Islazul Mar del Sur
- What's Included
- All Inclusive Features
If you don't mind animals on the resort and old rooms with musty smells - then go ahead and take the better deal here. I found the food fine, and I'm vegetarian. Still lots of options. The service was not good - i was always scrambling to get my fork, knife, napkin, asking for water, wine, etc. But its 2 star so if you expect more than this then don't go. I appreciate the simplicity. THe beach is 5 minute walk away, i didn't really like having to cross the busy street each time. The people are nice. If you want a room close to everything ask for building 18, 19 or 20 and ask for a balcony. My room felt like a jail without a balcony.Only issue is its very noisy here but I had earplugs with me so that helped. I've also seen a room in building 33 or 34 - much nicer and quieter as it is just outside the centre of the resort. Entertainment was not great - but there is a great Beatles Bar and Salsa place near Calle 60-62. Definitely need to get out if you need some entertainment.
Here is a long review of my solo stay at Mar Del Sur from February 4-11, 2017.Check In: I arrived around 10:30 a.m. Check in was easy, and I was told that my room would be ready by 4, but maybe earlier. I used the bathroom in the lobby which was disgusting honestly but hey, welcome to Cuba! I went and hung out by the pool and had a few drinks. The pool wasn't very well attended. I took that as a good sign that everyone was at the beach! I decided to make my way to the bank to get some convertibles. It was about 3 blocks away from the hotel. You need your passport to exchange money, and there can sometimes be a long line up if you go mid day. You are better off waiting until closer to closing time. I went back and hung out by the pool a bit more and then I got my room.Room: I was in building 34. The porter brought my suitcase for me on a cart. You actually walk through and out of the resort to get to some of the new buildings. I was wondering where the heck this guy is going but then we arrived. The entrance to my building was very inviting. There was a security guard and nice new furniture in the "lobby". I was on the 3rd floor so I was happy that the gentleman carried my bag for me. There is no elevator, so if you are elderly or have mobility issues you need to ask for ground floor. My room was clean and spacious. They provide towels and soap, but no other toiletries or anything so be sure to bring your own shampoo etc. and hair dryer if you need one. There wasn't a dresser but I had a huge closet with shelves so I was able to place my clothes in there. I met some people that were in the building across the street from me (32 I think) and their room was nicer than mine, but no shelves in the closet. The bed was comfortable but a little squeaky. It was two single beds so this would be strange for a couple. Not sure if there are other options for beds or not. The sheets were clean. The pillows were fine. I did bring one pillow with me, just in case. There were extra blankets. The A/C worked fine. I had a nice balcony, but there was no furniture on it. So I brought a chair and a nightstand out so I could sit. There is a store across the street as well where you can buy beer, pop, chips, cigarettes, rum etc. which is very convenient. I know the resort is all inclusive but its nice to grab an ice cold bottle of beer or can of pop, or a large bottle of water on the way back to your room sometimes.Beach: Its Varadero - the beach is absolutely perfect. White sand, turquoise water, no rocks or reef. There are many palapas for hotel guests to use, and a nice bar with drinks and ham and cheese sandwiches. There is no bathroom here though so just be aware of that. Lounge chairs are abundant. You will never have an issue getting one. Music playing and cold drinks with the hot sun, what more can you ask for? You will have to cross a busy highway to get to the beach but I didn't mind at all.Entertainment/Pool bar: Pretty typical, dance shows etc. I think they had karaoke one night but I didn't make it. They play music until about 11 and people end up making their own dance party for a bit which is fun. Great place to throw back a few drinks before going out for the night or retiring to your room. They were building a new bar in the lobby so not sure if this will be the main 24 hour bar or not. Pool: Looked fine, didn't go in. Lounge chairs were abundant. Snack bar during certain hours and bar open 24 hours. The bathroom is nasty and never has toilet paper, so carry some with you or use the bathroom in your room if it is close.Area: There are many great restaurants in walking distance, like Don Alex and Nona Tina's. With the money you are saving by staying at Mar Del Sur, you don't mind springing for a few nice dinners outside the resort. You can have dinner and a couple drinks for around 10-12 pesos anywhere around. Be aware if you are a solo female traveler the Cuban men are very forward with their advances. I found it best to smile, say thank you and keep walking. I never felt threatened or unsafe. Its just a different culture. Take it as a compliment and get on with your day!People: The staff are amazing. They are so friendly and helpful. I heard some bad stories about maids expecting too much and not cleaning rooms, but this wasn't my experience. Most staff spoke very good English. As far as guests, you will find many French, Spanish, German, Italian and Canadian guests. Everyone is very friendly.Buffet: The food is edible and there is an ok selection. If you are coming to Cuba for the food, especially to a budget resort, there is something wrong with you. Omelettes, toast, fruit for breakfast. Pasta, meat, etc. for dinner. The bread is very good as are the bananas. I have dietary restrictions myself so I did bring some snacks with me from home, and I was never hungry. Lots of hot sauce and other seasoning available so that was nice. Maybe this resort isn't for everyone. If you are high maintenance, need all the comforts of home, or can't handle a smelly bathroom once in a while, go down the road to a newer resort. I loved it here and I will be back for sure!!
