Iberostar Laguna Azul Reviews

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Iberostar Laguna Azul  

Varadero, Matanzas, Cuba

"the food isn't great"
Posted by: zaraiah on Jul 15, 2014
see all reviews

Iberostar Laguna Azul Reviews
Iberostar Laguna Azul Pictures and Information
Iberostar Laguna Azul Varadero Cuba

#12
of 50 Hotels in Varadero

User rating 4.2

Based on 37 reviews

Iberostar Laguna Azul Information


Standing in a privileged location on the seafront at Varadero Beach, the recently opened five-star resort Iberostar Laguna Azul offers a wide range of facilities making it the ideal choice for couples, families and groups. Be among the first to enjoy this fabulous hotel!

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Iberostar Laguna Azul Reviews

Iberostar Laguna Azul Review: 4.2 of 5 37 reviews
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"two words"

Iberostar Laguna Azul
User Rating:  Iberostar Laguna Azul Review: 2.0 of 5

Posted by:  angela  on Apr 19, 2010  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Apr, 2010 | Leisure | Family and Kids
189 people found this review helpful

stay away......not what we call food, beds hard, slow service,needs repairs for a new hotel, not a great place to sleep but pools and beach great, only alcarte resturant we recommend is the japanese which we consider to be 5 star all the way.

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"heavenly"

Iberostar Laguna Azul
User Rating:  Iberostar Laguna Azul Review: 5.0 of 5

Posted by:  miriam  on Apr 12, 2010  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Apr, 2010
433 people found this review helpful

Wow, I thought I died and went to heaven as the place was wonderful and the food was even great and the people that worked in the hotel were anazing.There were no bugs flying around and the place was kept emaculate. The only thing that I wasn't to o keen on were there drinks as they didn't seem to make them too good and most of the people would get up real early and put their towels on the chairs to save a seat for them and some people wouldn't come out until later that afternoon so more less the early bird catches the worm.I would say that this place is the best place that I have ever gone to in Cuba and I send all my love to the workers and performers which were breathtaken especially the river dancing.I would go back in a heartbeat.So go and explore you won't regret it. Keep up the good work Iberostar.

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"On its Way to being the Best in the Area"

Iberostar Laguna Azul
User Rating:  Iberostar Laguna Azul Review: 5.0 of 5

Posted by:  EDinNB  on Apr 2, 2010  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Apr, 2010 | Leisure | With Group
208 people found this review helpful

This Hotel covers all the bases, Great Rooms, Good Buffets, Above Average a La Cartes, Great Beach, Beautiful Pools, Wonderful Drinks, and best of all Perfect Staff :)

Is the Resort Perfect yet? No, but it will get there. They need to look at a few areas like more pool towels. We got towels the first day and only exchanged them every 3 days, so it wasn't an issue with us,but if you need 3 fresh towels every day, then you are going to be disappointed. The Hotel should also look at labeling the food better at the Buffets; sometimes it is hard to know which is White Rice and which is Brown Rice. Seriously folks, If it looks good, give it a try, if not pass it by.

I'll go into more detail in each section below.

Your Arrival:
Flight with Sunwing was typical charter flight if not a bit above average. We flew from Moncton to Varadaro direct, with 1/2 of the passengers having already boarded in Gander NL then picked up the rest of us.

Customs was a breeze, and I had heard how stern and scary Cuba Customs could be. this trip we were confronted with young girls laughing and joking with eachother as they inspected our carry on luggage if the X-Rays showed anything they wanted to take a closer look at and we were off to the baggage claim and off to the Busses.

I have a comment about the Drivers in Cuba...much calmer and more respectful than my encounters in Dominican Republic....nuff said.

Check in at the hotel was fast and efficient and we were almost ready to head off to our rooms, but having been given a heads up, We went to Guest Services immediately and booked our A La Carte's before we missed out, and we are glad we did, as there were 20 people waiting in the line at 9:00 the next morning.

Rooms:
These Rooms are large, bright and well appointed, with a decent sized closet and storage spaces. The bathroom is large and roomy with a large corner tub and shower. They even include scales in the bathroom so you can weigh your luggage for the return flight, because I see no other reason to have scales on vacation :)

We were on the second floor of building 19 and we faced the smaller pool area to the Northwest side of the resort. Our room had 2 3/4 sized beds, do not kid yourselves, they are designed for one person and not 2 for sleeping. This was not a major issue with us, and we never went to the front desk to request a room change as we were very close to the rest of our group. The large umbrellas supplied to each were a very nice touch and even though we never had cause to use them, we did appreciate them being so handy.

The electronic safe is in the closet, and is angled a bit, so just remember to access it through the centre sliding door.

