We've just returned from the Playa Alameda and wanted to share our experience. We are extensive travelers, having gone to several Caribbean locations over the years. After reading some of these reviews, I really have to wonder what people are expecting. Do your homework and know the country you are traveling to. If you have proper expectations, you will have a great time here.
The Playa Alameda is a good value for families. Although advertised by some as a 4.5 or 5 star, it's definitely not. Having been to Cuba three times to similar resorts claiming to be 4.5 or 5 stars, I'd hazard to say a 5 star by North American standards is non-existent here.
Having said that, if you go with proper expectations and want to enjoy a wonderful beach and a relaxing time with your family, this is a good choice.
Located about 45 min from the airport on a wonderful stretch of beach, the resort offers a great getaway.
Room: We stayed in block 17, facing the ocean side. It was quiet and located just steps from the beach which made it very convenient. Upon arrival, it took 3 times and then a call to the maintenance workers to get the key card to work. Even though it was almost 1 am and we were traveling with two children ages 9 and 12, we didn't see this as a big deal. Things happen, deal with it. Once we got into the room, there were 2 double beds and an extra bed behind the couch which our 12 year old quickly claimed as his own. The beds were hard (as most are in these types of places) and the linens could use an upgrade. The bathroom had a stand up shower and tub-which we only used to dry our swim suits in. The water was only hot at random times, but that wasn't the end of the world. The maid service was wonderful-our room was always clean and she made different towel creations each day which our children loved to see. Yes the TV only has a couple of channels. Again- not the end of the world. I didn't come all the way to Cuba to watch TV in the first place. Our AC worked fine and there was a bit of a musty smell, but we opened up the doors and it was fine. Overall, it's a typical room you get in a tropical location. I would remind other reviewers that you don't go on vacation to spend the entire time in your room.
Grounds: The grounds here are lovely. Lots of palm trees and vegetation. It is dark at night, with only random lights along the paths. If that is a concern, simply bring a small flashlight. I picked up two tiny ones from the dollar store and the kids loved being in charge of them.
Beach: This is one of the main the reason you go to Cuba. As I mentioned, we've traveled extensively to multiple Caribbean and overseas locations and the beach here is one of the best there is. Clean white sand that stretches for miles. You can also walk out quite a distance before your feet don't touch the bottom. It was uncharacteristically windy while we were there with red flags for a few of the days, but that didn't stop us from enjoying it. We took the boys snorkeling for the first time which they loved, and went on 2 catamaran rides which was another highlight -all offered by the resort.
Entertainment - Besides the snorkeling and catamaran rides, there was beach volleyball which our 12 year old played, tennis, basketball, target shooting, bingo, volleyball in the pool, a pool table and ping-pong table- all of which our boys loved. There is a kids club, but once again, we go on vacation to share it with our children so we didn't use this service.
The nightly shows were hit and miss. The magic show, circus show and Michael Jackson part of the variety show were the best. The others were just really bad and tasteless in some cases. We left during a few of them because they were so bad.
Staff- This is another reason you go to Cuba. Everyone is very friendly and welcoming, offering help if you need it and making sure your stay is enjoyable. We brought several items to leave for the maid and staff and it was appreciated by them.
Food- This is really the only negative about the resort. Once again, don't go with expectations of gourmet meals. We tried the Italian restaurant and it was awful. My husband who literally will eat anything couldn't not stomach his meal at all. One night at the buffet he tried a pasta that had shells in it. It also went uneaten. Thankfully, there is plenty of bread. You can get french fries and pizza from the grill near the beach and occasionally from the buffet. There is also an ice cream station which we frequented often. These were our staples for the week. Keep to the basics! A word of advice, bring some snacks, and Ketchup if you like it as they don't have any.
The bars were all very good and had lots of non-alcoholic slushy lemonades and juice choices for our children. If you don't want to have to refill your drink as often, bring your own insulated thermos and they will gladly refill it.
I would suggest taking the double decker bus into Varadero. It costs 5CUC per person. We stopped at a few of the markets and picked up some nice souvenirs that the kids loved. It's a good way to see other resorts as well as the conditions of the country.
Overall, a good choice for a family vacation as long as you keep your expectations in check.
The strong points: Beach, pool, great relaxing family vacation.
The weak points: The food is horrific.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located on a beautiful stretch of Varadero Beach surrounded by tropical gardens. Elegant atmosphere. Wide range of gastronomy. Varied entertainment programme. Golf course nearby. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Iberostar Playa Alameda Varadero
- Iberostar Varadero
- Playa Alameda Varadero