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Reviewed 21 March 2016

My family am I just stayed for a week at Memories and it was absolutely wonderful. Pay the extra if you can for Diamond Club.....it is worth it. The weather was great during our stay and the beach was clean and beautiful. The 2 pools were also excellent and fun. The food was very good and there was always plenty. The drinks were never ending.....a real bonus!!!! The rooms are dated, but really......they were only for sleeping in!!!! The staff at Memories is amazing and made our experience wonderful.....Thank You so much!!!!! We will book again!

  • Stayed: March 2016, travelled with family
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
6  Thank Table Sports C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 March 2016

I am writing this letter as a result of the nightmare vacation that I booked through your company to attend Memories Veradero in Veradero, Cuba booking # 82129642 from January 5th until the 12th 2016.

Our trip began when we boarded our flight in Thunder Bay, ON on the 5th of January and departed for Cuba.

We arrive in Cuba and met our travel rep outside the airport where we are told that our bus is not there and will be late. We wait for ½ an hour and the bus eventually arrives. We board the bus and head to the resort.

Once at the resort we go to the Diamond Club room for private check in as we had paid extra money for the Diamond Club upgrade. We are told that in order to eat at the a la carte restaurants we must make reservations and that we are only allowed to make 3 reservations for the week. This is not what was advertised by Sunwing there is no mention of a limit on the amount of times you can eat in the restaurants. We then asked about the One dinner show per week that was included with upgrading to Diamond Club as advertised on Sunwing.ca and are told that it doesn’t exist and they don’t know why it says that but they will give us a special dinner instead so we are allowed to book a 4th dinner for lobster. We attempt to make the reservations and are told that the French Cuisine restaurant and the Mediterraneo Seafood restaurant do not exist anymore but they are both advertised on Sunwing.ca. We are then told that the resort is very busy and they were unable to book us in for dinners on any of our first three nights, which was extremely disappointing forcing us to eat at the buffet for our first three nights.

After a lengthy delay getting our reservations done we head to our rooms. My wife and I are given room #25312 so we head to the room and arrive to the sight of the light outside the door to the room missing off the wall, there is blood smeared across the wall and blood splattered on the door frame leading into the room. We are disgusted but ignore it and enter the room; inside we are greeted with an overpowering odour of mold. We turn on the air conditioning to get the air moving around the room in an attempt to cut down on the smell.

I lie down on the bed and attempt the turn on the TV but the front of the TV remote was broken and it didn’t operate the TV. Later that night we went to the closet and began to hang up our clothes when I observed what was the most disturbing thing on the trip. The entire ceiling in the closet was covered in thick black mold. You could see where someone made an attempt to clean it as it was smeared in one spot. My wife and I were appalled, as it is very well known the health issues that occur from the exposure to mold. It is late so we go to bed. The next morning we wake up and my wife goes to take a shower, the tub is missing fixtures and the tub is a rusty mess where the fixtures have all been broken off. The faucet on the sink is moldy. She enters the shower and it has extremely poor water pressure only allowing ½ of the water to make it into the bath tub and the other ½ landed on the tub surround pouring all over the bathroom floor causing a huge mess. I attend the Diamond Club to report all the issues and requested a new room, as the one we had was inhabitable.

They bring me to the front desk and the employees there say “No”. The Diamond Club representative asks them to get the manager and the manager also says “No,” I am in complete shock as there is no way I am staying in that room in the condition it is in. I pull out my phone and show the manager the photos I took of the mold and the blood on the walls and explain that the shower doesn’t function and advised her there is no way I am staying in that room. She was very annoyed and said “then you need to go get your stuff out of that room because we need it for someone else, bring me the keys right away and you can leave your stuff up front in the lobby and come back later today around 4pm and we will have a different room for you.”

