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““Club Atlantico. Great Time...the Facts””

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Gran Caribe Club Atlantico
Ranked #57 of 80 Hotels in Havana
Reviewed 21 April 2012

Just arrived back from CUBA after staying at Playa del Este, Havana in the Club Atlantico Hotel. Had a great trip with my wife and three kids. Here are the facts from our viewpoint.

1. Hotel is NOT a Sandals type 5 Star Hotel filled with only upper-middle class Canadians or Americans and their spoiled kids. YES...local Cubans stay at the Hotel, and YES there are many, many Cubans on the beach. It's Cuba right? Previous posts complaining about this fact seem ridiculous and very narrow-mined to me. If you like to travel in less touristy places, practicing your Spanish, meeting locals, enjoy seeing the local culture, and don't mind a 3 star hotel...then this is the place for you.

2. Club Atlantico Hotel: 

Pool is nice, clean, small but never crowded. Pool bar always kept me well watered with choice of Rum, Mojitos, beer or wine and also serves hamburgers and hot-dogs in the the afternoons.

Beach is right there and is a 10 second walk from the pool. Sand is white, water is warm, life-guards are right there (and pretty cute according to the wife), catamaran rides are free, and the scenery (of all kinds) is pretty nice. 

Rooms: first impression of the room was not impressive, but quickly grows on you. Rooms are out-dated in style and appearance, but are always clean and the mattresses are quite comfortable. Two twin beds push together to make a king size and the rooms all have small balcony with chairs and a great breeze.

Food: dishes range from average to quite good at times and the supper main course always is different. There is always something for everyone to eat and don't be afraid to try things that look "different" from what we eat at restaurants in North America. One Saturday night, we even had freshly grilled prawns and the cook told me that we were fortunate to get them as in Cuba rationing is a way of life. Since I tipped the staff well, the cook ensured I had as many prawns as I desired. Breakfasts always had tasty fresh grilled omelettes with ham or sometimes bacon. Again, take some time at the buffet, try some new things and you may be surprised. All in all, pretty good.

Staff were mostly quite helpful and sometimes, really sweet and wonderful. I like to tip each of them since the average monthly wage in Cuba is $10-$20...yes per month. That being said, good service deserves good tipping, so some got tipped better than others and is reciprocated with very good service and appreciation.

Location: 20 min cab ride to Havana. 30 min on the free shuttle at 9:30, 14:30, or 18:30. And hotel is directly on the beach. Veradero is 2 hours from Havana, thus a pretty big outing. The great thing about this location is that one can spend a few hours in the morning touring Havana, then spend the afternoons at the beach. A great choice for the family, or so we found.

Day trips: Talk to the Guys working at the Catamaran located at the beach for Scuba Trips, Snorkelling trips, Fishing, personal cab drivers,, or traditional Cuban dinners outside the resort. We took a great all day outing in a 1950 Chevy to the Bay of Pigs with our own personal driver & snorkelling guide for snorkelling, traditional Cuban food, and Crocodile viewing.

All in all...a great time, remember it's not Canada, so don't expect that. If you want something less touristy with great access to Havana. This is a good choice.

  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled with family
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21  Thank Steve135
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
osvaldo3, Director General at Gran Caribe Club Atlantico, responded to this reviewResponded 25 April 2012

Dear Customer:

It is a pleasure to know that our hotel services met your expectations, we welcome your views and assessment of our services. For management and our entire staff has been a pleasure to have you, we hope that your visit to our country makes you want to stay with us again. We suggest that in your next visit to our facility contact us so that we can receive you. We´ll let know our service areas of your opinions, I will be happy to communicate them.

With regards.
Thanks for your time.

