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“Varadero Is Absolutely Beautiful”

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IBEROSTAR Playa Alameda Hotel
Ranked #17 of 63 Hotels in Varadero
Ontario
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Varadero Is Absolutely Beautiful”
Reviewed January 9, 2010

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.

  • Stayed January 2010, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
5 Thank 04HarleyRider
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Vaughan
1 review
Reviewed November 2, 2009

this trip was amazingg !!! i went with 12 of myclosest friends and family from the ages of 10-40's. the service was amazing, the people were nice, the food was what ever, the location was WOW, the weather was great, many amazing activities and ALOT more!! i would definately go back !!

  • Stayed June 2008, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank Dancer4ever
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed September 6, 2009

- Lots of young, active, nice travellers from all over the world
- very creative and friendly staff
- Salsa&merengue parties all nights long
- clean beach with an everyday amusement program (if you don't want to participate -it's Ok)
- nice big rooms

  • Stayed January 2007, traveled solo
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    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Blanchneige
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Canada, Nova Scotia
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed August 14, 2009

hmm..what to say about this hotel?.. well it was a great trip!! i loved it. warm weather, went swimming everyday!! i would return soon!! lol.. well me and a group of friends went to travel cuba, and it was excellent. the people that work there are fun and exciting and when you know one worker, it seems you know them all, because they are great and friendly, and the environment there makes you not wanna leave, i will return also i have nothing bad to say about this place,... just go there it was well worth it!!

  • Stayed May 2009, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
3 Thank TaraLUCINDA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
48 reviews
38 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 78 helpful votes
Reviewed August 2, 2009

My boyfriend and I stayed at Iberostar Playa Alameda last December (2008). We were there for 1 week. As we arrived around 8-9pm in the evening, the check-in was very quick and easy. We were then taken to our rooms by a golf cart.

The room itself was clean and spacious. We did encounter a problem right away with the toilet though as it would not flush. We contacted the front desk who agreed to send a technician promptly. The technician arrived and seemed to fix the problem. However, we continued to encounter problems with the toilet throughout our stay and finally resorted to just manually flushing the toilet rather than calling them daily just to have them tell us that this problem was fixed (when it really wasn't). Oh well.

Our room was very close to the beach. This would have been a plus except they had to block off our closest beach access route because they were in the process of demolishing a small building. The beach itself was nice, but not as beautiful as the beaches closer to the town. Compared to my last stay at Breezes Varadero, the beaches at this hotel had more debris in its sand. Keep in mind that we went in December at the end of the hurricane season, so I don't know if that had anything to do with the extra debris or if it was actually because of the location.

My partner speaks Spanish, thus, when the some staff at the hotel caught wind of this, he was approached left right and centre to buy black market cigars. This didn't happen to me when I traveled with my girlfriend, so I'm chalking this up to the Spanish factor with the boyfriend.

The food on site was fine. Nothing spectacular, but that was expected already since we are in Cuba. I'm not too picky about food as long as there is food to eat, which is the case. The wait staff were good, but there were times where I had to chase them down to obtain a cutlery set or for a refill of wine. While the staff were polite and friendly, they were not exceptionally outgoing or warm. For a 4.5 star, I did expect better.

My biggest gripe about the hotel would be its location. It is the second to last hotel on the strip, so getting to town or even to a club was a bit more of a hassle. If I were to go back, I would pick a hotel that is more central next time. Can't blame the hotel for this one I guess.

The crowd at the hotel during that time was definitely older. Most people seemed like they were Europeans and in their 40's and up. Maybe it had to do with the time of the year. So if you are young and looking to party, look elsewhere or go during spring break or something.

There were positives about the hotel. I hope you will all meet "Pedro". He skillfully used a machete to help my boyfriend drain one of the souvenir coconut monkeys. He also served me with the coconut drinks a few times (which I highly recommend to anyone). There was also "Alexi" who seemed to get paid to dance day and night. It was nice to observe someone who enjoyed himself so much.