I was not at all impressed by the customer service but agreed and spent the next half hour packing all of our belongings up and checked out of the room. We returned to the lobby at 4pm and received keys to our new room #30212. This room was on the opposite side and opposite end of the resort an extremely long distance away from our family that was staying in a separate room in building #25 with us, as we had requested. We were very disappointed that they didn’t keep us close to our family as we had taken the trip together but were happy to get a new room. We dragged our suitcases the ½ km walk to the other end of the resort by hand and got rained on while doing it.

We get to the new room and enter to the smell of mold again, this time not as strong but still very noticeable, I checked the closet and noticed mold but nowhere near the amount of the last room. We go to the window and open the blinds and the deck is overlooking a back alley with what looks like low income housing not even part of the resort, but you advertise that all the rooms have great views. We close the blinds, as it is uncomfortable to be looking out at this housing unit.
We unpacked our stuff and attempted to lock up our passports and money but the room safe did not function, as it was completely dead. I called the front desk and requested they fix the safe and was told they would send someone down to fix it.

We also notice that the room did not have a CD player or an umbrella in it, which our other room had. We turned on the air conditioner and observed that the controls were broken so you couldn’t adjust the temperature it just ran wide open or you had to turn it off. That night we went to bed and the mattress was like nothing I have ever felt before. Every single spring in the mattress was sticking out of it and stabbing into our bodies, it was the most uncomfortable sleep of our lives. We wanted to complain but due to being moved rooms already we just sucked it up and dealt with all the issues.

The next day we returned from the beach in the afternoon and our safe was still not fixed therefore our valuables were sitting in our suitcase unprotected. I phoned the front desk and again requested the safe be fixed but they never came. That night we went to the Sports bar and it was closed during operating hours we were told there was a problem with sewage back up so we went back to the room for the night. At 5am the next morning I woke up to the most rancid smell of raw sewage throughout our room, I opened the deck doors to allow fresh air in and it stunk even worse outside so I closed the door and we got up and left the room.

That night we were getting ready for bed and the power went out in the room so we had to use flashlights to shower and get ready for bed. The next morning we woke up and the power was still out. We left the room and returned at 5pm after a day at the beach and the power was still out and now we had no water the toilet, sink and shower were all not functioning. I called the front desk and they advised they were aware of the water issue and were working on it.

I asked some other people that were in a room cross the hall if they had power and they advised that they did. I looked around the room and located a panel where the breaker was tripped. I turned the breaker back on and the power came on for about 30 seconds before tripping again. I shut off all the lights and TV and tried again but the breaker tripped as soon as I turned on the air conditioner. I tried several more times with no luck. The room was now 25 degrees Celsius and the air conditioner would not run at all.

I went to the Diamond Club to request a new room while my wife went to a family members room to shower for dinner. Once in the Diamond Club I witnessed the manager of the Diamond Club get into a verbal confrontation with another guest and then freak out on two of the Diamond club employees yelling at them in Spanish while I was sitting there trying to explain my issues to another employee. He was yelling so loud that she couldn’t even hear what I was saying, it was unreal easily the most unprofessional display I have ever seen by an employee let alone a manager. Eventually he left and I was able to explain that the room had no water or power and was inhabitable.

They brought me to the front desk and again they didn’t want to accommodate me. I explained that without water I couldn’t flush the toilet and without air conditioning it was too hot, therefore I couldn’t stay in the room. They ended up switching us rooms for a second time. My wife and I had to pack all of our stuff up for a second time and now moved to room #26306.
Due to us having to move rooms after dinner we ended up missing the nightly entertainment show.

The third room we got was a lot better then the other two. The blanket on the bed smelled really bad and there was mold visible on the sheet so we removed it from the bed but other then that it was a big improvement thus finally bringing an end to our accommodation issues 2/3 of the way through our trip.

Now for the resort itself, we were appalled at the lack of maintenance and cleanliness at this resort. The washrooms were disgusting as there was no toilet paper in half of them, no soap or paper towel in any of them and they were extremely dirty, some didn’t even have water to flush the toilet.