Emilio Soto Ramirez
Director General
Complejo Atlántico Villa los Pinos
Hoteles C

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184 - 190 of 495 reviews

Reviewed 31 March 2012

We booked this "resort" through the internet and we got exactly what we expected - basic accommodations that met our needs, in a very convenient location. If you are looking for a resort, or a Varadero sort of experience, then this is NOT the place for you. If you are looking for a good deal, and your goal is to see Havana and a bit of Cuba, then this is the place for you.
The Pros:
- a short distance from Havana with a twice-daily free bus shuttle (remember to book the night before as the shuttle into Havana gets full. If the shuttle is ever not running ask if you can go on the sister resort Tropicoco shuttle (they usually say yes).
- Havana will exceed your best expectations. Beautiful colonial buildings, nice sidewalk cafes, and great old cars everywhere you look. Spend your days wandering the streets! Havana is full of great history and the people are friendly and it's safe. Music is everywhere, playing in the streets and restaurants.
- hotel has a great beach
- hotel has a nice pool (lots of lounge chairs) with bar that serves snacks (really the best thing to eat that they have)
- 24 hour a day capucchinos available in the lounge.
- can book trips at a desk in the front lobby. I recommend the Jeep Nature Day Tour (snorkel in a cave, horseback ride, visit an old planationa, snorkel in the ocean and walk through a cave, all in the one day) and the Two Day Trip to Trinidad (which takes you on a roadtrip through the countryside and to four different colonial cities).
- rooms do have air-conditioning, hot water and a nice balcony.
- there is a computer available (buy card at the front desk) in the lobby area, though internet is slow and sitting here you are prone to nasty blackflies in the evening - try to use it in the daytime.
- there is a nice store stocked with water, juice, pop, souvenirs, beer, wine and rum right at the front of the hotel by the road.
- you can walk down the road 5 or 10 minutes to beachside restaurants frequented by locals (walk towards Havana)
- there are paddle boats and kayaks. You can arrange a catamaran outing (see the guy on the beach).
-there are tennis courts though I never saw anyone use them.

Cons:
- Rooms are very basic with very out-dated furniture and single beds (they are a good size and you can push them together, but my husband and I found it easier to just share one bed which is a bit snug)
- Maintenance is lacking. Our first room had no lock on the balcony, which a nimble person like my husband could easily have climbed onto from adjoining rooms. Our first room also had the world's noisiest airconditioner. When we were taken to our room and the bellhop turned it on, he visibly winced at the noise. We were told we would be moved the next day to a room that was less noisy, but had to ask repeatedly. When we were finally moved, the safe did not work in the next room (the battery was dead) which took another day to get fixed. When we were leaving many of hte rooms on our wing were getting new airconditioners though (boxes were sitting up and down the hall).
- Beware of sanitation standards in the restaurant. There is a grill and every night there is a person who is assigned to grill two different items (usually a fish and a meat). Standard procedure seems to be to use the same tongs to put the raw meat onto the grill and to take it off to put on your plate. One night the tongs were sitting in a bowl of raw chicken juices and chicken when not being used to scoop the cooked meat onto your plate. Other nights they sat on a platter of raw pork between uses. It is also common to see shrimp dishes on the salad buffet sitting unchilled for hours. So choose your food wisely! I am very prone to salmonella poisoning so I had to be really vigilant. Having said that, I did NOT get sick on this trip. I have heard that Cuba uses little or no pesticides/herbicides and factory farming, so perhaps the food is less prone to the systemic contamination we tend to see here in Canada and the US?
- Lack of information about facilities. No one told us the following: 1. Beach towels must be paid for at the front desk. They give you a chit which you redeem for a towel at a room off the side of the pool deck but which is only open a few hours a day. On return of your towel, you are given a receipt and then can get your money back. 2. Eat-in restaurants are booked at the front desk. 3. Shuttle to Havana must be booked at the front desk. 4. If you book with an agency like TMR (a Montreal based firm) your agent will probably not be in on the weekend if you arrive on a Saturday. This means that the first that you see her is on Monday so the first trip you can arrange is Tuesday. On the other hand, you probably want to see Havana your first few days anyway. 5. Water sports (eg paddleboats, kayaks etc) are arranged by wandering down to the beach and looking for the guy responsible for them.
Mixed Reviews, Tips and Suggestions:
- drinks are served in the world's tiniest plastic glasses (the size of small dixie cups). This is frustrating if you are thirsty and really want a big beer. On the other hand their mixed drinks (Cuba LIbre!) are 3/4 rum and a little splash of coke, so if liquor is what you want, it is a good deal. I liked getting a liqueur with my cappucino and for that a tiny glass was fine.
- If you like the idea of a tea or coffee in your room, bring a mug. I had baked us a bag of oatmeal raisin cookies because we loved the idea of sitting on our balcony with a cup of tea and eating cookies. Well the tea was given to us in 3 oz plastic cups that were way too hot to carry and probably released all sorts of plastic toxins!!! Next time we are bringing mugs! If you sit in the lounge your coffee comes in china cups, but you need to drink it there (no cups take-out)
- when you arrive at the airport (probably Varadero) there is a money exchange right outside. We brought Canadian cash and just changed it when we arrived. Ask for a LOT of one peso bills as you will find you tip everyone and for everything (carrying your bags, shuttle drivers, restaurant staff, hotel room maids etc).
- the front desk will exchange money but your exchange rate is better at the CADECA at the airport When you leave, you can change any left-over money at the airport.

