logo Old Reviews - Allegro Varadero
Oasis Varadero 1920
Mark 
Saskatoon
November 2008
Arrival and Flight
Flew in on SunWing Arrival and flight were great . Left home in the afternoon and landed in Cuba late in the evening. Very easy to get your way around the airport, lots of people to direct you to your bus. Grab a beer or some water to drink from the venders on the way to your bus because you have a little drive to you hotel and after all you are now on holidays.

Rooms
Our room was nice. we traveled with our two children (11 and 12) they had there own bedroom. The rooms were clean and had no problems with bugs or anything. Our room over looked the pool so in the evenings it was a little load when the disco emptied and the partiers hung around the all night bar by the pool. Not a real problem as we were quite tired and the kids heard nothing. Some people we heard did have some flooding in the rooms, mostly on the lower levels. We stayed on the upper levels and never had any problems. They do have two elevators, but one wasn't working and they were slow and small. No problem using stairs, lots around. Main hotel complex is huge and the hall ways seem to go on forever. Never went into the other separate complexes, but people we talked to said they were clean and nice.

Restaurants
Because we arrived late in the evening we had our meeting in the morning and just caught the end of the morning buffet. They were out of plates and there wasn't much left to eat other than fruit and pasties and whatever was leftover on the buffet line didn't look too appetizing. (That being said neither would anything at home at any buffet after you feed over 800 for breakfast) I work in the restaurant business at home and to say it is as good as our service was not as stringent on rules etc. We found that with the large amount of people being served you have to get to the buffet as soon as it opens up as the food is hotter than and prepared better. As for how the food was it was okay, my kids are quite fussy about the way food looks as to how it tastes and they never left the buffet hungry. Omelets in the morning are great and they will make them the way you want. Some of the dishes look pretty weird, but take a close look at some of it cause it may surprise you. We found one with lobster in a tomato sauce with crab or pollick. Once the kids got past the lobster heads they couldn't get enough. One must remember that the sauces they use are made with natural vegetables and juices not like the refined and spices herbs , salt. msg etc that they put in our food. Sometimes the sauces get watered down too much to make it go further, but they are trying to feed allot of people over a very short period. They had just hired a new chef a couple of weeks before we got there and from what we were told by other people was that the food had improved quite a bit. The same goes for the al-la-carte restaurants make an early reservation to get the best food as the evening goes on the food prep goes down. Long lineups to book suppers at the restaurants. The kids found the best meal for them was out side of the buffet. They have a BBQ pork on a bun just awesome get there early bring some drinks and get into line because it is lined up all night long and it is a great mixer and quite entertaining.

The food in Cuba is nothing spectacular, but we were not expecting Champagne and Caviar. We had good food. You had to try a few different things before you found something that was great but it is there, just look and try some different things and don't judge too quickly. The pizza snack bar in the afternoon had pizza which is good, but don't expect pizza sauce like back home, not going to happen. We met a man who was a chef from Winnipeg who took great delight in making my kids chicken pizza from the grill and by the end of the week some of the staff were making it as well. Also my daughter told me to tell everybody about the ice cream at the ice cream shack opens around noon. It didn't seem like allot of people knew about it because it was never busy.

Bars
The bars were fine a little slow at times ass the main bar by the pool is always busy. The best bars for service that we found were by the French or the Italian pools. One on each end of the complex. Less crowded and the pools area is more relaxing and have wet bars.

Beach and Pools
The pools were great clean and well kept. It took us a couple of days to find the outer pools, so walk around and explore, because the complex is huge. Beaches and water were unbelievable clean clear and clam. Went out sailing one day and the wind died and it took at least an hour to get back to shore and had a great conversation about Cuba with one of the staff members who took me out. There is a reef just at the edge of the complex were they will take you snorkeling for quite cheap. The staff took my kids out regularly and treated them as guests and not just kids very impressed.

Grounds
The grounds are very well kept for the size of the complex and staff are always around to help you find things, most of them speak fairly good English, French, and either Spanish and some even Italian.

Activities and Entertainment
It took a little constant prodding to get a good game of beach volleyball or water polo going by the staff at times , but once they got into it and got more people involved, there were some pretty good games going. The evening entertainment was quite good. and again there are three different venues for this. The international by the main pool and games room. The Italian entertainment is by their complex on the out theatre stage and the French entertainment is on the stage by their pool area. Check them all out. We would play tennis every morning and several of the grounds keepers would gather around to watch and cheer and when we were finished they always brought us some cut coconuts with straws to quench our thirst. The kids thought that this was very cool.

Tours
Because they over booked the hotel on our second night they offered an over night trip to Habana. We had to check out of our room and put our bags in the office and take an over night bag with us to Habana. We were put up for the night in the Oasis Habana their five star resort and had supper there was fantastic We were planning on going to Habana anyway so it was perfect. Had a great breakfast the next morning and went for a tour Saw Habana in the morning and then stop at a restaurant for a fantastic lunch. Kids never had a five coarse lunch served to them before, not even at my restaurant. They were impressed with the waiters. Old Habana in the afternoon, not nearly enough time to see everything, it is incredible. Then of to a flee market, which was huge and had everything you could possibly want as a tourist. Stopped on the way to Habana at a hill side lookout over a huge valley and the ocean had had some of the best Pina Colada I have had in over 15 years in the restaurant business. Checked back into the hotel and was upgraded into a better room over looking the ocean and the French Complex very quite at that end of hotel. Also went to swim with the dolphins out in the ocean pens, which was fun, but it was very money oriented and you in and out of the water. For anextra 10 CUC you could go in the pens and two dolphins would come up to and let you grab their fins and they would pull you around the pool. The snorkeling after that was unbelivable, the sail boat we went on was fun with lots of peopl and a limited amount of snorkeling gear. They break you up into two groups and give you about 30 minutes in the water. My kids brought their own and stayed out there for almost an hour. had lunch at the most beautiful beach. The sand is like iceing sugar, it is that fine. It is a must trip.

Departure and Check Out
Departure was sad, because it had been a very relaxing two weeks and I wasn't ready to go back. We left very early in the morning and had breakfast and got to watch the sun come up, which that morning was incredible. Uneventful flight home, except for the toilet paper race from the front of the plane to the back, by trying to unroll a roll from the front to the back with out ripping it. fun prizes.

Conclusion
All in all it was a good trip would definitely go back met some good people there. The food is not the greatest ,but make of it what you will. if it is you main concern on a holiday stay home, otherwise bring some spices and ejoy yourself.
Oasis Varadero 1920
Dave, Glo, Ray, Dawn, Tony & Nancy  
Ottawa
June 2008
Arrival and Flight ; As good as it gets for charter flight, customs and transport went well

Rooms ; May have been the best part of the hotel. Clean, decent rooms for Cuba, Very nice staff.

Restaurants; These were without a doubt the worst restaurants we have ever been to. The food was the worst in 5 resorts we have been to in Cuba. The buffet was mundane, tasteless, unvaried, some times evil smelling. The Italian restaurant was not terrible. but not good. The snack bar by the beach ran out of food one day. Walking up to the pool bar you walk past a point that smelled like an open sewer. walking past the open doors to the buffet when it was not eating time one was gagged by the smell coming from inside.

Bars; The beach bar had no beer, only mixed drinks. You had to walk to the pool or to the far end of the beach for beer. Take a big thermo mug if you like beer. Limited stock on some liqueurs as thy only get one bottle a day of some. Bar tenders not particularly enthusiastic about their job. Piano bar pretty good. Pool bar/ pool had pretty good entertainment at cocktail hour.

Beach and Pools ; The best part of Varadero is the beaches. While not the best beach on the strip it is a really nice beach, clean, fine sand. but while there are lots of loungers they are hard and not to clean.

Grounds; Nice mature area well maintained by friendly grounds staff.

Activities and Entertainment; Pretty good shows at night and at the bar at cocktail time. Don't do activities but they had the requisite dancing at the pool and other things to do.

Tours ; Didn't do one this time but if it is your 1st visit go to Habana, its a great trip.

Departure and Check Out ; Sat for 3 hours waiting in front of the main desk for our bus, then when someone asked if there was a problem they told us our flight had been delayed. Idiots

Conclusion: We wouldn't go back to this place if it was the last hotel in Cuba. This is not a 4 star hotel 2.5 or 3 maybe. There are many better hotels on the strip for similar money and you wont lose weight while you are there.
Oasis Varadero 1920
Gail 
Toronto, Canada
January 2008
Arrival - Fast check in no problems

Rooms - mouldy and smelly, but cleaned well. Great bathroom

Restaurants - Food was awful

Bars - Piano Bars is good

Beach and Pools - Beach in lovely and pools seem fine. We are only baeach people.

Grounds - Weel groomed

Activities - Not much to do

Tours - Havana was a great day

Conclusion - Wouldn't stay again. The staff are not friendly and rather curt!
Oasis Varadero 1920
Giulia 

January 2008
I was in Varadero November 24th to December 1st, 2008.

The hotel is wonderfully situated over a stretch of 2 kilometers. It has a wonderful rectangular pool, although nothing out of the ordinary, it is huge, has a big deep end, and close to the 24-hour bar, with a wonderful view of the resort.

There is another pool at the one end and although it is not big, it has a bar in the pool, which is beautiful as it looks out onto the sea.

The food in the buffet is fine as long as you are not a difficult eater. Always remember this is Cuba and they do not have all the ingredients found in developed countries. If one is looking to eat like back home, they should stay home.

The restaurants are disappointing I must admit.

The people however, make up for everything else. I had help at the gym, at the reception every time I went, phone services, pool side, everywhere. The shows are great, the nightly band is good, the disco is also great to have right on site.

All in all, I would recommend this hotel. I will definitely return.
Oasis Varadero 1920
Trapper 
Kemptville, Ontario
January 2008
Arrival - Air travel, customs clearance, lugguge pick up, bus transfer, check in all went smoothly

Rooms - First night, room really poor. Musty smell and for some reason there was a large television cabinet in the room with no television in it and it was placed up against the wall hiding the air conditioning controls. If you wanted to turn AC on or off you had to physically move this large piece of furniture that seemed to be providing no service and was not functional.

Got room change next day...3 pesos tip each for the two ladies at the front counter. Ocean view room and we accepted as it seemed appropriate. Next morning large flood, we were on the top floor? Seems AC condensation leaked through the ceiling and soaked all of my wife's clothes. Call to front desk...repaired two days later. Room thereafter okay.

Restaurants - Did not go to the a la carts on advice from guests we met at the hotel. Food not eatable. Well the buffet didn't serve anything eatable either. We survived on bread and butter. Breakfasts were okay...you could get an omelette but no toast or real juices. Coffee was good but not excellent. Suggestion...don't go to this resort for the food. Good place to start a diet. Fish heads were on the buffet more than once. I had to take a picture to show my co-workers the fish heads. Maybe the 5 star resorts up the beach got the rest of the fish!! Bar B Que fish heads!!

I was surprised that there wasn't any items like Monty Python's "Albatross on a Stick" being served as some of the items on the buffet were pretty strange.

Bars - Bars are bars. However at the 1920, the beach bar doesn't serve beer. Strange, as everywhere else we have gone before, beer seemed to be the beverage of choice on the beach. Later on, okay some cocktails but beers to start the day. Maybe a shanty or two as well.

Overall my only complaint about the bars was as the beer issue at the beach bar.

Beach and Pools - Beach was super. Reasonably clean, soft sand, very little weeds and you could walk without water shoes or Crocs. Chairs don't come with cushions andc a peso or two would gewt you a clean lounger and a prime spot on the beach. No vendors on the beach to hassle you. Missed that a little bit as I like the challenge of a barter or two.

I'm am not a pool guy but my wife enjoyed the pool. Basic pool, but it did have a deep end for a change. First one I've seen at a resort that is open to children. There was a lifeguard on duty as well.

Grounds - Grounds are well kept and the staff are working constantly to maintain the garden like surroundings.

Activities - Did not participate. Old fart I am.

Tours - Spend Christmas day in Havana. Quite an experience. Did the Hemingway tour on our own with a British couple we had met at the 1920. When in Varadero, it is a must do to go to Havana. Two couples can split a cab and do the tour at your rate of speed and go to the sites that you would want to see and spend as much time as you want to at each place not at the group rate of speed especially for those areas where you have no interest. Splitting the cab is cheaper than the bus tour and perhaps more fun if you get the right driver. They will take you places where the bus tour will not. Simply ask and if it's possible, the driver will take you there.

Conclusion - I will not be returning to this resort. I cannot recommend it either. Until the food and its preparation are upgraded and the Hotel gets some much neede TLC it is best to avoid this resort. However, if you are on a diet and don't care what your accommodations are like, this is the place for you simply for the beach and the booze. Thanks for letting me vent...Trapper
Oasis Varadero 1920
Shannon 

April 2007
Flew Sunwing on March 23rd, leaving Ottawa. Great thing about the flight was that it left at 7 am so there weren't any long line ups at the airport, bad thing was we had to be at the airport for 5 am. The Sunwing plane was more comfortable than those that SkyService offers, but its otherwise the same services on-board except for the free wine.

Transportation to the hotel upon our arrival was easy to locate and the agent was present and visible, spoke fluent English and directed us to the correct bus.

The hotel itself is very well kept and the staff are polite and most understand a great deal of English. The one thing the staff here didn't have as compared to other resorts we've stayed at is the friendly charm we associate with Cubans. Don't get me wrong, they were polite and never rude, but they weren't openly friendly (asking about where we were from , how our day had been, etc). We were one of three couples checking in at that time and were offered our rooms right away. We had booked an ocean view room and due to knee problems I asked for a third floor room to minimize the stairs (there is an elevator though) and the receptionist was very accommodating. Our room was cleaned daily and our regular cleaning person left towel art regardless of if we left a tip or not (I tip large amounts less often instead of daily). Our water bottle was also replaced daily and we were asked if we wanted the beer and pop stocked as well, which we declined. On the second day the plug in the tub got stuck during the morning, but it was fixed by dinner at our request.

