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“Nice first experience in Cuba”
Review of Barcelo Solymar

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Barcelo Solymar
Ranked #31 of 64 Hotels in Varadero
Reviewed 29 January 2014

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.

Room Tip: "Ocean view" rooms are facing away from the pool and nightly entertainment if you like goi...
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  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank Serge L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 29 January 2014

We stayed in Arenas Blancas in December 2013. Beach is very near and it's beautiful. Short walk to shops and buss stop. There is also horse carriage just outside the hotel and easy to nab a taxi. Hotels lobby, bars and dining areas are nice and cosy. Our room was in the second floor and you could here everything from the lobby and bar area inside. There is no sound insulation and there was huge cap between door and floor. Our room wasn't cleaned well either. We talked whit others and all of them didn't seem to have that same problem. Hotel would need some up keeping, especially when it comes to the rooms. Staff is mostly friendly and helpfull. Overall we enjoyed our stay.

Room Tip: Ask room as far as possible from the lobby and the pool, rooms are quieter.
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  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Katariina-87
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 January 2014

we stayed at the arenas blancas, we thought it was a perfect place to stay. it was close to the beach and close to downtown and the bus stop. everyone was friendly. our rooms were always clean. yes the hotel does need some up keeping but it was a nice place to stay. we enjoyed the entertainment. if we had questions the staff was always welcoming and always willing to answer. i just like the fact we didnt have to walk far to go to the beach and to the streets. we walked downtown and tried the food on the streets. they had good food. nobody harassed us on the streets everyone mostly said aloha. we said if we were to come back we would stay here again.

Room Tip: when you are booking your room make sure its 3 floor or higher, they spray bug spray in the morning...
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  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled with friends
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2  Thank redcupcake2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 January 2014 via mobile

I don't know were to start. This is an amazing place it has something for everyone. Young old.family. ...I'm a fiftyone year old woman. I do a lot of traveling. I have two adult children. My daughter told me about this place after I book somewhere else.she said I would have a great time and not yo listen to bad reviews. So I changed booking Oceanside room.wow glad I did best vacation ever and I'll be back again this summer. .staff amazing. Front desk amazing. Everyone cleaners.cooks. gardeners amazing. ...if only some tourist would bring there manners.but can't have it all.just wish some bad apples would respect.these are great people that go beyond what they have to .too in shere we all have a great time. ....best vacation hats off too every staff member.I'll see you this summer can't wait. So anyone going here it amazing and don't forget your manners....

  • Stayed: July 2013
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5  Thank cathy g
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BarceloSmAb, Director General at Barcelo Solymar, responded to this reviewResponded 26 January 2014

Dear Cathy:

You have made our day, such a pleasure reading your post¡

Next time you are planning to come back, or in case we may help you please contact us at diralojamiento@resortsolymar.gca.tur.cu

Thanks a lot in behalf everybody here,
Have a nice week
Juan Marques
General Manager

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Reviewed 25 January 2014

This Hotel, and Varadero is really only for Package tourists, a comparison would be Benidorm in spain. So if you like Noise all night provided by drunk Russians and rude French Canadians this is the place for you. The hotel has to deal with a long list of complaints each day, but the rooms offer no respite from shouting and banging throughout the night, there is no security!! Combine this with the monotonous music and Pa system booming out endless dross. Make sure you like smoke as there is smoking throughout the hotel. On a positive, the hotel staff try very hard.

  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank escobarluca
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BarceloSmAb, Director General at Barcelo Solymar, responded to this reviewResponded 26 January 2014

Dear EscobarLuca:

First, let me thank you for writing this post, every comment help us to keep improving.

Second, i would like to apologize for not having fulfilled your expectations, Barcelo Hotels Worlwide are really high, and we work hard to meet them; unfortunately, we have to do it better.

Third, let me suggest you that if you ever plan to return, we have quiet zones where the ambient is more peaceful, please use our mail adress to contact us diralojamiento@resortsolymar.gca.tur.cu

Kind regards from Varadero
Juan Marques
Hotel Manager

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Reviewed 25 January 2014

Stayed at the Arenas Blanca's side so most of this review is for that hotel.
First the good: the staff are very friendly especially the entertainment staff and Adriana from the kids club. They treated us like family. The gardeners, waiters/waitresses, and cleaning staff were always greeting us.
The pools were big and clean. There was always some kind of entertainment for adults and kids. There were entertainment nightly. Our last night there was a beach party with a dj, big screens and great music. My son had a blast dancing on the beach!
The buffets had a lot of variety. The sloymar side had a little bit more. If you are picky you can always stick to fries, plain spaghetti and delicious bread like my young kids did. They seem to have a different theme of food nightly. We had sushi, pizza, tortillas, and tons of other food. They make a variety of foods in front of you such as eggs, pastas, crepes, chicken, fish, meat. It's all in what you prefer. Don't forget this is Cuba. It doesn't taste like home. We only ate at one a la carte and it was Italian. It was very good. Only thing is they don't serve coffee there.
It was nice to be able to eat at either hotel. There are local musicians singing or playing instruments at almost every meal we had. It was wonderful to hear. There is a coffee bar and bar next to the lobby.
The beach was only a few feet away and it was beautiful. It's just sad that the tourists throw their garbage all over the place. I think it is cleaned regularly though.
The rooms were cleaned daily with towel designs daily. The sheets were changed every couple of days. The floors and hallways were always being swept or mopped.

