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Liss1355
Toronto, Canada

Very nice resort that is not too large

5.0 of 5 bubblesReviewed Apr 6, 2024via mobile
This was my first trip to Cuba. I really enjoyed the resort. A little disappointed that not all pools and hot tubs were functional due to maintenance. Sunwing did notify me appropriately about this matter beforehand. The beach is so beautiful and clean. I think it could be on the smaller side compared to other beaches at other resorts or in other islands but it was good enough for me. There is a bar nearby where you can get drinks. The beach party at night was so much fun! As you may of heard if you are into an abundance of food and variety- Cuba may not be the place for you. Take into consideration there might be food shortages due to economic crisis but I did not notice any on my visit. There were always eggs, food at buffet, coffee etc. I really enjoyed the ala carte restaurant. The snack bar ( by poolside) I feel could be improved in that I felt concerned with the food safety issues there. I only had a sandwich there one time and never went back. Mind you everyone seemed to like the grill and the barbecued food. The room was suitable for me. Room was very clean & functional but probably needs updating now. Housekeeping was always on point and always around doing their job. You may want to bring your own washcloth and beach towel. Maybe even bring a plastic bag so if you eat snacks in the room ( or other items you want to dispose of ) you can throw it in the bag. I did not notice any plastic bags in the garbage bins so this is why I express this. I enjoyed the entertainment , the front desk staff work very hard. Overall I enjoyed every minute of it!!! I cannot wait to return next year!!! Iberostar thank you:)
Date of stay: April 2024
Room Tip: Bring US cash as employees always seem to appreciate tips. Bring wash cloth, snacks, wipes, hand...
Trip type: Travelled with family
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Bibiana Carbonell Castelo, Other at Iberostar Origin Laguna Azul, responded to this review
Responded Apr 11, 2024
Dear Liss,
Thank you for choosing us for these holidays in Cuba. We will be delighted to have you back next year.
Kind Regards,
Quality Manager
Iberostar Laguna Azul
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
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Reviewed March 31, 2024

I can say unequivocally that this was the worst vacation we have ever had. I will also be letting WestJet vacations know it is unethical to bring Canadians here given the political landscape in Cuba right now and the conditions of this hotel. We stayed at this hotel for 10 long days.

POSITIVES: the beach is lovely with white sand; the weather was perfect, beautiful and sunny; our family suite room was spacious with 2 twin beds for kids adjoining to a queen bed room; my kids enjoyed the curly tail lizards around the resort.

NEGATIVES: staff were generally apathetic or in some cases just rude or dismissive; e.g. looking right through you and not asking if you needed something (when you are standing for minutes alone at a bar counter). There were a few exceptions (e.g. a lovely older male server at the snack bar, our maid, the coffee barista man with the pink shirt). We got the overwhelming feeling that the Cuban hotel workers were done with tourists and yet quite happy to take tips (which did not improve service or friendliness BTW). This was a major detractor for us as we usually enjoy the little conversations with locals, learning about their country, practicing the language etc.. We were aware the main pool was under construction; the part that was open was lovely but unfortunately the quieter pool in the back had no working filtration and active algal count was increasing quite obviously over our stay (e.g. green, slimy) so we had to stop using it. My husband did tell someone about it but they deferred and nothing was done about it. The advertised daily activities and entertainment (on boards in hotel lobby) were deceptive as most of the activities never occurred (with the exception of afternoon dance/aquasize in the pool); the guy turned up for the shooting range one day and insisted on taking our photo on his phone to show his manager he told us (!). As others have said, the food was awful, even for a lower income country; concerningly, food was lukewarm (overhead heat lamps non functional) and re-served multiple days in a row. It was not perhaps surprising when all 4 of us became ill at different points in our stay; one of my children has been significantly ill since returning to Canada and required medical treatment. Food variety was incredibly limited and often looked like mush; lacking in spice or flavour. Oddly, there were ingredients that could be made into something nice but it never seemed to happen. Pancakes were inedible. Pasta station guy did not even stir the food or attempt to cook the onions and other vegetables. We smelled a delicious curry one day at the snack bar; it was staff making their own dinner which we could not partake in. Snack bar was very rarely open and when it was (after staff were chased down to serve you) consisted of an overboiled hot dog (no condiments) or a lukewarm chopped chicken sandwich (food safe issues). Likewise, there were several days when the pretense of lunch being served at the snack bar went on (e.g. vinegar bottles put out on table, napkins etc.) but food was never put in the central serving area. Why?!?! Drinks were overall diluted and wan; by the time we left, we understood why we saw others just asking for straight rum in a glass! It was hard to get a Cuba Libre due to no cola most days we were there and there seemed to be little/no lime juice for mojitos which seemed odd. Sprite was the only soft drink for most of our 10 day stay. Interestingly, when we went to the Havana Iberostar, there seemed to be less issue with these shortages (e.g. other pop available, delicious pina colada) which points to a local management/distribution problem (e.g. why can some supplies not be shipped from the flagship hotel or do they just not care?). The heladeria (ice cream shop) on hotel grounds was not open a single day in our 10 day stay; staff would tell us "It is open tomorrow" which became obvious was a lie after the first 3 days of trying. We have lived in a third world country before and are flexible people and yet we feel we were conned by WestJet Vacations and Iberostar Laguna Azul to wasting hard earned money, family and holiday time there. We will never go back to this hotel and hope to save others the pain and suffering.