One thing to be aware, in previous reviews it was stated there was a 110V plug in the bathroom for shavers that was incorporated into the hair dryer. Our room did not have this type hair dryer with plug, so there was absolutely no place that I found all week to use an electric shaver, but there are many 240V outlets in the main room you can use if you have universal voltage appliances or use a travel adapter.

We left daily gifts for the maids and received a nice thank you note from them, towel art included. On every day but our last day, our room was made up and cleaned with fresh towels if we requested them by 2 PM.

Restaurants and Bars:
We ate at the following restaurants, Beach Snack Bar, Beach Buffet, and Main Buffet, also at the Steakhouse, Romantico, and the Japanese a la cartes.
let me start with the A la Cartes first. When we booked the a la cartes, we had 1 goal in mind, we needed a place to celebrate a Birthday on Friday. The only thing available was the Steakhouse at 9:00 so we booked. The next day or so the wife of the birthday boy went to guest services and arrang4ed for a cake and a bottle of Champagne in the room for him. That evening we arrived to be told there was no tenderloin left... those hungry early diners, you know who you are... So most of us ordered the Strip Loin, a couple ordered Chicken and 1 ordered Red Snapper. None of us were impredded with the steak, but we are on vacation...not a problem. The chicken was good and the lady really enjoyed her fish. Desert was nothing to write home about but that is no biggie either,

Monday we went to the Romantico for 8;30 and had a wonderful meal, 9 ordered the tenderloin whuch was very good, and my wife had a shrimp stew like dish that she thouroughly enjoyed. Desert was pretty and not too bad at all, but those who ordered the sherbet all got brain freeze... a minor problem.

Tuesday, our last evening we went to the Japanese restaurant, and had a wonderful dining experience. the meal started with sushi then a soup followed with the cooking presentation, you all know how this goes if you have been to one. This was our first experience at one and we really enjoyed it the meal was cooked in front of us and consisted of rice and veggies with beef chicken and shrimp all done in style. This is a shot not to be missed.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
The main pool is divided into 2 parts with a stand up and a swim up bar, a waterfall and hot tub. This was the most crowded of all the pools and has limited shade byt no shortage of loungers. The 2 side pools are much quieter and the one on the left side where we hung out had a decent amount of shaded areas. you can always get a lounger, but if you want a specific place, be prepared to play the towel game.

The beach is the best in that area. long wide and a gentle slope into the water. There is over 400 shade payapas on the beach, so finding one usually isn't an issue till about noon, but again be prepared to play the towel game if you want a specific spot. Bartenders at the beach bae are good, but pace themselves as they wait on a lot of people meny times a day, so help them a bit and walk to the beach buffet bar for a drink once in a while.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
Onsite activities and Star Friends Team were good, they kept everyone active who wished to be and encouraged lounge potatoes like myself to participate but were not agressive or demanding.

Offsite 3 people hired a taxi for a trip to Havana and thouroughly enjoyed the day and we all took the double decker bus into the market in Varadero. Other than that, we soaked up the sun and rum at the resort.

Other Comments:
I consider myself a very well informed traveller and somewhat experienced and I wish to be to the point of bluntness with my comments here.

If you expect things to be just like home, please do the rest of us a favor and Stay Home.

If you expect the hotel staff to be your personal slaves, please bring your own from home or better still Stay Home.

If you can't show the hotel staff the same courtesy you would show your spouse or children, Please Stay Home.

If you can't Check your attitude and ego in the departure lounge at the airport when you leave, then Please Stay Home.

If you can't ignore the small stuff that doesn't amount to a hill of beans anyway, please dont ruin it for the rest of us, or if you must be that constantant pain in the butt because that is all you can do, the do every other fun loving, laid back, and relaxed traveller at the resort a favor and Please Stay Home.

The Buffets:
OK now on to the more mundane food reviews..

The Beach Buffet searves breakfast and lunch and becomes the Cuban a la Carte in the evening. We never had breakfast there, but did have lunch on occasion. Here I found the food below this hotels normal standards. At one end of the restaurant closest the lobby, the hot food was barely warm, but was fine at the beach end. the selection was very limited and not to my taste, but others managed to find their fill.

The Beach Grill serves burgers hot dogs and fries and all are very good and they are open 24 hrs for that after disco snack, but don't be in a hurry, however you will be entertained by the people who work there while you wait (wink).

The Main Buffet serves all three meals every day. We ate all our breakfasts there and most had and definitely enjoyed the made to order omlettes. I have heard and read several complaints about the way the bacon was cooked....I could always find enough to suit me, but I may have to go to both bacoon pans or wait for a fresh tray, but I managed and I didn't whine about it....
The breads are excellent and the hot chocolate is wonderful, but I found the pancakes rubbery so I didn't have them again....problem solved..

We ate lunch there a couple of times and always found a good selection. Dinners we had there were varied and always had good variety, especially fish.
On 4 seperate noghts here was what was at the carving station, Beef Tenderloin, Sirloin tip roast Beef, Roast Turkey, Baked Ham and all were very good to excellent, especially the Ham and Turkey.

