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Home > Destinations > Cuba > Trip Reports > Trip Report

Cuba - Trip Reports

Barcelo Solymar Beach Resort, Varadero

We booked our trip through World of Vacations in Toronto Canada. We indicated during booking this was our honeymoon. We chose this resort on the basis of information both from the travel agency and from the Barcelo website.

In a nutshell here is the rundown:

- Beach 4*
- Service 1 to 3.5 stars varies from nice to exceedingly rude
- Food 1.5* (we walked out of the italian a la carte) Much worse than average cuban resorts Everything cooked in oil
- Facilities 3*

First the nice items about the resort. The beach is beautiful and some staff were very helpful and courteous. The main building is quite nice and well decorated.

We arrived on Sunday June 2nd and presented our marriage certificate to the front desk. We then found ourselves on the bottom floor of a 2 level bungalow with 2 beds (room 2707), and none of the courtesy items indicated by the travel agency. We were supposed to be upgraded to a suite (based on availability) so we went to see the public relations person. We explained our situation and they indicated no suites or rooms with king size beds were available, but to check back the next day and they recorded our request for transfer.

That night (Sunday) the people in the next room had a massive fight which ended up breaking the glass in the door of their room. The next morning we went with our travel representative, (Julie) and again requested a transfer out as my wife was very scared and unable to sleep Sunday night. They indicated the best was to try for a transfer on Tuesday.

On Tuesday evening we finally did got transferred to the main building only into a standard room with 2 beds. Dejected and understanding that the public relations people do not care about service, we gave up and stayed in this room. We were wondering about the other courtesy items (Fruit basket, bottle of rum, lobster dinner) and in talking with other people from the same flight found out they had received a bottle of rum, without it being their honeymoon.

We were on an offsite tour on Wednesday and Thursday was our travel representatives' day off. On Friday we again approached the public relations desk with our travel representative indicating our honeymooner status, and asked about the courtesy items. They indicated that the lobster dinner was unavailable (spawning season) although we ate lobster on Wednesday on the offsite tour. They said the rum and fruit basket would be delivered to the room. A bottle of rum and a fruit PLATE was received. We later witnessed a fruit basket being delivered to another room.

The service at this facility varied greatly. The lobby bar had exceptional service while extremely poor service was found at the pool snack bar. Aside from rude service, two waiters would serve one table (of affluent individuals) with everything while five other tables would have no service at all. The only way to be served was to approach the bar and ask for food and drinks. On one occasion when we were eating they actually had us move our chairs although there were only three occupied tables and other tables needed cleaned.

We have been to Varadero Cuba before and travel to the Caribbean about once every nine months. We have been to Cuba, Bahamas, and the Dominican staying at various chain resorts (RIU, Super-clubs etc.) We particularly like Cuba and after visiting your website were interested in this resort. This visit has placed a serious cloud over the management and facilities of all Barcelo resorts.

Sports and facilities are not advertised.

We were not they only persons with the same concerns regarding facilities and service. Three of the individuals we met were at the resort on familiarization visits from travel agencies including American express travel services.

Do yourself a favour and go to a different 4 star resort in Cuba there are a number of very nice ones.

Thanks to Tim for this trip report ...
June 2002

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