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“Would Not Recommend”
Review of Hotel Club Kawama

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Hotel Club Kawama
Ranked #45 of 64 Hotels in Varadero
1 review
“Would Not Recommend”
Reviewed 26 May 2014

We had heard after booking that this wasn't a great hotel so we prepared ourselves but were not ready for how bad it actually was. Cuba was fantastic, this resort is not.

The beach is definitely the best part. No complaints there and it was relatively clean the whole week we were there.

The rooms were simple but workable. Except for the lack of hot water in my room and the lack of a draining tub in a friends room.
However, it would have been nice to get into our rooms. We arrived at 4 in the morning and were told by the front desk that we would have rooms by 8 or 9. Went back at 10 and managed to get one room for 5 of us. The last person in our party didn't get a key to her room until 3 that afternoon and couldn't access it until 5 as it was being cleaned. The receptionist at the front desk said "Well, it's Cuba. What do you expect?"

The food is pretty bad. Breakfast is fine as you can get eggs done but the rest of the meals were basically the same every day. The buffet was an adventure in trying to decide what type of meat hadn't been sitting out unrefrigerated for too long and checking fruit for bugs before putting it on your plate. The sandwich bar at the far end of the resort had the best food and the Italian restaurant was pretty good.

The staff was the worst part of the resort. At the lobby bar, despite being cheerful and polite, I was usually ignored because I didn't tip them prior to service. They were generally unhelpful and even yelled at the guests.

We did a couple excursions through SunWing and would recommend those. The dolphin excursion was amazing (except for the part where they stopped the boat to shake us down for tips) and the tour through Havana was really interesting.

Overall, Cuba was great and I would love to go back - at a different resort.

P.S. Don't forget to bring toilet paper everywhere you go on the resort - most bathrooms don't have any.

  • Stayed March 2014, travelled with friends
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Thank Jules -
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
Toronto, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 May 2014

Worst vacation ever. The hotel staff never pick up the phone at the front desk. None of the bars or restaurants are open the times they are supposed to be. The food is horrible. Spent all my cash eating out at restaurants. One of the worst hotels ever. The beach was the only nice thing about the hotel.

  • Stayed May 2014, travelled solo
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2 Thank PJNM
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

Travellers are raving about these Varadero hotels

North Bay, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 May 2014

My family and I stayed at Hotel Club Kawama in Varadero for two weeks during August 2013. Our first impression of the resort was not the best. The room they gave us honestly felt like it hadn’t been touched in months. It had a terrible smell and had such a dirty feeling we didn’t touch anything or walk on the floor barefoot. However, the next morning they were able to switch us rooms within a few hours. The new room was very cute and clean, and the maid worked very hard to do so. We brought a full bag of old nick- knacks and little things from the dollar store to tip the maids with (such as shampoos, razors, tampons, pads, small toys, books, stickers, socks, toothbrushes/ paste, hair accessories, deodorant, reading glasses, sun glasses etc.) Also, when left we gave the entertainment girl named Jenny some clothes and shoes we didn’t want anymore. Although many Canadians tip this way, I wouldn't recommend it as upon our return I discovered how this can be damaging to Cuban society.

The rooms they were typical for Cuba: small, simple decor and tiny beds. Despite the fact the beds looked small and thin, I had an enjoyable sleep each night. I did however, find that the pillows were flat and hard so I would definitely recommend bringing your own if that should be a problem for you.

On the other hand, the resort is very authentic Cuban. It was clean but the paint was peeling and you could tell it was one of the older resorts. There were a lot of nice palm trees, shrubs, cactuses and flowers around the resort which added a nice touch.
Since August is the month locals tend to vacation at cheaper resorts, there were many during our stay. We didn’t mind as we even became friends with some!

The pool was great! It was really big and quite deep, with a shallow part for kids. It was clean but sometimes cups and straws would be in or around it from other guests. I do feel they could have done a better job cleaning them up, but it wasn’t too big of a deal. The pool was open from 9 am- 7pm, and open again after 10 pm to enjoy midnight swims. The pool bar is open from 10 am until about 3 am. The service was pretty good and the drinks were always refreshing. There is also a snack bar beside the pool bar which was absolutely delicious! It was open from 10 am- 5 pm and re-opened at 10 pm. They served hot dogs, hamburgers and ham/cheese sandwiches. Also, there are buns, croissants and other little pastries to be enjoyed.
There were 3 other bars; the cafe styled lobby bar served regular drinks as well as delicious cappuccinos. There was also a coffee bar which served pastry snacks. Lastly, there was a bar located on the beach.

The white sand and crystal clear beach was beautiful. It was very big and stretched There were various water activities available such as paddle boating, kayaking, catamarans and wind surfing.

