> Destinations > Cuba > Trip Reports > Trip Report
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
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
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
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
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 ...