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“Wonderful family vacation -” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Club Amigo Farallon del Caribe - Marea del Portillo

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Club Amigo Farallon del Caribe - Marea del Portillo
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3.0 of 5 Resort   |   Carretera Granma, km. 12 1/2, Pilon, Cuba   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Pilon
St. Catharines, Canada
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“Wonderful family vacation -”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 19, 2013

My husband and I along with our 11 year old daughter spent March break at the Farallon. We were originally booked at the Marea, but our Cabana location overlooked what we thought looked like a ditch. My husband went to ask if we could be moved. They said the Marea was full, but said they would be happy to let us take a look at the Farallon. They went with him in a taxi and went up the hill to the Farallon. He liked the room they showed him, so we moved. The Farallon is a more modern hotel and the rooms, although smaller, look a little nicer. The view of the mountains is spectacular. We were pleasantly surprised at the quality of food offered. Something for everyone. We did bring our own ketchup and salad dressing which came in handy. We met a lot of the "regulars" there, who were very friendly and helpful. I was glad that there were other kids that week as I had read it is usually an older crowd. We went out for dinner to the Ferlin restaurant in Marea. Apparently it is owned by the chef at the Farallon. 3 appetizers, two lobster dinners, a pork steak dinner, 4 beers there and 2 to go for $26. Wow!! It is such a cute little place and extremely clean. Dinner was delicious! We enjoyed Cayo Blanco very much. There is not a lot of night life, but that was fine for us. The number of rooms in this hotel allows you to get to know almost everyone that is staying there. We made so many new friends and had such a great time! We couldn't believe what a great deal this hotel was and would go back in a minute!

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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779 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (154)
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Gatineau
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
41 helpful votes 41 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 14, 2013

My wife and I spent one week at the Farallon, 2013-02-28 to 1013-03-07. This is our 10th trip to Cuba and first in Marea del Portillo. We had done our homework and looked into the resort before booking and we had what we expected, a very good and relaxing vacation. The food is good but sometimes repetitive, lots of fresh fruit, varieties of cold salads, soup, pasta, vegetables and 3 or 4 meat choices at both dinner and supper. We did not go to the shows so can’t comment. The rooms were nice, cozy and very clean. The resort and area very clean, they never stop cleaning. Now the staff, I don't know why or how some people talk about general bad service, we experienced very good service from every staff member. Special mention to Inés: our room, Joachim: our air-conditioning, Marilyn: pool/lobby cleaning and Luis: pool guard, for all making our stay a pleasure. The beach is ok, we did expect the dark sand. Cayo Blanco is the nicer beach, book the VIP and you can go as many as 3 times with one lobster dinner included. The Marea del Portillo surrounding area, WOW, the location between the ocean and the mountains make for a beautiful setting. We rented scooters twice and drove along the coast (turn right off the resort) where the scenery was amazing. You will encounter next to no traffic and the nearby village people we met were super nice. We did bring some stuff for them: soap, lotions, toothpaste, fishing line, hooks (stainless steel if possible as they rust in the salt water) and clothing. These people are very poor and do not often have access to these "luxury" items. A hike in the mountains is also very impressive and worth the trip. There is the possibility of taking a horse pulled buggy for 4 pesos which will take you to the village 4 km from the resort, a typical Cuban village with a very nice restaurant where you can have excellent Langouste for 7 cuc. Overall a nice and relaxing vacation, we had what we needed and the resort did meet our expectations. As we prefer a beach with clear blue water and white sand, this might be the reason for us to contemplate returning or not. If we do return our choice would be the VIP Cabana option.

Room Tip: Farallon Lagoon view: sunset and tranquil Farallon Ocean/Pool view: sunrise and amazing view of bot...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Quebec City, Canada
1 review
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 11, 2013

Nice resort if you're not fussy. No frills, no night life or great entertainment. Food can get boring but this is Cuba! They make due with what they have. My daughter had the best pork chops she ever ate! Loved the fresh omelets in the morning but after the fifth morning....that's why one gets bored of the food! So why a 4-rating!? The beach is nice, lots of waves, sandy but with some rocks before you go in on the shore, so what!? Warm water, nice to swim in...Clean rooms and resort, friendly people. A few people had their money stolen, from their safe....one lady left her window open so, go figure! I strongly suggest a cabana with VIP option so that you get the trips to Cayo Blanco, Sunset Cruise and Picnic walk. Stay at the Marea, but go have supper at the Farallon....the buffet has more to offer. Even thought we had a cabana near the pool area, the night life wasn't that loud, cause their ain't much of it anyway. This was a very good trip for getting some sun, beach, relaxing for a very reasonable price. Plus I cleared my asthma and don't need my pumps, hopefully I'll be asthma-free for a few more weeks! I won't go back because I like to try new places. But I can see why some people like to return.