The buffet by the beach had so few staff working that the birds were coming in and eating the bread, cheese and cold cut meats walking and defecating all over the food that wasn’t cleared from peoples tables as well as the food that was in the buffet for people to eat. It was gross so we wouldn’t touch the food.

We attended the club house to get a fresh beach towel as is advertised and was told they haven’t had fresh towels in 4 days because there is a problem with the laundry.

We attended the Spa to use the Jacuzzi on the second day of our trip and were told it was broken. I asked if it would be fixed later in the week and was told “No” I asked how long it had been broken and was told a “long time” Sunwing.ca is advertising this as an amenity at the resort but it doesn’t exist!

We enquired about the snorkeling at the water sports area that Sunwing and the resort advertise as being free and were told if we wanted to do that we had to pay $20 each.

As Diamond Club we were allowed to go to the Italian Restaurant for an exclusive lunch however the menu consisted of only the same three things for the whole week, fish or pasta with red sauce or white sauce, that’s it. But to make it worse some days they didn’t have the red sauce.

At the buffet there were lines of people up to 30 people waiting for a plate, as the resort couldn’t wash them quick enough they came out dirty, chipped and broken.

I ended up getting severe diarrhea from the food at this resort half way through my trip, which I am still suffering from today 6 days after returning to Canada and am now aware that a Norovirus outbreak occurred at another Memories resort in Cuba during the same time as my vacation.

In the Diamond Club air conditioned private eating area by the buffet the seat covers and table clothes were absolutely filthy I didn’t even want to sit at the table or on the chairs it was that bad.

When we went to the restaurants they never had what was on the menu. Due to my severe stomach issues I was trying to avoid eating meat. We were at the Italian Restaurant and I asked for the Vegetarian Lasagna. The server told me they didn’t have any but they had Cannelloni. I asked if it was also Vegetarian and she stated “Yes” my food arrived and it had ground beef in it!

On our last day we had to check out at 2pm which was a late check out perk for the Diamond Club members, we went to the Italian Restaurant for lunch and were seated at 1pm then after getting a glass of water the server informs us they only have soup and it will be an hour for the pasta or fish! We get up and leave, as we need to check out and don’t have that much time. We go to the Mexican Restaurant where they have a menu of about 15 items and the server says all we have is ham and cheese sandwiches or a hamburger. I order a hamburger and the thing is totally pink inside when I get it. We leave the restaurant and get to our room at 1:40pm to find that our room keys don’t work and our luggage is locked inside the room. We have to walk to the lobby and report the issue where the lady says you have to pay us $80 for massages that my wife and I received. I advise that I am aware of that but can’t pay without my wallet that they locked in the room. She gives me new room keys and we return to get our luggage.

I go to the front to check out I pull out my credit card to pay for the massages and the lady says the machine doesn’t work you need to go to the bank and get money. There is a huge lineup down the hall at the bank window and our bus is supposed to be picking us up in an hour. I requested to speak with the manager as I was irate and wanted to voice my displeasure with the resort and was told to go stand in another line for customer relations, which wasn’t even moving. I went and stood in the line for 10 minutes without moving and the woman came over and said “I will try your card maybe it will work” She ran the charge through on my credit card no issue at all and never got me the manager I requested so I was never able to voice my displeasure with this resort to anyone.

On the flight to Cuba we were served Pizza on the flight, which both my wife and I agreed was disgusting so when we heard they were serving Montreal Smoked Meat sandwiches and Pizza we both looked at each other and said that’s an easy decision. We were seated in row 7 so we were very close to the front of the plane when the flight attendant got to us she says we only have 1 sandwich left. Really, you only went though 6 rows and ran out? There where about 40 rows of seats on the plane. Then towards the end of the flight I went to the back of the plane to use the washroom as the front washroom on the plane was out of order and the flight attendants had 6 Montreal Smoked Meat Sandwiches warming up in the oven. Well isn’t that a nice way to end the trip good to see the employees are putting themselves before the paying customer.

