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“First visit...and will definitely return :)” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of IBEROSTAR Laguna Azul

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IBEROSTAR Laguna Azul
Ranked #31 of 62 Hotels in Varadero
Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“First visit...and will definitely return :)”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 April 2012

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 :)

Room Tip: Rooms 18402 or 18408 (close to lobby but not too close). Quiet at night.
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  • Stayed April 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
9 Thank Angela L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
Moncton, Canada
Level Contributor
47 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 April 2012

We just got back from the Laguna Azul and had a great week!. I’ve read a lot of complaints about this resort but I think that people need to realize that if you want a 5 star resort that you should perhaps go somewhere in North America ant not Cuba. The food from the Buffet was really good, I did not like everything but that happens even when you go to a buffet in Canada. The best things at the buffet are the Omelet station, Pizza great friendly personalized service from both, pastries, pulled pork, bacon and the coffee is amazing!!!

For a late night snack after 10pm, I suggest going to the snack bar closest to the beach for a toasted Ham and Cheese sandwich complete with the best French Fries south of North America.

The check-in was fast even though there was quite a few people at the desk and cocktails were served :). There was no need to wait for assistance to be walked to our room, there is a map and the hotel is very well laid out. (We checked out the Riu & Sirenis next to us, not as nice, and they lay outs are not very good)

Currency – Be prepared to bring as much spending cash as you think you will need and take advantage of the bank at the airport as the exchange rate is much better than that of the hotel. There is a resort across the road (Sirenis) that does have a bank (open 22hrs/day), however, I’ve heard that it is being taken over by new management in May 2012 and may be closed for a bit. If you don’t bring enough cash, you will have to go to town to get more and the banks are very slow. If you take too much, make sure you spend it as the currency is supposedly changing soon and CUC will be worthless and the exchange back to CAD is ridiculous.

Room – We had a King Size Bed in Building 18 had a wonderful view of the pool/ocean. Our housekeeper Lauren did a great job and made some cute towel art. If you like face cloths I would suggest you bring your own as I do not think this hotel has many if any at all. Our fridge was always stocked with water and on every second day refilled with beer. There are no clocks/alarms in the rooms.

A La Cartes – The best A la carte is the Japonese, our chef was amazing and the food was delicious, We also had steak at our second a la cart the Romantico and it was also delicious and not rough at all. I’ve read a lot of mixed reviews on the Tex Mex and didn’t know what to expect but it was just as good as the rest of the a la cartes, I ordered the beef tacos and they were spicy and delicious!

Pool – There is 3 large pools each with a hot tub, if you are looking for a quiet day I would suggest going to one of the side pools, all the fun happens at the main pool. Had a great time watching and listening to the “Star Friends” dancing to Heyy Baby!! And Step class/Water aerobics. The main pool bar has decent service but was disappointed compared to the garden club bar which has friendlier staff and makes better drinks. Keep a close eye on your towels as they are 10 CUC and ours was stolen.

Cigar Bar –This is the ABSOLUTE BEST BAR IN THE HOTEL, If you want a great drink and can stand the cigar smoke you must go and see Pavel, he is the drink master and will greet you with a friendly fist pump!. Geidgy often works the cigar bar as well and is very friendly/polite and also mixes a great drink. Favorite drinks of the week Cesar, Iced coffee with Baileys, Banana Daiquiri

Star Friends – Very fun and catchy activities. By the second day you will want to sing and dance along to the fun. I must admit, by the end, it will probably drive you a little mad as it is very repetitive day to day. Same songs, same activities, but very fun people/staff. We only caught the end of one show and it looked pretty cool, the drinks were not the best at the theatre, I hope next time we can catch a show!

Ice Cream Bar – So Yummy a must visit, the worker is so nice!

Beach – When I was there the beach was wonderful. For the most part it was very calm with waist high waves, however, 1 or 2 days were very rough (red flags) but still swimmable with severe caution. Always lots of chairs and umbrellas for shade available. Do not need to arrive early, unlike the pools. Beach bar is best served by Yuriel. He is very friendly and flirty. He will take care of you and your drinking needs. There are beach vendors who will lightly solicit, however, it is not bothersome as they will only come over if you seem interested.

Going to Varadero – Taxi’s are a peso a km, you can also take the hop on hop off bus into the market for $5CUC pp, its about a 15-20 bus ride, I would highly suggest stopping at Casa De La Nostra in town its close to Calle 52, ask one of the locals they will know where its at. The Staff and the Pina Colada’s are the best and we ordered some great authentic Cuban food.

Going to Havana – Your tour company will offer you a tour to Havana, however, much cheaper you can get a private taxi that will bring you around the city at your own leisure and will make all the same tourist stops as the busses and more should you prefer. Going this route offers a quicker trip should you prefer it, less attention from locals that swarm tourists at popular local attractions, and typically half the price. Look to pay around 150 CUC per car load.

