Iberostar Selection Varadero

5.0 star rating

Exceptional accommodation with superior facilities and services.

    What to expect (based on 8330 reviews):

    Cleanliness

    Cleanliness-4.5

    Location

    Location-4.5

    Rooms

    Rooms-4.5

    Service

    Service-4.5

    Value

    Value-4.5

    5 most recent TripAdvisor reviews:

    perfect hotel and animations

    Reviewed by minciixx(Slovakia) on Sep 15, 2019

    		
			TripAdvisor users rated this property 
			5
			 out of 5

    The hotel was great with all facilities,very nice and clean. I was dissapointed that buffet was closed and I was not informed. However, the hotel have great animators team and Mr Alain Varona, who was great at his work, I assume he is a team manager !! good job! Thank you Iberostar :-)

    The Kindest Staff

    Reviewed by Jacquelyn S(Toronto, Canada) on Sep 03, 2019

    		
			TripAdvisor users rated this property 
			4
			 out of 5

    A week spent with friends in February turned into one of the best travel experiences I have had. One member of our party has special mobility needs. Staff across the resort went out of their way to be kind and helpful. Paying for premium service was a good decision for little extra money. The resort was scrupulously clean. Food was good and prices for premium wine were reasonable. The beach is lovely, white sand and shallow for a considerable distance from the shore. It was a wonderful week.

    Lovely beach

    Reviewed by Play W() on Sep 03, 2019

    		
			TripAdvisor users rated this property 
			4
			 out of 5

    This hotel is in a lovely location with a beautiful turquoise beach and cotton sand. I loved it. However the employees at the hotel were so miserable, they walk pass and say ola but the face was saying something else, i dnt blame them in a way low wages poor standards. The food was somewhat average but probably the best you can get in cuba but i didn't like it and probably why it will take a lot of courage to go cuba again. Overall a good all inclusive hotel also the childrens waterpark area is so boring none of the kids stay around.

    Good service, friendly staff

    Reviewed by edwin_f(toronto) on Sep 02, 2019

    		
			TripAdvisor users rated this property 
			4
			 out of 5

    The beach is wide and sand is white and fine but some rock in the water. The water is clear. There are enough beach chairs (in this low season), well apart, most of them have sunshades. This is a small hotel. There is a water park for young children. There are around 10 small buildings, each holding several rooms. On the other side of the swimming pool, there is also a suite complex of bigger rooms. The pool with a swim up bar is of good size with the shape of an 8 but it is blocked by a wall in the middle. However, 1 of the pool light got loose and floated in the water. Fruit snacks and empty cups were left on the pool side. Jacuzzi was not working. Inside the junior suite, it is spacious and clean. On the night table, there are phone charging plugs. Most of the power outlets, except 2, accept round foot plug only, not the one common in North America which has flat foot. In my room, there is a single huge bed bigger than king size. Some rooms have 2 beds. The buffet restaurant has a good varieties, each night had some special item, one night was lobster, the other was Prosciutto. There are 3 theme restaurants, glamour, Mediterranean and Japanese. Glamour has a fixed tasting menu of many dishes of small portions. Mediterranean has a menu of steaks and seafoods. There is also a small cafe offering sandwiches and cakes. The inside of the theme restaurants are well decorated but taste of the food is only so so. Nightly shows are outdoor, covered. Ceiling fans were not turned on and people smoked. Although there were quite a number of performers in each performance but the shows were not very interesting. Better shows are at the weekend, Friday to Sunday. The lobby is nice with a fountatn in the middle, the bar beside provides evening music. The tourist bus goes to city market every half hour, US$5 for the whole day. I got 10 hours free internet during my stay and the internet worked within my junior suite although the signal was weak. Service is above par.

    Individual ratings:

    Cleanliness

    Cleanliness-5

    Location

    Location-4

    Service

    Service-5

    Just scraped an average rating.