The food was edible, and breakfast was by far the best meal. The pizza is good at the pizzeria and they typically had a nice selection of salads and meat on the grill as well. The best drinks were being served at the snack bar next door, but they are only open for the after-noon. The bar tender at the beach bar is really nice and will remember your drink of choice after your second visit. The burgers at the pool bar make a good snack, but sometimes there just aren't any fixings so if it comes without lettuce or tomatoes or both its because there isn't any, not because they forgot. The best parts of dinner were the pork sandwiches outside of the lobby or the freshly carved roast beef or ham in the buffet. Salad and fresh bread were fairly plentiful and made good fillers. The a la carts were decent, the international was the best. There didn't seem to be a limit on how many times you could go, and you have to pay for lobster when you book the meal (they don't tell you this and come dinner time its too late as they won't have enough prepared).

The beach was great, only one red flag day, and no issues with the jelly fish. You could always get a lounger, they had plenty to go around, and there was usually room in the shade. We walked up the beach in both directions for about 2 km. Its a nice walk but you can't see much of the other resorts without going in-land. The pool was also well kept but the chairs in the shade were often claimed with towels (and remained empty most of the day!) and the animation team could get loud so we spent our time at the beach.

We took a bus down the main avenue into Varadero to visit the flea market. Its a great place to get souvenirs and arts and crafts, but save your cigar buying money for the duty free shop at the airport where they are the cheapest. To get to the flea market just go out the front gates of the resort to the bus stop and wait for a bus. There are two, one more standard looking mass transit bus that costs 2 CUC per person per direction but it runs on schedule, and the other is a double decker sigh seeing bus that was forever late and mostly full and costs 5 CUC. If you do go to the flea market, bring along some bottled water because while the food in the market is inexpensive, the same is not true for water.

We also walked along the main avenue to the Plaza of the Americas. It was a longer walk, about 40 minutes, but it took us past the golf course and gave us the opportunity of seeing many different types of vehicles on the street.

Getting home was somewhat of an adventure. First the flight was delayed 4 hours, and the hotel was good enough to let us know the morning of, and let us stay in our room. Then there were problems with our bus, which picked us up an hour later than the agent advised us (the agent who knew nothing of the cause of the delay and left the resort before we were on the bus). Once at the airport there weren't any problems checking our baggage or clearing customs (no small feat for an insulin dependant diabetic who has an insulin pump and doesn't speak Spanish!) Lucky for us Sunwing had their own queuing lines so we went through quickly. The plane was further delayed and we were stuck at the airport for a few extra hours than planned, this was only a problem because it was now 3 pm and we'd only had breakfast, anticipating having lunch on the plane.

The flight home was fine except the air crew informed us that the plane had been delayed because Sunwing hadn't scheduled their pilots properly and had forgotten the mandatory 12 hour minimum rest period. Then they told us that the second reason for the delay was improperly filled out paper work that caused problems with the departure from Cancun (the first leg of the flight). When I asked for a blanket, I was told there weren't any left. When the drink cart came by and I asked for diet pop, I was told there wasn't any left. When dinner came around, I was told they only had sheppard's pie left (which really wasn't a big portion, nor was it very good) and no longer had any buns left. You also could only make purchases from the in-flight duty free if you had exact change because their floats hadn't been replenished. Am I ever going to fly with SunWing again? Not unless its a much better deal than what we got this time. Their lack of organization is scary!

All in all the vacation was a nice one, the stay was pleasant and the room comfortable. I will likely not go back to Varadero though, I just didn't find it as friendly as Holguin or Cayo Coco, and I will likely not return in March as the weather at the end of January is exactly the same and the prices are cheaper.
Oasis Varadero 1920
Melanie 

March 2007
We stayed at the Oasis Varadero 1920 from Mar 9-16. We arrived around 11 ,got out bracelet, changed and stored our luggage. We knew it would be too early to check in. We walked around and got out bearings and then time for lunch. We were able to check in around 2:30. We asked for adjoining rooms as we had our children with us. We ended up with 2 rooms in the main building 4214, & 4215 with a wonderful ocean view on the 4th floor. The rooms were large , beds were OK and pillows were great.

I am not going to be long winded. The food was as to be expected. It was ok, we always found something to eat. Sometimes too much. The omelets inthe morning were great, the pasta was good. We did not go to any of the a la carte restaurants as they had to be booked daily and inthe morning and there was always a line up. We had heard that they were a lot like the buffet so we didn't bother.

The beach is beautiful , but unfortunately we were there during jelly fish season and my daughter got stung the first day so that kind of turned her off. But that was ok. We are happy in the sun by the pool. We saw the nightly entertainment a couple of time. The pool ballet was awesome, I highly recommend it.

We did go into the city of Varadero one day to do some shopping.

We went on the jeep safari. It was a great day. Saw a lot of the country, visited a farm, went swimming in an underground cave, had lunch cooked Cuban style, horseback riding, paddle boating. The kids loved it.

Over all we had a great trip.

The only bad part is the airport. Lots of long lines, waiting and crowds.

I recommend this resort. The Piano/Cigar bar was a nice spot in the evening. The service was great.

If you are going, Have a great time!!!
Oasis Varadero 1920
Bill and Jacqueline 
Canada
July 2006
We have just returned from a week in Cuba where we stayed at the Playa Varadero 1920. I traveled with my 15 and 18 year old daughters along with two of my oldest daughters friends [both of whom are 18].

We left Toronto at 5:30pm, arriving in Cuba at 9:15pm. Getting through customs, etc was pretty straight forward. The Nolitours operator was waiting outside the entrance and directed us to our bus. Within 15 minutes we were headed to our destination. Since we were the only ones to arrive at the resort on Friday evening, check in was fast and straight forward. We had a problem with one of the rooms because the door wouldn't unlock. We went back to the lobby and told them of the problem and within 10 minutes a maintenance man was at the room and seemed to fix the problem. However, our second attempt to open the room yielded the same results. Again we went back to the lobby to let them know we were still having a problem. The maintenance fellow was back in about 5 minutes. He was able to open the door without a problem......turns out, in this particular room [2220] you have to lift the handle up as oppose to pushing it down. Once we knew that particular trick, we never had an issue unlocking the door! All of our rooms [2212, 2213 and 2220] were facing the ocean and were at the far end of the resort at the opposite end of the DISCO/GRILL, etc.

Lets start with the good stuff.....the beach was beautiful and the water was clear and warm. There definitely could be more shaded areas, but for the most part we were able to make due. What I didn't appreciate [and this isn't a Resort issue] was the fact that hotel guests would mark their 'territories' in the early morning, but quite often didn't show up until later in the day. This resulted in a lot of the primo spots being left empty save a few towels for most of the day.

The pool was also very nice, although we did find the water to be almost too warm, but we also know that the temperature is dictated by the great Cuban weather!! We were always able to get spots that provided us with much needed shade. The girls really enjoyed using the pool after dinner as they tended to be the only ones in the pool.

The weather was fantastic with beautiful sun filled days! It did rain most nights, but generally started around 7pm and finished up by 8 or 9pm.

The Piano Bar was also exceptional with a better beverage selection and great wait staff. Our only regret is that we didn't discover this bar until mid way through our vacation.

Now onto some of the negatives.........FOOD....although we had read multiple reviews about the food in Cuba, we were still disappointed. Breakfast, lunch and dinner seemed to all offer the same types of food. There was minimal variety and what was there was not really to our liking. The girls ate mostly buns with the odd coldcut. The Grill was probably their most popular spot as they could eat hot dogs, hamburgers, french fries and pizza. We also ate at the Italian and International a la carte restaurants. We were satisfied with our meals at both of these restaurants.

ROOMS......during the first day, our room 2220 was very musty. After the first day, the smell went away and from then on we were satisfied with our room. The cleaning staff were in every day and we looked forward to getting back to our rooms to see what they had created with the towels! My daughter and one of her friends were in room 2212 and the musty smell never went away! It looked as if the ceiling may have been wet at some point and was spotted with mold.

POOL BAR/DISCO....the drinks are just your standards...pina colada, rum and coke, etc and are served in very small plastic cups. Like others have said in their reviews, it is a good idea to bring your own insulated mugs. Our biggest complaint about the Pool Bar/Disco was with the male staff. The male servers were relentless in the pursuit of finding a sexual partner. It got to the point where the girls felt totally uncomfortable being around many of the staff members. Since the staff rotate jobs, the girls were subject to many unwanted advances during meal times as well as during night time activity. To be quite honest, I too was subject to some of these advances and found it quite inappropriate and unnerving. There were a handful of male servers that were definitely on the prowl. I've traveled to other countries and have never seen or been subject to such blatant advances.

Our final day was this past Friday and our bus picked us up promptly at 7pm. We had to check out of our room by noon unless we wanted to pay an additional 10 pesos an hour to retain until later in the day. The afternoon was spent wandering through the resort, having a bite to eat at the Grill and then settling in at the Piano Bar for some cappuccino and mineral water. This is the first time that we have had a late departure time and our preference going forward will be to leave early in the day as oppose to later.

Check in at the airport was fairly smooth although, since this was our first time in Cuba, we didn't really know where to go and there really aren't any straight forward directions. We tried to go through security before we paid our departure fee. We were directed to the proper area and paid our departure fee and then back to security. We'll know better next time. Our flight was delayed by 1 1/2 hours and didn't leave Cuba until 11:30pm, putting us in Toronto at 2:40am. It was a long day, but we were all glad to be back in Canada.

I'm not really sure that we would venture back to Cuba. I'd rather pay a bit more and go to a resort that is better know for its food as well as its beaches, etc. and the staff are genuinely friendly.
Gaviota Playa Varadero 1920
Wayne 
Canada
May 2006
We stayed at Playa Varadero 1920 the week of April 9-16. Our group of 16 was joined by 5 others. We all had a great time and can't wait to go back. No one got sick, no one starved.

Arrival: At the airport you will have to pay for toilet paper at the washrooms. So have a couple of loonies on hand (they will accept Canadian if it's all you have). The line up for customs is quite long, but fairly quick. Outside the airport your guide will be waiting with a sign with your flight groups name. He will direct you to your bus which is clearly marked with the number he tells you. The bus has a tour guide on it to explain a few things to you about your resorts and Varadero. Very helpful. We left them a tip - $5.00 Canadian (shared between the driver and the guide)

Check-in: Very quick. Our room was ready when we got there, but most others weren't. We arrived before their check-in time so this was nothing unusual. They do have a place to keep your luggage until your room is ready. Our group didn't use this service, everyone just put their things in our room or another member of our groups room. Make sure your swimsuits are easy to get to just in case. We all just got changed and went exploring the resort. The staff at the front desk are very nice and helpful. We had no idea which rooms our friends were in, so we went to the desk and the girls let us know (and no tip was expected) Anytime we needed to know something they were always willing to help out. They would smile and say hello when we would walk by. The day before we left we gave each of them a small gift. They were very appreciative.

Rooms: Very clean and spacious. We had two 3/4 sized beds (others had one Queen, and some even had a day bed as well). The bathroom was big and clean as well, with a seperate door to the toilet area off the main bath. In our rooms we had a coffee maker with coffee, sugar, etc., tv, cd player, phone, bar fridge, safe, hair dryer, ironing board and iron. Sheets were clean and not stained. Extra blankets and pillows in closet. We wanted extra pillows so the maid got it for us (they were regular size, just flatter). There is a pull across close line over the bathtub (great for hanging swimwear). We bought some clothspins with us. Bar fridge was stocked with 1 large water, 2 soft drinks and 2 beer. We left the person that refills the fridge a little something everyday and sometimes he left us extras. It's a good idea to take your water out of the fridge before you leave your room in the morning (if he sees nothings been touched he may not leave more) We did this just in case we needed more water for coffee and stuff. The maid - Hilda was great. We left her gifts each day and she was so greatful for them. She would clean our room very well. She would leave our clean towels on the bed each day shaped like swans, hearts, etc. She always said hello when she saw us and always had a big smile on her face. We would make sure that all we left on the bed was her gifts. That way there was no confusion of what was for her and what was ours. We did't have anything go missing from our room. However, if you leave things on the bed, as far as I know that means you are giving her a gift. So, if you don't want to lose those shorts or whatever, pick them up. I'm sure if we had left anything there she would have gladly given it back.

Food: The food was excellent. We ate at the buffet for breakfast, lunch and some suppers. The food can sometimes be a little repetitive, but there is so much to choose from you can still have something different all the time. For breakfast there were omlets, potato wedges, pancakes, fruit, you name it. Other meals had a variety of fish and meat dishes, lots of vegeables, fries, pasta. We tried many different things and all were great. The only thing I didn't like was the salad dressing for the tossed salads. We ate at each of the a la cartes. The seafood restaurant was the best. You've gotta try the swordfish. All eating areas were very clean. The wait staff are great. We rarely had to wait for drinks or refills. They cleared tables quickly. We had the same girl at the buffet most of the time. She knew what we wanted to drink with each meal. We would leave a peso or two at each meal (not much to us but a lot to them). At the end of our trip I gave her a little gift bag of things and she was very greatful. She even came over to me later that day to say thank-you again. For those of you that are picky and only eat burgers, fries, pizza, etc. the beach bar has burgers and fries. The seafood restaurant is a pizza place during the day. They make everything fresh when you order. We ate at the buffets when the first opened. The food was always fresh and plentiful then. The hours are posted outside the door. The pool bar has sandwiches too.

Pool and beach: Clean and beautiful. Lots of chairs for relaxing. We didn't need to go down early to get a chair. Daily activities include beach volleyball, pool kayak race, dance lessons, other water acivities, etc. The board outside the buffet lets you know whats on the go at different times throughout the day.

Entertaiment: The entertainment staff are fabulous. There was a show every night. The disco was open late. Pool bar never closes. We had a blast every night we were there. Carlos the bartender is awesome. Mitchel and Herbert always knew where to have a good time.