Now the bad:
I told myself I wasn't going to complain about the room, but I did. We were put in a room on the first floor in the main building. We didn't mind the noise across the hall but we did mind the awful smell coming out of the vents when we turned off the air conditioning. Smelled like propane or gas or something not good. The room had disgusting curtains that were old and ripped. The window was open and could barely close. We had no balcony or patio. It faced a back yard with chickens roaming.
After complaining about the room we were moved the next day to a balcony facing the street but faced sunrise so we were ok with that. The room was overtop of a loud exhaust fan that must have cooked the seafood because it always smelled good.
There was an orange chair at the desk that was disgustingly dirty and black. I ran to wash my hands every time I touched it by accident. The rooms definitely needed upgrading.
Our room was on the third floor at the end of the hallway near the exit to an outside stairway. The door was missing at this exit, which I thought was not safe or secure as anybody could come up the stairs and come onto our floor.
The chairs at the pool and beach need to be repaired, the games for the kids need to be replaced as they are old and worn out such as the mini golf, mini shuffle board, bowling sets etc. the stage back drops are worn out. Some toilets around the resorts have no seats or toilet paper. The wooden railings to go to the beach have fallen down and nobody has repaired them.
There is a sewer type hole around the chairs in front of the stage that is not covered. My chair leg went through it and I fell over with the collapsed chair! Embarrassing! The stage performers stopped singing to see if I was ok!
The other danger was the kids club called the barcy club. It's a small building that has kids toys in there that are in bad need of repair or replacement. The next day after my children were in there, the inside of the building collapsed!!!!! Thank God my kids weren't in there or they would have been seriously injured!
So, if you do decide to stay there stay with an open mind. If you don't care about the room then this is a good hotel with entertainment, food, pools, nice staff etc. but if you are picky you may want to stay elsewhere. The price was right, so we got what we paid for I guess!

Stayed: January 2014
3  Thank mexicoole
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BarceloSmAb, Director General at Barcelo Solymar, responded to this reviewResponded 26 January 2014

Dear Mexicoole:

Thanks a lot for your detailed review, be sure i am using it as a fantastic tool to identify and solve our weaknesses.

i know our RRPP contacted you after the problem in the Barcy Club, please use my mail diralojamiento@resortsolymar.gca.tur.cu to contact me; actually i would like to have more info about how are your children doing, anything i can help with, just name it.

During this year, a few major investments are going to be executed, i wont make you lose your time, but only mention that all the rooms in Arenas Blancas, the pool, the animation theatre and the buffets will have renovation and work out.

I would like to have the opportunity to welcome back you again, as well as your family. I am sure we wont let you down in that case.

Yours sincerely,
Alvaro Fontenla
Subdirecteur

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Reviewed 24 January 2014

traveled from Jan 14th to Jan 21st 2014.
Had a fabulous time, great worker's great views. if you are picky this is not the resort for you :) but if you are there for a good time with sun and drinks it was great! with a place to lay your head.
Food, well it's Cuba you aren't going to get the greatest food, the food in the resort wasn't the best, cold and no taste, seems it all tasted the same. although one night they had Curry chicken (they called it roasted chicken) but i seen in another language they called in Roti so i desided to try and it was full out Curry chicken, and it was great, just a little on the cold side. But all in all there was lots to choose from and always something to keep you full, just get there as soon as dinner opens and you will get warm food, i dont think they own trays that hold food that plug in to keep it warm lol... alot were complaining about the food not cooked enough, they had servers there cooking food on the spot, all you had to do was ask for "well done" and when they try to take it off just tell them a little longer and you'll have amazing food :) the food on excursions and off the resort were fabulous, very tasteful, i guess the resort needs to hire staff that like a little spice :)
Workers were fabulous and very nice always tried to make you smile. Could do a little better in trying to get everyone involved in the daytime shows and dance lessons if no one came up there was no dance lesson :) and they did nothing to make them come up...but all evening shows were fabulous, workers and dancers were great.
the rooms were lot nicer in Solymar then Arenas Blancas. seems Solymar was a star or two above them, alot nicer looking, upgraded rooms, with two hot tubs (no hot tubs at Arenas Blancas) if i ever were to go back it would be the Solymar, gorgeous hotel with a gym.

all in all great time with great friends and i would advise not to travel in January, it's Cuba winter and it was quite cool when the clouds came out durring the day and in the evening a sweater is a must!

Bring toilet paper while you go out, there seems to be never any in the washrooms and when i asked at the bar they tried to give me a wet cloth that they had washed the bar with?? lol

Room Tip: Dont book on the first floor in Arena's Blancas, no balcony's and the rooms are not as nice...
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  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank JLoTDot
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BarceloSmAb, Director General at Barcelo Solymar, responded to this reviewResponded 26 January 2014

Dear JloTDot:

Thanks a lot for your post, its an excellent way to keep improving, so we can provide the best vacations in Cuba.

Its true Arenas Blancas side has still work to meet Barcelo Standars Worldwide, due to its short time into the company (little more than 2 years). Renovations and investments are approved, so the retrainment for the staff.

Be sure we are working hard, so your next visit, everything will be as you expected, as you deserve.

Thanks again, greeting from sunny Varadero
Alvaro Fontenla
Subdirecteur

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Additional Information about Barcelo Solymar

Address: Carretera Las Americas, Km. 3, Varadero 42200, Cuba (Formerly Barcelo Solymar Arenas Blancas Resort)
Phone Number:
Region: Caribbean > Cuba > Matanzas Province > Varadero
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Ski-In / Ski-Out Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#22 Top resorts Hotel in Varadero
#26 On the Beach Hotel in Varadero
Price Range: £84 - £218 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Barcelo Solymar 3*
Number of rooms: 525
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

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