This was our 1st trip to Cuba and had been given lots of advice on what to expect/not expect. Apparently, this hotel is very nice by Cuban standards, but we usually go to Mexico and believe me it does not compare equally with any of the resorts we have stayed at in Mexico. It is listed as a 4 1/2 or 5 star depending on where you check, and by comparison in Mexico, I think it would be hard pressed to make the 3 star rating there. The resort is about 12 years old and definitely starting to show signs of age.
The need for repair/upkeep could be overlooked to a certain degree, but the fact that they were extremely understaffed is not acceptable. When they know the resort is at full capacity, it should be a no-brainer to bring in your maximum number of staff. I like to go on vacation to relax and enjoy the scenery and just totally mellow out. I do not find it relaxing at all to spend time after time after time in a lineup. Lineup for drinks, lineup at the buffet, lineup to get coffee, lineup for eggs in the morning, lineup to make reservations at the a la cartes, lineup at the pasta station in the evening, lineup for pretty much anything and everything.
I think some of it can be attributed to lack of training or poor training. Example being the egg station in the mornings. Instead of both stations being open, they only had one open. Even though there was a long line up. And the fellow cooking the eggs had his grill turned way down low, so it took forever to do a single order of eggs. Similar problem in the evening at the pasta station. The cook ran out of sauce, so he disappeared in the back to get more, which is reasonable. But he was gone for easily 10 - 12 minutes. Then when he got back with the fresh sauce, only then did he notice that he was out of all 3 types of pasta. So he disappeared again. I'm not sure how long he was gone that time, because I gave up and went to find something else to eat. I know for sure it was at least 4 or 5 more minutes because after I had found something else, I wandered by and the same people that were in front of me in the line were still there waiting.
After the second day, we were determining where we would eat by "which place has the shortest line?" Had nothing to do with the food quality. Actually, the place with the shortest line strangely happened to have the best food as well. It was the barbeque restaurant down next to the beach.. Only problem with this restaurant was that it was only open from noon til 4 o'clock.
Maybe I went there with my expectations too high, because normally I'm quite easy to please, but I found myself frustrated time after time with things that just should not happen at a resort that is listed as high as this one.
I do have to put in a few positives as well because it was not a complete doom and gloom trip. The Italian a la carte restaurant was excellent. Great service, terrific food and a live band that was perfect for the surroundings. Two violinists and a guitar player. They even took requests and did a great rendition of everything they played.
Also, the housekeeping staff were great. Very attentive, and quick to have anything fixed very quickly. 2 things we had a problem with were #1 the toilet. The plastic handle came disconnected (still usable) and our houskeeper happened to be in the area. She had the maintenance guy there and problem rectified in 10 minutes. Same with our phone. Went to use it and no dial tone. I saw the housekeeper at one of the other units in our complex and again, withing 15 minutes, all was well.
The beach was great if somewhat crowded. Not much room from the edge of the water to the edge of the trees, so the palapas are quite close together. Also, if you would like to get one, you need to get there fairly early. They fill up quickly, especially on the nicer days. Same as around the pool. The chairs there all seem to have towels on them by 9 or 9:30, but that happens pretty much at any resort. Even more so when they are operating at full capacity.
Front desk service was great. One of the few places where we did not experience lineups. Staff were friendly and helpful.
The money exchange was also not a problem. We had heard lots of horror stories of lineups and having them close the window in your face. We did not experience anything like that. What we did do however was keep our eyes open and if we needed to exchange some money, we just wandered by at different times and went to the window when there wasn't a lineup.
To sum it up, I am glad we went to Cuba, because it is one of the places we have always wanted to see. Our trip was enjoyable but not what I would call memorable. If we were to ever go back (which is unlikely) we would definitely spring for the extra several hundred dollars and stay at one of the top 4 or 5 rated hotels in Varadero. (eg. Iberostar)
Hope this has been at least a bit helpful to someone. If you have any questions, feel free to e-mail me and I'll do what I can to pass on what I learned while there.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- All inclusive resort ideal for families, with a dedicated children's area, a marvelous tranquil beach, full of activities for all ages. Honeymooners also get special treatment in a quiet special area. Tennis courts, gym, non motorized water sports, drinks, a la carte and buffet dining included. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Tryp Peninsula Varadero Hotel Varadero
- Tryp Peninsula Cuba
- Peninsula Varadero
- Tryp Varadero
- Varadero Peninsula
- Tryp Peninsula Varadero Cuba
- Tryp Peninsula Hotel Varadero Beach
- Varadero Beach Tryp Peninsula