    Reviewed by Nigel C(Warrington, United Kingdom) on Sep 02, 2019

    		
			TripAdvisor users rated this property 
			3
			 out of 5

    Stayed here 2nd August 2019 to 15th August 209. Check in was not enjoyable in the least. A near full coach stopped here and we all departed. No welcome drink in sight and a huge line to check in with only two people working on the reception desk. Do you realise how long we had travelled for? A 9-hour flight with airports at either end and a transfer to the hotel made me and my family grouchy and tired. Not even a welcome drink to offer and not even more staff on hand to help the check in. I am not expecting a parade on arrival, but something a little more welcoming than feeling like an inconvenience would be nice. You knew we were coming but offered no urgency in dealing with the long line. When I finally got to the receptionist I said that this is taking too long. An apology was offered but no explanation. We got our keys and our little welcome pack, but I had to ask for the bands to be put on us. “Oh” was the reply. This hotel like many others also holds your suitcases to ransom when you arrive. They are very keen to unload the suitcases of the coach and group them together. We then checked in and headed off to our room which was only a short walk away. The resort is not that big. Then you get to your room and must wait for you suitcases and of course, have to tip them when they arrive. The buffet was poor. Thomas Cook sent me an email a few weeks before departure saying the main buffet is closed and undergoing renovation. I saw the building being worked on and it was a large building. The place where the buffet is now, is the steak house a la carte. Nowhere near big enough to seat everybody but more importantly a lot less choice of food. Pizza and Pasta were out every night. Great if you like those but everything else alternated and the choices were poor. Mainly a meat that they had to cook in front of you then help yourself to bread and vegetables. I expected a lot more and know that the hotel does offer a lot more when in the normal buffet area. Evident on TripAdvisor and speaking to repeat guests in the resort. My two weeks here meant less choice of buffet food and one less a la carte to visit yet, I paid full price for the holiday 17 months prior with no mention of a reduced food service. If we had known the buffet was going to be as it was, we would have booked elsewhere. A La carte’s were good and I fully recommend you try these. As mentioned, the steak house wasn’t available, but we went to the others: - Japanese, A good laugh and great food. Great way to mix and socialise around other people. It is a Wasabi Teppanyaki style restaurant where the food is cooked in front of you in an entertaining style. Once you have been to one, you have seen it all, but still a great show with great food. Mediterranean, again is good. Plenty of choice and I enjoyed the Lobster and the starters available. Good staff and a nice airconditioned restaurant. We went here twice. Once each week. Gourmet, Very very nice. You work through all the menu while the waiters bring you out little dishes constantly. I loved it and this one was my favourites. I left there stuffed. Just what I expect. Unfortunately, I was the only one in the party that enjoyed this, so we only went once. During lunch time there are a couple of outside grills on the go. One at one of the beach bars and one outside the buffet. Cooking burgers hotdogs etc. You might want to make sure the burger meat is cooked properly. I can’t nail exactly where I got the “brown tap” from, but I’m pretty certain it was from the outside grill. Took me a good week to shake it by which time I was home. I’ve never been so glad to have a proper dump after 1 week of the runs. There is a coffee shop serving drinks and snacks, but it is not 24 hours. The snacks consisted of cakes and pastries. Ice cream. If you love ice cream like I do and like to consume a lot of it on holiday, don’t come here. There was only ice cream served at lunch and dinner at the buffet and most of the time that was melted mush. Why are there no ice cream options during the day by the pool or beach? I’m on holiday, I want ice cream. The bars do provide a blended with ice drinks but that’s not ice cream. Pants. The hotel decided (which was very nice of them) to refurbish every hotel chair outside my balcony all day and up to about 2100 ish and started on day 4 and was still going on when we left. This involved paint stripper fumes entering our room. Paint fumes and also sanding, hammering and fork lift truck operations constantly. No-where was I warned before I travelled that I would be next to a building site and subjected to paint fumes. We were in block 12 in room 1232 and the works were taking place in block 11. Whilst on the subject of my room. The people above us in 1242 seemed to like stamping and running around at all hours of the night. If you are reading this, have some consideration for other people and be quiet. It is not only you on holiday and others have paid a lot of money to go there. They don’t want to listen to you stamping around at all hours. Rooms were as described. Hotel was clean and staff pleasant. Never got to meet our maid but we