To get towels you had to put a deposit of 10 CUC (Cuban convertible pesos) per towel, which would be returned to you at the end of the trip. Each day you could go to the beach bar and get a fresh towel from a member of the entertainment staff.
There were 3 members of the entertainment team. However, the activities started at about 5 pm, such as bingo or swimming competitions. They didn’t have games during the day that other all-inclusive resorts provide. such as volley- ball or yoga. That was a bit disappointing for my sister and I since we always enjoyed them elsewhere. You were free to play basket- ball, volley-ball or ping pong. They were in the process of re-constructing the theatre so the nightly entertainment was held in the disco area. The shows started at 10 pm and consisted of dance shows, live music, mini pageants, bingo and other fun games.

I have heard bad things about the food in Cuba, so I wasn't expecting much. No matter where you go in Cuba the food is going to be relatively the same. But this is not the fault of the resort, since it is a communist county where food is rationed and they don’t trade with the same countries as Canada does. As a side note, the buffet was located on the beach which provided a fabulous view of the ocean. Also, there was a live band that played almost every afternoon and every night, which was quite enjoyable. The food was pretty repetitive and there were a lot of traditional dishes. For breakfast there were always delicious omelettes, pancakes and French toast. There was also amazing fresh fruit juice that was made! For lunch and supper options included pastas, pork, chicken, beef, and fish, as well as fruit, veggies, deli meat, and bread. The fruit was not very good but the bread was always so fresh. Overall, the food really wasn't as bad as we expected and could always find something yummy to eat. Just remember, you are not at a five star restaurant. There were several restaurants downtown, just a short walk from the resort, if you grow tired of the buffet. We went to La Sangria, an Italian restaurant owned by an Italian man who married a Cuban woman. It was delicious and very affordable. I would definitely recommend checking it out. There is also the Al Capone restaurant called Casa de Al just a short walk right from the resort. We met people who went there one night and loved it.

The resort was located in the perfect location, less than 5 minutes from downtown. There were many markets for souvenirs at incredibly cheap prices. You were able to bargain with them but we didn’t feel we had to as the prices were already so low. Unlike most countries, the vendors did not harass you to buy anything at all. They would simply greet you and tell you the price of their merchandise. The Cuban people in general were extremely kind and had a calm nature about them. There was a red bus you could take for $5 for the entire day which went back and forth the Varadero peninsula. Other forms of transportation included horse and buggies as well as taxis, both very cheap. One day we took a taxi down to Plaza America but it was only more expensive souvenirs. There was a grocery store and surprisingly a Puma outlet.

Overall, we had an amazing vacation. We embraced a new culture and met some amazing people. No, Kawama is not the highest rated or the fanciest resort but if you arrive with low expectations and keep an open mind, you will find yourself having a great time. I would recommend this resort for someone who is looking for a relaxing vacation in a beautiful country, ready to immerse into an interesting culture.

Thanks for reading and I hope my review helped. Have a great vacation wherever it may take you :)

  • Stayed August 2013, travelled with family
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Helpful?
6 Thank brooklyndesbiens
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Fredericton
Level Contributor
14 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 May 2014

I was a bit timid to book Kawama, but so glad I took a chance. It seems some travel reps are reluctant to recommend this resort, an experience I had personally and discovered I shared with other guests during my stay, but there really isn't cause for alarm. I was told by one agent that Kawama had a reputation for being "the" place to stay if you were single and wanted to take a Cuban man back to your room for the night. Well, if that was happening, it was discreet and in no way affected my week of relaxation and fun in the sun. I am female and travelled solo and always felt safe.

The beach is fabulous and you can walk for miles on white sand. The food is not similar to American fare, but I wasn't expecting it to be. I sampled all sorts of dishes we do not prepare in Canada, enjoyed the fresh fruit and vegetables, and never went hungry.

The bed was comfortable, sheets were changed when I mentioned they were sandy and the room was kept fairly tidy - cleaner than I would keep it myself if left to my own devices on a vacation. It did smell different than what I am used to, but I took a couple of tea lights and some incense for that purpose. I always had hot water, morning and night, and the water pressure was great.

The mini-fridge wasn't stocked until the third or fourth day, but beverages were available throughout the resort and I took a mug with me for that purpose. I didn't report it because it wasn't an issue. When I asked about it while at the desk for something else, the request was fulfilled.

I lost an item on the beach and the desk clerk called security, who are stationed just between where my room was in building three and the left side gate. They had it there in the lost and found. Some kind soul turned it in and I was happy to retrieve it.

I did get bit by something, which is unusual for me, but it was on my last night and I was at the beach sitting on the patio outside the disco after dark. Might have been sand fleas, but I was never bothered during the day and didn't use any spray. I did not see any evidence of bugs in my room other than those little microscopic things that are everywhere in a tropical climate.

