Bravo Club Hotel Arenal
- What's Included
- All Inclusive Features
Cuba Hotel ArenalIt's all in the expectations or perhaps the time of year in my opinion.This was our first time to visit Cuba. Our goal was to see Havana and spend time on the beach and in the water.I researched on internet potential places based on location and reviews on food as I heard in general food was not very good. When I came across Club Bravo/Hotel Arenal and read that it was managed by Italians, I was fairly certain that the food would be at the least "acceptable" or good, otherwise no Italians would go.My assumption was correct, the food was generally good to very good depending on the dish. Remember this is Cuba so it means the standards are different. The buffet style meals always had enough variety to find a good dish. We all have different tastes and I could praise and criticize a lot but suffice to say you will not lose any weight while staying here.As for location, a 25-35 minute ride will get you to Havana. The hotel offers a free bus service on certain days - reservations recommended. You can always walk over to the Hotel Atlantico area (15-20 minutes) and catch a bus there for 5cuc return or a taxi @20cuc one way.The beach is a short walk from the hotel 2 minutes, even carrying some drinks. Near the end of the day we brought some beers for the guys that work on the beach for the hotel-much appreciated!!Do tip them from time to time or as you may - they really deserve and appreciate.The hotel is close to spotless. Rooms are cleaned each day, but they don't change the sheets for the week. They shake them out straighten them and make the beds.We had 2 double beds. Not sure how other rooms were but you'll appreciate that if you get a sunburn lol.Beautiful pool, beach and facilities. Great staff (hint: tip and service staff remember)The time of the year I believe would make a big difference in their ability to serve as well as availability of varieties.My only complaint would be the music around the pool of the constant boom boom boom for 20 year olds which this place doesn't have many.I could say a lot more, but all in all, the hotel, the staff, services, beach and food is of good quality. Congrats to all!Enjoy!
This is now owned by Bravo. This was closed down for renovations after an Italian hotel chain purchased this property....great renovations done. Cute smaller resort, excellent location in Havana and still beach front. Lots of green space so even when the hotel is at capacity it didn't seem to be crowded. People are friendly and work hard. I would definitely come back to here due to its location. Beds are hard (normal) The people worked hard to sweep the seaweed before we came to visit with brooms and dust pans even. This would be good for adults and older couples. It did not appear to be a party place and I wouldn't recommend that either even though it is 24 hours.
this hotel is a perfect harmony between city, beach and river , close to the capital the hotel have excellent services in all areas, the bar have a large and delicious cocktails , the food is very good , the employees and director are cordial and bring excellent service to all customers, in my opinion is the top 5 hotels that I was visited in Cuba
My rating of the resort is really 3.5 stars, but I feel my experience was 4 stars, so please keep reading.Upon check-in, I requested a room on the second floor away from the pool, as recommended by other reviews here. I was told that the resort was full (odd, since so few people were visible) and I'd have to check again the next day. Our room wasn't ready, either, so we had to wait (even though it was later than check-in time). A short time later, the "bellhop" told us our room was ready and brought us to room 325 which was on the first floor away from the pool. It was great! The room was spacious, immaculately clean (our maid was excellent), and had a very low musty odor (I'm sensitive to scents). It then turned out that the bellhop had brought us to the wrong room - ha! The front desk wasn't happy, but we sure were! Speaking of the front desk, on the first day (Monday), I ordered a shuttle to Havana for Friday. I was told that it was already full. Say what?? So, my friend tried to book it the following day for the Friday, and she had no problem. Say what? In the end, we ended up cancelling the shuttle, anyway, because we'd already been to Havana privately and felt we'd be lost if we were to show up in Havana on our own without the benefit of a guide.The resort is very, very small - you should be aware of that from the start. You'll see the same group of people all the time as a result. I'd say approx 85-90% of the tourists there were Italian, so it makes perfect sense that the staff speaks mostly Italian (and Spanish, of course). While staff English is limited, they are all very friendly and you can always make yourself understood. We became quite fond of our lobby bartenders, and Evaline (sp?) was awesome - very attentive, friendly, and smiley. The guys were great, too (even the grumpy-looking one will smile if you tease him about his grumpiness)!Since I drink red wine and water pretty much exclusively, I was worried about both at this resort. You will get one large bottle of water for your room for the week (regardless of number of people). Otherwise, water bottles must be purchased for 2 CUC. It's actually not