Other stuff: The grounds are beautiful. They have a great ice cream parlour just up from the beach. They have ping pong tables, pool table, kayaks at the beach, the gym is excellent, trampoline, just so much to do if you want to. the entire resort is very clean. Staff are constantly cleaning the walkways and other areas. It's just a great place to go. I would highly recommend this resort to any of my friends. Everything about our trip was amazing. Not one negative thing about this resort comes to mind. I don't know why its a 4 star and not a five. The only thing I can see is that they dont have facecloths in the rooms.
Gaviota Playa Varadero 1920
Graham 
Nova Scotia
May 2006
TOUR: Booked through Sunquest and Canjet Airlines from Hailfax, NS
Our group consisted of 7 couples April 2006

ACCOMODATION: This is the most important aspect of considering this resort as it can make or break your visit and therefore the reason you get some great reviews and some really bad ones. We had requsted Oceanview Rooms which we all got, however, when you look at the photo of the resort in the brochures there are some bungalows on the left side of the picture. These are Italian exlusive bungalows called VeraClub in an area called the Cayo Largo Bungalows. Then there is the main hotel. What is not shown is another area of bungalows called Cayo Coco Bungalows. Our rooms were all in the Cayo Coco Bungalows in the 6400 room number series and it can be a 15 minute walk to the main beach/hotel area. In addition this is where the ant/bug problem is in the rooms. Two of us moved to the main hotel due to the walk and sub-standard rooms. No questions were asked and they made the change gratiously. We no longer had an oceanview room but the rooms were now nice, clean and roomy. The 5 remaining couples put up with the ants and liked the lay-out of the rooms.

BEACH: Our last trip was to Cayo Coco. This beach at the Playa 1920 was the nicest I've been to and it is sheltered off by a large rock formation at both ends of the cove-like beach making a very private experience. There weren't that many Cabanas so you had to reserve early but there is a beach bar right there and lots of chairs. Great rum drinks(no beer) but very convenient.

FOOD: There are several small places to eat such as burgers, hot dogs, pizzas, sandwiches etc. There is one buffet and we all felt it was great. The 3 a-la carte restaurants all had hot vegetables with the meals and the food was very good. Better than our last resort.

PURCHASES: If you buy from the store in the hotel make sure you pay ONLY what the price tag says. We had some try to add on extra charges and with the language barrier it is hard to argue but we did get ripped off once(No receipts to fall back on). Best to purchase duty free after you go through the legal check-in(exit fee etc). There are several stores upstairs which take Canadian money as well and the prices are cheaper.

VIP Exit: I wouldn't recommend purchasing the VIP exit lounge for 20 pesos. In Varadero you don't get pre-boarding as you do in Cayo Coco and the service provided is not as good.

EXCURSIONS: 3 couples took in the day trip to Havana and a night out at the Tropicana. Good value.

CONCLUSION: We all would go back to this resort as it wasn't busy, was well laid out(except for the rooms I mentioned above), however, personally I would stay in the main hotel again. The people were great, hotel staff excellent, easy to exhange money etc. GREAT beach. Sunquest and Canjet was also worth travelling with.
Gaviota Playa Varadero 1920
Gabriel & Caroline 
Quebec, Canada
May 2006
Hi My girlfriend and I just arrived from the Playa Varadero 1920 and this was our 16th time in the Caribbean and this was our worse trip we ever had. We stayed at this hotel from May 6th to May 13th 2006. We really not recommend you to go at this hotel if you want to have some nice vacation. Here are the reasons why!

Our arrival: When we arrived at 1:00 pm, we had to wait about an hour to reach the reception desk because two flights arrived at the same time at the hotel. I never saw this before! They did not even offer us a drink or something. After this long waiting, we were told that our room would be the room 6452 but that it was not ready yet and that it would be only ready by 4:30 or 5:00 pm. I asked why it would be ready so late since the habitual check in time announced at the lobby was 3:00 pm. "No problemo sir go to the beach, go eat something and come back around 4:30pm!" So, my girlfriend and I decided to go to the buffet restaurant to eat something. The food at this hotel is simply disgusting. For lunch, we only found some rice and French potatoes with some chicken and pasta. Everything else was disgusting and let me tell you that we are not selective people on food. We habitually eat of almost everything in the buffets of the restaurant in the Caribbean. Overall we laughed about this and only said it would be better since we would not eat too much during those vacations. Then, passing by the reception desk by 3:30 we saw some people of our flight receiving their room. So, we asked if our room was ready and they told us yes. When we arrived at our room (which was so far from the principal complex of this hotel with all the services) we found a room infested with BUGS! Bugs were everywhere and we had both dead and alive bugs in our room. We found some in the bathtub, in the room, in the toilet, under the bed, simply everywhere!!! So, we went back to the reception desk and they never wanted to change us since the hotel was supposed to be full at 100%. We met some other people from our flight that had been sent to this section of this hotel and they had the same problems as us. So, I had to call the representative from Nolitours vacation to have some help and they were able to find a room for us for the next morning. The representative asked the hotel to completely clean our room in the next 30 minutes. However, nothing had been done an hour later. So, we had to go back to the reception and they did not offer any service to us and they did not want to do anything for us. "Only tomorrow sir we can do something!" I called back Nolitours Vacation and the lady spoke back to the reception. Finally, at 5:30 pm, our room was less disgusting than before. So, we tried to enjoy a little the pool and the beach and went for a dinner at the buffet restaurant again. Surprise! The food was the same than the food for lunch time. So, we ate again some rice and French potatoes and chicken. Finally, when we went back to our room, we went to sleep and we had been woken up by bugs IN the bed! My girlfriend simply was afraid. So, we went back again to the reception at 12:30 am with our pyjamas on and the lady there did not even want to understand a thing! She told us "Now, that's enough go to your room and manana (tomorrow) we will change you" That was enough for us! We asked to change room but she did not want. So, a maid came to our room around 1:30 am to change the bed and to clean again the room. We finally got changed the next morning for a room in the principal section of this hotel but the room was not really luxurious but better.

The service: The service of this hotel is simply absent at most of the places. No smiles, no courtesy, no fun to serve people even if you give them some tips. The only cool staff we met was at the buffet restaurant but only during dinner time. If you want to see some unhappy people, go at this hotel.

The food: As we already mentioned before, the food is not quite fantastic and really repetitive. It is almost the same everyday. At the buffet restaurant, the food is never hot enough and even often colder than hotter. Even if this is Cuba, I never saw that before and this was my third time in Cuba. If you want to eat some pizza, the pizzeria offers some great pizza at lunch time.

The beach: The beach is really beautiful the sea is wonderful. This was the only great part of our vacation. The beach and the weather which were both terrific!

Overall, if you want to have some great vacation with your lover or your family, you should choose another hotel. If you want to go to Varadero, I went to the Barcelo Solymar few years ago and it was great on everything! The Barcelo Marina Palace also seems beautiful according to what we heard at the airport waiting for our return flight to Montreal. We were quite happy to leave this hotel and we would not stay at this hotel for another week.
Gaviota Playa Varadero 1920
Therese 

April 2006
I come from montreal and left for Cuba with three of my best girl friends on january 2nd, 2006.

We had the best of times and seriously, this hotel was awesome! The G.O. are super nice, the beach is beautiful and the excursions are really worth it!

The food was wonderful. I left montreal thinking food in cuba would be absolutely disgusting, but it's not. It was actually really good.

I really recommend the Havana Especial tour which includes a guided tour of the old and new Havana, a visit in the Havana Club rhum factory and the Tropicana show (girls wearing wierd bathing suits and big feather hats of their heads). The tropicana show also includes a rhum bottle per table of 4 people. So on that day, we left the hotel around 8h30 AM and came back at 2 AM, with alcohol and lunch and supper included, for only 129 pesos.

We also did the jeep excursion. We leave with 2 guides and a dude who films the whole day. They give you a jeep, yes a real one, and go around matanzas.
Their, you see the real cuba, it's amazing. It was really fun because we got to ride the jeep in mud and dirt in the middle of nowhere:P! After, we took a boat to a national reserve and drove a boat to an island where we had a great lunch and we got to ride horses and bulls or sleep in a hamac. Later on, we took other jeeps to the saturno carverne where we got to swim in warm, translucide water. All this for only 73 pesos!!!!!

The hotel was great, the rooms are clean and really pretty, our room cleaner was very nice, the beacu is beautiful and the discoteca is WOW!!!! If you want to party and have fun, the people that work their will give you everything you want! the music was great, the drinks were amazing and the cubans where really nice!

There you got. I just got back from my trip and i already miss cuba. We were 4 18 and 19 year old girls and we had a blast!!!! this hotel is definately more than just O.K.!!! I'd go back tomorrow if i had money
Gaviota Playa Varadero 1920
Ursula 
Halifax, NS
April 2006
FLIGHT:
Our flight was great coming and going. We flew Air Canada Vacations and had no problems, just a short delay in Cuba as they were short staffed for ticket agents, but eventually got us through.

ARRIVAL: Outside of terminal was representative who spoke perfect english and directed us to bus and you couldn't miss the big number in the window. It was verified again before you boarded that you were in the right place. As this was our second trip to Cuba, we knew to forcefully (but politely), tell the porters that no help was required with luggage. Others on their first trip were not so lucky and when they had no pesos to give, the porters were not impressed. You live, you learn!

CHECK-IN: I was travelling with my mother who walks with a cane. This fact came to be an asset for us when checking in. A fellow pulled us out of the crowd and brought us up to the front desk where we were taken before anyone else. Some grumbling from the vacationers up front, but we didn't ask for any special assistance, it was just done. Our check in was completed in 10 minutes and a porter whisked us and our luggage to our room. Hotel has a very relaxed feel to it and the decor is very "1920's" Open concept with lots of trees - fabulous chandelier in main lobby

ROOMS: Our "oceanview" room was on the first floor looking out at a tree and a gazebo. Two single beds, large bathroom and closet with fridge and safe, but no coffeemaker to be found. I went back to desk later to ask about oceanview room and was told to check the next morning. Next morning, room changed to fabulous oceanview room on 4th floor. One queen bed, very clean and a coffeemaker! Painted in very relaxing shades of blues (just like the ocean). We had a problem with our balcony door the second day, but didn't call to repair as we didn't think it a big deal. Our gal, Redy, noticed and had maintenance in to have it fixed while we were out. If you are good to the staff, they will be good to you. We left shampoo, soaps and a few pesos.
Our room on the 4th floor overlooked the main lobby which tended to be noisy at times as sound travelled and the balcony facing the ocean overlooked the walkways to the buffet and pool, which was steady with pedestrian traffic. Everything quieted down by 11pm, so not really an issue. Hey, you're on vacation....relax!!!

FOOD: Even as a picky eater, I always found something to eat. If all else fails, their bread is always fresh and delicious. Breakfasts could be cereal, omelets, fried or scrambled eggs, bacon, toast, lots of things here. Orange juice was fabulous. Lunch buffet pretty much same everyday but pasta and chicken were always handy. Supper was similar, but every night main dish could be pork, beef or chicken. Some lines longer than others so patience is a virtue. Fpr a buffet, it wasn't too bad. Hours were posted outside although many people came in just before closing time for a meal, which then held the staff up from cleaning and preparing the next one. A couple of snack bars on property where you could get limited menu items. We didn't know about that till another couple on the beach told us. We wanted to try their 'chessburgher with frenced fried', but got a ham and cheese sandwich the first time. Eventually, we got it and it wasn't too bad. Anything with a cerveza (beer) was good! They have an area called "Cuban Town" which consists of a set of houses, each one with a different theme. We were able to get an ice cream here (try the Mango). Keep a few pesos handy. Staff always smiled, but you can always tell the ones that have been there too long as they tend to be easy to irritate.

BEACH: The Playa Varadero has lovely walkways to the beach and several of them. Lounge chairs were relatively easy to get depending on the time of day. A space under the shade huts was almost impossible as people went early and marked their spot. This was annoying as some of them didn't show up until after lunch. We tended to move into the shade and when they arrived, asked them if they minded sharing. There was a fellow from the resort that got the chairs for us. When he saw me lugging two chairs across the sand, he ran up and did that for me, well worth the peso I gave him. Sand is nice here, though smokers tend to leave their butts in this big ashtray! Wind was high the first couple of days we were there, so red/yellow flags up for water conditions. Very strong undertow if you attempted to wet you feet on these days. Section of beach we were on was very nice, but found it to be not as soft a sand as further up the coastline (lots of bits and pieces of shells). Barcelo Solymar was by far the best beach I have encountered. Cuba had rare cold front while we were there and temperature was around 65-70F. Eventually moved out and we went back up to 85-90F.

POOL: Although we are not pool people, the pool area was always busy and full of vacationers. Pool was big and very clean, lots of chairs and a bar very handy. Usually heard live entertainment between 5 and 6 pm

A LA CARTE RESTAURANTS: These are worth going to if just for a change of pace. We discovered that these places like to use ketchup in a lot of their dishes, even for decoration. The International (Palma Real) was by far our favorite with 3 of the 4 courses passing with flying colors. The lobster cocktail actually tasted like our "down home" lobsters, although the sauce it was in consisted of mayo and ketchup (rose sauce). The soup with brandy was good and the filet mignon was not bad at all as it was not to well done. You must try the Cuban wine, which is produced in the Pinar del Rio region. The Italian (Mamma Mia) was not quite italian, but the edible. How wrong can you go with pasta and tomato sauce? We didn't go to the seafood restaurant as our experience with Cuban shellfish last year was not to be repeated. Booking these start at 9 am, so get there early if you want an early sitting. ; Since it's an all inclusive, you should give these places a try.

TOURS: We didn't do any this year, but I would still recommend as a "must do" the trip to Havana. The Cuban people, culture and history are well worth the couple of hours on the bus.

CHECKOUT: Confirmed time to be in lobby with Air Canada representative and checked out in two minutes. Waited for bus to go to airport, had another rep chat with us, telling jokes and more Cuban history and details to keep us entertained on the trip. Juan Gomez (Varadero)airport not a large place and lineups very long. Lineup for boarding pass, one for paying the departure tax, going through customs and another for security. Eventually you'll get upstairs to the airport waiting area where you can change any remaining currency to either Canadian or American dollars. It's good to keep some pesos handy if you want to buy anything else before you leave. Visa is accepted, but they don't take any form of MasterCard or American Express.

