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“It's party time, 24/7” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Hotel Palma Real

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Hotel Palma Real
Ranked #46 of 63 Hotels in Varadero
Richmond Hill, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“It's party time, 24/7”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 8, 2011

Went there with my brother just before New Year's. Admittedly, we had fairly low expectations because we'd never been to Cuba before. It turned out to be the most amazing vacation ever! Words cannot describe how much fun it was.

Havana Club is the place to go at night most of the time. It's within walking distance (1 minute walk) and it's usually free cover although you do have to pay for drinks. We got bottle service on New Year's Eve which turned out to be a great idea because we were pretty much the center of attention for the rest of the night.

The hotel was always clean given the constant drinking (practically 24/7). The room was always clean in the afternoon, just in time for a quick nap. The room was surprisingly large, with two twin-size beds. Service at the bars and the snack bars was OK if you tipped regularly. The food was also OK. Can't complain about a free ham & cheese sandwich at 4 am, although there were limited choices as to what you could get.

The entertainers & live bands there really made for a fun party-like atmosphere. There were a lot of drinking games going on as well. Lots of people 20-something. It was like frosh week / spring break but 10000 times better.

The location of Palma Real is probably the best in Varadero. There is a snack bar on the beach, part of the Palma Real resort, which is really great because you can get free drinks on the beach.

When it comes to Palma Real, I would say there is nothing I didn't like. The hotel was rated 3.5 stars when we booked, but really it's 4 stars. I would not go to any other hotel / resort in Varadero.

  • Stayed January 2011, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
6 Thank dtohatan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
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English first
Rotherham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
13 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 5, 2011

Well what can i say. ill be 100% honest here.

there are alot of negatives in this review but most can put up with - there not major.

Arriving at hotel - only short coach journey to hotel, reception staff cannot speak much english, check in was long,

When we arrived at this hotel there was a bell boy he didnt take our cases as we was last to be checked in he already left. So we walked around for 30 mins trying to find our room. We asked 3 members of staff who were all puzzled. But one staff member eventually helped us find it.
That was the worst part of the holiday

Room - our room was nice. basic but exceeded our expectations. Only issue i had is the bathroom wasnt as clean as i would have liked. the bath had bad marks on it and the tiles as stains on them. But hey how much time do you spend in a bathroom? I didnt have a bath only a shower as the bath was in poor condition.
Also the wardrobe door keeps coming off the runners. But its not something that bothers most.

Pool - very and big and pool bar was great but the bar tender was very slack. The pool temp was cold so not many people went in but as you to go the swim up bar the guy isnt there a lot of the time so you have to wait to get served even though theres only prob 1 other person waiting.
The pool wasnt clean. It was clean when we arrived then went doent hill from them on.
Plently of sunbed - no need to go down early to reserve.
entertainment was good round the pool but didnt last very long but the annimation team are very nice people

shows - shows were good but was repeated the 2nd week. entertainment doesnt start until 10.30 and only lasted 45mins max so was a bit poor

resturant and food - the food in resturant was poor always cold and not much choice. A lot of people did become ill with the food in resturant. There was a very small selection. There was fish, salad, chips, bread and another foods that were international. So if you didnt like many of what i mentioned then you wont like the food here.
We was there for 14 nights and out of that time we spent most (id say 12 out of 14 days) eating the the italian restrant or snack bar. snack bar is good but only has burgers, hot dogs and ham and cheese tosties so when your there for 14 nights gets boring. The italian was better in the afternoon then at night - there was more choice.
Pizzas were nice and speghetti as far as food goes in cuba i dont think any where has great food - This i would say was there worst part of the hotel.
Oh and the service in the resturant wasnt very good some days. we would pretty much eat all of our meal and then ask what we would like to drink.

We did eat out. Therea a nice park 2mins walk away with a nice italian. it is nice but menu hard to understand and most food you dont recognise.
We also eat out at the local bar down the road. bar 62 i think its called. very nice food there. i had the chicken and it was great. the food i very good priced.

