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Reviews Views Date of last review
2 11227 Tue May 22, 2012
Recommended By Ave price per week Average Rating
50% of reviewers None indicated 2.0




Description: Hotel Riu Varadero


Location/General information

Riu Varadero details

Situated in Varadero, Cuba the Riu Varadero Hotel is one of the most relaxing places to spend your much-needed vacation. Guests are almost guaranteed of a rejuvenating and relaxing experience, with the great facilities available at the guests’ disposal. The hotel has multiple swimming pools, with a Royal Club pool exclusive for guests staying in the Royal Club section. Guests looking for a great gastronomic experience will surely find delight on the wide range of restaurants within the hotel. Facilities like their multi-purpose sports pitch, volleyball court, and gym ensure that guests stay fit and healthy even on vacation.

Entertainment programs are held several times a week with live music playing at times. Guests also get complimentary entrance to the hotel night club. Children have their own set of activities too, with daytime entertainment ran several times a week. All rooms at Riu Varadero have air-conditioning, satellite TV, CD player, telephone and a terrace. The rooms are quite spacious, which can accommodate a maximum of 3 adults. The hotel also offers rooms in the Royal Club section that includes access to exclusive services and facilities.
• On the beach • 14km from Varadero • 40km from the airport

Transfer time

Approx. 40 mins from Varadero airport or 2 hrs 45 mins from Havana airportMore Riu Varadero Information

Bob E
Riu Ambassador

Registered: September 2007
Posts: 617
Review Date: Mon May 23, 2011 Would you recommend this Riu Resort? Yes | Price paid per week?: None indicated | Rating: 3 

Pros: The people and the weather
Cons: Mmm........ Read on!

Our holiday was from 4th – 18th May 2011 staying 3 nights in Havana, Cuba and the balance of 11 nights in the new Riu Varadero. Our trip was from London, Gatwick in the South East of England and as such we could not get a regular package flying from that airport with Thomson to Havana. As a consequence we flew Virgin Atlantic but were rather disappointed to have much less leg room than what we were used to on a regular Thomson flight. Flight times were about 9 hours out bound and just over 8 hours return. As our holiday was a “Thomson Taylormade” transfers were private and a small mini bus was waiting to take us away from the airport into the heart of Havana and our first port of call. The hotel Saratoga as it stands today, dates back to the 1920s and fell into disrepair. It has recently completely been rebuilt with a wonderful roof-top swimming pool, a place to relax after a day’s sightseeing. With spectacular views over the city we found this gem of a Cuban hotel to be absolutely first class with great service, good restaurants and bars. If you’re going to Havana for a few days then don’t miss out on this oasis in the city!

On our next leg, from Havana to Varadero, the trip was just over two hours. We passed through many towns, industrial areas and what I can only call an oil field.

On arrival at the Riu Varadero our party was split and my sister and brother-in-law had to check in at the regular front desk while we were driven off in an electric buggy to a separate reception area. We consequently found out that we had been upgraded to the “Royal Club” section. The hotel grounds are vast and have been divided into both North and South zones with the reception, two identical main restaurants, lobby bar and auditorium in the centre of the two zones. The North zone is closest to the beach but if you were located well into the South zone then expect an approximate ½ mile or 1km walk to have a dip in the sea. The last thing you want to do is forget something and have a marathon back to your room so if you like the beach, I suggest you email the hotel prior to your visit stating “near to the beach please”. The Royal Club suite was very comfortable and very well appointed. It had an entrance lobby with small WC to one side and an adjoining door to a regular Royal Club room to the other. The “living room” had a large TV, stocked mini-fridge with soft drinks, table with 4 chairs, coffee table, sofa, chair and one of three telephones. Access was from here to the sea facing balcony. The bedroom was again furnished well with an extra-large bed, side tables, TV, bedside telephone and an un-stocked mini-fridge. Additional furniture included a Chaise-longue and coffee table storage box thingy! Walking into the bathroom was the dressing area with a mini safe, shower room, Jacuzzi bathtub and a separate loo. Additional to this was a third telephone, hairdryer, shaving mirror and an abundance of toiletries. The suite had two air chilling units, controlled digitally, that worked very well indeed.

