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“Had a great time in Cuba Feb 27- Mar 6 2013”

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Blau Marina Varadero Resort
Ranked #36 of 63 Hotels in Varadero
London, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Had a great time in Cuba Feb 27- Mar 6 2013”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 8, 2013

Just arrived home from a great week at the Blau Marina. The staff is excellent! We had a Junior suit in building 1200 on the third floor overlooking the pool. The rooms are large and very clean. We had a large balcony . We enjoyed the Mexican restaurant and Italian restaurant . The buffet has a large selection. Love the Omelet Chef, he was always so cheery with a big smile every morning and you never waited long for your omelet. There is also a Pasta bar at night ,I tried it once and it was very good but very popular with a long line. The ocean is beautiful. There was sea weed on the beach but we did experience a large rain storm one night and the winds were very high along with large waves. So there was no avoiding things washing up on the beach. There are three pools at this resort. We only used one but did see the other two and they are more the "quit" pools. They are all very nice. The wait staff in the entire resort were excellent. Very friendly and always wanting to help in anyway. We had a great vacation.

Room Tip: Recommend you bring wash clothes. We had some cool evenings so wish I had a light sweater or sweat...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
6 Thank wanttotravelhbg
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
Thunder Bay, Ontario
Level Contributor
32 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 59 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 8, 2013

Would like to start by talking about the location of the resort. It is located at the very end of Varadero. This is very nice because there are less people around and there is no one on the beach trying to sell you stuff.

The beach itself is beautiful and there is never a problem to get beach chairs no matter what time of day you go down. No need to get up early to 'save' yourself a spot. There is quite a bit of seaweed though which is worse in some areas. The truck that goes by only mixes it in with the sand, like turns it up and doesn't really remove it. Not a major problem because there are many spots with not much seaweed perfect for playing in the sand (if you have little ones or are a big kid at heart!!)

When we got up to our first room it had a really bad musty smell and inspite of requesting a king bed and being told there was one in there, there was not and we quickly got a new room. The new room had no smell. Our room was very nice, a bit outdated but not a problem. Clean for the most part (one issue was that there was always sand in our bed even after the maid changed the sheets and made the bed) but needs a good deep scrub. Our room faced the main pool which was a nice view. The A/C worked very well.

Pools were nice. The main pool is very shallow for the most part, like less than two feet deep, until closer to the pool bar. The only other pool we went to was the one with a water fall feature and it was nice as well. Clean for the most part but, again, lots of sand on the bottoms. Could maybe use a cleaning throughout the day to keep up with this.

Food was okay, not great. Always able to find something to eat. Only one area to eat without a reservation (the main buffet) and we never attending any a la cartes. The egg bar and pancake bar were amazing and we went to one or both of them every morning. Lunch and Dinner had pizza and pasta bars which is what we went to most. There is also a meat bar at dinner but most meat cooked very rare if not specified to be well done. Also ate lunch a few times at the pool lunch area/snack bar. Hot dogs and hamburgers cooked in front of you and if you got there at the right time, a mini buffet to go along with lunch.

We had one major issue which was a piece of clothing gone missing. After searching through ALL our luggage and room twice, we were in contact with the front desk (who are very useless and don't understand english) and then the guest relations worker (who was great and very helpful with many minor issues as well throughout our stay). Guest relations did not solve the problem and we were told the only options are to call the police or forget about it. We would never wast our time on this trip to call the police over a piece of clothing but were still very upset about the situation and requested to speak to the manager. We met with the manager (who was very understanding and caring), went over the sequence of events and what was done so far for us and then the following morning our piece of clothing mysteriously turned up in the hallway just outside our room.

Tips: To get good service they EXPECT tips for the most part. There are a few who will go above and beyond and expect nothing (those are the ones we tiped and then were really taken care of). We tipped about one dollar per meal and got amazing service. In our opinion, brining toiletries from home to tip with is a waste as it takes up weight in your luggage (which with sunwing is very limited and very expensive if you go over), and not that cheap to buy anyways even at a dollar store (adds up quickly). We would next time just rather tip more money (as in the money we wouldn't spend on those things).

We took the double decker bus to town which was well worth the price (5 or 10 CUCs per person, sorry can't remember which price it was, with unlimited on/off all day). It was not that far of a ride even way down to 25th street considering we were at the very end of the island, maybe 40 mins.

Overall, we had an amazing trip and loved Varadero. Contact us with any questions and we would be more than happy to answer them to the best of our ability.

