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Islazul Mar del Sur Aparthotel
Ranked #51 of 64 Hotels in Varadero
Reviewed April 10, 2013

I had a reservation at a family house for 30 CUC a night, no breakfast included. When I arrived the family was not there so I started walking and thanks to my Lonely Planet I arrived to Mar del Sur. I paid 49 CUC a night ALL-INCLUSIVE...I could not believe it! The food is good and 24 hour open bar! They have a rancho on the beach with bar too. One night there was a magic show...excellent! The staff is friendly although they don´t have the information of the surroundings. The rooms are in regular shape, but hey! It is Cuba. As long as they are clean, I am fine with it.

Room Tip: My room had a balcony and it was outside of the complex.
  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled solo
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3  Thank Diana G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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114 - 120 of 464 reviews

Reviewed April 10, 2013

Reciently got back from this resort and must say, the staff are amazing,there considerate and very helpfull. I arrived late with my son and were booked in fast,the gentlemen on the front desk that night was great ,he upgraded us with no cost just wanted to make our stay compfortable,which he did.The beach is just a block away ,catch a drink on the way at the beach bar.One thing i can say for this place and 2 star places are you don,t have to wait in a line up of more then 2 people if that!!! I,ve stayed at 4 stars for 3 yrs and hated them, too many people and long long line ups for drink,this is not so for 2 stars. The resort is smak in the center of town walking to restaurants and night spot are convient,no taxies needed BONUS!!! i highly recomend this resort ,great bang for your buck!!!!

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with family
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3  Thank sunbunny_12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 5, 2013

Check In
When we arrived we were checked in quickly and efficiently. They had someone carry our luggage up to our room (We we on the top floor). Very friendly staff when we checked in and checked out as well as helpful. Our plane was leaving at 4am and they worked a deal to keep our room till midnight.

Room
The 2 bedroom apartment was clean (Granite tile floors throughout), newer model fridge, TV was on the fritz, but all the TV's around the area seemed to be on the fritz. The room was cleaned daily with fresh linens and the maid often left the towels made up as swans etc... I think we saw 1 or 2 insects in the room the entire week. The air conditioning worked well and the main room of the apartment had a kitchen table with 4 chairs, as well as a small couch and 2 sitting chairs. There was also a balcony that overlooked the center courtyard area of the hotel. The water pressure for the shower was low, but others had good water pressure, so it may have just been our block and top level room that cause lower water pressure.

Food
There was only the one restaurant and the snack bar. The food was good and none of us were ever sick from eating there. The variety usually included 2-3 rice’s, potatoes, 2-3 meat choices, some cooked vegetables. The salads were either a shredded cabbage type salad or a cucumber type salad. Coffee was sporadically available; however there was always hot tea, juice and filtered water. The kids enjoyed the fruit and ice cream.

Pool
The pool was cleaned daily while we were there and the water was clean. The bottom of the pool was coloured with a brown-green colour, so it sometimes gives the appearance of greenish water, however, the water was clean for the entire duration we were there.

Bars
There are the 2 bars, one by the pool and one in the main lobby. Both bars the service was polite and quick. By around the 3rd day there, the staff would have our drinks ready while we were walking up to the bar still 20 feet away. I’d advise brining an insulated travel mug as the small plastic glasses don’t hold as much.

Location
This hotel is close to the middle of town. It was close to several banks, as well as the shops around. Some of the bigger resorts were at the far end of the peninsula making a trip to town either a bus or cab ride. This hotel was walking distance to everything. Although it was not right on the beach, it was pretty close. Never had a problem finding chairs, sun or shade depending on what we wanted.

Entertainment
They had a show Weds-Sat nights while we were there. The magic show on the Saturday night was fantastic, the other shows were a mixture of dancing. I thought the entertainment was pretty good considering it was part of the overall experience of the resort.

Safety/Security
We never had anything go missing from the room, but we did use the safe and practiced general good security measures. The area in general felt very safe and none of us were ever threatened or accosted the entire time we were down there.

