17 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
This holiday was the worst we have ever...
"This holiday was the worst we have ever had , the hotel was below par as a rui hotel we expected it to be lovely and it was not, we were so disappointed, the rooms were something you would expect in spain or greece on a 18-30 holiday basic but livable., not a rui hotel 3*plus rating.
The room was dreadful falling to peices, funiture was old and very worn bathroom fitting were rusting, the pool had a algie problem, you would not see it unless you looked down from the bridge, the other problem with the pool was, they put too much chlorine in the pool which affected your eyes.
There was only one resturant and the food was awful and most of the time not eatable however there was no other place to eat in the hotel, dont let me get onto the snack bar that was even worst , we had to eat out quite often otherwise we would have starved we found a nice place to eat in the park at Varadero in a cave we had lobster its a must
The Hotel is set quite along way out of varadero so it can add up the cost of transport over two weeks,
If you want a good holiday dont choice this hotel, however the people were lovely could not do enough for you cosidering they dont have much, the beach is beautiful and Havana is a must. Good luck with your choice"
- Travel date: Sat 9th of February 2008
My husband and I stayed here for two wee...
"My husband and I stayed here for two weeks. It was our first visit to Cuba and I wanted it to be my last if all hotels were like this one. On our arrival the hotel next door had people coming into ours to see if there were any rooms as theirs was so bad. At this point we did not know what to expect however we are both well travelled and have stayed in Riu hotels before so thought we had an idea of what to expect. Unfortunately it did not meet up to our expectations or even hopes in any way by the end of the holiday.
Varadero is supposed to be the hub of everything for Cuba holidays I wouldnât agree and would not bother going back in a hurry. Havana is incredible, the landscapes are breath taking and people friendly but do pester even after you have tipped. We did the swimming with dolphins and other excursions all of which were expensive but really enjoyable and interesting.
As for our hotel it was quite simply a great big let down.
The restraunt and bar staff were helpful and very friendly and attentive but tipping was expected and relentless. Main hotel staff were just not interested in anything you needed help with but still expected to be tipped. The whole holiday tipping thing is taken to new heights in Cuba.
Food was boring and tasteless and very repetitive, first room we were put into was not clean and it was all too much bother for it to be put right or for us to be moved to another room.
Entertainment staff are friendly but repetitive and entertainment was very basic there was not really that much to do but sit by the pool with its broken tiles.
I slipped and fell in the restaurant and the hotel manager or the rep didnât care. So all in all I think it is fair to say I wouldnât recommend the hotel. The country would be another matter.
- Travel date: Wed 14th of November 2007
Lovely resort, warm calm sea, long sandy...
"Lovely resort, warm calm sea, long sandy beach 50 yards from the pool area. The weather was very hot so would need high sunscreen factor for all(including dark skin regular sunbathers).
Found the air conditioning a necessity in rooms. Roomâs basic but clean, maids formed shapes from the towels which was a nice touch.
The entertainment was basic, some good shows, fantastic circus act and local band interesting, dancing quite amateur really and did not really like the quiz shows, would have preferred some music.
Took a seven year old girl who really loved the kids club, fashion show, talent show, card games and a trip to see the dolphins(5 minutes away).
We all loved the pool which is graduated so safe for the kids. The pool area could have been scrubbed around the walkway outside. Towel service for pool great (saved lugging them in your case).
Restaurant was o.k. found something to eat(too much veal/fish) would have loved something like curry/chilli con carne/nice dining room with musicians play to your table evenings. Breakfast was great eggs cooked to your liking, fresh omelettes.
Another restaurant on site would be bette, maybe Chinese/Italian just for a change.
Enjoyed the Canimar River trip the most, Seafari good but busy, Havana was tiring but glad I went, not a great day for kids though, very hot. Did enjoy my holiday as my child was very happy/entertained by Esperanza(kids club), we enjoyed playing Volley Ball, and did Water aerobics most days.
Holiday for families really, not many disco's nearby and fine for us. We met some very nice families there. Told not the best hotel in the RIU group so some improvements needed/that would not really be that difficult. Great location, generally very good staff.
Would go back to this resort again, only real criticism that no diet mixers, found drinks a bit sweet. "
- Travel date: Wed 22nd of August 2007
From check in to check out we were pampe...
"From check in to check out we were pampered. A golf trolley took us and our luggage to our room. The man was filling the mini bar when we got there and for a few peso he left extra beers, rum etc every other day.
The room was very clean and kept like that by the maid who was very friendly.
The restaurant was very good. You are allocated a table for your evening meal which you must keep for your stay. For your evening meals a dress code applies, no shorts/flip-flops etc allowed.
There is a good selection of food and they have different theme nights throughout the week (the Chinese was very good). The staff take note of your drinks and the next time that you go in itâs usually on the table or on its way as you sit down.
