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Reviewed July 31, 2014

This is the review I have put off writing as we had looked forward to this for a whole year but were disappointed with some aspects. We stayed for nine nights in concierge as this had been recommended by our travel agent Cuba Direct(they did an excellent job by the way). Our room was lovely room 2701, the bed was just right and very comfortable too. The maid did not make a very good job of the sweeping in the bathroom and toilet. Most of the staff in the buffet were tremendous special mention to Barbara, Hermes and Michel who were tremendous every day we went and did not even hint at a tip for being so good however some staff if they did not ask for a tip hinted very strongly i.e. You look after me and I will look after you, I even tipped on of these but unfortunately he didn't keep his side of the bargain service wise! Sometimes the food in the buffet was not very hot but on the whole was good with an every ready omelette,fish and meet chef to cook to order. We had been led to believe that concierge customers got preference for a la carte restaurants if this is the case I can only sympathise with non concierge! We had to wait four days to have a reservation for the grill confirmed we were told on the friday that it was and a card would be in our room on the saturday this never happened and the same sequence was repeated several times until the monday when I asked to see the manager and Alex intervened and sorted it out. As I pointed out to the concierge staff we did not come on holiday to be stressed out several times. The service in the Italian on the particular night we went was terrible with the manager ignoring us when we showed up while he wrote things on a pad and wandered off eventually coming back to ask in a demanding way room number he then pointed at a table without escorting us to it. We had to wait 35 minutes for our drinks order to come and that was after asking a second time. The food was OK and the decor unexceptional, personally I don't think the musicians should be allowed to come round trying to sell their CDs in a so called high end venue but it happened. The Caribe restaurant was the compile opposite with excellent service and food, the decor was lovely but again musicians plying their wares. The seafood food was OK but ambience somewhat lacking. The grill when we eventually got there had good food and service although the toilet facilities need considerable improvement . We were told that there were about 400 people staying in a resort which is meant to cater for 800 the place seemed to be struggling in all areas when only half full so wouldn't like to be there when full! The beach itself was gorgeous but in our experience was somewhat spoilt by groups of ignorant Canadians flicking their cigarette ends and leaving their litter all over the beach. In our experience it was impossible to get a decent sunbed in a good position as most of them were saved by books or other objects being placed on them with beds not being occupied for hours at a time.Some of the guests behaved like absolute pigs in the buffet picking food off the displays with their fingers and eating it,piling their plates high and leaving half of it being rude to the staff, it was as hough they had never seen food or drink before. The atmosphere at night was similar to an 18 to 30s holiday but older.The standard of cleaning in the grounds and paths was good but again guests need to be educated about flicking cigarette buts around and leaving litter.To repeat most of the staff were very good and the concierge staff too even if they lacked co-ordination working one day on and one off. The dress code in the a la carte restaurants needs to be made clear and enforced as we saw lots of guests not adhering to it, if scruffy jeans were worn this was deemed acceptable whereas sometimes smart shorts was not. We would also like to thank Rooney in The Piano bar for his excellent service and Tracee and Davide' for their magnificent company.
Unfortunately not up to expectations and needs a lot more polishing.

Date of stay: July 2014
  • Trip type: Traveled as a couple
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
13  Thank redvanmorrison
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 30, 2014

Just returned from a very good stay at this resort. Hotel itself is beautiful and staff is very friendly and helpful. I would like to highlight excellent service provided by Reglita, Barbara, Hermes and Jorge at the restaurant. Though we had a very good vacation there are few things to be improved in order to make this hotel a 5 star resort. Sleep quality is not the greatest, especially if you are staying on the first floor - air conditioner motor is right behind the room and it is quite loud...Sorry, guys, but gym facility is absolutely terrible - not air conditioned, no shower, equipment is ancient - very easy to get seriously injured. We were staying in the sunrise section and it would be very helpful to have water station to wash off sand from the feet before entering resort area.
Very special comments to "SunWing vacation" - probably we will never travel with this company again. We've booked our flight seats in advance (for an additional cost, of course),but at the airport it tuned out that those seats had been assigned to other passengers.... Out trip to Havana, booked with SunWing, was very disappointing - our tour guide with very limited English gave us very poor information about Cuban history, but instead brought us to cigar and coffee shops..... Another SunWing trip - "swimming with dolphins" was not better either...Be aware! There is no swimming- we were just standing in the water ( 40 people !) and touching those gorgeous animals. Snorkeling afterwards was terrible! Absolutely dead area - nothing to see! But crew guys are very good - lots of fun! In addition - tour busses are always very late!!!
There are special words to be said about our transfer from the hotel, which almost ruined our great vacation. There were two busses assigned for people to be transferred to Varadero airport (for the same flight!). First bus (late, of course!) half full, leaving us behind with explanation that driver does not have our name on the pick-up list... Second bus driver (does not speak English at all!) was trying to charge 10 pesos per person for transfer, by pointing his finger on the paper with our names on it....
Anther advice for future travellers - try to do money exchange at the airport - hotel rate is very low!!!
Bottom line - resort is very good, but travel with different tour operator.

