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“We love Cuba!”

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Ocean Varadero El Patriarca
Ranked #12 of 64 Hotels in Varadero
Reviewed 7 August 2014

We stayed at this beautiful resort for a week and we enjoyed every minute here. The room was very clean and modern, the food was good, with many choices. Still the à -la-carte restaurants could have had better food and serve quicker. We enjoyed the most: the Coffee house and the Piano Bar. During our vacation we had a photo-trip to Havana with a private tour guide and it was the best choice. Yosel, our guide, is a very nice person, who specks very well English, and knows how to make the trip interesting even for kids. We, definitely, recommend him and here is his e-mail address: yoselvazquez@yahoo.com.
At the same time don"t miss the concert of Buena Vista Social Club!
Have fun! We love Cuba!

  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled with family
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
4  Thank E A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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1,308 - 1,314 of 3,660 reviews

Reviewed 5 August 2014

I went to this resort with two other friends last may. He did a lot of research for the perfect holidays, looked for prices, looked for reviews on and travellers pics on Trip advisor as well as looking on google earth to have a real view of the beach and the area. We ended choosing this 5 stars hotel and did not regret it.

ROOM:Check in went smooth, we got a room near the reception which we were at first disappointed thinking it would be far from the pool and beach but we actually liked it,, we didn't have all the music and noise from the pool all day if we wanted to rest or take a nap and even tough it seems like a big resort it was only a 5 min walk to the pool and beach! Since we were 3 people, there gave us an extra bed,, that sucked it was so hard none of us wanted to sleep in it,, ahahah so we ended up putting the two double beds together and sleeping 3 in the same bed. We left some clothes and jewelry for the maid everyday as the room was always spotless and we left some tip at the end of the week.

FOOD: I am vegetarian and was actually worried about the food, but i was very surprised since it was very good ! The buffet had fresh omelettes and eggs done in front of you every morning, there was plenty of natural juices, yogurt, and for lunch and dinner there was always choices of fresh cooked meat and fish and a lot of salads and vegetables for me :) I always get upset when i read bad reviews about limited food choices in Cuba. People should really get informed before travelling and should learn that locals only have a very small choice to eat, basically their diet is rice, beans, eggs,,, and thats about it! They gets coupons that they can change for food every month, and those who have chance to maybe get tips and make extra money my be able to buy a little extra that month.Those who have a chance to have fruits and vegetables on their land can eat it,, but it is illegal for most of them to even sell it, so let s not complain of all the food we get at their resorts in their country, since they actually dreammmmm about eating a piece of meat or fresh fish and even more about fresh vegetables!
I was a little dissapointed by the A la carte restaurants,, not because it wasn t good, but only because they give names to the food, but serve something totally different, obviously there are many ingredients they dont have there,, so they shouldnt give names that we know in Canada , they should just called it what it is,,example: dont call it a chocolate fondant, if it is a chocolat pudding,,, just call it a pudding, same thing for the spring rolls.. etc...

Pool and beach:The pool was big and always super clean, which i really liked. The beach was clean and there were always a lot of chairs available, however always a lot of people "booking!!!" their chairs in advance,,, probably like at 4 am!!!! i got to the beach around 8 am,, and always felt like trowing these lonely towels laying on the chairs to the ocean!!! but whatever... there was always chairs available anyways.. Entertainment was a little boring at the beach when we were there,, they did not really invite people to join for activities,, they would announce it on the microphone,, and only the 20 people around the speaker would hear it,,, and that was it,, they didn't really make any effort the get people to join. There was better entertainment at the pool since the sound was much better, a lot of games and aqua-gym was great !

Staff: We really liked the staff at the restaurants, bars and the girls at the coffee bar were lovely !!! We spoke spanish so communication and trust was much easier so we were able to learn a lot about their reality and lives.

Excursions: We went to La Habana in a private taxi, we asked our rep for a taxi contact and he was excellent, it was not only a driver but definitely a tour guide he took us everywhere,, showed us all the areas of La Habana,, we could stop whenever we wanted,, it was a long but super fun day. We also did the small free catamaran tour on the beach with the watersport guys and it was sooo fun! My friend also did the jeep and catamaran tour offered by the rep and she loved it !

Overall we really liked the hotel, my friend had been to Cuba 7 times an this was by far her favorite place, rooms and new and clean ( a few bugs get under the door,,, but thats normal! ) Hotel and spotless, staff was great, food was fresh, beach and pool super clean !

