Villa La Mar Hotel, Varadero Beach Cuba. 3 stars.
Start based on 43 reviews
- Destination: Varadero Beach
- Address: 3a. Avenida e/ 28 y 30, Varadero, Cuba
- Phone: (53 42)20 7548
- Accept child:Yes
- No price
Description: Villa La Mar Hotel Cuba
A few steps from Varadero beach, the most beautiful in Cuba, the tourist can spend special days in an environment of sea, sun and white sands. Unsuspected comfort in elegantly decorated rooms facing beautiful gardens, abundant in green, guarantee an unforgettable and pleasant stay in this welcoming resort. 264 air-conditioned rooms with private bath, satellite TV and safe. Others: restaurant buffet, Cuban Criolla cuisine restaurant, cafeteria, 24-hour lobby bar, snack bar, Ranchón-style restaurant on the beach with all-inclusive service; discotheque, swimming pool, game room, mail service, shop, currency exchange, tourism bureau, parking and car rental. 264 air-conditioned rooms with private bath, satellite TV and safe. Others: restaurant buffet, Cuban Criolla cuisine restaurant, cafeteria, 24-hour lobby bar, snack bar, Ranchón-style restaurant on the beach with all-inclusive service; discotheque, swimming pool, game room, mail service, shop, currency exchange, tourism bureau, parking and car rental.
Mapa de Villa La Mar Hotel
- 70 % of people enjoy this
A few steps from Varadero, the most beautiful beach in Cuba, tourists can spend special days in an environment of sea, sun and white sands. Unsuspected comfort in elegantly-decorated rooms facing beautiful gardens and abundant greenery guarantee an unforgettable and pleasant stay in this welcoming resort.
“Lousy service and food, but lovely scenery ”
This place is not a resort! It's a hotel on very lush, beautiful grounds, with crappy drinks, terrible food and lousy service. There was a drunk guy in the lobby when we arrived, and no one at the desk moved to help or relocate him. Our room had wet hand towels and both bars of soap were sitting in puddles of water upon our arrival. Our sheets didn't get changed until the last night we were there. When we asked for extra pillows on our first night - we got in very late - they told us they didn't have any and that we'd have to wait until the next day. They did not have entertainment every night, but only a couple of the entire week we were there. What they had was nice, but nothing special. The food was awful, with dishes left out for days because they didn't get eaten. The meat - when there was any - was very fatty, and one common dish was of pasta with a criss-cross patter of mustard and ketchup. Many people ate elsewhere, which makes no sense when you pay for an all-inclusive stay... There was no fruit juice at the bar to mix drinks with. Instead, they offered cola, white pop, red slushie and a bottled mix for Pina Coladas. We travelled with Sunwing and will never do so again b/c this hotel experience was not good!
“Went openminded-shouldn't have ”
I was travelling alone as a single 45 yr old male for the 1st time. So I looked for a cheap place with decent reviews. Based on that I chose Villa la Mar. Food is not an issue. We all know that unless you're at a 5 star it's not that great. There is definitely not a wide variety, but I wouldn't have starved here. I did however choose the simple hot dog or sandwich at the beach bar over what was served for lunch some days & ate pizza at Kiki's a Cpl nights for dinner because of the lack of selection & odd things that were served....some I had no idea what it was. So I paid $695 all in. I'm no prude, nor do I need perfection whatsoever. I'm a truck driving blue collar guy & average would've been great, so you're getting a very good review here. The room was disgusting. Sink was rusted beyond healthy. Shower curtain was stained so much & in different colors..no idea what it was. Every towel I got, had at least one distinctive stain of some sort in it. The shower head itself was just one line dripping, like a garden hose stuck on low. I brought this to their attention right away & a maintenance guy did come quickly & got me a few lines dripping. Absolutely no water pressure, but was good enough for me. I was afraid of possible bed bugs based on the rest of the room, so I slept between the upper sheet & blanket. I was on the 2nd floor & when I opened the window, the sill was crawling with ants, which explained them in the room. Also got nailed with about 9 mosquito bites one night while I slept & man they really welt up & are itchy as hell. Service.....wow. You would think that at least one employee should be able to speak a little English....not so much. Bar service was ok, although one day they wouldn't have sprite, the next orange, etc. The 1st 3 days I left the maid $1 & some items....kids toys one day, parfume the next, nylons & hair ties the 3rd. My service from her was the same each day. I started with 3 towels in the room. One I used on the nasty floor to step on out of the shower. After my 1st day shower I hung the towel I used up to dry..I can use the next day. I come back & all she did was take away the towel from the floor & made my bed. Next day I use towel on floor & towel for shower, which I hung up again to reuse. I get back & all I'm left with is my used towel hanging to dry. I found her in the hallway & asked for 2 more towels. She put them in, but the same thing repeated for the next 3 days. On the 4th day I still left her $1, but the next morning I ran into her on my way to breakfast & she made a point of letting me know that my 6th day there was her day off....she also knew that I had to leave at 7 on my last day. So she did this just to let me know that that moment was my last chance to give her more $$$ or gifts. That just turned me right off. She wasn't doing jack crap enough to deserve anything. Front desk....day 3 I ran out of toilet paper....NOT being looked after by maid obviously. So I let them knew that I had no toilet paper & needed some. No problem she said. I went out & came back 4 hrs later......No frickin' toilet paper & I had to go....unreal. On day 5 I grabbed the phone in the room to call down to ask a question. Phone doesn't work. I go to front dexk & they appear to know it doesn't work....don't think they work in any room. Since I forgot my cell at home, I had no way of waking up at a certain time. She said no problem, we'll wake you up. So I tested this. Since to get a chair under an umbrella you need to get to the beach before 7:30 (when breakfast opens), I asked for a wake up call for 6:30 on day 6. Sure enough, at 6:05 a guy rapped on my door and yelled something in Spanish. I'm sure this pleased my neighbours to no end. So day 6 I go to front desk at 7:30pm & say I need a wake up call for 7am tomorrow for my flight. No problem they say. Thank god I woke up on my own at 6:55 because nobody came to wake me up. Only part that sucked was I was told to check out at 7:30 & the bus would pick me up at 7:45. Bus finally showed up at 9. Beach bar. Only food they serve is hot dog & sandwich. Sandwich is a round bun about half the size of a hamburger bun with a small thin slice of ham & cheese. Hot dog is hit and miss. Couple days they didn't have them. One day it was a hotdog cut in half on a hamburger bun. Next day it was the same but with only one half of the dog. Another it was half a dog on an actual hot dog bun...lolol. As far as beach location....it's a simple 3 min walk....Cpl blocks. No biggy at all. Hotel pool.....in 7 days I saw 2 ppl in it one day. Musta been drunk. Nobody ever went swimming in it because for some reason it was freezing cold. Go figure. Bottom line is, I would never go back to this resort. I would def spend the extra Cpl hundred for a better one. And don't waste your time tipping a lot, or handing out gifts because it doesn't get you any different or better service.
“Never again ”
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.
“Stay away from this place ”
I just stayed at Villa La Mar July 20th and July 21st 2013. Unfortunately there is not goodies to add here. Just the beach part that its okay. The rooms are not good, service is awful we could see the employees joining food from the buffet to take it home. They put the food for customers little by little to see if none else come they take the rest of the food to their homes. Once I was with my friends at the pool bar and I asked for a hot dog. The lady who works over there put a half hot dog into roll for me and put it on the grill with another peace like that one that was already on the grill. The bartender came and took my hot dog and then asked the lady about it and she took it off from him and put in a plate for me saying: No, no, no, yours is the other one. You know the rest, I terned around a left, there were no food for me over there no more. In the restaurant I saw an employee filling the water dispenser using a dirty pail with water and ice brought from who knows from where. I'm definitely not recommending this place at all, Stay away from there. I went to eat every day to Paladar El Mojito in Santa Marta Town very close from Varadero entrance. Buy your water if you want to take the risk of being a guest of that hotel. And good luck. You will really need it.
