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Reviewed 23 May 2018 via mobile

I travel to Cuba usually every few months and have stayed at Palma Real many times. First of like to say the new manager has made many impressive changes like making the snack bar much larger, nicer and menu expanded. the bar times are also much better as well as lots of renovations and overall decorating going on. Now the bad...I have always gone to the disco-Havana Club and enjoyed it. This time not so much...the very crowded disco is now all inclusive to Palma Real and i believe three other Barcello Hotels. This disco always had approximately 10 security and a
about 8 bartenders. Now the disco is still packed every night but now has only ONE security and he is at the door, and four bartenders. Being all inclusive the line ups are huge and there's many more very drunk patrons..many fights were taking place and i seen quite a few people walking around inside smoking cigarettes. The smoking part is worrisome as there are three exit doors .... two of the three were chained and pad locked(picture included)with only 1 security and 4 bartenders... if a fire was to break out people would surely be trapped. I spoke directly to the new manager who assured me but security and the locked doors would be taken care of... after a week and checking every night no changes had been made!!!! Also the security and safety of Palma Real guests had been put in jeopardy as the guests from the other three hotels now have full access to walk through Palma Real to go to the disco. The door to the disco is now in the middle of the resort instead of outside on the street. Sleep was pretty much impossible in building 3 as the disco is right across from it. From 11 pm when the disco opened to approximately 3 am you could hear the disco music, people outside of the disco smoking , fighting, and jumping in the pool! Changes to the disco are very negative except the all inclusive part... bring back staff and use the outside door again could improve all of the problems!

Date of stay: May 2018
Trip type: Travelled with family
5  Thank jordsmom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BarceloSmAb, Gerente at Allegro Palma Real, responded to this reviewResponded 24 May 2018

Hello jordsmom
We are sincerely grateful for the time you spent to share your comments on your recent stay in our allegro Palma Real hotel, your detailed review will certainly assist in order to keep on improving the quality of our services for our valued guests.
Currently we have 1 disco chief, 4 waiters, a disco doorman, 4 security inside the club, and a security man at the hotel's main door, plus the night security hotel staff. Currently, access to the disco is only allowed to Barcelo, Occidental and allegro customers, to guarantee more security and privacy, and at this moment all the security doors are operational.

thanks
Alejandro M
Resident Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 May 2018

We had a great room on 4th floor in quieter section of Building 1. Had a King size bed, nice bathroom and decent closet and changing area. Deck was also larger than average with a fantastic view of the water!!
Staff on this resort were great and the most English speaking resort I have every been to. Almost everyone at the resort spoke English, which I never seen before, where at best before maybe 2/3 of staff speak fluent English. Staff was also polite and very helpful. Make sure you tip often for best service, part of the culture of Cuba, do not have to tip much, maybe $1-$3 CUC for your bartender, maid, food service person and anyone else who helps you each day. I plan to spend $100 per week tipping. A little goes a long way in Cuba for these people, so tip them for the service they provide you.
Location: step out of the resort and you are in Varedero!! 5 minutes walk tops to the Beatles bar (biggest club in Varedero, walking distance to markets, shops, a mall, Church, all within 30 minute walk!!! This resort is not officially "on the beach", but if you are a beach person, the beach is one of the best stretches of beach in Varedero. The walk to the beach is no further than you would have to do for any other resort (this resort does offer services on the beach, such as drinks and non-motorized sports), no longer than a 5 minute walk. Very safe and comfortable walking around Varedero any time of the day, locals will not hassle you, and will help you if wanted and needed in any way (directions, where to find blank, drinks, cab and buggie services....).
Bars: go to the Divas bar in Building 1 for your Peña Colorada best I ever had on any resort. They mix it from scratch and do not use a mix, very good :).
This resort is also improving, right before our eyes while we were down there. The first couple of days, luke warm water. They finished installing new hot water and no problem with hot water the rest of the time. The resort changed EVERY lounge chair on the resort, so it went from ok loungers to brand new great loungers. Elevators are currently in progress of being repaired (only one out of three elevators were working in our building). This resort would not need much to move to a 4 star, and is currently working on it.
Food was what is expected in Cuba, however I did get food poisoning at the Cuban A La Carte. I had shrimp with a cream sauce and fish for a main course and with my delicate tummy was to much. I was sick for about 2-3 days of my trip. However, the doctor that treated me was extremely awesome, accessed me, gave me fluids, pain killers and other items to treat me all within 30 minutes of meeting with him. He even offered the treatment in my room if I wanted (I opted to get treatment in the doctors office). He followed up with me every day after, no extra charge, gave me the meds through Intravenous and was gentle and most pain free meds through the veins I ever had, never had that kind of treatment in Canada. The doctor was extremely professional and available almost every day at the resort to help guests. Do not hesitate to see the doctor if needed, Cuban healthcare is as good or better than Canada. All in all, I did have to pay for the treatment (which I got a receipt that I could claim in Canada) and it was $155 CUC, or just over $200.00 Canadian. No one ever wants to have to see the doctor on vacation, but if you do, it is great to be treated and fixed in a professional and efficient manner like I was.
Going to talk about food. I get food poisoning easier than most and I pushed it with the food I ate. Others ate the same as me and had no issues. I was talking to some people about the difference between this resort and the ones that are rated 4 and 5 stars. Food is almost exactly the same no matter what star rating in Cuba. 4-5 Star resorts ensure that you get a few extra services and and a little more posh in the rooms and common areas, that is it. This is the second time I got food poisoning in Cuba, and the last time it was at a 4 star where the staff was not as good and the food was the same. You go to Cuba, the food is what it is, and you need to ensure that you are careful if you have a sensitive stomach like mine (my wife if officially taking over the what I should and should not eat from here are in :) ).

