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FarAway768407

A great resort if you don't expect perfection

4.0 of 5 bubblesReviewed May 8, 2024
I have been told this is a very good resort by Cuban standards. But I already read not to expect the same quality as in North America for the same star rating. That turned out to be true. While we were quite happy overall, there were some issues. Things were wearing out, sometimes milk was not available for coffee, and the food was almost the same every day (except for a la carte). Our first room had a musty or chemical smell so we changed rooms. Service and friendliness was very good. WiFi worked well in our room and in the buffet restaurant. Our sink stopper (built in) got stuck so our sink wouldn't drain, but it was fixed, but not until we reported the problem twice. But the grounds are gorgeous and well laid out, and the nightly live entertainment was good, and different every night. So as long as you don't expect perfection and are willing to "go with the flow" you should have a good experience.
Date of stay: April 2024
Room Tip: If you book an excursion that leaves before 7:30am, buy some snacks in the gift shop the day...
Trip type: Travelled with family
5.0 of 5 bubblesValue
4.0 of 5 bubblesRooms
5.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
5.0 of 5 bubblesCleanliness
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
5.0 of 5 bubblesSleep Quality
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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 review
Responded May 10, 2024
Dear guest,
Thank you for trusting us your holidays and for encouraging us to improve. We will do our best to surprise you with our progress on your next visit.
Kind Regards,
Quality Manager
Iberostar Origin Laguna Azul
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
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Reviewed May 3, 2024

Came here for our daughter’s destination wedding. It’s an Iberostar right? Have stayed in Iberostars all over the Carribean and was never disappointed. We had reconnoitred the area a year ago and chose the Laguna Azul based on the brand name and a site tour. We considered it to be ‘the least worst’ of the AI hotels in Veradero.

Boy, were we wrong!

In the year since we were here, the hotel has declined severely. The hotel has no working elevators. I have some mobility challenges, I am ambulatory but struggle with stairs. Many hotel staff we spoke to said the elevators had been broken for 10 months, long before we paid our deposit. It would have been nice if the hotel would have told us that before we paid our $10,000 deposit. The staff downplays the out of order elevators. They try to make you think it’s a temporary little inconvenience. The Bellman had to carry his heavy luggage trolley up and downstairs because there were no elevators.

During our site visit we were shown a very nice ‘Family Room’ that connected to a second room. Perfect for my wife and myself, plus our two travelling companions. When we booked we paid a premium rate to reserve that room. Upon our arrival the Front Desk Agent made a big deal about the lavish accommodations we had booked, but when we got to the room is was just a standard King that attached to a Twin. The room smelled of mold, and was full of bugs.

We are not the complaining type but we did pay substantially more for the room than our travelling companions who had the same, if not in some cases nicer rooms. We mentioned this to the Sales Manager handling our entire group and she made a big show of the fact that we were accidentally put into the wrong room. We couldn’t move that day, but she moved us the next day.

The next day we moved into a room that was basically exactly the same as the other room, except in this room neither the safe, the TV, the refrigerator or the shower worked. We were moved again, into a comparably crummy room, and despite everything smelling musty, we decided to stay. The hotel apologized by sending us a welcome gift, which was a plate with a piece of bread, 3 small pieces of cheese and 3 slices of questionable cold cuts.

Everywhere you look in our room you see signs of disrepair. Every cushion on every chair or couch is stained. The duvet is stained. The sheets are stained. It’s actually pretty disgusting. I am sleeping on top of the bed. All of the furniture is trashed, the towels are thread bare. There’s no lighting in the public areas because the bulbs are burned out. This hotel is circling the drain yet they still charge prices like they are a five star hotel on Las Vegas Blvd.

The food is predictably Cuban. That is unappetizing, flavorless. Everything on the buffet seems to be a mush of some sort or another. Luckily, we brought our own condiments and hot sauce from Canada, otherwise the food would be inedible. I am very suspect on their (lack of) safe food handling practises in the buffet, we are here with a large party of almost 40 people and almost everyone is suffering stomach issues.

All the water is warm, they don’t seem to have any refrigeration or icemakers. Everything is served either in paper cups, very small portions. If you ask for two beers at once so that you don’t have to wait 30 minutes in between, the servers just ignore you.

The Laguna Azul is pretending to be an all inclusive, they try to provide you with everything, they just slow everything down so much as to limit the amount that you can have. And I’m not talking about being greedy or over consumptive. It’s not like I want to have 10 beers with supper, but I’d like to have two or three. but you don’t see a server for long stretches, and it’s frustrating to sit with an empty glass for that long. I asked 3 times for a second dinner bun with my supper. Never got it.

The servers are chatty enough, really all of the hotel staff are chatty, but don’t confuse chatty with friendly. They often approach you and engage you in a conversation which you initially think is them being friendly. What they want to do is sell you their worthless pesos for hard currency. The other one too is they want to sell you all of their small bills for larger denominations.

