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“Amazing experience”

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BelleVue Playa Caleta
Ranked #48 of 64 Hotels in Varadero
Reviewed 11 February 2012

We went there for a week from the 1st of February. Everything was great !

Rooms were cleaned on a daily basis, clean towels and clean sheets every day. We had a room with the Canal view on the 3rd floor. We didn't smell anything too weird and the view was great.
Food was good. I think most people went there with really high expectations and were disappointed thereafter. We on the other hand, read all those negative reviews and were ready to face dirty beaches, smelly rooms and rude staff. It was NOTHING like it. The staff was amiable, some may not smile often but most will ! Yes the tipping does help, but there is no need to tip every time you get a drink or whenever you’ve been served. Most Cuban workers there advised us that we only need to tip when the service was great ! So don’t worry too much but do make sure you get coin pesos to be able to tip them.

Now for the beach : GORGEOUS ! There may have been a straw here or there but it is not dirty, it is formidable ! You need to bring your towel from your room, it’s not given to you at the beach (it’s usually blue/green) and you can ask your maid for a clean one whenever you want.

Drinks : as everyone mentioned earlier, bring your own big cup ! It’s not convenient to keep going back and forth to the bar when you can have a hug drink with you. I got mine from the dollar store, but I also bought one from the “mall” downtown.

Food : It was decent, we didn’t get any pains and I didn’t hear of anyone getting any. I did once find a tiny piece of plastic in one of my plates, but to be honest with you, it happened to me many times in other countries and Montreal itself. Just put it aside and continue eating, or throw the food and get another plate. Do ask for a reservation when you check in for the Italian restaurant and Casa Blanca. I ordered the Russian plate in Casa Blanca, and the Lasagna from the Italian one. They were both very good ! The wine in the regular buffet wasn’t good. But the FRESH orange juice during breakfast was too good to be true ! Go for the omelette in breakfast, they’re really tasty ! As for lunch and dinner, there’s always a different variety of fish, chicken and meat. The burgers at the snack bar were awesome ! especially when you had too much to drink at the beach.

Drinks : We went for Pina Colada most of the time, but the Playa Caleta drink was good and Cristal beer was great, I have never tasted anything like it !

We didn’t have many problems with mosquitos, so I didn’t use my repellent but you might want to bring one just in case. Also, the sun down there is stronger than I expected, so be careful not to burn yourself.

For entertainment, it takes place at 9h30 almost every night, it’s so much fun. Go a bit earlier to get a table in front and be prepared to be asked on stage =P !! Of course if you don’t want to, no one forces you. And after the show, people go on stage and dance. They did have the same CD repeating every night but if you want to have fun, you will !

We went clubbing once to Havana club, it was nice and safe, no problems with anyone. We also took the double decker bus for 5 pesos the whole day, you get to see the market and the mall and some amazing scenes.

Overall, I enjoyed it. I will certainly go back to Playa Caleta ! It’s unforgettable =D

Room Tip: We had 3rd floor canal view room and it was perfect
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  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled with friends
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4  Thank lo0olie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 9 February 2012

I spent Jan 15 - 31 at this resort. Was a great experience to visit varadero. I have been travelling for the last 10 years and I would rate this trip to be my worst experience. I have stayed at numerous resorts and this resort is definetly not a 4 star. May have been 10 years ago and they have never changed their status. The hotel lobby washrooms smell nasty. Rooms are standard but the toilets also smell horrible in the rooms. At around 5 am in the morning you awake to a strong fuel smell. The plates in the restaurant are always dirty and greasy. I took toilet paper each time I went to eat to clean my plate. I got sick in the second week I was there. Threw up for 3 days and could not stand the smell of the food. If you get a package deal and only care about drinking at the bar and nothing else matters then this is the place to go. I read all of the review prior to going here and most of them are correct. I do not have to stay in a 5 star when I travel as long as I have somewhere to sleep at night so I did not expect the red carpet treatment there. My biggest complaint is the odors of the place and dirty plates. I tolerarted everything else. Needless to say I am not in a rush to go back to Cuba and if I were to visit there again i will not stay at the same resort. People are friendly and it is safe in Varadero. I can only hope that if we stayed someone else our trip would have been more enjoyable.

Room Tip: Ocean View
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  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank Jan2012_12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 February 2012

Well we just returned from Varadero on Tuesday February 7, 2012, and let me start off by saying I read every review about Playa Caleta on Trip Advisor for at least 2 weeks before we left, and quite honestly I was scared to go. I have been to Cuba twice before this but at the other end of the island in Marea, in the Granma province, and Im noticing people expect wayyy too much. I was pleasantly surprised when we arrived, yes the hotel is dated, if you are looking for a swanky 5 star gourmet hotel, then you'd better rebook now, at the opposite end of the pinninsula at an iberostar or something. Im not sure what everyone else paid but for my $650 canadian in February? It was WELL WORTH IT.