got her little love notes and admired her towel art. She really did keep a high standard of cleanliness in our room and we tipped her generously on our last day. Room was nice. Two Queen beds and a single which worked very well for us. Minibar fridge topped up daily and we used that well. Nice bathroom. Safe provided and iron, wardrobes etc. Balcony was good, but the view wasn’t. There was a little patch of grass in front of our balcony that was full of chairs being refurbished. Beyond that was a little mangrove then a main road. No “view” to speak of at all. That doesn’t bother me, but it may others. Most of the accommodation blocks are encircled around a large rockpool. Nice to look at (if you have a front facing room) but I can’t help thinking it used to be a swimming pool. Or if it wasn’t it has been built to be converted to one in the future. The hotel should do this, the rock pool as nice as it is, is ok but a pool there would go down well in amongst the accommodation area. Pools. The main pool with the swim up bar is too shallow to do anything with (1 meter.) No swimming or games so just a lay about really. Used it once to see how it was. Never used it again. Adjacent to that is a much deeper pool for swimming. Much better IMO. Another pool further up towards where the buffet should be, is a games pool. Played water polio here once. Great game loved it. I was down the beach when the hotel staff came looking for players. I wish I played more than once but that was the only time someone came onto the beach announcing the game. To be fair there is a tv screen above the towel shack saying what games are on what day and at what time. Speaking of the towel shack. There is only one and this is by the pool. It only opens 0900-1700 so opens too late for the beach as we wanted sunbeds early and it closes too early as we wanted to still be on the beach at 1700 some days. It needs to open longer and add another towel shack near or on the beach. Speaking of games, there is an archery and shooting range between the beach and the pool. I took part in this a few times. I was good at archery and won a few times, not so good at shooting. Sometimes a bottle of Rum was given to the winner. I was lucky enough to get one. Big shout out to “Victor” who ran the games most days. He was a great entertainer and good to have a general chat too. Victor is a credit to Iberostar. Other games take place on the beach. Bowls seems to be very popular. Along with beach Volleyball. Also, there are dance lessons and aqua fit on the beach. All very good. Near the pools are stalls selling souvenirs. They have nice things, but their prices are expensive, and they will not negotiate. Go into Varadero town and go to the market. Great place for souvenirs with good products all up for a bit bartering. The rep should tell you when you arrive, but there is an hourly bus that stops outside the hotel that takes you into Varadero town on a “hop on hop off” basis for 5 CUC each. Well worth doing one day. Veradero is a lovely town. The beach is simply stunning. Be aware however, as the beach is public not private. This was not an issue for us however and I don’t even think any members of the public even came to the beach. Sunbeds are plentiful and comfortable with nice parasols. Didn’t see any selfish, arrogant people reserving sunbeds which was a refreshing change. The sea is crystal clear and calm. Also, very warm in the afternoon sun. It was like getting into a warm bath at times. It is also very shallow. You can walk out a good 20-30 meters and still be up to your waste. Nothing to see whilst snorkelling really despite the water being very clear. There are no reefs so all you see is sand and the odd fish. If you stand still long enough, the fish gather around your ankles. Very nice. The sand is white and smooth. There are shells and remains of corals by the water line which can make for uncomfortable walking bare foot. Just watch where you are walking. No sea weed that I could see. Beach is simply stunning. Spa was ok. Disappointed to not see sales around the pool/beach trying to sell packages at the spa. I had to go in to the Spa and ask for services/prices. I then had to pay top dollar for my sports massage. It was a great massage however. Well worth the money. I usually attend the gym in the mornings after breakfast when on holiday but one look here on our first night made up my mind. Not much in there at all in terms of free weights. I just stuck to my main exercise for the two weeks which was mainly swimming. We spent most nights in the Lobby bar after dinner playing cards. We were in a party of 6 so we kept each other company well and had a good laugh. Lobby bar is ok with a waiter service that can be a bit hit and miss with slow service. Usually a string quartet would be playing in there which always sounded good. I can’t mention the Lobby bar without mentioning “Roller boy.” This little boy 4 or 5 years old would have his roller blades on and would be doing laps of the bar most nights we were there. He would have a big smile on his face and give you high fives as he went past. He made everyone smile. He must be made of iron because every time he took a tumble, sometimes hurtful tumbles, he would get up, dust himself off and carry