I recommend taking bug spray, Calomine lotion, Benedryl, Polysporin and some extra sun screen. These items were a hot commodity and I gave them out freely while there. My air mattress also drew a lot of attention. It doubled as a cushion on the beach lounger and a floating device for the water.

The hotel exchange rate is higher than what you would find at the bank, but it is convenient. There is a bank in the Kawama strip, to the left if you are facing the resort. They allow one person in at a time, but if you go early (they open at 9), you shouldn't experience a line up. You can exchange currency or get cash using your credit card.

Don't go expecting the Ritz, stay calm, and positive, and you should have a good time. Who wants to spend their precious time worrying about things that, in the grand scheme of things, are really quite insignificant. I wanted to relax, walk, swim, and spend some time just chilling out. I accomplished what I went for.

The coffee bar is a lovely place to go for a little break away from the beach and pool. Fernando at the beach bar is a laugh and goes out of his way to make sure you are looked after. The staff are very attentive overall. I tipped, but not because it was expected. I was polite and was treated politely in return. An employee who doesn't fawn over me isn't going to influence my day and I didn't get hung up on that as much as some.

Stayed May 2014, travelled solo

Room Tip: Building Three was perfect for me. Quiet, yet close to everything including the beach.
See more room tips
  • Stayed May 2014, travelled solo
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Helpful?
11 Thank HeatSeeker46
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Saskatoon, Canada
Level Contributor
20 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 56 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 May 2014

My husband and I returned to Kawama on Nov. 23, 2013 for 2 weeks. While the flight down and back were terrible (not because of any issue with Sunwing; my husband was on oxygen and well - let's just leave it that the flights were not good!) the rest of our vacation was enjoyable.

Once we arrived at Kawama - everything was good. Even with the renovations that were happening at that time (main lobby and main pool being totally renovated and not accessible whatsoever), the room we had pre-arranged with the help of a fellow traveler and Leida (Kawama Public Relations Manager), we could not have asked for a better location.

Due to my husband's medical needs - we needed a larger room that was easily accessible to the buffet location. While I do not recommend traveling to Varadero with having to use a wheelchair (little steps on the resort combined with terrible sidewalks in downtown Varadero made pushing a wheelchair very difficult), we still managed to enjoy ourselves.

A couple of the gardeners (Raul and Jesus) moved two lounge chairs from poolside to the south-facing deck on our room (Unit 43) so that Guy could soak up the sun and yet still have his stand-alone oxygen concentrator available for constant use.

While La Tasca (the main buffet) was closed down, wonderful meals were served at El Brocal - at the far west end of the resort. Again - easy access (except for three steps that had to be navigated with the wheelchair) and the staff were ever so accommodating. If Guy was not at a meal, I was always questioned "How's Papi?" "Is Papi okay?". Resort staff made a point of stopping by to visit Guy at our room and I know that he enjoyed that immensely.

Our Sunwing rep was ever so helpful; even when we had to arrange supplemental oxygen for the return flight on VERY short notice, he made sure that everything that needed to be done was done - even coming to our room to pick up an "OK to fly" doctor's form that was required at the last minute.

We didn't spend a lot of time poolside - again, Guy's health precluded that and moreso - there were no palapas by the west pool so it was very VERY hot. We did spend some afternoons at the bar by El Brocal...and regularly enjoyed Aniaysa's ham/cheese sandwiches, hot dogs and burgers. Of course, the cafe y bitemines (vit. R <rum>) was always a delight.

Unfortunately, this was my husband's last trip to our Cuban home away from home; Guy died at the end of Feb. 2014. BUT he was able to have a good visit with his Cuban familia and that is what counts. He loved and cherished the friendships he had made over the years and I know his Kawama family misses him terribly.

As a repeat visitor, we are automatically bumped up to superior rooms but it would not hurt to advise Leida about 3 weeks prior to your arrival. Understand that the reception staff might be a bit cranky, but after sitting in the lobby and listening to some of the things they have to deal with - well - I'd be cranky too.

C'mon people - you are on vacation - is not having your sheets changed DAILY that big of a game-changer...?!? Let me ask you this - do you change your sheets daily at home? I didn't think so; so then why would you expect sheets to be changed daily while on vacation? Same with the towels...if you don't need clean towels - hang them up and hopefully, your maid will not change them on you...!

Food - there is more than enough selection to provide for the most picky eater....no - let me correct that - if you are only going to eat pizza or only like a mcdonald's type hamburger and can't stand to have some variety in your diet - stay someplace else...! The tomatoes taste different because they are NOT gmo'd to death...all their vegetables taste as they should be - clean and fresh and oh-so-yummy.