I am attaching photos of the mold problems, blood on the wall and door frame, moldy bed sheet, moldy faucet, busted rusty bathroom fixtures and out of order washrooms that nobody was fixing.

Now I am asking what Sunwing is going to do to right their wrongs. We were lied to on so many fronts and never received the services that we paid a lot of money to receive. What was advertised and sold to us is not what was received.

  • Stayed: January 2016, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
5  Thank Kevin G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Abel G, Director General at Memories Varadero Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 21 May 2016

Dear guest,

Thank you for taking your time to share your experience with other travelleres. We are very sad because of your bad experience among us, and we want to apologize for all the inconvenices you mentioned in your review.

We take note of your comments, we work very hard everyday in order to improve and your comments are always welcome, they are the best way to improve.

We sincerely hope to have the opportunity to prove ourselves in the future.

Sincerely,

Abel González-Ruiz,
Director General

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 March 2016

We had a great time at Memories Varadero week of March 12-2016. There were no surprises at this resort- we got what we paid for and what we expected from website etc. The service was excellent- the drinks were cold and the beach was spectacular. Lots of great activities around the pools and nice to have some evening entertainment options as well. Always lots going on. The resort was clean, service was fast and there was always something to eat. People have written some pretty harsh reviews but if you are going to Cuba to relax and enjoy the beach- this is a great spot to do so. It is a big resort but not too big that you cant walk it a few times a day- a real mix of travellers from high school grad class- to young families- couples and retirees, something for everyone. Yusladi at the buffet and Adel with the entertainment team provided exceptionally good service!
Couple of tips- coffee in he lobby bar is best- make your a-la-carte reservations as soon as you can- mojitos at the pool bar as super. Claim your cabana on the beach between 730-830am. Bring a travel cup- drink cups at beach/pool bar are small and drinks don't stay cold long. Tip your housekeeper on day 1 and ask for extra bottled water- We did not purchase the diamond club and did not feel as though we missed out- no lines etc.

Room Tip: best coffee at lobby bar. Book a la carter dinner reservations early (wouldn't suggest Cuban restaurant based on personal preferences only)
  • Stayed: March 2016, travelled as a couple
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank EastCoastCouple99
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 March 2016

I will preface this by saying this was our first trip to an all-inclusive resort and I don't think this is our kind of vacation. Nonetheless, I'm happy to pass on a few things we learned, starting with...of all the advice we received before going to Cuba, here's the one we found to be most helpful: whatever starred rating your resort claims to have, cut it in half and you'll have a better point of comparison to first-world standards. So, for example, a 4 star resort in Cuba is a 2 star in Canada.

Cuba is a third world country. If you never leave the resort, you may wonder why they can't do better by some things. Leave the resort if only for one day, to see how Cubans live, and it will help put your holiday into better perspective.

So much for the preamble...now to the highlight reel of the resort.

ACCOMMODATIONS - Memories Varadero is a huge resort (second largest in Cuba), so depending on which building you are in, you'll have a lot of walking to do either to the beach or main buffet. Guest rooms are all in three floor walk-ups. No elevators. We heard several complaints that ground floor rooms were musty smelling (makes sense in a tropical country). We liked our room. We had a corner room on the third floor in building 28: close to the lobby, but a 1km hike to the beach (at least we got our steps in). The beds are not great. The third bed in the room was a box spring set on a fold up base.

FOOD - The best way to describe the food was inconsistent, but an all-inclusive is not for foodies, I don't think. (It's for people coming to drink their faces off, we discovered, but that's another story.) There was not a green leafy vegetable to be seen all week, save for some shredded cabbage. But, makes sense since refrigeration at the buffet is non-existent. In Canada, we're used to salad buffets piled high with ice; not so in Cuba, and in 30 degree Celsius weather, fresh fruits and veggies don't last long. You'll smell what I mean. It is possible to find fresh produce, but use your nose to check for freshness.

