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“Mixed experience”

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Blau Marina Varadero Resort
Ranked #39 of 65 Hotels in Varadero
Truro, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
79 reviews
44 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
“Mixed experience”
Reviewed 6 May 2014

We stayed at the Blau Marina Varadero at the end of a backpacking trip around Cuba. Varadero itself was a bit of a culture shock since most people speak English and it felt more like Southern Spain than Cuba.

Staff: Almost all of the staff were friendly, efficient and helpful.

Pricing: If you are not staying here as part of a package holiday, then book your stay online in your country of origin prior to arriving (or ask a relative to do this for you!). We were quoted $520 USD for two nights over the phone but my parents were able to reserve us the same two nights for $300 USD online.

Rooms: Fairly standard for resort hotels. Very comfortable double beds. The air conditioning was mercifully quiet. The room itself did smell quite damp. The 'mini-bar' consisted of a few cans of beer in a fridge that didn't work and smelt of ham.

Facilities: The lobby and bar area is tremendous and really has 'wow' factor. The beach is stunning and there are plenty of places to lie in the shade. Swimming pools are clean but relatively shallow. There is a quieter pool and a 'family' pool. Sports facilities were good although they were resurfacing the tennis court whilst we were there. The games room (table tennis, pool, table football) is great.

Food & drink: Evening meals were disappointing. Standard buffet fare was provided but the quality was average. Accompanying wine was only just edible. Unlike the rest of the country, cocktails are made with syrups rather than real fruit juice. We didn't try any of the 'specialist' dining areas. Breakfast and lunchtime meals were good.

Night-time entertainment: The dance show was OK but a little cheesy.

Despite the criticisms, we enjoyed our stay.

  • Stayed April 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
2 Thank DConnor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Pointe Claire, Canada
Level 4 Contributor
39 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 May 2014

the beach was amazing! because it is the last resort it is a beautiful walkable beach. At the far left it is so quiet that one has the impression it is a private one. The sand is not supper fine and does not stick to your skin, and there are beautiful shells to collect. There is always someone to help you get a beach chair. Because the resort is so long there are many accesses to the beach with their own beach chairs. We never had a hard time finding beach chairs.
The food was quite bad, the worst I have had in Cuba and the bars are ways to busy because the servers are always in a rush. Most of the staff did not speak English well enough to serve in the dinning rooms. The drinks were never the same: I have never had some many variations of a mojito!!

I would not go back again.

Room Tip: ask for one near the restaurants or medical centre.
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  • Stayed March 2014, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
2 Thank nita k
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Orillia, Canada
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 May 2014

Having not been on a trip for 24 years, my husband and I chose to stay at Blau Marina Varadero in February 2014. Everything was what I expected and more. We liked it so much, we went back in April. The Animacion team was wonderful as a group and as individuals. Special thanks to Tomas and Ileana. Your personality shines through. Nice to see everyone always smiling. The pool activities were fun. Everday I got involved. Our two special women at the swimup bar, Lu and Amaryls, have a memory like a steel trap. The drinks were always there without waiting. Javier, the pool guy, needs a raise. That guy was non stop both times we were there. He was always cleaning and always willing to help find a lounge chair for you. Everday, he had a smile and a "good morning my friend." We will definately keep in contact with him.
The other two employees that I would like to mention are Maylene and Mikal who tend the 24 hour bar in the main lobby. Both of you are amazing. Your smiles and energy are contagious. Because of the employees at Blau Marina, we are going back to the same resort again next February. I have absolutely nothing bad to say. Friendships are forever.

  • Stayed April 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Coleen K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Halifax, Canada
Level 3 Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 May 2014

I just returned home from spending a week at the Blau Marina Varadero Resort from April 20th-28th. If you're considering going to this resort.....do it! This was my fourth trip to Cuba and my second time staying in Varadero and I plan on going back to this resort.

First Impressions: My first impression of this resort was a good one. The shuttle from the airport to the resort was quick and the check in process took three minutes at most. A staff member was waiting to help us with our luggage as soon as we were checked in. Our room was clean and the AC worked very well.

Room/Resort: We stayed in room 1541 which was in the 1500 block overlooking the main pool. This building was central to everything including the beach/buffet and lobby. The resort itself is large, but no matter where you are on the resort you're not far from the beach. The resort is at the tip of the peninsula and is long and narrow. To put it simply the resort is beautiful!