The tipping expectations are off the chart. On the bus ride to the hotel from the airport, which took about 40 minutes, five minutes was a short history lesson on why Cuba is screwed and the remaining time was a long spiel about how everyone needs to be tipped. The expectation for tips amongst the hotel staff was exhausting. I had a guy put two eggs from a grill on my plate, and when I turned to walk away, he grabbed my shirt sleeve and demanded a dollar.

I wouldn’t be so opposed to tipping the staff if I felt that their service and friendliness was genuine. However, I feel most of the service is provided begrudgingly, under thinly veiled contempt. Even when we went to the fancier à la cart restaurants were we had table service, we felt like we were an inconvenience. Everyone was smiling through gritted teeth. No one was even pretending to be happy that you were there. It’s an extremely unrewarding experience, and I feel like my pocket is being picked at every turn.

Having experienced numerous Iberostars in other locales, I can say that this is hands-down, the worst. Your hard earned dollars are better spent elsewhere. Do not come here, you will have a terrible experience.

I can’t wait to go home.

Iberostar, you should be ashamed of yourself for the manner in which you run this hotel.

Date of stay: April 2024
  • Trip type: Travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank Laurence D
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 May 7, 2024

Dear Laurence,
We are deeply saddened to hear that we have not been able to win you over with a stay that lived up to your expectations. The hotel management is working with all departments on the basis of your comments as the best reference to check our quality standards. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience that may have overshadowed this special occasion with your family.
Kind Regards,
Quality Manager
Iberostar Origin Laguna Azul

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed April 30, 2024

it’s a amazing resort and has such a friendly environment. the resort staff were so nice and helpful and the dogs are cute and friendly. Yandy (aka. Candy Boy) is the best entertainer. we were for girls trip and are already planning our next one here.

Date of stay: April 2024
  • Trip type: Travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank Alexia C
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 May 2, 2024

Dear Alexia,
Thank you for trusting us your holidays. Our colleagues cannot wait to have you back.
Kind Regards,
Quality Manager
Iberostar Origin Laguna Azul

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed April 30, 2024

My second time to this report, I was here last year. Returned with my daughter for her 24th birthday. We enjoyed every minute of our stay. We were greeted with nothing but smiles and kindness. It didn’t take long for us to make friendships with a lot of the staff. In particular, Yandy aka Candy Boy; he entertained us everyday day poolside, every evening at the nightly theatre, afterward and the disco bar, and all the times in between. He made us feel like we were at our home away from
Home! 🩷

Date of stay: April 2024
  • Trip type: Travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank Tanya C
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 May 2, 2024

Dear Tanya,
Thank you for choosing us again as the right place for your holidays. our Team will be always delighted to have you back.
Kind Regards,
Quality Manager
Iberostar Origin Laguna Azul

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed April 30, 2024

Best resort I have been to. I have been to cuba 9+ times. The people are amazing, the food at this hotel is the best I have had, and overall a great experience. The workers do everything they can to make sure your stay is comfortable, fun, relaxing, and a great vacation. If you want to come to varadero, put Laguna Azul at the top of your list. If you meet Yandy (candy boy), he will
do everything in his power to ensure you have a good vacation.

Date of stay: April 2024
  • Trip type: Travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank Resort56345199033
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 May 2, 2024

Dear guest,
Thank you for trusting in our dedication. We will congratulate Candy Boy and the whole Team on your behalf.
It will be a pleasure to have you back.
Kind Regards,
Quality Manager
Iberostar Origin Laguna Azul

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed April 30, 2024

Food: Of course, everyone says that you don't go to Cuba for the food, but you would expect some basics, right? I have visited this country a couple of times, but they are at an all time low for supplies. In a tropical country, I don't understand why you can't get basic spices for your food. What there is, is very bland and you can't spice it up unless you bring your own. Don't forget ketchup, mustard, etc...for some reason, they can't make it or buy it. Ever had a hamburger (if you're lucky enough to get one!) and have nothing to put on it except shredded cabbage?

Also, just bring US $ for tipping. Their Cuban pesos has devaluated enormously and the Cubans are collecting US$.

The Resort is lovely. One of the main pools was closed for renovations, but we had plenty of space to play in the rest of pool.

Warning! The drinks are literally watered down. We found that we were not getting good Mai Tai and Pina Coladas, so asked to have a straight shot of rum. Believe it when I say that it was water... not watered down rum, but straight water. This was at the pool bar, we had the attendant taste it and she confirmed that it was not rum. She then went inside to get another bottle of rum and this one was better. This was reported to the manager on duty and hopefully will not happen to future travellers.

Date of stay: April 2024
  • Trip type: Travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank 493nas
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 May 2, 2024

Dear guest,
On behalf of the whole team, we would like to thank you for choosing us and for encouraging us to improve the quality of our services. It will be an honor to welcome you again in the near future and to conquer you with a much better experience.
Kind Regards,
Quality Manager
Iberostar Origin 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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