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“Blau - More than I Expected”

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Blau Varadero Hotel Cuba
Ranked #4 of 64 Hotels in Varadero
Certificate of Excellence
Thunder Bay
Level Contributor
42 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 71 helpful votes
“Blau - More than I Expected”
Reviewed January 22, 2013

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)

The Hotel:

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.

Food:

Main Buffet:
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.

Lunch:
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.

Drinks:
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.

Tipping:
Everyone, including cleaning staff was very appreciative.

Beach:
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.

Entertainment:
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)

Area:
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!

Service:
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!

Room Tip: 3rd floor is the lobby... Higher floors mean longer elevator wait times.
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
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19 Thank Azarius74
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Edmonton, Canada
Level Contributor
15 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed January 22, 2013

I really enjoyed my stay at the Blau, the resort was beautiful, rooms were clean, the beach was just a short walk away and was well maintained. Service staff were very friendly and helpful and lots of fun. I had never stayed at an all inclusive before and I've heard a lot of bad things about Cuban food but I was very satisfied with the food selection and quality at this hotel. The only thing I would recommend for improvement would be their spa area, the hot tub was disappointing (just a small jacuzzi in a windowless room). But other than that I'd definitely go back!

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
2 Thank Rachelle55
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Telford UK
Level Contributor
60 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 61 helpful votes
Reviewed January 22, 2013

Built in the shape of a Mayan pyramid this hotel can be seen for miles around as it is the most striking building on the Varadero Peninsula. Inside the central atrium which is a hollowed out pyramid , the daytime light makes the architecture austere and uninviting, but after dark when the lighting comes on, the 14 story atrium becomes a jaw dropping place to be. There is a small forest on the ground floor and creepers hang down all the way from the top of the building. The general feeling of a vast open space in the middle of the hotel is amazing

The rooms are a real disappointment. They are large spacious and clean but the decor is tired and in serious in need of attention. Our ceiling was stained and coat hooks broken and the room needed a complete refit. On enquiry we were told that because the hotel has 100% occupancy there is no time to refit the rooms. That struck me as probably the worst possible reason not to keep up general maintenance.

In complete contrast to the rooms, pretty well everything else in the hotel was absolutely top notch. The staff are wonderful, the food is fabulous and the Christmas entertainment was really great.

We will go there again - definitely

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
6 Thank ADM001
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ontario canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed January 21, 2013

Had a return trip back to the Blau for the 3rd time and wasnt disappointed. Was warmly greeted back with hugs by Isa from customer service and it was like a family reunion.We travelled with my brother and his wife and we all had a return guest dinner with Isa and their new manager Jose. Great start to the holidays. We found a larger selection at the buffet this year and could always find something to please. Later in the week we finally met up again with Yany from customer service, these ladies are the greatest they will take very good care of you! For my birthday my husband arranged for a massage and it couldnt have come at a better time. I have back problems and told her and she worked around it and still worked out all the kinks. Sorry I forgot her name but she was amazing! You cant find a better beach anywhere and we have done Jamaica and Mexico. First thing in the morning grab a "white coffee" by the pool bar and enjoy the sunshine..its a great start to the day.We did the usual trip into Varadero for trinkets only to find the large flea market under constuction, so we visited the smaller stalls along the strip so hopefully it will be up and running next year for our return. If you want a nice relaxing vacation this is the place..but lots for you to do if thats what you want..beach activities, pool side activities and the shows at night. We are already planning our return for next year hopefully with our children and grandchildren. If Isa and Yany see this..we made it home safely and miss you lots! Till next year kisses and hugs. Mike and Sheila

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
6 Thank nanny1OntarioCanada
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Edmonton, Canada
Level Contributor
9 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
Reviewed January 21, 2013

This is my 6th Cuban resort in the past 10 years and by far my favorite. The resort is not only beautiful but very clean, the staff at the front desk to the bars to the restaurants are friendly and very helpful and all the amenities are top shelf! They even have hammocks!

The rooms are spacious, clean and everything works. The bathrooms all have toilet seats that fit so you don't pinch yourself when you sit on them like other resorts. They even stock your fridge with Buckanero beers instead of the cheaper one.

Blau pays attention to details and we will be returning to this place for sure!

The strong points: All the things people worry about, none of those are a problem at this resort. They even have things for the kids!

The weak points: Since this is a good resort, it is typically packed so there are line-ups and lots of people. Not really a place for the reclusive bunch.

Room Tip: The Ocean View is actually the way to go, even on the 5th floor you can see over the trees to the oc...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
10 Thank Osifer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Grande Prairie, Canada
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed January 20, 2013

My boyfriend and I had an awesome stay here, no major complaints. The only minor issue we had was with the fluctuating water temperature in the shower that out of nowhere would turn scalding hot then ice cold. The room was very spacious and well taken care of, staff was always friendly and polite, the beach and pool area were beautiful. Definitely a good variety of food at the buffets and the a la cartes were delicious. No need to bring sauces and spices from home to this resort! We did both get sick for a few days and suspect that it may have been from the hot dogs at the snack bar but I suppose we didn't really need to be eating hot dogs in Cuba to begin with. Watch what you eat and bring medication with you just in case, but we're certainly not bashing their food at all. We had a wonderful time and seemed to get the same consensus from anyone else we talked to. Definitely a good choice to stay here!

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
5 Thank Lamandon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
liverpool
Level Contributor
15 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed January 20, 2013

Just returned from 3 weeks at the Blau, covering Christmas and New Year. Last here 3 years ago, and it is obvious that the new manager, Jose Maria, is intent in improving an already excellent holiday experience.
Check in was straight forward, as was changing £s for CUCs. Had a great room overlooking the pools and the beach;extra large, very cumfy bed, large bathroom, and good sized balcony. I would just say, that at this time of year, only the rooms at the front of the hotel got any sun, so if you want to sit on your balcony in the sun, ask for these rooms. The view from the front is not bad, looking towards the marina, and the sea beyond.
Main buffet restaurant provided a wide range of options for breakfast and dinner, with excellent service from the friendly staff. Lunch-time buffet restaurant was more basic, with burgers, pizzas and salads always available; however the fresh fish was excellent,again well looked after by the staff. We felt that the 2 "a la carte" restaurants were much improved from our last visit, which was welcome, as we were in them for the Christmas and New Year Gala dinners. The service was impeccable, and the food ( lobster,fillet steak) excellent.
The Blau has extensive grounds, so if you did not want to laze around the pools, you could find a bed/hammock amongst the trees, or make you way along the boardwalk to the beach, were their was plenty of water based activities, if you were so inclined.
Entertainment most nights was in the concert hall, with occasional shows outside, including an aquatic ballet in the pool. Having a birthday whilst at the Blau,meant that I was serenaded and kissed at breakfast, lunch and dinner, and even included an impromptu salsa at lunchtime!
As we said to the ever present manager, the key to the excellent holiday was the very friendly and helpful staff, a particular mention goes to Yuny and Isa in customer relations.
Don't know when we'll make it back, as flights from Manchester are being withdrawn next winter, but one way or another, we'll be back.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank emmanden
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Blau Varadero Hotel Cuba

Property: Blau Varadero Hotel Cuba
Address: Carretera de Las Morlas | KM 15, Varadero, Cuba
Location: Caribbean > Cuba > Matanzas Province > Varadero
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 Family Hotel in Varadero
#3 On the Beach Hotel in Varadero
#3 Luxury Hotel in Varadero
#4 Romantic Hotel in Varadero
#5 Business Hotel in Varadero
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Blau Varadero Hotel Cuba 4*
Number of rooms: 395
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

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