Overall the resort with great staff!!!!!!!

Room Tip: Try and get Building 18, Quiet, has nice views, and close to the main lobby
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  • Stayed April 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
7 Thank DandKtravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Montréal
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 April 2012

just got back from Iberostar Laguna Azul in Varadero. It was our seventh trip in Varadero and we really know the place,people and town. This hotel is excelent,very clean and with a great staff. The evening show and the music are great and there is always small bands that play around the hotel so if you are cuban music adept that place is for you. The animation staff is very energetic and you can move your feet and dance a lot if you like to. The sign in and check out was fast and with no problem. All in all a very great place! Viva Cuba!

  • Stayed April 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Robert M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
St. John's
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 April 2012

Just got back from a week at the Iberostar Laguna . Arrived at 3 in the morning to a very tired looking staff. I requested 2 double beds anywhere but the ground floor but they said they had none available only on the ground floor, so we had to take it...it smelled very bad and even at 4 in the morning had a hard time sleeping... we did get a room change the next day to a 3rd floor overlooking the main pool.. this room was great. except for the noise late at night till 2 in the morning, must have been a Beach Party or something because the music was blaring... and one time My wife got locked in the Bathroom, could not get the door open, I phoned down and they said they would send someone right away but he had the floors mixed up, the maid managed to get her out after 20 minutes.... The bed sheets were like sand paper and the beds were way to small, more like single beds to tell the truth.. the sheets were also very very damp, .. I never had one good nights sleep the entire time at this resort. The room was not cleaned until late in the afternoon, so an afternoon seista was not always an option.

The food was the worst I ever experienced, it was like slop, and the same day in and day out. The beef was like leather, I honestly don't know what it was, even the fresh fried chicken had absolutely no taste.... Pizza was Bland, everything was bland,, except the Omletes, which of course is not rocket science but the cook was a real bright spot, always smiling and asking how you are are doing, I always tipped him.. I tried to get a reservation at any restaurant but always was told they are booked? But our friends managed to get reservations, so we joined up with them... Now get this... we went to the Italian, and was looking forward to some Raviolli, but they never had any??? They had one dish of Italian food, some sort of round mush balls with tomato sauce, it really made me gag... I guess I just was'nt used to it...Honestly I give it a 1 out of 5, and we also went with our friends to another restaurant, which was just the beach bar, hot and humid and had the Tenderloin???? it looked like the knee of a cow, a knuckle with some tuff grissley beef around the bone, you could not cut it let alone eat it... my wife and I just gave up on it.... at another time we ordered lobster tail... they brought out half a lobster tail that looked like it was cooked 2 days earlier, it was disgusting! I tried and tried to get into the japanese but no such luck... by the way, although they said they were always booked solid the 2 restaurants we did manage to get into always had 4 of 5 tables empty.....Enough about the food.. it was just terrible... I went to Breezes Jibacoa about 10 years ago and the food was fine there... also I have been to resorts in Canun twice, Jamaica 3 times, and The Dominican twice as well, the Bahai Principe has food that is 10 times better than this Iberostar... so yes I'm not new to Travelling,
The entertainment at night was really good, for the most part the staff was fine, the beer really good as were the drinks.... but that was'nt enough to make up for the shortcomings... on sunday night it rained and get this, the rain was actually coming down into the elavators... imagine someone getting electrocuted, with all the steel and electronics that are located there. The Lobby has no Ceiling fans, and when it rained there were not enough chairs for everyone, so it got really stuffy, the reataurant had no Fans as well.... first time I ever seen that so even eating the crappy food was even made worse with the heat..... and to top it all off the last night we were there, we were almost gassed to death, the smell of oil and sulpher drove us from the disco at around 11 that night.. it cut right into our eyes and throat, we made a beeline to our room only to be overwhelmed by it even there....I know that a lot of people complained about this but they blamed it on the Oil Company....Oh my wife just remined me that at one time she ordered duck but of course they never had that either, and she also just reminded me that the loungers at the beach were as hard as rocks, no option there for a cushion... They should invest in those loungers with the nylon mesh, for a 5 star we should have comfort, like we did at Bahai... I know this is sort of a disjointed review but It's an honest review.... We are in out early 50's and when we pay the money we spent we do expect more,,, Sorrry this resort just does'nt deliver... Never Again......

On a positive note the pools, grounds and beach are top Notch... all you have to do is ignore the other stuff. lol

  • Stayed April 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Neil B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Director A, Manager at IBEROSTAR Laguna Azul, responded to this review, 5 May 2012
Dear "Neil B"

First of all I would like to thank you for choosing an Iberostar resort for your holyday.

We apologize for all of the inconveniences you mentioned and we are very sorry that the service received was not up to the standards you expected and deserved.