Our group of 10 all agreed when I said this to them, " If you go hungry or can't find something you like to eat at this Resort, that is your problem not theirs". As with any resort, the tastes vary as do peoples likes and dislikes but I am probably one of the pickiest and fussiest eaters you will run across and I ate some darn good meals and no bad ones. Yes there was food I didn't like but with so much to chose from I had many choices.

This is my main gauge for a resorts food. I use the pasta station as a meal of last resort...If I can't find a single thing that appeals to me at a meal, I go for a plate of pasta. How many times did I go to the Pasta Station at this resort....Not One Single Time... that is how good and varied the food selection at this resort is.

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"No major complaints"

Iberostar Laguna Azul
User Rating:  Iberostar Laguna Azul Review: 4.0 of 5

Posted by:  Maureen  on Mar 29, 2010  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Mar, 2010 | Business | With Spouse/Partner
143 people found this review helpful

Stayed March 20-27, 2010.
Hotel is clean and staff are helpful and very friendly. Food at buffet was not labled so we did not eat much of it, although most people did. Only heard of one person being ill at the resort and this person was also badly sunburnt, I think they had sun poisoning and it had nothing to do with the food. Weather was amazing the whole week. Did the Havana day trip and it was good, also went to Veredaro on the bus, not much there but was nice to see old cars etc.

Food
In the mornings you could have omlettes or eggs cooked for you which we did and they were very good, bread was excellent. For lunch we ate hamburgers which are cooked down by the beach area, we asked for well done and these were very good, did also eat some buns/cheese at the buffet. Dinners at the buffet, we tended to stick to food fresh off the grill, pork and beef which were good and rice from the buffet. Ice cream is also good. The a la cartes we had were the steakhouse, Romantica and Japanese. Japanese was by far the best with the steakhouse second and Romantica third. Make sure you book these right away, they fill up fast and some people did not get in to the three you are allowed.

No bugs, although one person did have a severe reaction to mosquitos, for the most part we didn't use bug spray but after seeing her reaction we did put it on for the nightly show in the theatre. That's where they seemed to be...otherwise no bugs but would suggest bug spray.

We didn't have hot water for a day (Saturday the day we arrived into Sunday)..probably with so many people coming and going. Otherwise no problem. Spent quite a bit on tips, everyone gets tipped including the staff cooking the food...you don't have to, but it is done.

Went with Sunwing, flight down was great but had a 5 hour delay on the return flight. Were supposed to leave at 10:40PM and left at 4:00AM due to weather conditions of the incoming flight from NFLD. Won't fly this late again.

Your Arrival:
Bring bug spray and lots of suntan lotion.

Rooms:
Clean

Restaurants and Bars:
Book a la carts right away, they fill up fast

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
Well tended and clean. Beach is not cleaned daily so some trash around but livable

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
Havana day trip was good

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"Not really five star yet!"

Iberostar Laguna Azul
User Rating:  Iberostar Laguna Azul Review: 3.0 of 5

Posted by:  Diana  on Mar 21, 2010  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Mar, 2010 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
208 people found this review helpful

We travelled to this resort Feb 28 to March 7 2010. The reason we chose this resort was because we had stayed at other Iberostars in the Caribbean and had not been disappointed. However, this resort is perhaps too new yet. We had hot water and bath sized towels only 3 days out of our 7 day stay. We used our pool towels for bathing purposes. Toilet paper was also an issue. Though we ourselves did not experience food problems we were careful of what we chose and did become aware of other people who had become seriously ill from uncooked meat served on the buffet. We did notice that the hotel lobby furniture seemed very worn for such a new resort making us think that this particular resort is not quite up to the Iberostar standard of luxury. We found that because the resort was filled to capacity all staff were extremely busy and hurried though those staff working at the buffet did try hard to please. I don't think we would return to this resort until we hear that they have overcome the difficulties of being too new to be so full.

Rooms:
We stayed in building 15 which we found noisy but clean.

Restaurants and Bars:
We dined at the Japanese which we found fun but rushed. We also dined at the Italian which was mediocre and the Gourmet which was very good. All the bars served great drinks.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
The vegetation is not fully developed due to the newness of the resort but well cared for. The pools were cold but clean.

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"5 star? No, but a 4.5 star with big ambitions!"

Iberostar Laguna Azul
User Rating:  Iberostar Laguna Azul Review: 4.0 of 5

Posted by:  Claire  on Mar 9, 2010  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Mar, 2010 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
151 people found this review helpful


Your Arrival:
Flew with Sunwing out of Québec City. Stopover in Ottawa for 1/2 hour... which turned into 2.5 (loading passengers, tire change, then de-icing), so arrived in Varadero 2 hours later than sheduled... in thundershowers. Flight was nonetheless pleasant, the small glass of champagne helped. Btw, food was good too.

