The hotel itself was very nice, the rooms big and clean and had everything you needed. We went all inclusive and the food was excellent. The cocktails at the pool bar was amazing as was the bars leading onto the bean. Hotel right next to the beach which was amazing t walk down.
Make sure that you get the trip into Havana and also go on the run factory tour. Make sure you bring back some Havana 7 rum you will never regret the decision. The staff at the hotel were great and THe gardens kept get very nice while we were there.
Unsure what it will look like afte the USA make their mark but it is a great hotel to go and see Cuba in.
Travelled as a couple April 2017
Travel operator: Traveltext
Hotel tip: Get a sea facing room
The hotel remains clean throughout, with regular cleaning of the toilets, grounds and beach plus our rooms were cleaned at our convenience. None of the cleaning is obtrusive, but its quite obviously done. The maid created swans every day from our towels.
There are 3 restaurants at the hotel, 2 of which are a la carte (you're given the choice of which days to book) and the large buffet style restaurant within the hotel. The a la carte restaurants are near the pool, with very attentive waiters and a nice ambiance. Proper dress is required here, and I was happy to see 1 guest turned away for being dressed too leisurely.
The main buffet restaurant offers different food each day. Breakfast consists of a large selection of breads and cereals, cheese, ham, pickles, yogurt, honey etc. Omelets are made from your choice of cheese, ham, peppers, onion, tomato, plus fried eggs, bacon, boiled and poached eggs and a variety teas, coffee and fruit juices. There's a juice counter too where you can ask for various fruits to be blended for a lovely fruit smoothie.
Dinner consists of an even larger selection and often includes fish (hake, tuna, salmon), prawns, beef, pork, chicken. I found some of the prepared meals were to my liking and some weren't but there was always enough variety to find something familiar as well as try something different.
The kids were very pleased with the pizza and pasta prepared to their choice. Lunchtime meals are served at one of the a la carte meals with buffet which was reduced choice from the dinner restaurant but still quite varied and abundant. Waitress service at each of these restaurants serves drinks and are keen to clear plates. You may find you have to wait for a table if you are in a large group, but there's always a cocktail aperitif to kill the time.
The beach bar offers almost 24/7 service of drinks and snacks, the toasted sandwiches went down very well at 2am in the morning! But it also caters for lunch with burgers, hot-dogs and small pork steaks or large sardines which were fantastic. All accompanied with crisps, salad and fruit.
Many people considered Blau the second best hotel on the strip, and its easy to see why. The location itself is away from the bustle of Varadero and more upmarket because of it. The beach is wide (for a peninsula) here, compared to the Iberostar nearby and Al's Casa near the start of Varadero. Pristine sand, security and life guard on the beach plus some beach games and music near the walkway from the hotel. We chose to be away from this, under the supplied palm brollies and sunbeds.
The pool bar is great. Fast service, good range of drinks, and excellent coffee. If you want more rum in your drinks just ask but be careful they pour large portions. The pool itself is large, clean and loads of sunbeds. Although some people put their towels out before breakfast there were plenty of beds. There are also pool games and for those who prefer a bit of quiet some nice tranquil areas set away from the pool in the gardens with sunbeds and palms to shade away from the sun.
There's a games room too with table tennis, pool but it was surprisingly underused. You'll also find a gym and sauna which I didn't use but reports suggest it was well equipped and clean.
The staff were mostly happy, smiling and courteous. The occasional tip of a CUC doesn't go a miss, especially next time you visit the bar, but its entirely at your discretion throughout the hotel.
There's entertainment every night. Some of it to a very good standard, especially if you like dancing. During the day, and occasionally early evening before or after your evening meal you'll find a band in the restaurants (Cuban, Afro-Caribbean or Mexican) which is sometimes surprising and well received.
One thing that really pleased us was the free safes in every room. How often have we found that not to be the case.
The only complaints I could make of the hotel are the plastic glasses provided around the pool and beach, which is quite understandable, so do what the Canadians do and bring a drinks flask with you. Plus the toilets around the lobby bar and beach bar were out of order for the full 10 days we were there.
There is plenty of room in the hotel to accommodate everyone during the rain although obviously the staff took a little longer at the bars.
The hotel has an airconditioned games room with pool table, TV and lots of board games, some giant sized. There is also a table tennis table with bats/balls provided. We didn't use the outdoor sports facilities but saw tennis and football being played.
Very nice spa, sauna and hair salon which also doubles as the showers and facilities for late check out guests which we took advantage of.
Food was good and we did not experience long queues. Some was cooked fresh while you waited such as pasta, 'make it yourself' pizza, and meat. Good range for vegetarians which changed regularly. I recommend the Cuban black bean soup with rice!
