Barcelo Solymar Reviews

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Barcelo Solymar  

Carretera Las Américas km. 3, Varadero, Matanzas, Cuba.
(Varadero Maps)

"Not worth the money"
Posted by: Chris on Oct 19, 2014
see all reviews

Barcelo Solymar Reviews

#20
of 50 Hotels in Varadero

User rating 3.6

Based on 27 reviews

Barcelo Solymar Information


Only 2 hours from Havana and 25 minutes from Varadero Airport ¨Juan Gualberto Gómez¨, Varadero offers an exotic beach, the perfect place to combine leisure and sport activities. The hotel is conveniently located at a short distance from downtown Varadero and directly on the beach side area.

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Barcelo Solymar Reviews

Barcelo Solymar Review: 3.6 of 5 27 reviews
Excellent
  9
Very good
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Terrible
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"Not worth the money"

Barcelo Solymar
User Rating:  Barcelo Solymar Review: 3.0 of 5

Posted by:  Chris  on Oct 19, 2014  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Oct, 2014 | Leisure | Family and Kids
10 people found this review helpful

This is definitely one of the worst experiences so far that is hard in my entire life. And I'm not overreacting about this one. Not even one letter. I was so sorry that I didn’t ask somebody or I didn’t read any reviews on the internet about the hotel because it was a total disaster. For the first time I was traveling with my wife and kids to the hotel that I haven’t heard a word about it and now I know why is that. I'm sorry that I have picked this place and had to destroy my kids' vacation like this.
Let me start from the positive side of this place so called “ hotel “. First from outside it looks nice and decent, maybe not so much attractive but kind of nice. There are lots of restaurants that offer every kind of food, from typical Cuban to some of the foreign specialists. Another positive side is that the beach is near the hotel. The employees are nice and they are doing their best to make you and your closest ones happy. So far it is good. But there is a bunch of negative sides when it comes to the hotel.
The food taste depends. Yes, that's right. Some of the days the same meal was great and some were awful. I don’t know how is that possible, but I was very suspicious about this and I was buying food for the kids instead of using the one from the hotel. Than the elevators were like they were twice older than the oldest member of the people who were working there. That gives me the impression that they were totally unsafe. And the biggest problem for me was that the air conditioning in the kids' room didn’t want to turn on. And after few complaints nobody came to fix that issue so all of us had to sleep in the same room.
All in all I would never recommend this hotel, unless some huge renovation process is made. It is not worth to waste your money on something like this hotel.

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"not good"

Barcelo Solymar
User Rating:  Barcelo Solymar Review: 3.0 of 5

Posted by:  fred  on Jul 10, 2014  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Jun, 2014 | Leisure | Solo
23 people found this review helpful

It was a rather disappointing experience for me because I went there with such high expectations, I am not one to check for reviews online before visiting a place, I regretted not checking. The place is okay not that it is totally bad or anything like that just that they can do better and refurbish the place because it certainly needs a little more renovation. The hotel has 6 restaurants and 11 bars and other facilities such as this but they need to be well managed. What cheered me up or rather on the positive side of things, the staff were not rude, the understood the hotel’s short comings and tried to make up for it my being nice so I feel it’s a nice gesture but it still doesn’t change the fact that the quality of service I got was well below average compared to what I expected. Oh well, maybe I put my expectations high and maybe this was standard for them but it is way below what I wanted. On the bright side, the beach is really nice and clean and that was what I took solace in. The room I stayed had a broken air condition, who sleeps in a room with broken air condition during this time of the year? These are things that should be checked out and fixed even before the guest arrives and all I got was promises of fixing but it never happened. Some days, the food was food while other times it was tasteless.

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"Never Again!"

Barcelo Solymar
User Rating:  Barcelo Solymar Review: 1.0 of 5

Posted by:  Robert  on Mar 3, 2014  >  2 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Aug, 2013 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
42 people found this review helpful

My wife and I have travelled to Cuba many times and accept some of the many of the small complaints and usually just enjoy being in a wonderful enviroment.We usually stay at different resorts to try different places, however we decided to stay at the Solymar a second time because when we stayed there 10 years ago it was a wonderful resort in our opinion.This time it was a nightmare. I am not exagerating when i say this, we witnessed drunks puking in the pools and halls , and people passed out outside on the grounds. Noise right through til morning never getting a nights sleep.The food well below par, and we usually do not complain about the food as others usualy do, but i would never set foot back in that reort. The only good thing i can say is that the beach was terrific as usual in Cuba.