Just recently got back, spent a week here, first room was I believe in building 15-16...was pretty nasty..but I did not come to Cuba for a room, or else I would of stayed home...we made a small complaint to front desk and they asked us to move to an apartment in building 19, so we did! It was awesome huge place with balcony, kitchen, two rooms and two bathrooms. As for food, again didn't come to Cuba for that, but the food was edible, breaky was good, had fresh omelettes everyday, the coffee in Cuba is unreal amazing, make sure to have some! Lunch and dinner decent as well. I think it was more enjoyed if you come right at the start, more selection and warmer food. The option of eating out is also available, it is cheap and there are a ton of food places around. we ate out quite a bit, just cause we were out on adventures most of the days and nights.The hotel is situated in a great location (street 30) right across from a beautiful beach with a snack/bar, great mohitos served there, restaurants, a bank, shops and other things near by. Streets 50-60 had alot more stuff ie. night life, restaurants, rum museum, shops...ect..which you can either walk to or take a cab for $5.The weather was amazing the week we were there, and really the only reason for our travels. Staff were really nice and accommodating. I always bring toilet paper with me to Cuba since there is a shortage and the pillows in the first room were non existing, once we moved to the second room there were three pillows on each bed, however need be you can prob just ask front desk for an extra pillow.There were evening shows which i didn't go to but the friends I was with did and said they were good. Some days we hung out at the pool, nice big pool, quiet for the most part. Overall I would recommend this place to anyone, family, friends, singles, couples, it has everything you need, as long as you have an open mind!
My return to this hotel was mainly because I liked it well enough, for the price, when I visited, 3 years ago.Here are the PROS and CONS. Enjoy!By the way, I never ever in my life switched a room in Varadero, but this time I did. Reason being: no phone, no tv working, and the door lock wouldn't lock! room smelled musty and it was just overall scary for me myself. I asked for a switch and explained the situation and was fixed within an hour.PROS:1) STAFF: so good, bartenders at both pool and beach bar. Lobby bar is slow, so I avoided it. Cleaning is great, make sure you tip. DIning room, did not have problems, I don't mind getting my own water or coffee or bringing my plates to the cleaning station. I don't need 5 star service like a lazy Westerner. Anyone will appreciate it.2) FOOD: snack bar fresh omelette sandwich - delicious. Buffet was give or take. I always found 1 or 2 good items, but there wasn't always a full balance of a meal. I would supplement some meals off resort- and didnt feel bad about missing the buffet this way. Nearby: hamburgesa, or a few more restaurants by street # 40-42.I think the fresh bread buns in shape of hot dog were fantastic. Pasta fantastic can't go wrong- 1 or 2 meals. Ice cream always there. Then you have daily variety on all else. Don't worry- I had chicken, shrimp, turkey, and beef ribs, fresh fish in my week. Great variety.3) Location: your downtown downtown. Near a club. Near the highway. Can go to santa marta or matanzas or havana easily from this spot. Calle 54 = park with wifi and also karaoke bar. 4) Beach: has a bar, chairs, snack bar, 5-10 minute walk from hotel, umbrellas, nice water. All you need. Many randoms around so don't leave valuables unattended dont even bring them to the beach! 5) Drinks: beer, basic rum, wine was not so watered down, pop, juice, great coffee depending who is making it. If you want variety - go off resort, or buy yourself a duty free bottle on the way over. I did :) 6) Store: onsite, has everything, normal pricing not overpriced! CONS: rooms are basic. Floors the type you keepo your flip flops on the whole time, window had shutter section which you can't close so temp control was off, it was colder during this week, no AC for me. Some rooms have fridge not all. Get an apartment for balcony and fridge and more space....it's a little more money but worth it.2) Bell boy - not helpful for my second room change, you will have to pull your luggage along by yourself quite a bit.3) Entertainment - haha dont count on it!4) Guests - can be friendly if you happen along interesting travellers, otherwise loud party people/local cuban guests5) Pool - hmmmmm, stayed away from entering it.I think this place is great for singles, not for romantic getaway, not for families. Go off resort- the best part was I felt I had a safe home, but i spent lots of time off grounds without feeling i was wasting my money.
I stayed solo for 2 weeks March 2016.Great location close to everything and good value for facilities.Room was older but clean and had hot water most of the time.No bugs.Pool was clean and nice and staff was great.Food was decent,typical Cuban fare.Short walk to gorgeous beach.Best part was the camaraderie with fellow guests,lots of good times in 24 hour lobby bar.No money exchange but bank is close or change at airport.Beatles bar downtown was lots of fun.2 good restaurants next to hotel,Great entertainment and fun bingo every afternoon.Lots of longterm guests.Would recommend to anyone seeking inexpensive fun vacation.
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
- Daily buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner
- Snacks (beach bar only)
- Unlimited domestic drinks
- Daily activities program
- Nightly entertainment
- 366 rooms
- Large pool
- 3 bars
- 2 restaurants
- Beauty salon
- Car rental
- Massage (fee)
- 2 single beds
- Cable TV
- Safety deposit box (fee)
- Bathroom with shower
Resort Location Map
Islazul Mar del SurVaradero,Cuba
- Hotel Contacts
- Extra Info
Ave. 3ra y Calle 30, Varadero 42200 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.
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