Location - This hotel was good for location. near to the main strip. What you have to understand about cuba is that when i say this is main part of varadero to me and you it wont seem like that. there are a few restrants near by... thats it.. few shops that sell nic nacs nothing really. The markets are really good theres about 4 in total all sell the same things but some is really nice. There is also a americano shopping centre near by - prices are high and its not that big (to me and you)

trips - we stayed overnight on the havana trip with tropicanc show - it was expensive and not worth the money at all. It was nice to see havana but on the 1st day all you do is have a full day tour around havana - and all its history. Then go to your hotel - which i would like to say was very bad the room smelt and beds had stains on them and air con didnt work. and the water was brown. when we spoke to rep about this he said they dont usually use this hotel. The tropicana show was good although seats wasnt very good to see the show. if you go to tropicana show takes full lengh trousers (men) we had to buy some whilst we were there as we didnt take any and paid alot of money for them in americano mall. The next day was better a trip to the rum factory was ok and the cigar shop was ok - had enought by this point and was glad to be back to our hotel later that evening.
Another trip we went on was the catamarn trip was good. all inc on boat and food on the island was good. very relaxing and pretty island. worth the money. You can snoorkel here

Beach - was pretty - you still get sea weed on the beach but it clean and theres plenty on lifeguards. The sea i rough here and cannot swim in it most of the time but great for relaxing and paddling.

Overall - good holiday but wont be returning

Please be aware to all people looking at going ot cuba. Theres not much to do here not outdoor activities. Only get currency from cuba at the hotel reception is the best. Also note there are no brands at all in cuba, only there own. Also if you would like to purchase cigarets they are cheapest at airport but they are very cheap anyway. Also i wouldnt recommend to buy cigars from anyone in street - they are not made correctly - bananna leaves. and cubans are the nicest people you will ever meet

tip - dont tip cubans with money give them an old t-shirt or something they perfer it.

Cuba is an eye opener. Its an expirience to see how they live and what the coutry is like but its very diferent. So please dont come here and expect a mcdonalds or anything even close to that because you wont even get a cafe

Sorry about the long review but its my 2 weeks here in one long review. everything i have wrote is 100% honest. Please ask any questions if you would like to know more. I hope this was some help

  • Stayed November 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
6 Thank roxyndave
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 3, 2011

I went to Varadero and stayed at the Palma Real from Dec. 21~28, 2010. The hotel is located at the end of the city, enabling you to walk right into the town and experience the culture and homes around it.
The walk to the beach is 3 minutes, and can easily be found even if you get lost. This peninsula is very small, so it does not take long to walk from the beach to the other end of the land, where the hotel is located. The beach is magnificent, despite some bad weather for 2 days, we were able to enjoy it's calm waves. The water is clear blue, and the soft white sand makes it look picture perfect.
The hotel service was excellent, if you do your research and leave small gifts for maids such as small shampoos and conditioners, they create animals out of sheets for you and leave the room in excellent condition. She also left us a thank you note! If you enjoy being outdoors like my partner and I, the room did not matter to much and was mostly for sleeping. There was a functional bathroom, TV, balcony and 2 single beds put together to create a larger bed. The mattresses were comfortable, the safe was easy to use and they also have extra sheets in the closet and air conditioning if the room gets too hot.
The lobby was great for getting together and meeting people, all bartenders were amazing and friendly. If you want entertainment and a good time, the lobby may not have some good performances for you and it is best to buy those tours to performances instead. The lobby entertainment is just meant for you to have a good time and relax. My partner and I paid no real attention to them, but the music had been enjoyable and we found no real issue with it.
The good thing about this hotel, was food could always be available even at late nights. There was a 24 Hour snack bar, and the breakfast, lunch and dinner buffets last for 3 hours giving you time to make it to eat. The food was slightly different every day, and they had a lot of variety. However if you don't find yourself liking any of the food, there are many restaurants located around the hotel where you can get a meal for 2 for a price of at least $16. You will find costs there to be very cheap, and the meals are delicious.
While walking in town you will find a rum house and art galleries, as well as many souvenir shops. You can also walk along the streets by the beach where you will find homes and local bars for the town.
We never found ourselves going to the pool. but there are 2 pool locations and one that has a poolside bar. The reason for never going was because there was a whole beach to enjoy, rather than a pool we could easily swim in back home. Everything however is clean, and many poolside chairs and towels to use. There is nightlife, but we never found ourselves going. However we hear good news about it, and since you stay at the hotel there is no cover charge. The club is right beside the Hotel, so you can enjoy yourself and get back safely with a 3 minute walk.
There is one minor problem with the hallways however, since the area is so open everything can be heard in the hallways and when it is windy the doors slam and can be heard very loud. Other than that, no one can hear you in your rooms from the outside, it is just someone speaking very loudly or doors slamming where the noise could bug you. That being said, there weren't many people roaming the halls to begin with during our stay, just a lot of wind.
My overall experience at the Palma Real was amazing, and If you are looking for a hotel to just stay indoors, then this hotel may not be for you. However if you want to experience the lifestyle of Cuba and are always outdoors I highly recommend this hotel. It is at the end of the city, and you won't find yourself having to take a bus to get anywhere, unless you don't enjoy a good walk.

