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Islazul Villa La Mar
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Reviews (274)
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21 - 26 of 274 reviews
Reviewed 4 January 2014

I am so puzzled at the negative reviews here. Our third stay at the Villa La Mar during Christmas 2013 was amazing again. What makes Villa La Mar so unique is its people. They are the most welcoming, warm, hospitable and kind bunch always with smile on their faces.

The location of Villa La Mar is second to none as it is a stone throw away from the main street (1st), near restaurants, markets, bus stops, internet place, and much more. I bet that the 5 star hotels can’t match its location.

The other amazing aspect of Villa La Mar is its evening entertainment. They put on amazing shows every night by Cuban dancers and groups so make sure you check them out at the pool area and you are guaranteed to enjoy Cuban culture and music. Mr. Santa Cruz (Manager of Animation Group) is always working hard to make sure guests have the best shows every night.

The food was amazing with Christmas theme during our stay and the regular buffet always has plenty of option with fresh fruits, desserts, ice cream, chicken, beef, pork, fish (fresh on the grill) and so much more to choose from. In the morning you are able to order fresh omelette, French toast and much more. I am not sure what the expectations of some of the reviewers who complain about the food were. It is by no means a 5 star food but it has a great variety for its level. The restaurant manager (I didn’t get his name) and his staff including Barbaro (excellent waiter), Jose, and so many others were working so hard to make the dining experience of the guests very special. Thanks everyone. You really did impress us.

We really had a blast at Villa La Mar again and we met both local and fellow tourists and the hotel met our needs for a short get away for a centrally located place, with plenty of food, booze, and staff catering to our every need so we were very happy with our stay at Villa La Mar and would recommend it to anyone (lone travellers, couples, friends, and families). The bartenders at the Pool bar area so friendly and always catering to your needs and their names are Alejandero, Alfredo, Galego, and “Guadenga”. What an amazing group of people who are so hard working, decent, and fun to be around. These guys work long shifts to support themselves and their families and do anything to make your stay pleasurable. Please don’t forget to tip as the wage is bad even though it is all inclusive, the tip is not included.

Please feel free to check out the pics from our trip we have posted and we would highly recommend for folks to stay at Villa La Mar if you are not too stuck up and wish a nice place located downtown and near everything with a walking distance to all amenities. Ask for Dolphin section of the hotel for your room, check out the 24 hour restaurant across the street if you wish to mingle with locals, try a dirt cheap but excellent restaurant nearby call Don Alex (located Calle 31), banks are close by, if you run out of money, ATMs at the bank will let you take cash advance on your Canadian or non-US visa cards, save $25CUC for your return tax at the airport, check out the clubs on Calle 62 on Thursday, Friday, Sat, or Sunday, and for your rum to take back, they are cheaper at the airport duty free, $5CUC all day bus tour of the city is available if you want to go sight-seeing, and finally Varadero is a safe city so have fun and enjoy the beach and your vacation! Happy New Year everyone!

Room Tip: As for a Dolphin side either on the main floor or any of the floors.
  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled as a couple
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14  Thank Afcan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 January 2014

I got food poisning at this resort, was sick for several days. It was too cold the first week to spend much time at the beach. Cubans generally don't have much attention on food quality. They don't have much food. The rum is cheaper than the free bar after you've tipped the bartender. A lot of people got drunk. I guess I am different. I liked the double espressos in the morning, always left a good tip. Cuban people are incredibly poor, but the streets are safe at any time of night, and there are no drug addicts. The hotel staff were courteous, but because everyone makes the same income in Cuba, treat them like you would treat someone you know who earns the same income as you. They want to first be recognized as your equal. So say hello, how are you, before you demand any services from them.

