Barcelo Arenas Blancas Reviews

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Barcelo Arenas Blancas  

Calle 64 e/ 1ra Ave y Autopista, Varadero. Matanzas. Cuba.
(Varadero Maps)

"Very pretty place but not clean."
Posted by: Beverly on Mar 3, 2015
see all reviews

Barcelo Arenas Blancas Reviews
Barcelo Arenas Blancas Pictures and Information
Barcelo Arenas Blancas Varadero Cuba

#3
of 51 Hotels in Varadero

User rating 4.1

Based on 66 reviews

Barcelo Arenas Blancas Information



This family hotel is located in the best coast line of Varadero beach, not far from downtown. Its infrastructure is a combination of both modernity and comfort.

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Barcelo Arenas Blancas Reviews

Barcelo Arenas Blancas Review: 4.1 of 5 66 reviews
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"Waste of time and money"

Barcelo Arenas Blancas
User Rating:  Barcelo Arenas Blancas Review: 1.00 of 5

Posted by:  Rachel  on Apr 30, 2010  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Apr, 2010 | Leisure | With Group
255 people found this review helpful

I just came back from Arenas Blancas 4 days ago and unfortunately it was the most horrible resort my group had ever seen.
When we got there it took them over 4 hours to have our rooms ready, in that time we were forced to stay in our travel cloths (hot track pants) and leave our bags in the lobby because they refused to store them for us.
When we actually did get our rooms, we found 2 double beds when we requested 1 king size bed, the t.v was broken,we had a huge rust stain in our bathtub,the pictures on the wall had broken glass in them.
Not a "4 star resort"
They say that what is in your mini fridge is "complementary" mean when that's gone..that's it. We drank all our water within the first 24 hours and they threw away our bottles so we could not refill them, the bar doesn't provided bottled water and the hotel refuses to provide anymore bottled water.
The food was the most vile crap I have ever encountered.
If someone served it to me in Canada I would throw it at them!
We tried to book a la carte restaurants the day after we arrived and they told us we could only book 1 of the 3 because they were all booked, i don't know when they expected us to book these restaurants but.....welcome to Cuba..where the customer is always wrong.
Once we got to the a la carte restaurant we quickly realized it was the exact same gut wrenching food they serve at the buffet only now at least there's good service.
You can't sit in the buffet with being nearly carried away by flies.
Late one night we found cockroaches coming from the snack bar (the only decent place to eat)
The grill, pasta bar, and any other cooking utensils are absolutely filthy!
If you have any type of food allergy or sensitive stomach..stay away from this resort..
they have cross contamination like you would not believe.
"What do you mean you don't want raw fish on your raw chicken"
We tipped every service person we came into contact with and they were still rude!
I work in the service industry and typically you get a tip when the service was good-excellent.
The Cuban people act like assholes at best and still think they deserve a tip!
Our towels and sheets were not changed at all through the week.
By the end of our trip we might as well slept in the sand, which might not be such a bad idea since my boyfriends extremities are completely covered in bites from god knows where from this filthy resort!
We came home and he has not been able to work for 4 days due to the horrible bites and staph infection he acquired at Arenas Blancas.
Because of my groups experience here it's safe to say I wouldn't send my worst enemy to this resort.
I think anyone who liked this place must have severely low standard and/or sniffing glue.

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"DO NOT STAY HERE - WORST RESORT EVER !!!"

Barcelo Arenas Blancas
User Rating:  Barcelo Arenas Blancas Review: 1.00 of 5

Posted by:  William  on May 25, 2010  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: May, 2010 | Leisure | Family and Kids
254 people found this review helpful

Do not stay at this Resort. Just trust me.....it is horrible!!!! Everything was nasty!!

Your Arrival:
Awfull............No Reception Staff

Rooms:
Keep the lights on. Spare the toilet paper....or bring your own!!

Restaurants and Bars:
Service horrible, flies everwhere, cats in heat with broken legs wandering in and out.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
Not maintained....I had to clean the cig butts out of the sand for my child to build a sand castle. Broken glass everywhere...

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
Even though its adviertised..it does not exsist.....deadbolts and chain on the childrens activity door...