on roller blading. Good lad. There are two beach bars which we used a lot serving good drinks with friendly staff. Near one of the beach bars is a little hammock area. Great for a little quiet chill out where you can reflect on life. Night time entertainment is in the theatre just next to the lobby bar. Entertainment started at 2130 every night which was too late for some in our party but well worth trying to stay up if you can. Every night was something different. I saw the “Rock night” and it was brilliant. Great singers/musicians and dancers. Even though it is late at night, the theatre is mostly out doors and it is still hot at that time. Plenty of sweat flowing. There is no “Sports Bar” here which I found unusual. The only place to be late at night was the lobby bar. No TV screens around showing sports so if you are trying to follow your team back home, you are reliant on Wi-Fi. Speaking of Wi-Fi, it cost 1 CUC per hour. Not cheap. The hotel does however, give you 5 hours free upon check in. Per Person not per room. That was a nice touch. You must buy it after that. Works in your room and all around the resort and even parts of the beach. If you stay at the back of the beach near the beach bars, you will pick up the signal. It works ok for general checking of emails etc but don’t expect to do any streaming on it. Most main alcohol drinks are available. Certainly, in the lobby bar but obviously, with this being Cuba, it is more on the Rum side. I like Rum, so I was happy, but if you are a Whiskey drinker, your choice might be limited. Arranged through our rep, we did several excursions leaving from the hotel: - Havana is a beautiful city and was on my bucket list for a few years. We had a private tour arranged for five people and a mini bus picked us up from the hotel. My guts had gone so I had the trots. I nearly didn’t go on the trip, but I took a gamble. Our tour guide was great and understanding and said we can stop on the way to Havana as many times as we liked. Havana is a two hour drive away but you get to see a good part of the country on the way. Well worth doing. We did a Jeep adventure where they pick you up from the hotel and take you on a tour. First, they take you to a farmer in the middle of nowhere and see how Cuban farms work. Great experience and the farmer and his family were lovely. Got to see pigs, cattle, dogs, chickens and he gave us a sample of the crops he produces. From there we went in the town looking at the architecture and stopped by an old church. Cuba really is a lovely country. From there we went to a Cenote. Really cool fresh water swimming. Again, well worth it. Then a bit of off roading then back to the hotel. A great day out. Two of us also opted for ½ a day snorkelling trip. Picked up from the hotel and the reef is on the south side of the Island but no more than an hour drive. You do stop at other hotels picking other people up. The reef we snorkelled on was simply stunning. Some great memories and outstanding footage on my Go-Pro. Then to finish off, we stopped at the Cenote. Took the “hop on, hop off” bus to Varadero as previously mentioned. Varadero looks like a fine bustling town/city with lots to do. Fully recommend a visit here even if its just to have a look. On departure day, you must vacate your room by 1200 which is ok. Some hotels we have been to are 1000. Our coach to the airport was not until 1500 but the hotel provides a locked room where you can keep your cases for a few hours, so you can go to the buffet or the bar etc. This following was one area where the hotel really let themselves down. The coach to the airport was late by 1 hour. So, at 1500 there were tens of people waiting at the front of the hotel in the heat and with their suitcases. I know the coach being late is not the hotels fault, however when the coach finally arrived they told us they had sent several messages to the hotel telling them they were delayed. The two receptionists did nothing. Even if they did not get those messages, they would have still seen tens of hotel customers with suitcases baking in the heat and getting more and more annoyed and all they did was pretend we were not there. Get your lazy bums out there and make the customers more comfortable, give them drinks, offer them seats in the bar, find out why they are still here. Where is the customer service? Putting your heads down pretending you cannot see us is not only unacceptable, it is also unprofessional. Very disappointing. To conclude, I have given this hotel review 3 out of 5 stars which scores as average. The hotel has some great infrastructure and a beautiful beach but the attention to detail was lacking along with the buffet situation. Only for people like Victor and our maid is the reason I scored it three stars instead of two. Would I return? I don’t know. I wanted to see this part of Cuba after seeing another part back in 2016 (Holguin.) I have satisfied my itch for Cuba for the time being and we are now looking to the wider Caribbean area. This hotel could be great and easily a 5-star review if they address the issues I have raised. In future, if I see those issues have been resolved, who knows, never say never, maybe.

    Individual ratings:

    Rooms

    Rooms-3

    Service

    Service-3