11 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
"Stayed at this hotel February 27 to March 14 and sadly I wasn't that impressed. We arrived to find a very small cramped room badly in need of repairs and overlooking the entrance, so it was very noisy with bus traffic. There weren't enough hangers or space for two people and kept having electrical issues .. The main floor lounge was too overly lit, so even in the evening, it had not a very warm atmosphere. Poor guys ego had to play the violin and acoustic guitar every night and play the same music.... Yes, theme from Godfather... Titanic.....yawn. Definitely not a great place for entertainment as the shows were very cheesy. Buffet was like a overly bright cafeteria, which had no ambiance as a result, but fir buffet food it was ok. The Japanese restaurant was horrible though. Did love the seafood restaurant though... Very classy! Mountain side area was nicely laid out, but the pools were small. Beach was amazing though and so was the service! nice hotel worker found me an aloe Vera plant for my burnt face which was greatly appreciated! Staff were amazing! Bus missed our hotel one day when we were supposed to go on an excursion and the booking lady was a bit rude as I wanted my money back and was going to penalize us because the ticket was wrinkled!? Careful what you eat and drink here as several of us had tummy issues. Would I go. Back to Cuba?.. Yes! Would I stay again at the Melia Varaderi? ...no"
- Travel date: Mon 13th of April 2015
"We spent the week Jan. 13 - 20 at Melia Varadero. Had the best time. The view from our room was oceanview but being on 3rd Floor looked into the trees and would probably request 4th or 5th floor next time. Rooms were always clean. If I had to complain about one thing it would be the food at the buffet was always cold unless you want to stand in the line at the cooking stations for omelettes, fish, spagetti or whatever the choice of the day was. The buffet has everything you would want to eat so if you starve it's your own fault. The burgers at the beach grill were great. The resort staff were great. They couldn't do enough for you. The pina colada's at lobby bar were the best of all the bars we tried. Weather was great. One morning had a bit of rain but only lasted a few hours. Had a great time and would definitely go back again."
- Travel date: Wed 28th of January 2004
"Stay: Week of December 21, 2003 Check in: VERY slow. The staff did not have on record that we were there for our honeymoon as noted on our travel itinerary. If this happens to you (or if you have any problems) see the public relations desk. They are very helpful and provided us with the honeymoon package alongside with their apologies. Check out: Fast and efficient. We had a late night departure and the hotel stored our luggage in a locked room until it was time to leave. There is also a hospitality room for you to freshen up between the time you check out and depart from the hotel. Room: Our ocean view room was very nice. It had wall-to-wall marble tiles throughout. We only had two small drawers to store our clothes definitely not enough for two people. Although there are hangers available, we ended up living out of our luggage. The bathroom includes a bathtub, vanity, toilet and bidet. The only quip that I have is that there is a lack of space between the bathtub and toilet. I m only 5 2 and when I used the toilet, my knees were a few inches from the tub. The maids did a great job maintaining the cleanliness each day. We left small gifts for our maid each day (e.g. pencils, hair accessories, erasers, soap, lotions etc). Food: The best restaurant is the Havana buffet. The breakfasts are delicious. Items served for lunch and dinner are similar. The food is often overcooked and a bit bland but you re bound to find something that you will enjoy. Desserts are good. The fresh fruits are give and take, good one day, inedible the next. The ice cream is a must try. Don t bother going to the Italian restaurant, it s definitely not like what you would get in Little Italy. The International restaurant was good. We had smoked salmon and lobster (overcooked). Must try the cappuccino at the 24 hour bar. Tipping: I ve read the reviews about tipping i.e. if you tip, you will get great service. From our experience it s not necessarily so. We were courteous and polite but even though we tipped our waiters, some didn t even bother to come back to see if we wanted another drink! Some even play that game, where they avoid your eye contact. However, we did notice that the guests who did speak Spanish, had the waiters tend to them non-stop with a smile and conversation. My husband and I are seasoned travelers to the Caribbean and Europe. We enjoyed staying at this property during our honeymoon. The hotel is not newly built but is maintiained in good order. During our stay, there were many families and couples at this resort. Not too many twenty somethings. The activities staff was energetic, friendly and simply fantastic. They always encourage anyone with a heartbeat to join in on their activities. Initially, we were considering the Melia Americas but got a great deal with Air Transat at the Melia Varadero. The Americas is next to our hotel and we took the free shuttle to check it out. It is very nice and pristine, the staff was exceptionally helpful but the property lacked the pizzazz and livelihood of the Melia Varadero"