Overview
I spoke with several travellers who stay often 3-5 months in the area and the general consensus was that this hotel was the best “Bang for the buck” hotel you could stay at. Being a family of 5 there are very few hotels that seem willing to accommodate us, however here they had us in a 2 bedroom apartment which worked out great.
Comparatively to North American standards I think any hotel may seem sub-standard (No hair dryer in the bathroom, no coffee maker in the room, etc…) however, it depends on what your expectations are going in. I had read reviews here and it seemed hit and miss so I went in with pretty low expectations and was pleasantly surprised with how much I liked the resort, and Cuba in general. Some of the hotels right on the beach didn’t have pools so a couple of days were there it was pretty windy and you weren’t allowed in the ocean, so at least the kids could still swim in the pool.
All in all we are planning on returning again and will look at staying here again.

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with family
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8  Thank ColinL932
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 1, 2013

Spent one week with my wife and daughter after booking last minute so took what was available. Was kind of leery after reading some reviews as this was our first time in Cuba. We thought we might be making a mistake as we were the only ones to get off the bus after a 20 min. ride from the airport. Coulden't have been more wrong. Staff was great, food more than just pretty good, rooms (small appartment really) were nice,Only Mike Holmes could find something that needs fixing and he wasen't there. Had a good size brand new fridge, AC worked excellent, beds were comfy, good water pressure, endless hot water. Apparently the TV didn't work but I can't confirm that. Met many good people, tourists like us, Cuban workers and tourists, Russians and never a problem. Everyone seemed happy to be there. Beach is beautiful, never a problem with lounge chairs or finding shade if you need it. Beach bar great, pool bar even better, and the lobby bar, I know from personal experience,is open 24 hrs. Drank the water, ate the food with no ill effect. If I was looking for something to complain about all I could come up with woul be the one inch pillows. Roll them up and they're OK. We did get a smell from the refinery but only one night. In seven days probably saw only 2 or 3 flies in our room. Didn't get to use our huge can of insect repellent.

Room Tip: We had rooms 303 and 304 in unit 12 and were quite pleased.The stairs come right out into th lobby...
  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with family
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8  Thank Marsh182154
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 27, 2013

Several times to Varadero over the past few years and the experience isn't always just the hotel. It is the people you are with, the people at the resort at the time, the weather you get, and what the hell your expectations are!!!
Open mind = fun time. Chances are, nothing will kill you in Cuba, the people survive off way less than what you get even at the most basic 2 star hotel like Mar Del Sur. I had a better experience overall here than at most 3+ star hotels. (I also visited two 5 star hotels during this trip and found I preferred Mar Del Sur staff!)

POSITIVES:
1) Food - buffet has cooks who know how to spice up the food, the meat was plentiful *some places serve the meat so you get 2 slices at a time of whatever, here you can eat all meat if you wanted to. Ice cream = always plentiful. Fruit = always there just don't expect bananas!, basic rice, tomatoes, cucumbers, soup, bread daily. Nice dining room staff

2) Staff - tipping goes along way and is APPRECIATED! I recommend tipping early and you will get great service. This is not the case in all resorts where a tip is forgotten quite fast! All bartenders were amazing EXCEPT one who just had attitude. One rotten apple did not spoil the whole bunch in this case! Less bartenders = chance fo ryou to get to know them as well. Maids were nice and did a good job with the rooms, security and bell boys nice as well, 1 entertainment and 1 dj staff both nice guys.

3) Pool - very large, nicely maintained, lots of cabanas for shade and lots of working chairs! (some resorts have broken chairs as an issue)

4) Room -got a 1 bedroom so I had 2 FULL size fridges (one was enough), a grill, excellent working AC, lOTS of space for luggage and arranging your items, good workign toilet and showerhead hot water. Nice view of the pool.

5) Location - excellent. Walk to hamburgesa joint for late night partying, 20 25 minute walk to Beatles bar (rock and roll music) and Havana club or Comparasita nightclubs. Taxi was 3-5 pesos depending if you know how to talk down the driver!

BAD:
1) food = NONE past the buffet dinner time. Have stuff in your room or go to the hamburger joint, a 24 hr bar is dangerous when you cant eat to soak up all that alcohol! Also pool snack bar guy was a little slow and ran out of items pretty quick.
2) beer = available only till 10pm at pool bar
3) drinks = no real fancy stuff and no juice during my stay only soda to mix with
4) beach = short walk away but the beach bar was lame and there was no music or activity on the beach
5) entertainment = give or take. Not nightly. Saw 2 good shows in the week and 3 bad ones!!! Still laughed and enjoyed myself though!

