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Las Yagrumas Hotel

April 2008
I have stayed at the Las Yagrumas several times as I travel with my students to Cuba. This is a good place to stay. Staff is wonderfully helpful, friendly, has a "we can do it" attitude. The entertainment director, Joel, is terrific. Local bands and dancers from the town of San Antonio de Los Banos come out to perform. Cuban families and sports teams frequent the hotel - you're not isolated in a gated tourist hotel like Varadaro. Food is simple but ample and good. Pool is extremely large and clean. Rooms are clean with new TVs, CNN on satellite, quieter air conditioners recently installed, basically furnished, showers, safes. Grounds are very nicely landscaped, lots of recent painting to spiff things up. Well stocked store, 24 hour medical care, bar, outdoor grill for lunches, This is not a resort hotel. Rather it is a quiet alternative located about 30 minutes south of Havana, and close to the Havana airport. It is very safe and has a family atmosphere where the staff work together as a good team. The staff look after some dogs and cats, so if you're an animal lover you have plenty of little friends to pet. I look forward to continuing to stay here.
Las Yagrumas Hotel
John and Sharon 

March 2006
We arrived at this hotel after a long 2 and a half hour ride from Varadero airport. We were promised sandwiches and drinks were waiting for us. This hotel is dirty. The windows are filthy, the lobby is very grubby with unattractive, grubby vinyl furniture. The coffee tables are glass with dirty rings all over them that were never cleaned off for the entire two weeks of our duration. Check in was fast and we were escorted to our room. The door to the room had a big crack running from top to bottom the lock had been broken and badly repaired. The tiles in the bathroom were very nice but the bathroom itself smelled like a urinal.With an open drain pipe running under the sink. The air vent in the bathroom was a hole in the wall with a louvred shutter over it into the hallway. The only lamp in the room did not work. My husband fixed it the next day. The plug had been cut off and it was wired directly into the wall socket and held in place with masking tape, as was the TV. The telephone in the room was connected to nothing just wires hanging loose. The bedroom had two single beds with the lumpiest hardest mattresses I had ever slept on. My single mattress was 4 inches larger than the plywood frame so you had to be sure to sit in the middle of the bed. I swear the mattress had been used for years by two people as there were two distinct grooves with a ridge down the middle of the bed. We turned the mattress over but the next night the groove was back. The room was full of flies, not mosquitoes, flies, big buzzing flies. We made our way to the area where we were to have our sandwiches, two slices of white wonder bread with one slice of ham, no tea or coffee only something vaguely resembling Tang. or soft drinks or beer which we had to pay for. Again night time but fluorescent lighting and flies. Every meal at this hotel was appalling except for the barbecue lunch which we had to pay for. Coffee was served from a big, orange, plastic thing with a spout on the bottom that had probably not been cleaned since it was first put into use. The plates at the buffet had to be carefully examined as they were not clean. At one point a lady in our group gathered up all the dirty plates from the buffet table and marched into the kitchen with them and you could hear her out in the dining room. and the flies were everywhere. You had to put a napkin over your glass to prevent the flies from walking around the edges. They landed on you face, in your hair, in your food, in your bed. I am not exaggerating. I ate mostly watermellon and boiled eggs from the buffet, everything else looked dangerous.

Forget fishing in the river, it is totally choked with eurasian millfoil imported by the Russians. The river itself appears to have just about every kind of plastic article known to man floating in it. Any fish you caught in that river would have to be condemmed.

The Cuban Baseball team stayed at this hotel and win, loose or draw they partied every night with the ladies of the night, another guest described it as a revolving door of women and they were very noisy. The swimming pool was gorgeous but Cubans spit a lot and and several used it as a spitoon. One woman had mould growing up the walls of her room. My husband got sick and soiled his sheets. The bed was made up the next day with the dirty sheets. The only way to get the sheets and towels changed was to put them in the bottom of the shower and pour water over them, even at that they hung up the towels on the racks to dry.

There were 70 rooms. 8 sun cots, 8 round patio tables with 4 chairs each. For some reason they kept the rest of the chairs locked up. There were never enough chairs for lunch and finally my husband got fed up and demanded more chairs, went with a hotel employee to where they kept the chairs locked up and carried out several to sit on.

On the plus side - the hotel staff were fantastic. most spoke very good english and were very helpful in a Cuban sort of way. The entrtainment crew of Joel and Miladys were fantastic, two very tallented people. The entertainment they brought in was the very best I have ever seen in Cuba. Two wonderful bands, the local dance school with ballet, modern and tradition Cuban dancing. Several young people with voices to bring tears to your eyes singing traditional, modern and opera arias. Absolutely fantastic. Joel has a wonderful lounge singing voice and loves old standard Sinatra songs, he and Miladys are also very tallented dancers. They were better than anyone I had seen at 5 star hotels and would rival Tropicana. What they are doing out in the middle of nowhere in this dingy little hotel is beyond me.They also taught gave in depth Spanish classes. Local artisans, carvers and leather workers were allowed to bring their wares into the hotel to sell. No made in China souveniers here - fabulous hand tooled leather and bone carvings, paintings and drawings. The entertainment was from 5 to 6:30 - happy hour when the drinks were two for the price of one.

At the airport when I was leaving Cuba I checked out a couple of Cuban guide books and looked up this hotel. One said that you might like to spend your last night in Cuba there as it is close to the Havan airport. Don't. This book is obviously very out of date.
Las Yagrumas Hotel
Ottawa, Canada
May 2003
LAS YAGRUMAS, San Antonio de los Banos (south-west of Havana)

A resort originally built for Cubans, it caters to Canadians, Germans, and Russians. Rooms are basic, but comfortable, and are on two levels surrounding the gigantic pool. The dining room serves plenty of basic food, with an emphasis on sugar products. During my third stay at the hotel in ten years, we went for a swim in the pool and then took a walk into San Antonio de los Banos. The hotel complex backs onto the town, which has a humour museum and a very beautiful central area. The hotel will rent out bicycles and scooters for trips in the area. The town was pleasant and safe. This is a good place for families.

The staff is efficient and helpful at any hour. Safe Deposit boxes are available at the front desk. There is parking, and security. Boating is available on the adjoining river which form one end of the complex. Many of the rooms, aside from opening into the open-air corridor, also open directly onto the pool area. All are air conditioned.

There is a large airbase nearby, and we heard several MiG-29 fighters roar by one afternoon. A few years ago I recall seeing all these Russian men and their families staying at the hotel. The men would be gone all day, and the pasty women and children would sit by the pool. They were Russian aircraft and pilot specialists and technicians. They can usually be seen eating roast chicken by the gigantic pool.

It is a 20 minute drive into Havana, and not too much further to the airport. If you have a rental car, this is an ideal palce to stay outside of Havana while still being close to the city for day trips. Also, it is west of the city towards the Pinar del Rio region popular for siteseeing.

(About $40 for a double with breakfast)