Check-in was smooth and fast. Front desk personnel could gain if they smiled more... They all looked extremely busy and stressed.

The bank is around the Front Desk counter on the right. Exchange rates were only a smidge higher than that of the airport. Departures are also at this same area. They give you your room keycard and towel cards.

The weekly weather charts and respective travel agengy flight info books are also located at the Front Desk.

The only boutique in the hotel is near the Front Desk. In a small corridor opposite the Lobby you'll find the cigar shop, the cigar bar, and tucked further away is the Guest Relations Office where you have to go (as early as possible when u arrive) to book your a-la-cartes for the week. They will do their best, but let's face it, it's hard to book 1000 people in 4 restaurants when some seat only 80 people at a time... The PR rep told me that some people just don't show up for their reservation (how rude) so sometimes you may get lucky.

Rooms:
We had Room 16415 (room 15 on 4th floor of bldg 16), fab-U-lous, next to main building and great view of entire site with beach on the horizon. King-size bed, nice clean bathroom complete with 2 bathrobes and the traditional towel art. No problem with lack of hot water or towels. Minibars are re-stocked every 2 days. We were able to watch snippits of Olympics on Canadian tv, yeh!
One minor flaw, the room safe is located in the closet on a shelf in a very weird position, almost hard to see into.

Oh yeah, other slight problems like no mini-bar service after 3 days, and one day the toilet seat broke off its hinges (not me, I swear! lol) and one day no maid service (but saw them in the hall) were all remedied within minutes.

Restaurants and Bars:
Buffet is downstairs under the terrace and lobby perched above. I'd give the Buffet food a 3.5/5 just because of the lack of variety, imho. It's also very noisy when full. There is a small room off to the right near the Omelette station which is much quieter.

The a-la carte restaurants are all together along one corridor, not far from Buffet entrance. This same walkway leads to the Theatre and the Disco area (neither of which we visited). The Romantico restaurant was, imho, the best one, followed by the Japanese (personal chef "performs" in front of tables of 10, great time), then the Italian. There is also a Ranch restaurant near the beach, open 24 hours, serving everything from burgers and fries to buffet-style meanus at noon. The Ranch Grill also serves excellent cappucinos and espressos, which is good to know considering that the Lobby bar opens only at 9:00 a.m. (whazzup with that?)... Speaking of whazzup, the a-la-cartes are pretty small, so book early!

The lobby bar serves excellent drinks and is open until 2 a.m. It's a small, closed, air-conditioned area, but the lobby itself boasts of a very large sitting area on 2 levels, so you can either sit around in the lobby area near the entrance or down a few stairs where larger chairs and couches were THE spot in the evenings, when the entertainment kicks in. Most evenings there was a very good female pianist, often followed by small groups of musicians to set the tone for a wonderful, relaxing evening. One group in particular, composed of 5 beautiful latinas raised the roof with some very good salsa dance music. Some guests play cards or games while others just huddle/mingle with neighbours. Very good idea for those of us who are early risers! In hotter temps, this portion of the lobby opens up to a huge terrace overlooking the entire site.

And yes, there is a beach bar near the central walkway and close to the Ranch Grill. Open 10 to 6, weather permitting.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
What can I say about the beach except WOW. It's the best thing about this hotel! It's long, rock-free and gorgeous! And the only jellyfish we saw were dead ones on the beach lol Lots of chairs, palapas AND room. Two gents are present to set up the chairs if u so desire. Unfortunately, the beach chairs have NO cushions, although the pool areas do (on request; look for the pool guys carrying piles of green/white mats).

There are 3 pools: one large one in the center of the resort, complete with rock waterfall, hot-tub for 15 people up top, swim-up bar and kiddie waders. The 2 other pools are the other side of each row of buildings. These are smaller and definitely quieter.
We RARELY saw anyone in the pools, mainly because it was SO DARN COLD the week we were there! Bummer!

The grounds are clean and well-kept. The vegetation is newer but promising! There is one walkway to the beach on the left and a central one (the one 95% of people use) leading past the Ranch Grill. The proposed walkway on the right-hand side is still under construction, so unavailable thus far. There are bathrooms in the Ranch Grill.

p.s. No bugs to be seen but I did see some ladies with badly bitten legs, so be prepared.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
Really nice gym and spa up on the 5th floor of main building over lobby. Practiced tai chi on one day in a round windowless room overlooking the resort and beach... Surreal! You can get a massage at the spa ($) and NO, you can't use the spa hot tub unless you are a spa client...