Bob and Pat

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"It is a okay place"

Barcelo Solymar
User Rating:  Barcelo Solymar Review: 3.0 of 5

Posted by:  tan  on Apr 15, 2012  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Apr, 2012 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
272 people found this review helpful

We were ther for the easter weekend, the lobby smell , and we could only renew out beach towel once, since they are short of towels, The room has a nice ocean view, since we pay extra 150 to up grade it. The staff is very friendly, the beach is nice, but the beach bar, is awful.I think this is a 3 star hotel not a 4.

Arrival:
we arrive at 11am , the room is not ready till 4p, unless we pay 150 to upgrade it.
originally we paid 985 per person, now is is over.

Rooms:
overall is clean, but they dont change towel everyday, eventhough you put the towel on the floor.

Restaurants and Bars:
ok, bigline up for buffet

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
very nice ,

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
ok

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"Average Hotel, Great Staff"

Barcelo Solymar
User Rating:  Barcelo Solymar Review: 3.0 of 5

Posted by:  Georgia  on Nov 11, 2011  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Nov, 2011 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
249 people found this review helpful

Hands down, the staff is what makes this hotel experience good. We stayed from Nov 3rd to Nov 10th. The main reasons we chose this hotel was the facilities (pool areas, hot tub, bars, beach), the location close to the town of Varadero, and that we could use the facilities of the sister resort Arenas Blancas. Well, the location was good. Very easy to walk into Varadero. For what it is worth, Varadero is very safe and we absolutely loved that we could walk into town whenever we wanted.

But that is where it pretty much ends. The main Solymar pool and bar was closed and under construction (no hot tub either), Arenas Blancas (sister hotel) was also closed, and as a result, quite a few of the bars/restaurants we expected to be able to use were not available. We ended up switching rooms from the tower to a bungalow the second night because we couldn't stand staring at a pool and a hotel under construction (not to mention the construction noise).

As I mentioned right at the beginning, the staff is the ONLY reason I won't say I was totally disappointed with this hotel. Everyone is so nice, whether you tip or not (of course, tipping is appreciated). The staff go above and beyond to accommodate you, and to help. I honestly can say I didn't meet a single staff person I would say was unpleasant.

This was our first time to Cuba, and we absolutely love the country. I am already planning my next visit but we don't think we will return to Solymar. Overall, it is a tough call on this hotel. The grounds are nice, the location is great, the beach is gorgeous, and the staff are fantastic. But there were just a few too many other disappointments that just "turned us off". Also, we are more of the "day people" type and this resort would be better suited for people who like more night life activity (see my comments below).

Arrival:
Right from the plane we were met by a representative and taken to a bus that took us directly to the hotel. Hotel check in was smooth and fast.

Rooms:
Rooms are basic and clean, but do not expect much more than that. The rooms have the usual: TV, bathroom with tub/shower, hairdryer, coffee machine. Although when we switched to our bungalow we did not have a coffee machine - we had coffee cups but no machine. I am sure if we asked for one, we would have gotten it but it wasn't a big deal to us. Overall, the room was adequate and provided a place to sleep. BUT....

The beds were very uncomfortable - way too hard. I like a firm mattress but this went way beyond firm. Oh, and the bungalows have entry doors with frosted glass, which is really cute, but the downside is that all night long the room has light shining into it. If you are one of those sleepers who needs pitch black in order to sleep sound (like me), this is really a problem. I don't know why there isn't a curtain you could pull over the main door to block out the light. Needless to say, I didn't get a single good night's sleep.

Cleaning service was good, but we had issues with replacement of towels. The ones we left on the floor, to be replaced (leave on floor as per hotel instructions), were not replaced but rather folded and just hung back up. Toilet paper refilling is also an issue (tip: bring some of your own toilet paper/tissues to Cuba).

Restaurants and Bars:
Solymar offers buffet, snack bars, and four restaurants (well only four open at the time we visited). The food at buffet is bland, but there is a variety and if you are creative you can manage to make an interesting meal (i.e. make your own sandwiches, or get a plate of rice and add veggies/beef sauce). The buffet does get boring, so be sure to book your a la carte restaurants. And visit restaurants in Varadero - there are some great ones, and it really helps to get away from the hotel food.