- Travel date: Sun 4th of January 2004
"Hotel was awesome.Check in was slow,but staff were friendly. Rooms are your usual hotel lay out. Bathroom had marble tiles and vanity,ample toiletries and hairdryer. Lush gardens,well-laid out pool.Restaurants:buffet with many choices, food bland but they have lots of condiments to spice it up.3 Ala carte options, Trinidad with lobster went there twice, slipped the concierge a tip to do so.Italian boring. International nothing special.Chinese also ala carte but only open 3 times that week and apparently so-so. Beach grill was great, fish and chicken on the bbq.loved it . Also have spot in garden where fresh seafood paella made daily for lunch, go early as it is worth it.Finally there is a 24 hr. coffee shop with light meals, great pizzas ,cappucinos. As this is open all the time perfect for light breakfast before tours and before airport departure.Atruim in centre of hotel gorgeous, and numerous barsat least 5.hotel is next to mall so perfect location. for a rainy day to shop. Tour to Havana was wonderful, took it thro Sunwing as lunch included and wanted to get all the details about history from guide, would not be possible if went with waiters freind. There is a cheaper tour 35 pp in the mall with English guide but not daily.This destination is not a beach spot in Dec, I think March break would be warmer as locals say it warms up after Feb. Weather was cool for first 2 days then cool and third day. Fourth day was a hot 28c but thereafter, hit and miss average temps between 20- 25c, we barely got a tan. I loved cuba and Melia Varadero and have no hesitation in recommending it. We would stya at this hotel again."
- Travel date: Mon 29th of December 2003
Had the time of our lives!!!!
"My sister & I went to Melia Varadero to celebrate our mom's 50th birthday and had the time of our lives!!! The food was pretty good...when in doubt, have their pizza. We had a ball every night at The Satiago and then at the Karaoke bar. Tip the bartender a dollar and he'll never forget your drink! We never waited in line, never waited for a drink...we were treated like queens. The (male)staff were always willing to help us find what we were looking for. Even if you don't speak spanish, you can get by. Can't wait to go back!!!!!!!!!!!!"
- Travel date: Thu 18th of December 2003
"My husband and I just arrived back from our one week stay at Melia Varadero. The resort is very clean and well kept. There is a beautiful garden atrium in the centre of the resort building. The staff are very friendly and attentive. They enjoy talking to their guests and getting their guests involved in the many activities that they offer from dancing, playing volleyball and coming out for karoke. There is also a beautiful, white sandy beach right by the resort. The beach is clean and secure. The food was not bad for resort food. It can't beat home cooking but we always found something that we enjoyed to eat. I have heard that their food is much better than at the other nearby resorts.
The cafe con leches and espressos are fabulous. The nightly shows are colourful and have some very talented entertainers. We also booked a tour of Havanna through the resort. Our guide was very knowledgeable and entertaining. We got a chance to see the real Cuba, which was great! We had a relaxing and enjoyable time at Melia Varadero and will one day return."
- Travel date: Mon 15th of December 2003
"First trip to Cuba. I have travelled to west and east Europe also South America and I have never been treated better. If there was something you didn't like they did their best to make it better. If you can bare it take the early flight so you can enjoy at least half a day at the beach once you arrive. The trip from the airport was quick and easy.
They drive better there than here. FYI, if you rent a car while your there watch out for the speed traps there're everywhere. The check in was very smooth. The atrium (centre of the resort) is massive with tropical plants growing from floor to floor until they reach the bottom. Three glass elevators take quests to their rooms as they view the atrium on the way up. We paid for an ocean view but it was only partial so we mentioned it and they gave us 5 more rooms to look at.
