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Barcelo Solymar
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Savings alert! 31% below average rates

The price you found is 31% lower than this hotel's average rate of $224/night.

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Reviews (7,525)
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Reviewed June 23, 2008

Travelled here in May with some friends(all in our mid 20s) and we had the time of our lives.

Two of us stayed in a bungalow and two in the main building. I was part of the unfortunate two that stayed in the bungalows. The hotel rooms are cleaner and cooler than the bungalows. Our air conditioning wasn't strong at all and there were a few bugs(especially mosquitoes). We aren't very picky and we don't have air conditioning back home anyway so we didn't ask to switch rooms. If you really want to stay in a bungalow, bring plenty of bug spray with at least 30% DEET. You will need to coat yourself with it before going to sleep. Our friends in the hotel room did not have any problems with bugs, mosquitoes or A/C. The only positives about staying in the bungalow was the proximity to the beach and the privacy.

Some people complain about the noise from the lobby bar in the main building but this is not a factor if you're going to be staying out all night clubbing and partying.

The food was decent. You will not find fine cuisine here but there is always something good from the vast selection of buffet food. Definitely book the a la carte restaurants as we found the food there vastly superior. The snack bar Las Dunas also has some decent sandwiches in the afternoon. And the burgers at Tropimar after a night of clubbing will satisfy that drunken hunger. There is music and burgers there from about 11PM to 7AM. Also looove the cafe lattes at the lobby bar.

I also recommend going out to restaurants in Varadero for some really good lobster at very affordable prices. All our best meals were at restaurants outside the resort. La Barbacoa is a 5 minute walk from the resort and has a good lobster meal for 10 CUC.

After 11:30 PM the resort is pretty quiet. Every night, everyone gathers outside the hotel to go to the clubs. That's where the party is. The taxi ride to any club is usually 5 CUC, although there is one club that is within walking distance. It costs 10 CUC to get in any club and then about 1-2 CUC for beer and between 2-4 CUC for drinks. The clubs are packed every single night with beautiful people from all the different resorts in Varadero. There are also lots of local Cubans that come out to party. My only gripe is that at every club you will hear the exact same songs, which are mostly American top 40 with a few latin songs in the mix.

The beach is the most beautiful I've seen out of all the places I've travelled to including Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Mexico and Europe. The water is clear and warm and the sand is white. The beach is also very clean. Just beware some people that will try to sell you cigars, telling you that their father works at the cigar factory and can get good prices. These cigars are all fakes and a huge waste of money. Buy them from a real cigar shop instead.

I will definitely come back to this resort but will be staying in the main building next time. We met lots of great people from all over Canada and Europe, with the majority of guests in their 20s. The staff is friendly also but be sure to tip the bartenders if you expect priority service. They always remember the good tippers. Our bartender at the lobby bar always made sure we were taken care of and would prepare our drinks with simple eye contact even with a crowd of people still waiting to be served.

I recommend this resort for people in their late teens, twenties and earlier thirties looking to party and meet lots of others in the same age bracket.

  • Stayed: May 2008, traveled with friends
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3  Thank loveadvil
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 23, 2008

I have stayed at the Barcelo Solymar 19 times , so I think I know
a bit about this hotel and Cuba.I been travelling to Cuba for more
than 20 yrs,Cuba is a third world country ,the people struggle each day to survive , but these people are always happy,and
work long hours 10 to 15 hour days . So before you leave for Cuba read up on some of their history.When you get there keep an
open mind ,treat the Cuban people the way you want to be treated.This hotel has alot to offer,it has most beautiful stretch of
beach , it is wide and lots shady if you need it. The entertainment
team will keep you busy with soccer, volleyball, dancing and all
sorts of games ,that take place on the beach or by the pools. Plus
there is a beach bar with 2 of the best bartenders in Cuba
(GEORGE & ALIHOCHY). The rooms are large and clean,but
remember you are on vacation and only use your room to shower
and sleep. The food is always hot and fresh at each meal with
lots of variety , remember keep an open mind and try dfferent types of food, it might not taste like back home but you maybe
surprise.The staff at this hotel is excellent if you treat them with respect , get to know them on a personal bases
they will go that extra mile for you. Smile at them greet them and
every so often give them a couple of pesos .Remember if you were back home you would have to tip 10% - 15% .IF you have
problem with anything see the front desk and if they can't help
you see the public relations girls they will solve all your problems
within reason. Don't let minor details ruin your vacation. keep an open mind when you travel to Cuba ,enjoy their culture,food music and their friendly people, and you will have a great time.

