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Islazul Mar del Sur Aparthotel
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Reviewed 12 January 2009

I will try to stay as factual as possible for the first part.
Mar del sur is a hotel complex situated in the center of town in varadero. There are 2 bar all included bars and one lobby bar. One of the bars is situated near the pool and the other one on the beach. The bar near the pool opens from 10 to 10 while the beach on is from10 to 5. The lobby bar is openned 24h but you have to pay. The complex includes big blocks situated aroud the pool the contains rooms and appartments. there are also bugalows and two or three other older blocks situated outside the main complex that contain rooms for the blocks and appartments for the bunglow. I sincerely don't know much about the bungalows, but it seems that there are one or more rooms sharing the dinning area. The beach is situated two streets straight from the entrance of the hotel. There is a bar and a little snack place in the bar. They offer burgers, fries and hot-dogs. The bar at the pool also offers the same stuff. There is one main restaurant situated a couple of blocks from the pool in the main complex. They serve chiken, potatoes, fruits, bred, omlets, pork, fish, rice, beef, sausages, eggs, pancakes in the morning, cheese, cold meat... It opens from 7:30 to 9:30, from 12:30 to 3:30 and from 6:30 to 9:30. At the beach, there are chairs and little little covers made of branches. They also offer massages at the beach. There are shows at night and a ping-pong table. In the lobby bar, ther is a pool table but it was broken when I went.
Ther is also a restaurant a la carte wich you have one free meal per week.

In next paragraph, I will be personal. The buffet is not bad but it stays mostly all the same for the week. The beach is the same for all the resorts on the peninsula and it is one of the best.The pool is nice and there is music all day until midnight wich may find itself harrasing for the rooms situated around the pool. When I came in, they gave me a room in the block 31. It was clean but it looked more like a half star hotel than a 2 star hotel.I found out it was the same for all the blocks situated outside the main complex. The advantage of these rooms is that it is closer to the beach thanthe main complex and there are no noises at night wich is very good for sleeping. After two nights, we where transfered to an appartement near the pool. It was bigger, it had a kitchen and a little lounge with a tv. The disadvantage was the noise that the music made until midnight ,they put it very loud. The food was edible but after a few days, everyone is depressed by it because it never changes. If you ask for changes the cooks usually make an effort. The beach was amazing, it was a 7 stars beach. Another big advantage was that we where in the center of town and that is one of the gretest things for young persons. There clubs and restaurants and bars very near the hotel and that is a major factor.

  • Stayed: January 2009, travelled with family
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3  Thank Hilaris
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 January 2009

Ok heres my opinion. The Hotel is split up into over 20 living complexes. I stayed with my folks who are renters (5) months out of the year. Its there fifth year going. I noticed that for the size of this place the property was always manicured. the staff was always friendly and ready to assist in all i needed. The restaurant food was very good( depending on what you like) I love chichen and veggies and they have alot of both. Listen you are in an all inclusive resort so why stay in a room all day and for those who complain that the bar closes at 10:30 pm, So what.. bring a couple of extra drinks to your table?? The beach the weather, the kindness of the staff are the principal factors we should be looking at and This place has it. I was there from dec 26th to jan 10th. I have already reserved for the last week of Feb so i can take my Daughter for a week. I sincerely enjoyed my visit, Thanks Joe Paccione

Stayed: December 2008
2  Thank DrCell
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 January 2009

Be forewarned, the Mar Del Sur is by far the worst hotel we have ever stayed at and this was by far the worst experience we have ever had on a holiday. The hotel that we were originally booked at was oversold and we were shunted to the Mar Del Sur. We were not well greeted by the staff. Not friendly at all. Being our first time in Cuba it was a huge disappointment, as we were told that people in Cuba were very friendly and helpful. The first room provided was old & decrepit. After much discussion, a second room was provided and it was barely an improvement, but not much. At least the bathroom was a little more modern and had hot water. Some people in our tour group had no hot water for the whole week. The food at Mar Del Sur is terrible and barely edible. The dining room had flies throughout and the table cloths were always dirty and never changed. As a result, even though we were in an all inclusive resort, we actually ate out on a number of occasions. We are normally not picky people but this hotel just turned us right off.