“never again... ”
stayed at villa la mar from april 23- 30 2013, we knew this was not gonna be the best hotel but decided to give it a try anyways. first the positives: the staff there was always friendly, the front desk people, the restaurant workers, everyone was always smiling and friendly to us. and thats it for the positive. Negative: the food was horribleeeeeeee!! My husband and i come from a latin american country so we had an idea of what food to except but we were wrong. the food was the same for breakfast lunch and dinner and it seems like everything is cooked with the same odd spice :S All we every ate there was icecream, nothing else was eatable. Lucky for us we found a local who offered to cook for us in his home everyday :) so we would eat there instead of the hotel. The pool there was a joke, didnt go in once. The hotel needs to be stricter with drunks, some nights we couldnt sleep because there were drunk people screaming and laughing until like 5am! One of our beds was sort of broken in the middle, and the other bed was super hard and the pillow had a million lumps in it! the room smelled soo bad when we arrived I got nauseous and had to leave the balcony door open all night to air it out, next day either we got used to the smell or the room freshened up. The maids were friendly but did a poor job. not once did they sweep the room or clean the bathroom let alone change the towels. I see some people complaining that the beach was too far away... not true, beach is literally like 3 minutes walking and was gorgeous! have never seen such blue water in my life! this crappy hotel is right in the middle of varadero city so u can easily go anywhere by just walking or taking the 2 story buses. We loved our trip to cuba minus the hotel, never would stay there again but definitely going back to cuba!, i advise you to do the havana one day special, its amazing!!!!
“Bring your own food and bed sheets ”
This place should not be recognized as a 2 star, I gave it a 1 star only because it exists. The food was horrible, I am truly not a picky eater but this place was horrible for food. The room smelled of mold as soon as you walked in. The sheets dirty, I came home with bed bug bites, now need to get treated for it. The pool was fine, people were very friendly there. Beach was very nice in Veradaro but you had to walk about 3 city blocks to get there. No beer at beach bar on beach so bring your own beer. Lobby bar, also no beer, only pool bar had beer. Would not recommend. I know its a 2 star but should not even be a 1 star. Much better places for the same price.
“Hell hole ”
I was majorly ripped off with this hotel however did not let it ruin my Cuba experience. I will say now Cuba is amazing and I highly recommend it, however sleeping on the street would be better then this hotel. Food- never fully cooked, always cold, not allowed pop at meal times, snack bar at pool reuses plates without washing, flies in the restaurant, breakfast was 830-10, lunch 1230-2 and dinner 630-9, 24 snack bar is not included and pool snack bar only has sandwiches with terrible ingredients, bring condiments!!! Or your own food. Cleanliness- dirty!! I had a lot of bug eggs behind my bed ( posted pictures ) my roof was leaking orange stuff and I had black mold in my shower, as I mentioned earlier the plates were reused in the pool snack bar, the bedding has visible stains and smelt funny, the food was always covered in flies. Location- the street it's on is a little warry but 3 blocks from the beach 2 blocks from 1 ave and kinda in the middle of varadero so was easy to walk around. Rooms- terrible, dirty, leaking, mold, bugs rooms with balconies are tiny rooms without are spacious but falling apart. Service- this was a joke, this hotel as Is most in Cuba is government owned so the staff did not care even with or without tips, the black reception lady was rude, threatening, unhelpful, and ignorant so were the others but not as bad! Alberto the entertainer was fantastic, the bartenders were rude and would literally stand around talking while I stood there trying to get there attention, even with tipping!! The buffet staff where worst no help at all. I couldn't believe how bad everything was. Especially the service. Value- between my friend and I we spent about 3200 together and I would t have stayed for free, I found out to walk on this resort it's only 50$ a night for 2 so I was definitely ripped off!! There was no value for what I paid! Booze was fine was not short poured but defiantly all the cheapest booze, for meals you can have water, pineapple juice, milk or coffee or sometimes they would give you wine for dinner. So try and bring what you want from the bar... Pool was gross also.. Overall I would really not recommend this hotel save the time money and stress and stay else where. I'm forgetting a lot but this is enough info to give an idea. Please do not stay here it takes away from the beauty of Cuba!
“Cheap, but poor”
My room had mold and smelled like a humid cave. Food wasn't very good either. The pool area is ok and complimentary drinks at bars are fine too. Staff is alright as well. The atmosphere is from the late 70's and it's kind of funny and cozy. My room was awful, otherwise everything is average quality considering the cheap price.
“If it were not for the staff this place would crumble ”
My wife and I were here again (yes did not learn the first time I guess), the fast and friendly staff and the Director (El Guapo...hehehe) are very nice and very helpful, they tried there hardest and best to help as much as was possible. The food at this hotel is well boring/plain and almost exactly the same for every lunch or supper.. If it were not for the deserts/fruit and salads I think most people would starve...or do like the rest of us and go find a restuarant to go eat at...kind of crappy especially because you paid for all inclusive... The beds in rooms are very thin but to my astonishment they are pretty much the same all over Cuba thin mattreses that are lumpy and bumpy and well a sheet of plywood would be better. My wife and I said this is the last time we stay here thanks to all the drunk Russians and the poor selection of food and quality of food. The AC unit in room made more noise then the traffic outside, 3 floors down..... The cleaning of towels could also have been a little better for example giving us new/clean towels every day and not just hangging up the old wet/dirty ones. To the staff and Director we thank you for your kindness and all the help you could provide. We will not be staying here again.
“Villa La Mar - February 2014”
A last minute vacation, Villa La Mar looked better on the redtag website. My bf and I each paid $715 (taxes in) for a grand total of $1430.00, al inclusive. The Hotel was ok. Not really dirty but extremely old. The bathroom was clean, so I was happy about that but the rest of the room was so poor. The bed was extremely soft and it was a little scary going to bed at night, I was afraid of bed bugs even though there was evidence of none. The buffet was disgusting, old stale food, lots of flies and weird choices. Thank God you could get a mediocre pizza across the street for $2.15 CUC. The alcohol was better. There was rum and vodka and really cold beer which was extremely refreshing. The beach bar was ok too, they ran out of cups once but It's Cuba so we understood. The staff were friendly, some seemed miserable but can you blame them? Most of them should be retired. The pool was beautiful!! The water clean and refreshing but it was a bit difficult to get clean beach towels daily. The ocean was the gem of this vacation. I have never seen such beautiful turquoise water. It was cool and calm, perfect for relaxing and not one sand flea, which was a huge plus. I was sad to leave such a beautiful place but next time we will definitely chose a 5 star.
“F?ne for Cuba level ”
Hotel is located in central part of Varadero, with easy access to shops and restaurants. Ocean in in a short walk, and there's a bar at the beach that is part of this hotel. Rooms are not good - one night I woke up with a big coil from the bed that poked my leg, and when I complained they just moved this bed to next room and gave it to new guests a day later. Food is HORRIBLE. And when we read it in reviews we thought that it's not important, that we can eat average meals. But they are not just average, they taste bad! And they serve the same food for several days (meaning that they cook rice once and then give that same rice for 3 days, not cooking anything fresh). On the other hand, hotel is really cheap, so is the food in restaurants around, so it can be a choice for small budget. And Cuba isn't really about luxury experiences, it's... well, it's about Cuba!
“Is a good hotel if you are not too particular ”
I went in December with my friend, we are 24 year old females and really went to Veradero for the beach and the parties. Overall, Staff were friendly for the most part. Of course like any resort in Cuba , you need to tip to get the most out of customer service. My friend and I gave out a lot of clothes, hair products to both the male staff and women. They really appreciate anything that you give them. The snack bar is actually pretty gross, they serve egg on a bun, fruit and other crap that appeared to be sitting their for a long while. I don?t recommend you eat it or you will probably get sick. We had to stay in the first night because my friend got sick, most likely it was from the food. Buffet wasn?t that great but you will not go hungry. DO NOT STAY ON THIS RESORT IF YOU PLAN TO ONLY BE ON THE RESORT!!!! There is nothing to do. Think of it as just a hotel a place to sleep and occasionally eat at. The beach is about a 5 minute walk from the resort. I personally did not mind the walk it was nice to experience the way Cubans live. There is a bar from our hotel on the beach so drinks are handy and close by. My bedroom was clean and I had no complaints otherwise.
