To sum up our holiday in one word AMAZING.
We went to Cuba to get married, there was a group of 15 of us all together ranging from 22 months old to 55 years old, most of us were in our late 20s, and we all had a fantastic time.
We spent two weeks at the Laguna Azul and have all agreed that we would love to come back for another stay at this hotel.
The hotel is only about 30/40 mins or so from the airport and is at the end of the peninsular, so you get to drive past all of the other hotels before hand giving you a slight sense of angst, however all worried disappear once you start the ascent of the Laguna Azul's impressive driveway and entrance. The bus pulled up outside the hotel, next to a lovely and very large waterfall fountain, and hotel staff greet you with a cocktail in a beautiful huge marble lobby, check in is very fast and smooth and we were taken to our room in a separate block on a golf trolley by very friendly hotel staff.
A couple of our party asked to change rooms for a variety of reasons, two single beds instead of 1 king size and we asked to be moved as we were on the 2nd floor with a 22 month old baby and pushchair with no lift. This was all rectified within 24 hours. This actually resulted in us having amazing room that was on the ground floor directly in-front of the beach, happy days!
There were a variety of bars and restaurants that were open all day and night and the staff could not have been more helpful or polite. The lobby bar and sun terrace was our favourite, we spent most nights sat there drinking champage cocktails, our glasses were never empty, the table service was superb.
The food was plentiful and OK, Cubans have to make the most of what they have and they do a great job. the al a carte restaurants were actually very very good, especially the Japanese, lots of tricks and showmanship as they cooked at your table!
As I mentioned we came to Cuba to get married, Yahimara was our wedding planner and was fiercely organised! As we were quite laid back about the whole thing, we wanted to be sat by the pool rather than choosing table plans, and cakes etc which she seemed quite shocked about! The only day it rained was on our wedding day, which I was gutted about so half our wedding was on the beach and the other half was upstairs next to the spa, not my dream day, but what can you do about mother nature...it also rained when we had our wedding reception in the UK too!
I had my hair done by the lady in salon, which unfortunately was my biggest regret, she made me look ridiculous and I didn't have enough time to wash and re do my hair before the ceremony, so had to make do with taking all the pins out and straighting it my self, I later refused to pay for the hair 'style'. Her English was quite poor which may have been part of the problem.
We used the resort photographer and unfortunately were quite disappointed by the photos as she kept getting us to move from the beach and up to the spa, taking photos of us on the benches and by the very English looking lampposts! In hindsight we should have stood our ground more and asked her for more shots on the beach. As part of the wedding package we had a meal for us and all of our guests in the Italian restaurant which was lovely and the staff were also very lovely and brought us a flambe wedding cake!
We did a number of trips, including the catamaran to Cayo Blanco [my favourite] the day trip to Havana and jet ski safari.
The catamaran was simply wonderful and the highlight of my trip. It was a whole day, and most of our party went including our 22 month son. The trip consisted of a mini bus the marina, a Catamaran to a beautiful uninhabited paradise Island, lobster lunch and finally swimming with dolphins in the ocean! Also all drink was inlcuded on the cruise. The two chaps that sailed the Catamaran were great fun and made trip even more enjoyable. TAKE THIS TRIP, it was brilliant.
We also did the day trip to Havana, it was a long day but worth it. Its an amazing city, with lots to see, although it made very pleased that we had picked Varadero for our hotel, one day in Havana was enough for me - very hot!
Jetski safari was awesome, slow jetskis but great fun. It lasts for a few hours and you get taken to a deserted zoo which was fun.
Although we were all inclusive we tried to get out as much as we could, we hired scooters [GREAT FUN] and went into Varadero town, which was fun, and actually the beaches here are breathtaking, better than the hotel beach.
We also went to the famous Calle '62 which was my favourite night, brilliant love music and dancing in the street, it was truly amazing.
Cuba as a whole has music playing all the time usually in the form of live bands, which only adds to the charm of the island and culture, this was another of my 'favourite things'.
The rooms were a good size, beds were huge, we spent most of the holiday with our 22 month old son lying horizontally in the bed with us and there was still plenty of room. The maid were great too, on our wedding night they had decorated our bed and bathroom with rose petals.
The staff at this resort are SO friendly, polite and courteous. They do not expect to be tipped, but they deserve it. Cuba is a very poor country and no one is allowed to make a great deal of money. After reading reviews we took tooth paste, pens, toothbrushes, shampoo, tampons, paracetamol, aspirin and baby products with us as a form of tip for the maids which they seemed very grateful for. We also left all of our shampoo and toiletries behind for them, and all chipped in and gave our favourite waiters and waitresses a big tip on our last day.
We sued the hotel baby sitting service two or three times and the girls were lovely.
Over all we LOVED Cuba and loved this hotel. If I had to pick a negative point, it would be that the 'public' toilets by the pools were a little shabby with broken hinges etc, but this really was the only thing I would criticise, it really was a the best holiday I have ever had and all of our friends felt the same way too.
This hotel offers great service, excellent value for money, great location and beautiful surroundings with 3 large pools catering to every-ones needs, both young and old. there is something for everyone at this hotel and its big enough to have music in one area and tranquillity in the other. We cant wait to go back!
- 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