Rooms- clean everyday, fresh towels, I brought 2 rolls of my own toilet paper and left what was left. Ocean view is gorgeous- we were on the 3rd floor. Smell of oil you can't get away from- its not intolerable, depending on the wind conditions. Its a week. The ocean view room was SO worth the oil smell in my opinion and it wasn't constant. Showers endless hot water.
Maid service was dependable, no problems with ours Maria, left a peso and a pack of gum toothbrush, tube of tooth paste or body shop lotions etc on the pillow each day. Bring an alarm clock, there are none in the rooms, dollar store. They make cool towel creations for you too ;).....left all our things at the end of the week, shampoo, extra soap, lotions, kleenex, snacks, alarm clock, brush, hairspray etc.

Buffet- not the best, but again, its Cuba...what do you expect! By the 3rd day I was tired of it but there is always something you can find to eat..fresh buns were amazing! Coffee and orange juice at breakfast was amazing! Ice cream bar at lunch and dinner was good, pork, chicken and beef stew were safe bets. Always something being carved, beef, pork, fish....

The a la carte restaraunts are great, I had the chicken picatta at the Itailian one and the indonesian noodles at Casablancas, my boyfiend had the lasagna and the sweet and sour chicken at each and we loved it, your wine glass never has a chance to be empty at these 2 restaraunts. Wait staff are great, we left 5 pesos at each of these places for tip...
**IMPORTANT**..literally as soon as you check in book the a la carts. They are always 'full' however for being booked solid there were a ton of empty tables at each one...not sure why, could be regarding the chef not being able to keep up, but definately book, you wont be disppointed. And a nice break from the buffet.

We brought our own heinz ketchup- a must --and our own salt and pepper.,their ketchup and pepper there is not the same. Edible but if you can bring your own, do so..and any other spices you use and like. I saw people bring their own nutella and peanut butter!
The wait staff come around and offer you wine, beer, juice, whatever you want to drink and clear your plates so be sure to bring a few pesos for dinner too...we only tipped at dinner, never lunch or breakfast.
Bring snacks that travel well! lol...Pringles (there a can is $4.50 pesos in the gift shop!), I brought gold fish, licorice, pringles, chex mix etc..... you will be happy you did!

Grill at pool...was good, burgers and fries, out of 7 days they only had fries 2 days but they were great! A nice treat. Bartenders are nice, friendly funny.
We tipped the girls washing the floors and cleaning the bathrooms in the hotel. The gardeners and Luis the older man around the pool.....They do alot of the hard crappy work and don't get any thanks..save some pesos for them! They deserve it! everytime I went to any bathroom in the hotel, by the pool and everywhere else there was toilet paper, so not sure what all of the no toilet paper anywhere is all about! I did however manage to keep a pack of travel kleenex in my bag incase, but never needed it once for toilet paper! The maids get alot of things.I read so many things about dirty table cloths and silverware and running out of plates and cups? Not ONCE did it happen to us last week. Not once...They change the table cloths per sitting (breakfast, lunch,dinner ) not per table turnover, come on people, give them a break. Change tables if you want your table cloth cleaner, countless times I watched them changing table cloths and napkins.

Entertainment- we went to a few shows at night they start at 9:30 tho by then we were so pooped from the day that we only made it to a few. The few we did see were great.

Lobby Bar- make sure the bartenders SEE you put a peso in their tip jar after they get you a drink, if not then next time you go back they wont be too quick to attend to you! Sad but true- tipping tourist trap! The ones at the pool bar arent as bad, but they need to be tipped once in a while too! BRING A BUBBA MUG! Or a plastic mug...best idea ever was to get a 32 oz bubba mug at Canadian tire before we left. Fill er up with rum punch and you're good to go for a while!! They give you little small plastic glasses if I forgot my mug in the room id get 2 at a time, but bring the mug!!!
Wine? The red wine in the italian al la carte was great- they let us buy a bottle for 5 pesos and we sat and drank red wine one night...was nice.

Excursions- expensive, we did the jeep tour 73 pesos per person or $80 canadian per person we brought cash and a credit card to use for the excursions, it was a canadian capitol one mastercard- which they said NO they could not take since its an american based company. Be sure to bring a canadian bank credit card! We wanted to do the catamaran but didnt have enough $$ to do so! Thank god cause the day we had wanted to do it it rained all day anyways!

