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“Not what I expected from a Breezes complex”
Review of Hotel Los Cactus

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Hotel Los Cactus
Ranked #21 of 64 Hotels in Varadero
Reviewed November 8, 2012

We arrived during Oct 20/12. Our rooms were very dated and fixtures and fittings were poor quality. There were 5 lamps in the room and on arrival only one of the five were working. The fridge was also not working and the air conditioning unit had a mind of its own, turning itself on and off at will and beeping each time it did so. As if that was not enough the phone would ring during the night waking me up and when I answered it there was no one there - apparently there were faults on the line. After 3 visits from maintenance the lamps and fridge were fixed, the air conditioning unit was finally disabled but the phone had to be left off the hook.

The whole Breezes complex looked tired and we were dismayed to find that significant building works were taking place on some of the accommodation blocks but also on some of the public areas meaning one of the bars was closed and part of the games room had been relocated to the gym. Lying by the pool should have been a relaxing experience but this was spoilt by the sound of angle grinders coming from the nearby accommodation block and, on occasion, from the pool bar where work was being done while the bar was still open.

Food at best was average. We were led to believe there was a choice of a la carte restaurants. In reality there was the buffet, the Italian and the Cuban restaurants. The buffet was open every evening but only one of the other two restaurants was open on any one night and on a couple of occasions only the buffet was open. Food from the buffet was repetitive, generally cold and quite frankly just about edible. Breakfast was probably the best meal of the day - there's not a lot you can do wrong to an omelette!! The waiting staff in the buffet were also not very attentive unless the management were about when suddenly things improved!

There was an entertainment program every day but it was hit and miss as to whether the activities would happen at all. The entertainment staff were pretty good but not always around.

Cocktails varied from poor to good depending on who made them. The complex also ran out of tonic water for 3 days!!!!

The internet was a waste of time - $5 CUC for 30 mins and it is so slow that we couldn't check in for our flight on line within the 30mins.

This was my second visit to Cuba and I would definitely go again. On this trip I spent 3 nights in Havana at the Parque Central (which was fantastic) before going to Breezes for 11 nights. To be honest, had it not been for a really nice group of people that we met in Breezes then we would have requested a move to another complex or returned to Havana.

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled with friends
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6  Thank Christine11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed November 6, 2012

I have stayed at three resort in Varadaro and have been returning to the Breezes since. The staff is fun and very curtious. We bring gifts and lots of tip money as the staff is trying to do as we do provide for our families. I have spent time in Havana on business and have learned lots about the culture and met families outside of the tourism industry. They have to greatest pride out of all the latino countries I have travelled. You gain a respect for the way they live. The people of Cuba don`t have alot of possesions as we do, yet charish what they do have more than we do. You start to realize how much we do not appreciate how we live. Can`t wait to return to the Breezes in March/April for the 4th year running. Dennis & Lana

Room Tip: Food is Cuban cuisine, if you expect your food to tast like the country you are from stay home. Enjo...
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  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled as a couple
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12  Thank hemp1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 3, 2012

We went here for our second time to Cuba. This hotel was pretty quiet and relaxing during the day. Grounds are kept well manicured. Could hear the music from the resort next door till 2 in the morning everynight though. Buffet was average, not alot of choice. Food was ok. Beach is awesome. Would try another hotel next time, just to try something different. We reccomended this hotel to our friends and they enjoyed it.

Room Tip: We were on the third floor on the East side of the resort. Great view of the ocean.
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  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank 67falcon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 29, 2012

I'm a travel agent and went to stay and tour hotels in Varadero. Breezes Varadero was supposed to be the place that I stayed for the week.
We arrived Oct 20/12. Our rooms were not ready and were sent to the buffet lunch area. It was 2:30 pm so lunch was just about over. The food had been sitting for the duration and most of it was a "mystery as to what it actually was".
Bird flew in from everywhere and landed on bread, desserts - anything they could land on except where there was fire or someone was doing the cooking. There was NO EFFORT to keep them away and guests were expected to eat the very same bread etc where the birds landed. I was horrified.
Our journey was long and started at 4am. So by the time we got to our room we were already exhausted.
The room with 2 double beds and living area was considered a suite. I've stayed in Motels that were better appointed.
There is no money spent on beds/bedding/pillows. They are so old they should have been changed 10 or more years ago.
We went to bed at 9:30pm. I awoke during the night feeling uncomfortable but thought it was just because I was in a different bed and not my own. When I finally turned the lights on less than 12 hours later my arms, back, breasts, legs were covered on the right side with bites.
I went to show the reception desk. While they were friendly there was little they had any authority to do.
I asked the Tour Operator whether they had internet. I got a link back that said they did but it was for extra $$. I was prepared to pay as I had a wedding couple looking for a place for their destination wedding staying at a different resort and needed to communicate with them.
I was never able to get a phone line that would connect with the other hotel. Whether that was the result of the resort or the phone system, I don't know.
Then I tried the internet. I asked how does it work? They told me I needed to buy a card - $5 Cuban Dollars for 30 minutes. I bought 2. They took my money. Then I inquired where it was and they pointed up but informed me after taking my money that the internet was down for the last 48 hours. This would have been good information to have before they took my money.