The food at the restaurants was better. The Spanish restaurant was particularly nice, although the food is not really authentic spanish food.

Bars (the ones that were open) were all good.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
The hotel grounds I imagine would be very nice if half of it wasn't under construction. We were able to use the main pool at the Arenas Blancas resort and it was very nice, but the noise from the construction at the Blancas hotel took away from the "relaxing" atmosphere of the pool area. There was another smaller pool between Solymar and Blancas that was fine, but it was just a "plain" smaller pool (not like the ones you see in the images on the resort's website).

The landscaping of the hotel grounds is impeccable and kept very clean.

Of course, the beach is amazing.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
Unfortunately we did not get to use the kayaks or do any water sports as the beach was under "red flag" every time we visited. We didn't use the gym, and as I said we are day people so I cannot comment on the night activities too much. We did go to the piano bar one night and that was very nice, and relaxing with a violinist and cellist. We went to a show, but left after about half an hour, it reminded me of a fashion show with a bunch of women modeling different clothes (mostly beach attire). Can't tell you if it got better because we left.

Off resort excurions...do them! We did three excursions: catamaran, Havana, and Matanzas/caves. All were amazing and very worthwhile. If I had to recommend one, I would recommend the catamaran excursion. It is an all day excursion on a catarman with three main stops: dolphins, snorkeling, and a secluded island to relax. All drinks and lunch included. The dolphin interaction alone is worth the trip. And you really get to interact with the dolphins, not just watch a trainer command the dolphins to do tricks. You get in the water with the dolphins, can touch them, get "dolphin kisses", and some people get to swim with them. My husband was able to swim out with the dolphins, told to "float forward" keeping his legs completely straight, and the dolphins came around and pushed him forward, up, and eventually threw him in the air out of the water. Sort of like the trainer tricks you see at Sea World. After the dolphins, you get to snorkle, and then are taken to an isolated island for lunch and 3 hours of just relaxing on a beach. Cost was 101.00 CUC (about 100.00 CAD) and worth every penny. Havana was amazing too, and a must do if you want to do more than one excursion.

Other Comments:
This hotel has a reputation of being a party hotel. Overall our visit was quiet. There was always room at the pools, beach, and the bars/buffet/restaurants were not busy - we never had to wait in a line.

We had only one issue with noise, one night, and found that hotel staff was quick to address the noisy person. However, that said, I think because the Arenas Blancas was closed, and the main pool and bar of the Solymar resort was closed, the hotel was under capacity. I also think that the time we visited was a slow time (i.e not spring break). We both agreed we would not want to be at this resort during spring break (but we are more day people - this hotel would probably be great if you like to party).

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"Not recommended!"

Barcelo Solymar
User Rating:  Barcelo Solymar Review: 2.0 of 5

Posted by:  Al  on Nov 7, 2011  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Oct, 2011 | Leisure | Solo
260 people found this review helpful

1 person for a dozen or so check-ins at midnight!! Rooms around lobby very noisy at night, coffee perc.in washrooms with hair dryers! No safety lock on doors, door to patio coming off its hinges. Same food for 7 days, Resort in complete need of overhaul - not a 3 1/2 star as per Air Canada and definitely not a 4 1/2 star as per Signature/Sunwing Vacations. Not good advertisement to take back home.

Room Number:
1451

Room Block:
Lobby area

Arrival:
Slow late at night

Rooms:
2 - 2 1/2 star, no kleenex, no facecloths, not sure why there was a weight scale in the bathroom!> Also perculator where dirty towels & hair blower was

Restaurants and Bars:
Restaurants & bar ok except they ignore singles!

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
ok, but needs complete overhaul soon

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
n/a

Other Comments:
Would never return or recommend to anyone even at cheap prices

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"Terrible Hotel, avoid at all costs!"

Barcelo Solymar
User Rating:  Barcelo Solymar Review: 1.0 of 5

Posted by:  Alex  on Sep 24, 2011  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Sep, 2011 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
242 people found this review helpful

Alright, let me start off by saying that this review is 100% accurate of my stay and recent as I stayed there from September 16-23rd. I kept a log of all the pros and cons and decided to nicely lay it out for anyone who is planning on staying at this resort.

For pros there are only a few: 1). Beautiful beach and proximity to it 2). Hotel is nicely laid out with beautiful pools and maintained from the outside 3). Friendly staff at dinner 4). Decent night show entertainment.