OVERALL: Will be going back to Varadero again next year, but will try a different resort for comparison. Had a great time and don't have any real complaints about this resort. It is listed as a 4 star, but on some aspects would have to give it a 3 star. Everyone needs to go to Cuba at least once to see their beaches and enjoy the culture of the Cuban people.
Gaviota Playa Varadero 1920
Cloutier Family 

March 2006
Just came back from Playa Varadero 1920 last week, we were there for the March break and surprisingly it wasn't busy as I was expecting it to be. First, check-in was a bit slow but normal since we were with Tours Mont-Royal and our bus was full. Our room wasn't ready but they took care of our luggage and went to the buffet and the beach. Came back around 3 o'clock and got our room. The room was a bit of a disappointment because it didn't look anything like the picture on the internet. We had some problems with the electricity and the air conditioning was very noisy. Also, our bed sheets and towels were cleaned but stained. Other than our room the rest was great: the beach, the pool, the bars, the activities, the bars. And plenty of food. We did 3 excursions (Delphinos (swimming with dauphins), Catamaran Tour and the Jeep Tour, which we all liked, but the Jeep Tour was the best, you really get your money's worth. We also went to see the show at 10 pm. once and really enjoyed it, the dancers were really good. So we had a very good time!
Gaviota Playa Varadero 1920
Shelley 
Fort McMurray, AB
March 2006
My husband and I stayed at the Playa Varadero 1920 for two weeks and were very happy with everything. From the previous reviews on the site, we were a little nervous. The hotel was nothing like the reviews so whoever placed them there before must of had very high expectations.

Check in was quick and painless.

Rooms were beautiful and clean, we had an oceanview room so we could watch the sunset from our balcony!! It was superb and very relaxing.

Food was great at the buffet all the time. The a la carte resturants were okay, but they were not the worst we have ever been to. The international was the best!!

Service was wonderful from the front desk, waiters, waitresses, to the maid, all the staff were pleasant and happy to help you at any time!! Jon from the entertainment staff was very funny!!

Beach was quiet and very private, there was always room. You did not need to have a towel on the beach at 6am, you could go out at 10 am or even later in the afternoon, there was always room. This was the same with the pool, remember the entertaiment is done around the pool so expect a little noise....have fun and even get involved. If you want quiet...go to the beach. The sand is beautiful and so is the ocean. We spent an equal amount of time at both.

The piano bar was especially nice, a quiet place to relax while enojoying a cigar and a drink!!

Wonderful place overall...would I go again...absolutley!!
Gaviota Playa Varadero 1920
Canada 

February 2006
My husband and I along with another couple and travelled to Cuba for two weeks.

FLIGHT: We had paid the extra fee and booked our seats ahead to avoid disappointment of not getting our seats together. No problem and the flight went well.

CHECK IN: The check in was fast and painless. We were in our room within 15 minutes of arrival. The room was very plain, room safe (free), TV (movie station) and a very hard bed. The maid left us a new towel design everyday. You do need a converter and the blow dryer was not working and I reported this and finally when I did not take no for an answer it was fixed. We left gifts for the maid and she wrote us a standard letter of thank you which we all got but this was a nice touch - I would hate to have to write a thank you letter in spanish!!!

Food: The food was ok - you could always find something to eat. I spoke with the person who made pasta at lunch and asked if he would make my tomato sauce with onions & peppers and this was no problem I did give him something for his baby and everyday he would prepare my sauce the way I wanted it without my asking. There was always a roast chicken, roast turkey lamb,roast beef or loin pork every night. Lots of salads and the bread was excellent. The only complaint I had that it is so bland. The desserts were so good - and a lot of choices. The breakfast was the best meal as far as I was concerned - fruit, smoothies, eggs, toast, pancakes ..... I brought gifts for the staff (waiters, smoothie maker, egg maker etc and they really enjoyed them and the service was much better)

Al la Carte restaurants - the only one that we liked was the International one but the service was good the first week but not the second nor the food.,

Beach - excellent. The sand was wonderful We booked the catamaran several times and enjoyed the ride. Found the most interesting sea shells. We were always able to get chairs and a grass hut but not the pool area. The chairs went quickly but we were not pool people so it didn't matter. You have to pay 15 pesos for your towel but this is refunded when you turn it back in but watch your towels as we had heard that they do go missing.

Tours - went to Havana for the day and really enjoyed it. So much history and our guide was excellent (Nelson was his name), We also went on the jeep tour (150KM one) and it was excellent - very busy action packed day. So much fun.

Internet - This was a problem. The hotel only has one computor and the net was down alot they said so they would not sell us a card. The net was not down it was just that people didn't wait nor know how to sign in - it was just very slow. We had to fight with the staff to get them to sell us a card because people were complaining that it was not working and they wanted their money back. It was just very slow and expensive. Cheaper at the shopping mall.

we had a great time and would return - but not for a couple of years. It is not the Domincan nor Mexico but it was good. This hotel is not the same as a 4 star hotel in the Domincan nor Mexico. But it is Cuba and we had a good time - just go with that in mind and you will have fun!!!! branview@hotmail.com any questions that I can help you with.
Gaviota Playa Varadero 1920
Helena 
Calgary
January 2006
My husband and I along with 2 other couples from Calgary went to this resort for 1 week on Boxing Day over New Years.

FLIGHT
The flight itself was with Air Transat and it was approx. a 5 hour flight from Calgary. The plane came from Edmonton to Calgary and then carried on to Varadaro so the plane was pretty booked up before it even got to Calgary. The flight left at 9:00am so my husband and I got there 3 hours before to check our bags in. As we were honeymooning we wanted to make sure we got a seat together, which we did. However our friends that came along with us didn't have a pick of their seats. I would recommend checking your bags early if you want a decent seat.

CHECK IN
Check in was ok. There was only around 20 people on our bus from the airport that were going to our hotel so we only had wait in line for 10 minutes or so. We asked at the desk if we could upgrade our room since we were there for our honeymoon and were told it was a gorgeous room (they were right!) The bell man loaded our bags onto this golf cart type thing and we were given a ride to our room which was a 5 minute drive from the main building. It was an opportunity to see a little of the resort on our way to the room.

ROOM
Our room was the best thing about this hotel in our opinion. We had an ocean view and could watch the sun set from our balcony so we were super happy. If you can, try and get a room in the villas which is where we all stayed as it had the nicest rooms (on the beach). Our friends had a room in the main building at first and the room was beside an elevator so it was noisy. They requested a move to the villas and were happy they did. The hotel staff were very happy to accommodate their room change which was good. Our room had a tv but we didn't have some of the channels our friends had in their rooms (Discovery and some movie channels) so we were limited to watching CNN (lucky us). There was a fridge with a few beers, coke and water and the fridge was always stocked. There was a hairdryer in the bathroom and there is an iron, ironing board and a safe in the closet that you can request a key for at the main desk (no charge).

BUFFET
We all went with an open mind about the food after what we had read in reviews but unfortunately, the food was the worst part of the vacation for us. There was always a big line up of people at the buffet so by the time you got from one station to the next and then to your table, your food was cold. The pasta was ok (again a huge line up). There was lots of bread (often stale from being put out yet AGAIN) and lots of cold meats, cheese etc. so we ate a lot of sandwiches, fresh fruits etc. however, the brownies were GREAT. There's salt and pepper, ketchup, mustard, tobasco.. everything you need to spice up your food if you want it, which was good. The best meal they served was the New Years dinner and we had lobster, chicken kebabs (delicious) and baked potato (too bad they didn't serve this the whole week).

A LA CARTE RESTAURANTS
We went to the Italian and wished we hadn't bothered. The service was ok but we were really disappointed with the food as it was pretty bad. We stuck with the buffet after that and didn't even want to try the other restaurants.

BEACH
The beach was very nice - no complaints here. The water was quite rough the first day we were there with jelly fish in the water so there was no swimming allowed. This only happened the one day and the rest of the week was great. The beach itself is pretty big and there's lots of chairs for everyone but we always reserved our spot on the way to breakfast so we could get our pick of spots. There's boats available to take out but you have to book them. We took out a peddle boat one day and was able to get one right away. There is a beach bar that serves drinks where they served pretty good burgers! We went on a hunt to find pizza as the brochure mentioned a pizzeria but it was just being built so that was kind of annoying.. however since the burgers were half decent we didn't care.

POOL
The pool was a good size and there were lots of chairs. There is a pool bar serving drinks that starts serving food at noon (they also serve great cappuccinos). We hung out on the beach everyday so didn't spend much time by the pool.

ENTERTAINMENT
We only took in a few of the shows but the ones we did see were pretty good. A little on the cheesy side but it's not Broadway so who cares!

PIANO BAR (Cohiba Bar)
Here they really do serve the best drinks. The other bars served drinks in plastic cups but here you get a glass which was GREAT! They sell cigars in here so it was a little smokey at times. It's great place to get together to play cards after dinner if you wanted a drink in a glass!

TOURS
We took the bus to Varadaro one day and took a tour into Havana (we were lucky enough to arrange our own tour with our own tour guide, minibus and driver for the 6 of us which was better than a bus full of people trecking on and off at each stop). You really have to take in Havana to really appreciate Cuba for what it is. There is so much history there and it was a real eye opener. We also took a catamaran trip which led us to one of the best beaches we have ever seen and were served lobster on the boat (best food on the entire trip).

CHECK OUT
On our last night we found a slip under our door saying the villas were over booked and if we agreed to give up our room for the night we would be given a beautiful ocean view room in the main hotel and a late check out. We were given the opportunity to look over the room before agreeing and although the room wasn't as nice as our villa room we agreed as wanted a late check out so this kind of worked out in our favour! The check out was fine and no problems at all.

SUMMARY
We had an awesome honeymoon/vacation with our friends. We highly recommend taking in a few trips (especially Havana) and definitely the catamaran if not for the beaches but the best lobster ever! The only bad thing about this trip was the food at the hotel.
Britchik23@hotmail.com
Gaviota Playa Varadero 1920
Theresa 

September 2005
I'm sorry but some of the reviews that have been written recently are not a fair representation of what to expect and is actually delivered by the hotel and it's staff.

If the pool is loud, go to the beach, it is lovely and quiet there with the most beautiful beach and warm sea.

To say the food is bland is something anyone going to Cuba should know. Cuban food uses minimum spices and herbs unlike many other carribean islands and anyone expecting anything else has not done their homework before booking. Tabasco, Soy, Steak and HP sauce are all available to enhance your dining experience but what was served at the Playa Varadero 1920 is a true representation of Cuban cuisine. There was always something to eat and plenty of it but going there expecting fine dining and a la carte is not going to happen in a country that is so poor.

The restaurant staff and bar staff worked hard to offer excellent service and my family and I became very friendly with many of them along with the pool staff and maids. The average monthly wage for many of them is 10 Convertable Pesos (approx 300 cuban) which in good old pounds is £6.00 and they work hard to deliver good service with the tools they have got. We got into the habit of tipping 2 convertable at lunch and dinner, 2 to the pool guy and 2 to the bar staff and we got fantastic service and what did it cost us nearly five quid a day. Not exactly broke the bank and hopefully made their lives a tiny bit more bearable. But they always smiled, amd those that spoke good english understood a good joke.

Yes there were the odd mark on the towels or pillow cases but take a look around this communist country and there are not many biological powers and comfort softners available. All you had to ask them to do was change it and they did.

The swimming with dolphins was a great experience. Ok the lake was not spotless but this was swimming in their domain and it would have the remants of them living in it. If you want sterile pools and a cosmetic experience then head for Florida but what we got was a truly memorable experience. 30 minutes with these clever intelligent and charming animals is something me and my kids will treasure far than the frigid atmosphere that Florida could supply.

If you are planning to go to Cuba do your homework on sites like this. Dont go expecting the best it is not going to happen, because it is not available, but go for the experience, the beaches, sea, the people and the weather. Accept there may be the odd meal not up to much, the odd towel might have a mark, but you will come back truly inspired from a holiday in such a fantastic country.
Gaviota Playa Varadero 1920
Stéphane 
Montreal
August 2005
Just got back from one week at the Playa Varadero 1920. Once a Club Med, the hotel is now operated by Cubans and that will show in the food quality. Wasn't good at all. My daughter had pasta all week cause everything else was really bad.

The beach is great but not for snorkeling. Not many fishes to be seen. BUt the beach was not crowded so that is a plus.Bring your own towels. Friends of mine had theirs stolen and were chargerd 20 bucks a piece (3 all in all). THe pool is your typical rectangular shape that you find in Canada but do not expect in Cuba. A little disappointing here.

Don't take a room on the first level, there is so much humidity that it stinks and keeps you from sleeping. After 2 days of that, I was relocated on the fifht floor, and even though I wasn't anymore on the ocean side, I didn't care, it was splendid, clean and smelled good.

Sure is not a 4 star hotel. Also the staff seems to be a little bored if not pissed off. Many of them seem to be doing time.

One day the beer machine broke, the next day the ice machine broke, the next day they ran out of butter, the next day they ran out of excuses. I was at the super breezes in Holguin 2 years ago, and compared to this, it was paradise ! Not that this place was a night mare but it lacked a lot of things that make your trip a fun experience.

I f you are going to spend a thousand dollars per person, you expect the staff to go the extra mile. You also expect to eat decently and not feel that you are now part of the communist family because of the shortage of this and that.

Seriously I advise that when you book a hotel in Cuba, make sure it is operated by foreigners, not Cubans. Now if the cubans really want to play in the major league, either they lower their prices or either and bring their standards to international levels.

By the way, don't waste you time shopping in Varadero. Way too expensive. I founf the same things in Havana much cheaper and could deal it. People in Varadero won't deal. THe hell with them. So take the tour to Havana, the city is breathtaking and buy your stuff at the flea market there.