Room Tip: If you want to see action from your room, choose a pool view room. The room facing the ocean are not...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
6 Thank Travelling_Buddies
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lloydminster, Canada
Level Contributor
15 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 6, 2013

It was our first time to Cuba, keeping in mind I only had one other all inclusive experience in Jamaica.......but it is a great resort for all ages!! Pool area one was for families, children's pool area and the best kept beach was out front of there, holding activities like water aerobics, volleyball and dance lessons. This beach was the most groomed but the pool area would have been noisy with the dance music and children, so if you don't have children, you may not want to stay in those blocks!
Our block was located at the other end of the resort, there were golf carts to take you around but they were few and far between so we did alot of walking. Pool 3 in front of our building was the nicest, with a swim up bar and was super clean and quiet!! The beach was a bit of distance and I would have hung out at the ocean more but the chair area was in a hole and there were prickly weeds and a fair walk to the waters edge and then all the smelly seaweed was left in piles where it washed in.......no maintenance to most of the beach area at this resort. No bar service either :(
Upon arrival we got a room on the ground floor and had requested and upgraded for 2nd or 3rd, when we asked to move they had no other rooms but after talking to some others at the resort they got moved to other buildings or the freedom Island which was very preferred property......bummer! Oh well, our patio door wouldn't lock so at midnight we were trying to get maintenance which came rather quickly! Our upgrade was to include a bottle of rum, bath robes and slippers which weren't there and only after asking a couple times did they show. There is a coffee maker in the room but no coffee, apparently you have to ask for that.......everyday, arrived on day 3 but the best coffee is in the lobby but was quite a hike to go and get and bring back to room.
The grounds are clean, room was reasonably clean and comfortable, no FACECLOTHS on the island..........pack a few, that was something I didn't realize I would miss so much!!!
The buffet food was ......well,. buffet food, there was always something you could find that was tasty but the lineups for the fish, pasta and omelets were ususally long and a hunt for plates usually began......staff was pleasant and helpful for the most part, or you could always find your
'favorites', tipping was encouraged for best service, we found, but we were never asked on the resort for one.
The a la cartes were not good,. actually terrible!! We talked to many people that really didn't enjoy any of them. but if you had to chose the seafood one had a couple people that liked it.
The birds in the lightshouse were highly annoying swooping in to eat off the buffet. turned alot of people 'off'.
All in all it was good holiday, don't think I would return to this resort but would definitely go back to Cuba!! The people are lovely!
This resort is at the end of the pennisula, so a long way for transit into Varadero. if you have to stop at other resorts along the way for pick up and drop off, and there is a Melia being built on the Marina side........lots of trucks and construction........not nice to look but noise wasn't an issue for block 21. I couldn't see that there were any truly oceanview rooms in most of the buildings except maybe by pool 1 , they were only 2 and 3 level buildings and a birm of sand to the ocean side, so unless you were on 3rd floor.....maybe??
PS check out the spa area, before your last day, wonderful massages!!!!

Room Tip: If you have children you want to be in blocks 10 to 15! Quieter at the other end, blocks 20-24
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
7 Thank DawnT333
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Aylesford, NS
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 6, 2013

We had a wonderful time at the Blau Marina (Feb. 26 - Mar 5); travelled through CAA with Air Transat. The service was excellent, the resort is clean, well-maintained, and comfortable, and the staff - everyone we came in contact with from front desk to cleaners - is pleasant and professional.
If you don't like the food it is YOUR fault, not the resort's - we loved the food and always found something at the buffet. There's lots of selection and made-to-order items at every meal. The service from the wait staff is excellent - Jorj, Urbano, Deilys, Belmys, Dayana and Kisuny you ROCK - and Bartolome is always on the go to make sure things are running smoothly. The Lobby Bar staff work long hours, on their feet all day, and deserve lots of credit for always being polite and attentive.
We tried to speak (bad) Spanish to people whenever possible (spend a little time on-line before you go; you can even get help with pronunciation) and it makes a difference. You are in THEIR beautiful country and they are proud of it - be respectful!
We were in Block 14 and the construction was going on across the street but it didn't bother us at all - in fact, my husband enjoyed watching it and we got to see the camaraderie that exists among the Cuban workers.
I would recommend taking medication with you (Immodium, Aspirin, etc.) as it's difficult to obtain and expensive there. Also, our own insulated mugs, facecloths and beach towels came in handy.
Rent a moped (we met a friend, Jorge Luis) and explore the town of Varadero - great fun!
All in all, we would definitely recommend this resort - it's a great spot for people of all ages. Our first trip to Cuba will definitely NOT be our last - we loved it!