“Not bad for the price ”
Just got back from this resort. It was the first time I traveled alone so it was a change, some days were a little slow especially if u didn't go out and explore the town the beatle bar was kinda cool if you are a rocker like me lol. The resort was ok for a two star pool was nice and the bar was good. My room was a little on the gross side but I expected it the taps were so rusty in the kitchen but I didn't use and only slept in room. my room didn't get cleaned a couple of times normally I wouldn't care but I had an accident I puked haha not my proudest moment but I asked for clean sheets and got them. The second last day they did a swan on my bed. I met lots of great people some from my home town, and a couple from Victoria bc I wanted to get their info but forgot hopefully u read this also some fun ladies from Belarus that invited me to their country. The food was basic but everyone knows that I got a bit of a upset stomach but nothing serious hotel staff seemed a little grumpy but were ok In a short explanation I would only go again with friends and for a cheap vaca
“Had a great time again! ”
This hotel is a great place to go if you keep our mind open and not fussy.Its also great if you are on a budget. The staff make this hotel what it is.Everyone is super friendly from front desk to gardeners. I arrived at 9.00 in the evening and the security guy even remembered me.Came over to me shook my hand and gave me a hug.Even the front desk girl gave me a kiss! and an awsome room. I was in room 101 right across from the bar.Had a one bedroom apartment.Lots of hot water any time of day and good airconditioner.The maid was awsome did a great job. I tipped her three pesos a day,The room was always nice and clean.Lots towels and toilet paper everyday. I was there for fournights five days. The next morning i went to breakfast and they all remembered me especialay padre.They all came over to me and welcome me back.I told them that i was here for my birthday which was the feb 4th on a teausday.That night when i went for dinner padre and another gentleman who i cant remember his name came to me with a beautiful bottle of red wine and wished me happy birthday cause they both had day offs on that day.I was so touched by this such awsome people!The food was awsome always something to eat.Dont forget to tip goes a long way. The beach what can you say just amazuing as usual.Thats what i go for.Did not have a drop of rain and 31 everydsay. So dont be scared to go to this resort and keep an open mind!
“2 + 2 =4! ”
Just back from a week at Villa La Mar. Had a great holiday mainly due to excellent company, perfect weather and fantastic beach. What we didn't realize until we got there (though the staff never mentioned it. We found out from another hotel gues) was that we had full access to the sister hotel beside called Mar del Sur. We didn't love Villa la Mar but did like Mar del Sur. So we slept in our hotel but hung out at the pool at Mar del Sur which is bigger and has more ambiance. The buffet is also bigger and much better at Mar del Sur. So our joke all week was that we were actually at a four star as we had acess to two 2star hotels ;) The hotel is ideal for those who are budget travelers, non-picky eaters and have a good sense of humour. Location is fantastic! Walk a block and you're right in the hub of all the activity. I was disappointed with the staff and service. We did not find them attentive or friendly as depicted in other reviews. That said, they do work 13 hour shifts and the bar has no dishwasher so the bartenders are handwashing glasses as they work. Also, the Russians seem to really wear on the nerves of the Cuban staff. I also had a run in with the Director of Food and Beverages named, Iranian, and found him very aggressive and rude. If you miss the buffet or need a change, the snack bar across from Villa la Mar is owned and operated by the hotel but costs money. They make a delicious omelet in the morning and yummy pizza for about $2 and it is big enough for two people to share. Though not on the menu, you can request tomato, onion and green peppers (if they are in stock they will put them on your pizza...though chopping seems to evade the Cuban mentality so the pieces are unusually large). The room was very basic in the Delphin section but large and with a nice balcony. I had them change the shower curtain because it was so dirty and my mattress which had a spring poking out but our chambermaid, Ania, was lovely and very accomodating. Our bathroom was equipped with an outlet that accomodated my north american hair dryer and straightener. The other outlets in the room required our travel adaptors. Our safe worked and had a key. Teresa at the front desk is lovely and very helpful. You can only get beer at the pool bar (the Lobby bar and Beach bar do not have beer). We were grateful to have our big portable thermal cups and the staff were happy to fill them for us. Had an amazing massage on the beach by Enrique for 25 CUC's Many of the rooms on the resort are undergoing bathroom reno's so you can request a room with a new bathroom. We did hear others complain that the construction reno's in adjacent rooms was loud and woke them in the morning. We noticed that many bachelors at the hotel had cuban 'girlfriends' for the weekend. Perhaps this hotel is more accepting of such arrangements than those with higher star ratings. The night shows were a lot of fun but we were disappointed that there weren't any day activities at the pool aside from Bingo at 3pm. Another tip - at all of the artesania type places (flea market type stands on the avenida) they are willing to trade items of value to them rather than payment. They seem very interested in clothing (warm clothes too...they love scarves, coats, sweather), shoes and perfume in trade for the variety of souveniers they offer. We bought the catamaran excursion through sunwing and it was an exceptional day! It was 109 CUC's per person and worth every penny despite our thrifty nature. It was a full day 8am to 5pm...bus pick up and delivery to marina. Board catamaran. Crew are super fun! Open bar on boat. About an hour on the ocean and you arrive at the Dolphin area where you can have a magical swim with dolphins. Back on the catamaron and then they stop at a coral reef so you can snorkel. Then another ride to paradise aka cayo blanco for a delicious lobster and shrimp lunch (chicken and veggie options too), open bar, great band and beach time. Back to Catamaran and back to marina. AHHHHMAZING DAY! Highly reccomended. For nightlife, our favourite was La Comparsita was very authentic and so much fun! For 5 CUC's per person it included entrance and open bar! Dance show followed by night club. On calle 60 and avenida 3. Always agree on a price with cab driver BEFORE getting in :)
“Nice low priced resort! ”
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.
“good value ”
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.
“You get what you pay for ”
I originally picked this hotel because it was cheap. When we got there we found a lot of people had been going there for years and really liked it. It is in a central location, a two block walk from the beach, close to markets, little stores, and the main drag... and has a couple of excellent restaurants near by... one just around the corner that specializes in seafood. They do have a pool and a separate kiddie pool. The bar and snack bar staff are nice. We've been at this hotel several times in the past two years, and will be going back. I like this place because it's close to where my local friends live and it's easier to meet up with them. Maid service has been has been my one disappointment, they forget to come or don't do a great job... the first time we went we knew the girl and she was awesome... but now I often have to ask for toilet paper, towels, etc. The food is okay for a two star hotel... sometimes variety is lacking depending on the time of year that you are there... but it's decent,It's Cuba.
“Clean, food good, staff friendly, would go back! ”
I gave it 3* because of condition of rooms and limited food choices. If I gave more it wouldn't be fair to the others I wrote reviews about. We're ther 2013.april 14th-21st. Got there 1AM but they checked us in no extra cost! Went with teenagers (16&18). We got 305 and 306 in the Delfinos section. In 305 the toilet doesn't flush #2 only #1 -LMAO- but the safe works unlike 306. Check that before excepting the room or you'll have a surprise in the morning. The lack of luxuries was annoying to the spoiled Canadian teens of ours. No FB, email, cable (3 english channels) or phones. It was actually liberating! Me and the wife loved the trip. I'll tell you what it is and what its not. Room were clean, maid come every day. Take some clothing you don't need for tips to the maids. Don't just leave it on the last day because your maid for the week might have the day off and miss it. Give it to them daily. There is one security guard that tried bumming me for clothes the first time he saw us. That was a little rude. I was tipping the others maybe the word got out... He was also playing older guest ladies for whatever. He was good at it. I talked to one of them they only make like $15-$20 a month!! First I thought it was a day. So a $ here and there goes a long way. Food was plain but good. Even had lettuce 1 day of the week. Entertainment during the day is more like a guideline then a schedule. Hit and miss depending how the dude feels. I went for spanish and ended up pool volleyball. Still had fun no problem! Beach is 50 meters away. Awesome! There is a volleyball net! Go to dollarama and get a ball for $2 then leave it there. In closing just as many said before me if you wanna rot in the hotel in luxury this is not the place for you. If you're not tinkerbell you'll be fine. Remember what you send out you will get back - about the staff. Treat them with respect and you'll be treated the same. ONE MORE THING. IF YOU MESS UP THE FORM ON THE PLANE DO NOT BUY A NEW ONE FROM THE CREW FOR $20! A CREW MEMBER SAID IT MIGHT COST ME MORE THERE "IT IS CUBA". BS! I MADE A MISTAKE, JUST WROTE OVER IT AND HAD NO PROBLEMS WITH CUSTOMS. COST ME NOTHING. SHAME ON YOU SUNWING FOR TRYING TO RIP ME OFF!