Other Comments:
Food - Even for Cuba, it was worse than dog food. If I fed it to my dog he would not even eat it.

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"I love Cuba but will never stay at this resort again."

Barcelo Arenas Blancas
User Rating:  Barcelo Arenas Blancas Review: 2.00 of 5

Posted by:  C.  on Apr 29, 2011  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Apr, 2011 | Leisure | Family and Kids
348 people found this review helpful

I just returned from a 3 day holiday in Cuba and was very disappointed with this resort. Thank goodness for the services of its sister hotel the Barcelo Solymar next door. I have never been anywhere with such poor customer service. Even from the bartenders. There were some people on staff that were nice, mainly in the main dining room, the bell hops and the animation crew. Very few aside from that. The simplest request was met resistance or outright rudness. The Solymar next door had wonderful staff that were always friendly and polite. I'm so glad that we had a chance to spend our days there or our trip would have been ruined.

Room Number:
4011

Arrival:
April 20/11

Restaurants and Bars:
The food was hit and miss. The quality was not as good as the Solymar. I've had better and more variety at the 3 1/2 star Grande Caribe Puntarenas than at either of the Barcelos resorts. The biggest problem at the Arenas Blancas is that there were flies everywhere.

The drinks were okay but I found the bartender to be very rude. They were nicer at the Solymar

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
No complaints here. Beautiful and clean. The whirlpools didn't work which was too bad but the beach made up for it.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
Didn't go out.

Other Comments:
I will offer one example of the rudeness I am referring to- We were given 3 beach towels upon arrival, one for each guest. Our room didn't have a balcony as we were on the ground floor so we had no where to dry the towels.
The first day, they were wet so I left them on the floor for the maid as they requested for the other towels. They were not picked up so the next day I went to the front desk and asked if I could get fresh towels as ours were wet. I was told no. That those towels would be the only ones that I would get for the remainder of my stay. I told them that I had no where to dry them and was told that was too bad but I could not get any more towels. Since we couldn't take any of the white towels out to the beach we were basically stuck with dirty wet towels for most of our trip. I'm glad that this was not my first time in Cuba and that I knew what the serviece is usually like.

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"bad experience"

Barcelo Arenas Blancas
User Rating:  Barcelo Arenas Blancas Review: 2.00 of 5

Posted by:  Debbie and David  on Apr 10, 2011  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Mar, 2011 | Leisure | With friend
350 people found this review helpful

The weather, the beach and the pool were beautiful but the resort is very run down. Even though we had a renovated room it still needed work. We had a fantastic view from our room and the resort was o.k. but the service was terrible. We had to check everyday to see if we had been left clean towels and drinking water. There was no water pressure on our wing and we lost the water all together some days and couldn't even flush the toilet. Our fridge leaked. The day before we left our room didn't get made up so had to go to the service desk to report it and request it be done,with clean towels. The elevator didn't work half the time so we had to use the stairs and we were on the 5th floor. There was only one computer and the system was down more then it was up. We stood in line ups everyday to try and book our a la cartes' only to be told to come back later, the system was down. Check in time was suppose to be at 4:00 P.M. but our room wasn't ready until 4:30-4:40 P.M. We arrived at the hotel that morning at 10:10 A.M.and we were not met by a Sunwing rep. It was a bad experience and a real disappointment for our first vacation.

Room Number:
4404

Arrival:
When we arrived at 10:10 A.M.we were told our room would be ready at 4:00P.M. and it wasn't ready until 4:30-4:40 P.M. It was a long day.

Rooms:
Poor water pressure

Restaurants and Bars:
The food was terrible.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
Beautiful

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"Stay at Arenas Blancas Varadero"

Barcelo Arenas Blancas
User Rating:  Barcelo Arenas Blancas Review: 2.00 of 5

Posted by:  Delores O' Driscoll  on Nov 12, 2005  >  1 contribution(s) IRELAND
Visited on: Nov, 2005
2970 people found this review helpful

I stayed in Arenas Blancas in October 2005 and was not impressed the food was not great. The rooms had a horrible musty smell when we arrived and the drinks were not great in my sisters room the toilet kept breaking down. It is definitely not a 4 star hotel. One of the nights we saw a rat in the pool bar where you can get snacks running over the beams needless to say I was not able to eat there again. The pool was nice and it was right near the beach the staff was friendly you had to queue to book into one of the restaurants and the wine they serve was all watered down. I will not be returning to this hotel. It was not worth the money we paid for it and not a good experience.