  • Stayed: June 2008, traveled with friends
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6  Thank ninoToronto
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 23, 2008

We stayed in the the hotel from 5 June to 19 June. As soon as we got there we were upgraded to a bungalow appartment - which we were suprised about!

The reception was quite quick in processing us as we were a group of 7 so they dealth with us all together. First impression on reception area WOW!!! what a lot of plants and how warm??

Walking to the bungalow appartment you go past the pools (which are lovely) lots of space around and lots of plants around too... ooh and watch you dont stand on a lizard... they live here to!!

Bungalows are aircondidtioned and it worked for the two weeks we in there... although that wasnt much as we were around the pool, on the beach or out and about in Varadero, Matanzas and Havanna.

Food from the main restuarant in the hotel was great, lots of choice everyday with great service from the waiters/waitresses BUT be prepared to tip a $1 each time you go in. The Ranchon restaurant was good but we didnt enjoy the Italian restaurant in the hotel next to the main restaurant - didnt get very good food in there... needless to say we only ate there once.

Trips out are good and varied... take an open top bus tour around Varadero and travel from the hotel all along the peninsula and then into Varadero and as far as Al Capones Restaurant and back again. The ticket lasts from about 9am to 9pm and you can hop on and off as you please.

The trip to Havanna was interesting. Our tour guide Barbara was very good and very thorough... she took us to some interesting places - one of which was Revolution Square and the monument to Jose Martiz (the original founder of the Republic of Cuba). It was good to see where the modern day Cuban Government sit and give their speeches as we sat in the seated area below the monument. Its well worth going to the top of the tower for a complete view of Havanna.

When in Havanna, you will notice a hotch potch of good and poor buildings... La Bodega Del Medio (Hemmingways bar) (Cubas most famous bar) is a must for a cool refreshing drink as is Floridita - Hemmingways bar and the home of the Daquerie.

Be prepared to see alot of begging in Havanna and many many people trying to sell you cigars.... we dont smoke so unfortunately we didnt buy any.

We stopped in a hotel, overnight, in the Havanna Libre hotel (the former Hilton Hotel) great accommodation but the food and waiters service was absolute rubbish!!!

The remaining days of the holiday were spent by the pool or on the beach and the odd tour.... when it wasnt thundering or raining... which is part and parcel of the tropics!!!! We had a great time on our holiday and will definately return back to this hotel and Cuba in general.

Oh by the way, if you walk just about 10 mins from the hotel toward Varaderro, there is a bar called CALLE 62... its ok for the first couple of times, but night after night it would become the same stuff all the time... we went a couple of times at the beginning and once at the end ... and on those occassions, the same games were being played and the same person won all the time (a local man)...

Anyway, we hope this advise has been of some use...

have a good holiday!!!

  • Stayed: June 2008, traveled with friends
    • Value
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    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
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    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
6  Thank Craig L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 12, 2008