“Second trip to Villa La Mar (still had a blast) ”
Just returned from Villa La Mar, April 17 to 24th. there were some changes since my last trip 2 yrs ago. This time I went with my 12 yr daughter. The bad first...... First note; although there were safes in the rooms there were no keys availible for said safes. I was told " the Russians lost them." lol but I was told not to worry that the hotel was safe. Note; Nothing was stolen from my room during my week stay. nor from my friends room next door. Second: the patio door did not lock. I was on the second floor with a balcony, so not too bad. third: the food did not improve it actually got worst. The grill in the evening was only going 4 out of 7 evenings we were there, once was for Ham, another turkey the other 2 was for fish. the rest was just repeative. all ediable just not very warm. the good now: the selection of drinks had improved, still had beer at the pool bar only, and it was open till 10:00-10:30 approximate. after the show. the Lobby bar open till 12:00.for liquor. 24 hrs for Coffee, Cappicinno etc... The pool bar did have the snack bar open most days for your ham/cheese grill sandwich, chips The staff remembered me after two years and were extremely friendly. it was small enough to meet new people and enjoy ourselves. This is not a resort for anyone who wants to be pampered it won't happen, you go to the bar and get your own drinks, ( bring a mug as they use very small plastic cups) There is no refrigerator in your room. Your luggage gets brought to your room but when you leave you will have to carry it yourself...( I didn't pack light..lol) With that all said I really enjoyed myself and my daughter feel in love with Cuba. We were able to walk to the markets, restaurants and beach anytime without hardly and effort. a small block away. the beach bar was good although no chairs. always able to find cover on the beach. my room was always clean and the maid was very friendly. the entertainment was simple but fun, Go to this 2 star if you want to save money and enjoy the town of Varadero, the restaurants and attractions of the town. not for everyone, for me and my daughter we were happy.
“We brought the party... and the toilet paper.. ”
HEYYYYYYYY! so i just got back from Varadero Cuba. Here are some things they dont tell you: - Toilet paper must be scarce or something cus they hoard it! they clean the rooms beautifully but wait till you are down to the last drop before they refill you.. i actually met women there walking around with their toilet paper in their purses! - HAM AND CHEESE! Its like the national dish or something, ham and cheese was a part of breakfast lunch and dinner. it was on pizza's, burgers, pastas, rice dishes... by day three we had to leave the resort to get some real food, but for real, if you are looking for fine cuisine... this is not the place. Avoid the dairy, we hung out in a group of about 13 canadians and at least 3 -4 were living on immodium and pepto. - Beach: life changingly beautiful - soft sand, there are sometimes baby jelly fish but they have no legs so they dont sting we swam with them actually, even held them - Booze: affordable and good - Shows: one every nite at the pool bar just before it closes at 10pm, on day 1 (Thursday) we were salsa dancing! there is another bar on the grounds that is 24 hrs - Tours: DO THE CATAMARAN TOUR YOU WILL NOT REGRET IT! - Money: OMG so , bring cash and lots of it. this isnt mexico the peso is pretty high i.e.: 93 peso for my 100 canadian. And the banks will change your money from cash or credit card if you have your passport with you. But heres the catch, only one bank in Varadero has an Atm and it declined 5 of us Canadians before my very eyes lolol. Between us we had td debit visas, cibc, scotia, bmo, and pc financial and no one could get cash. DEFINITELY NO PRE-PAID CARDS, not even at the counter. Funds are so hit or miss there, you are better to bring a lot and not spend it all, than to be caught without. NOTE: save $25 for a mandatory airport tax when you leave cuba, they will only take it in cash and in pesos. - clubs: Calle 62 - dancing in the streets, no cover, live music, Internacional: 5 to get in i believe but there is a strip and you can find live music, dancing, drinks, food all up and down it. - Staff: not the friendliest, but they'll do in a pinch - 2-3 peso are great for tipping but the staff will also take clothing, toiletries, or anything you have to spare and this is all across cuba, or so we found as we walked down the street to our hotel with a woman tugging on my girlfriends dress and muttering in spanish. For the staff, just leave it in the room when you leave, they appreciate it and the kindness goes a long way. - Rainbow peeps: SUPER RAINBOW FRIENDLY! YOU'LL HAVE A BLAST IF YOU ARE A GUY.. didnt see much for the ladies. My advice is to hit up this or any 2.5 - 3 star hotel for cheap and venture out to spend money and party. You wont spend much time in your room and its really safe, no need to fear being a part of the local culture, shopping in the markets or just being free to be yourself. Be respectful, and dont walk with a lot of valuables cus pick-pockets still exist.
“Ok for what you pay ”
My experience in this hotel was positive in overall. We came back on Thursday, April 4th. Food was ok, every day they had different protein options, though the accompaniments were pretty much the same. My husband and I could manage to book a la carte for one day, and the food was pretty good. Some other days, when we were really bored at the food or simply because we couldn?t stand the smell of the buffet restaurant (mostly when they cooked lamb) we ate in other very nice restaurants surrounding and the food was great. The room was clean, with new towels every day with such a cute work on them by our maid, I took pics of all the stuff she did with them! My husband got bitten by mosquitos too, but it wasn?t a big deal this time thankfully, since he?s usually allergic to the ?tropical ones?, it looks like. I also saw some ants in the room, I didn?t know where they were coming from, but anyway, they didn?t really bother me since I?m also originally from a tropical country and I?m used to insects. The infrastructure of the hotel is good, and thankfully it looks like they?re gonna change the old mattresses the rooms have now soon. The pool is pretty and clean, the staff is generally friendly with some exceptions from the Front Desk ? they were just like the hot water in the rooms, sometimes it worked fine, sometimes not. Some of them were very helpful, and some of them just try their best to get rid of you asap. If you need to wake up early, just bring a clock with you because their wake up call service looks like never really works well, and as it was said before in other reviews, there?s no radio watches in the rooms. Once in the beach bar they were serving pop with no ice, and it wasn?t cold. The same happened in the lobby bar one night, I guess the staff responsible did it on purpose so I wouldn?t ask for more as it was my second cup. The containers for tips are everywhere, they?re such a bunch of beggars ? and it?s not only there, it?s like that everywhere in Cuba, so far I heard and could see. They really think we have money trees in our home land ? in our tour to Havana they were so annoying, approaching us all the time. If you ask any national to take a pic of you, they might ask you probably to pay for it, it?s incredible. And what really impresses me is that the tour crew doesn?t really do anything to make them stop annoying the tourists, not the same in Brazil, for instance. The tour to Havana was ok, but it looked to me that the Tour Crew was more committed to financial interests than to give us the opportunity to see and take pics of interesting things ? I guess we probably stopped more for shopping purposes than to touristic spots really. So if you want to explore Havana, I recommend you to prepare a list of ?must see? and take a bus in the Varadero station which is 10 pesos. While we were there, we distributed paper and pencils for kids, and in our hotel we distributed some clothing items, paper and pencils too to those ones we thought that made the difference for our trip. We stayed at 9310, and it was pretty quiet and also had a balcony with a nice view. The beach is simply stunning, clean and the water is clear and great for swimming. The location is also very good, and the old cars that serve the city as taxis are in pretty good shape. For cigars and drinks shopping I would highly recommend you to buy at the airport in your return. Prices are the same everywhere and they have more variety.