The Animation team is quite young and imho lack experience handling such a large site. They sure try their darndest, though! Daily stretching, workout, step classes, and dance lessons most mornings before noon at both the main pool and the beach. These guys and gals work their buns off, some working more than 15 hour days. Incredible! We also noticed several other games such as bingo and party quiz guys-against-gals games around the main pool area.

There is what seemed to be a popular kiddies club just across from the Ranch Grill and close to the main pool area, with proper supervision. I even heard they had a kiddies night at the Theatre complete with dancing, singing and costumes.

There are also 3 tennis courts, ping pong in the towel clubhouse on the right as u look out from the lobby balcony, as well as ping pong and darts in the lobby most nights and a pool table near the cigar bar.

On the beach there are the usual water sports: paddleboats, several catamarans, those small 2-person sailboat whatchamacallits, windsurfing and parasailing, which we did NONE of because of the tremendous winds the entire week. Bummer!

Internet: Good luck trying to find the Internet room! The entrance is OUTSIDE the front entrance to your left tucked in behind... the Guest Relations desk. Can I say Whazzup again? There is no sign to indicate that the Internet Room is here... Tickets are sold at the Front Desk.

Other Comments:
Temps were quite COLD almost the entire week, with temps ranging between 16 (you heard me) and 21, partly cloudy and very windy most days. We had 3 good days on that glorious beach, but were only allowed to swim on ONE day (high winds and big waves, too dangerous). The lifeguards were extremely vigilant on these days, warning us to not go further than below our knees...

Might I mention that we were at the hotel during the last week of the Olympics and that with a slight insistence by some people (ok, large amount of lobbying lol), the Canadian guests managed to convince the hotel to set up a tv in the Disco to enable many of us to watch the Canada/US gold medal final. I thought that was a wonderful gesture on the part of the Hotel to do this. We were out of town for the evening, but heard that several hundred attended the DOO and a grrrreat time was had by all, in a great spirit of comaraderie... and oh yeah brewskys and maple leaf mitten-cladded glasses of rum! When we got back to the hotel later that evening, the lobby was practically deserted, as most people hung around their rooms to watch the amazing closing ceremonies. Go Canada! :)

All in all, we had a great week at a great hotel. Yes, I would go back there again but personally we prefer smaller resorts, as you get to know the staff better. This hotel opened in late 2009 and is already showing signs of wear and tear (perhaps lack of adequate sturdy materials and quality paint? or is it the humidity? Dunno). In the lobby area, the seat cushions are already sagging in many of the chairs and couches.

I think they need more staff. Working 9 to 9 does not an efficient worker make. For example, it sometimes took 20 minutes to get a drink at the lobby bar via the waitress, so it became faster just getting stuff yourself. And on one day we had no maid service at all, despite the "please make up room" sign on our door. There were other minor things of course, which is why I'd give it 4.5/5. But... they're working on it!!
If you have any questions, feel free, I'm around.
Zendudette

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"Wonderful Resort"

Iberostar Laguna Azul
User Rating:  Iberostar Laguna Azul Review: 4.0 of 5

Posted by:  C  on Mar 3, 2010  >  2 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Mar, 2010 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
139 people found this review helpful


Your Arrival:
We arrived at Varadero airport at approximatley 10:00 a.m. on Feb. 23rd. Clearing customs was very quick but retrieving our luggage was a very slow process. Once out of the airport we located the bus to our resort and were underway very quickly. Check in at the resort was quick and efficient but we were unable to get into our room until 3:00 p.m. Their check out time is at noon so it takes a while for the maids to get the rooms in order for the new crowd. We checked out the resort and sat in the lobby bar until our room was ready.

Rooms:
The room was very, very nice. King size bed, a beautiful bathroom equipped with a hair dryer. The room had a nice sitting area with a comfortable couch and chair. Lots of closet space, an ironing board and iron and a safe in the closet. We were very surprised that we were able to watch the Olympics as they receive CTV from Toronto so that was a bonus. They also get CNN and I believe one other English speaking station. Our room was kept clean by our wonderful maid, Benelin. She was amazing. There is a mini fridge in the room which was kept stocked with local beer, water and pop. One suggestion I would make is that you bring your own facecloths as they don't supply them. There is not a coffee maker in the room either but that was okay.