that big of a deal if you bring a couple of "bubbas" with you - one to fill throughout the day from the bar and to bring back to your room in the evening, and one to fill with the bar beverage of your choice. I packed 3 litres of red wine in plastic water bottles in my suitcase, just in case the wine at the resort wasn't drinkable. It was - they offered 3 different red wines (no choice of what you get). All wines were Spanish - La Campana, Masia Condal Selecion (not sure about that third word), and Constelacion (Cab Sauv). My friend drinks white wine, and she said there were about 4 different kinds, and only the Sauv Blanc wasn't drinkable (to her surprise). We are not aware of any kind of premium wine or alcohol that could be purchased in the dining room or at the bars.There are only 2 bars - one at the lobby and one at the pool. Like I said, the place is small and all you need, although it would be nice to have a bar or bar service on the beach, I'm sure (a fair distance to go back and forth for drinks). This wasn't an issue for us, because the weather prevented us from using the beach. Other than the seaweed, it was beautiful, though!The food is only buffet, yes. Does it get repetitive even though they change it up a little at every meal? Yes. Big deal. You definitely won't be hungry. Go fill up on spaghetti with the red sauce if you don't like the buffet. The noodle is perfectly cooked. There's tons of bread, but no butter. You can use the provided oil and vinegar (at salad station) for dipping, though, if that's what you're into. They even have HP Sauce, tobasco sauce, and ketchup (unusual for Cuba). They have a grill station for fish and meat, but I didn't take anything from there. Little adorable birds do fly around a bit, so check your glasses for bird doo-doo before having them filled with water or wine.There's a 24-hour snack bar (which I'm pretty sure isn't actually open 24 hours) that serves oven-roasted pizza (very thin crust with a little red sauce and a little cheese). It will definitely hold you over until dinner (starts at 7:00), especially if you're imbibing all day. They have hotdogs, hamburgers, and potato wedges, too, but I didn't have the hotdogs or hamburgs - didn't look appetizing. They also have a cooler for ice cream treats (drumsticks, ice cream sandwiches, etc.), but you have to pay for those. You will not find french fries or the like at this resort (but plenty of rice and potatoes).I didn't really need to change my beach towel given that I didn't really go in the water, but you have to go to the spa to get it changed (didn't go there, either, or to the gym - although other people did).Never had a problem getting a lounger around the pool, but be aware that the music blasting from the speakers is way, way too loud, and you'll want to sit as far away from them as possible. Even then, carrying on a comfortable conversation can be challenging. If you're staying up at the pool, keep some toilet paper or tissues in your beach bag, as often there are neither at the bathroom by the pool bar (this is also the bathroom with no toilet seats). The lobby bathrooms are clean and well-stocked, though (with toilet seats).My friend and I did get a lot of bug bites, but we didn't see any bugs. I think they got us at dusk or in the evenings. Just bring some anti-itch ointment. The animation team are lovely, happy-go-lucky kids. You are not going to this resort for the entertainment, though, and you likely won't do a thing other than chat with your friends/family or read. Like I said, it's a small resort with pretty much nothing to do but to relax and soak up the rays (and maybe water sports if the beach is open). Presumably you chose this resort because you want to spend time in Havana. That's the only reason I'd choose this resort, and it's a good reason. If you are looking for a tour, I'd highly recommend "I Love Cuba" - we did a two-day tour with a break in between and it was perfect. You can see my separate review for that experience.Finally - the wifi. Contrary to what you have read, there IS wifi at this resort. My friend was able to get it no problem, but I couldn't (or so I thought). My phone would say that I had wifi and was connected, but then the sign-on page would never appear, so I couldn't input the login info from the wifi card to access the wifi. It was very frustrating. I'd assumed that it was because I have an iPhone 5S (a bit dated), since my friend with her iPhone6 had no issues. I was wrong, though. So here's what to do if you run into the problem I did: in settings, click wifi to connect (obviously). Once you're connected on settings, you'll see "performance recommendation" written under the name of the internet provider. Click that. It'll take you to another page. At that point, the sign-in pop-up page may just appear (hurray!). If not, near the bottom of the page, click "Renew lease". If you don't get the pop-up page, then go to Safari and it will pop up then. There was another guest at the resort having the same problem as me, and when I showed her this "trick" on her phone, she freaked out with gratitude! In fact, it was she who said I'd be doing a great service to future guests by passing on the info here. So, I'd suggest you print out the instructions I've provided and give it a go if you have problems. Note - you can get wifi ONLY at or near the lobby (not at the