I was pleasantly surprised by the Barcelo Arenas Blancas hotel. Our plane was about three hours late, we checked in past 1:00 am, yet we were welcomed with friendly smiles. Excellent location, close to civilization if your idea of a vacation in the South is not being confined to a compound. The room was very clean, if not ultra-modern; very little to complain about in this department. The daily 1.5 liter of source water is a nice touch. Our housemaid Elize did a very good job every day. Staff were always friendly; a lot of them spoke French as well, so we sometimes had exchanges in three languages (should have brushed up my Spanish before the trip). One thing: Kleenex are not offered, nor seem to be available in shops in Varadero; bring your own. Having experienced other Barcelo hotels/resorts, I must admit that service here was better than at any of the other Barcelo locations I went to.
Buffet quite varied, better than what I was expecting after what I had read/heard about food in Cuba.
Noisy drunks? I saw most of them on the shuttle bus taking us back to the airport, all of them picked up at other resorts along the way, many boarding the bus with their cups of beer or spirits. All spoke English, by the way, if this can reassure escobarluca.
The beach is very close to the hotel, nice and clean. Not crowded with vendors. Shopping is a few steps away (if you are shopping for souvenirs, that is, otherwise Cuba is not recognized as a shopper's paradise).
Would I go back to Varadero? Yes; there is a town to explore, this is not a resort in the middle of nowhere. Would I stay at the Barcelo Arenas Blancas again? Definitely, due to its combination of excellent location and amenities, friendly staff and shared services with the Solymar.
One last time: service was excellent, the staff very friendly and efficient.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The hotel Barceló Solymar stands right on the sea front of the top spot of Varadero beach, Cuba’s best-known tourist destination. With a privileged setting, it’s the perfect place to combine rest and relaxation with a wide array of exciting activities. At a short distance from downtown Varadero. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Barcelo Hotel Solymar
- Barcelo Hotel Varadero
- Barcelo Solymar Cuba
- Barcelo Solymar Hotel Cuba
- Barcelo Solymar Beach Resort
- Barcelo Solymar Varadero Cuba
- Barcelo Sol y Mar