We will return to Varadero because it is beautiful, however we will never return to this poor excuse of a resort/hotel.

  • Stayed: December 2008, travelled as a couple
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Thank edgeri
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 January 2009

This should be a one star hotel -- not two. It's ok if all you want is a relatively clean place to sleep, it's not really a "resort." We got a good price for 7 days -- it would have cost us more to fly to Cuba on our own, so we figured it was worth it, since we were more interested in backpacking around and doing some scuba. We only spent a couple of nights there -- the rest of the time we spent in Havana (staying at casa particular -- essentially people's homes, which was awesome), and we went on scuba diving day trips as well. So we hardly stayed at the hotel. The food was pretty bad, but edible, and we didn't get sick. The first room they put us in was awful. There was dust on all the furniture and there was no hot water in the room. We requested a different room, and we got a much nicer place, cleaner and more updated. Unfortunately, the windows faced the highway, so it was noisy. The AC worked OK and the room was cleaned well -- we made sure we left tips for the cleaning lady. The headboard looked like it was 50 years old, and on our last day we put our backpack on the side table, which was attached to the headboard, and the whole thing came tumbling down. The manager was pretty nasty about it and he wanted us to pay for it, but we resisted, and in the end he let us go. The staff never seem to interact with the guests, so don't expect any service!

The beach was a 10 to 15 minute walk away, and that particular stretch of beach was not nice (litter, garbage, etc). But if you walked along the beach for half an hour or so, you got to a much nicer stretch.

So in conclusion, the hotel is ok if you get a good price and if you're not interested in a resort per se, but rather want to travel around and sign up for scuba diving day trips (the scuba was fantastic!! and Havana is a superb city). If you are interested in a resort type of deal, this is a really bad deal, so don't even think about it.

PS We found photos of the hotel on line, and they were quite deceiving! The hotel is much older than it looks in photos, and the especially the dining room area is completely unrecognizable in the photos.

  • Stayed: December 2007, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank deg99
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 January 2009

After arriving at 2:00 AM and choosing the best of two room choices for my husband myself and our two 12 year old sons, we stayed with a two bdrm apartment, fell asleep and woke up to a glorious sunny day.
At first we thought we could upgrade to a better hotel, but our tour representative said we would have to pay $2000 - 4000 more to move to a 4 star way at the end of the beach. That was when we decided to let it go and just enjoy!

We had a great time! The beach is amazing all 23 km. We took the double decker tour bus ride which goes up and down 1st Avenue all the way to the end of the peninsula. For $5CUC each from 8:00AM to 8:00PM lets you get on and off as many times for the day and at any stop. Well worth it. We took it to the very end and walked along the beach past all the high end hotels and many new ones being built. It seemed too secluded for us. Then we walked out to the road through the Sirenis La Silanis to catch the bus. Our kids were impressed with the pool slide and vast grounds but they said it felt like a commune with multiple "Ned Flanders' types everywhere. We walked again along the beach and through other 3 - 4 star hotels but we were so happy to get back home to the MAR DEL SUR!

The food kept improving, the Xmas and New Year feasts were very impressive. All who worked there were fantastik! The boys played Ping Pong, Volleyball checkers, chess...The pool bar had french fries and sandwiches, the beach bar had the same and sometimes a BBQ.

We loved the Mar del Sur because it was safe, quiet, friendly, walking distance to restaurants with live music, the craft markets, Cubans, banks and lots of people and experiences. That is why we went, not to just talk to other tourists, compare bathing suits and talk about stocks!

A lot of improvements were being done as the Hotel was entering the high season.

Overall, everything was great. It just takes 24 hrs to slough off the North American routine and standards that we all arrive with, then the tanning, music, swimming, eating, drinking, sightseeing and Cuban experiences take over.
Coming back to OUR "standards" is much harder to adapt to.

We miss it so much already!

  • Stayed: December 2008, travelled with family
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5  Thank Verika
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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