Has anyone been to these resorts in Cuba? Opinions? Reviews?

posted 3 years ago in Destination Weddings
Post # 3
Member
433 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2015

@jlc3:  My brother and SIL got married at the Iberostar Laguna Azul. It was really hot in July so they used the private terrace on the upper level instead of the beach and it was a beautiful wedding! Feel free to PM me for any more info 🙂

Post # 4
Member
28 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: October 2013

I have been to Brisas Guardalavaca in Holguin and would not recommend it. Mind you, we went in 2009 and had booked a trip to Cabo but due to the “swine flu” scare had to re-route our trip to Cuba.

We also found a lot of the reviews were good and written by returning/regular guests, but we honestly didn’t know why they kept going back. You’re right, it’s a small/no frills resort. We found the front desk service to be quite poor (again this was a few years ago so it may have changed now) and did not like the food (I realize this is common in Cuba, but I had a much better experience in Varadero). Also, I was bored for most of my vacation. There wasn’t much to do on the resort (this is fine for some people who would prefer to just relax by the pool all day, but I like a more lively resort with the option of activities and such!) The beach is also not very nice compared to Varadero. I seem to remember hardly anyone was laying out on the beach, which was weird for an all-inclusive vacation!

Also, the area is fairly remote compared to Varadero, so there was honestly not much to do off the resort either. I remember we went to a nightclub one night that was mostly locals and it was a lot of fun, and we managed to find a really good local restaurant. Other than that though, my personal recommendation would be to stick to Varadero if you’re going to Cuba!

Post # 6
Member
28 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: October 2013

@jlc3:  No problem! Of course my idea of a great resort/vacation may be different than yours, but I wanted to share my experience regardless. I stayed in the hotel. The room were very basic and I’d say a bit outdated (but who knows, maybe they’ve done some updates since then), but otherwise decent and very clean.

Enjoy your planning! I LOVE all-inclusive vacations. I am sure whatever you end up choosing, you and your guests will have a great time!

Post # 7
Member
11379 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: April 2012

@jlc3:  i have been to cuba 10+ times.  i have been to the brisas guardalavaca and it was ok 13 years ago.  i probably wouldn’t go back there.  it would be too old now.

i strongly suggest a newer resort.  it’s cleaner, fresher, better restaurants, beds and linens aren’t overused, etc.

hotels in cuba are rated very differently than what you would expect in canada or usa.  i wouldn’t even consider anything less than a 4 star in cuba.  typically the rooms are very basic and modest.

i checked out the resorts that you had listed and personally, i would only go to the iberostar laguna azul.  i have been to varedero and to iberostar properties.  both great.

the holguin properties are both very old.  the brisas opened in the 90’s and the riu opened around 2000 and has changed names 3x already, recently to riu.  it looked very familiar and with more research, it was the resort that i was thinking of.  i remember it being built.

the varedero properties are both iberostar but i would pick the 5 star over the 4 star not to mention it’s newer.  the laguna azul is the 5 star and only opened in 2009.  the playa almeda is 4 star and is 8+ years old.  the rooms look nicer in the laguna azul as well.

also, the varedero properties are very close to the airport whereas the other resorts require a long bus ride.  in varedero, you can even take public transit into town, just a short city bus ride.

i know that these hotels don’t sound old but in the caribbean buildings and finishings don’t hold up like they do in canada.  they are not built the same and they take a huge beating from the natural elements (salt, sand, wind, humidity, etc).  trust me, i know from personal experience.

if you have any other questions, please feel free to pm me.

Post # 8
Member
5421 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2014

@jlc3:  I’d go with the IB Laguna Azul.

I also second the comments re Holguin vs Varadero; there is more to do in the Varadero area, not to mention you could visit Havana. There is much less to do in and around Holguin.

The Paradisus properties are also worth a look IMPO.

Post # 9
Member
433 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2015

@jlc3:  The rooms were pretty decent by Cuba’s standards, definitely not like Canada or anything, but they were spacious and comfortable. Definitely very clean too!

The wedding ceremony itself was pretty short, maybe around 20-30 minutes in length. They did use the resort photographer, who look a lot of shots during the ceremony and a bride/groom/bridal party session out on the beach as well. Their beach is pretty pristine! I believe they even sent them a wedding album. If you’re not too picky about having really artistic photos, they are great.

After the beach photo session we had an hour or so until the reception dinner which was held in the outdoor restaurant. I believe they got to choose the menu style. The resort made sure it was only our party at the restaurant until it was over, which I found to be very nice! The entire wedding day was completely uninterrupted by resort guests.

The dinner was followed by a 2-hour private party in the disco. Again, a nice touch. A lot of us ended up staying there once the “regular” disco hours were in operation and because there was a younger (mid 20’s to mid 30’s) crowd it ended up being fun to party with other guests.

There was nothing in particular that I didn’t enjoy about that week, especially because we were with family and friends. The food is not spectacular but that is typical of pretty much anywhere in Cuba. Bring your own condiments lol.

Post # 10
Member
1025 posts
Bumble bee

I have been to both of the Iberostar porperties that you have listed. There is not a huge different between the two because clearly they are owned by the same company. The layout of both hotels and the rooms are pretty much the same.

I would go to the Iberstar Laguna Azules, again given the choice between the two. The staff was a little friendlier, a bit of a nice atmosphere, a little better food and a little bit of a better beach.

Either are great, although if there is a significant price difference then go with the one that is cheaper.

Post # 11
Member
352 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2011

We got engaged on Valentines Day at the Iberostar Laguna Azul! I loved that resort so much. It’s been a few years (it was brand new when we went) but the grounds are immaculate, I actually liked the food (which you don’t hear a lot for resorts in Cuba), the beach was stunning and clean and the staff were awesome. I’d go back there for sure! If you have any questions feel free to PM me 🙂 Here are some pics from our trip there. 

 

Post # 12
Member
320 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: February 2013

@jlc3:  I’ve been to the Iberostar Laguna Azul! It was great, the staff was very friendly and it was a lovely resort. My room faced one of the private side pools, and that was awesome. I never went to the busy main pool…in fact most days we had the pool (and the bar) to ourselves. 

I did find that the food wasn’t great at the resort (and I really didn’t like the a la carte restaurants), but off the resort everything was incredible. I’m also very picky so don’t listen to me too much. 

I mean..I’ve never stayed anywhere else in Cuba so I can’t really compare but I would recommend this resort. 

Post # 13
Member
6034 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2014

Keep in mind, if you have any Americans on your guest list, they will not be permitted to travel to Cuba, so if it is important to you to have them there for your wedding day, you may want to consider alternate destinations!

Post # 15
Member
9137 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL

@jlc3:  We’re still not allowed to go from the US without a special visa.

Or special (i.e. illegal) border crossings from the US to a Cuba-friendly country then on to Cuba (without getting your US passport stamped in Cuba.)

Post # 16
Member
5295 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: April 2013

@jlc3:  I havnt been to any of these resorts but I visit Cuba every year. Make sure whichever resort you choose has 4 or more stars because there lvel of ratings are different in Cuba then in Canada. I had my wedding in Cuba and had 67 guests join us. Most of the people had been to Cuba before and knew what to expect but there were still a few guests that complained

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