“Just got back last night ”
Stayed at this hotel, the only complaints I had was the bugs, and lack of booze! I did not think to bring DEET and the bugs loved me for it. It seems there is a voracious variety of mosquito that comes out in the early evening, you don't see them and cannot feel them bite. But bite they do and it leaves huge itchy welts (on me that is) This really makes a difference because you cannot enjoy the experience when you are scratching like mad. They supplied the outside bar with ONE bottle of white wine, which is ridiculous, inside bars ran out of wine the first night I was there. They always ran out of Mojitos and pina coladas, at the bars, It usually resulted in a bad hangover as switching from wine to liquor is never a good idea! Food there was ok, most of the time, rooms were clean, and reasonably comfortable. We lost TV after the first night but who goes to CUba to watch TV??
“In the heart of the city ”
This was my second time to Cuba in three months and travelling alone as I always feel very safe there. Last time I stayed on the "hotel strip" and this time I thought I would stay in town. I was glad I did. The price was right and I do not have any complaints that are different from the last 3.5 star I was at. There are two rooms you can choose from, one that has a separate bedroom and sitting area with no balcony or one with no sitting area but a balcony. Go for the balcony, I had the other one but changed as it is nice to have the ocean breeze coming in and the ocean view. The rooms are simple, clean, no bugs but the beds are not the softest and the shower lacks pressure and hot water at times. Since you are hardly in your room, this really was not a bother to me and if there is no hot water, shower later. The pool area was really nice and the guy who cleans it keeps it in top shape. There is a volleyball net in it but they don't have a volley ball so bring one if you like to play. Other guests will appreciate it. There is a board in the lobby that lists activities but the only thing I saw in the day was a very short two line bingo game. Perhaps this was because there really wasn't a lot of people by the pool - also a bonus as no one rushes to save a chair. There is a bar by the pool, the only one that serves beer, and a snack area that makes grilled sandwiches with a choice of cheese, eggs and a mystery meat (bologne). The inside of the sandwich never really gets hot enough to melt the cheese but if you are in need of a quick snack it is ok. The beach is literally two blocks away and there is a bar you can access and chairs under thatched umbrellas that belong to the resort. There is also a life guard who is very conscience of the waves and will blow his whistle if people go out too far. If you drink beer bring a bubba mug and fill up at the pool bar as there is no beer at the beach bar. Some people in past reviews complained about this but if you don't want to walk back for more, bring a peso and buy one at the store on the corner. The hotel could not be situated better. Right in the middle of town. You can walk anywhere in either directions. There is Internet at the end of the street and stores to buy snacks, bottled beer, water, pop,rum if you want your own. If you want to shop, do so just before they shut down and you will get the best price. Also good thing about being close to the action, you can head out whenever. There are two restaurants on sight, the main buffet and a a-la cart, however I never did see if the a la cart was open. The buffet was boring and repetitive but so was the other resort. Go to Mc Donald's before you leave and bring ketchup, dipping sauce and some soya sauce and peanut butter and it will make things a bit better. I would recommend eating out most of the time. There are a number of great restaurants that have cheap food. Also if someone approaches you to have a meal such as lobster down the street at their restaurant, take them up on it. Some of the best little places are in the front areas of little places down the side streets. At night the resort has a show that was better than the last place I was at. After you can always find someone to share a taxi to the Havana Club (disco) or the Beatles bar or Calle 62 (live music) for dancing. Make sure you check out at least one of these places. The lobby bar also gets lively at night and yes there was a lot of Russians like some reviews stated and yes they can be loud, but hey they are just having a fun time. I found them entertaining and friendly. So overall - if you are in Cuba to check out the town and beach, get off the tourist strip and are easy going, this is a great place to stay. I def. would go back.
“Don't take a lot of notice of the bad reviews.”
Before we travelled I read the comments on Tripadvisor, but as they are the feelings of other individuals they did not put me off booking. I am glad. The hotel reminds me of a 1970 hotel in Lloret de Mar, Spain. It has everything you need. It was clean, the beds were comfortable, there were a few English speaking channels if you wanted to watch television.. The staff in general were ok to us, they were not over friendly but were strangers who spoke only enough Spanish to meet our needs. The food was ok, there was always something you could choose. There was not enough salad for my liking, but there was enough lovely ice cream. The al a carte was not worth it, but the staff were great serving you. A warning for beer drinkers, you can only get beer at the pool bar from 10 am to 10pm. They do not serve beer at the lobby bar nor the beach bar. However Christal is 1cuc a can in the bar by the beach and 1.24 cuc in the 24 hours bar across the road from the hotel. Take a cooler bag and a big travel mug and you're set. The hotel was in a good position to walk for the beach, shopping, dancing and generally taking in the sites. The old cars are great and the owners very proud of their condition. The most it cost was 7 cuc in a Pink Cadillac to the Beatles bar Calle 29 to Calle 52. Go with an open mind, don't pay more than $700 and enjoy.
“thats that ”
of course this was the cheapest ever, i had a top floor corner room, there was a disco there but was never open, the staff were distant, not overly friendly, nothing even spectacular about the food except chickens dont lay eggs on tuesdays and saturday, i really dont mind if they take a day per week but two? the entertainment was quite good with water ballet, dancing girls, magic show , comedy. i tripped around aimlessly for a week,the hotel staff at the bar were really slow,not caring much about tips , one fellow gave her ten pesos and she still never stepped it up for him. they discourage you so that you will go out and see varadero, dont cost management money.i guess . this being my second time in varadero i got bored quickly. quite a few from russia partying hard. you get what you pay for. overall the best part was the bar across the street,cuban lady in a wheelchair ,great voice.i paid so little 458.00 ,the flight down had to be worth that,so for a basically free hotel it was worth that, the room was sparse but clean, could have used a lot better lighting in the alleyways,corridors, the weather was perfect,beach beautiful ,nightlife poor.
“If you don't mind old deco then it's your place ”
I visited this hotel in March 2012. I often travel and the important thing to me is a bed to sleep and food to eat. I went with a friend and she was a student so we couldn't afford more than 700$ so we ended up paying 560$ (taxes included) for the week. The hotel is well situated and you are a few blocks from bank or from main street and even the beach. On the main street you can take a bus that goes all the way to the end of the hotels and to the other end. The place was great cause it was in the center of everything and we got to meet really nice people our age. It is a very popular hotel for the Russians as they were lots but we had a really nice time with them. Even got to party in a cave nearby. You can go to the Disco beside the hotel but you have to pay for your drinks. The only thing I was disapointed about was the drinks. The did not have all the available drinks even lack of soda... But I bought some in front and used it for my mixes. The beach is very nice and we always had chairs to lay on. It is two blocks away from the hotel and you even have a bar for some drinks. Food was okay but I'm not very difficult. It's the same thing after 3 days but If your not happy there is a resto in front and they make really good fries. The hotel is small so you get to know everybody and get to make new friends. The beach is beautiful and everything is near. You can decide to come here on a very low budget but don't expect luxury. Enjoy your stay I would recommend it if you are not difficult.