Room tip: Don't stay here - there are probably better options. This is definitely not a 5* hotel.
Date of stay: March 2024
  • Trip type: Travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank Louisa M
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Bibiana Carbonell Castelo, Other at Iberostar Origin Laguna Azul, responded to this reviewResponded April 2, 2024

Dear Louisa,
We are deeply saddened that we were unable to live up to your expectations on this occasion. We will make all the necessary investigations and changes to find solutions to the aspects of our services that were not to your liking and we offer our sincere apologies.
We hope you had a safe trip home.
Kind Regards,
Quality Manager
Iberostar Laguna Azul

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed March 23, 2024

Second time visiting wasn’t much better than the first. Food and drinks were scarce. That wasn’t the worst of it though. It was the rude Russians around the resort always being pushy, loud and obnoxious. Several times I saw the locals and Canadian visitors moving to get away from them so we could enjoy what was left of our trip. I don’t think that we will be returning. I know that the staff was working very hard to appease their guests with the constraints that they had in place. Thank you to all of the staff for your hospitality.

Date of stay: February 2024
  • Trip type: Travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
2  Thank John S
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Bibiana Carbonell Castelo, Other at Iberostar Origin Laguna Azul, responded to this reviewResponded April 1, 2024

Dear John,
We are deeply saddened to learn that situations beyond our control overshadowed the enjoyment of your vacation. We hope that you reconsider visiting us again to conquer you with our dedication.
Kind Regards,
Quality Manager
Iberostar Laguna Azul

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed March 19, 2024

Beach second to none
Staff best of the best!!
Friendly friendly friendly
Yuri and Raoul are now family to us!!
Food was acceptable.. it is Cuba 🇨🇺
After all. Drinks and beer were always available although the Cristal ran out a few times.. but paranda was always available!!
This is the first Cuban resort we have been at that does not run out of mint for mojitos!! They grow there own and have tons!! They provide us with the best they have..
come prepared salt pepper ketchup mustard …
I would rate this resort a 4.5 very good for Cuba..

Room tip: Be generous with staff. tips are very much appreciated ! And service becomes Outstanding!! Make sure you bring enough cash! CAD is welcomed!
Date of stay: March 2024
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
Thank Yves N
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Bibiana Carbonell Castelo, Other at Iberostar Origin Laguna Azul, responded to this reviewResponded March 22, 2024

Dear Yves,
Thank you for trusting us your holidays. We cannot wait to have you back.
Kind Regards,
Quality Manager
Iberostar Laguna Azul

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed March 18, 2024

Amazing service. The staff is great anything we need was done for us. Room was very clean. The food is great we had prosciutto, potatoes tomatoes everyday, all food was fresh, grilled chicken, fish and more nothing was missing. We definitely did not starve. We want to thank Dania and Yuri and Dennis for attending to our needs. This is our 4th time at this hotel, the first time we came was 2011. Staff treats us like family.

Date of stay: March 2024
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
Thank Mary S
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Bibiana Carbonell Castelo, Other at Iberostar Origin Laguna Azul, responded to this reviewResponded March 19, 2024

Dear Mary,
Counting with the reference of special guests as you is the most important recognition we can receive. Thank you for letting us be part of your happy memories.
Kind Regards,
Quality Manager
Iberostar Laguna Azul

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed March 17, 2024

I stayed at Laguna Azul with my brother and 3 children March 7-14. The hotel grounds are very nice and they have been working to improve some of the older pools so they are nice. The beach is great and my kids had lots of fun collecting shells.
The rooms are older and showing it with some musty smell but if you aren’t picky (we aren’t) that’s fine and they still have nice bathrooms and lots of space. The hotel cleaning staff were great and always tidying and washing which was good to see. We were in building 10 which was nice and quiet. Rooms were well soundproofed I was never bothered by noise. The two times we needed assistance maintenance came within 15 mins. Better lighting at night around the paths and pools would be a good idea but they seemed to be working on that while we were there which was good to see.
The biggest detracting factor is the food. The 24 hour snack bar often only had one item with few or no condiments. The worst day was the one they had hot dogs but no buns. The only things I would eat from the buffet were things I saw them cook for us from the grill and pasta station and maybe the salad bar. Otherwise you can tell they reuse whatever food didn’t get eaten in the previous meal in the next one. The only food I would miss from Cuba is the ice cream but we were only able to get this at the buffet the ice cream station near the pool was never open the whole time we were there. The a la carte restaurants were okay but you can tell they use the same ingredients as the buffet. The Japanese one was a fun experience but overall I won’t miss the food in Cuba at all. I know they have shortages and I was prepared for that but I’ve been to Cuba twice before and I can say the food has definitely gotten worse. The lobby bar is nice and always made good coffee.
The other main suggestion I would like to see is an improvement in the pool bathrooms. The lights didn’t work the floors were always soaked, they often had no toilet paper or soap- these bathrooms need to be cleaned every hour.
We took a catamaran excursion to swim with the dolphins which was a highlight for us so I definitely recommend that.

Room tip: Ask for the wifi password when you check in but overall the wifi is very spotty.
Date of stay: March 2024
  • Trip type: Travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
2  Thank Jennifer M
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Bibiana Carbonell Castelo, Other at Iberostar Origin Laguna Azul, responded to this reviewResponded March 18, 2024

Dear Jennifer,
Thank you for entrusting us with your vacation and for your valuable suggestions.
We are sad to read that our culinary offer did not meet your expectations. Our team of chefs is working to surprise you with more variety and quality in the near future.
We apologize for any possible inconvenience and hope to have another opportunity to welcome you back.
Kind Regards,
Quality Manager
Iberostar Laguna Azul

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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