The bell-boys went over and above their call of duty for us. I had to make a number of trips to the pharmacy or little grocery store and they were readily available to drive me in their golf cart. If we had to head to the resort medical clinic, all I had to do was call reception, and our 'ride' would be there within minutes.

The care provided by the staff at the International Clinic downtown was amazing. We realized within the first 4 days of our arrival, that Guy had developed pneumonia. So a quick taxi ride to the clinic, an even quicker xray and consult with the doctor on call, and Guy was given his antibiotic injection. Then for the next two days, an RN from the clinic CAME TO THE RESORT every 8 hours, to give the antibiotic injection...then Guy was on antibiotic pills that he was able to take himself.

I am going to miss seeing RN Anna's smiling face - she is now working at the hospital in Matanzas. When Guy was diagnosed with pneumonia, she checked on him at least 3 times a day to ensure that he was recovering. Milady's (massage therapist) provided some great massages for Guy.

I HIGHLY recommend purchasing Assitur medical insurance when you arrive at the Varadero airport. For 40CUC, Guy had COMPLETE coverage - something that he was unable to get through any other Canadian insurance provider - because of pre-existing conditions. Our visit to the clinic for his pneumonia diagnosis, would have cost us almost $400 OUT OF POCKET...and would not have been refunded on our return. The only things we had to pay for was the 5CUC delivery fee for the medication to be sent up from the pharmacy and any cough medicine that Guy required. Yes, some insurance coverage does not require prepayment but for 40CUC - well - a small price to pay for peace of mind. In fact, I intend to purchase this insurance when I next return to Varadero...!

While Kawama may not be for everyone, we are so glad that we chose this resort when we first travelled to Varadero. I can not imagine staying any place else.

  • Stayed November 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
7 Thank Saskatoon-Cuba-bound
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
st jean sur richelieu
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 May 2014

we have been to varadero 11 times so we know how it works. this resort could be very nice if the staff would understand that a vacation is for relaxing not partying 18 hours a day with loud music starting at 11 in the morning so loud you can hear it on the beach . the pool area is very nice but relaxing by the pool is impossible loud rigatone day in & day out . partys till 4am by the pool . every sat. nite there,s a rave not to far till 3 am try to sleep ....good luck windows shake believe me it,s ridiculous. staff are ok they know that this resort does not cut it even by cuba standards.so they do their best with what they have. buffet one day it,s great next day it,s truly discusting and we are not fussy we know we are in cuba. beach chairs are so messed up it takes you 30 minutes or more to find one that works not impressed. rooms we were lucky ours was very nice but I heard horrible stories. would not go back unless they really review the WHY U GO ON A VACATION..... now for the new cuba.....got stopped on the bridge with my Cuban friend taking us back to the hotel after a wonderfull meal at his house we,ve known them for ten years so we can call them friends....reason we got stopped by police is that ....Cubans can,t have friends from other countries and treat them as friends should we have to take a cab to go to their home and the officer was so rude and stupid . next got seased 3 bottles of rhum 2 me and one wife because they decided to change the policy ...again... no rhum in carry ons the custom officer was so rude and very dum he said and I quote F.... CANADIANS wow not to nice that was on april 30th on flight 615 sunwing. I hope he gets what he deserves for saying this. then I simply walked up the stairs bought 3 bottles again at the duty free put it in my carry on and flew home now is this stupid or what. with attitudes like this cuba will loose a lot of tourists but then again they don,t need our patronage or do they. too bag cause we love Cubans and the wonderfull country they live in we will go back but with a different way of seeing things.

  • Stayed April 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank maypo1hd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 May 2014

We stayed at Kawama from May 2 - May 10th. We had upgraded to a Superior Room - don't think it made much difference. We had a terrace off our room that had to be shared with another room. The bathroom window was hanging by one hinge and would not close, no stocked fridge as advertised by Sunwing, sheets not changed in the entire 8 day stay. Had to repeatedly ask for toilet paper and towels. Hot water only 1 day out of 8. No amount of talking to the front desk staff helped at all. Booked ala carte with the front desk. Got to the restaurant at the reserved time only to find that it was closed due to reservations....

This is our second time in Cuba - we knew what to expect - but this was a bit too extreme. Of course - the beach and ocean were amazing as always. Next time will definitely go back to Villa Cuba or another resort. Will not return to Club Kawama.

  • Stayed May 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
5 Thank Angela H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hotel Club Kawama

Property: Hotel Club Kawama
Address: Calle 1 | Reparto Kawama, Varadero 42200, Cuba
Region: Caribbean > Cuba > Matanzas Province > Varadero
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Restaurant Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#30 Top resorts Hotel in Varadero
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:3 star — Hotel Club Kawama 3*
Number of rooms: 235
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Kawama Hotel Varadero
Resort All Inclusive Kawama
Kawama Varadero
Club Kawama Varadero

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