There was even a suite in the 5, we ended up choosing one of the 5. I was very surprised at the buffet, I mean how extensive it was. There were 4 ala carte restaurants which you can only visit once. The best was the Trinidad because my girlfriend is nuts about lobster. We made arrangments with our server so we could go more than once. When we arrived the second time I just shot him 5 US and he brought out 2 lobsters right away. A little bit of green goes along way. Our tipping strategy was usually 1 US after each meal and what ever bar we frequented that day the same. It worked magic. We have so much here so why not. The Italian was better than the Chinese and that's not saying much. If I made my lasagne they probably would have given me an extra week for free. They need some better recipes for sure and certain ingredients are scarce. The international was also not bad but small portions. All the restaurants had live music playing for the evening meals. They must have a free recording studio because they all had a CD to sell. There was always the buffet it had everything and lot's of it.
It you got sick from any of the food it was probably you either drank too much rum or you ate something you usually don't. The grounds were very well kept and very extensive. The pools were also very clean and refreshing at they were a few degrees cooler than the ocean. Lots of beach chairs around the pool and on the beach and if there wasn't one they would get one for you. The shows at night were excellent and very professional. All were outside with an open bar, of course. Activities during the day included dancing lessons, yoga, ti-chi, pinp pong, darts, basketball, volleyball, soccer.... The beach was maybe 1km long because of rock out crops on both ends. This didn't bother us one bit as there was plenty of nice sand and calm water. Take a trip to Havana it's worth it our guide was excellent. I would definitely recommend the Melia Varadero. Can't wait to go back."
- Travel date: Mon 8th of December 2003
40th birthday getaway
"We went in the last week of October, 2003. The first thing that struck us was the amazing atrium of the hotel. It is truly spectacular. The hotel is a large star shaped building, and the center court is open to the sky. The 5 floors of balconies are draped with long tropical vines. As you are constantly coming and going from your room, it really is a beautiful feature to remind you of where you are the tropics! We had an ocean view room that was worth the extra few dollars. There was a great warm breeze at night that Canadians will really love because its warm!My partner was celebrating her 40th and it was the perfect place to do it. At the time, most of the guests were from Europe and South America and were about the same age as us or older. It was not a singles place and because of the time of year, there were no kids either. The night life was pretty subdued, but that was fine for us as we wanted a low key, relaxing time. We enjoyed walking along the beach at night after dinner and always felt safe and were not harassed by anyone as there were security guards pretty well everywhere.The food was great. We dont eat beef or pork yet there was still a large variety of food to choose from. The fish dishes were varied and the buffet had lots of different vegetables and fruits. There are 4 a la carte restaurants, but we skipped the Italian and Chinese. The 2 that we went to had a really great food. The Trinidad is right by the ocean and made for a very, very romantic 40th birthday dinner. Dont be afraid to ask for seconds!The beach was never crowded, which pleasantly surprised us - its a magical crystal clear ocean on sparkling white sand that you could walk out 10-15m and still not be under water. We booked a few extra day trips, but two didnt pan out. On one, they forgot to pick us up and on the other they canceled because it was too windy and didnt tell us for 90mins. It was a bit annoying, but they refunded our money without issue. This isnt a hotel issue per se, yet the hotel was helpful in sorting it all out. In sum, we would go back in a second! We took the bus up and down the peninsula, and we thought this resort by far was the most interesting architecturally. You really feel you are in a magical tropical paradise!"
- Travel date: Wed 26th of November 2003
October 2003 visit
"Returned recently after 2 week vacation. Been to Varadero 5 times.
Rooms are extremely small so upgraded to large suite overlooking ocean.
Upgrade was 650.00 US for 13 nights. Rocks on beach in front of hotel were a drag as you had to walk a few hundred yards to be to safely access ocean. Resort was full - only met 5 English speaking people. Not a singles place. Food typical of any resort I've been to in Cuba. If you want decent lobster go to the DuPont for dinner. While resort offered it in two restaurants, you will laugh at the size. Don't hesitate to ask for more and they will be happy to oblige.
Entertainment was good quality by piano bar (if you like saxaphone and piano). This was the first resort in Varadero I've been to where I could actually drink the red wine. While the resort offers premium brand drinks, don't be fooled - obvious they refill bottles with inferior product. All in all it was ok. Would I go again? Only if I stayed in a suite but then I'm pretty picky. Any English people I talked to found the place pretty boring. All depends what you are looking for in a vacation. If you're single and want to party and meet lots of people, go to Breezes. If you're into the romantic thing then go to the TRYP."
