First time to Cuba, April 15 - 22nd. The Blau was recommended by our travel agent, who said it would come close to what we've experienced in Mexico. We also did our homework reading many reviews, looking at the location and layout using goggle maps, and watching youtube videos (thank you Habsfan)
Flight was 3 hours from Toronto. Customs was a little intimidating being a communist country, but went fairly smooth. Ride from airport was about 45 minutes.
We went with low expectations and were blown away! The entrance and lobby are stunning with plenty of places to lounge, some stores, and the beautiful lobby bar. There's also a piano bar for that quiet evening drink. All the staff are very friendly and accommodating.
The pool was clean and warm with plenty of loungers but you did have to mark your territory early for the best seats. A two minute walk to a spectacular beach with soft white sand and warm clear water. Again the towel game for the best seats.You could walk for miles each way. We lucked out with great weather and green flag swimming everyday with some nice waves. It did rain heavy a few times but in the evening and overnight.
The food at the main buffet (breakfast and dinner only) was very good with plenty of options. Breakfast was great with fresh made to order omelets, bacon, etc.. lunch-meat and cheese for the Euro's. Great bread, the coffee needs help, it looks so strong but taste so weak, then you add a little milk and it hardly lightens up, weird. For lunch it was the large poolside buffet or the grill hut by the pool as well. Burgers and hotdogs were okay, fries were good. Both restaurants were nice with the Mexican being our favorite. You had to pick your options at the International (Palma Real) but had a fixed menu at the Mexican. The house wines were Spanish and quite good. Great service and live music in both restaurants. They BBQ'd a whole pig one day and everyone could have a sandwich and a rum drink out of a coconut.
The drinks were good, make sure you bring a Bubba keg (insulated larger mug) and let the bartender know if you want it stronger or weaker. The cups they supply are tiny and flimsy. The bar down at the beach was open 24 hours and served grilled sandwich's.
Entertainment staff did a good job trying to keep people involved and active and had live shows every night. Overall is wasn't a loud party resort with things quieting down after 11pm.
There was a nice mix of people from all ages and nationality's, mostly Canadian's which was great. I do have to say, we did notice a lot of rude, loud, Euro's (not the Brit's) They would look at you only to look through you, not smile and say hello, also they never tipped!
We had an ocean view room on the 7th floor which was perfect to walk down the stairs (if the lifts were slow) to the main buffet which was on the third floor. Bed's were fine and the bathroom was nice. We had a few issue's with our room which were addressed right away. Make sure you get an extra key card to keep in the slot on the wall so your air will stay on while your out. We left a peso on the bed each day and the maid did a great job and left us some cool towel art and a few sweet notes (thank you Betty) Water, beer, and pop stocked each day.
We took the doubledecker bus into Varadero to do some shopping at various markets. Great way to see the town and other resorts, $5 peso's let's you ride (on and off) all day if you want.
All in all it was a great first experience in Cuba and would recommend the Blau to anyone who likes a clean, modern, well organized, smaller and quieter resort. (only 400 rooms) I heard the only reason the Blau Varadero is a 4 star is because they have only 2 restaurants. If your thinking of this resort, go for it, you won't be disappointed unless your looking for a loud party resort with mostly young people.
- 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