Out of frustration of not being able to make communication, I decided to go to the other resort personally to make the arrangements for all my site inspections on Monday.

As each hour progressed my bites and the areas around the bites swelled larger and larger.
I got back to the resort and again showed my arm (not going to expose the rest of my body - I think the look of the arm is enough information to know there is a problem).

I got the names of the hotel Manager, a 2 public relations people that could do something however they were not there until Monday morning. I refused to sleep in the room that I was in with my 82 yr old mother. They moved us to another suite to sleep for the night. The exact same type of suite the only difference is the one we had originally had only a shower and this had a tub. Still appointed with furniture and bedding out of the 80's. Bed hard, pillows hard - no comfort.
I spoke to the hotel manager told him about my communication issues and the bites - he told me that they were either sand flea bites or mosquito bites. I didn't think they were either. By the way, at this point the only place we'd been was the buffet area and our room. Never stepped foot on the beach yet.
After the being in the second room, I decided that we'd pack, and move resorts but had no other accommodations set up. I could not get in touch with a Hola Sun rep in that resort nor did she ever return any of my calls.
My mother had fewer bites on her back and breasts and butt area mostly off to one side. The manager approached her while I went to get my camera to take the pictures of the food. He demanded to see her bites. She told him she was not going to show him her private parts in a public place - Who would do this to anyone much less an 82 yr old woman?
We went for breakfast early before 8 am.
My mother and I were horrified to see a woman at a fruit station that had two melons of some type that were covered in mold. She cut off the exterior peels and then the fruit and put it out for the people after us to eat. I was speechless. The fruit and the fruit display (although they looked nice) they were covered in tiny black flies. And, we were supposed to eat that as well. Now, add the birds continually landing on the food - bread, desserts, cheese/meat. I was really concerned. They do have some kind of netting up but it doesn't really cover the areas. They have an opening and the birds were able to land freely - no staff member ever made an effort to stop them.
We packed up and left.
I am hard pressed to say anything good about this resort and moving to another Breezes seemed like a lateral move to me. Who knows whether the conditions would have been different. It's not worth the risk.

Save your hard earned dollars skip a vacation until the following year if you have to. I visited many sites in Varadero. This was my first trip there. I would recommend the Melia Veradero and the Paradisus Veradero nothing else.

Apparently their Cuban Dollars are worth more than a Canadian Dollar. Shocking but true.
Taxi drivers - be careful. My trip in with a driver that had a yellow licence plate cost me $25 CUC to the other resort. My trip home with a government taxi blue licence place back from the same resort that I was dropped off and returned where I came from was $10 CUC. Talk about rip off. So, demand to have a taxi with a blue plate only. Make sure you ask someone how much you should pay to get from one destination to another and TELL the taxi how much you're going to pay him.

Cuba does not accept any credit cards linked to an American bank. They don't take Amex. Only Visa and Mastercard. However, I had a Capital One Mastercard and even though it was Canadian and didn't have any money owing it was decline. So, really they only accept credit cards either Mastercard or Visa from the top Canadian banks.

Also, they don't allow collect calls from Cuba to Canada. Long distance calls are very expensive but you have to pay those costs. It would concern me that a young adult could have an emergency and no way to reach family for help. Local calls are 50 cents a minute CUC.