“Okay for the price!! Food no good :( ”
I would like to begin by saying that my trip to Varadero, Cuba was a very enjoyable one, and our stay at ?Villa La Mar? a comfortable one, considering the price. The fact that we went to Cuba in the midst of a serious cold wave in Toronto (-25C and 30cm of snow) was in my opinion what made Cuba a paradise for all of us. I have just finished my Medical School training, and went to Cuba with my parents, for a family oriented vacation, and all of us had a very great time. And there are also enough attractions for younger people as well. At this point I would like to start out by saying that I lived on a Caribbean island for around 2 years for my medical school, and I found Cuba (Varadero especially) a VERY safe place to visit as a tourist. In my opinion, that is the most important factor when going outside N. America for a vacation, irrespective of costs, food, lodging etc. And I would like to commend the Cuban authorities for keeping proper law and order in spite of widespread poverty in the country. That of course does not mean that you are not careful about your own belongings (I would avoid taking along expensive phones, laptops, tablets etc). PROs: 1. Extremely friendly and happy STAFF. Whenever we had any problems, they were quick to help us out and effectively tried to accommodate all our needs. Me and my family always felt welcomed and did not feel as if we are on a ?budget vacation?. And this also goes for the ?Sunwing People? as the whole trip was very well organized, with the Toronto and Cuban airport staff well informed, all the shuttle buses having knowledgeable and informed tour guides to answer any queries. Sunwing people also sent tour guides to the hotel, just in case people had any other questions during the trip. 2. Rooms ? I am not a very stuck-up guy, and didn?t mind the rooms. My father likes to travel and live in luxury, but doesn?t like paying too much for it, was kind of disappointed by the rooms. I mean, the rooms were very clean, fresh bed sheets, clean basic bathrooms, very good A/C?s in all rooms, working TV with one American and one Canadian channels, absolutely NO mosquitoes in both the rooms we had, no insects, nice huge balcony for each room, maid service everyday. And for those complaining about a couple of ants and a cockroach, grow-up, get out of your little shells, and realize this is a tropical country.Take a bug spray for mosquitoes if you want. 3. Nightly Hotel entertainment ? although I believe there is a couple of good clubs nearby, my two 50+ parents weren?t too excited about the clubbing scene obviously. Usually there wasn?t much to do in the evenings besides dinner, and having good quality evening entertainment near the pool was very enjoyable. They had some very beautiful Cuban women come over for the magic show, latin show, salsa dance lessons etc 4. Fun activities ? the hotel had a dedicated desk and a person who spoke good English (& Russian, Italian, French) to give information and book different tours around Varadero. I would highly recommend the Jeep safari, Boat Adventure and the Havana Day tour. 5. Pool & Beach ? Very clean pool and we always spent time over here playing volleyball with other guests. Beach was just a block away, clean, NOT over-crowded and always found a nice spot to relax and unwind. 6. Good family environment: I was afraid that the hotel in general would have prostitutes (male and females) walking around, but this was NOT true. Except the Russians, everyone was very respectful, always greeted each other with smiles and there were kids around as well. Cons: 1. FOOD was horrible. This is one area where Cuba as a country needs to look at. When they are having international tourists, I feel this standard of food was not acceptable. I remember even beach bars having better food on the other Caribbean islands. ONLY the breakfast with the omelets, fried eggs and bread at the hotel was eatable. Juices were not fresh and tasted weird. Even the smell of the Lunch and dinner at this hotel was not appetizing and we never ate at the hotel. Coffee was horrible, and never in my life have I seen more watered down milk. I would recommend taking your own coffee, tea bags, condiments etc. Of the outside places, I would recommend the Italian Dante?s Restaurant and El Rancho. 2. Bars are not well equipped. No beer at the beach bar (ridiculous!!!), no beer in the hotel bar either. Beer was served only at the pool bar. Need to improve the quality of cocktails, even if that involves charging a small fee. 3. Russians/Eastern Europeans ? I found them to be generally very rude, weird, and lacking basic manners and courtesy. Of course not the hotel?s fault, but it adds to the environment, and they acted as if they had not seen another human being besides themselves. Overall, we found a way to avoid them, talking and getting to know more Canadians, and not spoil our wonderful vacation. Hope this review was helpful to those who cared to read it. Cheers!!!
“The Tropical Vacation for Those that Cannot Afford a Tropical Vacation! ”
Date of Visit: April 2011. Here was the scenario: Four 24ish year-olds wanting to book a vacation south for some sun and relaxation. Digging into our very shallow pockets, we each produced $800 taxes in per person to fly to sunny Cuba for a couple's vacation. We booked through Sears Travel in Fredericton NB (GREAT SERVICE, ps) and flew out of Halifax NS. When we arrived at the Cuba Airport, we were a little bit freaked out. I have to been to the Dominican a few times and let me just say there were no happy dancers / singers welcoming us. What we did find were women in uniform with no friendly faces to be seen. There was this huge area that all people had to go through, doors lining one wall that led you through security. I saw a mother who was forced to send her 4 year old through a door alone BEFORE she could go through. The ceiling was literally falling down, and if you looked up you would see where you needed to stand in order to not be hit by a ceiling light which was suspended by only one frayed cord. A little bit disconcerting, but once we all got through it was alright. We found each other, got our bags pretty easily and then exchanged our money. You need to bring Canadian with you and exchange it once you get there. Make sure you exchange it back before you go home, it's worthless here! The drive to the hotel was fun - I love being able to see the area around me when I travel. We bought some beer from a guy outside of the airport and drank a couple on the way to the resort. Cuba is gorgeous, and Villa La Mar is the first stop! :) Not a long bus ride, maybe 30 minutes. When they dropped us off at the lobby we came in to a friendly lady with GORGEOUS fingernail work! I commented that I loved them and she laughed a little at the bright yellow polish I was wearing. There were no other couples checking in, just us, and it was done in a breeze. It was earlier in the morning, but our rooms were ready right away and a bellboy took our luggage across the street to our building in the El Delfin area. We were on the top floor and directly beside each other. We had a large balcony outside of our doors that looked over the small town. The rooms were older, dark wood and cool tile floors. The bathrooms were all done with tile - no bath tub, just a stand up shower, sink and toilet. The mirror was definitely old, you could see around the edges where the reflection was no longer there, but it served it's purpose. Beds were clean and comfortable, TV worked and the plug ins were normal as well. The best part of the room was the air conditioner - SO COLD. We actually turned it off one night because we were shivering. It was so wonderful, my mother and sister were staying down the road at Playa Caleta and came to visit us and hang out one day in the cold room! The grounds are very small, pool is a little on the older side but was clean. Chairs were set up each day nicely. The water is actually a block down from the hotel itself, but if you are in El Delfin you literally walk out of the front of the building and two minutes later are on the sand. You walk by a little store where they sell beer and other things, convenience store. The bars left everything to be desired. No ice the entire time we were there. They had warm pop (no fridge, cola and orange) and beer. The beer was cool (not cold) but good! Some days they had a slushie machine going, but it was normally gone by the time 11am rolled around. Unfortunately, this was the downfall of our trip, but for what we paid I really can't complain. The food was alright - we didn't get sick, and we didn't starve. I wasn't brave enough to try the "Bird Soup (?)", but we munched on cucumbers, rice and beans, pork (pulled pork at one point - YUM), chicken, fried meat of some kind that was delicious, and tons of bread. The desserts were home made (ice cream, cake, cookies) and were really good. The breakfast egg bar was the best. The juice that they served, Papaya I think, was warm and not very good. The 24 hour snack bar was not included and only sometimes served food. We got Pizza and French fries there one day, but when we asked again it was like "We dont serve that here." Really strange. We bought beer from here after hours though, super cold cans for $1 which was worth it. They also sold Cafe Americano, and one morning I came downstairs early to get one for myself and my boyfriend to bring up to the room. The lady and man working there were the best! She made the coffee, and he came around the counter and started to sing, grabbed my arms and danced me around the restaurant while singing. The lady saw the look on my face and said "Don't worry, he goes the other way." and they both laughed. The people that work there were really friendly. We actually ended up eating out at restaurants in town a few times, and they were AMAZINGLY good and cheap! A beer, soup and pizza and fries came to about $3.00 pp. Sort of weird flavours (I had tuna pizza - Good!) but good nontheless. I included a picture from our favorite, we ate there three times. We did the Catamaran excursion (about $100pp) and it was amazing, my favorite part of the whole trip. I could do without seeing the Dolphins, but it was alright as well. Unfortunately, when we arrived home someone from here stole the underwater camera from our car. They left $10 worth of change but stole a disposable camera. Figures.) The man on the boat never let our little beer cups get empty, they played dance music the whole time. We really loved it. All in all, we were happy we went and don't regret going. If the drinks would have been better we may even have returned, but as it was we were young couples there a whole week and didn't even have one crazy night because we just couldn't stomach the warm cola and rum in 85 degree weather. Feel free to ask me any questions! :)
“Good Cheap Resort ”
This was exactly what the Dr ordered! An inexpensive trip to Cuba loaded up with lots of fun non-pretentious people. It gets pretty rowdy there (at least when our group was together) but the sister resort was really slow with lots of older people. Its a nice contrast for people that want to party and people that want it a little slow. The food is decent I always found something to eat but nothing I really enjoyed. If you need a fancy meal hit the plethora of restaurants located near by. If you are any kind of walker everything is walking distance from this place (bars, restaurants etc.). I am quite an extrovert and I did go out of my way to acquaintance myself with the staff. Everyone is human and if they like you... you will get treated very well. Booze is never watered down in places like this because pop/juice worth more than booze! My room was mediocre clean and I definitely felt it was sanitary. Water pressure sucked but it got the job done. Honestly I could complain about small things but they really didn't bother me because I had such a good time getting to know the staff and fellow guests. I take on the hotel as part of the culture I experience when visiting Cuba. Awesome Russians and Belorussian come here in strong numbers. I loved mingling with them and made some very close friends. Despite its evident flaws... I HIGHLY recommend this for people who are adventurous!
