Brisas Trinidad, Trinidad, Cuba
Toronto couple, female 65, male 70, date of stay: Jan 13th to 20th 2013
We need to preface these comments by making it clear that we are appreciative of the effort and pleasant attitude of the staff members at the resort, who on the whole do their best under demanding circumstances. Whatever we say should not be construed as a criticism of them, but of management/owners. We have stayed at two other resorts in Cuba, so have some standard of comparison. We were particularly interested in visiting the city of Trinidad, and the Brisas seemed the best bet amongst a limited choice of resorts in the area.
Canjet flight was OK. Roads were terrible from Santa Clara airport, a three hours bus ride. Strongly suggest using Cienfuegos airport if you have a choice, much closer.
ROOM & BUILDINGS/POOLS
The Brisas Trinidad is definitely a 3 star resort at best. It is showing serious signs of wear and tear and poor maintenance. It needs a lot of money and TLC to be brought up to standard. We had to change our first room (#6201) as the bath had an eight inch long rust line along the rim. The second room (#6210) was a slight improvement, but the bathroom door handle was loose, (presumably a worn spindle) so if you closed the door you would be locked in. This was never fixed the whole week we were there, despite several requests. The bidet did not function at all. The bathroom door also had a cracked glass pane. We had read complaints about hot water shortage, but this did not bother us.
The air conditioning functioned OK, but at two speeds, loud and louder still, not good for sleeping. The refrigerator thermostat dial fooled us for most of the week, as it was reversed- turn it to warm for the coldest temperature. (We wondered if this was a cunning plan to save costs?) The two double beds were OK, mattress firm, but we were disappointed at not being able to secure a room with “cama matrimonial” – apparently, these are few and far between. We were extremely glad to have brought our own feather pillows, as the pillows provided were laughable; the densest and smallest foam pillows, just one each, we have ever seen. The room was fairly clean on the whole, but the furniture was low quality, tired, chipped and sagging in places. The safe had no instructions, so had to phone in for these. No TV reception one day, so we phoned the front desk for help wondering if there was a general problem with reception, no information offered and nobody appeared. (We eventually discovered that one of us, or the maid, had brushed against the stand and the cable had popped out. The coupling was the wrong type, and could not be attached securely.
The landing light just outside the room was out and the bulb was never replaced, despite more than one request. As the room was on the top floor, on the outer perimeter of the resort (and as a result, mercifully quiet), this could be a worrisome factor for many people. We just put up with it. Stairwell lights were also out, and cracks in walls, door frames, holes in floor tiles, etc. in the public areas.
Pools looked inviting, but half were closed every day, in rotation, for cleaning. The Jacuzzi did not have warm water.
The buffet restaurant (1815) is tolerable, just. We ate outside on the patio, tables do not have sunshades, but there is some shade to be found. Surprisingly, not much fish to be had. The house wine offered is undrinkable, both red and white, watered down, perhaps? The coffee is also awful. We would get our coffee from the lobby bar and take it in with us to the buffet each morning. One of the waiters, Ray (a very decent guy) offered to do this for us on several occasions.
We ate at the pretentious a la carte “La Vigia” twice- first for the lobster dinner, which was good, the second time we left early as the main course, apparently Vertebrae of Lamb, (though not advertised as such), was execrable.
“El Conuco”, the Cuban restaurant, was nothing remarkable, but the food was tasty at least, with friendly service, plus very good musicians playing traditional Cuban songs, not just the usual salsa.
We never ventured to the small seafood restaurant, (deciding instead to go to a “Paladar” in the nearby fishing village of Casilda, which was fine). We thought it amusing, if not a little strange, to locate the restaurant between a swimming pool and a Jacuzzi, presumably chlorinated. Some tables were a couple of feet from the water’s edge!
N.B. What is it with “gringos” on vacation? We were depressed to see some male diners wearing sleeveless tank tops, hoodies and shorts. It’s OK in the buffet, of course, but not in the formal “A La Carte” restaurants. It is disrespectful of the Cuban staff, who make an effort at bourgeois decorum. We also witnessed this one night at The Ibersostar, an outstanding 5 star hotel in Trinidad.
This made up for a lot. Beautiful expanse, water was cool and milky when we first arrived, no doubt due to windy weather conditions, but cleared up through the week to the azure blue and warmth of the Caribbean. Not much coral around, and a steep drop-off, so no sign of fish near the beach - snorkeling is carried out some distance off shore, via catamaran. No problem finding a palapa (palm shade) and plenty of good quality beach chairs to choose from each day. We were not bothered by any hawkers selling stuff, despite Playa Ancon being a public beach, shared with the nearby Hotel Ancon as well. Warning: At peak times it might be very crowded. The Beach snack bar has drinks, no snacks, and closes at 5 at the latest. There is no waiter service at any time, not when we were there, anyway.
Brisas Trinidad del Mar and the city of Trinidad itself have a lot in common. They both need large infusions of capital for infrastructure upgrade, and good management to accomplish this. Both are sorely lacking. The talent, whether local or foreign, exists in Cuba, and Grupo Cubanacan (owners of Brisas Trinidad) should be able to access the capital. We were left with the distinct impression, especially after talking with some local people, that, given other priorities, (perhaps in tourist areas such as Holguin and Varadero), this part of Sancti Spiritus province is neglected, and that the hard cash raised here is not re-invested. We suggest closing the place down for two months to do a major renovation. We would not return to this resort, or recommend it to anyone unless they are prepared to settle for two or three star accommodation.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.