Restaurants and Bars:
The buffet is the same as any resort buffets. There was always a wide choice and you could have omelettes made to order or eggs fried. The variety of breads available were amazing but the line ups to make toast on some mornings was quite long. We met some very nice waitresses (Gisela, Mildre) and waiters (Eduardo, Lewis and Enrique). They were so nice and so friendly. Dinners were rather repetative but they have to work with the supplies they can get. You are only able to book 3 ala carte restaurants and we chose the Cuban, Japanese and Romantico. The best of the three was the Romantico. We had an amazing meal our last night at the resort. There had also been a wedding that day and there were 2 table set up for the wedding party and the staff had done a wonderful job with the tables. They were very pretty and I'm sure the bride and groom were very happy with the tables. Again, very good service from the staff. The beach bar was a bit scary (hamburg, hot dogs and fries). We had to keep telling them to keep cooking as the hamburgs sometimes were still pink. We found one snack bar that made amazing pizzas but you have to ask for them as they aren't out on the table with the other food. They are made fresh to order.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
The grounds were impeccable and the gardners work very had to keep everything looking nice. The flowers were just starting to come out as it is their winter. It will be lovely when they are in full bloom. The beach was very nice with nice clear turquoise water. There are 3 pools at this resort all kept very clean. The water was very cold but that is typical in the Caribbean. It was nice and refreshing on the hot days.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
We only took the bus into Varadero. It was interesting but we are not very adventurous so we just stayed to the tourist area. I'm sure that there are a lot of things to see and do but we were there mainly for the beach and relaxation. It's close to Havana and you could book tours to visit Havana.

Other Comments:
Before we booked this resort we read some reviews that didn't have very good things to say about it. I'm not sure what they were complaining about because we found it to be clean, comfortable and a wonderful place to spend a week or two. The staff were wonderful, the food was good and the atmospere was enjoyable. What more do you want? Remember, it's Cuba and enjoy your stay.

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"Iberostar Laguna Azul - Varadero Cuba"

Iberostar Laguna Azul
User Rating:  Iberostar Laguna Azul Review: 5.0 of 5

Posted by:  Sally  on Feb 27, 2010  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Feb, 2010 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
114 people found this review helpful

• At the bottom of my review is a link to my pictures

Your Arrival:
• We flew Skyservice from Toronto, flight was 3 hours late not the best but what can you do?
• On the plane we had to fill out “health forms” for arrival into Cuba. When we arrived at the airport all the staff were wearing face masks – I suppose they are afraid Canadians are carrying the H1N1 flu. We heard other airlines did not have to fill out the health form. After getting through security none of the workers had the face masks on any longer, it was just for the initial arrival of everyone I suppose
• The bus from the Varadero airport to Iberostar Laguna Azul was about 1 hour (with 3 stops at other resorts along the way)
• We arrived at the resort after midnight and there was a problem with our room, we finally got another room about an hour later
• I found the staff understood English very well, they were nice but not overly friendly
• We had emailed the resort ahead of time to request specific rooms close to friends. The request was replied to but we did not get what we requested, no big deal

Rooms:
• Our room was in villa 12 facing the pool and ocean. Beautiful view. We were on the 3rd floor and found this works well as the lobby is on the 3rd floor as well. All the villas are connected so if it’s raining you never have to go outside
• We had a problem with the shower head but it was fixed the same day, it broke again the next day and then we got a new shower head – no probs after that
• Our room had an adjoining room and you could hear everything…thank goodness they were not smokers as that would have been a problem
• The balcony doors had a screen door – nice touch so you can have the door open and get the air but not the bugs
• A Small nice fact but the door into the room had like weather stripping at the bottom of the door which was another nice touch – no bugs or critters could get in
• Our room had 2 bath robes, an ironing board and iron, and an umbrella and the safe is in the closet
• The bathroom is a good size and well equipped with toiletries, a telephone and a weigh scale and hairdryer. The hairdryer has a built in converter you can plug your razor, battery recharger into
• I found they did not replenish anything in the bathroom though the week - except the toilet paper. When we ran out of Kleenex and soap it wasn’t replaced, then again how much do you need in a week?
• There is NO clock in the room
• The maids left us towel art most days
• The minibar was never replenished but when we needed water I would go in the hallway and ask the maid and she always had it on her cart
• The minibar when we arrived had 4 beers (Cristal and Bucanero), 4 pops and 2 bottles of water