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
6 Thank JCSang
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ajax, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 2, 2011

After looking at a few hotels before the trip, we read quite a few reviews on the Palma Real and other resorts around town. All the reviews on this hotel were quite good so we decided to go with it for our Christmas vacation. We arrived at the hotel around 1pm on Dec. 21st and check in was relatively quick. Our room was ready at 1:30 and on ground level with a pool view and patio.

Room was kind of sparse but fairly clean and didn't smell musty. We had hot water with good pressure, but the lack of towels was a bit frustrating. They only gave you 2 small bath towels and 1 bathmat. The view and location by the pools more than made up for the shortcomings of towels.

The food was very basic and they didn't change the menu very often. You could tell that they reheated the previous days leftovers and rolls sometimes. You wouldn't starve but the food was second rate. They did put on a beautiful display and had a variety of lobster, fish, turkey and pork for Christmas dinner.

There was no lack of alcohol and entertainment every night. The staff was great and very friendly. All in all it was a great vacation with good weather except for the last two days when it cooled down quite a bit. We would definitely recommend this hotel to people who are looking for a good value and close to the town.

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank JBDK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
2 reviews
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 29, 2010

We stayed there for the Christmas week. I would not neither recommend to nor discourage from visiting this hotel. For me the major goal was to swim in the sea, have place where to sleep and some food to eat - and for this Palma Real is the perfect place to have it.
I did like:
- The service - it was very good.
- Location - to walk to Varadeo.
- The price was cheap.
- The beach was good - sand and nice entrance to the sea.
I didn't like:
- The poor entertainment program. (Since there were few days, when storm kept us inside the hotel, I expected more from this. Except 2 evenings program was the same - dancing and singing by the single female singer and the same dancing team. They were not bad, but not for 5 days in a row.)
- 10 minutes walk to the beach.
- Even in December low crowd volume time there were problems with finding beach beds.
- Safety for small children - there were gaps on the balcony and stairs railing. Was not a problem for us, just noticed that.
- There were no "smoking" - "non-smoking" areas. So for me (as non-smoker) it was not pleasant sometimes to second hand smoke.
- Food could be better. It was very basic and monotonous. And looks like they do not know what is salt and pepper. Kind of tasteless.

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Versak
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Canada
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 25, 2010

I read some really good and seriously bad reviews here so I was a bit nervous about our visit. The price was very low so I had fairly low expectations and the resort basically met them. The food was really bad, even for Cuba it was bad! I stayed in Cayo Coco a few times at the Blau and the food is not great there either but at least they did some nice BBQ's and stir fry's using garlic and other spices. On a positive note they had some delicious melon for the first few days but then it ran out.

More on the food; almost everything is served cold or luke-warm at best, the fries (which are pretty good when fresh and crispy) seemed to be served twice and are cold and soggy by dinner. The assortment of food is very limited and does not change day-to-day. On our last night they served a roast turkey that was tasty and a decent vegetable soup.

Overall service was OK, staff was not very friendly but they were not rude either. We would probably be considered average tippers (not every single meal and drink but most) and some of the staff seemed to not like that. The rooms did not have a fridge and it was not a very big deal at this time of the year but it would have really bothered me if I had went during a warmer season.

The grounds were kept tidy and groomed but there was some garbage in the stairwell of our complex that remained there all week. Many of the lights in the hallways and around the grounds were burned out. One of the biggest problems of this place seem to be the overall design of the rooms, the hallways had a huge echo and we could hear every sound of everyone leaving their rooms all day and night long. The rooms themselves are on the small size, the bed was a big one (king) but I could feel the springs in the mattress.

Someone tried to scam us on the ride back to the airport upon leaving and that was a bit upsetting. He just pulled up in a white van at the time our transport was supposed to arrive and I asked him. "Are you our ride to the airport"? He said yes and drove us and some other guests there and then told us he was a taxi service and we had to pay 30 dollars for the ride. Or course we refused but it was upsetting.

In conclusion, the value was OK because the price was so low but it fell below my minimum standard with the food being so bad. I would have given this place a 2 1/2 star rating if I could but because I am forced to choose I think a 2 is more appropriate.