We went to Havana for the day which is definitely worth seeing. The tour that you can book with the rep (who is an airtours rep) is the same as the ones that can be booked directly with the hotel from the desk in the piano bar, and the same price. We found this out after waiting for nearly an hour to speak to the rep to be told that he had to go and didn't have time to speak to us.
A couple of days the hotel had no hot water and one morning the hotel had no water at all but this was resolved as quickly as they could and staff were very good at keeping people updated.
Overall a lovely hotel with excellent staff.
Travel operator: Thomas Cook
Travel operator: first choice
Food:- Choice of food was good, however cuban cooking can be bland, they dont appear to add spices, seasoning to things. Adequate dishes to choose from, however if you have stayed in other resorts such as mexico, it is nothing like the variety there.
Location:- Not close by, there was a night club (mambo club), didn't visit but in walking distance. Bus/taxi ride into varaderro itself, takes about 10/15 mins
Staff:- All staff very friendly, however could have done with more staff in the bar areas, they insisted on serving you at your tables, but as there were over 20 tables in each bar, this was a lengthy wait for a drink when you only had a few bar staff.
All in all we had a great time, matched our previous holiday to the Riu Palace in Mexico and had some touches that were better than the Riu. Would return but there are so many places we want to visit, it would be as a last minute thing if the price was right for the next few years.
Travel operator: first choice
The food was of excellent standard, probabily the best that I have had on holiday, although I was told that the hurricanes had ment that some items were in short supply and that the choice was not as extensive as normal.
The beach, although a little narrow, was excelent with a beach bar and sunloungers and permanent umbrellas, the sea was warm shallow for some distance, and although just at the end of the hurricane season for most of the time calm.
I did find the evening entertainment poor, this might have been because it seemed to start latter than published and then consist the compaire explaining the rules of some game on the stage in about 5 languages. Others did seem to enjoy it but it was not my sytle.
If i went to Cuba again, I would definiately book this hotel again. A most wonderful holiday.
Travel operator: Virgin
Travel operator: first choice
Travel operator: Holiday place
On the beach about 10 Km from downtown Varadero. There is a choice of an open top bus or a tourist train which continuously run 9 am to 8 pm every day from town to the end of the peninsular and back. Hop on and off all day for 5 Pesos (about 3 pounds). Well worth doing
Not too long a wait. Quite efficient and only took a few minutes
Typical Carribean hotel rooms. Very clean with good views. No complaints
Very friendly but didn't always seem to rush things. Typically Cuban??
FOOD & DRINK
Food was not fantastic but we could always find something we liked. Choice wasn't fantastic, but a range of options were available (meat, fish, pasta, salad etc).
During the day the service was good, but during the evening there were often long waits to receive your drinks from the lobby bar. On looking closer, there were 5 or 6 waitresses taking orders, but there was only 1 guy actually making the cocktails. Sometimes you could see he had 7 or 8 orders waiting. Could definitely have done with more people making the cocktails. Beer was fine and arrived quite quickly
Evening entertainment shows were usually quite good, but seemed quite short compared to other hotels we have visited. Daytime entertainment didn't seem to be well attended and those who did win rarely went to collect their certificate. I suspect it was more to do with the guests rather than the entertainment itself or the staff.
POOL & GROUNDS
Spotless with a good pool area. Not a great deal of full shade as it is a relatively new hotel and needs time to mature. BEWARE - The man-made shades were actually semi 'transparent' and the sun shone through it instead of blocking it, so care is still needed.
Quite nice beach, soft white powder sand with the usual water sports, entertainment and full shade umbrellas. Regular visits from the beach vendors, but again, did not hassle us
Not much to reach by walking except the dolphinarium and other hotels. Use the open top bus for visits to Varadero or the surrounding areas on the peninsular. Trip to Havana highly recommended. Most things in Cuba are very cheap. Eating out, you could get a starter for around a peso (60p), a main course for around 2 to 5 pesos and a dessert for another peso.
Typical Caribbean resort but without the hassle. Flea markets were a 'pleasure' to walk around as you were not pestered and they let you get on with looking at your own pace. Local crafts are very cheap. The only 'hassle' we had was with the taxi drivers and horse drawn carriages always asking if you wanted a taxi, but not a problem really. Some slight poverty on show, but very little really as this is a purpose developed area for tourism and not the 'real' Cuba.
As well as money, clothing (tee shirts etc) is appreciated as are things like toiletries, makeup, shoes etc.
We had a fantastic time and couldn't find any major problems with the hotel. A few annoyances, but nothing which came anywhere near spoiling the holiday.
Travel operator: Instant Holidays
Hotel has so many staff, cleaning all the time, so its spotless.
Staff are very friendly and helpful from the reception staff to the maids, all speak english and are very chatty.
Blau staff try very hard to make sure that the entertainment is varied, spectacular and Cuban.
There was never a dull moment.
Travel operator: The Holiday Place
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