pool, beach, or your rooms - maybe in the dining room - didn't check). Wifi cards are 2 CUC for one hour - cheap! Wifi cards at the Havana airport are 2 (or 3?) CUC for 30 minutes. Note - once you leave the airport, you will lose wifi. Consider giving unused cards to airport staff.Speaking of airports, there is no VIP service at the Havana airport (the service you can usually purchase through your vacation rep). That was no big deal for us on the way back, though, because there were no lengthy lineups like when we'd arrived. Note that you want to exchange your money AFTER you've cleared security. We waited in line at the currency exchange before security, only to learn that they had no Canadian money. Plus, you may want to buy stuff at the duty-free or gift shops (or wifi cards) on the other side before cashing in your CUCs. You may also want to purchase water or snacks - although I think our tour guide told us you could use Canadian money at the airport.I think I've covered everything. Feel free to let me know if you have questions. If you manage your expectations, you will have a great time. Remember that it is a small resort with nothing to do or see other than to take in the beauty of Cuba and its people. My friend and I had an awesome time, and it was the perfect mix of sunbathing and sightseeing (in Havana). I for sure would go back if I were heading to Havana again.P.S. A lot of people didn't tip at the resort, but shame on them. Your resort staff travels lengthy distances and works long hours to have these coveted jobs, and they're coveted because of the tip money. Don't cheap out. You wouldn't cheap out at home like that. And remember to tip your maid, too :)P.P.S. There are a couple of well-loved dogs and a cat that roam around the property, but guests seem to have loved them, and they were very well-behaved. Don't let it freak you out if you're not into animals.
This hotel is in need of major updating. The rooms have to usual mouldy smell but unfortunately so did the sheets and pillows. One out of 4 lamps worked. Majority of the staff were very unfriendly. We've need met so many rude Europeans. Lots of Italians that seem to think they own the place. Food was awful but we knew that Cuba wasn't known for their food. I can not say anything good about our stay here except thank God we only had to stay there 3 nights before having to spend another 5 nights at another hotel not much better. The beach was nice, we walked along the beach to a small town named Guanabo. We stopped at a bar named Playazul where two locals working together stole a substantial amount of money. Fortunately the local police were able to apprehend them quickly but we spent several hours at the local station. We didn't get the money back of course but they're in jail, one of them for a really long time. Play it safe and stay away even tho it looks inviting. Unfortunately we will never return or recommend Cuba to anyone from our experiences.
Vacations packages include round-trip flights, accommodations, round-trip transfers (unless outlined below) to and from the hotel, and tourist cards (if required, unless outlined below).
If selecting an all-inclusive resort option, the package will also include the all-inclusive features as outlined by each resort.
Items not included:
- Travel insurance (mandatory if traveling to Cuba)
- Tourist cards ($10USD)if traveling to Dominican Republic with Sunwing Airlines
- Departure taxes ($20USD) if traveling to Dominican Republic with Sunwing or Signarture Vacations
- Hotel transfers for packages with WestJet to USA (with exception to Honolulu)
- Hotel transfers for packages to Europe
- Items of a personal nature
- Buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner
- Snack bar
- Domestic drinks (24-hour)
- Daily activities
- Evening entertainment
- Disco (admission and drinks included)
- Non-motorized water sports (Selected)
- Dancing lessons
- Beach volleyball
- Service of a representative at destination
- 149 rooms
- 1 Buffet & Snack bar
- 1 a la carte restaurant for dinner service (extra charge and reservations required)
- 4 Bars
- 1 Pool
- Tennis courts
- Fitness center
- Spa (fee)
- Motorized water sports (fee)
- Medical services (fee)
- Laundry services (fee)
- Internet access (fee)
- Currency exchange
- 1 king or 1 double or 2 Twin Beds
- Satellite TV
- Hair dryer
- In room safe
- Bathroom with shower only
- Balcony or terrace
- Max occupancy 3 adults or 2 adults and 2 children
Resort Location Map
Bravo Club Hotel ArenalHavana,Cuba
- Hotel Contacts
- Extra Info
Playa Santa Maria del Mar, Havana Cuba
Some restaurants may be open for certain meals only and limited visits may apply. Reservations required and dress code in effect for a la carte restaurants. Time restrictions may apply for water sports.
Child pricing may only be available with select tour operators and valid for select dates and durations. Child pricing rules are subject to change without notice. Please contact one of our vacation specialists if you require assistance with child pricing.
Photo identification and/or credit card or cash deposit may be required at check-in for incidental charges.
Extra-person charges may apply and vary depending on hotel policy. Rollaway beds and cribs (infant beds) may be available and should be requested at the time of booking; fees may apply.
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