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“IBE with kids - April 2014” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Iberostar Ensenachos

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Iberostar Ensenachos
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5.0 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   Villa Clara, 52700, Cuba (Formerly Royal Hideaway Ensenachos)   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Cayo Ensenachos
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Halifax, Canada
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
“IBE with kids - April 2014”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 1, 2014

We vacationed with our two 6 year olds the last week of April. Here is my review.

1)The Spectacular:
Ensenachos beach. Breathtaking water color, quiet, powdery sand, no rocks, very gradual entry. Depending on tide you can wade for 200 feet before you get past your waist, so supervising the kids was easy. The Waves were mostly non existent while we were there, not even big enough to spill your drink in the cupholder of your inflatable lounger. The beach is long and wide and although the palapas were close together, it didn't seem crowded because the beach was so wide (compared to Megano, especially at high tide). Nice for snorkeling along one side of this beach. My 6 year olds spent hours floating and observing seat life. You can actually walk out on the sandy bottom right alongside a a coral formation and see some colorful fish even if you can't swim and didn't bring a mask! We didn't get to this beach until Day 4, but went there ever day after. We stayed pretty close to the entrance to the beach near the bathrooms and small beach bar.

2)The Terrific:
Megano Beach: Make sure you experience both beaches, one might suit you better or you may split your time between the two. Both beaches were near perfect for our family. Megano is a little closer to Park and Spa buildings, more lively, has better drink service (to your palapa). It also has the beach grill for lunch so you can spend the full day if you wish. We spent the first 3 mornings at Megano (starting at 8 AM when it was at its most pristine!). It was a 5-6 minute walk to Megano from the lobby and about the same from the Park pool area (longer if you have kids that need to stop and see the sand crabs below the boardwalk). For our stay, low tide came late morning and the beach was calm and the water and view spectacular. The waves picked up only a little in the early afternoon while we were there. We didn't spend a lot of late afternoon time on the beach, but we returned once at high tide and it did feel a litle more cramped. The beach grill didn't thill us so after day 2, we left the beach at lunchtime in search of better lunch options. The beach grill did have a decent made to order pizza we later found out. We were the first ones on the beach and spent the first few hours next to people's towel's on their "reserved seats". I didn't pay too much attention to the towel game because we there so early and even when we moved to the pool in the afternoon, we managed to find something. The best spot at Megano, was just to the left or right of the boardwalk from the lobby, the further you walk from the lobby boardwalk the further you get from the music and services which might not be a bad thing. As you walk along the beach towards the boardwalk to the Park section (between BLD 42-42), the sand gets a little more rocky and for the first 100 or so feet by the Park section boardwalk the bottom is very rocky. The first time we got to the beach, I kicked off my flip flops and ran out into the water right over that rocky bottom section OUCH....Don't do that! :)

Kids Waterpark: This was awesome. I would say it is best suited for age 5-6 although, I saw a 3 year old in swim diapers who was hitting all the slides with confidence, but he was exceptionally coordinated! I think once you hit age 7 you are probably happier at the pool, but for kids younger it was a great place and a key selling feature. I walked around the park and it seemed to be pretty well designed and safe - no slippery spots or places where kids could get into trouble. Honestly, if you have a 4 or 5 year old, this park could occupy a few hours a day. It's in full sun for most of the day...that might be the only downside.

Bus Ride: Going to a resort does not show you anything about the real Cuba. The 1 hour 45 minute bus ride was a real bonus to be able to see some real Cuban countryside. Obviously you passed it by pretty quickly but it did give you a glimpse at the landscape, rural areas, farms, houses, vegetation. You also drive through some small towns (Remedios, Camajuani, Caibarien) and see town markets, a hospital, ballfields, schools, various different types of homes and the pride people take in their dwellings. Very cool. The bus was very comfy and cool and the ride was pretty smooth.


3)The Good

Park Pool: Nicely laid out so that it felt like 3 or 4 small pools chained together with different areas to enjoy. The pool had busier times/days during the week we were there, every morning before 10 AM it was VERY quiet (towels reserving chairs make no noise). There might have been 8-10 people splashing around by 10 AM. At 2 or 3 PM the Animation team arrives with their music...you have to be in the mood for it :) but it does provide some life. I could see that maybe the pool might not be so enjoyable if it was packed with all march break families or spring break partiers. There was a good blend of demographics that spread out the groups - none more noticeable than the other.

Guests: Met some friendly people. A good mix of families and young and older guests while we were there. Again, no dominate demographic for the last week of April. Kids and adults all well behaved that I saw.