Last, we had wonderful weather, so don't listen to the freaks who tell you to beware of hurricanes. It is my second time in the summer, and both stays were weatherwise, fantastic.
Gaviota Playa Varadero 1920
Serpil 
Toronto, Canada
June 2005
We were two girlfriends in our 30s in need of some relaxation in the sun and Cuba has once again delivered with flying colours! I can speak for myself when I say that I was really stressed and feeling overworked before going on this trip. I was hoping that the vacation would be a nice, refreshing change of pace. I don’t think I could have planned the fabulous week I spent at the resort any better had I tried.

This was my 5th time to Cuba (previously been to Villa Cuba in Varadero, LTI in Holguin, Sol Cayo Santa Maria). This was my friend’s second trip to Cuba.

FLIGHT
The flight on Skyservice was fine. No delays either way. Not being a morning person, the 6 am departure time from Toronto did not particularly agree with me. The first day at the resort was a bit of a write off for me because I was walking around like a zombie with only 3 hours sleep.

CHECK IN
Probably the worst part of the vacation. Our bus load emptied in the lobby where there was one lady doing the registration and check in. Even though my friend and I were near the beginning of the line (maybe 10th in a line of 60), we still had to wait for about almost an hour. I’m sure people near the end of the line must have waited for at least 2 hours. My suggestion to the hotel is an obvious one: Put more staff member at the front desks when you’re expecting a bus full of guests. I noted that the hotel never had more than one person working the front desk.

ROOM
The rooms are spacious and nicely decorated. The washrooms were quite large as well. There is a safe in the room at no charge and a mini fridge replenished with soft drinks, beer and bottled water everyday. This was a very nice touch. We would take some of the drinks from our fridge to the beach because we’d usually hang out at the far west end (nearest to our room) which was quite a distance from any of the bars. We did change rooms on the second day to get a better view. Our new room was #2217 and was a long walk from the lobby, pool, restaurants, etc. but we didn’t mind because we were located in a very quiet section. We rarely used the AC (seemed to work fine). We prefer leaving the window open to hear the ocean waves. It was so nice and relaxing to fall asleep and wake up to that soothing sound. We never had any issues with mosquitoes in the room or outside. We received a handful of English channels on TV. The only thing I didn’t like about the room was the lack of a dresser. Instead there were shelves in the closet area.

BUFFET
The food was great and there was plenty to choose from. Many people complain that they lose weight in Cuba but I definitely didn’t have that problem – I gained 6 pounds! I absolutely loved the fresh fruit and freshly squeezed papaya, pineapple, orange juice. I couldn’t get enough of that stuff! The buffet was only second to the one in Sol Cayo Santa Maria. The service on the other hand was not so good. Once you found a seat, the wait staff were very slow to bring you drinks. Most of the time only we wanted was water and cola but it took forever. There was one good waiter but we only came across him once.

A LA CARTE RESTAURANTS
We went to the Seafood restaurant and the International but not the Italian. The service was matter better there than the Buffet. We preferred the food at the International versus the Seafood restaurant. The ambiance was also quite nice at these restaurants and makes for a good picture during dinner.

BEACH
The beach is THE reason to come to Cuba. You simply cannot find better beaches elsewhere. I’ve been to DR, Nassau, Puerto Vallarta and none can compare to the beaches in Cuba. The sand is silky, white and clean. The water is a beautiful turquoise colour with barely any seaweed and super clean. No jet skis so it’s quiet. The beach at this resort is quite private due to the rock formations on either side so there’s no guests from other hotels walking around. The water was rough a few days and not so bad for a few days. Despite this they had red flags up everyday….my thought is either they forgot to change the flags or just didn’t want to operate the Nautical Centre so they kept the red flags up even when the ocean wasn’t that rough.

POOL
Clean and big. I like pool water to be a little cool so it was perfect for me. It fun place to hang out because there was a lot of activities going on e.g. water aerobics, water polo and volleyball.

ENTERTAINMENT
I thought the entertainment staff were great (some were also very cute). The shows were also surprising really good. The night time performers were professional dancers and separate than the rest of the entertainment staff (the people who did the day time sports, etc). The theatre where the nightly shows took place was an impressive structure.

PIANO BAR
A great place to hang out before or after dinner. Great décor and they made the best drinks there.

CHECK OUT
Quick and painless unless the check in process. Unfortunately, getting to the airport was a bit of an ordeal. The bus that came to pick up our group (Sun Wing vacationers) didn’t have enough room for everyone. About 12 of us were told to wait for the next bus. Several other buses came but because they were not Sun Wing designated, they didn’t allow us on. When the next Sun Wing bus showed up, they didn’t have room for all of us so the rep had to call a taxi for 6 of us. The taxi showed up eventually. I didn’t mind but there were a few from the group of 12 who caused a big ruckus. We made it in plenty of time to the airport.

SUMMARY
This was an awesome vacation and I would recommend the resort anyone. Some of the other people we talked to didn’t feel the same way because they thought the staff was not very friendly or accommodating. We were given the run around with regard to changing rooms but we were persistent and got what we wanted in the end. It was no big deal. Other than that we enjoyed our time and also like the staff in general, particularly the cleaning crew who did a great job of keep the place spotless, inside and out.

Although, we didn’t visit the disco at our resort or any of the other discos nearby, I know they were available for the taking. You could have a great time at this resort whether you’re looking for excitement and nightlife or a quiet and relaxing getaway. The resort can cater to all. We were told May is the beginning of their low season so a few things were closed like the bungalows, the grills, maybe even the Cuban Village (not sure).

The resort is huge and you may not enough discover some areas. The best is to go for 2 weeks because 1 week was not enough and we were sad to leave.
Gaviota Playa Varadero 1920
Cindy, Jessica & Amanda 
Whitby, Ontario
May 2005
This was our first vacation, and we had nothing to compare it to, however going down south we had absolutely no expectations and pretty much randomly picked the hotel.

FLIGHT:
Our flight left at 6:30am and was an indirect flight stopping at Cancun for an hour. It was not a huge deal since we were on an early flight but did cause some issues among the older crowd. We were on the Kelowna airline which is not first class but did get us there and provided a good breakfast.

ARRIVAL:
Once we arrived in the Cuban airport we were quickly put through customs with no troubles, may workers around to assist with our luggage. The ‘Sunwing’ rep was fluent in English and easily directed us to the appropriate bus. If you do have someone help you with your luggage be prepared to give a tip, they do expect it. We had not converted our money but he took a toonie graciously. The bus ride was about 30-40 minutes and we had a tour guide explaining the land and other various and informative facts. Even after a 7hour flight it was nice to listen to it. It was sad to see some of housing and living conditions.

CHECK-IN:
There was only 4 other groups that we checking in with us and three ladies working, it was done quickly even though we had lost our hotel papers. The initial look of the hotel was very nice and every one had a smile for you! Once we were taken to the room, they bell-boy immediately noticed that there was three of us and two beds, so within 10minutes there was someone at the door with a third bed, and other gentlemen with a TV; we no longer hard small bills but it would have been nice to give them something.

ROOMS:
We had a nice view of the garden, on ground level with a balcony. The TV did have English stations which was a little surprising to me. The room was a decent size for having 3 single beds in it. The bathroom was large; especially nice for three 20year old girls we were a little disappointed about the different outlets, but nothing we couldn’t handle.

FOOD:
The food was pretty good, but we kept so busy we did not really take the time to eat our 3 meals. The snack bar was always a good choice for a quick snack, the buffet was good – but it was better if you showed up at the beginning of the meal to get a clean table; however they are pretty good about helping to clear something when needed. The a la carts were easy to book. The international was our favorite; a very light simple dinner in a very nice atmosphere. The Italian a la cart was nice, but the menu was written in Italian waiter was able to translate for you. The seafood one we saved until the end thinking it was the best although it seemed to be about a 6 coarse meal and we had to get up and leave it was to over whelming. One plate would have feed the average person. No big complaints about the food. More fresh fruit would have been nice.

BEACH:
The beach was beautiful. I was always up early and picked out 3 chairs. Everyone was respectful about not touching our belongings and we would have the same spot for the day. The water was usually calm, with white sand. The pool was equally as nice, but we have those here in Canada, although there was entertainment up by the pool to watch. The competitions were always amusing to watch.

WEATHER:
The weather was always really nice and sunny about 32-34, about 4:30 it really started to cool off, light pants or a long sleeve shirt could have been beneficial for some nights. The first 3 night there was some rain. Just about dinner time, and only for and hour; it never ruined the night life

EVENING SHOWS:
We all thought that they were very well done. It was mainly dancing, acting and very little verbal but what they did say they translated in 4 languages so that everyone knew what was happening. I thought that was very beneficial. DISCO:
The disco was one of the main attractions for us three. It happened after the nightly entertainment, and everyone was welcome. In the disco there was a mixture of all people which was quite fun. The entertainers made you feel very welcome, as they pulled you onto the dance floor and danced with you until you felt comfortable to dance alone. The music was awesome, a mixture of salsa, Spanish and English. It was quite entertaining to dance to many songs as a group; the entertainers lead the dance very well. In the disco there was a bar where all drinks were served and couches along the walls for everyone to use.

ENTERTAINMENT:
There was entertainment all through out the day, near the pool, on the beach and many activities being held on many areas of the resort. There was a bulletin where times and activities were posted to benefit us. The entertainment by the pool consisted of water polo, water volley ball, fashion shows, and games which involved the quests. There was also live entertainment, where live bands would play many different songs throughout the night. It was very relaxing to lye on the side of the pool and watch these several events.

ENTERTAINERS:
The entertainers were amazing! They made everyone feel extremely welcome. They involved you in sports, games, and daily activities. They would come around during the day to say their hellos and ask how you are doing. Everyone was treated fairly and enjoyed when they would come around.
IT WAS AMAZING!! WE WOULD DEFINATLY GO BACK!
Gaviota Playa Varadero 1920
Sue and Mavis 
Toronto
May 2005
We went to Cuba the week of April 24th and had a wonderful time. I have traveled quite a bit and found this resort to be a 4 1/2 star very easily. It used to be a Bahia Principe which in my books are wonderful and since its changed names apparently it has gone down a bit but its still wonderful.

The bands were my favorite, everyday we saw a band somewhere whether it was at the lunch buffet or the International ala carte or at the pool side for Salsa lessons or after the entertainment at night. The two piece band that is located in the small bar behind the Disco which opens at 11pm like the Disco is amazing. They are called Midnight and they are so worth seeing, especially if you like the Saxophone, on our last night (Sat) they also played at the poolside. The only problem is they often just do one 40min set and you want to hear more.

- the animation staff is good, they are very nice looking and love the 20 year old girls with the nice bodies and I find they pay the most attention to them. They are nice though and do aerobics and dance lessons etc. My favorite was one of the girls on the team, we ended up friends and I gave her gifts for her young daughter at home.

-The bartenders are mostly nice, some make better drinks than others, often the drinks are two sweet and you have trouble finding something to drink but where there is a will there is a way, I went to vodka soda one night, also gin and tonic, one night I did white Russians, they have a Kahula type liquor. The fancier drinks are in the piano bar plus you get the nice glasses there, I got sick of the little plastic one for sure bring yourself and insulated cup or even a bigger plastic glass. The Cappuccino is great, I would have breakfast and go to the bar for that, the coffee is not so good in my opinion. You can also have them put a little crème de Cow in it, like a baileys, hey your on vacation why not.

- The beach is fantastic. The pool is big but only square and no swim up, I prefer the pool to have more character myself and a bar for sure. The water temperature was perfect both in the pool and ocean. Loungers come and go, I always managed to find one myself and the hotel was full.

- At night the entertainment was good, typical to the Caribbean hotels I find, enjoyable for about 3 nights but becomes kind of tiring I find. They are excellent at what they do but I think they should have done more audience participation games etc, personally I find that more entertaining and fun. After the show they often did Salsa lessons for 1/2 an hour and then people went to the pool bar until the Disco opened at 11pm or the Jazz bar with the band. I personally went to the Disco a couple times for less than an hour, I am in my 40's and just do not like that beat, its for the younger crowd. People often just sat at the Pool bar all night, its open 24-7 yes all night and we sat there till 4am a couple times, gets busy at around 2pm when the Disco lets out, some nights girls went swimming with only thongs on. Very fun spot!

- Our room was very nice, very big with a big bathroom and separate toilet. Always had hot water but it often went cold for 10secs and back to hot, not sure why. We were in Villa 6405, a few minute walk from the main lobby but right where the sun sets everynight and the most beautiful panoramic view of the ocean I have ever had in my life. Stunning!!!! I would pick the Villas over the hotel in a minute personally, they are further away but nicer to me and no elevators. The ones on the other side I would have preferred and requested the 6100-6200 series. Closer to the main beach, the lunch and ala carte restaurants, further from the buffet though but not much, my end had nothing to offer, very quiet if you like that and sit on your balcony often.

- As far as trips most people cover those and you really want to hear about the Hotel I think. We went to Havana loved it, great way to see the culture for sure, the graveyard was amazing, great stories. We swam with the Dolphins too, great trip, expensive but what an experience plus its only a 1/2 day which is nice.

-Food is good, not great, its Cuba!! I heard others say at their Hotel they could not recognize the food (Arenas Blancas) so be careful. Our hotel had mainly omelets or any type egg for breakfast, problem is the bread is different and the toaster takes 5 mins so put it in first and go to the second station to wait for your egg, fruit smoothies were great, you must try them. Otherwise fruit, home fries but not quite like ours. I started skipping breakfast, I much preferred the buffet lunch, the squid is just amazing if you like squid. Go to the second cook station, they will fry it up for you. The salads are different, but still good, remember the food is different and you can always find something good I find if you are not too picky. The pork chops are dry mostly, not bad at the beach bar, and they are no steaks anywhere. The burgers are good at the Beach bar but small to the bun, pizza's are good but not like ours. The bbq is good at the last restaurant and often the band plays there from 1-2pm too, four piece band, very good. I was actually looking forward to coming home to food but when I did I ate to heavy and it bothered my stomach so be careful. Oh big complaint, all the restaurants are inside except for the beach bar ones. I prefer the outside restaurants where you feel the breeze and can still see the ocean personally. Its not the end of the world but on a hot night (humid) no breeze so hot inside and the main buffet felt like a cafeteria, they need to lower the lights, have candles and put on music. The ala carts have more mood especially the International, my favorite. Did not do the Italian, heard it was bad but don't know.

