I just returned a couple days ago and we had a great time. Two families, 10 persons and everybody want to go back to this hotel. The beach was beautiful and clean, the people very kind and overall it was a good experience. The maid, bartenders, chefs...all the staff was friendly and always willing to help. The food was decent and a short good show every night. People smoke everywhere, but nothing to do with Cuban policies. We went to a couple tours to Havana and a safari and also we visited Cardenas a town close to Varadero. This helped since I believe 7 days just in the hotel could be boring, especially for the kids. A place to return for sure.

Room Tip: Half of the rooms have ocean view.
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  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled with family
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4  Thank Juan G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 10, 2013

I just returned yesterday from a solo one week stay at the Playa Caleta. I purposely didn't read too many reviews before I left, as I wanted to remain objective. (so I'm sure some of this info will be repetitive). Overall, the oceanview room was fine. I had requested a king size bed, non-smoking room and higher floor and I ended up with 2 out of my 3 preferences (it wasn't a non-smoking room, but I also don't know if any of them were). The room was clean and my maid Tona was awesome! There was one day however that I found someone's toenail clippings on my balcony, which was kind of gross.There was no shampoo, conditioner or washcloths (which I'm sure I would have known if I had read the reviews) however I managed to make it by with the towels and bath gel. Most of the staff are pleasant and friendly and go out of their way to ensure their guests have a great vacation. The beach is absolutely awesome (can walk a long ways), great for swimming and didn't have any vendors, which is one of the most important things to me!

I only have a couple of negative comments. Firstly, guests didn't know from one day to the next whether lunch was being served at the main restaurant or the beach restaurant. Overall, the food was decent...Cuban food is always somewhat bland and to be expected (I just used tobasco to give it some zing). The pasta, omelette, stir fry bar and outside grill were awesome and the chefs were friendly and accommodating! There was a problem with fruit flies and birds around the food, but this also can be expected. Secondly, a couple of the restaurant staff were not only bad servers (one took my full coffee when I got up for some fruit), but a couple will also ask you to buy stuff (ie. cigars)...I don't think they should be trying to make money (on the side) from the hotel guests and I wonder if management is aware of this. Lastly, one day I purposely walked to a quieter place on the beach to relax and a security guard walked over (from halfway across the beach) and started talking to me. I didn't mind this, however he ended up parking himself within 5 feet, kept staring at me and wouldn't leave...I could have probably asked him to, but after a while I just went to lunch and didn't return to the beach that day.

Overall, I had a great vacation, met lots of lovely people and had the opportunity to enjoy a pro Cuban baseball game in Montanzas. I would for sure return to Playa Caleta in the future.

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled solo
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5  Thank Pay4ward
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about BelleVue Playa Caleta

Address: Ave. Kawama y Final, Varadero 42200, Cuba (Formerly Bellevue Puntanera Playa Caleta)
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 Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#30 Luxury Hotel in Varadero
#37 On the Beach Hotel in Varadero
Price Range: $108 - $210 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — BelleVue Playa Caleta 4*
Number of rooms: 255
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Playa Caleta Varadero
Playa Caleta Hotel Varadero

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