Barcelo Solymar Reviews

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Barcelo Solymar  

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

"Take Immodium and your own food and a flashlight. Its a one star hotel at best"
Posted by: valerie  on Feb 21, 2016
see all reviews

Barcelo Solymar Reviews

of 51 Hotels in Varadero

User rating 3.5

Based on 28 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: 3.5 of 5 28 reviews
Very good
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21 - 28 of 28

"Terrible Hotel, avoid at all costs!"

Barcelo Solymar
User Rating:  Barcelo Solymar Review: 1.00 of 5

Posted by:  Alex  on Sep 24, 2011  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Sep, 2011 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
795 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:

Room Block:
Level 3

Arrived on September 17, around 2:15 AM

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"Not recommended!"

Barcelo Solymar
User Rating:  Barcelo Solymar Review: 2.00 of 5

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

1 person for a dozen or so check-ins at midnight!! Rooms around lobby very noisy at night, coffee 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:

Room Block:
Lobby area

Slow late at night

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!

ok, but needs complete overhaul soon

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:

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

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"Average Hotel, Great Staff"

Barcelo Solymar
User Rating:  Barcelo Solymar Review: 3.00 of 5

Posted by:  Georgia  on Nov 11, 2011  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Nov, 2011 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
804 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).

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 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.

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 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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"It is a okay place"

Barcelo Solymar
User Rating:  Barcelo Solymar Review: 3.00 of 5

Posted by:  tan  on Apr 15, 2012  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Apr, 2012 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
868 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.

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.

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

very nice ,

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:

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"Never Again!"

Barcelo Solymar
User Rating:  Barcelo Solymar Review: 1.00 of 5

Posted by:  Robert  on Mar 3, 2014  >  2 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Aug, 2013 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
604 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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"not good"

Barcelo Solymar
User Rating:  Barcelo Solymar Review: 3.00 of 5

Posted by:  fred  on Jul 10, 2014  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Jun, 2014 | Leisure | Solo
589 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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"Not worth the money"

Barcelo Solymar
User Rating:  Barcelo Solymar Review: 3.00 of 5

Posted by:  Chris  on Oct 19, 2014  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Oct, 2014 | Leisure | Family and Kids
622 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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"Take Immodium and your own food and a flashlight. Its a one star hotel at best"

Barcelo Solymar
User Rating:  Barcelo Solymar Review: 1.00 of 5

Posted by:  valerie  on Feb 21, 2016  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Feb, 2016 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
477 people found this review helpful

We just returned from two weeks at the Solymar . We had a bungalow which was fine other than the broken shower door and loose taps. There are no umbrellas or shade at the main pool, and only 6 at the quiet pool. The property has little or no lighting at night and lots of areas to fall trip or slip in the dark I used my blackberry flashlight so that we could see where we were walking in the evenings .
The front desk staff are rude, as are most of the staff . The food was appalling. I have been to Cuba several times, and am well aware of the constraints with regards to supply . However, I did not expect the disgustingly bad food they were serving. Our first morning there , and every day after, the breakfast buffet consisted of items such as Brussels sprouts , cabbage, instant mashed potatoes, chopped up hotdogs in leftover canned green beans and tomato sauce, poached eggs like tennis balls, in tomato sauce, leftover bits of dried up chicken, black sausage, raw bacon and raw scrambled eggs, floating in raw beaten egg.
The food left at breakfast, was set out again at lunch , and dinner. The
sprouts on the salad bar, pre cooked and re served hamburgers covered in mustard and ketchup , dried up and crusty . The cold cuts offered were luncheon meats , processed chopped ham and olive bologna.
Dinners were worse , and in fact so bad ( ox kidney and liver, and heart, squid calamari, cuttlefish and numerous other unknown fish items . strips of meat in tomato sauce and with lunchtimes green beans . ) The carving stations offered some meat and lots of fish . The servers were reluctant to give the diners more than one piece of anything at a time , and it was a battle to get two slices of anything . The pasta was ok, but the meat sauce was made from that mornings breakfast " hash " which consisted of some chopped beef and frozen vegetables in tomato soup. We ended up going in to town for meals most days. Many people we spoke to were doing the same thing and several had been ill after eating the scrambled eggs at breakfast .
My husband ate only bread and hard boiled eggs in the hotel. They never had enough plates, cups or spoons. The food at the adjoining Arenas Blancas was worse, so a lot of their guests ate at our hotel, or tried to . We saw most of them in town
The shows were put on in the smoke filled nightclub, which meant guests couldn't or would not go to them . stale cigar and cigarette smoke as well as the fact that no one took any notice of the no smoking signs made it unbearable.

I speak Spanish and found that even being very polite and asking for hot food, ( since the buffet food was always lukewarm at best, also a health issue )or something without the awful tomato soup type sauce on everything, was greeted with disdain and a shrug. There was rancid butter, raw chicken , and so many other issues. it would take pages to list it all .
Cuba is wonderful, but please, if you value y

Room Number:

Room Block:

check in was ok but the front desk staff are not friendly or helpful

room was nice, a tow storey bungalow . The shower stall was only half a door, and cracked and broken which allowed water to pour onto the floor . Requests for repair went unheeded. Hotel rooms were , we were told by many guests we spoke to, moldy and mildewed with leaking .Rooms in the main building were very noisy too , with the nightclub right below the rooms

Restaurants and Bars:
Disgusting food . cafeteria type appearance and the bars were like waiting rooms . Drinks were typical local drinks. The coffee was super . Desserts were ok but not special.
I have concerns about food safety standards, since most of the food was tepid , as well as having been reheated to be served again at three meals each day .
The staff at the beach bar were rude and sullen . They were more concerned with chatting amongst themselves unless you offered a very large tip, and even then gave only minimal service .

the beach is gorgeous. lots of shade and many new lounge chairs. The lifeguards were too bust selling cigars and straw hats to pay attention to anything happening in the water, so you are basically on your own out there .
The pools are pretty, however the water is freezing and the pools were empty most of the two weeks we were there . There is no shade in the main pool area, no umbrellas at all, and a handful around the quiet pool. a lot of the pool grating is broken .and the metal stairs into the pool quite slippery . The grounds are trimmed but not clean, lots of paper , cups etc around ( as much a fault of the guests as the staff ). Thy need more garbage containers around .
In the evening there is little or no lighting around the stairs and deck, or the pathways , which is a hazard . The waterways which are supposed to look like a river, were empty, the hot tubs also empty. The shower areas, dirty and some don't work. Locks and toilet seats missing in the public washrooms, no toilet paper in them and the pool bathrooms at the main pool were locked most days meaning you had to go through the hotel wet and dripping .

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
the " animation team " played bingo once a day and some other game in Spanish for the Venezuelan guests ( and there were loads of them ) . There was no water aerobics, or water sports at the pool .
The town of Varadero is charming, very tourist oriented with markets etc, and also some wonderful restaurants thank goodness .

Other Comments:
touted as a 4 1/2 star resort, this is at best a one star resort . Where you can usually find something edible on a buffet, that is not the case here . The so called specialty restaurants which are reservation only are no better .
And they charge extra for brand names such as coke or sprite, or for lobster at the seafood restaurant . It's supposed to be all inclusive but it is not .

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