Would I return to this hotel, doubt it. I had a blast but would like to go somewhere else next time. I want outside restaurants for sure and would like a little better food, I heard the Iberostar and the Breezes and the Melia have better food. I think other than that my biggest complaint would be the size, it is HUGE! I had sore feet for the first couple days. It took me 10-15mins to walk to the main beach. Its not forever and for those you like to walk its nice but I personally prefer smaller resorts where its more intimate, this was very spread out. I have been to spread out before but where the action was central, here everything seemed spread out. Good Hotel for the money though we got it for 969.00 + tax, great place for the money for sure. Any questions you can email me at squinn@plmgroup.com.
Gaviota Playa Varadero 1920
Sandy 
Canada
April 2005
First of all I want to thank you for this site. I quite often read the reviews although I don't let other peoples opinions of resorts sway me on my decision of which resort to go to.

Now for "my" review on Playa Varadero 1920.

We flew to Varadero on April 7th with West Jet and I must say I enjoyed the space on the plane and also the crew, who were very happy and willing to help with all our needs.

The resort met and exceeded our expectations. The resort is large and laid out very well. We really enjoyed the walks. The food overall was good, you could always find something to eat and although I did not have any "Tummy" problem, my husband and a few others did. We had a total of 12 people in our group and we all agree.. the resort was one of the best any of us has experienced in the Caribbean.

The "entertainment" was typical and we enjoyed the synchronized swimming the most. The "beach" was very nice and we had no problem with getting a straw hut. We went on the "catamaran tour" and highly recommend it. Make sure you specify either the swim with the dolphins or the dolphin show. We chose the swim with the dolphins and were very happy with the entire day, which included snorkelling, 2 hours on Cayo Blanco beach with a lunch of lobster, shrimp, rolls, rice and fries...it was absolutely delicious and then of course the swim with dolphins. Great day!!! We also did a morning in Varadero shopping and had a great experience.

Overall it was a wonderful week and we would recommend this resort.
Gaviota Playa Varadero 1920
Lorelle and Gerry 
Mattawa Ontario Canada
April 2005
Hi Debbie,
Thank you for your wonderful site, I have chosen to ignore the negative reviews on your site because I cannot for the life of me understand how anyone can be so negative unless of course they went there with an attitude and it rubbed off on everyone around them. I will make my review short and sweet.

My husband and I along with another couple have just returned from a week at the Playa Varadero 1920. A 4 **** star that exceeded our expectations. We had beautiful weather 32-34 and not a single drop of rain. I should back up and comment on the flight (excellent-first class) bus ride to the resort
(excellent- wonderful air canada rep and guide)check in excellent for us but I will let my other couple (friends) elaborate on their check-in and returning home well I will just say that it was smooth sailing.

The food was very good, especially breakfast and if there was nothing there you didn't like you could always stuff your face with their delicious pasta and sauces, fresh fruit and vegetables. We lucked out on their soup of the day, out of 7 days only 1 day that some of us didn't like it.

The rooms were very spacious and somewhat like a doll house room, I thought they were delightful, the beds were a little hard as were the pillows but remember your not at home, you are in Cuba and we did sleep well.

The pool was great and unlike what some have said, the water was beautiful and refreshing when it's 34 degrees. The beach was spectacular, we appreciate the ocean when we only see it once every two years.

Shopping, I read in one review that there was absolutely no shopping, well I have to tell you that we took a cab to the market (had to go to the bank first and waited about 1 hour to change some money-one teller and a about 20 people in line) but we had a nice chat with our driver who came to pick us up at the same spot he dropped us off at 3 hours later. We find the market a wonderful experience and the vendors were very polite and did not make us feel like we had to buy even though we spend about $200.00 pesos there. It was awesome.

We did one tour, the Catameran which I highly recommend, it was a wonderful day, snorkeling, swimming with the dolphins and then a few hours at Cayo Blanco.

Shows at night were just OK except for the Aquatic Show, it was very impressive, I even shed a few tears when they did Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On".

Tip # 1 - get a designated person in your group to head down to the pool or beach wherever you plan to spend more time and claim your chairs with towels, and I mean early 7am. People are very respectful and did not touch any of our belongings.

Tip # 2 - bring a few facecloths - there are none at this resort.

Tip # 3 - Be friendly to the staff and other vacationers and you will have the same courtesy returned to you.

Tip # 4 - tip staff if you are satisfied, they really do appreciate.

Well that's it for my short and sweet review (tee hee) all in all I would definitely recommend this resort for anyone who wants to do some R & R and I would go back.
Gaviota Playa Varadero 1920
Sonia & Roger 
New Brunswick Canada
March 2005
We just returned yesterday from a wonderful one-week vacation at Gaviota Playa Varadero 1920. I too cannot understand some of the bad things I have read here. Some people posting bad stuff on this resort ...must be people who are difficult to satisfy. When you go to a country like Cuba...you are not in a Canadian hotel..so don't look for it or expect it. We had a wonderful time and wonderful weather, and I would recommend this resort to anybody who wants a vacation in a nice and safe resort. I will not go into detail of things people have already posted but will try to add other information not seen on some postings. AIRPORT Our flight was out of Halifax and was 1 hour late on departure so our arrival at the Varedero Airport was quite late in the morning. We arrived around 2:00am. Clearing customs and getting to the bus was quick...I think our flight was the last to arrive and I believe workers at the airport were in a hurry to leave. The only problem is that we had to wait on the bus aroung 1/2 hour because a gentleman had problems getting a bike aboard the bus. We didn't exchange our money at the hotel...we took the option of changing it at the hotel with the 4% surcharge. Since it was late and we were in no hurry to start spending money (I should say we already had 15 $ in pesos in our pocket going to Cuba). The bus ride was oK but it was late by the time we got to our hotel and we were pretty tired

CHECK-IN
Since we arrived late and we were only 8 people checking in... it went quickly. I heard from others who had checked in with a whole bus load of people...it was pretty slow and the reception desk kept their passports for 24 hours for statistics. They didn't keep ours. We didn't get the room we had asked for which was with an ocean view and close to our friends. We did get the room in the villa section and on the 2nd floor. But being so late...we didn't argue and decided to wait till the next day to find out if we could change rooms.
The next day when we asked to change rooms they said it would be 100$ more for the week. We waited for our Air Transat representatif and told her about it. She went with us to the reception, spoke to them for awhile and we got our rooms next to our friends with the ocean view. We were in the first villa closest to the restaurants, bar and beach umbrellas. Our room # was 6104.

ROOMS
The rooms are nice, with VERY large bathrooms. Our room had 1 king-size bed, so no complaints what- so ever...although the first night going to bed we saw a lizard in our room...he left quickly and was not seen again. Being on the first floor we were expecting bugs and things getting in from underneath the door or when the maid does the rooms she does leaves the patio door open while doing the rooms. I figure the lizard came in that way and left the same way. There are alot of lizards on the grounds around the resort...but to the Cubans they are just normal, people don't see them and they say they are good because they eat all the little bugs. It must be true because I'm afraid of spiders and didn't see one the whole week being there. No problem with hot water or water pressure. We left a tip in the minibar for the guy leaving the beer...and he would put more beer in the minibar for us. Our room was the last one to be made in our section of our villa, but we didn't mind because we would spend the day on the beach anyway, so even if our room was not made, we didn't care...we weren't there. If I had to go to the washroom or to our room for any other reason, the maid would always see me and apology because our room wasn't made...but she was always waiting for clean lining or towels. So knowing they were being washed didn't bother me one bit...I knew I was at least getting clean stuff.

FOOD
Food was OK and I won't go into all the details of what was available...because you can read it on other reviews. The only thing I can add is I'm on a special gluten free diet and I had brought my own bread for breakfast...I would make my own toast with my bread and have an omlet or fried eggs every morning. My favorite morning drink was the papaya and orange smoothie that was very very good. For lunch we would eat at the beach at the B-BQ grill, which served chicken and pork that was very tasty. Sometimes I would walk to the next beach bar and order fries and go to the grill and get my chicken. Other days I would eat at the B-BQ grill only (they served rice, salads etc.) Only complaint was sometimes they were a bit slow in serving you drinks. We had brought our own mugs which would hold double the quantity of their glasses and it kept every drink cold. I recommend people doing the same thing.

For supper we ate at the 3 à-la-carte restaurants. It was ok, but we prefered the buffets. The best out of the 3 à-la-carte restaurants we found to be the international...but this was our preference, other people we spoke with prefered the seafood. Like I mentioned I have a special diet and when eating at the buffet I had a note written in spanish explaining my disease. The people serving the food at the buffet were really helpful in helping me find some food I could eat without problem. There was one particular evening I was having problems finding things that didn't contain sauce (where flour is found which means gluten). I showed my note to one of the guy behind the buffet and he quickly went behind in the kitchen to cook me some chicken without sauce. I didn't ask for this but he just signaled me to wait and when he came out he had a beautiful dish with chicken not cooked in sauce. I really appreciated this since I didn't even ask and he made a point of making something special for my diet. Now I call that service with a A++. (I have more problems in Canadian restaurants with my diet needs!!) Every night after that I had no problem finding things without sauces and I'm pretty sure I even put on some weight. The deserts looked very good but I didn't have any knowing deserts are one place where flour is always used. My husband did have his share and said everything was good. We ate various foods and never got or felt sick. My disease has me prone to intestional problems but I had no problems during my stay at Playa Varadero. I even had all my drinks on the resort made with the ice so I would say it's 100% safe

POOL
We prefered the beach and never made it to the pool...so I couldn't comment on this. We had one show in the water at night so that's the only time we spent there.

BEACH
On each side of the hotel there is a big rock. It is patrolled 24/7 so no locals are allowed on the property.This makes this a very private beach. It's about a 5 minute walk from 1 rock to the next. There are no people selling merchandise on the beach, but you can stroll past the rock toward other resorts and get some if you wish. There are sections were there are no resorts and local people do sit on the beach and as you walk by they try to engage in conversation. I had one experience were one lady really wanted me to give her my clothes. She had a small child with her (she said it was his birthday that day)...they try to make you feel sorry for them. I kept on walking by and when I returned to go back to my hotel she wanted to follow me back to my hotel were she would wait for me to come back to the beach section by the rock with some clothing. When I said no, she got upset and I'm pretty sure she insulted me in spanish...but not understanding a word...I just kept on walking. This really did upset me because if her situation was as bad as she let on...I feel bad I had nothing to offer her. I had given my stuff to my maid. I never saw her again...but on another day I walked by another woman with again a young child. This woman did not ask for anything. I walked up to her and gave her 3 pesos, she blew me a kiss and thanked me.

My husband and our friend had another experience as he was asked to go for a walk in the woods with this Cuban girl for a few pesos. I will not write what they proposed...but you can use your imagination ;-) As for the water on the beach, the first 2 days we had big waves and enjoyed playing in them. After these 2 days the wind died down and the water was cristal clear. Walking in the water we would see fish swim by and big ones I must say. We did see schools of small fish. There were fisherman close by fishing these with nets and they were catching alot of them. In the water the would shine like little silvers rays in the water. The big fish would just swim by. We saw 2 ladies who had brought some floating device (like spagetti foams). This made a hit with people because nobody had them down there. They packed it in there luggage. Next time I go I will pack some too...because it's a nice thing to relax in the water with. You can get them short or long...but the short ones are perfect for luggage. On Wednesday it was Cuban day at the resort and we had a show on the beach in the afternoon. People were invited to join in and dance to Cuban music..on the beach and than we danced in the water! This only lasted about 3/4 hour. All the activites were at the pool except for this. I heard people saying it was a good thing because it was more relaxing at the beach without all the loud music. I must say for myself...I enjoyed it but in a way was glad it was not all day thing too! As for the umbrellas on the beach...it was "early bird gets the worm". To get a good place you had to get up around 7:00am to reserve your lounge chair. Being a early bird myself, I didn't mind. I would even go for an early swim. But I think some people put there towels on the chairs during the night because once I was the first one on the beach and already some chairs had towels on them. I imagine some people on their way to bed during the night would slip by the beach to put there towels. As far as we were concerned, you could leave your towel and nothing during our week was disturbed...but that again depends on who's there the same time you are. Maybe it was luck or just good people staying the same week as us!

WEATHER
Amazing weather the entire week. Sunny and no rain at all the whole time! Not even a shower night or day! It was very very hot. At the beginning of the week between 27-29 but during the last few days it got alot hotter. The first couple of evenings you had to have a light sweater over your shoulders. But this lasted only for the first couple of evenings after that it was very hot and humid during the evenings

EVENING SHOWS The first night we were there we had a show of "Lord of the Dance". We enjoyed it very much. Each show does begin with a fashion show. I didn't care much for this but they don't last long so I got used to them. We would use this time to get drinks at the bar. One show was in the pool and was done at the Cuban town (it's a section behind the disco and next to the restaurants à-la-carte), all the rest were in the main event section by the pool. The show were ok...but we didn't stay for all the shows. We prefered to walk around and enjoy the night strolling through the resort, drink in hand!

