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“Great value for money!”

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Blau Varadero Hotel Cuba
Ranked #3 of 64 Hotels in Varadero
Certificate of Excellence
Kingston upon Hull, England
Level 5 Contributor
33 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 73 helpful votes
“Great value for money!”
Reviewed July 26, 2013

Had a wonderful time at the Blau! You cannot fault the food, cleanliness and excellent staff at this hotel! Pool area lovely and the beach is gorgeous! Would highly recommend it! Also a must is a trip into Havana with Cuban Connections!!!

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
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2 Thank angiebabe3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Dingwall
Level 3 Contributor
15 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
Reviewed July 25, 2013

I did not like this hotel from the moment I clapped eyes on it. The design is very ambitious, however the overall effect looks more fitting for somewhere like Pyongyang. There is far too much concrete on display and the designers have attempted to disguise this by hanging vines down from the internal balconies, some of which descend for ten or more floors. The internal spaces in the hotel are not air conditioned and the interior particularly in the upper floors is hot and clammy. The overall effect is somehow alien, even creepy.

The lifts have been mentioned in other lifts and are a joke. Four undersized passenger lifts serve the guests of the complex, these have bevelled glass windows so that you can look down on the atrium from the upper floors whilst you wait an interminable amount of time for the lift doors to shut. It really was quicker to run down the emergency stairs than wait for a lift. They have been designed to look good whilst being utterly impractical.

Don't expect to check in at this hotel before 16:00 hrs, we were left waiting for several hours after arriving before a room was arranged and this was only done after my partner threatened to telephone Virgin Holidays. Unfortunately this room had no hot water, no sink plug and was well worn with a cruddy shower head that dribbled lukewarm water, this is a recipe for the Legionella Bacteria to propagate. After several approaches were ignored we were offered a better ocean view room on the twelfth floor, but only after the intervention of the Virgin rep. It was better, but again the shower head was crudded up and no sink plug was ever provided. (Best if you bring your own)

We were to witness some poor food hygene practices in this hotel. You would probably be less keen on the ice in your cocktail if you had witnessed it being dragged across a filthy floor in a black bin liner. Staff routinely went between washing, up, serving drinks then returning to food preparation, they used the inadequate toilet facilities (particularly near the beach) and the went back to food handling.

Regarding the toilets, this is the first luxury hotel where I have smelt the toilets before looking for the signs. They were rank and the hotel management have repeatedly been warned about this in other reviews.

Within 24 hours the inevitable happened and my partner came down with a vicious strain of food poisoning so severe that it needed medical attention. This was to ruin seven days of our holiday and I was frightened to eat much of the food at the buffet for fear of also falling victim.

Cuba does not get a particularly good write up as regards the quality of the cuisine, therefore I moderated my expectations somewhat. However the lunchtime poolside restaurant was unsanitary and the food was bland. The evening meal was also very bland, although this restaurant is cleaner. Breakfast was the best meal of the day. The omelette was well prepared and went down a treat with toast.

One word describes the beach 'Boring'. There are no tropical fish in the sea, no jetty, no passing boats, no motorised water sports and the non motorised water sports are a token gesture. The people who rated this beach highly, clearly have not been elsewhere in the Caribbean.

Room cleaning was very reasonable, however a poke into the corners of this hotel revealed that the public spaces were not particularly clean. That said the grounds are very well maintained.

There are some good points, the service from the bar staff was second to none and they react even better if you tip them occasionally. The music was well above average. The girl band who are called Intention Cuba are very good and very attractive. The classical music quartet that play in Palma Real al la carte were outstanding. The violin soloist was so good that he even brought the staff out of the kitchens to applaud. He should be playing in Vienna such was his skill.

There is also a classical pianist on site most evenings and she showcased how much Cuban's embrace the arts. She was also outstanding. the evening entertainment was way ahead of anything I had come across before. The magician, circus acts and the dancing all rated very highly and saved some of the holiday.