We got an unbelievable price on this resort. We got a great deal, no regrets even with the food poisoning. The resort was as good or better than some 4 and 5 star resorts we have been to in Cuba. If you are going down to relax, mingle with the locals and have some fun, this is the ideal resort. Save some money and give this resort a try.

Room tip: Decide if you want quiet or party before going, offers both
Date of stay: May 2018
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
1  Thank Scott L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BarceloSmAb, Gerente at Allegro Palma Real, responded to this reviewResponded 24 May 2018

Hello Scott L
Thank you for the great feedback of your recent holiday experience at our allegro Palma Real; guest satisfaction is our number one goal and there is nothing better than achieving that, we are happy our hotel and staff were able to meet all your needs during your stay.
Thank you for your very nice compliments for our team, they do work very hard every day to make sure our guests feel well attended to at all times and definitely are an asset to our hotel. We will certainly relay your praising comments to all of them and we are sure they will be pleased to know their efforts have been appreciated.

Alejandro M
Resident Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 May 2018

The New Allegro Palma Real: Sounds Promising, Still A Good Option

After years of vacationing at this centrally located Varadero resort, it was with great anticipation I returned in late January. With my last Tripadvisor review, “Palma Real: Go for the Location, Pools and Entertainment,” I recommended this resort for these things and more but after a two week stay under new ownership and management, many prior guests have been wondering: What if anything, has changed?

With visits here both before and after the most recent ownership change, I can say the popular hotel’s future looks promising but big changes weren’t yet in evidence although some pleasant improvements were discovered offering reason for optimism.

There was the simple fresh coat of paint over the main lobby bar insignia, new lobby furniture (albeit likely carried over from the prior Blue Bay ownership group), greater attention to cleanliness at the buffet restaurant, more food selection at the beach bar grill including good, fresh tuna sandwiches for more health conscious people and vegetarians, plentiful ashtrays (real ones too), quiet times and far less pounding of music at the swimming pool (by the swim up bar), and good Crystal beer on tap at the main lobby bar.

Check in service and room allotment was great but it always was good, chambermaid service good as usual, public bathrooms were usually cleaned and re-equipped regularly (although still no paper towels or working hand dryers), and the beach area had more lounge chairs than in past years (even if never enough at times of high capacity), and generally speaking, food selection and quality at the buffet restaurant was better than the last time I was here.

Yet, much else about Palma Real including hotel room decor, looks much the same. Hence, for those expecting big changes, don’t hold your breath. Burnt out staircase lightbulbs, junk piled in stairways (as in block one where I stayed, a hazard for sure), and old showerheads, common in the past, still ring true today. Likewise, the usually awning covered walkways linking the buildings that provide shelter from rain and sun, were still one third down due to last year’s hurricane season. And perhaps most disturbing was lax security that let well known fools drink themselves under the table then crash for hours on end on couches in the main lobby bar other guests would have loved to have been able to use. For some reason, there are always Russians, typically single, who think they own the place and don't care much if they stumble around bumping into people while they can barely stand. No excuse for tolerating such nonsense! That said, stupidity comes in all race, creed, colours and nationality and these ones are not representative of all of these specific overseas visitors.

While small things and nuisance problems can be easily remedied and should be, other improvements would also be warmly welcome. However, for those wanting large scale room decor changes, think again. Gentrifying this middle-of-the-road resort would possibly drive up prices. One needs only look to what happened at the new “Starfish Quatro Palmas” just down the street.

Instead, if management is listening, here’s suggestions for the new management group, that everyone would appreciate.

SUGGESTIONS FOR IMPROVEMENT

# 1: A return to the days when the Pizzeria was open all day and reservations weren’t required.

It was my favourite thing about this place and one reason why I returned so many times for so many years. It worked well then, the pizzeria was never packed, and it gave everyone a break from having to eat buffet food all the time during pre-set times. With the trend in All-Inclusives being able to eat when you want, this would also be seen as “progressive” change.

# 2: More intense training, attention and monitoring of food preparation and handling.

Undercooked hamburger, pizza dough (even raw on occasion) and undercooked chicken is not acceptable yet it still is a major concern for me and friends who have visited. Some won’t return because of it. Beware especially of the "resort snack bar staff" who don’t seem to understand what “well done” means.