Restaurants and Bars:
• The lobby area is where the entertainment happens in the early evening, but it’s very smoky. We found if you go inside the lobby bar which is enclosed – there is no smoking allowed in there – but then you can’t hear the entertainment
• The theatre entertainment starts at 9:45 and we watched one show. It was entertaining
• We tried the disco one night, it fills up fast at 11:00 pm when it opens, get there early if you want a seat
• There is a really nice ‘ice cream’ hut, located near the kids area of the resort on the way to the beach. They serve about 6 different flavours every day. The girl that works there is very nice, not to mention beautiful and she gives you nice hand made paper roses when she’s not busy
• As for the kids area, we didn’t use it but it looked very nice. Swings, slides, their own pool and rooms where I assume there was crafts and games
• There is a beach bar. You can tell it was just recently constructed. You can get beer and other drinks and it’s right at the beach
• The food: I had heard so many stories about the food (or lack of food) to expect in Cuba. This I found was so wrong. This resort has so much to offer at each breakfast,lunch or dinner.
• When you go to the buffet the only thing I found odd compared to other resorts in Punta Cana or Mexico is that you are on your own to find a seat and it can be busy and at times you are not sure if someone is already at a table. But again, it’s not that bad…you’ve got all day to eat right
• They had champagne & orange juice most mornings at breakfast – nice touch
• The food stations were well laid out. Pasta Bar, Pizza bar, bun bar, BBQ area, Hot food, Salad stuff, desserts, they even had an awesome ‘cheese’ selection
• A la carte selections: We tried the Cuban, Gourmet and Japanese. If you get the chance you have to book Gourmet, very classy and awesome food. Japanese was quite the show and very good food
• Like other reports mention, book you’re a la carte selections as soon as you get there. There is one person at guest services who takes your reservations so there will be a line up . be patient and it doesn’t take that long unless you are behind a group trying to book 10 people for a sitting
• There is also a buffet down near the beach – and the BBQ restaurant is also down near the beach. Everyone lines up for BBQ hamburgers, hot dogs and French fries, it is always busy there – the guy/lady waits on one person at a time and cooks one person at a time – this isn’t McDonald’s folks so be patient
• When people arrive later at night they usually want to hit the 24 hour food, which is the restaurant down on the way to the beach – they will serve BBQ hamburgers, hot dogs and French fries for the 24 hour foodfare

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
• At the towel hut building they have books you can lend from them in case you need to do some reading
• The towel hut doesn’t open super early in the morning so it’s a good idea to keep your towel from the night before if you are planning to put a towel out early in the morning to save a chair
• Surprisingly the fitness center was always busy and it seems to have a lot of equipment
• The internet room is off of the lobby and it costs 5.00CUC for ½ hour. You buy a scratch card from the lobby desk that includes a code & pin. There are 5 computers and I never had to wait to use one of them, however the service is slow but it’s good enough for some quick emails to home
• Although the resort is not huge and everything is close distance, there are a lot of benches along the sidewalks if you want to stop for a rest or just sit and watch the action
• When you are at the pool and/or beach put some Kleenex in your beach bag as the restrooms don’t always have toilet paper, it depends on their cleaning schedule
• The pools are beautiful, clean and cold. I am assuming the cold is because the weather was cooler when we were there – or else they are pumping ice cubes into the pool to keep people out – ha ha! kidding
• There are plenty of huts at the beach and they were building more when we were there
• There is no shade or huts at the pool however, this is something I am sure they will add eventually
• There are plenty of chairs at the beach and pool and it wasn’t hard to get one, be patient and one of the workers will come around and give you a cushion for your chair if you are around the pool
• There are 2 quieter pools and then the 1 larger pool where there is the music and a waterfall. The 1 quiet pool area has a bar near by that serves beer in cans – not the draft, that was nice.
• We walked the beach both ways, if you walk to the right there is more mileage you can walk. Going to the left you can only go so far and then it’s not that great
• The beach had a vendor or two there each day, but they just sit there – they do not hassle you at all – nice!
• The beach area also had a DJ that would try to get people up and dancing and they had fitness in the ocean the one day
• The beach was very clean, no seaweed, many people collecting shells. The water was pretty cool when we were there but people were still in the ocean

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
• We took the double-decker bus to town – it was a nice way to see the area. While in town we went to the markets, they are nice markets with plenty of souvenirs at good prices. I appreciated the fact they do not try and drag you into their stalls to buy things like we found in other Caribbean places we have visited
• Along the main street we stopped at some roadside bars for beer and take in the sights
We felt very safe walking around town
• Yes they are building a new resort The Riu right next door, but we honestly did not hear anything from the construction. We did not have rooms facing the construction though so I can’t say for sure

Other Comments:
•Questions just email me: dreamer_in_kw@yahoo.ca

Photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/47774753@N07/sets/72157623488337114/

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"Typical Iberostar quality"

Iberostar Laguna Azul
User Rating:  Iberostar Laguna Azul Review: 5.0 of 5

Posted by:  Andre  on Feb 14, 2010  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Feb, 2010 | Leisure | With friend
148 people found this review helpful

We stayed at the Iberostar Laguna Azul, Varadero, CUba from 6-13 Feb 2010 with two other couples. This is not our first time in Cuba and all of us have been in the south at various locations (DR, Cuba, Mexico etc..). Our tour operator was Tour Mont-Royal (TMR).

Your Arrival:
Arrival/Departure: Leaving Montreal no problem. We use the Econopark at Airport and it was cheaper than Park'nFly ($64 for 8 days using CAA card). Shuttle bus very efficient. At Varadero, custom efficient and Bus ride took approximately 45 mins to resort. At resort paper was ready and room ready.

Flight: Flew with Cubana Airlines from Montreal. Depart ontime both ways. Aircraft seats arrangement not as compact as other airlines (i.e. Sunwing, Skyservice etc...), therefore more leg room. As far as lunch, try to get some collation and drink with you before boarding. They offer juice and drink but at a cost...!

