Date of Stay: Jan 7-14th, 2013
Room: 725 (Odd room numbers face south - away from the beach)
Room Type: King room - includs fridge, CRT tv, safe
Power: 220v - 110v in the bathroom (plugs are European style, but have slots to take N.American style - EXCEPT if the device has a ground prong - then its not usable)
- no alarm clock/radio
Bed - Wasn't great, but more comfortable than previous beds in Cuba I've slept in. Be aware, the beds are LOW to the ground. Pillows, although plentiful (my room had 6), are thin.
**TIP: My elderly father stayed in a 2 twin room... We took a mattress off of one bed and stacked it on the other bed to make it easier for him to get out of bed.
**TIP: As soon as you enter your room, there is a "keycard slot" on the wall (sometimes BEHIND the door as you open it) where you insert your card. It provides power to your room. Take it out - and you've got about 5 minutes before power is shut off... So make sure you leave it in there, especially at night unless you like to hobble around the room in the pitch black.
**TIP: The doors to the balcony has a sensor that will shut off the room A/C should the sliding doors be open. So if you're in your room and the A/C doesn't seem to be on - check the balcony door.
Elevators: Yes, they're pretty bad. My father ended up stuck in one for about 20 minutes... I was only about 5. If you're in the main lobby area (which is gorgeous by the way) and you hear that 'ringing' - just look up at the glass elevators to see who's stuck now. Going DOWN the stairs isn't bad... but be aware at certain times of the day the elevators are VERY slow and it could take some time to get to your destination. If you're impatient or have difficulty navigating stairs - recommend a room on the 3rd floor (main lobby level)
Grounds: The hotel grounds were immaculately clean. Not a piece of garbage to be seen. The front of the hotel as you drive in is under some landscaping, but other than that the place is stunning. The entrance/lobby is as breathtaking as its expansive. The pictures on this site don't do it justice. There's an area between the pool and the beach where hammocks and padded loungers are brought out each day to help you 'relax' in the shade of the big palms.
Pool is beautiful and clean, ranging from shallow to 4' deep. There are a couple of sloping entry ways into the pool, and a "hydro spa" area... think hot tub without the heated water.... Pool is good for cooling off as its a bit chilly - cooler than the ocean in January anyways.
Internet: It's Cuba... Don't expect wireless. There is an "internet" room which houses 3 computers. Internet Access cards can be purchased at the hotel lobby desk for $8 for 1 hour. Keep in mind, it took me 15 minutes to log in, get email running and reply to a few emails. It was relatively easy to get access to them - not overly busy.
Breakfast: Excellent! Fresh eggs, omelette station, fresh waffles with apples in them. Peanut butter... Fresh made to order smoothies... and the bread. The bread was unbelievable!
Dinner: Hit or miss. There is ALWAYS something to eat that is good... But sometimes the combinations or selections leave a little to be desired. Chinese night wasn't very good, but generally it was adequate.
Pool BBQ pit - actually was pretty good... "Hamburgers" and "hotdogs", french fries and nacho chips/salsa
Lunch Buffet @ the pool (Turns into the Cuban A La Carte in the evening): Only ate there once on the last day I was there - but there was a good selection of food and what I had was tasty. Heard no complaints from others.
International (1 dinner per week) - Had the beef tenderloin in anchovy sauce - handsdown best meal in cuba. Fanciest restaurant - (Men - wear pants)
Cuban (2 dinners per week) - Had the lamb on my one stay there, was excellent and would recommend 24 Hour beach bar: At night, the fare here is typically only the stuff you'd eat when intoxicated. Ham sandwich, "Chicken sandwhich" and "pizzas" - which are definately the most tasty of the bunch.
Plentiful, well made and refreshing... Drinks at the main lobby bar or the piano bar were the best... Slushy machines at lobby bar, pool bar and beach bar.
Everyone, including cleaning staff was very appreciative.
Like most of Varadero, this resort has access to an amazing beach... A short little walk along a wooden walkway takes you down to the beach, past the 24 Hr Snack Bar onto flour like type sand. We always found chairs and cabanas readily accessible... And most of the days there were good for all types of water sports (sailing, snorkelling, paddle boats etc). There was the odd street vendor that walked by - but they did so right along the water away from the chairs and were not intrusive. A simple shake of your head and they were on their way.
I was actually very impressed with the level of nightly entertainment at the Blau. The nightly Kids Dance party was a hit with our friends kids. The magic show was well done, as were the musical numbers and especially the Aquatic night they had in the pool (think syncronized swimming in 4' of water, including high tosses and dives)
As a resort farther out on the strip, it cost on average 6-10 CUC to get to the Plaza America (think upscale Cuban shops catering to tourists, which includes the Bank) or 10-13 CUC to get to downtown Varadaro itself. Prices are always negotiable!
Excellent - all around. Especially the front desk staff.
*TIP* - If you get to the hotel with a bus load of people, have someone in your party go directly to the check in and get in line... The process can be a bit lengthy. Grab a glass of champagne while you wait.
Overall, I was very impressed with the Blau hotel... Its a huge hotel... You don't really get an appreciation for its size unless you're standing in the lobby looking up to the 14th floor, or when you're on a catamaran looking back at the peninsula. The people were all very friendly and attentive. Food, overall was very good and no one in our party had any major issues (30 in a wedding party). I would have NO hesitations about returning to the Blau... In fact, I think I'd enjoy my second trip there even more, now armed with the knowledge I accumulated on my first trip.
Thanks for the great week!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Just on the shore of the magnificent and famous Varadero beach, the Hotel consist of a 13 floor modern building, completely new.Ideal for those who want to enjoy the beauty and the atmosphere of the most well known beach of Cuba, with the best facilities and a wide list of activities. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Blau Hotel Varadero
- Blau Varadero Cuba