# 3: In place of just one, very slow-pouring beer tap at the main lobby bar, at least two working taps, please!

And/or how about offering canned beer alongside draft? Sol Sirenis offered such at their beachside grill when I was there a couple years ago and it was a real hit. Enough to make me and many others return.

# 4: Return to the good old days when you could get BEER at the now exclusively ‘cocktail only’ lobby bars in buildings 1 and 3.

Everyone knows overcrowding and slow service has been a problem since. This would solve these problems and take pressure off the overworked, evening lobby bar staff. Plus, forcing clients in the building down at the Bay of Cardenas side of the resort isn’t fair, especially when they already have their own functioning lobby bar.

# 5: Use of Arenas Blanca’s Beach and Pools.

The knock against P.R. has been that it’s "across the road from the beach" and its beach area is tiny, too small, nothing in comparison to many other resorts.

While this is all true, keep in mind, it’s also true you pay less to stay here. However, now with Allegro owning both resorts and Arenas Blancas having such a huge stretch of beachfront right next to Palma Real’s, it would be an easy, innocuous and yet big improvement, for folks who would still “have to cross the road” to get to the other side.

Also, if the pizzeria reverts back to its old more favourable status, a-la carte reservations can also be offered here instead of the pizzeria, giving Palma Real guests
a chance to see and visit Allegro’s more expensive, upscale resort.

In summary, although the verdict is still out on what Palma Real’s ownership change will mean in future, there remains little doubt this "big little resort" offers customers a lively yet laid back atmosphere, decent food, good service, large deeper-than-normal swimming pools, a good mix of generally more mature clientele interspersed with younger adults (not crazy teenagers), and great central location at usually very competitive prices. If new ownership can build on what they have, value what they did well before and strive to get better, there’s little reason for folks not to keep returning.

Happy travels, SteveAnthony_Toronto

Room tip: Street and Bay of Cardenas rooms (building 3) offer the quietest accommodation.
Date of stay: February 2018
  • Trip type: Travelled with friends
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank amxclub
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BarceloSmAb, Gerente at Allegro Palma Real, responded to this reviewResponded 22 May 2018

Hello
We greatly appreciate the time you spent to share your recent holiday experience at our allegro Palma Real hotel and we thank you for your kind recommendation to Tripadvisor’s readers.
Our main commitment is our guests' satisfaction and our goal, their preference for our hotels year after year, this is why the management team together with all departmental managers, check regularly our installations, revise restaurants' menus and products, undertake regular service trainings so as to ensure the compliance of our high standards of quality as a distinctive feature of our brand; this is why we hope we will have the pleasure to welcome you back on your next visit to allegro Palma Real and encourage you to point out any imperfection if any appears, we commit to do our utmost to make sure that you have a fantastic holiday experience among us. 

Alejandro M
Resident Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 May 2018

We are back from a 2 week stay in April and just got back again from 1 week in May. We will be back June 8. This is a party resort, plain and simple. The staff are always great. Special mention to Marisol at the front desk. Karen and Janet at the main bar. And Rey, the awesome pool entertainer. Always makes fun times at the pool bar. There have been some improvements and they continue. Some room renovations, some food improvements. Close walking distance to some fun bars The Beatles and Calle 62. Lots of restaurants in the area if you get bored of the hotel food. Just remember, there are alot of young clients who like to party at this resort. See you in June Palma Real!

Room tip: Building 1 is for the partyers. Building 4 is the quiet building.
Date of stay: May 2018
  • Trip type: Travelled with friends
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank jesstan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BarceloSmAb, Gerente at Allegro Palma Real, responded to this reviewResponded 20 May 2018

Hello jesstan
Thank you very much for sharing this great review of your recent stay at allegro Palma Real. We are thrilled that you have enjoyed your stay and certainly agree that our dedicated staff plays a key role to our guests' overall experience. The entire team works very hard to ensure that we deliver a high standard of service and a warm, memorable experience. 

Thanks
Alejandro M
Resident Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 May 2018

Very close to the Beetles Bar and just at the beginning of Varadero, which was nice to get out and explore the town. The beach is across the road, but its very close and very nice. Beach snack bar and drinks were very good and the beach was very beautiful. Rooms, not that great but ALWAYS CLEAN. Elevators did not work, had to use the service elevator, only went to the pool once which was ok. Had no HOT water for 2 days and on the last day had no WATER or POWER. The hotel has a lot of locals that stay on the weekends, therefore the food in the buffet is very minimal. I would not stay here again. Staff works hard and always nice.

Room tip: Arrive early to the buffet on the weekends.
Date of stay: May 2018
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank sharp149
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BarceloSmAb, Gerente at Allegro Palma Real, responded to this reviewResponded 19 May 2018

Hello
We first would like to thank you for choosing our allegro Palma Real for your holidays in Varadero and for letting us know your concerns relating to your time in our hotel as it gives us an opportunity to look at areas which may have for improvement and for that we are grateful.

thanks
Alejandro M
Resident Manager

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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