Nightlife: AT night there is the lobby bar,, where people hang all night, next to it there is the lounge music bar,, lovely but two small ..we were never able to have a sitted place to enjoy the music and the disco that opens at 10pm,, but only gets fun around 11h30pm! so if you arrive at 10 and there is no one,, no worry,,, come back later,, the place will be on fire !
We also had tickets for a free cabaret show offered at the International hotel which then becomes a nightclub. The show was ok,,, the theatre was almost empty,,, we were really wondering that that nightclub would look like,, but as soon as the show was over,,, it filllled with thousands of people, locals, tourist.. there was even a super famous cuban singer who sang a few songs. It was a super fun nigth ( until 4am ) !!! and mojitos there were excellent!

Location: The hotel is almost at the end of the strip, so a little further from Varadero downtown, but you can take a bus on the road for 5 pesos, which does round trips all day, in case you want to go shop or need to go to the bank.

Gifts: Many people bring gifts for the locals that work at the resort, clothes and toiletry things are always a good idea, but when we were there we learned that they now authorized the Cubans to have internet access on their cell phones, so they are all crazy about it,, the problem is that they have those old cell phones,,, so i though next time i would bring my old cell phones ( which would be super new for them ! ) that i still have,, two blackberry phone, god knows we here in Canada chance cell phone almost every year as we get them for free with the cell phone company, so many people probably have a few at home. The staff we talked to told us they can even give us something in exchange,, like rum or other. However the phones would probably need to be unlocked,, i doubt they can do it there.

So i recommend this resort to everyone, there were many groups, family, couples, singles! It is perfect for everyone, and i will definitely go back again !

Room Tip: Request a room near the lobby, as it is much more quiet, near the buffet and A la carte restaurants...
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  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled solo
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
15  Thank Margarida35
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 August 2014

I stayed here in May with 8 members of my family. We stayed in the privilege section and would highly recommend this!

The service from the staff that work within the privilege section is second to none - some of the best we have ever received. We had our own private pool, with pool bar that stocked high class well known alcoholic brands which makes a lot of difference! We could also order food to the pool which was always very nice! The evening bar was very nice again with a great selection of alcohol, it was quite and a nice place to start your evening. The breakfast served there was also very good.

The only time this hotel was a let down was when we went into the main part of the hotel. The lobby bar was always very busy and serving from plastic glasses as they always ran out! The themed restaurants were a bit of a let down too, the food was always overcooked and EVERY TIME we went in one we were waiting at least 40 minutes for our main meal. We complained may times to our privilege staff but little could be done.

All in all this is a nice hotel and i would return but only if we went in privilege section again.

Stayed: May 2014, travelled with family
7  Thank JessKendall
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 August 2014

I just came from a 3 night stay in this hotel.We were a group of 8 family members.I was recommended this hotel by the Havanatour sales person.She highly recommended and we were not disappointed.Food was excellent, good variety,lots of choices even at breakfast.I liked that it had Cuban food as many hotels don't offer it. Entertainment was super!! I did not stay too late for the shows ,except the aquatic show which was very good.The beach is beautiful and clean,there are few spots of rocks but in general very smooth with white sand.Hotel had high quality drinks even the ones in the pool.Rooms very spacious,updated and clean.Staff was very nice and courteous which was very different to other hotels I have visited in Cuba.I do recommend this hotel.

  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled with family
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
3  Thank Michel F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 August 2014

We stayed at Ocean Varadero El Patriarca the end of march and beginning of April. Two weeks in total and we are glad we chose this time of year as the weather for the most part was great. It was a bit windier and cooler at times at night which is unusual for this time of year but with the whole world experiencing weird weather this year, Cuba was no different.

Firstly I would like to say that for the price you could not have gotten a better two week deal. I would definitely return for the right price but would not pay if the prices went up.

We travelled directly from London,Ontario to Varadero and the flight was great. First time flying with WestJet and would highly recommend. There is little in flight service but you travel at night and really do not need much for the three hour flight. What they do though is give you an extra nights stay so that even though you travel home at 1 o'clock in the morning, you do not leave your room until you have to which is great on the last day.

The hotel is fairly new with it being only a few years old. The entrance is very inviting and spacious and check in was easy as it was around 11 in the evening when we arrived. Off the entrance, is a really nice piano bar , cigarette/cigar bar and a few tables and chairs set up outside where you can enjoy the breeze but covered enough so that you will not get rained on. All around the foyer and area leading to the buffett, restaurants, stage for shows and the best coffee house you will find Mike's. it is covered walkways and all around their are blinds that come up or down as needed.

