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Ocean Varadero El Patriarca
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Reviews (3,927)
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1,528
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All reviewsprivilege sectionpiano barprivilege poolmike's coffeea la carte restaurantspizzaprivilege guestsprivilege roombeach restaurantbeach towelsrain showergourmet restaurantmain buffetfishprivate poolrecommend this resortmain pool
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1,484 - 1,489 of 3,927 reviews
Reviewed 16 June 2014

My husband and I returned two days ago from Cuba. We enjoyed our stay at this resort and we were impressed by the excellent service we received at the Ranchon Playa or the Beach restaurant. The Staff Carmen, Iria, Manso, Adriana, Yainet, Pedro and Ariel were very nice and pleasant.
We look forward to go back to enjoy another vacation at this resort.

  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank Marie B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 June 2014

We stayed at this hotel June 7th - 14th 2014 and had a relaxing holiday. Other reviews comment on the staff ignoring guests, well I can only say we did not encounter this problem. We found all the staff friendly and very attentive, even the maintenance staff would smile and wave as we walked by. Our maid was wonderful, always leaving our room with plenty of fresh towels and sparkling clean (we did not stay in the privilege section). The room its self was bright and spacious and so was the bathroom. Mikes coffee shop serves wonderful coffees and smoothies and again the staff always had a smile and were most professional. We preferred to dine in the buffet restaurant as it had plenty of choice and we particularly enjoyed selecting fresh fish to be grilled. We did sample the Gourmet and the Italian restaurants but found the service to be slow and the food rather bland. The beach is amazing but needs to be cleaned in places to remove cigarette tabs some dirty holiday makers leave behind. Yes a lot of the sun loungers are damaged or broken completely and do need to be replaced by better quality models. Furniture in the lobby area is comfortable but starting to show signs of damage. In places this looks as though it could have been done deliberately i.e. peeling leatherette in places you would not expect to see it. We enjoyed a drink in the piano bar, especially when the crazy drummer/sax player/clarinet player/vocalist was the act. Overall, because of the poor quality/broken loungers, food in the a la carte restaurants, furniture in the lobby and a few other minor items we would rate this as equivalent to an European 3 1/2 to 4 star hotel but by Cuban standards it would be a 5.

  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled with family
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3  Thank sungirl19
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 June 2014

We are a couple in our sixties who chose this 5 star hotel because it was a very good price and was rated 7th best in Varadero by Tripadvisor. We have travelled extensively in the Caribbean and have been to Cuba 4 times. We knew enough to reduce our expectations when travelling to Cuba, particularly where food is concerned. However, we were not expecting poor service, which is what we got.

El Patriarca is a smaller hotel, nicely located on the beach and only 2 years old with great potential but already showing signs of neglect and decline. For example, the furniture in the lobby is finished in cheap leatherette that has ripped off on several chairs.

In general, the management at this hotel could use a shake up. There was no management presence in the lobby, bars and restaurants as we have seen at other hotels. Senior managers were visible only when they left their offices to have coffee or to eat. Never did we see any sign of a manager coaching, correcting or teaching an employee on the job.

Much has been written about the bars and drinks in previous reviews. Here is our take. Starting at the beach bar where you will find the 3-sided stand-up bar barricaded with garbage cans and plants on two sides. Not sure why - it is either to keep patrons funneled into one area or to provide a couple spots for the endless parade of employees and life guards who come to imbibe their favorite drink and engage the bartenders in conversation. By the way, this was one of our biggest beefs - guests seem to be ignored in favor of a conversation with a fellow worker or another employee. We always felt ignored and felt like we were interrupting when asking for a drink. Drinks at all bars were "slapped together" without much care. The more exotic drinks they mixed bore little resemblance to the actual drink. The beach snack bar is open only from 12:30 to 3:30. Service here was not bad but about 2 o'clock every day the cooks came out from the kitchen and ordered their favorite alcoholic drinks. We thought this was very unprofessional and another sign of missing supervision. We used the pool bar late in the day and we were always frustrated by the service there. Although the advertised time of closure is 6 PM, the bar was effectively closed and we were ignored for drinks by about 530 every day. One day we were even “evicted” from the pool by some employees whistling at us and for no apparent reason. Later we learned it was because they were chlorinating the pool. Surely this can be done at another time since the early evening is such a great time to enjoy the pool. We used the pool snack bar only once and it seemed disorganized and understaffed. The lobby bar had the best drinks and service. We enjoyed Mike's Café. The service there was always efficient and friendly. The piano bar was also very good.