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
10 Thank Carmen C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 5, 2013

This was my 1st experience in Cuba and at an all-inclusive. I found the staff very friendly and helpful and the food is not the same as you would be dining out in Canada but then again you're travelling in a foreign country. The flights on Air Transat were great and the transfers were seamless and welcoming.

The main complaint I had with this resort was that the Main Lobby lounge (where the main bar was located and the congreating area with sofas and the main desk) allowed smoking. For the non smokers (that's me) I was not pleased with the situation. I could not enjoy a drink without my eyes watering and that was not because I was drinking too much!! Because of this, I definitely would not return to this resort.

My room overlooked the main pool which was nice but the lounge chairs were at a premium so you had to ensure you placed your towel on your lounge chair early morning to ensure you got your desired spot. The beach was also crowded (perhaps due to the time that I travelled - reading week for many!), but too much seaweed early morning when I went walking.

The week went by quickly and I came back with a nice tan and feeling rested so the week away from home was worth it even though it had its challenges.

"Tanned in Toronto"

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank Barbara S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Edmonton, Canada
Level Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 5, 2013

I was quite reluctant to begin my foray into the world of all-inclusive resorts. The idea of staying at a resort for a week has never appealed to me, but I figured I would give it a try. I still retain my initial feelings about all-inclusive vacations but the Blau Marina did everything it could to shake my beliefs.

Our flight arrived late, but we were quickly shuttled off to our resort. The resort is located at the very end of the peninsula. It's sister hotel, the Blau Cayo Libertad, is further still. That being said, we found it was an easy 20 minute scooter ride into town and transportation is widely available. Check-in was smooth and we were immediately shown to our rooms.
Not having been to an all-inclusive resort I didn't know what to expect from the room. I was slightly disappointed as it seemed lacklustre compared to the image in my head. This would prove to be an ill-effect of our +24 hours without sleep and the room was quick to grow on me.
The room had all the amenities that one could ask for. King-sized bed, fridge which was stocked daily with two beer, water, and soda. The bathroom is sorely in need of an update but it serves it's function. Furniture adorns the rest of the room providing a kitschy yet comfortable vibe. Unfortunately our view was wanting. We were on the first floor and our balcony backed onto the road. There are small signs of disrepair throughout the room and resort but overall it was fairly well kept. The maid was very thorough, cleaning everyday and leaving fresh towels when she had some to spare. We were in the 1800 block which proved to be a short walk from the lobby and the main block which surrounded the first pool. I found our location to be perfect, far enough away from the party that it was easy to get some rest, but close enough that you could walk anywhere in a small amount of time. I found 1700, 1800, and 1900 to be in desirable locations.
In terms of resort amenities there were (to the best of my recollection): three pools, two of which had bars, the middle pool being more decorative and quiet, a great option for those with kids. A spa, gym, money exchange, internet cafe (wifi was not available at this location), a small store, two sections of beach with widely available seating, a buffet, two non-a la carte restaurants away from the buffet area, several a la carte restaurants, water sports rental equipment, games room, disco, animation area with bar, and more.
After hearing people grumble about Cuban resort food I was pleasantly surprised. The buffet had more than enough food to choose from. Aside from the buffet items there was also a fish and meat area, pizza, and pasta area, all of which cooked fresh to order. The fish was fresh and the pasta was more than edible. The a la carte restaurants we visited were the tapas, seafood, and tex-mex restaurants. All of which I would return to aside from the Tex-Mex which, I found overtly bland and somewhat unappetizing given that our previous meals were so wonderful.
The lobby bar was the most populated area in the entire resort given that it seemed like the only place that one could sit and drink. There were plenty of tables but the place did get crowded quickly. The drinks were full strength and the bartenders were courteous and attentive. My only complaint is that there was a collection of 'good old boys' sitting at the bar one evening who clearly had been drinking all day and were becoming loud and obnoxious. One of which could loudly be heard throwing racial epithets and homophobic slurs to his buddies. It seemed like this problem should have been handled by management, security, or the bartenders. But, maybe nobody complained, maybe it was caught after I left, who knows. It's a bar, the drinks are free, it's definitely not an incident that is isolated to this resort. The night as we were leaving it seemed to take on more of a hostel bar feel as large amounts of twenty-somethings descended on the resort. Otherwise, the lobby bar proved to be one of my favorite locations in the resort. I can't comment to the swim-bar at the pool on the other side of the lobby, but the bar at the pool closest to us was excellent. Again, the bartenders were friendly and attentive. Again, there were a few people who seemed to be over-served but that's bound to happen.
The animation team seemed to do a good job. For those with kids it might be a bit of a late night as the shows start at 2130.
The beach was relatively well-tended, slightly more seaweed than in other parts of the peninsula but it was still the most beautiful beach that I've seen. Life guards were on hand. There wasn't a lot to see if one was to go snorkelling but there are catamarans that will take you out to snorkel spots for $20 for 2 hours.
The lobby has several vendors for tours and car-rentals. We rented a scooter for the day and went into Varadero. The cost was less than $35 for the day and was well worth it. We booked a tour through our Sunwing rep that was through Gaviota tours. The Havana Special had been recommended to us. It's a day tour through Havana followed by a show at the Tropicana. My fiance and I found it to be overpriced and far too long. We were up at 0600 for our 0700 pick-up. Driven to Havana in a fairly modern tour bus. The drive is approximately 2 hours. From the time you arrive in Havana until you depart it's go go go. You hit all the sights and popular postcard spots in Havana but the pace is too much. You're rapidly ferried on and off the bus, bombarded with too much information, and given very little time to stop and enjoy your time. Not to mention about 40 minutes of your tour is spent being paraded to local vendors who seem to be connected to the tour guide. At the end of your Havana tour you're shuttled to a local hotel where there is supposed to be a courtesy sweet shared between 4 people so that you can shower and change into appropriate clothes for the show. Of course, this didn't go as planned and it ended up being 1 suite split between 8-10 people. Once you're changed and ready you sit in the hotel for about two hours before being shuttled to the Tropicana for the show which doesn't start until 2200. I found the first 15 minutes of the show to be interesting, but, it just wasn't my thing. Do some research if you think you'd like to go and see if it's for you. All in all I had been hoping to spend more time in Havana. If I go back I'd book through a private tour company who specializes in smaller numbers and tours that are catered to the individuals tastes.