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"Very dissapointed"

Barcelo Arenas Blancas
User Rating:  Barcelo Arenas Blancas Review: 2.00 of 5

Posted by:  Joe  on Sep 22, 2010  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Sep, 2010 | Leisure | With friend
315 people found this review helpful

I will be as honest as possible. The only nice thing about this hotel was the touristsi met and the pool was gorgeous. I was there from Sept 13 2010 to sept 20 2010. When i checked in i had to wait at least 1 and a half hours for 1 towel. i just wanted to take a shower. the buffet was pathetic. I have videos and pictures to prove my point. There was absolutely no variety.At most there were 3 trays with hot food, the rest was salads or vegetables.We ate out every lunch and dinner. Even the employees agreed that the food,and i use the word lightly was non existing. The security staff who are suppose to make sure that onlt the hotel guests could get in were caught on video (which i have) sleeping on there watch. The front desk girl aswell was fast asleep on her desk.(again i have videos)The hotel was infested with cats. In the 7 days i was there we witnessed 2 kittens dying. It took the staff 5 days to finally discard of one of the kittens which i had wrapped in a napkin,"so that the kids would not see this".
I was injured on a scooter accident, nothing major but the hotel nurse who was suppose to be in at 8:30am showed up 2 i repeat 2 days later to finally dissifect my cut and put a bandaid on it. The only good thing that the staff was good at was pressuring people to give them there personel belongings before they left. I had about 10 staff members ask me for my nike running shoes? It was a very unconfortable feeling. The power went out twice for about 2 hours.The surrounding hotels had power. Beleive it or not at about 5:30 am you can witness all the staff collecting plastic glasses from the garbage and the pool area to wash them and reuse them.I have video of this aswell?Ive stayed in different hotels in Varadero, usually 3 stars and the quality of the food and service was much better than this so called 4 star hotel.I was looking forward to leaving this place that i did not even wait for the bus on the departure day. I taxi'd it with the friend i was with. This was my 7th trip to varadero and i can easily say that i have never regretted a hotel stay as much as this one. I honestly regret going to this hotel. The 24hr snack bar closes often for hours at a time??

Rooms:
The room was nice.I had pressure in my shower and did not see one insect in my room, my friend rarely had pressure and no hot water

Restaurants and Bars:
The bar was ok. Staff there tried there best to serve us right

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
Gorgeous beach but that has nothing to do with this Hotel.

Other Comments:
I Would not recommend this place

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"Not good"

Barcelo Arenas Blancas
User Rating:  Barcelo Arenas Blancas Review: 2.00 of 5

Posted by:  Jos  on Jun 14, 2012  >  1 contribution(s) BELGIUM
Visited on: Jun, 2012 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
477 people found this review helpful

We stayed for one week at this hotel...
And it was NOT good!
The rooms were very old, the food was not good (poor/select buffet)
And the service very slow.
The only thing that was quit good was the cleaning service...

We were very happy that we also could go to the other hotel 'Solymar'
The food/service there was much better...

Arrival:
5 jeune

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"Arenas Blancas has gone downhill"

Barcelo Arenas Blancas
User Rating:  Barcelo Arenas Blancas Review: 2.00 of 5

Posted by:  Ken  on Feb 1, 2010  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Jan, 2010 | Leisure | With Group
238 people found this review helpful

We just returned from Arenas Blancas on Jan 30. This hotel has gone downhill since the last time we visited 2 years ago. Lets start with the food. The food was disappointing at the least. Not much variety, unless you like fish, which seemed to be served at almost every meal, except breakfast. Now, I know you don't go to Cuba for the food, but at least you should have some variety. The best part of each meal, was the bread.............its incrediable There is a lot of theft on this resort. I left a $250 pair of sandals of the beach, while we were helping the beach guy stack the beach chairs. We walked away and I remembered them about 20 minutes later. I walked back to the beach and the guy never saw them. ............yeah right. I offered a reward to the pool and beach staff to get them back, but it never happened even though you could tell by talking to them, that either they had them or they knew who did. I met a lady that had left her sunglasses on the table in the buffet, she walked to the elevator about 100 feet away, remembered them, went back, and they were gone and the staff never saw them. Tourists would never steal sandals or sunglasses as they usually bring their own.