Well, that's pretty much for the pros, now lets get down to the real dirty that is Barcelo Solymar. 1). 6 AND I REPEAT 6 elevators in the resort and only one was working the whole week I was there and let me tell you this was the worst elevator I have ever seen in my life 2). Our room refrigerator was leaking 3). Our room vent made a loud buzzing/humming noise throughout the night 4). They advertise a late check out 8 PM for 50 CUC on there Barcelo channel, but when we asked reception for it they told us we couldn't have it because the room was unavailable, WHY ADVERTISE IT IF YOU CAN'T OFFER IT! 5). Terrible tasting food, I lived off the pasta for a week 6). Terrible front desk attitude and certain bars had a terrible attitude 7). We were given 2 a la carte meals for the week and when we went to book one at 1 PM like they said too the guy showed up 30 minutes LATE and we couldn't book for the day because it was already all booked for that day and we told him do you have anything for tomorrow before 7 PM because we are leaving and he kept mentioning times like 7:30 PM, 8:30PM 8). The mops used by the maids to clean the room made them smell like old wet dirty towels 9). We were welcomed by COCKROACHES in our room scurrying around, I must have killed like 5 or 6 of them, 10). The pillows they give you in the rooms are way too high and big they will make your neck suffer, the bed was also hard as a rock 11). The drinks the bartenders made were ridiculously alcoholic, like come on learn to make a rum and coke! You pour 1-2 shots of rum and then coke, not coke first and then 5 shots of rum on top in this little plastic cup where all you taste is the rum. There you have it, the down and dirty at Barcelo Solymar.

I definitely will not be staying here again and I suggest that you don't too!

Room Number:
1351

Room Block:
Level 3

Arrival:
Arrived on September 17, around 2:15 AM

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"If you tip them they smile"

Barcelo Solymar
User Rating:  Barcelo Solymar Review: 3.0 of 5

Posted by:  Sophia  on Jul 13, 2011  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Jul, 2011 | Business | Family and Kids
333 people found this review helpful

We just got back from Barcelo Solymar. We arrived there at 11:00 am local time, and they made us wait at the lobby until 5:00 pm (checking time). There was no aircondition at the lobby. Temp at that time 43 C.
They didn't inform us about anything such as lunch time or where the buffet was! The tourists were dying from heat one here one there in the lobby area.
They took all the suit cases up at a room, and we couldn't have access to them for at least 3 hours.
The food was not good, and the restaurant was full of flies and a couple of cocroaches here and there.
As for the stuff were nice to you only if you tipped them 3 pesos and over!
Next time definately somewhere else.

Room Number:
1285

Arrival:
19-06-2011

Rooms:
2

Restaurants and Bars:
poor

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
poor

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"Par chance qu'il y avait des bungalows"

Barcelo Solymar
User Rating:  Barcelo Solymar Review: 3.0 of 5

Posted by:  Mrs. Claire  on Aug 12, 2010  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Aug, 2010
864 people found this review helpful

Il est vrai que le site est beau et grand. La villégiature luxuriante, une plage MAGNIFIQUE, mais un hôtel ORDINAIRE...avec SEULEMENT un ascenseur sur 5 qui fonctionne et ce depuis des mois. L'air climatisé ne suffit pas à la charge. La présence de jeunes...qui font un vacarme, nuit après nuit. Un buffet où l'on nous sert beaucoup...de fruits en boîtes, nous sommes, pourtant. dans un pays tropical!!!! Malgré tout, les serveurs au buffet sont très courtois et gentils, particulièrement ONAY au restaurant iltalien qui nous a fait rire avec son sens de la répartie assé rigolo. Au début, nous avions une chambre dans l'hôtel et avons demandé la possibilité de changer...pas très propre, il ne restait que des suites dans les bungalows. Nous avons changés, moyennant un supplément, mais avons eu qualité, propreté, confort et climatisaiton. Conclusion, Je vous recommande les bungalows, sinon vous serez déçus.

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"Disappointing because of past reviews and problems mentioned"

Barcelo Solymar
User Rating:  Barcelo Solymar Review: 3.0 of 5

Posted by:  Tom  on Feb 20, 2010  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Feb, 2010 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
390 people found this review helpful

Review of Barcelo Solymar Cuba

Staff

All of the staff were very friendly helpful and courteous.

