The concept of all-inclusive lodging is a surprisingly divisive travel topic. Some travelers swear by the convenience of a cash-free experience with bottomless food, drinks, and activities, while others dislike feeling bound to one particular property. However, when the grounds of one particular property happen to include a beautiful, white-sand beach — as is the case for these nine all-inclusive resorts in Varadero, a part of Cuba known for its gorgeous shoreline — then even the most all-inclusive-averse travelers might want to give the everything-included route a try. Check out the top all-inclusive hotels in Varadero, a popular beach town on Cuba’s Hicacos Peninsula.
This adult-only luxury resort is easily one of the best in Varadero. There’s a true emphasis on personalized service, there are ample activities ranging from yoga to the weekly foam party, the beach is perhaps the biggest and best stretch in Varadero, and just about everything is covered by the all-inclusive package, from butler service, to top-shelf liquor, to access to the spa facilities, to lobster at the seafood a la carte restaurant. The 404 rooms have big king-size beds, but aren’t up to advertised five-star standards.
The adult-only Paradisus Princesa del Mar is a rarity in Cuba -- a true luxury all-inclusive resort in Varadero. The resort is split between its standard accommodations and its upper-tier Royal Service wing. Its 798 rooms opt for elegant, subdued furnishings. All rooms include balconies or terraces with either ocean or pool views. Royal Service rooms include additional perks like jetted tubs, butler service, and some offer direct pool access. The action here centers on the beach and the resort's three pools, two of which have swim-up bars. There's also seven restaurants, though some guests find the food underwhelming. Tennis courts, live entertainment, and a cigar bar add to the resort's appeal.
The 574-room Paradisus Varadero delivers plenty of wow factor, with a stunning lobby, large ocean-view pool, and beautiful white-sand beach. Rooms are clean, with traditional style and free minibar items; the Royal Service rooms are well worth the upgrade. The sprawling layout means privacy and a big stretch of beach, but also plenty of walking or waiting for golf carts. Food is above average for Varadero, if not as good as at other all-inclusives elsewhere in the Caribbean, and the spa is one of the area's best.
The 420-room Ocean Varadero El Patriarca is arguably the most modern family-friendly all-inclusive in the area. Its rooms are truly upscale (though they lack ocean views), its a la carte restaurants don't require reservations (a rarity), its coffee bar serves first-rate brews (not often found at competing properties), and there's great evening music at the swanky piano bar.
The 340-room, adult-only Melia Las Americas is a slightly more mature take on the typical upper-middle-range beach resort in Varadero. In addition to its freeform pools and postcard-worthy beach, it offers a location by a tournament-level golf course and an attractive gym with floor-to-ceiling windows. Rooms aren't fashion-forward, but they are exceptionally pleasant for a Cuban resort, and most have balconies and ocean views. Five restaurants and six bars provide a wide range of food and drink, and a full theater and a beauty salon give other diversions.
The upscale Melia Varadero has a lovely beachfront location half way up the peninsula of Varadero. The 490 rooms are split between two categories: The standard rooms have an old-fashioned look with dated bedspreads and bathrooms, while the executive-level rooms look far more chic with dark-wood furniture and stylish artwork. But all rooms have balconies, and some offer truly stellar views. Features are in line with other upscale resorts including two pools with a waterfall feature, five restaurants, and basketball and tennis courts. A kids' club and kiddy pool appeals to families, and business travelers can use the meeting rooms or internet cafe. One thing to note: Wi-Fi is available in both public areas and rooms, a rarity for Cuba.
The all-inclusive Sol Palmeras is a family-oriented three-pearl resort that’s hardly high style, but it is boisterous and big on activities, especially the kid-friendly variety. Free water-sport rentals, a game room with Wii and PlayStation2, and a shooting range join the typical diversions of sun and sand, including Varadero’s notably beautiful beach and two pools. The 408 rooms and 200 bungalows are excellent for families, with multiple bedrooms, mini-kitchens, dining spaces, and interconnecting rooms available.
The adult-only, mid-range Breezes Varedero isn’t flashy or fancy, but it offers a pleasant all-inclusive vacation with a surprising amount of local touches that give guests a sense of being in Cuba. The grounds are blanketed with local flora, and the staff serves up spit-roasted pig or fresh coconut water in the shell. But it’s the usual resort draws of white-sand beaches and a lively pool, both with bar service, that are the main attractions for guests. Its 270 rooms are cheery, if a bit dated, but they give a perfectly adequate place to crash out at the end of a day of sun and sand.
With 1,035 rooms, the mid-range Memories is one of the biggest resorts in Varadero. It's also one of the family-friendliest, with Varadero's only waterslide at one of the two pools, and activities to keep kids of all ages entertained. The beach is beautiful, and the baby and kids' clubs are great (we saw little kids having a grand time with staff members in cartoon costumes). But the resort is also dated and worn, beach towels are difficult to exchange, and the sprawling size can mean a long walk to the sand. Still, it's one of the best options for families in this price range in Varadero.