Room Tip: The hotel has two wings. THe wing that is closest to the road (the east wing) has single beds. Tal...
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  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled as a couple
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23  Thank intrepidpam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
osvaldo3, Director General at Gran Caribe Club Atlantico, responded to this reviewResponded 2 April 2012

Dear Guest:

We are pleased that as a hotel we meet most of your expectations and that your stay in our facility was nice. Our structure is old and although we works daily in maintaining and improving the comfort there are situations beyond our control that prevent us from achieving a complete change in the rooms very quickly.

- At the moment we continue to work in all rooms looking for the best comfort within our means.

- Our restaurant buffet table is equipped with hot and cold so all the dishes prepared are placed in the same order for the maintenance of food (hot or cold).

-Our facility provides a responsible person to give information to our guests the services we offer either the payed ones or by reservation. For guests who travel by agency in the facility we have a representative who is responsible for providing all the information. By this we mean that our entire staff is trained to provide information since most are workers with years of experience and seniority in the industry.

-We offer to bring drinks in plastic cups for standard because customers will not be held responsible for causing them heavy losses and involvement in serving the other guests.

We are gratefull for your opinions

Emilio Soto Ramirez
Director General
Complejo Atlantico Villa los Pinos
Hoteles C

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Reviewed 21 March 2012

This has to be the worst experience I have ever had at a hotel. The beds are like sleeping on cardboard and the food is really really gross. Every day the food sits out at lunch and dinner, all you can see are flies flying around it. My advise, make reservations at the hotels restaurant, tip big and get way better foo, but still not good food. The only thing you will get served here is fish! Spend the extra money and stay somewhere else. Cuba in general is okay, but I will not go back. The ocean is beautiful, but you cant swim in it because of all the jelly fish in the water. 3 people were stung when I was there. Ouch!

  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled with family
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6  Thank HulaDi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 March 2012

Just returned from five days here. Despite some dismal reviews i had read I was more than pleasantly surpised. The hotel is a simple but clean, well situated and has everything I think you could ask for. The beach is tremendous and well staffed and is directly in front of the hotel with no time lost walking to it. Truly one of the nicest beaches I have been to. The buffet restaurant had everything I needed and a sufficient variety of breakfast, lunch and dinner choices. The fresh fish was excellent and there were plently of vegetable dishes. It is not the ridiculous and wasteful food experience of a Mexican or non-Cuban but Caribbean 4 star hotel but you feel better not seeing food being thrown out at the end of the day. You just have to remember this is a poor country with limited resources. Get me a good cup of coffee in morning and some fruit juice and I'm pretty pleased and that's what they did. Add in some tasty hotcakes and eggs and fresh fruit and I don't know what better you ask for. The restaurant requiring reservations is superb as well so make a couple of dates for it. The wine and beer and rums are fine and it doesn't really go beyond that but it seems as more than suffiicient to me. They will run out of cups and plates every now and then for a few minutes but just take a deep breath and remember you are getting tremendous value one of the most beautiful countries on earth.