Beach: The beach stretches for 2km along the resort and there were always huts available and you never had to search for a lounger. The water was clear and shallow so great for families with small children. A branch new beach bar opened on the beach as well. ;-)

Service: I can't say enough about how fantastic the service was and how the staff went out of their way to make you feel comfortable and welcome. Our breakfast server Joanna always greeted us with a smile and reminded us to come back for lunch.
The cleaning staffs were always smiling and the nightly entertainment was INCREDIBLE!
If you only have time to take in one show make it the Michael Jackson show because you will not be disappointed.

I left this resort feeling refreshed and truly satisfied with my vacation. If you're travelling to any resort in Cuba you have to keep in mind that you're in a country that has a trade embargo with the US and a 5 star resort in Cuba is not a 5 star in Canada or the US.

Go with an open mind and I have no doubt you will fall in love with the Blau Marina. :-)

Room Tip: I suggest requesting a room in the 1500 block on the pool side on a second or third level. This buil...
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  • Stayed April 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank Bluenoser83
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Montreal
Level 3 Contributor
14 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed 30 April 2014

Stayed at the Blau Marina resort in the 15 Block overlooking the principal pool area.

Arrived with my family (2 young boys) looking for some of the simple pleasures with zero stress and got it in abundance.

We were checked in quickly and with no fuss and were driven to our room on a golf cart. The driver made sure to orient us as we got there and we were really pleased to see that we had been situated right in the prime area of the resort, close to the pool, snackbar, beach and main building where the buffet and other restaurants.

The room as comfortable if not lavishly furnished, and the bathroom looked a little tired but perfectly functional. The air-conditioning was extremely welcomed as it was HOT! Our room faced directly onto the pool and each evening my wife and I were able to enjoy a beer (from the stocked fridge) on our balcony while catching the last of the sunshine.

I found the buffet to be actually really good, but then there are rules to live by with Cuban buffets: have your meat or fish cooked at the grill station, stay away from mystery meats, eat the fresh veg and fruit and set your expectations a few clicks below that of a celebrity chef restaurant. If cordon bleu cooking is what you're looking for then please do yourself a favour and look elsewhere.

What IS outstanding is the service and quality of vacation that is available if you are looking for the simple pleasures of a Caribbean vacation. The beaches are stunning - the ocean is a multitude of turquoise, blue and green - and you can walk out 100 meters and be standing waist deep only - it's very safe for the kids. There were never problems in securing shaded beachchairs. The animation staff are engaging and a whole lot of fun.

It's the same deal with the pool - of which there are three. Fun times, cool drinks and zero stress. Two pools are quite shallow (with the exception of the adult pool at the north end of the resort) but with young kids this is a significant advantage.

The evening shows were a blast - both for the kids and the adults (Kids shows run at 8:30 - adults at 9:30) special mention to the Magic show and the Michael Jackson tribute. He and his troupe were lights out good. That said - if you're looking for nightclub nightlife, this isn't the resort for you. After the shows it's bar or bust.

This is a BIG resort - but it feels much, much more intimate, mostly thanks to the personal touch of all of the staff.

Bring tip money - it's not mandatory but it's VERY much appreciated. Leave the clothes and toiletries and if you have space, bring it just to leave it. Again, it makes a tremendous difference to those who will use it.

Mostly bring your humility and just enjoy it for what it is; a simple, entertaining, stress free vacation with everything you NEED to relax and have a great time.

I would thoroughly recommend the Blau Marina to anyone who is looking for this kind of vacation.

Room Tip: Blocks 12-15 seem to be closest to the primary locations.
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  • Stayed April 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
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    • Service
Helpful?
8 Thank procrasto
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sidney, Canada
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 30 April 2014

food was good - buffet plus Spanish, Italian and Seafood restaurant.
Happy smiling helpful staff. People leave towels on deck chairs at pool early in the morning or offeven though notices say not to do that. Hotel should take towels from unoccupied chairs after
15 minutes otherwise no chairs are available for other guests. Charge a fee to return towels that have been confiscated by the Pool attendants (say $5 per towel)
Be aware that Bank at Plaza of the Americas will not exchange currency if the bill is damaged -
even a slight tear in the bill will be rejected. Bank provides a better exchange rate than hotel.
Bus ( double decker) every 20 minutes from 9 a.m. serving all hotels and going to Varadero for $5 per day fare is useful.
drop on or off - is useful

Room Tip: Stay away from rooms in hotel buildings that are close to the highway because of noisy construct...
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  • Stayed April 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank 2Barney
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Calgary, Canada
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 April 2014 via mobile

Just got back from Cuba.... We stayed from April 21-28.