Room Tip: Cabana, second floor with VIP option
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Barrie, Canada
Top Contributor
93 reviews 93 reviews
48 hotel reviews
Reviews in 50 cities Reviews in 50 cities
100 helpful votes 100 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 10, 2013

My partner and I just returned from a week at this resort. While there we spoke with many, many repeat guests that had been coming for years (some up to twelve years in a row or more) and we also spoke to some people who had been staying at the resort for multiple weeks (up to ten consecutive weeks). The vast majority loved the resort and that’s why they stay so long and keep returning. I don’t see the appeal! This was our first visit and it will be our LAST. There is nothing about this resort that would make us want to return. We knew we were going to a “three-star” resort for a cheap vacation and we got what we paid for but we won’t be returning. We were not disappointed with the value received for what we paid but there was no real appeal to make us want to return. If you’re looking for an inexpensive, no-frills getaway in a more isolated area this resort may suit your needs. Be forewarned that the majority of guests are well into their sixties and over.

The resort grounds are kept clean and in the morning you see a multitude of workers sweeping, mopping, etc. Overall, the public areas are clean and in reasonably good repair. The public washrooms are kept clean enough however what I can only assume is hand soap with some bleach added is in used soda bottles sitting by the sink. Toilet tissue is rarely refilled in the public washroom by the pool and in the lobby area.

The beach area is not maintained to any real degree. This could be a beautiful beach (dark sand but who really cares?) but nothing is done to remove the excessive amount of rock in many areas and during our seven day stay we only saw one occasion where any raking or beach maintenance was done. There was one person walking around picking up leaves during the day. It was always easy to get a lounge chair at the beach and also very easy to get a palapa. The beach is not heavily used. If you are staying at the Farallon you will have a five-minute walk down some stairs to get to the beach but it’s an easy walk. If you’re at the Marea you are at beach level. There were a few lifeguards on the beach and there were also lifeguards at each hotel pool.

Unless you leave the hotel area of the beach you are not bothered by anyone asking you to buy things or asking for gifts. If you walk further down the beach you may encounter one or two people but a simple “No, gracias” will suffice if you are not interested. We found the Cubans that we encountered outside the resort to be friendly, polite, and not pushy.

We stayed in a cabana and purchased the VIP package. The VIP package is worth the $30 CDN extra charge in our opinion. Buy this through Sunwing when you book. At the time of our stay the VIP package got you two bottles of CUC $5 rum (we left them behind), two bottles of decent Spanish wine (we took home), four beer, four pop, and two big bottles of water in your room (nothing replenished during your stay). It also entitled you to two trips to the island beach (Cayo Blanco) worth CUC $30 per person, one sunset cruise worth CUC $15 per person, and a walking tour worth CUC $15 per person. We did only one trip to the Cayo Blanco instead of both but it was a nice day. As others have mentioned in other reviews the Cayo Blanco lunch was the best lunch in the seven day trip. More about food later. The sunset cruise was a nice outing (drinks and cheese/crackers provided) and the walking tour/hike/picnic lunch was also nice. We HIGHLY recommend the VIP package if you go to this resort. The VIP package in the Sunwing brochure, on the Sunwing website and the trips we actually received were different. I think this package changes as time goes on.

Our cabana was clean and they do supply two tiny bars of soap and one tiny bottle of shampoo and body wash. Towels were changed daily and the room attendant did an OK job. Some days we got some towel art, other days we didn’t but we really didn’t care either way. We were provided with a few flowers in a vase on the second day and they were changed later in the week. As mentioned in the brochure there is no bath tub, just shower. Water pressure and temperature in our room were fine throughout the stay. We do not know the cause but my partner ended up with a multitude of insect bites during our visit and I had only a few. The only difference was that we slept in separate beds until the fifth night (the beds are only three-quarter size, not really big enough for us to sleep together comfortably). I can’t really say that the bites happened while in bed but that was the only difference, we were together virtually every minute of our stay. We did check the mattress and box spring for signs of insects and found nothing. The bites may have been from sand fleas or mosquitos and they just liked partner more than me? I did see the hotel staff changing out some mattresses in a few other rooms while we were at the resort but I don’t know the reason, perhaps it was just time to change them? The beds themselves were comfortable enough however the pillow that is provided is next to useless.