“villa la mar ”
I really didn't spend to much time at the resort so my opinion might not help you. I was in room 316 it was a nice walk up the stairs and from the front of the hotel. Only problem with the walk at night time was one of the stair cases was lit up at all which could be dangerous if you don't have good vision. My room was really clean and I had a nice view off of my balcony. My phone didn't work which was ok because my friends were in walking distance, about two streets over but it would still have been convenient. I only ate at the resort twice, not because the food wasn't good but because I ate with my friends for all my meals. When I did eat at the buffet the food was ok, definitely edible. It was just average plain food that did the trick. It was pretty tasty, I was expecting a lot worse with a 2 star. Not a lot of variety for people who do eat it every meal 3 times a day. I went and sat by the swimming pool one time during my stay for about an hour at the end of the day, the pool looked nice, I didn't go in the water. And I didn't go inside the pool bar so I'm not sure how that was either. It looked nice and clean from just walking by. The beach is such a close walk, nice to walk to get some activity. The beach was so nice, limited umbrellas around before lunch-early afternoon. I don't mind because I love laying in the sun the whole day. When one free'd up in the afternoon we would grab it most days. The man at the beach bar and all the staff are really nice. I don't drink beer but I heard the beach bar man telling a woman that they didn't serve beer and haven't served it for a year. But you can walk a minute behind the beach bar by the main stretch and there is a little shop. The wait staff in hotel were nice. The old lady at the front desk was extremely rude. The old man with the glasses at the front desk was really nice and helpful. The security guards were nice and helpful, except the short creepy one who seemed nice upon my arrival when he carried all my luggage to the third floor up all the stairs and into my room. Giving him some money, then he tried to kiss my lips..Not happening. Another night he came up ti me and asked if I liked his company..Me thinking he meant the hotel chain, I said yes. and he said ok lets go up to your room. WRONG meaning of company. I just laughed it off because I guess in his eyes it was worth a try. He was harmless. The maid was good. I gave her lots of clothes, make up, accessories, toiletries every morning and left her a big pile of my things at the end of my stay.
“My second visit was better than the first”
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!!
“Really nice spot for the price”
Just got back from the Villa La Mar on April 27th & had an awesome trip. I took my 57 yr old mother who had never been south before and forwarned her that we would not be spoiled at this resort if that was what she was looking for. SHE LOVED IT!!! My husband & I had stayed at the Mar Del Sur last year and had a great time so I thought I'd try the Villa La Mar this trip. The rooms are nice for a 2 star and we were fortunate enough to get one with a safe. Well, it's not that the safe's are the problem, they are in every room, it's the keys to open them. I guess there's a huge shortage on the keys as the staff told us that they have been constantly getting lost. We were in room 208, second floor facing the autopista sur. Not loud at all and the air conditioner was excellent. We were in room 309 at first but the air conditioner leaked all over the floor, the safe was completely busted up and it was very loud cause we were above the tree line. I thought the food was really good compared to the Mar Del Sur and Playa Caleta. Yeah there's always beans & rice but the home made soups were awesome. If your used to clean eating then you won't have a problem here. Everything is very fresh, nothing deep fried, and for the sweet tooth, the pineapple is unbelievable and the ice cream is to die for. Definetly not what you get around here. The buffet was never overlly hot but still good. Never had cow tongue under the heating lamp like at the Play Caleta. Lol. True story. I knew how good the food was on the Varadero strip, so I took my mom out lots. She LOVED Kiki's pizza. We split a loaded pizza (4 pieces each) with 3 beer for $11.95 cuc. We ate at El Caney's. We both ordered the 1/4 chicken dinners which came with black beans & rice, delicious home made taters, veggies & garlic toast, 3 beer, & a pack of cigarettes for $12.95cuc. At Casa De La Miel, we both ordered chicken cordon bleu which came with fries and black beans & rice, fresh tomato, 2 beer for $9.30cuc. Can't beat that!! The pool at the hotel was beautiful. Not huge but very well cleaned. Never any line ups for drinks at the bars, plenty of pool chairs and beach loungers to go around. Never any ice at the beach bar though which kindda sucked and nope...no beer...but, a few steps off the beach you can buy an ice cold can of Crystal for $1.50cuc. If your looking for an inexpensive vacation & not to be pampered, then this is definetly the spot for you. Not much for nightly entertainment after the shows but that was fine by us. We were usually exhausted form all the walking we did up & down the stip. With the $'s we saved, we were able to take a day trip into Havana $79cuc each and we took in the Matanza's Tropicana show. $39cuc each. Both were well worth the money. I would stay at the Villa La Mar again if I was with my mom. Nice and quiet (even if the Russians are drinking til 5am, we never heard them). If I was with my hubby, we would stay at the Mar Del Sur. A little more lively in the evenings. But, I don't think it really matters as both resorts have the same bracelets and we heard that you can jump from one to the other. For the price we paid, you couldn't go wrong. $525 each txs included direct from Fredericton airport. My momma fell in love with Cuba like I knew she would thanks to being at this resort in the center of everything.
“great for the price ”
I'd already seen this one is probably the most positively reviewed of the two-stars in town so it gave me a good feeling to jump at a nicely discounted price (and I think the single-supp was only $10). Staff were almost all wonderful but it sure helped to know some Spanish. I don't see how any rooms are 'ocean view' because you are about 200m back (that's it; getting to the beach is not a hardship!). Mine was bay view (facing S-E) and far enough back from the big road (autopista) that even with balcony door open and a/c off the noise was 'white.' Cubans are remarkably restrained in horn use compared to developing world in general and especially rest of Latin America! The "Ancon" building (also known as block 9?) does seem more modern than most and convenient to the lobby but away from pool deck entertainment noise. Location relative to banking, shops, offsite food etc was good. In only 4 days the buffet offerings didn't get too tired; highlights are omelet station at breakfast and usually at the same grill fish filets at lunch. Went to the a la carte place once and was alone in the room; not something they particularly want people to know about but food nothing to write home about either. Do visit the bank early (with passport, always) and get at least 10 pesos in 25 centavo coins because that seems a nice amount to tip. Overdo it and in my humble opinion you perpetuate a warped society where the most brilliant people aspire not to be doctors and teachers but bartenders at a tourist resort.
“What a Great Time!! ”
Wow, had the best vacation yet! Everything and more than I expected. Staff very helpful, friendly. Our maid was the best, our room was always clean, fresh towels everyday, she went above and beyond.I can not complain about anything. The pool was clean, the beach was two blocks up. Met some super Canadians there, I already miss them :(. In the past I have travelled with my 15 year old daughter to Cuba, but not to this resort(Don Lino- great for kids there). I probably would not take her there, as there were mostly adults and she would probably get bored. But for adults who are looking to relax and walk the city, enjoy the culture and people, this is the spot for me. If you are looking to get pampered, and complain about things, this is not the resort for you. The food was good for Cuba, no complaints there, bar service was great, cappacino was the best. There was one and only one bartender who asked for a tip, & one out of all the staff is not bad. No lineups at the bar or buffet. I liked this resort because it is close to everything, great 24 hour hamburger shop a few blocks down. Across the road you can get a pizza and two beer for $6.00, the pizza is not what we get in canada but still very good. Of all the Canadians we met there, no one had any complaints. The air conditioner worked well too. If you are paying for a 1 1/2 star do not expect a 4 or 5 star. The Cuban's we encountered were friendly, not pushy. Canadians are safer in Cuba than in our own country. Can not wait to go back!!