SO there ya have it. If you know cuba...you know that you learn the workings of the resort........coffee? from lobby bar only........good food? arrive in the first 30 minute of buffet hours.......need things in your room fast?? leave a note and a tip with the maid and chances are you will get.....this place was sooooo inexpensive that I couldn't complain. No bugs or smells bothered me at all at any point. Crowd was mixed both young, couples, singles, and seniors ( ha ha ha playing cards).

Ask me specific questions I would love to help!

Room Tip: close to the action? block 12-13....away from the lobby bar? 14 and up
  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
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8  Thank donkeykongprincess
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 16, 2013

From the moment my family and I walked in this hotel, it was a horrific experience! Check in was okay but was very slow as the staff there weren't really interested in working that day. We get to our hotel room and it was disgusting how dirty it was, like it hadn't been cleaned in years! Broken lights, curtains, mirrors, hair in the bathroom and film so thick, it looked like it had never been dusted. My wife went to complain and the disinterested check in staff gave her keys to other rooms and told her to go check which one she wanted... that's not our job!!! Fine, we switched to the least dirty one. Once in bed, I could not stop itching and I felt gross so I took a shower and as I went to turn on the water, the shower handle came off. I then had to wake up my niece and have her change rooms because my room did not have any functioning electricity which I need at night for my sleep apnea mask.

The next day, we had a friend visit and was allowed to by security. Throughout that visit, security came back and dragged her out. When we went to see what was going on, the same security guard proceeded to yell at my wife and get in her face like he was about to hit her and I then had to step in. Then a maid passed by and asked what was going on, the security guard said that we were the one's that complained about the cleaning and she then proceeded to attack us by yelling and stating that if we want a clean room and our towels changed every day, then we need to go to a 5 star hotel. My wife then said that its our vacation and we'll stay where we choose to stay to which the maid replied to my wife to "shut up". I instantly got the manager involved as I could not believe what was going on during my family's vacation. After that, I have never be made to feel so uncomfortable in my life as staff at the hotel stared at us where ever we went.

Later that night, I went to the front desk to ask if they could have some toilet paper sent to our room. They told me no problem. We then went to the lobby bar for a drink and the lazy hotel staff brought me the toilet paper at the bar... unbelievable!

The pool was full of algae and so cloudy, you couldn't see the bottom.

They ran out of mint for the mojitos, they ran out of hamburgers and french fries... The restaurants were shut down and only the buffet was open and let me tell you, the food was terrible. The coffees were like water, I chipped a tooth from a rock in my rice and beans, the tomato sauce for the spaghetti was also like water.

The games and shows were less than entertaining, only the show staff were pleasant. Bartenders and wait staff didn't care about anything... lets just say, it was the worst resort stay in my life!!!

Avoid this hotel at all costs!!!

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
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3  Thank Jay B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 15, 2013

I must say when vacationing to Cuba you can’t expect much if you are staying at a two star hotel. I’ve been to Cuba 4 times but this was my first time in Varadero I kind of expected a lot more only because it’s one of the big cities the country has to offer. I have mixed feelings about this hotel. Dislikes, the food bar isn't 24hrs and the resort is not just one hotel, but a series of small buildings that are spread out for example your room might be at one building and the actual resort somewhere else. Our room was a big disappointment kept clean but very very run down ... had some major issues (few things were stolen). The entertainment of this hotel is very SHORT. limited/ drinks were poorly made. There is two bars and the main bar only serves beer until 10 pm and the other bar only serves liquor. The food limited choices and not that great again, wasn't maintained well at all.. flies everywhere!! on the food. The ONLY GOOD THING ABOUT THIS HOTEL IS ITS LOCATION, THANK GOD FOR THAT. ITS LOCATED NEAR THE BANK AND SHOPS AND THE BEACH. We will definitely go back to Varadero but we will not return to this resort.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank anita a
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Islazul Mar del Sur Aparthotel

Address: Ave. 3ra y Calle 30, Varadero 42200, Cuba
Location: Caribbean > Cuba > Matanzas Province > Varadero
Amenities:
Kitchenette Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #51 of 64 Hotels in Varadero
Price Range: $54 - $140 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Islazul Mar del Sur Aparthotel 2.5*
Number of rooms: 366
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Also Known As:
Islazul Mar Del Sur Aparthotel Hotel Varadero
Hotel Mar Del Sur
Mar Del Sur Varadero

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