The “standard” accommodation blocks house 99 rooms as opposed to a Royal Club block having 24 rooms including suites totalling 1134 rooms..

In the rooms and throughout the hotel, the trend it seems now is to use the low energy light bulbs. Consequently in some areas of your room it was dark, felt cold and in some instances seemed very utilitarian or commercial. This theme was throughout the hotel and made some of the restaurants feel like “works canteens” as opposed to warm and pleasing places to relax.

It was noted that all rooms on the top floor, 2nd story, have a solid balcony wall as opposed to most of the 1st floor rooms having glass panels. (Therefore when sitting you had no view.) The exception to this was the end rooms on the 1st floor having solid walled balconies. The ground floor rooms are completely open.

It is a shame that the whole of the lobby area, including the bar, has no air chilling and is open to the elements. Along with the auditorium having “natural” ventilation we found all these areas stuffy and very noisy. The public areas were devoid of any soft furnishings and as a consequence seemed to bounce ambient noise around. Furniture was modern but uncomfortable and in some instances was already stained. Unfortunately there was no provision to sit outside in a courtyard/patio area where you could sit quietly chatting over a drink or two. The only exception to this was a very thin sitting area outside the sliding doors of the main bar but then you had to contend with lots of noise. On a positive note and unseen by me before, at a Riu, was a coffee station. This had a large espresso machine along with various bottles of liquor to add to your coffee.

Overall you would not go hungry but what was on display was either not very appetising, highly processed, warm when should be hot and sometimes tasteless. The exception to this was the speciality restaurants where most of the dishes were reasonable given the countries constraints. We did miss fresh things like salad and vegetables but things like prawns (shrimp) were in abundance most days either hot or cold. Meat and poultry were again rather scarce and only appeared perhaps every other day. It was rather amusing watching the chefs trying to carve, personally they would have managed this better with an axe! The main restaurant feels unwelcoming perhaps due to the lighting and lack of soundproofing and the furniture is already falling apart with wobbly tables and the plastic venire peeling off.

When we visited the South zone along with its pool, the area was not yet open but this appeared to be in a similar arrangement to the North zone with accommodation blocks around the pool.

Finally Riu have their own bakery producing good, plentiful and varied bread and cakes. However the company have to use a Cuban laundry resulting in unreliable supply of clean towels etc. This led to many arguments at the towel hut with new guests waiting sometimes days for pool towels. We changed ours twice during our 11 night stay!

Would we go again, NO? We are spoilt with good fresh food readily available to most of us daily and other things like Coke/Pepsi, but taking all things into account and for prices quoted it’s not a bad holiday resort as well as being a very interesting country.

Hopefully after looking at my various pictures of this holiday you should gain an understanding of all I’ve been rambling on about. Sorry!

Pictures of this holiday can be found at


Registered: June 2011
Posts: 17
Review Date: Tue May 22, 2012 Would you recommend this Riu Resort? No | Price paid per week?: None indicated | Rating: 1 

Pros: Royal Section
Cons: Food

We stay at 2 Riu Hotels a year for 4 weeks, sometimes with family and this is the worst Hotel we have ever stayed in! The food is terrible and the hygine worse... the staff just do not know what they are doing. Paper place mats for dinner with paper napkins and one knife one fork and one spoon that you have to keep for more than one course (if you can find more than one) if you have soup you have to wipe your spoon for desert, and nowhere to help ourself to more. Wine has to be brought to the table and you may be lucky to get a glass before you leave. We did try the al a carte restaurants but after raw chicken in one and raw pork in another we decided to live on mainly bread rolls. We were all ill for up to 5 days (no wonder) 1 yes one high chair for the main restaurant, (over 1,000 people) my Grandaughter is used to sitting to the table for all her meals but a high chair was only available once.
We were upgraded to Royal Section otherwise we would have been on the next flight home. A lot of Brits transfered to Iberostar. The Hotel was 3/4 full of young drunk canadians as it was there college/uni break and I have never seen such bad repulsive behaviour. Riuland was like a biulding site with a gate hanging off and broken swings and slide with screw sticking out, very dangerous, my Grandaughter couldn't understand why she couldn't go in. I will certainly take more notice of reviews in future but nothing could be as bad as this one. Come on Riu get some basic training done and stop poisoning people!!!!!


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