In conclusion, we had a wonderful time. I would recommend this resort to those looking to spend a care-free week in Cuba. The staff were incredible and helped to make the week a positive experience and the resort was beautiful and well maintained. Remember, you're not at home, the food isn't the same, the living conditions aren't the same, and it's a different world. That's why you travel. Don't let the little things weigh you down and I assure you will have an incredible time.

Flying with Sunwing however, is a different story. . .

Room Tip: 1800 block was quiet and provided easy access to all the resorts amenities. Ask for an ocean vie...
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
10 Thank Andrew P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 5, 2013

I really enjoyed the atmosphere at this resort. The staff were very friendly and enthusiastic! The dance and aerobics instructors were amazing! The dj Alexander was extremely friendly and genuine! He made you feel right at home with his kind words. Alexander made you feel happy and comfortable during our stay. The hotel was amazing and clean. The decor was very unique. The entertainers at the daily shows were spectacular!

  • Stayed February 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Maverick123456
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Blau Marina Varadero Resort

Property: Blau Marina Varadero Resort
Address: Autopista Sur final Punta Hicacos, Varadero, Cuba
Location: Caribbean > Cuba > Matanzas Province > Varadero
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #36 of 63 Hotels in Varadero
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:5 star — Blau Marina Varadero Resort 5*
Number of rooms: 548
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Blau Marina Varadero Resort***** All Inclusive, is a luxurious hotel surrounded by beautiful gardens and unforgettable views that offers its clients superb service and comfortable environment. The 548 rooms and all the installations of 5 star All Inclusive hotel Blau Marina Varadero Resort***** offer the perfect combination for memorable family vacations. Blau Marina Varadero Resort***** offers its clients: Complete Twin rooms, Twins with Sea View and Suites All Inclusive package 6 Restaurants 6 Bars Daily and night animation 2 tennis courts 1 universal court Beach volleyball Non-motorized water sports (catamaran, snorkelling, windsurf) Fitness and aerobics rooms Parking 3 pools for adults 1 pools for children Playground Sport Club (library, billiard, ping pong...) Conference hall with capacity of 300 seats Business centre Souvenirs and boutique Wifi (Looby and meeting room. With charge) Blau Marina Varadero Resort***** ALL INCLUSIVE: Breakfast, lunch and dinner in Buffet restaurant Typical Cuban dinner once a week Selection of national and international drinks (top brands with extra cost) 2 tennis courts Courts reservation and necessary equipment 1 universal court Beach volleyball Petanca Non-motorized water sports (catamaran,water cycles, snorkelling, windsurf) Fitness and aerobics rooms Parking Access to all the shows in “La Senora de Atocha” every night Mini bar daily filled with 1 bottle of water, 2 soft drinks, 2 bottles of local beer 3 pools for adults 1 pool for children Area for children in main pool Playground 3 dinners per booking per week in our "a la carte" restaurants (reservation required) Snacks in Pool Bars ... more   less 
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