Food is Cuba is average at best and is usually just acceptable at a five-star hotel. This is because the high quality foods that are enjoyed in many parts of the world are just not readily available in Cuba. The buffet food was acceptable but the atmosphere in the buffet wasn't – they really don’t try very hard (no table cloths, not enough servers, etc). The buffet is a cavernous high-ceilinged venue that could benefit from improved lighting. There are 11 large orange lampshade-type lights above the main area that could provide the right lighting. Unfortunately only 3 of the 11 worked while we were there – we believed they were burned out and management hadn't noticed or doesn't care.

The a la carte restaurants are really nothing special but they do offer a better atmosphere than the buffet. The hotel boasts a no-reservations system but you must line up at 6:15 to eat at 6:30 or to get a reservation for later. I can imagine how frustrating this would be in high season.

The beach is lovely but many of the the chaise lounges are in bad repair. Others have mentioned that the majority of chairs are uncomfortable because there are hard plastic - not what you would expect at a five-star hotel. Not sure why a large number of broken unusable chairs still remain at the beach – management neglect?

We attended one show at the theatre (Michael Jackson) and it was very good. Our room was nicely appointed, large and comfortable. Landscaping was well done and will be really nice as it matures. Check with guest services if you wish to take the Havana tour – they offer classic car excursions – lots of fun. A note on purchasing items and settling your bill with the hotel: either bring cash and exchange it or bring a credit card with absolutely no connection to the USA. Debit cards of any kind are rarely accepted in Cuba.

For those of you thinking of booking this hotel, you must decide for yourself if these issues would annoy you. We have read many positive reviews for this resort. This is just our opinion based on our experience. We would recommend this hotel, but only if you can get it at a very good price

  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Carlosonceayear
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 June 2014

We stayed at the Ocean Varadero El Patriarca resort from May 30th to June 6th 2014.

Flight was very smooth. (Flew with Air Transat).

Transportation from the airport to the resort was very adequate and smooth riding.

Arrived at the Resort Lobby (1st surprise) our names was written on the wall and they were awaiting for us at the privilege check-in.
They welcomed us with a beverage of our choice and they were calling us by our names (very good).
They provide us with information about the resort and 5 minutes later we were on our way to our room.

All the bloc on the resort are only 2 stories high (not to much stairs to walk).
Common section the blocs are colored blue and Privilege housing are colored in light brown.
Privilege section is the nearest bloc from the beach approximately 3 minutes walk.
Rooms are renovated, modern look with all the newest commodities. Satelitte TV , Flat screen TV, hair dryer, safe etc..
Privilege section provide you also with a private pool, private bar (very nice), and also a butler service (they will arrange you a la carte restaurants reservation).
Bed was comfortable and room was done everyday and the minibar was refill everyday also.

Grounds are very well maintained, very clean and everybody was smilling at us and were sayinf Hola!. Also a lot of the worker at the resort are speaking a lot of languages (English, French, german, Russian, Italian etc)

Beach was very nice a lot of umbrella are at the disposition of vacationers. Privilege section has his own private section at the beach.

Food was great even at the buffet lots of variety were at our disposal.
No reservation needed for a la carte restaurants BUT it is base on a first arrive first serve basis and 2 diner hour are available (6:30 and 8:00). Also if you're in the Privilege section you can make a reservation and you'll bypass the line and go to your restaurant.

