We just returned yesterday after a week long stay at this hotel. Really, I think the name of the hotel should be "Iberostar Secret Hideaway". It was an amazing week in an amazing location! I found out even Sting (yes, as in the singer) had once stayed there.
I traveled with my husband and another couple. We booked the "park suites" package and all stayed in villa 39, both on the second floor in two rooms. We found the rooms as advertised and as seen in other traveler's photos: big, clean, with marble baths and a decent sized balcony. The king beds were firm, although thanks to other reviewers, I located the feather toppers in the closet without problem. Everything was clean. The tv (though on the smaller side) worked fine and surprisingly, had a lot of channels. The DVD had Samsung speakers so you could play music alone, or watch DVDs. I had brought a few with me, and it worked out very well. I had requested the second floor as a result of others' tips. I saw very few bugs (a couple of ants, a bigger spider, and one lizard) while my friends saw none. It was fine though; they were NOT on the bed and realistically, I acknowledge that we were in the middle of the jungle so not too surprised to see some critters!! The maids were wonderful and were in there TWICE per day (once during the morning and again for turn-down service). We had no issues with our mini-fridge being stocked or towels replaced daily.
The location, a 1.5 hr trip from the airport, seemed daunting at first, but it does go by fairly fast. We landed late at night and left early in the morning, so we didn't really get to enjoy the scenery, but the buses we were on, were quite comfy. Anyway, the resort is worth the trip. The two beaches are GORGEOUS. Megano beach is really friendly and happening. It's easy to get to with both access paths functioning. We snorkeled every day and always saw something fun. The water was sooooo clear and I thought quite comfortable in terms of temperature. This isn't Hawaii (I've been to Hanauma Bay) so don't expect lots of coral and tropical fishes. We saw other things instead: lobster, sting rays, lion fish, lots of star fish, silvery fish, and the occasional wrasse. We swam out to the sunken ship (visible from Megano Beach), saw the barnacles and some angel-like fish too, It was neat : ) Ensenachos beach is a little like being at the edge of the world. It's a little more untamed and you can walk out really far before hitting deeper water. Nothing is visible from the shore except endless sea if you look straight ahead (islands are visible from Megano), and it's wild and gorgeous and riveting and takes your breath away! I've been to Cancun and Lanakai on Oahu as well.... this is at that level- if not a tad better even. The sand is super soft and it's very walkable without shoes.
The staff are super friendly and very very nice. The servers at the buffet can't do enough for you. It doesn't matter where you sit, everyone gets you drinks, takes your plates away, is always asking what they get you. It was superb. Made us feel like rock stars!
So, if the beaches are great, the service excellent, and people friendly, why only 4 stars? Technically, I'd give 4.5 stars if possible. The food was a little lacking. Strangely, I don't think this had anything to do with their desire to please. I just think maybe it's a lack of experience. If you've never had a Big Mac, you won't get why throwing a patty on the grill and slapping some condiments don't add up to the same taste, if you know what I mean. All the food - the pastas, the cereals, the fruits, it was all to make us happy - laid out and served in the best imitation of Italian, Japanese, and Mediterranean food, but it just missed the mark. I can't cook myself, so I get. No matter how hard I try to follow recipes, I always end up with food that's edible, but it's not great, and this was reminiscent of that. However, they tried so hard and some things were good: i.e. the freshly cooked shrimp you can ask the chef to make for you at the buffet station, the crepe station, pasta and omelet stations were good and would be what I recommend. Jenny especially was an excellent cook. The cappuccinos were great and I enjoyed my pina coladas from the bar in the lobby the best.
We as a group enjoyed night caps on the balcony of the lobby and loved the R&R, but if you're looking for a more "happening" hotel, this may not be the one for you. However, do keep in mind, there's a bus that comes by nightly that takes you out to a club and picks up and drops off at all the hotels. Acquaintances, H&J, went a few times and told us they had a blast.
During our week, the weather was perfect every day. Balmy with a hint of a breeze...ahhhh. We enjoyed the pool, but loved the beach the best. During our pool-side stint, we did play v-ball and also ring toss. The animation staff do work hard and I give them credit for that. They sometimes even entertain in the evenings. It's not Vegas if that's what you're expecting, but again good effort. That's a pretty long day for them, so way to go!
Staff responded to us quickly, although the coffee maker in my friend's room didn't get fixed. However, when we locked ourselves out of our room, they were there within minutes of us calling from our friend's room.
So if you're thinking of going, the bottom line would be - GO! Just manage your expectations, bring some Nutella or other spices you like, and pack your fave snacks to tide you over until your palate gets its bearings : ) Bring several books and some DVDs just in case too. Do bring a shawl or light jacket as evenings can get cooler. Go ride the Hobie-cats: they're free!! Oh, and I did get bitten by something that was VERY itchy and left an inch long welt. Happened one morning on my way to breakfast. They sprayed the next morning and I never got bit again. I'd suggest bringing some lanacane or after-bite or something for these instances. If you don't scratch too much, by day 3, the itching gets noticeably less. Swimming in the ocean also lessens the itch temporarily. This trip was my second all-inclusive and my husband's first. It was a terrific experience for the both of us!!! I got married in Hawaii in 2010 and loved it. From the *ahem* "budget bride's" view, I'd recommend this for weddings too. The grounds are lush and gorgeous. The beach is perfect. It'd look great in photos!!! Finally, we all felt very VERY safe on this resort. The staff are very polite and respectful. A thank you to the gardener who gave me a flower every morning : ) This hotel would be good for singles too in that regard. Anyway...enough writing for me and enough reading for you, just go and have a good time already! Oh, okay, one more thing: the kids we saw were fine and the construction never ever bothered us in any way. In fact, it was nice to see the little ones. They were in our villa, but never made too much noise.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located on the impressive Cayo Ensenachos, Cayo Ensenachos brings all the Cuban flavour to some of the most exclusive Caribbean beaches. Holidays in Cayo Ensenachos are always great. The area features two exclusive, beautiful and quite unknown beaches. Kilometres of golden sand waiting for you and facing the turquoise-shaded ocean. Two of the beaches are bound to captivate you: Megano and Ensenachos. The heavenly beaches and the luxury hotels and resorts in Cayo Ensenachos, offer anything you might think of. Rest is only one of the attractions you'll enjoy if you spend your holidays in Cayo Ensenachos, one of Cuba's most exclusive destinations. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Iberostar Ensenachos Hotel Cayo Ensenachos
- Occidental Royal Hideaway Ensenachos Cayo
- Royal Hideaway Ensenachos
- Occidental Royal Hideaway Ensenachos Hotel