HAVANA- DO! We had 10 people total with us so we rented a car, Alex the life guard on the beach is who we went thru, it was his brother in law. Harold is who we got for our driver...much better this way then doing the bus tour as you can stop when and where you want-we had to meet friends at the International hotel in Havana which is another reason why we needed a private car...much more personal than a bus tour... Harold is educated on Havana and the history and he takes you on a tour thru the city by foot. Amazing! Old Havana is beautiful! We left at 8am and returned at 6pm...well worth it! It was 150 pesos per car, but again we needed 2 cars enough to accomodate all of us. Bring candy and small things for the kids in the cities, there were lots of kids and women standing on the side of the road on the jeep tour. I got a bunch of stuff from the dollarstore, suckers, gum, candies and threw them in my suitcase and brought them when we went anywhere even into town.
Money exchange is in the hotel...make sure to get alot of single pesos - the coins - you will need them for tips.

Water- when you check in you get a bottle of water and a bottle of rum, once you are finished with the water take the empty bottle to the bar and they will refill it with distilled for you. Bring them a peso and you're set with water! Also there is a service that you can have your fridge stocked by the maids, much cheaper than buying it at the gift shop...you go to the front desk tell them what you want pay them and it will appear the next day when the maids show up.

Downtown Varadero- Double Decker busses...a must! Get on top- drivers side, less trees to smack you in the head! Its 5 pesos from 9am to 9pm - they go all the way up and down the pinninsula so you can see all of Veradero, we stayed on it all the way to the end then got off on the way back at 'the mall' and other stops- they have a bank at the mall but only let one person in at a time...make sure you copy your passport and keep a copy with you at all times, they want this when you exchange money, buy cartons of cigarettes or go to the bank!

Thats all I can think of, just remember, its Cuba- the beach, pool, people, palm trees and ocean is the best part about it! I would go back to Varadero but stay at the other end next time! Have fun!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Room Tip: OCEAN VIEW! 3rd floor or above!
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  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
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11  Thank Kelpra
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 February 2012

Not sure if we stayed at the same hotel as some of those posting negative reviews. My wife and I were there from 23 Jan to 6 Feb, and had a great time.

First the negatives - The front desk staff are not the most friendly, and checking in took a long time. The beds are not the most comfortable, and if you are very sensitive to smells, this end of Varadero is not your best choice, there is an occasional odour from the refinery. Our room (215) smelt a little musty the first time in it, but did not notice it again after that. Toilet paper was an issue in the public washrooms (take a couple of rolls with you), but cleanliness was not a major problem (there is obviously a management inspection every thursday, there are full soap dispensors and flowers in the washrooms that day only). The room doors do need some force to close, and soundproofing between rooms not the best. The hotel is older, and showing its age cosmetically, but they are constantly painting. The lobby roof leaks in a couple of places when it rains.

The food in the buffet and poolside were fine, this is a 31/2 star Cuban resort, not the Hilton in a major world capital. There are fewer wait staff in the buffet than really needed, but they work really hard. Special callout to Jose and Angel and his wife, they made sure we were seated right away every meal, a tip after the first time you are served really helps. The a la cartes were both very good, neither one was ever full, and if you wanted to try them on a night when you did not have a reservation, a smile, polite word, and 5 CUC will likely do the trick.

The lobby bar service is good, the staff do a good job of keping track of who was there first, and serving in order, despite the apparent tendency of some tourists to leave their manners at home. The selection of drinks is a little limited, no mint for Mojitos. The pool bar does not serve beer in the evenings.

We found the entertainment good. The lobby has music from about 8 - 9 most nights, and then a show poolside for about 45mins from 9:30, followed by DJ until 11pm. Not the resort for those wanting an onsite disco running until early hours, we retired to the lobby bar to caht to newfound friends after the shows.

Our maid Lourdes did a good job, changed towels whenever we left them in the tub, and was always willing to come back if we were in the room when she first tried.

I was a little anxious when I found out that there had been a change of management in January, one of the reasons we chose this resort was the responses of the former manager Filip Hoffman to every review. He had even booked our a la cartes when I emailed him in December, but these were lost in the transfer (rebooking was no problem when we arrived).

Cut the staff a little slack - the culture is very laid back, and these folks are paid very little (in the region of C$20 a month), so they rely on tips to make ends meet, and are expected to work 12 - 14 hours a day while only being paid for 8. We had the privilege of being invited to dinner at his home by one of the wait staff, one of the best parts of our trip.

Outside the resort, we felt safe everywhere - obviously use common sense, but very little crime. We were told by two people that they had bad experiences with having their hair braided by people they met at the 15th street market in town, make sure you have agreed a price in advance with no room for misunderstanding. I recommend the jeep Safari, the Saturn cave is amazing. If you have time, ride the double decker for the full circuit (but avoid shopping at the Americas Plaza, prices steep). The food at Capones just down the road from the hotel is good, a little pricey by Cuban standards (40 - 50 CUC for two with appitizer & drinks, more for lobster), but building very interesting.