Room Tip: Eat at the beach. The food is better, and the entertainment quite good.
  • Stayed: February 2013, travelled solo
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2  Thank Ian C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 November 2013

The Villa La Mar is exactly what one would expect from a low priced all inclusive resort. The rooms were small, but nice. Slightly out of date, but nothing that would keep me from returning. Each room had a balcony with 2 chairs. This was a lovely place to sit and relax with a view of the beautiful ocean. The bathroom had hot water and good water pressure, which was better than the other place that we stayed at on our trip. The food was average. A little bland, but filling. The bar was nice. The bartender was friendly, and the drinks were good. The pool was a bit chilly, but the short walk to the beach made up for it. Spent a good portion of the afternoon relaxing on the beach before heading back to the hotel. At night there was a live performance that was very entertaining. The performers were energetic and invited the audience up on stage to sing and dance with them. Overall, this was a good place to stay on a low budget.

  • Stayed: March 2013, travelled with friends
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7  Thank Meghan_Nicole11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 September 2013

It is a budget hotel but the food is varied and plentiful and I never got sick!! Been there twice. Their liquor selection can be quite limited but there is always lots of beer and rum. Entertainment around the pool during the day and an evening show every night. Close to nearby restaurants and other bars, if you want, and the markets in Varadero are within walking distance. The beds are not great but remember it is a budget hotel. Staff are good, for the most part.

Room Tip: Ask for the new building. It is a little bit better.
  • Stayed: January 2013, travelled with friends
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5  Thank gorjac
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 September 2013

I always want to visit Cuba but sometimes a cheap hotel is the only way I can swing it. So, I decided to stay here a second time and this time, I brought my 7-year-old son, my boyfriend, and his little brother along for the fun!

We booked two rooms. The first room we got was okay but the toilet would not flush. That would be a problem for anyone. The second room didn't have any sheets on the bed! My boyfriend speaks Spanish so he rectified the situation right away. If I didn't have someone in my party who speaks Spanish then I'm afraid the language barrier would be too much. My boyfriend also knows how to use CHOCOLATE to his advantage in doing business transactions with the Cuban front desk ladies.

The next day we were moved to the nicer block with better rooms and what seemed to be our own private patio. I am not sure what the block is called but it's actually separate from the main hotel complex, across the street, and there is a bar/restaurant beneath it. The only bad thing about our room what that the patio doors didn't lock, but thieves would have to climb over some pretty high walls if they wanted to break in!

The food was fine! The boys love the pasta and red sauce every day and I love the omelettes made for me every morning. I brought some hot sauce and also extra cash so we could eat out.

Since my second trip to this little resort was in March, it was a higher tourist season and I got more services than the first time around. The disco was open and earlier in the evening, there was family-friendly entertainment that my son enjoyed. There were lovely "entertainment" staff working by the pool who would offer to take care of my son/play ball with him if my boyfriend and I wanted a little alone time. I really love how the Cubans love children and seem to treasure them! There were a few other families staying there, a couple of older ratchet guys from Winnipeg, and a lot of fun young women in their 20s/30s who came from Ontario. Having all of these people around made the trip a blast. There were also a lot of Russians there and I didn't really get to know any of them, maybe because of my lack of Russian-language skills.

My son and I took a nice trip to swim with the dolphins, the tour bus picked us up at our hotel lobby early one morning. It was actually a whole-day trip, I think it's called a catamaran trip and we booked it through Sunwing. We first went to some little island called Cayo Largo where they fed us an insane amount of delicious (but salty) chicken and then let us play around in the water. We got some kayaks and enjoyed the beautiful water before we headed off to swim with Pancho. The whole trip cost us $100CUC for the day and then a photographer brought us nice 8x10" glossy photos of ourselves with Pancho the Dolphin. This photographer somehow knew our hotel and he waited in the lobby for us, I was happy to spend the $10CUC for such a great souvenir!

The one downside to the trip to this resort is the smell of oil that sometimes comes through the AC in the night. I only had that bother me about 2 times out of 7 nights/days.

The best part of this hotel is that it is cheap and easy walking distance to go mostly any place in Varadero. A taxi across town to further locations is only going to be about $5CUC or maybe even $3 CUC depending on how much you want to haggle.

I would stay here again especially since most of the travellers I met there are open-minded and just want to enjoy their vacation instead of sitting around and complaining about how tough they have it in their 2-star resort!!

  • Stayed: March 2013, travelled with family
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6  Thank Melania_Ann
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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