The people don't have much. I knew this. So, I traveled with things about $150 worth of things we take for granted from the dollar store. Toothpaste, tooth brushes for adults and kids, disposable razors, shaving cream, perfume, nail polish, deodorant, liquid soap and bar soap and small gifts for kids. I took ziplock bags with me and made up gift bags and gave them to the staff. I handed out about 15 stocked bags to various people at the resort. I left 3 bags for their accounting department. They wanted to meet me before I left. I did meet them, they were grateful.
Even though my experience was a nightmare, I still want to leave any place I've been better than when I arrived. These staples that are readily accessible and we take for granted are difficult and costly for Cubans. They were most grateful and appreciative for the gesture. If you are able to do this, it means more than leaving a tip although we still left tips too.

I didn't care where I went any place would have been better than this resort. I was willing to risk not having a reservation just to get out. I don't suggest this especially during their peak seasons as getting rooms could be a challenge.

Save your money, spend some more and go to another resort - Melia Varadero or the Paradisus are both in my opinion better options.

I don't have any clients that I would send here. I wouldn't even send an enemy to this place.

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled with family
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15  Thank Sue W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 28, 2012

. This is our third visit to Cuba and our first to Breezes Varadero. What can I say? A vacation is what you make it and ours was excellent. The staff was awesome. Courteous, accommodating and very happy. They were gracious and although we gave them tips, they did not expect them. The food was better than expected as we have stayed at another resort 2 previous times and the food was not nearly as palatable. I really enjoyed being able to get a pizza, burger or dog at 2:00 in the morning. I didn't notice that the birds were that bad at the buffet as some have indicated and they did try to keep the food covered with netting, but guests have to be helpful by replacing the netting after getting their food. The beach was absolutely awesome and playing in the waves was something that 8 adults (most over the age of 50) thoroughly enjoyed. I recommend having a massage, it's cheap and enjoyable. I can't say that I found anything that I didn't enjoy. Certainly one of the best things there was the coffee bar that is open from 3:30 to 11:00 daily and offers 30 different types of flavoured and liquered coffees YUM. Highly recommend the place and am already looking forward to our return trip next October.
p.s. Rebecca and Kyle, if you are reading this, hope you had a good trip home and a wonderful honeymoon. It was nice to meet you. If you ever see Rico Suave, please say hi from all of us hahaha.

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled with friends
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6  Thank Kim B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 27, 2012

Stayed at the Breezes Varadero Oct 13th - 20th, 2012.
The resort is small but well laid out and everything is conveniently located. The beach is beautiful, rooms are spacious and the people are fantastic.
Buffet: the buffet is open and the amount of birds is a little overwhelming, watch out for bird droppings on table and chairs. The buffet is lacking variety, same thing everyday and if you like salad forget it they had lettuce one day that week. Birds fly in and pick over the food so always take from the back. I read other reviews that the buffet was plentiful with lots of variety so I assume it was because we went in the off season. No matter there is always something you can find to eat however boring it might be. The grill offered pizza, hot dogs and hamburgers none of which I can eat so have no idea how they tasted. One day at the grill they served shaved chicken, fancy rice and some different veggies which was very good unfortunately it was only for the one day. Friday is Galla night and the buffet is larger/better. We didn't try any of the a la carts as we were told they were worse than the buffet. You will not gain any weight from the food at this resort, booze maybe, but people don't go to Cuba for the food, if you want good food in Cuba stick to the 5 star hotels and you won't be disappointed.
Beach: Chairs at the beach are very old and saggy, very uncomfortable. If you hunt around you might find a couple that are better than the rest. Lots of cabana's if you prefer the shade. Beach is beautiful and hard to beat and the water is crystal clear, just beautiful.
Entertainment: good but nothing outstanding. The music trivia night was a good laugh. Disco was pretty empty most nights, just a few people.
Rooms: They are spacious and clean. We had ordered a king size bed but ended up with 2 twins pushed together. The beds kept separating and sheets wouldn't stay in place because they weren't large enough to tuck in. My bed was hard as a rock, my husbands was much nicer. If you go make sure to tell them you want a real king size bed, they do have some rooms with these beds. The furniture was standard although we did have a broken chair and the glass on the coffee table was missing. Lights on the night tables didn't work and by the end of the week we had one light left working in the living area. We could have asked for the bulbs to be replaced but didn't bother. Washroom was standard and clean, small ants but that's the norm. Our room was perfectly located on the ground floor right beside the buffet and walkway to the beach or pool, all very close. Our friend had a garden room on the second level which was very nice and spacious with a nice balcony.
Staff: all staff was very welcoming and after the first day they were like your best friend. The Cubian people are the best so warm and friendly and seem to take pleasure in serving you.
Value: it was a cheap getaway which for the second trip of the year is what I was looking for. Would I go back, probably not, I'll stick to the 5 star hotels in Cuba.
We did a trip into Havana this time, after 4 times in Cuba I thought it was time to see the city. Little bit overwhelming with all the begging but our guide, Ray, prepared us for it and told us how to handle the people. Ray was super informative and helpful.
Tips: If you're a tea drinker take your own, our friend kept being told they had no tea. Take your thermos mugs to keep your drinks cold. There are junior suites at the far end of the resort over where the disco is but I was told that although very nice they were too far away from everything else and you could hear the beat from the disco.