The location is fine and some of this hotel rates very highly. However the sins of bland food, unsanitary conditions and poor customer service (bar staff excepted) let it down. I might return to Varadero, however I would pick another hotel next time.

Room Tip: Get an ocean view room. These cost more, however the view is worth it.
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
7 Thank TallScotsman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Salford, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
12 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed July 25, 2013

I came back from the Blau on the 22nd of july after a 2 weeks stay.
When we seen the hotel it stands out directly from all the others as it is huge!
You can not fault the staff hear, they are friendly and efficent and they love talking to people.
Many people have said they feel like they needed to tip the staff but we didnt feel that at all.
The rooms are very dated, they are not a british 4 star but your not in Britan and for Cuban standerds they are lovely and very very clean.
The maid did a lovely job everyday and we always had fresh towels and towel art.
The food at dinner was a major issue for me, i always found something to eat but i ate the same things everyday. I could always find something but the choice especially at dinner was very limited for me. Breakfast was the main meal of the day for me and I loved it always something and always 2 plates.
The weather was very one off like one day rain or clouds one day glorious sunshine but we did go in rainy season so was expected.
For anyone travelling to Cuba you will enjoy it and you will find many trips to do but this hotel is the place to stay, it has everything you need the staff and the relaxation you need on holiday.
I would not hesitate this and just book it and enjoy it.
I would prob not return to cuba just for the fact that I had no access to the outside world, for some people it is not important but to me internet is what I want.
Was certainly a lovely experience.

Room Tip: room 944 was quiet and had a lovely view.
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Rooms
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Helpful?
Thank Tamara R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nottingham, United Kingdom
Level 2 Contributor
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed July 24, 2013

From the moment myself and my partner arrived at Blau Varadero the staff were immensely friendly and kind and could never do enough for us. The chambermaid ensured that the room was cleaned and tidied thoroughly every day, as was the case throughout the rest of the hotel. The grounds of the hotel are beautiful and extensive and as such there will always be a sun lounger available somewhere. The food in the buffet restaurants varied upon occasions but was generally good, as with all buffets the the timing of getting the food determined whether the food was hot or warm. The International Restaurant is beautiful and the live music that is played really enhances the atmosphere. All of the staff at Blau were lovely and a pleasure to meet, each and everyone of them works incredibly hard which is noticeable and as such I believe they do deserve a tip occasionally. All in all this is the best hotel I have stayed in and I would recommend anyone to go here. It is beautiful and I will not hesitate in coming back to this hotel if I go to Varadero again.

Room Tip: Think about whether there are any particular views you would like to have, for example: Pool, Garden...
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank Natalie M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Aberdeen, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
136 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 57 helpful votes
Reviewed July 24, 2013

Just returned from 10 nights. Generally I prefer villa type holidays and this is my first time in this sort of all-inclusive hotel. I was pleasantly surprised.I found the hotel in general to be extremely well run with helpful and attentive staff and (generally) good facilities. I agree that it would be nice to have more lifts, but that's a small thing to me.

The room was pleasant, overlooking the pool, kept immaculately clean and had efficient aircon and toilet facilities. The only significant improvement I'd have liked would have been some sort of shade for the balcony.

With regard to the food, I found it far better than I had imagined. The temptation must be to cut back on quality/choice to increase margins, but I found no evidence of this. I also did not notice any of the unhygenic practices mentioned by others and did not suffer any gastro-intestinal events. Maybe I have a cast-iron constitution? Just as a small aside, I talked to two people who were transferred to the Blau Varadero from another hotel after food poisoning and they were genuinely amazed at the quality on offer.

The pool area (where I spent a lot of time) is kept assiduously clean and well maintained and seems to have plenty of sunbeds available both around the pool itself and in nearby grassy areas. Even the toilets around the pool and other outdoor areas are kept pretty clean.