Back to food – with the exception of a changing variety of proteins (beef, pork, chicken, lamb, calamari, rabbit, different varieties of fish) the lunch and dinner choices are the same each and every time you go to the restaurant. Yes, the meats change but the rice, potato, salads, bread, and dessert choices are nearly identical every meal. There is definitely a shortage of veggies and the dessert choices are extremely limited! We ate at the buffet at both hotels (Farallon and Marea) and didn’t find any significant difference. The food is more nicely displayed at the Farallon and the outdoor patio is nice to eat on at that hotel but the food is pretty much the same at both buffets. You won’t go hungry, but you likely will be bored. I just cannot imagine eating this food for weeks on end with no significant change in the variety or preparation.

Breakfast choices are also the same every day with the exception of they change the two or three choices of fruit available. People in other reviews have commented on “Canadian bacon”. I saw no signs of “Canadian bacon” during the seven days but there was regular (but not very well cooked) bacon available on two or three days. Omelettes and freshly-cooked eggs are available each morning from the grill.

We also ate at both a’la carte restaurants (one at each hotel). The food is basically the same as on the buffet and I left both restaurants disappointed and a little hungry. Don’t waste your time trying to get reservations for the a’la cartes in my opinion.

The snack bar next to the pool had some decent French fries but don’t bother with the hot dogs. They have no flavour to them and the texture is a bit disgusting in my opinion. Ham sandwiches and cheese sandwiches were also available but that’s it for choices at the snack bar (open 11am to 3pm only).

Working in the hospitality industry myself and being trained in food safety I was quite concerned about the food at the buffets. Cold food is not kept cold and the hot food was rarely hot enough. I did not hear about anyone getting ill from the food and neither my partner nor I had any issues but cooked food being just barely warm and cold food being warm, not cold, is just asking for trouble. Be careful!

We did take a carriage ride into the small town and ate at the one local restaurant. This was truly the best meal of the week. The food was very good, well-prepared, well-presented, and tasty. For under CUC $20 (including about 20% tip) we got two beer for me, a bottle of good-quality wine to share, an appetizer for partner and a salad for me, and one main course each. This is a small restaurant with seating for about twelve people and it’s not hard to find in the village. I recommend it.

Bar service at the resort was OK. It really didn’t seem to matter much whether I tipped or not. The drinks come in very small cups (6-8 ounces) and you need to order two at a time to get a reasonable volume of beer or pina colada. There was definitely preferential treatment for the repeat and long-term guests but I can live with that. I think the resort could save some money using larger cups and using less of them.

The “entertainment” during the day mostly consisted of Bingo and that was about it. There were a few attempts at pool volleyball and beach volleyball and a few “tournaments” for kids but that was the extent of the daytime entertainment. Music played at the hotel pool was annoyingly loud most of the time. Evening “entertainment” was pretty much pathetic and drove us back to our room by 9 pm most nights to try to escape the corniness and noise. I was not "Rico Rico" as they say at the resort (I think it means happy?).

The hotel staff, while pleasant and friendly enough, was certainly not as attentive as staff at many other resorts we have been to in the past. I’m guessing it’s a cultural thing? Or perhaps the hotel needs to invest in additional hospitality training. Regardless, we were treated well enough and everyone always greeted us with a “Hola” when passing.

To sum up, if you want an inexpensive, no-frills vacation and you don’t really care about any real variety in your food, I can recommend this resort. If you are looking for more than basic accommodations and basic food you need to go elsewhere.

Room Tip: Cabana on the beach, suggest second floor. #1 through #16 close to pool can be noisy. #'s up to...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Woodstock, Canada
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 8, 2013

Funny but I ended up liking this place. Food not great. Rooms ere passible the rooms do need attention but that is normal in Cuba. Glad I was not a beach person because this hotel has water front not a beach front. The beach is rock sand not Coral sand. That means You can use the beach but has 3 inch rocks at different sections of the beach.
Few people spent the day at the beach.
Why did I like the place. I stayed in the Marea section bottom of the hill. This is the older section
right at the beach. Spend the lttle extra for the Cabana Rooms its worth it. The views are Fantastic right out the back door of the hotel. The People very Friendly. You used a bike to tour around so make sure you go to the local village. Just make sure you get the bike early. Basicly no Shopping which was Great. The Best part of the Hotel is the Pool area Sat there all day. Never had a problem with Chairs. Snack bar runs for 1 to 5 but is not open after this time. Great I didnt gain any weight.
What to bring for the cubans. They only ask for 1 thing. Small childrens clothing and shoes. I only wish I had brought some.

