My spouse and I just returned from The Iberostar Playa Alameda in beautiful Varadero, Cuba. This resort was absolutely beautiful, and had everything we could have asked for.
Reception - When we arrived, we were part of a very small group of only two or three couples, so there was very little wait at check-in. Unfortunately since we arrived around lunch our room was not ready, but there was a room available to keep our luggage safe while we went out to explore the resort. It would have been nice if they would have had a courtesy room available, but when we asked they said we could shower and change at the small gym change room. It was the same when we checked out. We also did not receive our welcome cocktails, that the larger groups were greeted with. While these are small details, it was a poor first impression.
Rooms - When we did get our room, it was worth the wait. The rooms were exceptionally clean and recently renovated with lovely tile work in the bathroom. There was a full tub and separate shower, and one converted outlet to plug in an electric shaver (115V). There was no 110V converters available, so leave your curling irons and laptops at home, however this is very common in Cuba. The rooms were quite large and had a separate seating area, so there was a place to lounge if you had company. Also, the rooms were in much smaller buildings then the larger resorts, so it was more like having your own suite. No bugs, no critters, perfect!
Food - The food at the buffets was amazing. While the cuisine was international, and there was not too much authentic Cuban cuisine, there was such a variety that we were content with every meal. The main buffet had a pasta bar, a cold salad bar, a desert bar, a fresh variety of bread, and a great selection of well prepared and tasty meal options. Plus for the true gourmet, every few nights they had things like seafood (including huge lobster tails), sushi, and a wide assortment of meats and cheeses.
As for the A La Carte restaurants, we tried one, and we weren't really impressed. The meal wasn’t bad, and it was much more intimate then the buffet, but it didn’t really seem all that amazing.
There were also options for those who didn’t want to stray too far from the pool or beach. The pool had a gorgeous restaurant and bar where you could order hot dogs, hamburgers and pizza all day and night. There were also servers during the day to take your order and bring your food and drink right to you, so if you were enjoying the sun, you didn’t even have to move.
The resort had a bar right on the beach, and a great little buffet a stones throw from the water. Again, if you didn’t want to go far, everything you could ask for was right there.
All-in-all, the food was fantastic, and you never went hungry.
Drinks - I really enjoyed the drinks at the resort. As I am not a huge fan of colourful, fruity drinks, the wide selection of international drinks was great, and inclusive! The liquors ranged from good scotch and brandy, to Bailey's, and even a nice champagne. The downside is that the daiquiris and such were not quite as good as we had become accustomed to in places like Cancun. And as they ran out of mint leaves, the always popular Mojito was unavailable. While I preferred a Jaimisons and a cigar after dinner, if you are looking for the typical frozen touristy concoctions, you may be let down.
Pool - While the pools weren't too big, they were very nice to lounge around, and always clean. There was no swim up bar, but the service was second to none, as you rarely had to get out of your lounge chair to grab a refreshment.
Beach - As we spent last Christmas in Cancun with a very lackluster beach, we had high hopes for the beaches of Varadero, and we were not let down. The beach was absolutely gorgeous with clean sand, and an amazing swimming area. There were hardly any rocks or quarrel, so we had no problem diving into the picturesque warm waters of the Mediterranean Sea. In a word, "perfection".
Entertainment - There were great shows to see every night in the outdoor theatre. From extravagant dance performances, to magic shows and even a circus themed performance, we were very impressed with the entertainment. There were also games to play on the beach with great prizes, and the pool area was always busy with dance lessons, and even step aerobics. Compared to what we heard from other tourists on the flight home, we had one of the best resorts on the island for entertainment.
Service - The service was amazing at this resort. The rooms were always clean, the restaurants were spic and span, the beach and pool were well maintained, and our needs were met in every way. We were never stuck waiting in line for drinks or meals, and the staff never pestered us for tips. In reality, we never had a problem tipping because the service was always above our expectations. We were spoiled in comparison to other resorts.
Conclusion - As this was our first trip to Cuba, the resort met all of our expectations. While the weather was not the greatest during our stay, we still enjoyed our time at the Playa Alameda very much, and we definitely owe that to this high class resort and their amazing staff.
Needless to say, we will be back to Veradero, I just hope that next time there is a little more sun.
- 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
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- Also Known As:
- Iberostar Playa Alameda Varadero
- Iberostar Varadero
- Playa Alameda Varadero