All in all, I'd recommend the Blau.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Mouse8459
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Manchester, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed July 23, 2013

Me and my boyfriend stayed at the Blau from the 4th June – 12th.
I would not recommend this hotel for a number of reasons:-
• Our hotel safe was broken into and my gold ring stolen, so far neither the hotel or First Choice are taking responsibility for this even though there are signs in the room stating the Hotel does not accept responsibility for items outside the safe. The safes let you enter your own code so presumably they are secure – not so. The day after putting my ring in the safe our safe code no longer worked. We reported to reception who sent someone who used a small machine and opened our safe within minutes. When we asked him why the code no longer worked for us he just shrugged and would not answer.
• Our room (537) stank of smoke when we entered, presumably from the previous occupant. There was a clump of long brown hair on the bathroom floor and an empty beer can on the balcony chairs. The room just seemed dirty and stank so we requested to change rooms – we were just told no and that the room would be sprayed.
• On returning to our room on the first night (Tuesday 4th June) we found 2 plates of food – rice, chicken, chips, ice-cream – had been dumped on the floor in the corridor of the next room along. This food remained in the corridor until Thursday 6th when we complained to our First Choice Rep. We were told it was our responsibility to report it to the hotel so advised customer services and were just told ‘Thank you for making us aware’. No apology or explanation. The maids had even pushed their cleaning trolleys through the food and spread it up and down the corridors!!!
• We found blood on some of the fresh towels left in our room.
• The bed sheet was too small for the bed so our feet were lying directly on the mattress.
• The sauna/Jacuzzi room stank of sewage/drains.
• Food in the buffet at lunch time was left uncovered with flies and birds helping themselves while staff did nothing.
• The hotel lifeguard tried a number of times to sell cigars to my boyfriend – we had been advised by the first choice rep not to buy cigars from outside of a Tabaco shop so this should not have been happening within the hotel and I am sure is illegal!
I must say the beach at this hotel is wonderful! And we found the beach bar and toilets fine. This is where we spent most of our time at the hotel.
If you do visit this hotel please do not take anything of value to you as I am devastated about the theft of my ring from the safe!
Overall I am extremely disappointed with the Blau and First choice and their poor responses to dealing with the problems we have experienced.
I would just like to say I have visited hotels all over the world and never wrote a negative review about any of them but I want to warn people about our experience here!

This hotel has the potential to be brilliant but we found it to be lacking in cleanliness and basic hygiene. At the very least you expect a 4* hotel to be clean! I do not know if we were just very unlucky with our trip here but I would not recommend anyone to go here!

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
10 Thank G0ldensunshine
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Scotland
Level 6 Contributor
131 reviews
38 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 110 helpful votes
Reviewed July 23, 2013

I have been trying to put some distance between my food poisoning at this hotel (most definitely the cause) and writing a review. I booked this hotel because of the good reviews but this certainly wasn't our experience, and indeed shortly after arriving here I did wonder if we had arrived at the right hotel.

Check-in - we had a smooth efficient private transfer from IB Parque central, Havana, taking 2 hours. When we arrived the bell-boy very quickly took our luggage and piled it up in the central hall with others - then we had to wait for the one receptionist to deal with us. Eventually probably after an wait of 30 minutes, we were given paperwork to complete and then given our AI bands and told to come back later to get our room as check in wasn't until 4pm, but we could use the facilities. We had a late lunch and then had to sit in the un-airconditioned area next to reception. we checked for our room at 3.30, 3.45 (as directed) and then at 4.15 - no room ready yet. Eventually at 4.30 we were offered our welcome drink and another attempt to elicit a room met with me being told it would be 8pm or later as we were part of a large family group and needed an adjoining room! Now this was the same person who originally helped the two of us check-in with the form. I may be overweight but not at the stage of giving birth to triplets! Explaining that this was not the case, I was greeted with shouting, and told it was my fault!!! Finally threatening to phone our virgin rep to move us to another hotel meant that we were allotted a room at 5pm. Unfortunately the room only had luke warm water when we got ourselves unpacked and started to shower to get ready for the evening. We assumed this was because others were doing the same thing at the same time, but when we came back to the room at 10 the water was stone cold - it was still stone cold in the morning, and we phoned guest services who said they would report it. We then later in the morning met our rep from Virgin who said he would sort it. By 4.30 pm on the Friday we still had cold water and I spent a huge amount of money using my mobile to contact him again - he said he would phone us back but didn't and it was left to me to try to explain to the poor woman in guest services that we did not have any hot water and I had to negotiate a change of room - we had to change rooms ourselves and were not offered the help of bell-boys or anyone else. By the way, there was no plug in the sink either and no plug in our new room - we were told there are no plugs in the hotel so if you like the idea of using the sink in your bathroom - bring your own plug - about an 1inch in diameter.