“Great location, clean, a short walk from the beach, glad we stayed here. ”
As someone who travels quite frequently staying only in backpackers I travel with the idea that a bed is a bed and your only there to sleep. I want to explore! If you like to spend lots of time in your room this place may not be for you. Rooms were cleaned everyday, the food was edible, not much variety, but from what I have heard from others who stayed at 4 and 5 star places its no different. There are some great restaurants in town that are super cheap (by Canadian standards) so we ate out most nights. This is one of the few resorts located in the town itself, all of the 4 and 5 stars are way out in the middle of nowhere probably a good 40min bus ride from town, because it stops at every resort along that strip. The beach is a block away, and it is probably the best beach I have ever seen! There's also a beach bar down there. One thing I would recommend is to take a travel mug of some kind so you don't have to keep going to the bar (the cups the give you are tiny!). There is entertainment every night, but I only saw 2 nights of it, Im just not into that kind of thing. If you want a vacation where you only spend time at the resort (something I will never understand) maybe think about another place.
“Nice Hotel-wonderful staff !!! ”
I went on vacation for the first time with my daughter alone. We were initially booked into another hotel further down the strip but I along with 7 others asked to be transferred and we were booked here for the duration. I have no complaints other than the incredibly insane partying Russians who begin drinking at 10 in the morning. Note to families: ask to be moved if your balcony overlooks the entrance to lobby as you will get no sleep as the Russians are extremely loud. The staff are so friendly, the food is not bad at all. I am a fussy eater and I found no problems with the food. The rooms are clean, and some of the mattresses are very uncomfortable. I would perhaps bring along a mattress pad or something next time. The pool is clean but cold, the beach is two blocks away but there is a bar at the beach. We enjoyed the entertainment and had fun. If you are on a budget, I recommend this hotel. The lobby is nice, the grounds are well kept and the presence of the wandering cats only adds to the charm of this hotel. Another note: you will encounter beggars who will ask you for shoes, sweaters and food from the hotel-bring them some. The staff are so nice and if you wish to bring presents, they will appreciate it greatly. The women like black fishnet style stockings, hair clips, hair flowers and candy. Be sure to tip everyone even a cuc a day. You are in good hands here.
“great for its price ”
I stayed at Villa La Mar over christmas 2012. Before travelling I was scouring these reviews and was very nervous and thought that I made a poor choice. Ha! How wrong I was! The pool was great, the bartenders friendly, the entertainers were positive. I mean they weren't constantly entertaining all day but they were around and were very friendly. I found the large russian contingent to be overall alright, once they thawed out! The lobby bar is not pay at night anymore so its ALL all inclusive. I drank a lot of beers, wandered around Veradero at all hours. Sure people try to sell you all kinds of things but they never threatened me when I said no, and some were very big and intimidating. The food does have a certain smell but i mostly ate rice, fish and langoose (says lobster on the menus) anyways. oh the blue cheese was perfect, best ive ever had. I jammed music with the locals at the snack bar across the street. I figure some people expect the world but I recommend this place if you just want some sun and some tasty drinks. Ive not had a real pina colada I guess, but it was cold and that was my reason to drink em. I do not understand the 3 blocks to the beach. I'd say more like 5 surburban houses to the beach. No big deal, unless you have conditions which limit you than you might consider some where else. I had a blast on this trip. oh there was a refinery smell that got trapped in the room but we left the balcony and room doors open, probably not a great idea but my attitude was along the lines of "take it if you want" Next time I won't take my cherished clothing so i could leave everything there. The locals and their families stay there so mind your tongues people. I saw many of my countrymen openly blasting the food and I felt embarassed. Clean enough and I had one ant on me the whole time. off season for bugs I guess. I wanted to see a cockroach since I haven't before and looked everywhere. Lots of cats, dogs and chickens everywhere. cool cars, the coco cabs are hilarious. the horse and buggy is ten cucs minimum so go far if you can. I made lifelong friends here by being polite and respecting my neighbor (most of the time). I'll be back to this hotel as this one is probably like the rest in veradero from what i can tell 2 or 4 ill bet the food is the same everywhere. its in town, not like some of the bigger ones on the outskirts. salud!
“Villa La Mar was amazing again!! ”
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!
“great place to stay ”
we just got back from a week stay, this is a great place. verry good location if u like to go out and see veradero the locals are always freindly, never pushy. we were a group of 8 ppl. a paso tip everytime u get a drink or eat a meal is so cheap for great service.never waited for a drink unless there was a lineup.staff is awsome. rooms were clean and cleaned daily. the beach is a nice short walk and super nice beach. we booked this because we wanted a cheap second holiday this year and are happy to say we got our money worth.there is a great resturant a block from the resort called Don Rey Marisco, the best lobster meat for only 15 pasos and great entertainment, this place wont let u down
“Excellent Hotel ”
We recently returned from a three week stay at Villa La Mar and let me tell you we had a fantastic time .The food was good actually exceptional Monday night seafood night Wednesday romantic gala (candles ,sparkling cider or Spanish wines staff very formal) Friday authentic Cuban night (roast chicken ,pork and fish Cuban style) as well as all the other meals which were a lovely variety of veggies ,multiple types of breads,an assortment of meats and a plethora of desserts. The room was clean, and cleaned every day. Air-conditioning and satellite t.v. worked fine! Nightly entertainment was very good - in fact, their house band - La Crema (9 piece band) was fantastic, along with a professional dance troop!! The staff were extremely warm and attentive to all our needs. This was all a wonderful surprise after reading some of the negative reviews! Now, knowing better, I can easily dismiss them! The complaint of "red chicken" is because it is smoked chicken and fully cooked!! The smell of the refinery across the bay, which we did get a slight whiff of, one day, is equal for all of the 50+ hotels in Varadero. If your complaint is the lack or quality of pop compared with the wines and real fruit juices these people serve, you really need to seek professional help!!! I recommend this place highly, and if you would like to know more about them, they have a facebook page - Hotel Villa La Mar. For all the absurd negative reviews, please remember that when you put your nose in the air, you block the sunlight!!!
Me and my boyfriend booked this hotel for our first vacation together. At first i was a little nervous booking this hotel because of the bad reviews but honestly it isnt as bad as people make it out to be. We had a room outside the resort across the street and our rooms were cleaned every day, the air conditioning worked and we saw about 2 bugs the entire week, we also always had hot water. The only bad thing about our room was that the toilet would not flush down the toilet paper. The staff was all super friendly and the entertainers were great, after the show one of the entertainers brought us to a club in varadero where it was $10 cover and unlimited drinks all night long. The beach was less than a 5 minute walk and it was BEAUTIFUL. There was a bar at the beach for this resort too, no beer at the beach bar tho, only the pool bar served beer. The hotel advertised a 24 hour snack bar, but this is across the street and you need to pay for it, also they stop serving food after 10. So if you get really hungry at night the only option is to walk about 5 minutes to a hamburger place open 24/7. The food at the hotel wasnt great but honestly better than i had expected anyways, they had a delicious soup one night. There were many restaurants around though, me and my boyfriend went to an italian place we both ordered a drink, an appetizer and an entree plus tip for 20 pesos. I recommend renting the scooters while in varadero 25 pesos we paid for 8 hours plus 4 pesos to fill up the gas tank. You can drive all around varadero as it is so beautiful. We paid a little bit more for this hotel since it was reading week, but if you can get it for $600 it would honestly be a great deal. Dont expect luxury but expect a fun relaxing week.
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