Was at the ILA from April 17 to April 24th and we had a fabulous time !! First, I did some research on trip advisor, to see what people comments were about this resort before we left. Realizing this is a busy time for the resort and that they'd be very full, I contacted the resort via email and requested a room in building 18, 4th floor, king size bed. Guess what? that's what we got ! Also requested they book my a la cartes in advance . Guess what? Got 4 a la cartes, on the days and times I asked for !! So a little homework and some emails will get you what you want... then you arrive, check in, and relax :)
Our room was fabulous... ocean/pool view. Yes, 3 english channels on the TV, but not sure who goes to Cuba to watch TV?? Maid service was great... clean towels (swans) everyday. Just be aware that they do not change your sheets everyday, but I don't do that at home either. I read some reviews about bugs in bed, and I am pretty picky about where I sleep, so I took all the sheets off and checked the mattresses.... nothing ! This resort has an open concept throughout so yes some bugs might make it into your room, but no more than what you get in the maritimes, In fact I can count on one hand how many bugs I saw over 7 days. I saw more lizards than bugs(outside of course).
I didn't encounter any rude staff at all... very friendly and helpful.
So here's some tips:
Don't book excursions through your travel agency. Much better/cheaper to ask a staff member about doing it private with a local. We booked the catamaran through air transat. We didn't get to see the dolphins (it was closed) and the tour bus left without half of the people !!! after waiting for over one hour, we took a cab back to the resort, It sucked.You can book your catamaran right at the marina. It's cheaper.
Jeep tour was awesome, snorkeling was great too. We also went to Havana (4 of us, 150 CUC total) in a car similar to the VW golf. Our very own tour guide, Victor, took us where we wanted to go. Went to the cigar factory (tour), had a great lunch,saw old havana, bought 5 bottles of rum for 29 CUC. So if you are interested in this tour (he picks you up at the time you want at the resort), check with the bartenders in the lobby bar. The other tour guy is Julio. So just mention their names.
Okay, for drinks... never a problem!! For the best drinks, you MUST visit the cigar bar... it's not too smokey in their and it's the ILA best kept secret... best drinks in the resort by far. Find Pavel in the cigar bar and get him to mix you the best drink you ever had. I drank the banana daquiris, my husband loved the ceasars and the iced coffee with Baileys is to die for !
So the only problem we had on our vacation was the tour bus leaving us behind :(
We visited the resort next door, La Salina, to get some money off our credit card (they have a bank that opens at 7pm) and we met a couple in line. they were disappointed with La Salina resort because they ran out of beer !! and the staff was not friendly. Not to mention this same resort had a big gas leak the last night we were in Cuba (the smell was aweful and we could smell it in our room). We sat with a lady in the plane on the way home that was staying there and she told us the smell was a gas leak and they didn't evacuate anybody !! scary...
So read the reviews, take everything with a grain of salt, and judge for yourself. Take a close look at the complaints, towels? bring some towels if you want. TV? just stay home if this concerns you. Food? again, stay home and eat McDonalds I guess. You are only there for a week, the drinks are great, the food is decent. You won't die without your big mac for a week.
This place is great, so relax, go and have a blast :)
- Also Known As:
- Iberostar Laguna Azul Hotel Varadero
- Iberostar Laguna Azul Hotel
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located on a beautiful stretch of Varadero's Beach. Approximately 160 km from Havana and 20 min. from downtown Varadero. 814 rooms allocated in different buildings, 24 are suites and 8 are for handicapped. Reception 24 hrs. open, currency exchange, internet 24 hrs. Buffet restaurant with show cooking and 4 a la carte restaurants and Ranchón near the beach. Lobby bar, Cigar bar, aqua-bar, and 2 snacks bars at the pool. Conference rooms, SPA, gym, and beauty salon, 2 tennis and paddle court. Ice cream saloon, animation theatre and disco. 5 outdoor swimming pools. Miniclub (4-12 years). ... more less