We sincerely thank you for your comments. Please be assured that we will take them all into consideration, in order to improve our services and make Iberostar Laguna Azul a better choice for our clients.

Best Regards

Management.
Iberostar Laguna Azul
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Miramichi, New Brunswick, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 April 2012

Vacationed at this resort from April 10-17, 2012. This is my second trip to Varedero. I found this resort to be clean, with many pools, a beautiful beach with plenty of chaises available (no need to reserve one). The staff at the spa and hair salon were wonderful and very professional. The Lobby Bar staff were expedient and friendly. Arianna served wonderful Tequila Shots!!!! and the Best Spanish Coffee. This is a large facility and prone to the hazards of many guests. Book your A-la-Carte Reservations prior to arriving at the Hotel, get confirmation by email, as we were only able to book 2 a-la cartes reservations at the hotel. The restaurants were booked and we had limited availability. Bring facecloths, there seems to be a shortage of these. Bring your own Beach Towel as the daily availability is limited. There seems to be an issue with laundry service as fresh towels were not readily aviliable. The Japanese and Steakhouse/Seafood a la cartes were wonderful ! (the only 2 reservations we could get). There was a large selection at the Buffet and something for every palate - no issue here. If you enjoy morning coffee - do not get it at the Buffet as it is very bad,bad,bad. As I mentionned earlier the Lobby Bar has the best coffees. The pianist and musicians in the Lounge were great!!!. The nightly entertainment was very good as was the disco. The food is typical cuban fare, the pork is amazing as is the fish, lots of veggies to choose from and salad fixings too, The Best however are the breads and rolls, they are absolutely divine!!!! (I am not a typical bread eater). The house white and red wines are mediocre. The ice cream bar was definitely a bonus at this resort as was the cigar lounge.

Room Tip: This was a couples vacation, make sure you get a room for 2, not 2 single beds.
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  • Stayed April 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Linda M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Beiseker
Level Contributor
26 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 24 April 2012

We found the resort very clean, well laid-out and beautiful. The staff were all friendly and hardworking. This was a first trip to Cuba and would definetly go back. We had great service in all the bars/restaurants, front desk and housekeeping. We had read about the food in Cuba, but didn't experience anything terrible. We thought the resort offered a wide selection at the buffet and we had wonderful experiences at the 2 a la carte restaurants we dined at. Off the resort in Varadero, the food was good - just different than home. We had a steak and chicken dinner in Varadero with beers and the total came to 10.75 convertible peco's - how can one go wrong with $1.50 beer? My only complaint was our room had low water pressure and air conditioning didn't work to par, but we were comfortable and appreciated our surrounding’s.

Room Tip: Building 10 was away from the disco & theatre bar and very quiet.
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  • Stayed April 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank B_U_M_S_2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
toronto
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 24 April 2012

The place was great. We were in the 5star adult only part of the hotel and it was classy and spectacular. They mixed up our rooms since we were a group of 11 people but they upgraded us the VIP wristband and we had access to every bar at this huge resort. The rooms were beautiful, Jacuzzi, view of the pool. Gorgeous and clean. The food was decent too. I am a vegetarian so I did find food at all the buffets and a la carts.but my friends did love all the 5 different a la carts they had to offer. A lot of selection and really nice and friendly staff.
- Had access to internet and the bartenders were great. They made us Baileys Iced capps every morning and it was beautiful. They made us all these beautiful drinks too and just made us fall in love with the hotel staff and their skills. this one waiter even made his own concoction with spinach, celery and apple juice.. waoh it blew my mind at hoe delicious it was. So drinks wise.. BEST PLACE EVER!
- Check-In was quick and easy. Even though it was 2am when we came in. They have Champagne waiting for us as we came in.
- So many French Canadian tourists and staff, it was enlightening.

Cons:
- The adult only part of the wing was the furthest from the beach, so every morning walking to the beach 5-6 times became a hassle after few days.
- This place is huge, which is so difficult to make your way through the entire resort but that I guess is a good thing too.

Overall, I would definitely go there again.

Room Tip: Get the Adult 5 star section if you want peace and quiet, if not then get the villas or the rooms ne...
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  • Stayed November 2011, travelled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank ssandal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about IBEROSTAR Laguna Azul

Property: IBEROSTAR Laguna Azul
Address: Autopista Sur Km 17 | Punta Hicacos, Varadero 42200, Cuba
Region: Caribbean > Cuba > Matanzas Province > Varadero
Amenities:
Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#2 Business Hotel in Varadero
#7 Family Hotel in Varadero
#8 Romantic Hotel in Varadero
#26 Luxury Hotel in Varadero
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:5 star — IBEROSTAR Laguna Azul 5*
Number of rooms: 814
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 
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Also Known As:
Iberostar Laguna Azul Hotel Varadero

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