- Travel date: Mon 27th of October 2003
I passed there my best holidays!!!!
"I was there in 9 August until 14. It was beautiful...The people, the hotel, beaches...all were perfect...I wish i will be there again in a few months. Don t forget to learn salsa dancing with the hotel' s theacher..."
- Travel date: Tue 19th of August 2003
Great first experience!
"Stayed at the Melia Varadero in March, 2003.
General Impression: I had a great trip and would love to go back.
Problem is, I like to go to different places, and the Melia may have spoiled me for other Cuban hotels. I tend to be somewhat fussy , but I know the difference between five stars in the Caribbean and five stars in North America, and I really can't come up with one serious complaint about this resort. The only negatives were little things that in the grand scheme of things were insignificant.
Food: First of all, I generally hate buffets, but ... breakfast was great. Different kinds of good bread (toaster didn't work very well - took forever), cheese, omelets and boiled and fried eggs (had to plan carefully if you wanted the latter hot), yogurt, cereal, fruit (less fresh fruit than I expected, but lots of variety), and awesome coffee.
Other stuff too, but I concentrated on what I consider to be breakfasty stuff.
Lunch and dinner were fine - lots of pretty regular stuff like creamed mashed potatoes, green beans, squash, etc.; pasta; shrimp; tons of other stuff I didn't even try, but always something I could eat. A couple of days for lunch I just made big sandwiches. I think it was in the evening that a couple of choices were cooked on the grill as we waited (porkchops, beef, fish, etc). Ice cream was wonderful, and they served a quite nice Spanish wine. Lots of it!!
The International Restaurant was very good -- much better, I thought, than the other a la carte restaurants, but a certain amount of this comes down to taste. The Cuban restaurant by the beach was quite good, but you couldn't get anything light for lunch. By the way, the Conquest brochure seems to imply that you can have as many a la carte meals as you like, but not so. One at each restaurant, and we found them very hard to book even though we tried very early. Next time I wouldn't worry about it, because the food generally was not significantly better than the buffets.
With a couple of exceptions service in all restaurants was very friendly and efficient.
Beach: The Melia is not on one of the really long stretches of beach, but is on a rocky outcrop with a kilometer or so (maybe less, maybe more) of beautiful beach on each side. The water was wonderfully warm and clean, but some areas were better for swimming than others (quicker drop offs in some places). Lots of thatched thingmees for shade. You can walk along the beach to the Dupont Mansion, the Golf Club, and the Las Americas Mall. Very pleasant young men handled the watersports. and the sailing was terrific.
Pool: Lovely, but very shallow. Not for the advenurous, maybe. Nice pool bar, lots of towels. Several different areas, so you didn't need to be in the middle of the pool volleyball or whatever.
Room: The hotel is in the shape of a star with seven points, and we had a large suite right at the end of one which pointed out over the golf course. I absolutely loved the room. We had a huge, huge, huge wraparound balcony which looked over the pool on one side and the Beach and golf course on the other. We had two beds, a love seat, armchair, and small table - plus two lounges, two chairs and a small table on the balcony. Minifridge and safe. Satellite TV, but mostly Spanish channels. Room was well maintained, even if the corners were not exactly spotless, but the balcony doors ( we had two) were a bit of a problem. One didn't lock, and the other was hard to open and close.
Maintenance did replace the locks on both - and very quickly, I might add - but they never really worked properly. We left them open most of the time anyway, and used broom handles ($1.99 each at the Mall) in the tracks for security. A tried and true solution if you like open doors and salt air breezes! Hallway needed some work. Rooms at the inside end of the point were much less roomy, and some balconies looked out on a roof. I would pay extra to ensure a really good location. Incidentally, the centre of the star is open at the top, and this area is truly impressive. A nice lobby runs to this centre area with fish ponds, little walks, tropical plants, huge rock carvings, etc. Glass walled elevators face out to this centre, and I never got tired of the view.
Service: No problem, except for a bit of a wait one day when our phone didn't work. When I spoke (nicely) to a lady who appeared to be in charge of customer relations , we got immediate attention. Tipping definitely improved service in the bars.
Tours: Took only the day tour to Havana, and it was fantastic. Our tour guide was very knowledgeable, articulate, and spoke excellent English."
- Travel date: Tue 12th of August 2003