We were fortunate to get a room in building 31 which was close to everything. Pool was a minute away, spa next door, lobby a short 3-4 minute walk, beach buffet and beach another 3-4 minute walk. If you needed, there were always small cars going by to take you to beach, or lobby as you needed. All the rooms are set up in individual houses so to speak consisting of twelve rooms on two floors. Each House, had its own cleaning lady who had all supply on site and could be found between 9-5 daily. At times there was a bit of a towel issue but she always brought up what we needed later if something was missing. Yanesi took care of us and we appreciated it - thank you Yanesi. We were on the main floor and at times it was noisy outside as we heard people leaving, coming or maid service early, also when the wind howled it sounded worse on the main floor than upstairs as we travelled with 4 others.

The room was very spacious as we had a king bed, pull out sofa, flat screen, plenty of closet, cupboard space and a very spacious area where the sink was with two separate windows. We had both a shower (ceiling jet-very nice) and quite a large and long bathtub which was never used but would come in handly if you were tall. Bed was comfortable and enough pillows. Oversized. There was a prestige section which I understand from others was quite opulent, extra sitting room, t.v. room service and own pool,but to be honest, we did not go to stay in the room or be separated from the main crowd. We enjoy people and what goes on around the pool and never considered upgrading. The only reason you might want to is the restaurant situation if you are not concierge.

This proved to be a problem as they do not take reservations and often one restaurant was closed for a wedding. While we were there, they had almost 12 weddings. The most we had every seen at a resort and one had over 60 guests. Quite the time they had. When it was time for dinner, the main choices you had was to wait in line at 6:15 in the hopes that you would get in at 6:30 and if not, making a reservation to come back at 8:00 which was not always convenient especially since you had gone through all of the trouble of getting ready in the first place and did bit wait so you ended up at the buffet again. Being there for 2 weeks, we did not want buffet three times a day, every day. There was variety and it was very plentiful, but you over eat and prefer an a la carte at night if possible. Sometimes, even after being the first one or two people in line, you still might not get in and this is where the upgrade comes in handy. The people with the grey/silver bands (prestige) had the right to walk in whenever they wanted and were let in first even if they came up at the last minute. This happened quite often, a group of 5-10 came right when the doors opened and walked right past everyone and went in. This created a lot of animosity between quests and people felt quite out of sorts especially when they had been there first. This went on every night and it got worse at the popular itallian, Japanese a la cartes. A few fights broke out and it got quite tense. I do not really blame either party, but the resort has to do something about this. If you are going you are going to have a prestige section, than why not have prestige restaurants or a time for prestige only and let others book just like other resorts. Did not enjoy fighting for a meal.

The pool bar had a small selection of food, pizza, burgers, sandwiches,fries, etc. and was quite handy for staying there. There was always a good number of chairs to chose from and at the beach, it was a bit harder to find a shaded hut but eventually you would. The water was a bit choppier this year but when it was calm, it is the Varadero we know and love. Beautiful blue, crystal clear water and a joy to see and be in. We have been to Varadero 5 times and always feel like home here. The people are friendly and we enjoy going into town where you can grab the double decker bus for 5 pesos and ride all day , on,off as you please. We did rent a car and did a small amount of site seeing of other resorts near by. This one is about 30 minute from the airport a little further than we are used to but it went fast.

If you have never been to varadero, the Cuban peso is their currency and you get about 85-87 pesos for $100 Canadian at this time. Just depends on the rates. They cannot do anything with loonies or toonies so do not tip that way. They are forced to try to change money with travellers and guests and this becomes a nuisance so it is better to either change you money into pesos or tip once with a larger Canadian bill if you prefer. When it came to tipping, we found that this year they were more aware of the exchange and were sometimes very insistent on what they wanted especially if they were trying to get you to exchange the Canadian they had for pesos often wanting at par and of course, you would lose if you did this. They have gotten smarter about certain things and are not fooled.

There is a small flea market area of vendors on the premises for those who do not wish to shop in town. A lot of variety and quite reasonably priced. You will not find vendors on the beach as I believe that they are not allowed as other resorts, not sure why. Their is a money exchange, at lobby, internet service and a small shop (surprised it was so small considering size of resort and 5-star rating). You have 4 a la cartes and two buffets. The pool bar becomes a Caribbean a la carte at night and turned out to be the least busy but had great food to serve and the service also was the quickest even if the restaurant was full. The do not talk about this a la carte and we found out about it on our own.

