Iberostar Selection Varadero is steps from the beach on the Cuban peninsula of Hicacos, a narrow spit of land stretching out towards Florida. The peninsula has more than 20km of white, sandy beaches as well as the only golf course in Cuba. The hotel is in a quiet area with a garden and three outdoor pools. At the beach, the hotel offers snorkelling, sailing and kayaking, or you can relax by the palm trees and enjoy a drink from the beach waiter service. There's a spa with a sauna, a Turkish bath and a whirlpool, and you can book a massage or a beauty treatment. For something more energetic, there's a gym and a variety of sports on offer, including aerobics, tennis, football and beach volleyball, along with gentler pursuits such as boules, darts and pool. In the evenings there are family-friendly theatre shows and a nightclub for adults. Varadero beach has fine sand and is popular for diving and snorkelling because of the range of fish, corals and molluscs that can be found just offshore. You can also take a variety of boat trips for fishing, diving or visiting the small, uninhabited islands in the Caribbean to enjoy swimming and a barbecue on the beach.
Iberostar Selection Varadero is 10m from Varadero beach and 6km from Plaza America, a small mall with a range of shops, bars and restaurants. Cuba's golf club is 7km away. The nearest attraction is Cueva de Ambrosio, 500m away, where you can visit a series of historic caves featuring ancient art and rock formations. Cactus Patriarch, a giant tree-size cactus said to be more than 500 years old, is 1.4km away. The capital, Havana, with its colonial architecture and classic cars, is a day trip away, or you could head to Cueva de Saturno for the chance to swim or snorkel in a cave full of stalagmites.
Iberostar Selection Varadero's buffet restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, offering international dishes. There are four a la carte restaurants specialising in Japanese, Mediterranean, seafood and international cuisines, plus a cafe serving sandwiches and desserts. There are eight bars to choose from, including beach and pool bars and a cigar bar.
The hotel provides clubs for children and teenagers. There's also a kids' disco, a playroom, a playground and two separate kids' pools, one with slides.
Rooms have a balcony or terrace, individually controlled air conditioning and a fan. You'll also have a flatscreen TV with satellite channels and a minibar.
Distance to city centre 18km
On the beach
Distance to airport 33.4km
Address: +5345669999, Punta Francés, Varadero, Cuba
Varadero, Varadero, Cuba
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This is one holiday we will remember for all the wrong reasons!
Concerns regarding Iberostar Selection Varadero began to surface after a few days, initially with small niggling issues; poor tv reception, damaged/absent activity equipment, unswept outdoor areas, dirty pool furniture, unmaintained pond and limited food selection, but these were quickly followed by more pressing concerns involving severe gastrointestinal symptoms indicating food poisoning. We were both suffering with severe and persistent diarrhoea which we were unable to control despite eating only basic foods (bread, jam, cheese) and taking Imodium.
The General Manager Louis refused to accept there was a problem and dismissed concerns regarding the rampant spread of sickness throughout the hotel stating the problem was only with the English. Unfortunately this dismissive attitude was also adopted by the on site doctor who stated there was no facility to send away samples for testing and anyway he ate at the buffet with no ill effect!
Its a shame we weren't taken seriously as reviews left by other holidaymakers who were staying during December 2020, confirm there was a very real problem with rampant sickness throughout the hotel.
We felt helpless but worst was yet to come as it soon became apparent that trying to get hold of a Tui rep was almost impossible unless you had the app, which Tui promote as the be all and end all, and even when you do manage to track reps down you soon find out you are on your own!
In a nutshell, TUI Cuba and local TUI reps lack the knowledge and experience to deal effectively with customer requests/concerns. Reps were found to be unhelpful or incompetent and some were even curt and obstructive, refusing to release information and continually asking you to repeat your complaint because they; had just arrived, were not informed, had been ill, were at another hotel etc etc etc.
Our complaints regarding the Iberostar Selection Varadero included;
6, Unmaintained pond - Fish pond water green/murky. Litter and debri floating on surface.
10. Dirty bedding - Not changed unless you ask although hotel states every three days.
11. No room service - 2 bottles of water daily delivered by cleaner.
12. Limited facilities - Non existent until 19 December, when they organised a Cuban Day and invited local guests. Prior to this there was no beach bars/outdoor grills and afterwards most were shut again!
In summary, Iberostar Selection Varadero is in denial regarding the rampant sickness problem within the hotel and at the present time lacks the ability to secure the basic food and equipment to support the facilities that international guests pay for and expect.
Lovely hotel, great staff...couldnt do enough for you! Considering the circumstances the staff worked very hard, nothing was too much trouble, very clean....as for the Tui Rep, she was hardly around and gave you no support on anything apart from take your money on trips! The only strange thing was we had paid for an upgrade at the hotel to a "tropical room" but was advised by all the staff that our room was standard and the same as all the others???? I did ask about this at reception but the staff didnt have a clue what I was talking about, so I just left it.....
As many other guests will probably relate in much more details, the food and hotel amenities in general will always be less abundant and luxurious than most of the 5 star resorts in the other neighbouring Caribbean countries. Here, it's not about the hotel or the food, it 's about it's Cuban employees, who are working very long hours, 6 days a week, days and nights, for a ridiculous wage, only to serve you...
I particularly loved the group of Iberostar own professional dancers and especially the girls that were absolutely fantastic both for their artistic technic and their costumes. This type of investment in very talented dancers will always pay dividends as customers are expecting to see high quality of dancing shows when visiting Cuba. I also want to thank warmly all the staff from the dinning areas and the reception that were always very friendly and helpful, especially Sergio that was constantly at the front of the reception desk ready to serve...
I will definitely return to the Iberostar Selection Varadero to see these same people again in the near future.