We took two excursions-one to Havana, and another to the 3 cities of Cienfuegos, Santa Clara, and Trinidad. Both are worthwhile. Just don't feed the stray dogs or else they will follow you forever. Another tip: BRING TOILET PAPER!!!! Or else you might get stuck like me taking at number 2 on the Che Guevara Memorial. Thank goodness the bathroom lady was kind enough to give me extra.

Overall, our stay was good. But I would look for a hotel closer to Varadero next time. I'm a sucker for clean, white, sandy beaches!

  • Stayed December 2008, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Lucianne
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Regina, Sk
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed July 13, 2009

Having never been to Cuba I was very wary about everything. My husband was pushing for Cuba. When it came time to make a decision I found TripAdvisor enormously helpful.
I have read a lot of reviews about this particular hotel. There was a lot of people complaining about the food and the rooms and then there were lots of people telling it like it is. Food is average, rooms are average, and service is great!
So I looked at the cons that everyone pointed out. I was none too pleased. When I looked at the pros I was curious. Just because the food isn't what everyone expect of a 4.5 Star hotel doesn't mean that it's not good!
So I decided if when we go this is the hotel I want to go to. There are lots of complaints about this place. No one really mentions the good things about it.
So Here are some very very good things about this hotel. The grounds are beautiful! Lots of beach space and lots of green. There was something about the look and feel about this place that made me think I made the right decision. Even though we pulled up in the evening!
The rooms are average. Not exceptional one way or the other. If I were to rent a hotel here in Canada I would expect about the same thing that I recieved when I was in Cuba! The only difference was that the whole room was tiled! The housekeeping staff was great. She always made sure that our fridge was stocked with water and soft drinks. She cleaned everything! And always left us little decorations made out of our blankets and towels. Unfortunately for our housekeeper she only had about 2 days off during the whole 2 weeks we were there! We were very luck to have her as our housekeeper.
The food is very much the same as it is here. Of course there is always something that's being cooked FRESH!! Fish, Pork, Beef. It's good food for the average person. If you like regular food this is the place for you! I'm a very picky eater and I always found something to eat every meal and snack! If you are expecting 5 star or even 4 star gourmet meals don't go here. Yeah it's a 4.5 Star hotel but that's according to Cuba standards! That doesn't mean it follows the same standards that we North Americans follow! It's not the Hilton!
The beach was absolutely amazing. We didn't have to go far to find Conche shells! only out about two feet! They are buried deep so make sure you look close! The hotel offers snokelling for a reasonable price. They take you out on a small catamaran, if you get sea sick don't eat and make sure you take a gravol before you go out. I don't really get sea sick but I did this time and I think it's because I ate a full breakfast before we went! The fish are amazing. We were supplied with bread to feed the fish. If you held the food in your hand the fish would literally eat out of the palm of your hand!
There are few activities to do. We did snorkelling, swimming with the dolphins, a bus tour to Havana, and taking the tourist bus into the town of Veradero for sight seeing.
The one tour I really recommend is Havana. There is so much history on this island. The guides are always very knowledgable.
So hopefully this helps you out when you are deciding where to go and stay. This Hotel has very very good service from it's employees. You can make friends very easily with all the staff. If you go, say Hi to Eduardo the chef. He's your friend!

  • Stayed January 2009, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
11 Thank saskapple
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Montreal, Canada
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed June 18, 2009

During the first week (May 22 - 29) we tried to compare - realisticaly and rather fairly I must say - with what we had seen into various Cayos since 2005 : Cayo Largo, Cayo Sta. Maria and Cayo Coco. Those former 7 trips (for my spouse) and 5 trips (for myself) were somehow our basis for choosing a good hotel in Varadero. And we realized quickly - with surprise - that the reviews we had seen on 'Trip advisor' (and on other forums or Internet sites) were a bit misguided/misleaded - but we dont want to blame anyone because in a few days / hours : conditions can changed rapidly, especially in a supposedly 4 + Stars .... Hum! Hum ! .... However, I now honestly think that we have to evaluate an hotel (precisely an 'All Inclusive' one) : "not by the many good reviews we can see' ... but rather "by the few ones that are out of the ordinary , that aren't so gentle reviews, or those that tend to criticised what seems to be too nice to be true...". So we learned the Playa Alameda would close at the end of our second week (or early June).

