Turquoise Net
Cooltan Tan-Through Swimwear and Shirts

Home : Destinations : Photo Gallery : Maps

Where to Stay
Featured Accommodations
Featured Villas
Boutique Hotels
Private Islands
Sandals & Beaches Specials
Special Deals
All Places to Stay
Discussion Forum
Hotel Reviews
Trip Reports
Things to Do and See
Art, Music & Culture
News & Media
Tourist Boards
Tour Operators
Book a Hotel
Book a Flight
Currency Converter
Events Calendar
Caribbean for Canadians For Canadians

Home > Destinations > Cuba > Trip Reports > Trip Report

Cuba - Trip Reports

Beaches, Varadero

My wife and I spent the last week of March and first week of April 2000 at two all inclusive resorts in the Varadero area. This is a report of our experience at Beaches. Another report will follow on the other all inclusive at which we stayed the first week.

Beaches Resort is joint venture between Cubanacan, a state owned company controlled by the Ministry of Tourism, and the well known Sandals corporation. The resort opened in March 1999. It is located close to the end of the Varadero peninsula and is about 15 minutes by road from the town of Varadero. However it is close to the small marina from which the various boat and sea-doo tours depart.

The main part of the resort is a five storey u-shaped building that contains most of the guest rooms and the dining facilities. There are bungalow units at the ends of the "U" that extend the whole complex. In the middle of the "U" is a salt water lagoon , a large multi-part pool and hot tubs. Beyond this is the pool bar, grill eatery, and an outdoor theatre for stage shows. Continuing, one walks through a line of trees and dunes to arrive at the beach. The walk from the main building to the beach is five minutes, so don't forget anything for the beach.

Being that the resort is just one year old, it is in good repair and all the guest rooms and facilities are up-to-date. The other side of this newness is the lack of mature vegetation on the grounds and the resort operations still seeking the right grove in some cases.


The main buffet dining room had a wide variety of tasty dishes that I found at times to be too much for the staff to keep warm and replenished. The one real restaurant called Fusion had an excellent menu, service, ambience, and food preparation. The other "restaurant " was an uninviting room serving a combination of buffet and a la carte Italian. Food was good, but not exceptional. This room later in the evening became the disco. Both restaurants were too small for a resort of this size and consequently difficult to gain access to.

The resort lobby is quite beautiful with lots of comfortable seating arranged in a variety of ways. Besides the registration desk, there was a public relations desk that handled problems and provided advice in a variety of languages. These same staff offered daily orientation sessions. The local shop has a good variety of items ranging from food to clothing.

Both the pool and beach area has a large quantity of beach chairs so seating is not a problem. Lots of shade at the beach, but limited around the pool area. The beach itself is typical Varadero - fine white sand, very clean, reasonably wide at this point, and the sand extends for a long distance under the water.

There is sufficient quantity of sail boats and other watercraft. The beach boys are very friendly and supportive.

The evening entertainment was quite good featuring a house band, dancers, and singers who all put on energetic performances. One evening featured an synchronized swim show in the pool. The one major distraction of the entertainment was poor sound quality.

The rooms are quite nice and well equipped. Maid and bellboy service were excellent.

There are a wide variety of activities scheduled and an enthusiastic group of animators to encourage guests to participate. Information on schedule changes was lacking and the activities office is hard to find. There is a need here for better management.


The greatest displeasure for us was the poor quality of the dining experience in the main dining room. This is a large open room with tile flooring and relatively low ceiling. Noise level is very high to the point it is difficult to converse and one wants to rush the meal to get outside to quiet. There are ten or so tables on an open terrace, but these were in great demand to the point that some were bribing staff to get them.. The other negative about the dining room is the friendly, but inefficient staff. Tables are not cleared and set unless incoming diners press for service. Water, wine, and water replenishments are not freely offered. There is no bar on this floor of the hotel, so finding or getting a drink other than the above is difficult. However, as noted above, the food is very good.

The grill at the pool centre was a failure in my view. Food was cold and service indifferent. There is evening service, but based on daytime experience, we avoided that opportunity. One of the hotel managers casually asked my opinion one day, and I complained about the grill. The next day I noted a substantial improvement in the food service there.

There are only two full service bars to serve the resort: one at the pool complex and the other off the lobby. Given that most guests are at the pool or beach during the day, and then around the lobby and bar in the evening, one bar is serving most of the guests at any one time. Thus there were major waits even for simple items like water and soft drinks.

The resort has a fitness room with some equipment, but it is far too small and can only accommodate 5-6 persons comfortably.


Overall the resort is a good one that has the potential be a very good. The staff are very nice, but their newness to the resort shows at times. Given the hype from Sandals and the relationship of Beaches to Sandals, I had high expectations that were not met. Yet I would not discourage anyone from staying at the resort because I spoke to other guests who shared with me the above comments and in the next breath said they had a pleasant stay.

Thanks to Pat for this trip report ...
May 2000

    Places to Stay  
    Hotel Reviews  
    General Information  
    Photo Gallery  
    Real Estate  
    Trip Reports  

About Us : Advertise with Us : Disclaimer : Privacy Policy : Contact Us

© 1995-2016 Turquoise Interactive. All rights reserved.


In Association with Amazon.com