The grounds are fairly new but well lit and what I did like is that every building is self contained and has a bus stop style bench right in front if you need to take a rest or take the small car around. It made is quite homey looking as being in a small subdivision at home. I believe they have 40-50 of these (houses) all placed in a circle around the pool with fingers jutting out of the circle like the sun with rays. Layout is very handy to all and flowers and vegetation will just take time to grow. Hard working yard people every day taking the time to trim, prune and water. Do not forget them when it comes time to tip or bring some extra goodies and hand them a bag. They are often forgotten about.

I have saved the best for last. Mike's Coffee House was an absolute must at least 2-3 times a day. The coffee's were all speciality coffees with some sort of liquor in them and all tasted marvelous as we must have tried them all (all 15 that is!!!). All were individually named, Canadian, Irish, Mexicano, Macchiato,cubano, etc. You must visit these wonderful ladies as they smile at 7 a.m. and are still smiling and dancing at 9 p.m. when they close. We would pass on our way to the buffet for a latte or cappuccino, espresso etc. Come back in late afternoon and before they closed at 9:00 p.m. on the daily. Really miss this as it was a great, quaint meeting place enjoyed by all. There were a few frozen treats also for young and old and you would always find a delicious cookie or two (homemade) or small sandwiches. These ladies made our day every day and were loved by all. This place has state of the art coffee equipment and would bring me back to this resort for them alone.

We were able to go for $1550 Canadian each for two weeks and this was a steal. If you are remotely thinking about it, go and you will not be disappointed. The evening shows are okay but the Michael Jackson show - stole the show. Wherever you go, Michael lives on. thanks Michael.

Room Tip: The numbers jump and are not one after the other. If you can get a map, pick anything around the ma...
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  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
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4  Thank mammacia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 August 2014

Most has been said about this resort. Staff are excellent and the best cocktails around can be found in the lobby bar. Just arrived back. Very relaxing, and beautiful beach. Get up early though to get on the front. Staff always smiling, leave them gifts they will love you for it. One thing spoilt it. The "FRENCH" Canadians. If i never hear their horrific take on the true French language again, it will be a day too soon. Even Canadians shudder when they talk about them and we made lots of Canadian friends.They act like packs to the exclusion of everyone, they are loud and aggressive. The only blot on a fantastic Vacation.

Room Tip: Block 52, near beach.
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  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled with family
    • Location
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10  Thank Anne D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 August 2014

Me and my partner came here for 2 weeks. When we arrived we were checked in fairly quickly and greeted with a cocktail, which was a nice touch.
But left to our own devices after that... in the end we discovered we had to wait for a Bellboy to be taken to our room.
Rooms are spacious and clean, the bathroom facilities are fine... nothing to complain about!
The buffet food is okay, not the best, but we knew not to expect amazing food in Cuba. My only complaint would be that there wasn't much variation, and a lot of the food is cold quite often. The one thing we loved was the cooking stations, where you could get fresh eggs, pasta, pizzas and meat cooked for you. The staff were attentive and quick at times, and then at other fairly slow.
The lobby bar is good, and has a wide range of cocktails on the All-inc to choose from. Only annoying thing is that the hotel had no straws for the whole time we were there. Sounds petty, but becomes annoying when you want to stir your drinks to mix them! Also, the Mojitos... considering how famous they are in Cuba, were not the best, which was a bit disappointing.
The beach is great, bar on site, plenty of room, not too crammed.
The pool area is okay. Most of the loungers are broke, and there is not much shade. But we really enjoyed the pool bar, where we could just swim up and sit in the pool with a cocktail.
Overall we really did have a lovely time in Cuba, and the hotel was great... with only a few niggles.

  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
4  Thank Danielle R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Ocean Varadero El Patriarca

Address: Autopista Sur km 18 | Punta Hicacos, Varadero 42200, Cuba
Phone Number:
Region: Caribbean > Cuba > Matanzas Province > Varadero
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #12 of 64 Hotels in Varadero
Price Range: £126 - £319 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Ocean Varadero El Patriarca 4*
Number of rooms: 420
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Prime oceanfront property stretching more than 200 meters wide, Ocean Varadero El Patriarca is a five-star resort reflecting the 40’s and 50’s Varadero historic architecture. Complete with 420 deluxe rooms, Privilege Deluxe and Privilege Junior Suites; an array of thematic restaurants; a Despacio Spa Centre; Privilege Exclusive Rooms and Services, Privilege Lounge and upgraded amenities. ... more   less 
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