Your Arrival:
Very early in the morning. staff were pleasant and friendly.

Rooms:
Rooms

We had room(s) in the hotel. It is an older complex and the rooms are kept very clean (remember to tip the maid). The reason I mentioned rooms is that we started out in a room 1114. We were told that we were very lucky as this was a room people paid extra for as it had an ocean view. When we got there we found that the room was very clean but the hotel has not been maintained very well. My wife could not open the sliding door to the balcony as the rollers had not been maintained and they were now down to metal on metal. The blackout curtains were too short for the width of the window so no blackout. We next found that the towel hangers were almost falling off the wall. The hose for the shower was damaged and the soap dish was falling off of the wall. As I mentioned this is an older complex so we figured we could just call in the morning and get the maintenance person to tighten some screws and that would be fine. Unfortunately that night we found out that the room is situated right above the show lounge and dancing area. You got it, we didn’t get much sleep. The next morning we contacted the Signature representative and he assisted us in getting another room. We were given a key to another room, and looked at it to find out that there were similar problems there and asked for another. This room was 1246 in the elbow of the (L) just above the desk area. This time the Representative came with me and we found similar problems
to the other rooms. Since this seemed far enough away from the entertainment room the Representative contacted maintenance and cleaning so that all problems were fixed before we moved into the room. That night we found out that this room is situated just above the one bar that stays open until midnight so we didn’t get much rest there either but we put up with it. If I were going there again I would go into a Bungalow or into the right section of the (L) after I had inspected the room. This probably was a four or five star complex at one time but it is now older and Barcelo has not kept up the maintenance so I would classify it as a three star maximum because of the maintenance. Talking with others that booked different locations seemed to agree that the star system was a bit off a bit high for most Varadero all inclusive Hotels.

Restaurants and Bars:
Food

Depending on what you booked for your vacation you eat at a buffet style dining room for all of your meals or for the evening meals you may reserve at one of the a la carte dining areas. The food was plentiful and you had many choices. We found out that you have to be careful as some of the food was not consistently cooked well enough. We found at different times the beef was very rare (Not wanted that way in Cuba) as were turkey legs and some fish. If you watch for these you will do ok as they do have some nice dishes. In the buffet style there was always a good variety so you will not go hungry.
If you have the opportunity to reserve at the a la carte areas prepare to do so almost immediately upon arrival between 900 and 1200 or you may not get what you want. We chose the Seafood one because the wife likes lobster and thought that nothing could go wrong. I chose Filet Mignon and was very pleased as it was cooked just right, although they forgot the Broccoli. My wife had the lobster. Unfortunately it was grilled and it was partly uncooked and partly overcooked. A real disappointment! Since we could not reserve another we talked to other guests about the other venues. We found out that the best of the three was the Italian one. We also found out that most of the lobster in the complex was not cooked well.

Bars

Very Good

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
Complex

The complex consists of an older large L shaped hotel and a number of newer Bungalows situated right next to the beach. The grounds are well treed and landscaping is very nicely kept. There are two pools and a spa (although it was not heated while we were there). The whole area is kept very neat and clean.

Other Comments:
Other

We were told that the currency exchange CADECA charges the same as the bank in town so we waited and got our money exchanged there. I had looked the rate up on the internet before leaving and it fluctuated in the vicinity of 92 cents for a Canadian dollar. When we arrived in the hotel we were charged and received 82 cents on the dollar at the CADECA. Big difference from what we were told. If you can I would exchange my money at a Canadian bank before going to Cuba. Visa is accepted at a rate of 11 percent extra, Mastercard is not accepted. You can not use your debit card. I would advise taking $200 for tips and getting out of the country per couple. If you are doing any touring outside of Varadero I would take extra cash.

Which comes to another point. It cost you 25 Cuba Convertible Pesos per person to leave Cuba at the airport. This is not covered in the price that you paid for your ticket.

If you plan to take things down for the orphanages try to get a contact so you can provide the outside of your complex. This will ensure that the people that really need it get it. I went to The Thrift shop and bought an inexpensive bag that I left there with the gifts. It was used as a school bag as I heard later. The people in and around the Varadero area that work for the hotels get quite a bit so I made sure that I gave them personal gifts outside of went to the orphanages . The people outside of those areas are very poor and get little in the way of niceties like toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, shoes for kids, clothes for children. Things like chalk, extra pencils and notebooks are a treat that very few see.

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