Delicious sweet breads and fresh made-to-order omelettes at breakfast made this meal our favourite. Coffee in the buffet is instant, from machine. Pick up a real Cuban coffee on the way to the dining hall from the barista in the main lobby.

One person advised us to look for the grills at the resort: there is always meat and seafood being cooked fresh (although typically overcooked and under-seasoned -- try to dress it up). I was a fan of the rice and bean combinations. Desserts were delicious Cuban treats and our daughter was very happy to be able to get ice cream by the 400 mL tub. 3 spoons and one tub...mmm! Vanilla was our favourite.

The Playa Ranchon was our favourite buffet (smaller one, close to the beach). The Criollo was the only a la carte restaurant we tried (we only had two a la carte choices for the week; Diamond Club members get five choices). It was nice to be in a smaller dining space -- nicer atmosphere. The meal was nice too.

BEACH - AMAZING!!! Chairs and umbrellas are hard to come by if you haven't claimed one by 9:30 a.m., but we were also there on one of the busiest weeks of the year. (Little easier to find a spot on Friday-Sunday, I think because there is so much turn over in terms or arrivals and departures.)

POOLS - Very nice! I love the Aquabar. Like the beach, chairs are hard to come by after a while.

DRINKS - Tasty. Being newbies to the all-inclusive world, we did not bring our own insulated drinking cups from home. A good idea: sturdier and saves all the waste from plastic cups. We did see a lot of people getting completely blotto from the mix of booze and sun -- the picnic table area by the beach seemed to be a real drop zone. I don't see the appeal, but then again my twenties are long behind me. :)

TIPS - Tips are not mandatory, but they are greatly appreciated. It's the tips that make the resort jobs tolerable, otherwise you are looking at very long days for little pay.

MONEY EXCHANGE - We found the exchange rate at the resort fair. We considered exchanging some money at a bank during our day trip to Havana, but the difference in exchange rate was negligible -- not worth waiting in the huge line-up we found there.

EXCURSIONS - They're not cheap, but it's good to get off the resort for a real look at the country. From what we heard from other travellers, the Jeep Safari sounds like the best excursion. We didn't go on that one, but would try it another time. We did go to Havana and got a quick glimpse at how Cubans live. It's a long day, and you must be prepared for lots of walking. We also went on the sugar cane tour (which was falsely advertised in the airplane brochure, but anyways...). A half day tour in the morning -- got a ride on a steam train through the countryside (once again, eye-opening) and two bottles of rum for each guest.

RESORT ENTERTAINMENT - We didn't partake in too many of the daytime activities save for the Aquagym at the beach. That was fun! The shows in the evening were nice. Love that Cuban music. Again, keep expectations in check: the productions in the theatre are not super slick. No big light shows or spectacular sets. For the most part, you're being treated to pure raw talent: young men and women working their buns off to show incredible dancing or acrobatics. I hope they have access to chiropractors. :)

STAFF - We found all staff to be friendly. Not everyone speaks much English though, so don't expect too much chit chat.

INTERNET CONNECTION - Don't expect it. Plain and simple. Wifi only available in the lobby. Must purchase a card: 2 CUCs for 1 hr of (intermittent) service.

Room Tip: Rooms closer to the reception area and quiet pool are going to be quieter than those closer to the beach.
  • Stayed: March 2016, travelled with family
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank Vuko68
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 March 2016

Don't let the bad reviews scare you unless you expect Canadian 5 star service and are super picky! We have zero complaints and went with a family of 6. The resort is well organized and well laid out, the entertainment is great, the beach and pools were clean, the A La Carte were great experiences and there is seriously something for everyone at the buffet (even my mom with gluten and dairy allergies found enough) the people were friendly, the Diamond Club was definitely worth every cent, and the excursions were great! Everything was fantastic!

Room Tip: 33 is very close to the beach
  • Stayed: March 2016, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
5  Thank D C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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