Canadian Family Faces Nightmare at Varadero Hotel: "We Need to Get Out of Here"

Sunday, May 19, 2024 by Isabella Rojas

A Canadian couple, hoping to relive the idyllic vacation memories of their trip to Cuba 30 years ago, decided to revisit the popular resort town of Varadero with their children. However, the deplorable condition of their hotel turned their trip into a true nightmare.

Michele and Jessy Revivo, residents of Thornhill, Ontario, conducted thorough research on various destinations before settling on the Meliá Marina resort. Their interest in boats and the nearly 4.5-star rating of the complex on the Internet significantly influenced their choice, according to City News Everywhere.

This family, who had not taken a vacation since the global COVID-19 pandemic, booked their trip through the travel company Transat Vacations. They checked into the hotel on January 2 at 10 PM.

"The lobby was fine, a bit outdated but nice; beyond that, it was deplorable," Jessy recounted. "It was like entering the Twilight Zone," he said, referencing the famous American TV series.

"The hallways were dark; if there were lights, they were flickering. We had to use our phone flashlights to find our room," Michele added. "There were cigarette butts everywhere, stains on the walls. At that point, we thought, 'let's get to the room, and everything will be better,'" said a very disappointed Jessy about the hotel in Cuba's top tourist destination.

To make matters worse, the elevators were out of service on their way to the room. Additionally, the couple's description of the room highlighted the total deterioration and neglect of the facility: bloodstains on the sheets, dirt everywhere, and a non-functional toilet.

The family decided to explore the complex, hoping to find something reminiscent of the promotion that attracted them. "I spent the next half hour walking around the complex and taking pictures. There were broken tiles on the ceiling, dark hallways, and stains on the walls and doors, everything decrepit and falling apart. Everything filthy," Jessy said. "At that moment, we said, 'you know what? We need to get out of here.'"

By midnight, just two hours after arriving at the Meliá Marina, they began calling all the tourist facilities in the area, willing to pay whatever it took to stay elsewhere. Frustrated by the lack of available rooms, they had to spend the night there.

The hotel manager couldn't help them, they explained: "She told us we had to deal with a Transat representative who would arrive at 10 AM the next day," Michele explained. "We waited until 4 PM, and the representative never appeared."

The family was then offered a stay at a nearby sister complex but was required to sign a document stating they could not file any compensation claims for transferring to another hotel. The new facility, according to them, was better but still had issues: "There was no running water or toilet paper in the public bathroom area. We didn't have toilet paper," Michele said.

Upon learning about the unfortunate situation in Cuba, Transat offered the family only $150. The couple had spent nearly $7,000 to book their trip, according to City News Everywhere.

Back in Canada, the Revivos felt their vacation had been stolen, so they contacted Transat Vacations. A spokesperson admitted that the stay at the Meliá Marina had been "undoubtedly unpleasant." The company claimed that some of the photos taken by the family, documenting the poor conditions of hallways, ceilings, and doors, were "from closed-off areas of the hotel," an assertion that the Revivos denied, reported City News Everywhere.

Unfortunately, the Revivos' distressing vacation experience in Varadero is not an isolated incident in the Cuban tourism landscape, increasingly plagued by tourist complaints. This destination, one of the top choices for Canadian tourists visiting Cuba, suffers from a deficient infrastructure and frequent issues reported by visitors.

In February, a tourist described the food at the Hotel Kawama as "prison scenes showing dinner time in third-world countries," and about the lack of cleanliness and hygiene in the rooms, he added: "I saw huge red welts on some women's legs, which were from bedbugs."

This traveler posted on TripAdvisor that "there was no coffee and very little food, and the food was, at best, questionable. There were no utensils, the plates were all chipped, no napkins or coffee. No bottled water. No beach towels or loungers. No entertainment in English at all."

In January, an Argentine tourist reported a terrible experience in 2023 at a five-star hotel in Varadero, labeling it as "Hell in Paradise." The woman stayed with her family at the Meliá Península Varadero in September, for a five-day stay where the only good thing was the sea, according to her.

"Never in my life have I had such a bad time in a hotel, the 5* and all-inclusive don't exist! Everything, absolutely everything, is wrong," she wrote on TripAdvisor.

FAQs on Varadero Hotel Nightmares

Given the unfortunate experiences of tourists in Varadero, here are some frequently asked questions and answers that might help potential visitors.

What should I do if I encounter poor conditions at a hotel in Varadero?

If you encounter poor conditions at a hotel, document the issues with photos and videos. Immediately contact your travel company representative and hotel management to address the situation. If necessary, seek alternative accommodations and report the incident to your travel company for possible compensation.

Are the negative reviews of Varadero hotels common?

Yes, negative reviews of Varadero hotels, particularly regarding cleanliness, maintenance, and service, are unfortunately common. Many tourists have reported similar issues, so it's crucial to research thoroughly and read recent reviews before booking.

Is it safe to travel to Varadero given the reported issues?

While Varadero is generally safe, the reported issues mainly concern hotel accommodations rather than personal safety. Ensuring you book with reputable hotels and travel companies can help mitigate some risks.

© CubaHeadlines 2024

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