Perhaps the best extra for the hotel is the regular and free shuttle bus into Havana. It runs in three times a day in just under thirty minutes and gives wonderful access to a fascinating city. Just be ready to fight through the hustlers as you get off the bus. But once you get through them it's brilliant. I tried the horse drawn city carriage tour, the broken down peddle bicycle tour and took trips in two of the old cars. They were all fabulous and incredibly inexpensive. Consider having an antique car run you out to the Hotel Naticional for a drink on their grounds. The 1930s era hotel is a real treat. The Arts Museum and Revolutionary Museums were also must-sees for history buffs. Check out the Havana Cathedral and as many as the old churches as you can as well.

The evening hotel shows are poorly attended which is disappointing as the dancers really turn in tremendous performances. Against a backdrop of what looks like an old highschool gymnasium stage in poor condition out pops a dance show worthy of Las Vegas if they had any money. It's a 45 minute or so show with dancing and singing and gives you a great and free taste of Cuban culture. It is a bit loud for the older crowd of the hotel so attendance is poor and the hotel really only attacts a 30-plus age group which means it's not a loud or an out of control 20-something party hotel which makes it attractive to me. There isn't even a lot of children. I'd say there were less than 15 for the whole five days I was there. There were also very few English speaking guests which gave it a real international feeling with the sounds of Spanish, French and German all around you. Gave you the feeling you were really away.

The hotel rooms are simple but clean. The little TVs pick up CNN and numerous Spanish channels. There was lots of hot water and the beds were comfortable. The hotel is probably about 60 years old and has had miminal updates but there is nothing I felt I needed. For the price I paid ($70 a night per person) the value as extrodinary. You're not there to stay in your room so the simplicity is not a problem.

Again, lower your expectations a little and appreciate what the hotel and the people are doing on limited means. Relax and take in the ambiance and unique attractiveness of this quiet jewel and I think you are in for a real treat. Filter out the crazy reviews you get from the spoiled whackos and the people looking for paradise but not willing to pay for it. The value here is tremendous in my opinion.

I will be returning. I had planned to stay only in Havana itself but when my mother asked to join me I decided to opt for the beach and all-inclusive experience. It turned out great because I got the best of both world. I will return again but this time with my wife and 12 year old. The mix of culture, history, decent food, good pool, access to the city and the spectacular beach make this a steal of a find.

  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled with friends
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17  Thank Liam O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 March 2012

This place is truly one for the "never going back" books. Most of the staff were awesome and friendly but the Sunwing rep and the hotel Manager were not. The hotel, pool and beach was full of locals. The hotel management frown upon having drinks in groups after 11pm because the hotel is completely dead by that time. There is a 24 hour bar but no music or atmosphere.

We hooked up with a group of Canadians and ended up being blamed for some lock being broken somewhere, The hotel management demanded that each one of us Canadians (10 people) pay 50 pesos EACH to fix this mysterious lock. Our Sunwing rep did not represent us at all! She said we did it (there was no proof any one of us did and we couldn't have ALL done it!) and was not interested in anything we had to say. She stood by while the hotel manager SCREAMED at all of us in Spanish and pointed in our faces. The few words I understood were Policio and Jail. On behalf of the manager, the Sunwing rep then demanded that we pay the 50 pesos or the police were going to be called. We all ended up paying because we had no choice. Later that day I saw the manager and the Sunwing rep arm in arm.

The food was AWFUL! There were flies all over it and everywhere in the eating hall. They also reuse the food that had not been eaten for other dishes the next day. I only ate off the grill, it was the only food I knew was fresh and somewhat safe.

I will never go back.

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
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14  Thank Julie L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
osvaldo3, Director General at Gran Caribe Club Atlantico, responded to this reviewResponded 26 March 2012

Dear Guest:

We appreciate the comments regarding your stay at the facility, we would like to clarify the following points:
1 - Not alcoholic beverage is prohibited after 11:00 PM, only care for the welfare of our clients not to abuse her and feel bad for your health or fitness.
2 - If within this evil that generates excessive drinking some customers produce some damage to the facility is always reported in the first instance to representatives of the facts and in coordination with them will take appropriate action. In this case the repair of doors and only lock the paying causing damage in this case only 6 of 10 people were involved.
3 - We appreciate the comments of the food to improve this service.