Room tip: Higher floors have less A/C noise
Date of stay: May 2014
  • Trip type: Traveled as a couple
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
7  Thank April Z
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 30, 2014

My boyfriend and I recently spent two weeks on Cuba. The last week we spent at Royal Hicacos. The Lonely Planet guidebook states that the Varadero beach probably is one of the best beaches in the whole of Caribbean. I would not be surprised if that was actually true. The beach is amazing and the water is lovely, clean and clear. And the Royal Hicacos probably has the best stretch of beach on the peninsula. We spent every day on the beach, even though the hotel pool also seemed popular among the other guests.

The all inclusive resort concept is what it is. And the Varadero peninsula is nothing more than a gathering of luxury hotel resorts one after the other. But Varadero Beach still is a perfect place for lazy days in the sun - with little to resemble the culture and atmosphere of Cuba.

With that being said, the Royal Hicacos truly is a great place to spend a couple of days to just relax in the sun. The hotel is adults only, and a popular place for both weddings and honey moons. We found it to be the most appealing hotel in the area. Many of the other resorts on the peninsula are giant, tall hotel buildings, while Royal Hicacos are spread over many two- and three story houses built to resemble the colorful houses that originally was built here in the 40's and 50's. The garden is also lovely. When we visited there was some ongoing renovations and construction work due to an upgrade of the hotel. Despite this we had a lovely stay. The service was impeccable, the food variation plentiful and the staff was overall very helpful and professional.

The buffet restaurant is made like a food court, and there was four á la carte restaurants (italian, carribean, sea food and a beach barbecue) where you'd have to make a reservation. We especially enjoyed the food in the Caribbean Restaurant. Also the convenience of the all day open Bistro (serving pizza, crepes, hamburgers, sandwiches and beverages) and the friendly staff working here was highly appreciated.

We also had a day at the SPA with different treatments, and we found it to be of good quality.

The hotel even offer water sports equipment at the water sports center by the far left end of the beach. You can do kayaking, windsurfing, and use pedal boats and snorkeling gear for free. Snorkeling trips (a couple of hours) with the daily dive boat are free for hotel guests. (We chose a snorkeling trip with catamaran just 15 minutes off the beach for 20 CUC per person).

Varadero might not be the place where you get to experience the soul of Cuba, but for relaxing beach life one of the best beaches in the whole of caribbean it is a good place. The luxury and comfort of Royal Hicacos was highly appreciated in a country with many challenges for a lot of people.

Date of stay: July 2014
  • Trip type: Traveled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
8  Thank Marskiege
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 29, 2014

My partner and I have just returned from our holiday to the Royal and despite what the other reviews read, we had a wonderful fourteen day trip. Yes, the smell of chemical or sewage was rather strong around the pool and the beds were a little hard however, the staff could not do enough for us and made our trip very memorable. I would suggest that the food was exceptionally good for an all inclusive with a good selection of fish and meats. The entertainments team worked around the clock to make people enjoy their day and particularly in the evening where the varied range of skilled outside entertainers were fantastic! I would recommend this hotel and come on everyone... any hotel is not perfect! We are very well traveled and we give this an excellent...

Room tip: ground floor rooms opposite the gardens are quieter and close to another swimming pool
Date of stay: July 2014
  • Trip type: Traveled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank Lesley F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 29, 2014

Just returned from a great stay at this hotel. Would definitely recommend it. In summary:
Location - probably the best stretch of beach on the peninsula and the crystal blue waters of the sea were unforgetable
Facilities - despite the renovations and some need of a spruce up the hotel is lovely. The pool was large enough not to get too busy and there were enough sports activities to keep you active.
Food - we actually used the buffet most of the time because there was enough variety but when we did venture to the a la carte we were surprised by the quality of the options e.g. lobster And steak
Service - it was fairly quiet so there was plenty of waiters around who were very friendly without making you feel they were only trying to get tips from you. The entertainment staff were great too!
Overall - we don't usually return to the same place twice but if we did return to cuba I am sure it would be to this hotel. Only negative was the mosquitos so pack some spray and after bite cream.

Date of stay: July 2014
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank Experience325476
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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