TOURS
We did one tour--the Catemaran and I would highly recommend it to everybody. You leave the hotel around 9:00am and get back around 5:00pm. We enjoyed our day and one of the guide had a video camera and video taped our whole outing and then sold it for 30 pesos. We were happy since we only had our cameras and with this tape we can review it with our families and have them see exactly what we saw and did. The trip is 150pesos for my husband and myself. This inlcuded all the drinks, the lunch and the boat trip. The boat takes you out to do some snorkling than you have ''langoust" on the boat for 10 pesos per "langoust" (this was the only thing not included in the 150 pesos). This is only an appertizer because you get off to spend 2 1/2 hours on a deserted island which is called Cayo Blanco and have your lunch served on the island. The lunch was oK. We didn't take the chance of having ice on the island..even though they said it was safe, we didn't try it on the boat or the island. We left the island and sailed back to Varadero. We took the trip with the dolphin show so we got back to shore we were bused to the dolphin show, which didn't last very long and then we were bused back to our hotel. The only negatif thing we experience is they are not to organize with all the people waiting for buses. You would ask the bus driver and they would just signaled not to ask them any questions. We finally realized there was 1 lady trying to organize about 10 buses with about 20-30 people per bus. We couldn't even see her in the crowd. We only noticed her after a few bus loads left. We finally got on the last bus...but we weren't to worred because we were only about 1/2 mile from our resort and knew we could walk along the beach back to our resort, after all we were on vacation and in no hurry. We had booked 1 tour by bus to Havana on Wednesday, but somewhere in our tour booking, the bus did not get our names so we spent 1 1/2 waiting for a bus to only have our trip cancelled. We had booked our trip with our tour agency (thinking it would be safer this way) but us and another family of 4 got the short end of the stick with this one. We never found out exactly what had happened...only an apology and our refund. I was quite disappointed since we had planned on this tour and since we were leaving the next day could not re-schedule. The family of 4 were able to book again...and I hope they did make it! We did go the Varadero for some shopping at the flea market. I would recommend going early in the morning since it does get quite hot there. The people selling at the flea market are not agressive and shopping was very fun. They do bargain a bit. We took a taxi for 8 pesos (one way). The taxi driver asked how long we would be and we said we would be returning to the hotel around 12:30pm. He said he would be back to pick us up and we just had to wait were he dropped us off..and he was true to his word, on time and brought us back to our hotel for another 8 pesos. The people drive quite fast in Varadero. I was glad we didn't rent a car or a bike...because it does get quite scary. We almost hit a horse and buggy, carring tourist. The scare those people got in the back of the buggy must of been disturbing. At least we were in a car!

INTERNET/PHONE CALLS
Phone calls to Canada are very expensive so we bought an internet card for 10pesos for 1 hour which you can break down during your week. There are 2 computers in the lower-lobby and they are very slow. Some times the connection was down. My friend had her computer freeze on her but her minutes kept on ticking...she lost almost 1/2 her card and was not given a refund...because you buy at your own risk! It was still cheaper than calling and plus one evening someone had by past the log in session and the internet was free, so I spent about 1/2 hour on the computer without my card being used. Everybody finishing with the computer would just pass on the information to the next person and this kept on until the next day when someone finally fixed it :-(

CHECK OUT
We had to check-out from our villa at 12:00pm. We called the reception to have our bags picked up and didn't wait 2 minutes and he was there to bring us and our luggage to the lobby. We were only leaving the hotel at 9:15pm that evening (our flight being at 12:45am). They put our luggage in the luggage room. No one can enter the luggage room without the bell-boy and our luggage is tagged with a ticket which we must show before entering the room. We did keep our valuables with us, just to make sure. We spent the rest of the day on the beach, returned our towels before 5:00pm to get our ticket to return to reception. At that time they gave us keys to a room in the main section of the hotel to shower and change into our evening clothes. We had fresh towels, hairdryer, soap and shampoo. We got a room and our friends got another room. We only had to return the key after we were finished. We felt this very good of them to offer this and without charging extra.

OVERALL
We had a great time in Varadero and would return again! I just hope everybody does experience the same good fortune we had if you do book at this resort!
Gaviota Playa Varadero 1920
Guy 
Canada
March 2005
We just returned yesterday from a wonderful one-week vacation at Playa Varadero. I cannot understand why this property is revceiving such terrible reviews. I too go with high expectations when I pay for a 4 1/2 star resort, and I was not let down by this resort. I hope the following sets your mind at ease and helps you get a visual with the property.

AIRPORT
The Varedero Airport is quite nice and friendly. This is probably where you will get your first indication that nothing in Cuba is done quickly. Cubans don't die of heart attacks while rushing to get things done, nor should you--remember you're on vacation. Clearing customs was fine but getting our bags was slow. Waited about 30-45 minutes before getting our last piece of luggage. Again, who cares....I am on vacation!
The airport has a counter where you can exchange money--my suggestion is to wait at the hotel. The difference is this--the airport will give you the daily bank rate, while the hotel will charge you a surcharge of 4%. (Note--1 Cuban Peso CUC = $1US). Although this sounds like alot, you need to put things into perspective--if you exchange $100CDN, you will get approximately $81.30 Cuban Pesos at the airport vs. $78.75 Cuban Pesos at the hotel. The question is this--do you want to wait in the line-up for 30-45 minutes to save $2-3? Remember, you are on vacation! You will also learn that Varadero has banks that also give you a better rate, but be advised that you will be in a line-up for 60-90 minutes at any bank. Again, is it really worth it? The bus ride to the hotel is quite nice. the bus is air-conditioned and you can get drinks during the ride--$2.50CDN per drink----not a bad deal! there are approximately 3-4 stops before reaching the Playa Varadero but all in all takes about 30 minutes or so.

CHECK-IN
Depending on the time of day and how many people are staying at the hotel from your flight, check-in could take from 2-15 minutes...pretty painless. We arrived at 3:15pm and were told our room wasn't ready. We should return in about 30 minutes. No big deal--we had brought a change of clothes and immediately went to the pool until 5:00pm. when we returned to the lobby, our room was ready and we received our keys and towel card. (You need to bring your card to the 'towel window' by the pool and exchange it for your pool towels.You can exchange them for fresh towels however many times you want during the week. Upon checking out, you are returned your pool card, which you hand over when you check out. If you lose your towel, you will be charged $20 USD).

Our room was the absolute furthest it could possible be. We were in the last villa, and had the second last room. The bellhop promptly brought us over there via golf cart. As anything, there are pros and cons to every situation. Although our room was quite a distance from the lobby/buffet hall (approx. 7-8 minute walk), we were 1 minute from the nicest, quietest beach. No complaints what-so-ever.

ROOMS
The rooms were large, with VERY large bathrooms. Our room had 2-3/4 beds which were pushed together. I understand others had queen/king-sized beds. I would suggest emailing the resort at comercial@playavaradero1920.co.cu if you want specific arrangements. The beds were quite low to the floor and very firm. Pillows were super thin. There was an extra pillow in the closet, however we used the couch cushions, which worked fine.

The washroom was very roomy, with a separate area of the toilet. The water pressure was amazing and no issues with the hot water. One thing we found strange was that the shower curtain was only about 1/2 the size of a regular curtain. Needless-to-say, there would always be water on the floor after your shower.

The minibar was stocked daily with water, pop, and beer. The maid came everyday and was very friendly. We made it a habit of leaving goodies for her or a small sum of money--she would leave us thank you notes every morning! As we were on the main level, we did see some very small (miniscule) ant-like bugs in the washroom area. This was not alarming, and they even sprayed the room mid-week.

Since we were on the main level, we didn't have much of a view from our room. Each room has a balcony and we were still able to sit and read outside. As the villas are on the coastline, you could hear the waves crashing on the shore. It was mesmerizing!

FOOD
I have heard many people say "You don't go to Cuba for the food". And I have to agree. Now don't get me wrong--after reading these reviews I was expecting to stave all week. This was not the case at all. Breakfasts were amazing with a made-to-order omlette bar, French toast, pancakes, bacon, tons of fruit and cheeses, fresh orange juice and fruit smoothies etc. You have 3 options for lunch--1. buffet (variety of foods, similar to dinner menu selection), 2. beach bar (burgers, hotdogs, ham&cheese and French fries), and 3. Pizzeria (located next to beach bar and offering pizza, chicken, pork chops and French fries. We usually ate at the snack bar or pizzeria as it was closer to the beach and had staple foods. Dinner at the Buffet was also pretty good. Lots and lots of fish, a pasta bar, a salad bar, a fruit bar, and a main entree like roast turkey, roast pork, roast chicken, etc. As I am not a fish lover, I found myself eating alot of pasta, or chicken and some more French fries. the resort also has 3 à-la-carte restaurants. A seafood restaurant, an international restaurant and an Italian restaurant. We had steak at the International and lasagna/cannelloni at the Italian--all were very good. It was nice to be served and not have to stand in line checking out the options. Both restaurants were tastefully decorated and had live bands playing.

All in all, we ate various foods and NEVER felt sick. I keep saying I would be very prone to illness but I have yet to experience such an ordeal (knock on wood).

I would recommend bringing munchies--Pringles, bite-size bars, crackers, etc.... It will satisfy your cravings and tie you up when you're not in the mood to eat some of the foods on the menu.

POOL
The pool is close to the lobby/buffet hall. Although I heard that it was small, it never appeared full. The problem would be getting a lounge chair by the pool. Many people seemed to linger around the pool as it was next to the biggest/busiest bar. Although it looked fine, we simply preferred the beach.

BEACH
by far the nicest, bluest, most amazing beach I have ever seen! The first two days were windy therefore had nice waves surf! I thought I was in heaven. Then things settled and the waters were calm and crystal clear. You could go out for 100+ feet and only be chest-deep. The ocean was very clean and we never saw so much as a jellyfish (or even live fish for that matter). There was practically no seaweed and the ocean floor was 100% sand! The water was very warm the whole week--approx. 22-23 degrees.

WEATHER
Amazing weather the entire week. Temperatures ranged from 26-30 degrees with a nice breeze (especially by the ocean. I would imagine it could have been quite a bit hotter by the pool). We only had rain one day--and it was from 11:00pm to 6:00am. Every day was nice and sunny with the occasional cloud, which would thankfully provide shade.

STAFF/SERVICE
After reading some reviews, I was expecting the staff to be downright rude. As anything, you have some that stand out more than others. But all-in-all, everyone was super friendly and very accommodating. Most spoke English and were very nice. Waiters/waitresses at the buffet were always great, constantly refilling drinks and clearing tables in the restaurants and buffet. They work very hard, but always with a smile on their face. We would bring a few dollars as a tip or some gifts at every meal--it goes a long way!

TOURS
We did one tour--the Jeep Safari. The price was $73 CUC and was well worth it. We left the resort by bus at 8:45am and returned at 5:30pm. You are grouped 4 per jeep and go driving on the highway and along the countryside. It's a good way to see other parts of the country. The tour takes you through the provincial capital of Matanzas; you then drive to the Canimar River where you jump in a speedboat and ride the river for 12kms. You are again 4 per boat and ride the calm river to a ranch. You stop here for lunch, and them can go for a 10-minute horseback ride or just lay in a hammock in the shade. From here you travel to Saturn Cave where you walk to an underwater cave and have the opportunity to swim in a 75-ft freshwater cave--an amazing experience. Waters are crystal clear and very refreshing.

We also took the 'tour bus' into Varadero. This bus is an opened double-decker bus and takes you along the hotel strip, to the American Plaza and down to the main part of town. This is a neat activity and only costs $5--and for this price you can travel the bus all day. Our purpose was to go see the sights and go to the fleamarket in town. We were able to get it all done between 9:30am and 1:30pm.

INTERNET/PHONE CALLS
Phone calls to Canada are outrageously priced. We were told by our tour rep that the cost is of $2.50US per minute. The more economical alternative is to communicate with your loved ones via internet. There are 2 computers in the lower-lobby. You can buy an internet card for $10 CUC, which gives you 60-minutes of internet time.

OVERALL
If you are going to Cuba and expect the level of accommodations and service you would receive at the Sheraton, then you will be disappointed. If you go with an open mind and are receptive to the difference in culture, you will have a terrific time. I said it before and I'll say it again--after reading the reviews I was expecting a terrible vacation where the property was desolate, the accommodations were poor, the food was like a soup kitchen and the staff were rude. As you can see from the above, it was the exact opposite!

In closing, I need to share one interaction I witnessed (and I hope this 'lady' gets to see this piece):

One night while standing in line at the buffet restaurant, the woman in front of me was complaining about the food. She was arguing with the cook about the lack of selection and insisted on having a steak for dinner. The cook politely explained to the 'lady' that tonight grill selections were pork and boneless chicken (who would complain?). She proceeded to argue and condescendingly said that there is obviously steak in the kitchen as she had seen some the previous evening. The cook again advised the woman that steak was not on the menu for that night. She demanded to speak with a manager. When the manager approached her about her 'issue', she again told him that she WANTED steak and demanded it. At this point, I gladly was served two pieces of chicken and I proceeded to my table. (I had to leave or else I was afraid I would say something I would regret). Minutes later, the 'lady' walked by with a grilled streak on her plate.

There are two points I would like to raise about the above--- 1) much to my chagrin, the sourpuss got her darn steak--she won! But more importantly, 2) the staff was more than willing to accommodate her ludicrous request. This type of customer service I wouldn't even expect from a Canadian restaurant, let alone from a 4-star Caribbean resort!

Go and enjoy your vacation! Relax, eat, drink and be merry! And if you run into Osmary or Yosniel at the buffet restaurant, tell them the big Halifax boys Guy and Kevin say "HI"!
Gaviota Playa Varadero 1920
Bob & Rutheen 
Moncton, New Brunswick
March 2005
My wife, Grandson and I returned Friday 11 March after spending a GREAT week at this resort. I cannot understand the terrible reviews that some people give to this facility or to Cuba. I think we too have high expectations, and this resort met or exceeded most of our ideals. The 4-1/2 star rating is well deserved and with very minor improvements a 5 is within reach.

The Varadero airport was hectic! Long lines to clear Passport Control, then another line to go through security, and yet another to change money, if you decide to do so at the airport. I would suggest changing into cool, comfortable clothing on the aircraft, as it is quite hot at the airport. You would also be very wise to stay with your luggage and handle it yourself, unless you are ready with a tip for the Porters. They tend to grab bags off the carousel, and you will have to pay to get them back. Our travel rep met the flight, and directed us to our ground transpiration. The bus drive from the airport to the resort was about 20 minutes and included a welcome briefing from an Air Canada representative.

Check-in was carried out with minor delay, (There was a busload of guests arriving, and there is a bit of a language barrier) and each of us was given our "Äll Inclusive" bracelets at this time. We found the Desk Staff to be polite, friendly, and accommodating.