We met a lot of great fellow travellers, and are already planning our return early next year. The overall value is very good, you could spend 3 times the money to get a five star at the other end of Varadero with no guarantee of having a better time. I would suggest that due to the value, this might be a place to avoid during college vacation times if you are not a party animal.

Room Tip: Spend the extra and get an ocean view room, try for second floor or higher
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  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled as a couple
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8  Thank Welshcanuck61
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 February 2012

I guess I am not an all-inclusive person. For young people and people who like to party, I think this is a reasonably good place but for me, an old fart, the disgusting attitude of the servants in the dining-room and at bars turned me off. I had been to a pleasant all-inclusive before in the Dominican Republic,where one tipped at the end. At Playa Caleta, forget to leave a tip on the breakfast table and you don't get a table at lunch or dinner. The tablecloths are dirty; the plates are not clean; as for the food, I could always manage to find a plateful of things I liked which must have required a lot of skill from the chef as the availability of ingredients is not great but that is Cuba so, it is acceptable. The coffee machine usually stopped working after about half the guests had been served. The meal at the Casablanca was lovely and the waiters pleasant. The bedroom cleaning staff were pleasant but made sure to tell you things like :"The lady in that room was so nice to me, she left me a nice big tip." The elevators are scary and scarce; there are no stairways except for two emergency exits one of which was condemned, the other had a corroded bottom support so that if the place had had to be evacuated, it would have collapsed. Yet, there are 8 floors of rooms above 2 floors of dining-room and reception. The availability of lounge chairs around the pool and at the beach was good; Luis, the man who takes care of these is pleasant though I bet he doesn't get that many tips. Tip him if you are there! He deserves it. I never was left without a lounge chair. I found a nice little hotel downtown where it was altogether so much more pleasant. As for the smell of the refinery, absolutely abominable, well, it was all over Varadero in the night, one night out of two so we can't blame Playa Caleta for that one.

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

Our first night my bed smelled of urine, we called the front desk and someone came up right away......and flipped the matress lol so gross. The food is unbelievably disgusting! The smell coming from the Oil Well is almost unbearable!

Please people do not choose this place!

  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled with family
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6  Thank nezzer1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 February 2012

I must admit I was apprehensive to go here after reading some reviews on our accommodations at the Playa Caleta here on Trip Advisor.. I went without expectations and was pleasantly surprised with the hotel, the services it had and definitely the staff. The humidity was very high so it was only natural that we felt dampness in our room. It was nothing like what people have said here on trip advisor...you are in the Caribbean in tropical islands so what does one expect.

The hotel is not brand new however we saw men painting, groundskeepers keeping the grounds free of garbage, cleaning staff quite often in public areas cleaning so we could not ask for a cleaner place to be. I know the toilet paper ran out in a couple of cubicles in main lobby but that happens anywhere you travel. Our maid Omara was fantastic with our room and it was always done up nice. The staff was always smiling and very helpful. We had an excellent waitress for most of our meals...couldn't have asked for better.

The buffet food did get tiresome towards the end of the week but there was always enough to eat and though it lacked spices, I didn't really mind their food. Their snapper was excellent, my friend thought the beef stew was fantastic and definitely breakfast was the best meal with freshly squeezed orange juice, your choice of egg and extras. We only ate in one of the Al La Carte restaurants...the Italian one. We had chicken picatta and I must say it was the best I had ever tasted. We both agreed on this.

The beach and pool area was always clean.

The only complaint I could have was they did play their music really loud when they had it on but by 11 pm the music stopped. I also noticed that the entertainment staff spoke mostly French and Spanish with very little English. The doors did slam as the hotel was open air concept but it certainly didn't keep me awake or be a problem.

Definite pros in our opinion:

Away from main street and all activity
Last ones to be picked up and lst dropped off on tours.

Definite con:
Lack of railings in tub and low lights in bathroom. I had an accident slipping in the tub and fell backwards onto marble which required medical aid. I feel if there was adequate lighting and rails and grips in the tub, this would not have happened.

Room Tip: No problem with our room on 4th floor facing the ocean. All rooms look the same from what I saw...
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  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled with friends
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10  Thank Sher0808
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about BelleVue Playa Caleta

Address: Ave. Kawama y Final, Varadero 42200, Cuba (Formerly Bellevue Puntanera Playa Caleta)
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 Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#36 On the Beach Hotel in Varadero
Price Range: £102 - £192 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — BelleVue Playa Caleta 3.5*
Number of rooms: 255
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Also Known As:
Playa Caleta Varadero
Playa Caleta Hotel Varadero

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