Room Tip: cabanas first choice
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ontario
1 review
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed March 8, 2013

I went on this trip without any preconceived notions that it would be four-star anything, but after a week at Club Farallon del Caribe, even giving this place two stars would be way too generous.

Let me just say that I am by no means a 'princess' when it comes to travel, and I knew going in not to expect five star amenities, but I did at the very least expect friendly service, cleanliness and decent accommodation. Despite the beauty of the location, this hotel failed miserably in every category.

I get that these people work hard and make a fraction of what I do, but I shouldn't have to tip the equivalent of their monthly salary every time I go to the bar in order to get friendly...or even decent service at times. I understand that in Cuba that tourism is a necessary evil, but if you want people to come to your hotel, you ought to train your staff to be at least civil to the guests.

I worked for many years in the hospitality industry and have been told that I'm 'overly friendly and much too generous' when I travel, so I really couldn't understand the rudeness of the staff. At one point I accidentally locked my key in my room and was treated to rolling eyes and a long, disgusted sigh by the front desk attendant when I 'bothered' her for another one. That was the general tone of the staff all week...unless, of course you handed them 10 pesos every time you asked for something...including a drink of water at the bar, or a clean towel for your room.

I don't know, maybe the boorish behaviour of the other guests sucked the friendliness out of the staff. I think Sunwing ought to change their schedule so that the Montreal and Toronto flights are on opposite weeks. Were you people raised by wolves? Who behaves like that in public? Spitting, swearing, yelling, blowing smoke in your face, pushing ahead of everyone in line and letting their children run like wild animals without regard to anyone else around them. I'm begging you...please stop going to other countries...you're giving the rest of us Canadians a bad name.

As for the hotel itself:
1. No hot water at all after Day 1.
2. The room was not cleaned properly unless I tipped 10 pesos EVERY DAY, and even then, the bathroom was never cleaned at all.
3. The food was not just poor quality (as I expected), it was inedible...except for the ham and cheese sandwiches they made at the bar at the pool).
4. The staff is cold and unfriendly (except for the female bartender and one female cook at the pool-side bar). Several times I found myself apologizing to the bartender or waiter because I was 'bothering' them for something. In fact, I apologized for everything I asked for, which made me not want to ask for anything by Day 3.

For six days these people made me feel guilty and unwelcome...like an intruder. This was an all-around horrible experience and I will never, ever go back to Cuba.

Room Tip: Make sure to request a room NOT on the pool side. I was lucky to be facing the driveway. Some of my...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Barrie, Canada
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
36 helpful votes 36 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 3, 2013

amigo portillo- has found the key to my heart- i have travelled all over cuba for the past 10 yrs
there is more positive then negatives
positives: nice beach
canadian bacon for breakfast
now 2 computers to check emails
bathroom worked on the transfer bus
90 degree weather each day
good maid service
good bar service- with a smile
assistance with problems
yorgort and fresh orange juice for breakfast
updated scooters and bicycles
security box inside the room- 14.00 per week
front desk normally has many one dollar pesos which everyone wants
norman and elana greets me with a smile on arrival each trip
locals are polite- and let me join in on baseball on sundays
awesome cycling down the coast with one car per hour
if i had a flat always some cugan to asssit me
negatives:
sunwing stop tricking people with your vouchers- with a 45 day restriction- ther should be no restriction- also i was stung with 100.00 with my boxed bicycle- stop it- too many people are being tricked with the weight thing
the resort did not have pesos many days
the cuban immigration only had one booth open with an airport full off tourists- stilly
hard to find a single table lower resort- many times for meals
had no shampoo for 3 days in room
bar had no brandy all week for my morning spanish coffee
but. over all
this resort should be proud!!!
good value and good service
p.s. if your young dont go- many many people over 65 yrs go- which i dont mind- then i feel young

Room Tip: it depends on what u want- the upper falleron is more modern
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
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Additional Information about Club Amigo Farallon del Caribe - Marea del Portillo

Address: Carretera Granma, km. 12 1/2, Pilon, Cuba
Location: Caribbean > Cuba > Granma Province > Pilon
Amenities:
Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Pilon
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — Club Amigo Farallon del Caribe - Marea del Portillo 3*
Number of rooms: 270
Also Known As:
Club Amigo Farallon Del Caribe - Marea Del Portillo Hotel Pilon
Hotel Amigo Farallon Del Caribe
Resort Amigo Farallon Del Caribe
Club Amigo Farallon Del Caribe - Marea Del Portillo Cuba/Pilon

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