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank jaygrant123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers are raving about these Varadero hotels

London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
19 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 24, 2010

I stayed here with my partner for two weeks and overall would say the accommodation was very good value but having said that I still wouldn't recommend people come here from the UK for 2 weeks (or to Varadero at all for 2 weeks).

Service: 5/5 Excellent throughout the time we were there. There is plenty of staff and they are very polite. Tipping goes a long way too if for instance you want drinks delivered to you but you won't get bad service if you don't tip. All the staff were very friendly and approachable.
Rooms: 3/5 What you'd expect for the price in a 3* hotel. Reasonably clean, comfortable and spacious but expect the odd cracked tile or discolouration on surfaces and maybe dodgy looking wiring too. However, each room had a balcony. We were in 1324... it's one of the best rooms there is because it has a sea view and looks right down onto the big pool bar and all of the activities. Cleaners are lovely and make very creative new towel sculptures each day.
Location: 4/5 One of the best resorts for proximity to town. It’s a 5 minute walk to a park with ostriches in and you can walk to the flea market on the other side of town but it will take you a bit over an hour. All of the other hotels are way up the peninsula and you are a bit stranded for things to do outside of the hotel. Behind the hotel there is a Club (Club Havana) which is free to get into and cheap drinks and Calle 62 which is an open air bar with a good atmosphere and good entertainment. The walk to the beach is 5 minutes at the most and it’s beautiful when you get there.
Food: 2/5 This is where the hotel really lets you down. There are 4 restaurants: traditional Cuban, Chinese, Italian and the buffet. You have to book the Cuban, Italian and Chinese in advance (we found we could book the morning before). There is also a 24 grill serving hot dogs and burgers. The food is very bland though; not much flavour or spice and often re-used and re-used again. The Cuban restaurant was a load of deep fried stuff with no flavour or seasoning. The Italian made pizzas which were edible (and saved you from the buffet) but were struggling to meet the quality of a 90p pizza from asda. The Chinese was ok but there were no Chinese spices it appears so it didn’t like Chinese food. When we first went to the buffet we found there was enough to pick and choose and have a good meal but after 2 weeks we were really sick of it and couldn’t have another meal there ever again. Unfortunately, there is not really much relief as Varadero’s restaurants are similarly bland. Better food can be found in Havana.
Drink: 3/5 Be warned, a spirit mixer will always comprise of half a glass of spirits and half of the mixer. Everything is really strong because the alcohol is cheaper than the mixers out there! Depending on the bar staff (seems to revolve week on week) the rum is super cheap stuff, not very nice but you can still get a decent Mojito out of it. Sometimes they break out the odd bottle of Havana club rum though. Cocktails aren’t made with fresh fruit and ingredients, they are usually rum and one of their various slush drinks with a flavoured liquor. Beer is on tap and not too bad. DON’T go near the wine, you have been warned! I read reviews about it before and still had a glass.... heed my warning though it’s horrendous. There is even a bar on the beach which is great.
Varadero activities: 2/5 The hotel has various activities and the staff are fantastic at getting people into things but it gets a little repetitive after the first week. There is also free use of pedalos & kayaks on the beach. Paid activities are fairly limited – you could very easily cover it all in a week. It’s also worth noting that they don’t really have many properly trained lifeguards so as soon as the waves at the beach get to a decent size (not even very big), they close the beaches. If you are coming to Varadero for 2 weeks I would really recommend you factor some money for a trip to Havana or Trinidad because there isn’t enough to do in Varadero unless you are just after the beach.

Come to the Palma Real for a couple of days for the friendly staff and value for money but two weeks is too long to be at the hotel (and Varadero in general to be honest).

  • Stayed November 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Tom_is_on_holiday
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel Palma Real

Property: Hotel Palma Real
Address: Calle 64, Varadero 42200, Cuba (Formerly BelleVue Palma Real)
Location: Caribbean > Cuba > Matanzas Province > Varadero
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#31 Top resorts Hotel in Varadero
#33 Luxury Hotel in Varadero
#35 On the Beach Hotel in Varadero
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:4 star — Hotel Palma Real 4*
Number of rooms: 466
Also Known As:
Hotetur Palma Real Hotel
Palma Real Cuba
Hotetur Palma Real Varadero
Hotel Palma Real Cuba
Palma Real Varadero Cuba
Palma Real Hotel Cuba
Varadero Palma Real
Hotel Palma Real Varadero Cuba

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