Thursday 18 April 2013

Ocean Varadero El Patriarca, Varadero, Cuba

Sister Sarah and I spent the week at the Ocean Varadero in Varadero, Cuba ... it was great to hang with her!  I got home this evening.

The Ocean Varadero promotes itself as a five-star all-inclusive resort and charges a five-star price ... I would rate it more at a three-star.

I've stayed at many three- and four-star all-inclusive resorts in Cuba, Mexico, Jamaica, Bahamas, Bermuda and the Dominican Republic over the years ... never a five-star so I was looking forward to it!  It didn't live up to my expectations. 

Because of its five-star price but three-star quality, I wouldn't stay here again. 

Here is the lobby.

There is a cost if you want to connect to the Internet.  If you use their computers in the Internet room near the front desk, it is 10 pesos/hour.  I brought my laptop ... it was 8 pesos/hour ($10) for WIFI that is only available in the lobby.  The speed of the Internet was great.

I was in building 62 ... Sister Sarah was next door in building 61.  We were about halfway between the main building and the beach.  The pool was next to us.

I liked my room:

 Here's the bathroom:

The tub was amazing and I used it most days.

The towels in the bathroom were white but slightly stained (yellow and brown).

There was a mini fridge in the room that was supposed to be stocked daily.  Um ... no.  On Thursday, I had nothing.  It was stocked on Friday with a bottle of water, two beer and three pop.  Yay!

I took the water and beer out.  On Saturday, a water and one beer were restocked ... I drank the water.  But that was it ... my fridge was never restocked so I didn't have any more water for my stay.

On Tuesday, when my room was cleaned, the maid hadn't replenished my toilet paper so I had to call the front desk to have some delivered.

There is no clock in the rooms.  I know we are vacation but it's nice to know what time it is when I wake up.  Is it 6am or it is 11am?  We did a day trip to Havana on Sunday so we needed to be up at 6:45am.  I had to set my alarm on my cell phone so I'd be up early enough (I didn't try the front desk to give me a wake-up call).

Here is the pool ... I spent a lot of my time there.  It was nice, though the tiles in some places were lifting (surprising since the place apparently just opened in November).  It's a shallow pool .... the water at it's deepest was at my armpits.  There is a kiddie pool but no whirlpool.

Here is the swim-up pool bar.

There is a problem with the supply of beach/pool towels.  Some days they had them in stock, some days they didn't.  One day I had to use a shower towel from my room.  After that, I never passed in my towel ... I would let it dry in my room so I could use it the next day in case there were none.

The beach was great and I spent a lot of time there too.  Here's the path to get there.

Here is the beach restaurant.

Here is the beach bar.

The beach was amazing!  The water was so warm.  It would be calm in the mornings and quite wavy in the afternoons.

There are six restaurants ... the main buffet, the pool restaurant, the beach restaurant, an Italian restaurant, an Oriental restaurant and a gourmet restaurant (the specialty restaurants look like conference rooms, not restaurants).  The servers in the restaurants and bars were friendly.

We ate most of our meals in the main buffet.

I know you don't go to Cuba expecting the same quality of food we are used to but since this was a five-star resort, I didn't expect it to be a bad as it was. The food in the main buffet was two-star ... no good at all.  There was a seafood grill and a meat (chicken/beef) grill and that's where I got my chicken since it was freshly cooked, hot and not tough.  There was a pizza station where they made pizzas and custom pizza ... they were okay (kind of bland, though) when they came out of the oven.  There was a pasta station ... all they had was meat ravioli all week.

The burger and fries in the pool restaurant were good.  I had lunch there often.

Saturday night Sister Sarah and I ate at the Italian restaurant.  It opens at 6:30pm (they don't take reservations) and we got there at 8pm.  There were a couple groups ahead of us which were gradually seated.  We were seated just after 8:30pm when I finally caught the attention of one of the waiters and asked if we could sit at one of the empty tables (I don't know why they made us wait).

Here's my tomato soup ... there was a hunk of raw bacon in it which wasn't mentioned on the menu (no head's up for vegetarians).

Sister Sarah ordered spaghetti with tomato sauce and she liked it.

I ordered meat lasagna ... it was different from what I'm used to but good.

The nightly shows were okay, not great.  They started nightly at 9:45.

The disco was fun.  They played a mixture of Cuban and English music.  It was near our building.

There was a band in the piano bar at night ... I liked it there.  The servers were lively and fun.

There was a craft market near the main restaurant ... apparently you can't barter with them.

There were a lot of Newfoundlanders and Nova Scotians this week which provided a lively friendly atmosphere.


Teresa said...

For the most part I never find the ratings on the internet rarely match up with the quality of stars. However looks like a nice clean place. Glad to hear your trip went well.

Sarah said...

Thanks for the great post and pics! Looks like you got a good rest!

Masshole Mommy said...

Looks absolutely gorgeous.