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank mm8109
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 23, 2012

We enjoyed our first visit, December 2011 that we are returning December 2012.
2011 - Check in at Varadero Airport went quickly and smoothly. Luggage pick up was quick and transfer to hotel went well. Check in at Breezes Varadero was good and money exchange acceptable.
Our room was very acceptable, clean, neat and had been recently refinished/upgraded. We had a ground floor with terrace and will choose a second floor with balcony next time. Three small negatives about our room where the drapes where uneven (off the hooks), paint splats on some windows and door knobs, seems when they paint, they don't clean up the splatters and our first day we had tiny, tiny ants in our room but we had an in house guest, a small lizard and by the second day - no ants or lizard. No big deal really, we were quite pleased with our room. There are on going renovations with one block being completed while we where there,
our stay was very pleasant and relaxing. The food was plentiful, much variety & refreshments unlimited. The beach was the greatest, clean, security present ( to keep locals from bothering us too much). Some items offered on thr beach are cheaper at the market in Varadero. Non motorized sports are avilable for free. We did a catamaran sail. The grounds are spacious, clean, lots of vegetation/flowers, walking paths and large pool and 3 hot tubs. The service at the buffet and 3 la carte restaurants was exceptional. The service people are so helpful, pleasant and always smiling with hand shakes, hugs and cheek kisses plentiful. They are so gratful to serve you and happy that you chose to holiday in Cuba. The evening entertainment, nightly was spectacular, put on by local Cubans. Some have tremendous singing voices. daytime activities are a lot of fun and where enjoyed.
We only did the double decker bus ride into Varadero and to the end of the Varadero Peninsula. For 5 pesos you can get on and off the bus all day. We heard the day trip to Havana was good and we will do that on our next visit. Bad report about the Jeep 4 wheeler excursion. First of all they are not Jeeps but worn out Suzukis. A mechanic travels with the tour so what does that tell you.
Some visitors mentioned a noise problem at night from the hotel next door. Their room block was located close to the adjoining Tuxpan Hotel and staying at the location of these suites should be considered if you are booked there. We had no problem with noise anytime and our room was next to the pool, pool bar and cafeteria. Also some did not get great service at a la carte restaurant, but they had a late sitting and the restaurant had run out of some items and did not give as good service as the early sittings. Reserve early!
If you are a wash cloth person, bring a wash cloth, these are not provided, towels only. We where told to bring tea but their tea was ok but they did run out a couple of times. We also brought our own thermal mugs which came in handy keeping your drink cold. They where filled on request with any refreshment you wanted.
We were so pleased with the accomodations, service, freindliness, warm hearted people eager to please, we tipped generously. We made friends with other guests and are now friends with some service people. We are looking forwaed to our next visit. The Nolitours person(s) on site where very helpful.
Back to Breezes, Varadero, December 2012.

  • Stayed: December 2011, traveled as a couple
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8  Thank Vernon J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel Los Cactus

Address: Carretera de las Americas, Km 3.5, Varadero 42200, Cuba (Formerly Breezes Varadero)
Location: Caribbean > Cuba > Matanzas Province > Varadero
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#10 Family Hotel in Varadero
#10 Romantic Hotel in Varadero
#14 Top resorts Hotel in Varadero
#15 Luxury Hotel in Varadero
#17 On the Beach Hotel in Varadero
Price Range: $106 - $267 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Hotel Los Cactus 4*
Number of rooms: 270
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Los Cactus is a Super-Inclusive Resort for adults -singles and couples 12 years and older , where all meals, wine, local and international beverages, water sports, land sports with equipment and instruction, entertainment and other activities are included in one single price. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Breezes Varadero Hotel Varadero
Breezes Hotel Varadero
Varadero Breezes Hotel
Breezes Varadero Cuba
Superclubs Breezes Varadero Hotel

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