At breakfast and lunch you can sit anywhere. Again, the food and choice is ample with lots of fresh fruit that you can take away with you.
The beach is fantastic and the sea really warm with security to stop you getting any hassle but beware as there are a few locals in the water that will swim up to you and try and sell you trinkets and trip tickets!
The entertainment crew are very good and they put on a show most evenings. Plenty of different costumes etc and different themes. They also keep the kids occupied around the pool in the day.
Main-closed in the day but open in the evening.
Snack bar-beer, cocktails, burgers, chips, cakes etc.
Beach bar- no food (snack bar is only 5 mins walk away) lots of beers, juice and spirits.
Reception bar-cocktails, beer etc (somewhere to flop when you get back after a trip out).
Ask a gardener for a coconut and he will pick one off a palm, lop off the top and add a bit of rum for you!
There is a bus that runs along the highway. It only costs 5 peso for a day pass. You can go into Varadero town and various other places along the way. There is a market selling the usual stuff, crafts, leather goods etc, bars and restaurants.
We never went in at night but we were told that it gets quite busy with salsa bands on the corners and a lively atmosphere.
We went into Havana on an overnight stay organised by Thomson, a must! You have got to see it. The sights, the people, bars etc are fantastic.
The Tropicana club was very good. If you take your own camera with you, you have to pay a small fee, but itâs worth it. The show lasts about 2 hours. The overnight hotel is very posh. Breakfast on the terrace next to a waterfall and pool with two violinists playing nonstop. Very nice!
All in all, it was a fantastic holiday. The Cuban people havenât got much in possessions but they have got a lot of pride. They make sure that you enjoy your stay and look after you. They will do anything for you. You only have to ask. We cannot wait to get back there."
- Travel date: Sun 31st of December 2006
We have just got back from a week in the...
"We have just got back from a week in the Riu Turquesa Hotel, on first impressions the first day looked good and promising. However the entertainment was very poor and samey every night, which was disappointing and fell flat on its face, as the entertainment didnât seem to last long and finished by 11.00p.m every night, great for those who donât stay up late. Food was yet to be desired, with the odd few differences of fish, great if you are a fish lover or they particular have Veal every night and day. Again samey on all the food every morning, noon and night, not much variation.
Bedrooms were quite big, bathroom also a nice size with reasonable amenities and space, although watch out for when they do tidying the grounds, they start at 7.00am, not great if you want a lie in.
On the up side the Beach was lovely and plenty of sunbeds to go around, also again around the pool. Beach events were all included, so you could go off in a pedlo or kayak or even the Catamaran to break the day up. Not many fish to see though. People were always friendly and helpful and there was never a problem with the language, most spoke quite good English or even knew 6 languages, which I though was impressive.
Excursions were fantastic and there was plenty to choose from, at least try and do two of them as this would probably be the highlight of your holiday.
- Travel date: Thu 21st of September 2006
We have just come back from a week at th...
"We have just come back from a week at the Riu Turquesa and it was amazing! Having read a lot of the reviews about this hotel I was unsure what to expect but the hotel exceeded my expectations.
The room was huge and clean with 2 beds, adequate storage, satellite TV and a mini bar. There was a also a large terrace with 2 chairs and a table. The grounds were lovely, lots of palm trees! The pool was large and ideal for laying around. The beach was amazing as well! The staff at the hotel are very friendly and go out of their way to help you.
The food was good although if you are expecting a 5* restaurant you will be disappointed. I think a lot of people forget that Cuba is a very poor, communist country! Varadero town is a taxi or bus ride away but its a good way of exploring the area without going too far.
Finally I would recommend this as a great hotel for a relaxing week away in a beautiful country!"
- Travel date: Wed 12th of April 2006
A very uninspiring resort - yes the Vara...
"A very uninspiring resort - yes the Varadero beach is exceptional, but other than that the Varadero experience is an under whelming line of average hotels - get out and see Cuba.
The Riu Turquesa has small rooms that have that familiar damp smell, sprouts from the previous day is not my idea of breakfast. The hotel pool snack bar lacks basic hygiene standards, and the evening entertainment revolves around Bingo and talent nights. You will also be sharing the hotel with the European 'get your towel on the sunbed the previous night' brigade.
So in summary beach = V Good, hotel = V poor (there are a lot of poor hotels in this part of Cuba)
Stay in Havana (or anywhere else) its much better!
- Travel date: Sun 6th of November 2005
"excellent weather, excellent staff, excellent beach..good nite life, good food, good accomdation....overall outstanding holiday, coming back next year...ps: people who write low reviews on the riu are very stuck up i think - theres nothing extremly wrong with this beautiful hotel - just what do people except from an under developed, 3rd world country?