Emilio Soto Ramírez
Director General
Complejo Atlántico Villa los Pinos
Hoteles C

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Reviewed 27 February 2012

First off I will say that the beach was beautiful and was the saving grace of the vacation. My friend and I booked a trip to this resort last minute and were afraid to get off the bus when we arrived. The pictures were horribly outdated, the hotel is very run down and although the rooms were clean we were not impressed. The hotel safes were opened with your room key, which the maid also had, not the best idea. We were eaten alive by bugs, not sure if they were sand flies or bed bugs. The staff was very unfriendly and unhelpful you could stand at the bar for several minutes while the staff had a conversation and didn't even acknowledge your presence. There were a few nice staff members and we did tip them well while there. The most helpful people at the whole resort were the men who worked on the beach and did the non-motorized sports. There was no nightlife at this resort we were told to keep it down while playing cards at 10 o'clock at night, and the bartender would only give us two drinks at a time. Which normally wouldn't be an issue, except for the fact that of the two bars at the resort, the beach one closed at 6 so you had to make a trek to the lobby bar to even get a drink! Very annoying and inconvenient, made you feel bad for asking. And as if that wasn't bad enough while we were there several Canadian couples from sunwing were called into a "meeting" with management about their "behaviour" in which they were forced to pay $50 a person or they would move them from the resort and call the cops to report them for stealing. Which NEVER HAPPENED! Can you say extortion. NEVER GO HERE YOU WILL REGRET IT!

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled with friends
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5  Thank Melanie J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 February 2012

Came back from vacation in Cuba where we stay in Alcantico and want to share my impressions.What wrote traellots90 was true .Hotel is a very convenient location for those who want to get a sunbathe and those who like to explore and learn about another culture, lifestyle ... . Havana is a safe city where you can enter without fear everywhere, even in the darkest corners to see how the natives life looks like and what contition they live?Shocking impression. Side streets for tourists look quite different! But to explore the Cuban in Havana you have to have money. The cheapest is exchanged at the bank (a dozen or so meters from the hotel). You can exchange money in the hotel too but it is more expensive and they cheating
Staff at the front desk is the most unprofessional staff I met (I visited almost all of Europe and Jamaica). They totally ignore the cliant.
The hotel has late chack out - super , right? Theoretically, you pay CUC 15 and you can stay in the room until 6pm, but in practice it looks different.You pay CUC 15, and at 4pm they throw you out of the room where you sit a few hours waiting for the bus. To not dehydrate I recommend save not only CUC 25 for airport tax but 2-6 CUC to buy a drink at a nearby store.
Going to Cuba You need a lot of money not only for sightseeing and your needs, but a money for tips.Without tips do not expect good service. There are exceptions such as NIURKA, DIAMY and dark-skinned BarTender from front bar (sorry forgot his name).and SHUTTLE BUS DRIVER who professionally with a smile on their face were doing their work without expecting anything in return.Atlantico should have more such a people !

Room Tip: opposite the main entrance
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  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled with friends
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10  Thank Rudasek01
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
osvaldo3, Director General at Gran Caribe Club Atlantico, responded to this reviewResponded 26 March 2012

Mr:

I´m glad I had a pleasant stay despite his comments on some negatives, but there are certain criteria that are unrelated to the installation.

About The Late check out is offered according to availability of employment provided to the client informing you so that it can choose or not the option of 15.00cuc until 6:00 PM and 45.00 CUC to 9:00 PM.

However we will submit its criteria for improvement of our services by putting at your disposal for any question you may have.


Attentively
Emilio Soto Ramirez
Director General
Complejo Atlantico Villa los Pinos
Hoteles C

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Additional Information about Gran Caribe Club Atlantico

Address: Ave de las Terrazas | Santa Maria del Mar. Habana del este, Havana 10900, Cuba
Region: Caribbean > Cuba > Ciudad de la Habana Province > Havana
Amenities:
Beach Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#3 On the Beach Hotel in Havana
Price Range: £71 - £176 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Gran Caribe Club Atlantico 3*
Number of rooms: 92
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Gran Caribe Club Atlantico Hotel Havana
Gran Caribe Hotel Atlantico
Gran Caribe Havana

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