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Hotel Horizontes Mar Del Sur
April 2005
My husband, sister and myself stayed at the Mar Del Sur in March. We got a last minute special from our favourite site, www.travel222.com and paid just $532 each plus taxes. For this price, it was well worth it, but I wouldn't recommend it if it was full price. We have been to Cuba six or seven times before and have stayed at the Puntarena and the Breezes Del Caribe, so we have something to compare to. The plus side of this hotel is the location. It is right in town and we really enjoyed that. The other hotels were far out, especially the Breezes and the buses stop running in the evening,and the taxi fare got expensive. My sister felt perfectly safe out walking on her own and that was great because she didn't feel that she had to be with us at all times. The Parque Josone, the large market, the Catholic church for us, and several nice restaurants were all within walking distance.

The grounds are much larger than we had thought and they are well kept and very clean, but plain. This was fine by us, and the pool area was also perfectly fine. There were usually enough lounge chairs but of course like every other resort, you have the greedy people who lay their towel down first thing in the morning, and then are never seen again. In fact, one fellow we met there had actually been asleep for awhile on his lounger, when a woman came up to him and demanded that he get off "her chair." There hadn't been anything on it when he took it, either.

This brings me to another minus for us personally. There are a lot of long stay visitors [a month or more] and they think of the place as theirs. This was the case here. The majority of the people here were Italian or french Canadian and we didn't care for it simply because of the language barrier. We always make friends on our vacations and this time we didn't really meet anyone at all. They tended to be very "cliquey" A large part of the fun of a vacation is making new friends and that won't happen here if you only speak English.

The animation team was non-existent. We heard two games of Bingo in a week and saw one exercise class. That was it. Period! In fact, to advertise them having one is false in our opinion. It didn't bother us because we are there to relax but if you are a young person looking for action, forget it.

One thing that we felt was very misleading was the "all-inclusive" part. The ad says that they have so many bars and snack bars, etc. but it doesn't tell you that all but one, plus the snack bar aren't included in the price! You have to pay for them! At the one and only free bar the choice is beer, or rum based drinks, or punch or pop. that's it. After a week of beer, I had enough! The rooms were very spacious and we have no complaints there at all. In fact, we only had a one bedroom and it was fine because they brought a bed [not a cot] in for my sister and she slept out in the living room. The cleaning staff were very nice too, and please tip them because they earn in a week what some of us earn in an hour here. Seriously.

I found the rest of the staff to be so so as far as being friendly. I felt that they were polite but not necessarily friendly. Most times, we had to smile and say hola first. The service from the front desk was very good though and a complaint was looked after right away. Now for the worst part! The food! I thought that the Puntarena food was mediocre but compared to this, it wasn't bad at all. It was Cuban food and by this I mean rice, beans, some meat and salads every day, lunch and dinner. I had made up my mind not to be fussy and was doing OK until I had a large vein/artery in my minced meat and my sister the same meal had what we think was a piece of stomach. She described it like eating jello that wouldn't melt! That turned me off the meat for the rest of the trip. The rice had some bits of gross stuff in it too, so i was really hooped. The breakfast was always good though. Most meals all I ate was buns. if I was lucky there was butter but not always. You had to get your own cutlery and napkins and clear a table too. I usually didn't mind but then I would remind myself that I am paying to be here. I shouldn't have to do housework when on vacation. They ran out of food a lot especially things like cocoa in the morning, salad dressing, butter, and dessert.

When I read the last part about food over, it sounds like I am a complainer. No, I'm not. I'm just telling it like it is. I should say here that our son is married to a girl he met while on vacation in Veradero, and her family lives across the bridge in Santa Marta. I am very used to Cuba and their food and understand how poor they are, but this food was way below average. Her family eats better and they are very poor.