We had been a bit concerned about some of the comments made about this hotel, so much so that I rang the travel agent and requested a quiet room. We had a room on the 3rd floor and it was fine. No slamming doors, arguing couples or unacceptable behaviour. We did hear a few late night revellers returning from the town in the early hours but I took earplugs so really didn't hear a thing. The room was clean and adequate with air con that worked well and plenty of toilet paper and clean towels. The beds aren't huge and the sheets are a bit on the small side but it was OK. The service was generally very good and you feel the staf are trying very hard to make you welcome and give a good service. We did tip quite heavily at the start and this seemed to ensure that we got good servcie each tme from the same servers. Some staff were less friendly but in the main they were all OK. The buffet is pretty good but it is good to go to the a la carte restaurants and all 3 that we tried were good but we did get bitten in the seafood restaurant quite a lot by the mosquitos. The beach is the best I have ever seen. The sea is clear and warm and the beach is a beautiful stretch of white sand. It was pretty quiet while we were there and you could always find a quiet spot both on the beach and round the pool.
We took advice to take our own plastic beakers for drinks and this proved a great idea as it saved up going up to the bar for small cups of drink every 5 minutes.
There were several young couples and a few groups of young men and women (mainly Canadian) who seemed to be there to party but there was never any trouble or bad behaviour - I guess it's luck of the draw who chooses to go to the same hotel as you. I can see that in the height of the season it could be very busy round the bars and pools but when we went it was quiet and easy to get towels, drinks etc.
We took the overnight trip to Havana and the Tropicana club which was really good. Excellent value and interesting to see the old parts of Havana. We were hassled quite a lot - not aggressively but just on going. We were duped a couple of times in the museums when the attendants usher you into an area giving the impression they are letting you into somewhere special. They then hijack your camera and start clicking away and return it on the presentaion of a few pesos.
Overall, we must have tipped about £300 during our 2 weeksand it is certainly expected. We also took pencils and paper etc to give away but to be honest we didn't see any children that looked like they needed them (other than on the route to Havana where we didn't stop). Cuba certainly didn't come across as poor as we had been led to believe and was better than other Carribean islands that we had been to - good roads, modern cars, reasonably stocked shops etc.
We would go back to Varadero but maybe to a hotel that had nore a la carte restaurants. Definitley worth going!

  • Stayed: June 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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5  Thank traveljunkie16
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 11, 2008

Just come back from a week vacation in the Barcelo Resort
( June 1 to June 8 )
arrived around 3.00 pm and the check in was very quick and the girls in the recepcion were pleasant and well manered
we tried to speak a little spanish because there languase is not English, but they try really hard, even in Italian, French and German
first we booked a bungallow trough Air Canada Vacations and we got one near the small pool and very close to the ocean,what we liked in the begging.
When we started unpacking we realized the terrible smell in the closet ( mold mildew .... ) had to keep everything inside our suitcases :( and decided to keep it closed .
On the 2nd night my husband saw a roach and in the morning we requested a solution to the problem; but in the 3 one was my turn to see another hudge one :(
went to the reception and one of the girls started laughing sayng the firts time is always like that, we told her that we spent vacations in others places and we knew Africa so was not our first time!
then another lady moved us very fast to the main building to the 4 floor , this one had a nicew view and was clean
talking about beds and pillows :
we requested a queen or a king bed; in both we got double beds
the matresses in the bungalow were terrible
and the pillows so old!
in the Hotel room tboth were ok
people that work in the Hotel were always very pleasant and nice
food was terrible:(
the drinks offered to us were always rum with something
no other choises
went to the Sea Food restaurant a la cart and had Lobster that was ok
went also to the Italian a la carte but didnt like that much
we can call us picky eaters but Canadians like us, people from England, Belgiam, Germany and Portuguese also complained
the service is good they try thei best, and appreciate all the tips and little gifts
they always welcome you with a great smile a hug and a kiss ( what is normal I guess for Latin People )
went also to La Habana and the tourist guy ( Rene ) was very, very nice and gives you all the explanations that you want
we realized that Cuba is really a 3 world country, and they really
need so much stuff and we tried to see Cuba with " real eyes "
what we loved :
the ocean, always nice and warm and crystal clear
the people
even made friend with some Cubans and we are going to miss some of them! : Manuel in the restaurant buffet ,Janet the animation Girl, Jorge the animation boy ,Lala at the pool bar, Ernesto the " omolette guy ", the banana flambe lady
and so many more
the gardens were very well kept by a few gardens that worked all day to have everything nice to the tourists

didnt like :
beds
food
and the zilions of mosquitos
we were eaten alive and we used mosquito juice and so on
thank God for Bennadril :)

top news :

Lazaro the Air Canada Vacations Rep is top Star
if somebody will see him please give him our best regards

Paula and Fernando

  • Stayed: June 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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2  Thank Paula57Ottawa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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