so Friday night we were in our new room where we got a lukewarm dribble from the shower - partner being a building maintenance techie guy realised this was because the shower and taps were full of crud and not properly cleaned. After using implements to decrust the shower head we did manage a quasi luke warm shower. Then at the evening dinner, I ended up throwing up in the toilets near reception - I had felt unwell since before lunchtime - the stink from the toilets whilst throwing up did not help. This was followed by the most major food poisoning I have ever experienced in 33 years of travelling the world - eating at street markets in India and Thailand did not produce the 6 days of holiday I totally lost to D&V - definitely brought on from food/drink in this hotel.

Luckily they had a great medical service on site - this only takes CUC's so do take extra cash, but after 3 injections, antibiotics and the doctor checking on me every day, I did manage to be well enough to enjoy the last 3 days of our stay in varadero.

Good points for this hotel - bar staff are really good and attentive especially after giving them tips - although this didn't stop one of them keeping the wrap I left in the piano bar on the last night. the wee meeter and greeter lady at the buffet rest. is lovely and very sympathetic to my attempts at Spanish and helped with my vocab and pronounciation.

Bad points - lifts - slow idiosyncratic and no air con - they need more for the size of the hotel. god help you when the thunder and lightening turn the generator off - you will be stuck!
Noise - all rooms off the atriums so noise travels upwards - don't expect to sleep until they stop the bars, etc. Food - hygiene in food preparation does not exist - beach bar staff wiping faces of sweat with paper napkin, coughing and throwing up in same then without washing hands starting to put a toastie together - no I didn't eat it either. Beach bar probably the worst - ice and food carried over in same golf cart seen earlier picking up rubbish and bits of dead gardening rubbish, Ice in flimsy bin bag then dragged over floor of beach bar to be put in ice hopper - same floor which had people treading on fresh from the overflowing beach bar toilets... I could go on. Undrunk wine being put back into wine bottles (with water) for others to drink!

Public toilets - don't worry about finding them on the hotel map - you will smell the sewage before you find them - no soap often and often no lights in the cublicles - take hand santiser and your own toilet paper. No aircon - and even when the cleaner cleans them they still have the same diarohea stains/blocked toilets.
Shower heads and taps - never cleaned - so lukewarm water and shower heads and taps means that legionella has an extremely good chance of infecting you.

Good points - lovely medical doctor and nurse - really know their stuff (I have a quasi medical background), bar staff at both bars in hotel are lovely especially when given tips. Bar staff - doing their best/
Fanastic musicians at palma real, the piano bar - do give them tips - you would pay significantly to hear that quality in this country.
entertainment in the evenings - best dancers I have ever seen at an AI - clearly classically trained entertainment in general in the evenings is of a better standard than in europea AI's

No Wi-Fi - partly because of government censorship - you need to use one of the three terminals just next to the main reception and pay 8 pesos an hour - this is slower than any dial-up you have ever experienced in the uk - but not the hotel's fault.

transport to Varadero town and the town itself - great! unfortunately I only managed two brief visits because of my illness

Can I recommend this hotel - no - but I can recommend Varadero town and would be happy to go back to a different hotel in this area.

Room Tip: try another hotel
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
6 Thank ScotlandWeelass
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 Luxury Hotel in Varadero
#3 On the Beach 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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