If anyone has any questions or wants to see pictures of the place, e-mail me at kpomeroy@telus.net

In closing, would I recommend this place? No, not unless it was very cheap. There are nicer ones like the Palma Real that goes for the same price quite often. Would we go back again? Yes, if we only wanted a room and not the all-inclusive. They have both. There are kitchens in the rooms and if we were staying a month or more, it would be fine, but I doubt if we would pick this place again. We did have a great time though and vacations are what you make of them, and we always make it fun.
Hotel Horizontes Mar Del Sur
April 2004
We visited Club Tropical from March 21 to April 4, 2004. My sister in law and I flew from Montreal with JetsGo. We were a bit hesitant at first because we had never heard of this company we had always flown with Air Transat and when we heard it was just a small plane with no frills we were a bit unhappy. This was the first time we had booked with Tours Mont- Royal we had assumed we were still flying with Air Transat but I am happy to report we had a very nice flight both ways. The plane I found had a little more leg room than Air Transat, the flight was very smooth and we even had a nice meal courtesy of TMR. Club Tropical is only rated 2 1/2 stars or 3 stars depending on the brochure but some friends of ours had stayed there last year and they had really liked it. It is a small resort , there are only 173 rooms. There is only one swimming pool. What we liked most about the resort was that it was right on the beach and it was right downtown Varedero. We were in the middle of everything. We paid a very good price for two weeks, we had originally booked one week but we changed our mind about one month before and changed it to two weeks. On the first week we were only able to get a standard room , the second week we had a two bedroom appartment. I wouldn't recommend the standard rooms, they are very small. My sister and her husband had a superior room and it was very nice. Much more spacious, big bathroom, big balcony and a big fridge, television, telephone and safe. The two bedroom appartments were beautiful right on the beach. There were two bedroom with two beds, a television in each bedroom, a bathroom in each bedroom and a safe in each bedroom. There was a nice size living room with a television and a small kitchen with a big fridge which we shared with my sister and her husband. This resort was very very clean even the washrooms in the loby and near the bar. The only thing I wouldn't recommend this resort to somebody who's physically challenged because there are no elevators and there are four floors. A lot of the guests at this resort are repeat guests. The beach is truly beautiful at this resort it is very wide , the sand is white and beautiful and the water was such a beautiful colour and very warm. You could walk for miles in both directions. In the afternoon we also walked to the flea markets. At night after the shows we walked down the street and there was always some musicians playing at little bars. It was a lot of fun. It was very safe to walk around Varadero at night. On the resort there was a pool table, table tennis, riffle shooting. They had water aerobics, dancing lessons, spanish lessons, bocci balls. For water sports they had catamarans and paddle boats, scuba lesson in the pool. In the evening they had bingo, they often had musicans playing in the lounge . They had evening entertainment from 9:30 to 11:00. Some of the shows were very good. They had a water ballet that was very good. Cuban Rap band and an animal show. We were there two weeks and they didn't repeat many shows. What made this hotel stand out more than the other resorts I went to in Cuba and Dominican Republic was the staff. I have never seen such a bunch of friendly people. Everyone is truly very nice wether you tip them or not. The only negative side to this resort was that there was only one buffet restaurant so there was only a limited selection. We always found something we liked. They had very good deserts. This is not a luxury resort but it is very clean, it was a perfect location and as I said the staff were terrific. I would love to go back next year.
Hotel Horizontes Mar Del Sur
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
February 2004
First let me say that if I wanted a 5 star hotel I would have paid the extra grand.

Airport: First things first, go find the tourist bus for your resort or you'll end up paying 25 bucks U.S. for a cab.

Food: Breakfast-ok, who can screw up an omelette right in front of you? Lunch- just a snack if you’re even there. Dinner- forget about it, go enjoy the local restaurants, you’re on frikken holidays. I ate lobster 4/7 nights at a little corner cafe just down the street, ten bucks.

Maids: Great, leave the poor girl a dollar/day or your pocket change and they are nothing but helpful, remember they live there and can tell you things to see you never even thought of.

Location: Fabulous, right in town where the action is. I spent most of my time off the resort watching the Cuban world go by. Beers were always under a buck just about anywhere so go live a little. Safety: Cubans are the friendliest people I've ever met, they're not out to steal from you like where I live, maybe the odd one will ask you for a t shirt but hell the average salary is $8.00 a month! Hints: Bring little shampoos, toothbrushes, things with Canadian flags, band-aids, (geez go to the dollar store and drop twenty bucks) extra clothes you haven’t worn in six months. This stuff is golden.

Bottom line: For me the room was a place to hang my hat, have a shower and sleep. Clean - No Bugs.