And do you know what it really means ? We're talking here of reducing the services, closing one bar near the Lobby (Santiago bar), and then closing the Ranchon, serving the same food, making a birds' refuge into the Buffet, less employees/less clients/less enthusiasm/ less choice of food, and no ' Mint' at all for my favorite drink : the famous Mohito (only 2 days/14 they had it). But all of that happenned near the end of our first week. At that moment we started to regret our choice, to miss the Cayos where it is not perfect (we don't need perfection, we seek beauty and calm) : except the long beaches of better sands compare to the Hicacos Peninsula. In fact the beach at the City of Varadero was much nicer for us, with a true Cuban ambiance, don't miss it if you go to Varadero. For us the 3 visits to the small city were also precious in considering the 'pre-construction/revovation' related to our hotel. But the flowers, plants and trees we very beautifull, and so refreshing to see every time we came back to 'our first class hotel'... And it really helped us to feel better during our second - much longer week. We spent a great 2 days in La Habanna, stayed one night at a true 4 star - without any false pretension - at the Melia La Habanna. Even though it is not 'All Inclusive' : I would go back anytime, also because of this unique world, architecture, and contrasts (old and new) offered by the city, and heart of this country. At the 'Playa Alameda' we liked the shows every evening, or between 20.15 hr. and 21.15 hr. : they inspired us because they are good musicians.

After having experienced memorable moments in fabulous ranchons in all three Cayos, can someone imagine a 4.5 hotel in Varadero that has no 'ranchon' at all.... ?... and no 'cozy bar' opened before 8 O'clock A.M. ...Oh yes ! We did try the two (2) 'à la carte restaurants' 'Romantic / Italian' & 'Gourmet' .... in fact : how much good will, honesty and optimism can we give in order to render a correct assessment here ? I'd rather admit : it didn't matched our expectations. The results can't be comparable to any of our 7 previous Cuban hotels we had visited before. After all, what clients like us really want in a short stay of an hotel, has to do with common sense. And for us, the management is clearly responsable for the training/surveillance /constant reminder of excellence of all the employees, and at all time.... There were no presence of an Iberostar manager : otherwise we hope someone would have taken some actions concerning : birds, bathrooms, re-locate elsewhere unsatisfied clients like we heard the 'Melias have done in the past or in exceptional circumstances like 'renovating'. Furthermore, we've seen clients waiting, and asking, and waiting almost a week, and asking again for some change, some administrative decisions that would'nt come anyway... The best hotels - some 4s and perhaps many 5 stars - have understood how much the perceptions of their clients about the staff comprehension/ attentive service / and well designed site are so very important. Therefore we wish, for the future of the 'Playa Alameda' , to be able to find the right balance, and consequentely the right rating. Unfortunetaly we were there at a wrong time. Perhaps we came with too many good memories of another Cuba, of an island to discover with joy. Finally : Yes we found joy and gratitud in the eyes and smiles of Cuban people. Also I think it was our last trip to Varadero, because we have seen what we had planned before before this trip.

  • Stayed May 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank shigawake
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about IBEROSTAR Playa Alameda Hotel

Property: IBEROSTAR Playa Alameda Hotel
Address: Las Morlas, Km 19 | Punta Hicacos, Varadero, Cuba
Location: Caribbean > Cuba > Matanzas Province > Varadero
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Spa Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#4 Spa Hotel in Varadero
#9 Romantic Hotel in Varadero
#14 On the Beach Hotel in Varadero
#15 Luxury Hotel in Varadero
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — IBEROSTAR Playa Alameda Hotel 4.5*
Number of rooms: 391
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

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