The beauty is in the eyes of the beholder."
- Travel date: Sun 21st of March 2004
Excellent hotel and staff
"We booked our original stay at a different hotel (Sol Sirenas/Coral) but after reading trip advisor reviews decided to changed to the RIU Turquesa; and thank goodness we did. (For info the Sol does not seem to be improving form the reports we heard.) The Riu T is a small hotel by the resort standard but what it lacks in size it makes up for in friendliness and service. The staff are cheerful and ALWAYS willing to help. The rooms are large and clean with bright decor. Typical beach rooms (ie. no carpets) but better for that. The maid service was great with so many towell sculptures it was amusing! (Not too sure what some of them were meant to be though.) The tour operator brochure that we chose our trip from (Thomson[TUI]) did not do the hotel justice. The pictures were taken some time ago and the grounds are now much more established. DO NOT be put off by the brochure pics, the hotel is as attractive as any other in the resort. Food: There is only 1 restaurant and the food is good and fresh, (no tummy problems at all!). After 14 days any restaurant can get abit samey though. The choice is good but the themed buffet nights are a bit pointless (Cuban food which was little different to the normal fare.) Deserts and the cheese were great. The beach is good but sunbeds are at a premium so get there early. The bars are good but the lobby bar seems to have the best drink selection (but beware it can be like a wind tunnel there some evenings). One final point. Most of the staff are highly educated professionals who work in the hotels to fund studies and families...our waiting staff were accountants. They do not all get paid and often work just for tips. Those that do get paid get their salary in the worthless peso. You'd never guess this as they don't favour the tippers much over the non tippers, but just think a dollar tip costs you very little and can make a diffrence. Reward good service when you get it! (Lecture over). Hope anyone reading this and booking at the Riu Turquesa has a great time! We did."
- Travel date: Sun 7th of March 2004
Riu Turquesa the Beautiful Spot
"My sister and I spent one week in Riu Turquesa a few years ago and will be returning for one or two weeks vacation this Spring. I highly recommend Riu Turquesa to all. The highlight of our vacation was swimming with the dolphins and I have two beautifully framed pictures of my swim with these lovely, gentle creatures. The beaches are absolutely beautiful, the staff is very friendly and considerate, the food - excellent as was the weather. Every inch of the resort is spotlessly clean. For a perfect vacation, this is the place!! No need to look any further."
- Travel date: Tue 2nd of March 2004
If 'Life's a Beach', this is it - Not the Keg ...
"We just returned January 29 - February 5, 2004. We chose the RIU after staying at their Bamboo in Punta Canta, it is a great spot. There is definitely a "star" difference here though. Plus(s): 1 - The beach is tops, soft clean sand, shallow (50 yards and still waist deep), surf (not over powering), uncrowded (give it a year while the other hotels are being completed) 2 - The friendly staff. we needed the doctor for a child and received prompt and professional assistance. 3 - the quiet evenings (there is an evening entertainment program, such as it is) The downside: 1 - if you are not familiar with European cuisine (they cater to German/French) you will not find the buffet appealing, "Where's the beef!" 2 - the medium sized black birds that are agressive around the outside seating area 3 - limited on site activities (they have a ping pong table, volley ball net) 4 - the evening entertainment has children (ours) dancing, a bingo in four languages, and the staff providing their resources and talent for "THE SHOW".TAKE: sleeves of Pringles, cans of Planters, Fabrez, a bar of soap, AC converter (220 vs 110), Benadryl, handcleaner, Imodium, your own snorkel and mask, a windbreaker, books, and lots of $1USD notes (tips) DO: take a catamaran for a day trip (remember the snorkel and mask) - take a trip into Habana (marvelous insight, bring your camera, it's a 10-12hr day)It's not for young singles looking for evening entertainment, those needing to be entertained, or those expecting the same standard of living we have. We enjoyed our stay, I survived with my weak stomach, take plenty of sun screen and forget about the additional 20 inches of snow you will find when you get home!"
- Travel date: Sat 7th of February 2004
Loved Riu Turquesa
"I am one of three females who were celebrating our 70th birthdays at Tiu Turquesa from January 15th to January 22nd, 2004. We had a terrific time. The accommodation was great, the beach very, very beautiful and the staff were absolutely terrific and went out of their way to be accommodating. There was never a lack of something to do. There were people of all ages at Riu from small children to seniors like ourselves and everyone was very sociable. The only drawback was a lack of a couple of al a carte restaurants. The buffets were more than substantial but it would have been nice to have had another choice. Inclidentally, the reception area bar served one of the best Mai Tai's I have ever tasted. In all a good time was had by all and I would highly recommend the Riu Turquesa."
- Travel date: Wed 4th of February 2004