The room was large, and the bathroom was roomy. The beds were quite low to the floor and were a bit hard, but it did not bother us at all. There were enough pillows, with extras in the closet, although I did find them a little small. There were periods when there was a shortage of hot water, but that was remedied by showering at night rather than the morning. . Plenty of clean towels were left daily, and these were folded, Origami style on our beds. . The mini bar was stocked daily with water, pop, and beer. Our room was impeccably cleaned each day, and we never saw a bug in our second floor room. I did encounter one man that said he had ants in his room, however he also took a stash of food to his room each evening, and I wonder if that was part of the problem.

The food was quite acceptable. It was different that North American food, but once you sampled various dishes, and surveyed all the options, I think it would be a VERY PICKY eater that would go hungry. . Buffet breakfasts were amazing with a made-to-order omelette bar, French toast, fruit, rolls, and much more. Lunch and supper also had many choices. There were times that the food was not very hot, however if you brought it to the attention of the staff, they remedied the situation. In addition to the buffet, there are many other dinning choices. The Pool Bar has rolls, juice, and coffee in the morning and a variety of grilled sandwiches available, throughout the day. There is also a Pizza Shack by the Beach Bar, but I cannot comment on the pizza, as we did not try it. The Beach Bar serves Hot Dogs, Hamburgers, and Fries throughout the day. There is also a BBQ located by the beach (Just outside the al-a-carte restaurants that serves a great lunch of beef, pork, chicken, fish, and salads. Then there are three al-a-carte restaurants, that you must make reservations for at Guest Services, and you must also wear a collared shirt, and long pants. We tried one, but much preferred the other options. People have varied opinions of food, but I can tell you I gained weight, our fussy eater Grandson gained weight, and although she has not mentioned it, my wife started a diet today.

The pool was clean and well kept. There were plenty of lounges and chairs, but I did find that some guests "reserved" lounges by placing towels on them, but never used them all day long. The water was a bit cool upon entry, but once in, it was pleasant. The pool staff were friendly and helpful, getting cushions for the lounges without hesitation. There were also many pool activities such as volleyball, water polo, and others.

.The beach was GREAT! Lots of lounges, and shade huts. There were also catamarans, kayaks, and paddle boats to use. They place flags on the beach to indicate the surf conditions. Green is "Open Beach", Yellow is "Caution", and red is "Danger" (Beach closed). We had mostly yellow days during our stay, but had two green days, and one red.

There was a stage presentation each evening at 9:30, and most were very well done. They were often preceded by a fashion show which is not in may taste, however it was short and tolerable.

We had good weather for our stay, although breezy. It rained overnight one night, and one evening when the air was still we had a lot of mosquitoes, so take some repellent.

We never encountered any staff that did not have a welcoming smile, and genuine "OLA" (Hello) on their lips. They were helpful, often anticipating our needs and provided excellent service. They graciously accepted any tips and/or gifts, but were never holding out their hand, looking for anything.

There are tours available at an extra charge, and we took two of them. The catamaran trip was amazing, but be sure to take the one where you get to swim with the dolphins. The Havana tour was very good, but was a long and exhausting day. If it is your first trip to Cuba, you should see Havana. There are also Jeep safaris and other tours which sounded good, but we did not take. Renting a moped was a good way to take a small trip into Varadero, but you could also take a bus for 5 pesos (All day) which was nice.

There was Internet available in the lobby if you buy an access card for 10 pesos for an hour. The Internet is very slow, but serves the purpose of keeping in touch with the folks at home. I would suggest grouping the people in your address book into a list in order to speed up address entry.

I found a very small (But disappointing) percentage of the resort guests to be very demanding, inconsiderate of staff, and expect opulent accommodations and service for the moderate price they paid. A smile or friendly gesture on our part will be returned many times over.

I would certainly recommend Play Varadero 1920 to my family and friends, and we plan to return. I say no more.
Gaviota Playa Varadero 1920
Anne and John  
Nova Scotia, Canada
March 2005
Just returned yesterday from a wonderful one week vacation at this resort. Honestly, I cannot understand the horrible reviews that people are writing. I too go with high expectations when I pay for a 4 1/2 star resort, and this resort went above and beyond filling them all. It was wonderful.

AIRPORT
The Varadero airport was quite intense. The bathrooms were strange, with women standing outside requesting tips, even though they hadnt provided you with any kind of service. I gave her a loonie as I had not yet converted my money to CUC and was met with a very dirty look and a request for Cuban pesos instead. Waiting to get your passport checked was very long and it was hot. The bus drive from the airport to the resort was about 20 minutes which included 4 stops at other resorts before arriving at ours.

CHECK-IN
Quick and painless. We were given a Villa Room, ground floor. The bellhop quickly put our bags on a cart and shuttled us off to our room. There was no waiting.

ROOMS
The rooms were quite large, with very large bathrooms. Beautifully decorated. The beds were quite low to the floor and were a bit hard, but it did not bother us at all. There were plenty of pillows (extras in the closet too). The water pressure in the shower was great, but we had some problems getting our tub to drain after we took our showers. But we always had hot water and clean towels. The minibar was stocked daily with water, pop, and beer. The maid came everyday around 4pm. The only complaint on the whole trip was the bugs. We had a small ant problem in our room, mostly after it rained. I had to call the front desk and have someone come and spray the ants on three different occasions. The ants never came inot the main bedroom area, they mostly came around the door and bathroom. On our last night there was also a 6 or 7 inch lizard in our bathroom.
We didnt have much of a view from our room, but enjoyed sitting on the balcony listening to the waves crash on the beach.

FOOD
Pretty much the best I have ever had at an all-inclusive resort. Buffet breakfasts were amazing with a made-to-order omlette bar, french toast, fruit smoothies etc. For lunch we usually ate at the snack bar on the beach... great hamburgers, hotdogs, fries..etc. Dinner at the Buffet was also good. I found myself eating alot of pasta, but my boyfriend enjoyed the salmon and other types of seafood. We tried the Italian and Gormet A la Cartes. Both were great. Especially the Gormet. Both restaurants were tastefully decorated and had live bands playing. We ate alot of different thinds and never had any tummy-troubles.

POOL
Didnt go in it. Never really saw too many people in it. It looked cold. Alot of people tended to lay around it as it was in close proximity to the pool bar. It looked inviting though, we just prefer the beach.

BEACH
Amazing!! The best I have ever seen. The first few days the water was clear and as calm as could be. You could walk forever and still be waste deep. The last few days, the wind picked up a bit and made the water rather wavy which was fun to swim in. The water was very warm the whole week and we had 6 green flag days and 1 yellow flag.

WEATHER
First 4 days were HOT HOT HOT and sunny. Next 2 days were cloudy with a few sunny breaks and our last full day there is rained all day.

STAFF/SERVICE
The staff were so friendly and polite. The service was amazing and we felt very welcome the second we stepped onto the resort. Everyday waiters would come along the beach with huge trays of drinks for the guests, and then would come around again every 1/2 hour or so. They would also take drink orders and bring you whatever you liked. We were very impressed. Waiters and waitresses were always great, constantly refilling drinks and clearing tables in the restaurants and buffet. They work very hard, but always with a smile on thier face.

TOURS
We didnt do any. We went into Varadero one afternoon and it was a great experience. Did some shopping and got to see how the local people live.

INTERNET/PHONE CALLS
There are 2 computers in the lobby. YOu can buy an interent card for $10 for 1 hour. To make phone calls to Canada, you cannot use a calling card or call collect. You must pay $2.50/min. I wish I had known this before I made a 15 minute phone call. But its my own fault for not asking.

OVERALL
Its discouraging when people write reviews about a resort but go on about how bad the flight was and the terrible food on the flight and the weather conditions. These are things that you cannot change, and they are in no way a reflection on the resort. I have been to many 4, 4 1/2, and 5 star all-inclusive resorts, and Playa Varadero 1920 was by far the best experience I have ever had. Sometimes I wonder if these people actually go on vacation to relax and have a vacation, or if they just go and look for things to complain about. I know that things tend to go wrong from time to time, but I could not have found any major problems with this resort if I had spent my whole week looking for them. You have to remember that you are on vacation and that your in a third world country, and sometimes you have to let the small inconveniences slide. The food was great, the drinks were great, the beach was amazing, the service was second to none, and the staff at this resort went above and beyond to make our stay fantastic. This resort definatly deserves a 4 1/2 star rating. I would recommend it to anyone, and would go back in a heartbeat.
Gaviota Playa Varadero 1920
Bruce 
Canada
March 2005
My Girlfriend and I just arrived home from this resort and we had a great week thanks to the staff and their wonderful facilities.

Rooms: Depends on which building you're located in. We stayed in the older section and had a some trouble with ants and slow drainpipes in the shower. The room was pretty standard and the mattress wasn't the greatest but we still slept well.

Beach: Excellent, we've been to Bavaro Beach in Punta Cana and this was as good, if not better. If you read a negative comment about this beach do yourself a favour and skip the review entirely. Can't describe the view in words.

Grounds: Clean and well kept. There's always people working on the upkeep. Fish ponds around the lobby area are nice as well. Tennis players will love their courts. This is a large resort so be prepared to do a little walking.

Staff: Genuinely nice. Every single worker that I passed during our stay always gave us a friendly "ola" and a smile. I can't say the same for all of the other resorts we've visited. This really stood out for me along with the effort they put forth to keep guests happy. The bands that perform during some of the dinners are very talented musicians and play some great cuban music.

Food: Surprisingly good, I arrived with low expectations after reading some reviews but I took a liking to certain dishes. The salmon tastes like it was just caught in a Labrador river. Keep in mind that us North Americans have high quality beef and poultry that can't be matched by countries such as Cuba. They have great breads, rice and seafood so take a look around and you'll most likely find something you like. Breakfast buffet was delicious.

Overall: Good resort that will be even better once room renovations are complete. Don't pay attention to any negative reviews about this place. These people expect a 5 star hotel in Nassau. If you want to be served champaigne on a secluded beach you're going to have to pay for it. If you want to go to a beautiful beach and be surrounded by great people this is the place for you.
Gaviota Playa Varadero 1920
Tom & Bev 
Canada
March 2005
Along with three other couples we spent a week at this hotel.

DEPARTURE from Toronto to Varadero
We flew Air Transit out of Toronto, it was a very early morning at the airport having arrived there at 3:30 am for a 6:30 departure. The flight went smooth, although the food that was served on board for breakfast left a lot to be desired, it was some type of lukewarm egg sandwich.

ARRIVAL Varadero
The picking up baggage was anything but smooth, there are three carousels and at one point our flight had luggage on all three, so you had to keep moving from one to the other, in order to recover your bags. However customs and the money exchange went well.

RECEPTION at Gaviota Playa Varadero 1920
Not good, we arrived at noon to be told that we could not check in until 3:00 p.m., we asked for a map of the resort and were told they didn't have any (we should have known what lay ahead) We managed to find our way around and finally got into our room at about 4:00 p.m..

ROOMS
Large spacious we were in a bungalow room with a excellent view, I can't say that the room was as clean as I would have preferred but overall not bad. There was however very little hot water in the shower a trickle at best if there was any. The maid was excellent and did a great job with what she had to work with, we left her gifts everyday.

FOOD
Sub-standard, this is the worst I have ever had, cold food, no plates, one evening turkey was on the menu and the carver stood there indicating that the turkey was not cooked and he was right, the bird was raw in the middle. Most of the time the vegetables were stone cold, my wife and I ate pasta for a week.. There was no coffee available in the buffet or any other restaurant except for breakfast.

POOL
I never went in it, those that did advised that it was cold, nothing special about it just a rectangular pool.

BEACH
Nice beach but never observed anyone raking it or cleaning up the refuse from patrons, there were no garbage containers around for you to deposit garbage in.

EVENING shows
Nothing special, fashion parade each night, dancers would perform, they were good but every night got a bit much.

STAFF
Overall pretty good, friendly people.

BARS
Piano bar was the best but they have a problem with having enough glasses of the right drink.

DEPARTURE
Checkout went smooth, onto the bus and off to the airport. Flight home was okay once gain the "box lunch" left much to be desired, dried out "smoked meat" some pasta, not good.

ARRIVAL TORONTO
Everything went okay until it was time to pick up the bags, they came in dribs and drabs, finally Air Transit announced that do to the "weather conditions" (a light snow) the off loading of baggage would be delayed, it took an hour to get the luggage, funny how some bags perhaps 12 at a time managed to make it in to the terminal. I think they must have been carrying the bags one at a time. Very poor service.

OVERALL
Much less that a 4 star as advertised maybe a 3 but that would be pushing it, I would have to question the star rating but I think that it was made before the hotel changed hands in December 04 as I understand, well it went down quick. On a scale of 1 to 5 this would be a 2 at best.
Gaviota Playa Varadero 1920
Michel 
Canada
April 2005
Nous (2 adultes et un enfant de 7 ans) sommes allés au Playa Varadero 1920 du 27 février au 7 mars 2005 et voici nos commentaires. Le vol Ottawa-Varadero s'est bien déroulé sur les ailes d'Air Canada. Un représentant d'Air Canada Vacations nous a accompagnés jusqu'à l'hôtel ... de même qu'au retour. Nous sommes arrivés à l'aéroport à l'heure prévue. L'enregistrement à l'hôtel fut tout de même assez rapide. Malgré le fait que l'on soit arrivés vers midi, on a eu notre chambre que vers 15h00. Le service était courtois et efficace. La chambre était fantastique !!!! quelle vue sur la mer !!!! Aucune surprise avec la nourriture ... c'était potable sans plus. Ma conjointe a apprécié le fait de toujours pouvoir avoir un poisson ou une viande grillée. Comme à nos autres voyages à Cuba, l'hôtel et la chambre était très propre. La plage était très belle .. sable fin et un peu de vague. La piscine était bien mais l'eau était un peu froide. Les spectacles de soirées semblaient bons mais nous n'y avons pas assisté. Bref, nous sommes satisfaits de notre voyage.