Located on the golden sands of Varadero Beach, the open plan Roc Arenas Doradas resort is spaciously laid around a tropically landscaped pool area with sunken pool bar, children's pool and open air Jacuzzi. Three onsite restaurants are available to satisfy a variety of cravings, and the "Los Tainos" sports centre offers a range of activities including aerobics, tennis, aqua bikes and catamarans.
Jul 01, 2022
Decent hotel overall with friendly staff, a nice beach, unlimited Wi-Fi, great coffee and basic food. Recommend upgrading to Roc Plus.
CHECK-IN / CHECK-OUT
I arrived at the hotel after midnight. There was only one person at the reception, so I had to wait half an hour to check in.
The receptionist didn't explain everything to us at first (restaurant reservations, check-out, Wi-Fi, buffet schedule, etc.). To find out more, we had to go back to reception throughout the week and go see our Sunwing rep.
I then went to the snack bar, where there also wasn't enough staff. I waited over half an hour just to place an order.
That night, there were frogs EVERYWHERE, especially in the lobby. They were so cute, but they kept getting stepped on, so the floor was littered with frog carcasses...
On our last day, we were able to check out at 4:00 p.m. instead of noon since we booked Roc Plus.
Unfortunately our key cards stopped working at noon, so we had to walk all the way to the reception in our bathing suits to have them reactivated.
Our Roc plus room was great. The decor was very modern, the mattress was surprisingly comfortable, the bathroom was fully renovated, and the TV came with lots of international channels.
The air conditioning was very strong and pointed right toward the bed, but we were able to set it to a comfortable temperature with the remote.
Yamilet, our dedicated housekeeper, always left us with a clean room, clean towels, a water bottle and cute blanket "sculptures" on the bed.
Our patio door didn't lock, and no one ever came to fix it, even though we let reception know. The safe wasn't included (with Sunwing), but we felt safe on the second floor. The bathrooms need fans!
The room was littered with dead flying bugs. We had to ask for a broom to sweep the floors and tables. There were hundreds of bugs on the walls at night, too. They mysteriously disappeared in the morning, even though the patio door was closed.
The locked door to the adjoining room wasn't thick enough: we could sometimes hear people snoring, talking and sneezing in the next room.
There was no air conditioning at the buffet for the first two days, so the food was room temperature, including the yogurt, which was curdling...
Fortunately the a/c was on the rest of the week.
The buffet food is some of the most bland, overcooked and unvaried I've seen out of the five Cuban hotels I've been to over the past three years. The "tomato sauce" they used to make pizzas and pasta was brown, so I didn't even try it. I usually have no problem eating in Cuba as a vegetarian/vegan, but there were very few options for me here.
The breakfast omelette station, the grills and the fresh veggies, pineapples and mangoes saved our meals.
There wasn't much service in the Roc Plus section: no one came to our table to bring us drinks. We had to go find a waitress. Also, the floor under our chairs was dangerously slippery, like a skating rink. So after the first two days, we stopped sitting there and went to sit by the windows instead, in the main area.
Service was much better in the main buffet area.
BEACH LUNCH BUFFET (EL GALEÓN)
You can order freshly grilled fish or meat.
The food wasn't covered, so it attracted flies and birds. It's probably one of the saddest food selections I've ever seen.
The hotel doesn't grill fruit or vegetables like at other resorts. Only fish and meat.
I loved loved loved the coffee, and my boyfriend had no complaints about the beer, which was watery at some past hotels we stayed at. The bartenders and waiting staff at the lobby, coffee bar, pool and beach were all very nice.
We had unlimited restaurant reservations through Roc Plus. Angela was very nice and booked some nights in advance for us to make sure we didn't miss out.
We found out through our Sunwing rep that Roc Plus customers can have breakfast at the Italian Resturant (Dolce Vita) every morning. The waitresses, including Aida and Barbarita, were very nice, and we felt cozier than at the buffet.
The main waitress at the night restaurants was very accommodating when she found out that I don't eat meat or dairy and made sure that the kitchen prepared vegan meals for me. She even went all the way to the buffet to get me a salad.
The restaurant meals were very tasty in general.
There was a mix-up with one of our reservations. We found out that it was an hour earlier than we had been told, and at a different restaurant. Also, the note about my dietary restrictions wasn't taken into account.
We were told that there were vegan milk alternatives but didn't find them anywhere.
The meal portions at the restaurants were small, so we were sometimes still hungry afterwards and had to go fill up at the buffet.
The gym (if you can even call it that) is tiny and has only a handful of machines.
But at least it's clean!
There are medical and massage services in the same building. Services cost extra.
The show that we enjoyed the most was on a Saturday night with Yuya, because it involved audience participation. We laughed so hard!
The dancers and singer are very talented.
That being said, once you've seen one dance show in Cuba, you've seen them all. The shows lacked variety, so we were a bit bored. I enjoyed the entertainment at other resorts more.
The shows were also lacking on a technical level.
The strobing lights on stage were awful. (Steer clear if you have epilepsy!) The hotel should invest in coloured lights.
The song selection for the performances was very old-fashioned and included awful synth music. At one point, the microphone and speakers were making horrible raspy sounds, which ruined the singing.
The costume designer should be given a bigger budget to design more exotic and extravagant costumes: t-shirts aren't very stage-worthy.
I wasn't impressed with the dance music and entertainment at the end of each show. Not many people stayed to dance outside in the middle of the plastic chairs. It would have been better had they opened an indoor club (discoteca).
The synchronized swimmers at the pool were backlit, so we could barely see them in the dark.
There's free, unlimited Wi-Fi throughout the resort. You just have to ask for a username and password at the reception. You can ask them to top up your hours when you run out.
RESORT / GENERAL
The hotel is nice and well-maintained. It has accessible public washrooms and paths for wheelchairs and strollers and practically no stairs (except if your room is on a second floor).
The resort has a lot of wildlife. At night, bats swoop down from the sky to drink and eat. There are green lizards and black birds everywhere, cute little crabs at the beach and sometimes even small fish in the water.
Practically all of the staff speaks English, and they'll speak slowly with you if you want to practice your Spanish.
The hotel provides a FREE shuttle service to Varadero, and surprisingly, the bus passes on time. Seats are limited.
The resort is very big, so you have to do a LOT of walking to get anywhere.
Bloc is the 1 closest to the lobby, and bloc 5 is closest to the beach.
There are smokers everywhere who couldn't care less about the other guests.
Watch out for Cuban guests on weekends: they butt in line and order food for their 10 family members. Try to arrive at the grills EARLY, as soon as they open, or there won't be any food left.
I shouldn't even have to say this, but bring mosquito repellent and LOTS of sunscreen.
The beach is perfect! The sand is clean, and there are plenty of palapas and chairs.
The CUP situation is complicated and staff can't use CAD coins, so bring small denominations of USD for tips. When we ran out of one-dollar bills, we would exchange a fiver with staff, which they were happy to do since larger bills are easier for them to use than singles.
Very beautiful trip!
Jul 01, 2022
Room 527 is very beautiful and nicely cleaned every day. The staff is friendly. The food is suitable for the conditions, and the drinks are always cold enough, I recommend! We were never hungry. The beach is .perfect. White sand - just like on the photos nd warm wather. 14 days passed really quickly.
We had some problems with the door, but we solved them with the help of the service. There were quite a few locals, but I don't see why that would bother anyone. They are also on vacation. But the problem is mosquitoes and it would be good to do something because you can't sit on the terrace in the evening.
All in all, it was amazing