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Reviewed 14 May 2005

Having read all the nightmare reviews about this hotel and having just returned from 2 weeks holiday - thought I would add my review to set the record straight.

Arrived at reception - we were checked in no problem - no lengthy delays and no rude reception staff. We left our cases at reception and within approx 30 minutes they were brought to our bungalow.

We stayed in a first floor bungalow - really nice (we did manage to see one of the rooms in the main hotel and in my opinion the bungalows were nicer and nearer to the beach/lunchtime restaurant). The maid Eridania was great and I did leave a few gifts for her every other day as way of a tip (we had notes left and felt that the gifts were appreciated). Our air con broke down one evening and the maintenance guy was called and although he couldn't fix it that night, early the next morning another maintenance guy called and had it fixed whilst we were sunbathing on the beach - great service.

Food was good - plenty of choice. Sometimes the food could have been warmer but we did eat late at night just before the buffet closed so not really their fault. I would definitely recommend the a la carte restaurants - especially the seafood where you get lobster. It is nice to have a break from the buffet and you get waitress service. The waiting staff were good especially Carey in the main buffet restaurant in the morning and in the lunchtime restaurant by the beach.

We drank at the pool bar in the early evening and after dinner and a few times the staff said they had run out of vodka. I asked if they could get some from another bar but they said they couldn't. It seems that each bar has an allocation and when something is finished that's it. As neither my friend nor I like rum I did go to reception to ask about getting vodka from another bar (after all, it's all inclusive and doesn't stipulate that it must be rum). The girl on the customer services desk was not very helpful and just said that sometimes it was difficult for the hotel to get vodka. I explained that the lobby bar had bottles of it and couldn't they just give one to the pool bar - this never happened. I mentioned it to the First Choice rep who said he would look into it for me. When I returned to the bar the staff seemed a bit sheepish. I explained that I wasn't annoyed with them as they were just doing their job. Somehow or other the barman had obtained some vodka for us and they never ran out again. We tipped the bar staff as they were very good and attentive. Victor especially in the pool bar was wonderful. He would see us coming and get the drinks sorted before we had sat down. It was a pleasure to tip him because he was very worthy of it. Seems that once you tipped the staff they were very happy to look after you.

The hotel was generally very good however could do with a bit of maintenance work. I did notice the surface of the swimming pool was looking a bit neglected but it was still a pleasure to use the pools but mainly used the beach.

The beach was absolutely stunning - I have been to Dominican Republic and Margarita but only really now feel I've been to the Caribbean as the beach was so "Bounty Advert".

Would really recommend the overnight trip to Havana - we saw the old town on the first day then stayed at a really nice 5* hotel and went to the Tropicana to see a show and the second day went to the new town - very interesting and with First Choice worked out about £102 - well worth it!

Would go back to Varadero but would probably try a different hotel as I never like to stay in the same place twice.

A must have is the all over body massage - they are wonderful and only cost £16 - really invigorating and a wonderful experience.

One more thing - MOSQUITO'S - they are a nightmare - nearly everyone we saw there had bites. I would recommend Riemann Mosquit - ex (my friend bought it for me at Manchester Airport, UK). After using this product didn't have any new bites. It costs £16 but is well worth it.

If anyone has any questions please email me and I will be happy to answer them.

Enjoy yourselves!!!

Date of stay: April 2005
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16  Thank llan01
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 12 May 2005

A 4 star hotel, you would think you could shower without hugging against the wall, coffee machines do not work, Reception provide no smiles, only short dry answers. Thank god there were 4 nice people who served our table because if it wasn't for them....

Everything is much more expensive than planned. The worst is the corruption at the airport. When you leave (I took Air Transat), they tell you your luggage is too heavy. I can understand that and would pay the proper amount. BUT the cuban at Air Transat tells you to hide a tip in you passport, and to NEVER TELL anyone. Then he writes that my luggage is the appropriate weight. How can Air Transat or any airline really know how heavy the plane is at take-off if they all lie? We were 19 in my group and it happened to others. As if I would denounce this behavior while I am trying to get off this Island and risk problems with the cubans.

Date of stay: May 2005
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1  Thank Passenger38191
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 11 May 2005

to the person that wrote that review from montreal. you must be used to staying at the ritz carleton in downtown new york and have a red carpet laid down for you all the time. i picture you as prissy and selfish. you must of wanted that 2 storey bungalow for other reasons besides sleep, since you never spend anytime in your room anyway. except for after the bar in your case.

Now for the actual correct review of barcelo solymar. It is absolutley amazing. I have stayed in the grand cayman, punta cana, cozumel, and cayo coco, and nothing comes close to the solymar. Myself and our group of 70 graduates from acadia university all went there. we were first bumped to the barcel marina palace, I do not have one good thing to say about that place, the beach actually hurt the feet.

the resorts dont even compare the food was night and day and the beach at the solymar blew your mind. the 70 people I was with all had the best time you defiantlety have to go to this resort.

Date of stay: May 2005
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6  Thank Calgaryrep
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 9 May 2005

who ever gives barcelo solymar a bad review totally didnt' go there lookin to have a good time , or had their head stuck up somewhere deep and dark. the locals were great, me and the other 15 people i went with had no complaints. I'M GOIN BACK,, cheers

Date of stay: April 2005
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7  Thank Quest35620
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 8 May 2005

Went to the Barcelo in April with a friend - had a fantastic time. The hotel's location was perfect, close to downtown, and occupying one of the best stretches of beach. The staff were fantastic once you became familiar with them and the restaurants were completely adequate, offering a variety of tasty items. Granted, it wasn't gourmet dining, but excellent as far as buffets go. The beach-side buffet restaurant was definitely a step above. The bars and entertainment weren't heart-stopping, but again, more than enough to have a great time. We stayed in a bungalow suite - had ample room, and our maid took great care of us. The hotel was nicely laid out and it wasn't hard to keep occupied. I'd definitely return to the Barcelo with no reservations - from what others have told me of their experiences, one of the best resorts in Varadero.

Date of stay: April 2005
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9  Thank jfdapena
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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