Your Arrival:
Our arrival was ontime and very friendly.

Rooms:
rooms were decent. Very old mattersses and fixtures. If you want a nice shower, forget it. The water pressure is non existent and it is iffy if you can regulate the temperature. At one point, our room was full of ants, which the chambermaids didn't care about and either did anyone else. We had to put up with them

Restaurants and Bars:
The buffet restaurant was a big disappointement.
The food was way below the quality we enjoyed 2 years ago. If you like fish, its the place to go. There was no quality or selection to any of the dishes.

We tried the Italian restaurant twice, which was a big disappointment both times. The food was cold and bland both times. Don't have the soup, unless you like it cold as was the case with all the dishes including the Canneloni, lasagna, pizza, etc. We kept trying to order the lobster pizza, but it was never available.

The Internnational restaurant was fantastic on our first visit. The lobster was terrific even though there was an extra $12 charge for this, even though it was only a $10 charge for the same lobster being served out the back door of the same restaurant to the beach bar.

Our second visit was a disappointment as we got an inexperienced waitress who messed up all 8 of our orders, then brought a dish that no one at the table had ordered, so, she just left it anyway. The waitresses were supposed to remove the lobster tail meat from the shell, which is a very simple task but being inexperienced, she totally shredded the meat, leaving a pile of shredded lobster on the plate, which could have been used for the lobster pizza in the Italian restaurant.....lol. The other 5 people in our group had no problem removing it. They don't give you any dipping butter, as you don't need it, because of the way its cooked. When done right, its amazing.

The downfall at each of the restaurants is the tipping. You are expected to tip at every meal, regardless of the quality. The more you tip, the better service you recieve. You also have all the staff trying to sell you either coffee beans, or rum, stolen from the restaurants and bars.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
The beach is amazing. All 20 kms of it is groomed every night and the water is clear and clean. You have the lifeguards trying to sell you cigars which are either stolen or made from bannana leaves. You can buy them single or by the box. The problem with buyiing them by the box, if you are thinkng of taking them home, is you had better have a reciept if you get stopped at customs on the way home. The pool is kept clean . the only problem with the pool is they have way too many lawn chairs around it. You are side by side and have no room the move. They don't have pool bar service or recreational entertainment during the day

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
There are no activities on the resort that we saw in the 2 weeks that we were there. They would announce different activities by the pool, but they never developed. We didn't see any activities on the beach. The only children's activities that we saw were feeding all the cats that hang around the buffet restaurant. That kept the kids busy after each meal.

Other Comments:
This hotel has gone downhill since the last time we visited 2 years ago, It doesn't matter where we went in Varadero, everyone was trying to rip you off. From trying to charge you tax, which doesn't exist in Cuba, to removing price tags if they see you looking at something, then raising the price when you ask about the item, they are all out to try and rip you off, which is very disappointing to say the least, and is the main reason we will not be visiting Cuba in the near future

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"Arenas Blancas"

Barcelo Arenas Blancas
User Rating:  Barcelo Arenas Blancas Review: 2.00 of 5

Posted by:  mariana  on May 1, 2006  >  2 contribution(s) ARGENTINA
Visited on: May, 2006
1318 people found this review helpful

La pasamos muy bien, en especial con la gente de animacion, pero la atencion no fue tan buena como esperabamos. Siempre nos decian que no a algo: toallas, tragos, cambio de dinero, bicicletas, shampoo, desenredante, jabon, etc. La playa un paraiso!! tal vez la proxima nos den una habitacion con vista al mar...

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"Second-worst experience in a Varadero resort since 1996"

Barcelo Arenas Blancas
User Rating:  Barcelo Arenas Blancas Review: 2.00 of 5

Posted by:  Michael Barrett  on Jan 7, 2010  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Dec, 2009 | Leisure | Solo
227 people found this review helpful

I have stayed at a number of Varadero resorts in Cuba over the past dozen years but lately regularly visit only three, including Arenas Blancas which has been one of my preferred destinations due to location, beach, layout and amenities. Unfortunately, the best I can say after my most recent week, Nov 29-06 2009 is that the resort is still on a nice stretch of beach. Perhaps I was "a week early".