Room: We were on the ground floor of building 40. This building was 4 minutes to Park Pool, 6 minutes to Megano beach, 10 minutes to the lobby, 11 minutes to ensenachos beach. Clean, large, well laid out with walk in closet, lots of drawers and hangers. Big bathroom with nice glass shower stall. Maid service was good. Some of the bedding wasn't new, but I am sure it was clean enough. We had no issues with the AC, or bugs beyond what you should expect. TV had more channels than I expected...we got to watch some NBA playoffs, CNN and cartoons. None of these three activities are a neccessity :)

Staff: The staff varied from being engaging and helpful to some not-so-interested. Lots of smiles, some sincere some probably not - its hard to know how Cuban resort workers see and feel about us. I am certain that Cubans are kind people, but I don't know how genuine the resort workers' kindness is towards us in general. I know if I had to serve the 10th rum punch to a drunken college kid from who spent the equivalent of my annual salary on a lame forearm tattoo I am not sure if I could even fake being happy to serve him. They certainly could be pretty good at fooling guests by now. Tipping was always appreciated, but not tipping at times did not change the staff graciousness or responsiveness from what we saw.

Lobby atmosphere: Evenings were very upbeat. Lots of happy people, well behaved kids, I didn't find it too smoky, lots of waitstaff to serve you at your table or sofa. We didn't stay out late enough to see the shows, but from 7-9 PM the lobby was a very cool scene for people watching or checking out the awesome talented musicians nightly.


4)The Expected:

The Food: Based on previous reviews, I knew what to expect here but still hoped I would have been pleasantly surprised. Nothing "wowed" me all week, nothing was great, but nothing was bad. We ate at the Italian a-la-care twice and the mediterranean/seafood once, both decent. We made reservations 24 hours after arriving and didn't get seatings until the 5th, 6th and 7th night. The Seafood location is lovely, but to be honest the best part of the a la cartes was just the change of scenery and having a meal brought to the table after 4 days of eating at the buffets. One reality of buffets with small kids is that there is a lot of staggared "trips" to the buffet and hardly any time to sit together and eat. At the a la cartes, except for the main course, they had largely the same appetizers and desserts as the buffet, lots of repetition. We didn't have a great food experience, but we did ok. Breakfast for me was the best with made to order eggs, fresh smoothies and fruit selection. The breakfast pastries all seemed to be slight variations on the same sugary white bread rolled again in sugar or with a dab of strawberry or chocolate syrup. The "donut bar" was 3 different shapes of the same donut. I like to think that they are doing their best, but its hard to know in some cases if we are seeing a limitation of their resources or if they are just trying to be efficient and keep it simple, instead of trying to be more creative with the resources they do have.


Walking Distances: At least for Park section guests, no ONE distance was too great, but it took a little planning to avoid letting the distances create a problem. We never called for a golf cart to our room, but we hopped a few of them from the lobby back to our room or to ensenachos beach. The golf cart rides were fun and the nice breeze was appreciated. Personally, I liked the walking but sometimes that 15 minute walk back from the beach meant 15 minutes of sun exposure that you don't need, or maybe you don't arrive at dinner a little clammier than you hoped. I do think the separation of the buildings and recreation areas is more of a PLUS than a MINUS, but if you don't plan properly the walking can be a bit of a downside. For example, at other resorts you can go to breakfast, back to your room to grab your beach stuff and then head to the beach without breaking a sweat. At IBE if we tried to do the same and went to the buffet for breakfast, back to the room to get our swim gear, back to Megano Beach for the morning, back to the room to clean up for lunch, back the buffet for lunch, and back to the pool for the afternoon - hope you have comfy shoes and tolerant kids! If you are mobility challenged or travelling with small kids keep the logistics in mind. If you have a stroller aged childs and a good stroller that can handle the bumpy boardwalk, I would not worry about the distances at all.

Cleanliness: I found all the public areas kept up pretty well. That said, if you found yourself in need of a public bathroom it would be far better early in the day before it has been used 100 times. The beach washrooms were a little "rough" but its far better than having no washroom on the beach. The lobby bathrooms weren't air conditioned, so even at their best, they got a little sweaty and smelly. I read about toilet paper being missing in bathrooms, but am still baffled by it. We always carried a roll from our room in case we needed to use the lobby or beach washroom and this knowledge served us well a few times. I am sure there could be a mild public health risk for when people who haven't "cleaned themselves" then jump into a pool. I also don't think you want to discourage hand washing at the bathroom outside the buffet by not providing paper towels in addition to the single hand dryer.


5)The Could be Better:
The reception staff could have been a little more organized and helpful. It seemed on 3 of my 5 visits to the reception desk (including check in), there were 2-3 people "working" behind the desk and nobody would look up to ask if you needed help. It would have been an improvement even to have some fake smiles from these people - particularly for the first impression at check in. I didn't have any "issues" to take up with reception but I saw people with non-functioning room keys and the staff offered no apology (sincere or otherwise) for the long, hot walk they needed to take back to their room. The reception desk answers the same 20 questions and solves the same 10 or so common problems, so they should be a little more polished at responding to customer needs in a way that makes the customer feel cared for.

Snack situation- We were early risers and ate breakfast at 7:30 AM lunch at 12:30 and dinner at 6:30. One observation was that there didn't seem to be any late morning or late afternoon snack options. If one of our kids had a light breakfast, there was no options to get a late morning snack. Our supply of granola bars brought from home ran out fast for that reason. I am not sure what could be done to provide snacks that aren't just junk (i.e. donuts) or maybe junk is ok for a snack while on vacation. Other guests we talked to suggested a nacho chips and salsa stand or mini pizza oven for late afternoon snacks.