The good:

-Super amazing beach and awesome sunshine/weather. Lots of pools for the kids to experience. Lots of lounge chairs everywhere and they now have a beach bar too :)

-friendliest staff and good service. Out server was Sergio..... He was amazing!!! We also has midalia.... Super sweet.

-beautiful big resort with Cuban charm..... Breezy and relaxing. Yes there were some bathroom stalls out of order but nothing major and they were clean and had toilet paper. Lighthouse view was beautiful.... Take pictures. Live bands are great!

-lively resort with nightly shows but also offers a quiet atmosphere for those who prefer that. Out favourite show was water ballet and Michael Jackson. Also this resort feels safe and like home.....

The ok:

- the food is a hit or miss, some of the buffet items are great while others I wouldn't come near them. If you go, try the omelette, crepe and pasta stations... And the yummy flambéed bananas. Also the fresh bread is good. We liked the snack buffet pizza and sandwiches....located at the Cuban restaurant by the pool with the slide (slower season) and at the lighthouse (busy season). The ala carts were ok not amazing.

-the rooms themselves are spacious and well setup but not luxurious. Although we only really slept and showered there so they were good enough for us. Bathrooms a bit dated and bedding too..... But we liked the rooms over all and the fact that we had no problems with hot water and all the rooms come with a terrace/balcony.
Also A/C was nice, especially in the afternoons.

- slight sewer smell near building block 10. We walked trough whole resort, and this was the only building that smelt like that when we walked by. We stayed in block 11 and there wasn't a bad smell.

Tips:

-bring more cash than you planned because once you convert your money to CUCS it goes fast.... 0.83 for each Canadian dollar ( at resort) it is very inconvenient to find a bank and you are rushed at the airport To catch your bus, so unlikely you will have time to exchange. Especially if you do excursions and there are four of you lol.

- souvenirs are pretty expensive..... If you go to Havana..... Buy there.... It's cheaper.

- everyone wants a tip..... Try to tip to as many as you can with 1 CUC at a time..... Or else you will go broke quick! Besides the tips go to a shared basket.

- bring a few items that you don't need anymore. Blouses, shorts and Children's items. Toiletries etc. I thought I wouldn't find someone to leave these to, but believe me you will and faster than you think!

- bug spray and a ton of sunblock! After bite and Benadryl. A first aid kit.... I cut my foot on the catamaran excursion and they used rum to disinfect haha. Luckily another tourist had a bandage.

- the catamaran cursing is worth it!!! It is breathtaking .... We did the rest of our sight seeing through a private cab, there were 7 of us so it was way cheaper.

Overall we loved our holidays.... Especially our boys.... We will definitely be back!

See you next year!




Stayed April 2014
Helpful?
2 Thank Raquelita7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Blau Marina Varadero Resort

Property: Blau Marina Varadero Resort
Address: Autopista Sur final Punta Hicacos, Varadero, Cuba
Region: Caribbean > Cuba > Matanzas Province > Varadero
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #39 of 65 Hotels in Varadero
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:5 star — Blau Marina Varadero Resort 5*
Number of rooms: 548
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Blau Marina Varadero Resort***** All Inclusive, is a luxurious hotel surrounded by beautiful gardens and unforgettable views that offers its clients superb service and comfortable environment. The 548 rooms and all the installations of 5 star All Inclusive hotel Blau Marina Varadero Resort***** offer the perfect combination for memorable family vacations. Blau Marina Varadero Resort***** offers its clients: Complete Twin rooms, Twins with Sea View and Suites All Inclusive package 6 Restaurants 6 Bars Daily and night animation 2 tennis courts 1 universal court Beach volleyball Non-motorized water sports (catamaran, snorkelling, windsurf) Fitness and aerobics rooms Parking 3 pools for adults 1 pools for children Playground Sport Club (library, billiard, ping pong...) Conference hall with capacity of 300 seats Business centre Souvenirs and boutique Wifi (Looby and meeting room. With charge) Blau Marina Varadero Resort***** ALL INCLUSIVE: Breakfast, lunch and dinner in Buffet restaurant Typical Cuban dinner once a week Selection of national and international drinks (top brands with extra cost) 2 tennis courts Courts reservation and necessary equipment 1 universal court Beach volleyball Petanca Non-motorized water sports (catamaran,water cycles, snorkelling, windsurf) Fitness and aerobics rooms Parking Access to all the shows in “La Senora de Atocha” every night Mini bar daily filled with 1 bottle of water, 2 soft drinks, 2 bottles of local beer 3 pools for adults 1 pool for children Area for children in main pool Playground 3 dinners per booking per week in our "a la carte" restaurants (reservation required) Snacks in Pool Bars ... more   less 
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