Entertainment is very good, Shows at night are very good too.

They're also well equipped for entertaining children through the day.

Overall very good resort for the family and also for couple in search of peaceful moment also.

I would like to talk our butler at the privilege section who made this trip one of the most appreciated we did in a long time
To people are : Jenny, Romillio, Jay, Lays, Janet and all the waitress in the privilege section the surpass themselves with professionalism and providing excellent services.

Thanks to all we will return for sure.

Room Tip: If it fits your budget go Privilege. But at the Privilege section no children are allowed.
  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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2  Thank Belgazou47
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 June 2014

Together there were 17 of us went to this resort from June 2nd to June 9th. This was not our first trip to Cuba or the south, so we have some experience for comparison.
We went on the low season. Also we did not compare Cuba to Mexico or Punta Cana.

CHECK IN & CHECK OUT: are very quick and a nice cold drink to greet you. There is a currency exchange available on reception. You can exchange money at the desk for a reasonable rate.

LOBBY: was spectacular with many lounges seating & the open air concept was eye catching. In general, the staffs were friendly & they spoke good English which was different from our experience in the Dominican Republic.

FOOD: We did not have high expectations for the food in Cuba but we were very pleasantly surprised. The food here was very good. The grill stations for lunch & dinner were great as well. Also the people who worked there were awesome! We were always greeted with a smile & a friendly greeting.

They have 3 A La Carte but only 2 open per day. For dinner we tried all three of the specialty restaurants. The Gourmet was our favorite. However they don’t accept the reservation, you have to be there before opening at 6:30, in order to guarantee getting a table.

ENTERTAINMENT NIGHT & DAY:
Entertainment team at the beach was fantastic. They were fun and always had people participating in the activities. The music was loud but fun!
The Nightly show is just OK. Show Michael Jackson is so so because I have watched another Michael Jackson’s show in Mexico & that show is my favorite.

BAR: There are a few.
Lobby bar is very lively in the evening, great atmosphere. Same as Disco, I like the ambiance there. Also the piano bar has some great live music. Mike coffee was my favorite. Not only do they have the best coffee but also the girls working there are awesome. They are friendly & always helpful (the only one issue, they close at 9 PM)

ROOM: The rooms were immaculate and clean. Everything is modern and new looking, nice decorating. Housekeeping is good and fast, they do a great job keeping the rooms clean. We were in block 23. Location is closer to the lobby than the beach or pool. If you prefer closer to the beach, ask to have block 66.

BEACH: very beautiful beach. The sea was like getting into a warm bath. The beach was relaxing & peaceful.

HAVANA TOUR: If you want to go to the church (on Sunday) or go to Havana for one day, you can book a taxi at the front desk. $20 CUC one way ( you can share 3-4 people / taxi )

Here is some negative, need to improve.

BEACH TOWEL: We did not always get a towel every day because they don’t have enough! No service at 12 PM – 1 PM! And they close at 5 PM.

MAIN BUFFET: always missing a small spoon (for coffee or ice cream) & the knives are really useless.

BEACH BUFFET: too many birds that flew around on the uncovered food.

Overall it was a great trip. We have traveled south many times, and had always avoided Cuba because of all of the bad reviews about food or service. But this resort was a wonderful surprise. Big thanks to my cousin H. encouraged us to be there.

I highly recommend this hotel. If you decide to come, here are some suggested items to pack yourself that make your trip more enjoyable:

Kleenex: Your room have a tiny pack of Kleenex that is NOT replenished.
Pen: No pen or block note or post it in your room.
Your coffee mug: because they only have a very small plastic cup & no drinking straw!
Your beach towels: much easier to find your chairs on the beach also if it lost, will cost you 20 CUC. Use it for shower because the room towers were a bit hit & miss.
Watch or clock: Never saw a clock anywhere on the resort!
Lastly: Don’t forget to bring your smile & enjoy your vacation.

Feel free for any questions.

  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled with family
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5  Thank mptca
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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