Best Luxury Hotels in Varadero, Cuba

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Cuban hotels with luxury-level service and atmosphere are few and far between. But these five options in Varadero -- a resort area known for its postcard-ready beaches -- offer some truly upscale features, like freeform pools with Balinese daybeds and modern rooms with free minibars. Check out the top luxury hotels in Varadero, Cuba.

  1. Paradisus Princesa del Mar is the rare true Cuban luxury resort. The adult-only property is split into two camps, one offering a standard level of service and accommodations, and a Royal Service wing offering more luxurious rooms, a private pool, separate dining options, and an exclusive check-in. All 798 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 are also seven restaurants, though some guests find the food underwhelming. Tennis and volleyball courts courts, live entertainment, and a cigar bar add to the resort's appeal. 

  2. This luxury all-inclusive resort draws many repeat customers with its emphasis on personalized service (every guest receives butler service), social events (such as sunset management cocktail parties), and few of the nuisances found at most all-inclusives (like wristbands or towel cards). There are three pools at the Royalton, but most guests congregate at the large main pool, which has a swim-up bar, bridges, big waterfall, and 116 Balinese daybeds. Varadero resorts aren't known for their food, but the buffet here has one of the more extensive selections in the area, and there are four a la carte restaurants, including a formal Caribbean restaurant with a wine cave. The 404 colonial-style rooms aren't up to international luxury standards, but they do have king beds in sunken bedroom areas, separate living areas, flat-screen TVs, and free minibars with beer, soft drinks, and water that are restocked daily. Room buildings follow the line of the beach (so no room is too far from the sand), but as the resort is surrounded by a natural park, forests block the ocean views.  

  3. The 420-room Ocean Varadero El Patriarca is one of the top resorts in Varadero, with decor that is truly modern and stylish. (It helps that it is also one of the newest resorts in Varadero; it opened in 2012, and since then has already undergone some renovations, indicative of the level of care and maintenance the management puts into it.) Unlike at most Varadero resorts, rooms here are actually a high point: They're upscale and contemporary, with streamlined furniture, cheerful Caribbean color palettes, tile floors, and bathrooms that have separate showers and tubs even in the standard category -- but no ocean views. In addition to the buffet and various a la carte restaurants, there are a 24-hour snack restaurant by the pool and an excellent coffee bar near the lobby (the coffee isn't nearly as good at most competing resorts). 

  4. Opened in 1991, the beachfront Melia Varadero was the first hotel of the Melia brand to open in Cuba. At the time, Melia Varadero was the luxury property of the area. It no longer holds that title, but the resort still has plenty going for it: two pools, five restaurants, basketball and tennis courts, fitness center, beauty salon, and property-wide Wi-Fi (rare in Cuba). A kids' club and kiddy pool appeals to families, and business travelers can use the meeting rooms or Internet cafe. 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.

  5. The 574-room all-inclusive Paradisus makes a terrific first impression, with its open-air lobby bedecked with columns and crisscrossed with pathways over a massive koi pool. (Mood lighting makes it particularly lovely at night). Indeed, all of the common spaces impress, from the huge freeform ocean-view pool to the beautifully tended grounds. The gorgeous luxury spa is one of the area's best, with an outdoor pool and hot tubs. Rooms are clean and classic, and come with separate living room areas and free minibars. Royal Service rooms are well worth the upgrade: they come with two-person jetted tubs; outdoor showers; extra minibar items; 24-hour room service; and access to a separate pool, a la carte restaurant, and private stretch of coral beach. 

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