Problems I encountered:
Some of the reviews I've been reading from visitors over the past six months or so have been very negative and I've tended to disregard the usual comments about "bad food", "poor staff attitude" and "run-down conditions" because my own experiences have been contrary. Not this time. This was for me, probably the second-worst experience in a Varadero resort since 1996.
Of course some "deficiencies" are "normal" : the main lobby outside elevators that have a pool-view have never worked as far as I know, the "pool side" extension and serving windows at the lobby bar were abandoned the year they opened and the lobby "water feature" was not working. These are givens. What surprised me was the attitude of many of the staff, even those who remember me from many past visits, the serious lack of maintenance in this ten year old building and the really poor selection and quality of the food.
Now I'm one of those frequent Cuba visitors who hear the complaints about "inedible" food at Cuban resorts and wonder "what do these people eat at home?"
There is always (normally) lots to eat on a resort buffet in Cuba. If you claim to be reduced to eating pizza and cheese sandwiches you are either lying (and I have personal experience of folks who do) or you eat nothing but packaged noodles, Kraft Dinner and peanut butter sandwiches at home.
On this occasion I had been quite disappointed with the buffet fare at my (normally excellent) Havana hotel and was looking forward to the (normally excellent) fare at Arenas Blancas but it was not to be. The first few days, there was barely enough food available for the "half-full" status of the hotel and the selection and quality were minimal and poor. Granted the quantities improved as the hotel filled over my week, but never came up to the Arenas Blancas "normal" quality and variety I've enjoyed since 1999.

I could continue with a detailed description of all the problems I encountered as a guest (especially a supposedly VIP "returning guest") at what has been a favorite resort but here are some of the things that will make me consider taking Arenas blancas off my Cuban resort list.

Beach bar/restaurant:
- the beach bar/restaurant is gone, replaced by a tiny makeshift bar and tables tacked on to the back of the International a la carte restaurant. The once lush grounds between the pool area and former beach bar area are totally screened off, bulldozed up and inaccessible as they construct a massive concrete structure that will become a new beach bar/restaurant complex. this may take years. What a mess.

Elevators:
- not only the perpetually "out of service" lobby elevators are broken. One of the two elevators at my end of the complex was marked 'for staff use only' but never worked. The other elevator had a hole in the floor through which you could look down the shaft. By the time I left, you could stick your hand through but not to worry, that elevator broke down too. The elevators on the other end of the building were creaking and groaning. This is a 5 floor hotel.

Room renovations:
- despite a major paint job in 2006 and what was reported as extensive room renovations, the hotel is very drab and tired. Dirt and marks on the walls, graffiti scratched in the elevators, ponds dry, no spoons in the restaurant, no ashtrays in the bars. My own room was almost totally lacking electrical services. When I arrived, there was a working fridge but that failed on day 2 because the outlet failed. They 'fixed' this by unplugging my only working bedroom light to serve the fridge. My bathroom light failed the day before I left. I had no aircon only one day and no hot water only two days so that was a 'plus'.

Booz:
- not only has the food situation deteriorated but the booze selection is poor as well. At one time, this resort like most of the all-inclusives above the 2-star level served international brands and a good selection of quality Cuban rums. Perhaps the new 5-star resorts still do but Arenas Blancas does not even serve the flagship Havana Club except the $4/litre Blanco in mixed drinks. Weak mixed drinks. There is NO 7 yo añejo and the 5 yo is a lesser brand. The lobby bar only serves the really low quality 'Santero' brand that I think was invented for tourist all-inclusives. It's CUBA!!! The rum is CHEAP!
Yes, it's cheap enough that you can buy your own bottle for sipping but then, why are you paying top dollar for an 'all inclusive' package?

Staff:
They laid off many of the staff for seven months this summer when the hotel was in 'low season'. I believe that next summer they would do well to totally shut down the hotel during this period and make some serious renovations. And hey- get L-G to send a couple of guys from Korea to fix those elevators.

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