Rooms:
Rooms: Our room didn't have king bed (even though it was requested/confirmed by e-mail before our arrival). We tried to change room but nothing available until the next day, so we stayed in this room. The beds are not your typical double bed (they are smaller). Our room was on third floor (elevator avail) next to the main lobby (16308) and sometimes it can be noisy. Our friends were located on 4th floor (1640X) and it was quiet. Two mornings there was no hot water. Room cleanliness was efficient. Our door lock failed and the hotel staff repaired it within 30 mins. In the room you have hairdryer, coffee machine, safe, umbrella, and bathrobe. You have 220 Volt electrical, but one 110 volt outlet in the bathroom for the razor. Everything else worked as expected.

Theatre: Lots of rooms, but located outside and when it rains, well it can be wet if you are located on the "edge". The shows are not a grand deployment but some of them can be funny (especially if you participated...!).

Disco: Small and the music is repetitive, but we were not "big disco dancer" so didn't affect us very much.

Restaurants and Bars:
Buffet: Better than other Cuban resorts. Choice was good. Buffet is buffet...!

Restaurant: We booked three restaurants (Steakhouse, Romantica/Gourmet, Italian). Overall all restaurants were good to very good. Our preferred one was the Romantica. Try to book your restaurant upon arrival; otherwise they get filled pretty fast.

Bar: Lots of drink choices but not as encompassing as other 5 star resorts (i.e. No Grand Marnier...).

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
Beach: Lot of chairs and shelter. Not as good as other beach in Varadero. Sand is not fine but coarse sand. The catamarans were not out for many days due to high wind condition.

Pool: Lot of chair and cushion and no need to reserve them early in the day.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
Excursions: We took the Jeep Safari thru our Tour Operator (TMR). A waste of money. Our Tour Representative was not very accurate (our truthful) when he described the tour to us. We have had many tours in the past, but that was our worst experience. As an example, we left the hotel at 08:00 and didn't eat until 14:30 hrs, and we were ill-prepared for this! The riverboat is falling apart and everything is at cost...! The tour is not designed to have you explore the country but rather a way to ensure that you visite "local friend" to force you to spend. Most of the Jeep route is designed with city driving. We were thinking of booking the Havana Tour, but after our bad experience we didn't book. We talked to our TMR Rep as he didn't seem to care...!

Other Comments:
Staff: Very friendly and warm staff. Obviously, the tips help in providing a smile...! As usual we brought small gifts and they were very much appreciated, we sometimes felt that the gifts were more appreciated than "pesos".

Internet: Card available at main lobby, 5 pesos = 30 mins. 5 terminals available. Can be slow at times especially in the night. Try to access your mail in the morning, much faster.

Souvenirs: Pretty much same thing at the Hotel than in Varadero (most items same price). We bought our Rum and coffee at the Hotel and found out that it was more expensive at the Airport (even though it was Duty Free, go figure..!). Buy it at the Hotel...!

Bus Ride to Varadero: Cost 5 pesos. There is 3 buses doing the peninsula. It took 45 mins from our hotel to Varadero downtown. At time, the wait can be long. If you sit on the upper deck watch for tree branches...!

Misc: There are mosquitoes at this time of the years. Some of us get bitten quite a bit.

Overall a very good resort, most of the inconvenience above is easily forget with "Mojitos"....!


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"This resort is absolutely beautiful!"

Iberostar Laguna Azul
User Rating:  Iberostar Laguna Azul Review: 5.0 of 5

Posted by:  Susan  on Feb 2, 2010  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Jan, 2010 | Leisure | Family and Kids
130 people found this review helpful

The beach was amazing! The food was good! The resort is like a palace. It is situated so that the rooms are not far from the beach and/or pools. The main pool was busy, but the there were two secluded ones, which were usually empty.

Your Arrival:
No problems ... took a cab from the airport.

Rooms:
Rooms were spacious and clean. Hair dryers, shampoo, and body gel were supplied. Take a clock, as there were none in the rooms. There were no coffee makers either. I do like to drink my coffee first thing in the a.m.

Restaurants and Bars:
Food was good and there was plenty! We tried the Italian restaurant one night, but were content with the buffet.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
Awesome!!

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
We rented some scooters and explored Varadero on the one cool day we had. Other than that, we were quite content to stay on the beach. We went on one of the Hobie Cats and the banana boat. My husband and grandson went sky-diving from a helicopter and got a video to prove it!

Other Comments:
We have visited Panama, the Mayan Riviera and Acapulco in Mexico, Punta Cana and Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, Santa Marta, Colombia, and Antigua. This is our third vacation in Cuba. The people were friendly and the resort itself is nothing short of a 5 star!!

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