6)The ugly (only one, easily fixed)

Cigarette butts on Ensenachos beach. The smoking guests and resort both have some responsibility here. Better signage "Please dispose of your butts", perhaps some sort of palapa ashtray. Some attempt to make it easier for people to be accountible.


Suggestions to Management:
Simple Lunch Option at ensenachos: Maybe a portable outdoor grill with just burgers, dogs, buns maybe even just on select days of the week). This would allow people to spend full days at Ensenachos instead of packing up and heading back to other lunch locations. I know they are trying to avoid people brining food, plates, napkins onto the beach, but there has to be a way to make this work.

Designated line for golf cart passengers at lobby. Maybe a roped section or a painted line. I saw people waiting for the next golf cart and when the golf cart arrived it stopped infront of some other people who weren't waiting as long who just jumped on.

Consider installing some more shade at the Park pool (i.e. those shade "sails" that are strung between posts), wind-permitting. It seemed people were really competing for limited shady spots.


In summary, I can see why people rave about this place.But I can also see why other people wonder how other people rave about it! I would most definitely return, and most definitely recommend this resort. If you are considering this resort, spend an hour on Trip Advisor reading reviews and postings by destination experts you will not have as many surprises at this resort and have an enjoyable vacation. During our week, I had lots of moments of "oh, I remember reading that". Get your expectations in check and hopefully IBE can meet them!

  • Stayed April 2014, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 14
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brenda C, Manager at Iberostar Ensenachos, responded to this review, May 2, 2014
Dear kal72,

On behalf of IBEROSTAR Ensenachos we appreciate your feedback regarding your stay. We are glad to hear you have enjoyed your vacation and we will consider your suggestions in order to improve our service. We look forward to welcoming you back soon.

Cordially,

Online Reputation Manager
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English first
Gatineau, Canada
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 30, 2014

We stayed at Iberostar Ensenachos (IE) from 22-29 April 2014. The weather was absolutely fantastic, as it was sunny every day. We only had rain and a thunderstorm on our last night.

CHECK-IN/CHECK-OUT
This is my 8th all inclusive vacation (mostly in Cuba, Mexico and Dominican Republic) and I must admit the check-in process has been the most painful of all. We arrived at the hotel at around 14:00 and we were told the rooms were not ready, as the check-in is usually at 4PM. They told us to go have lunch at the buffet and that our room should be ready by then. However, our room was still not ready when we came back and we were told to wait another 30 minutes. Most people decided to wait because water bottles and beach towels were supposed to be provided in the rooms. The place where we could store our suitcases was not clearly indicated either. We did not want to waste all our afternoon because our room was not ready, so we decided to change in the bathroom, to leave our suitcase near the reception, and we left for the rest of the afternoon without towels and water bottles. When we came back at around 5PM, our room was finally ready. This is not the end of the world but considering the check-out is at noon (and people actually leave earlier) and that new guests are arriving at 14:00 on a regular basis, this should give enough time to prepare the rooms. At the very least, new guests should be given beach towels, water bottles and a decent place to change so they don’t have to wait for the rest of the afternoon. As I said, it is not dramatic but the process could be improved and compares poorly to other hotels I’ve been to (mostly 4 stars).

The check-out process per se was plain and simple. However, we were told to check-out at 6:00AM and that our bus would come and bring us to the airport at 6:30AM for our flight scheduled at 11:20AM. Since the buffet only opens at 7:00AM, it was not possible to have breakfast before leaving the hotel. I asked the reception if an exception could be made, or if we could be given just a little something and they suggested I tried room service early in the morning, which was actually only available starting at 11:00AM. Basically, people had to wake up around 5:00AM in order to be at the airport at around 9:30, and no food was available whatsoever. Again, this is not the end of the world for adults, but there were a lot of children on our bus and I don’t believe this is acceptable for children to skip breakfast. Luckily, the bus was so late that we managed to go get some bread at the buffet before we left the resort. I’m not sure everybody had the same idea, since I heard lots of complaints on the bus and at the airport about people who were starving.

I assume the check-in process is a lot easier if you arrive at the resort later than 4PM. The check-out should also be better if your bus leaves the resort at any time except in the early morning. This is why flight schedules are very important.

BEACHES
Now the best part: the beach. There are 2 beaches at IE: Megano and Ensenachos. The first beach we saw, while waiting for our room, was Megano. The tide was so high on that day that there was basically no beach. Water was coming up to the chairs and there were no dry spots. This is why the next day we went straight to Ensenachos beach. This beach is a little farther, depending on which section you stay in, but you can easily take a shuttle at the main entrance if you don’t want to walk. Ensenachos beach is absolutely magnificent; white sand, turquoise water, progressive entrance in the water, everything you’ve ever dreamed of. There is no music nor entertainment at Ensenachos beach; which makes it a great spot if you are looking for a quiet and peaceful place. There were always some palapas available when we got there but I suspect this might be a little more difficult during peak season. We loved Ensenachos beach so much that we spent all of our days there. However, while kayaking in front of Megano beach, later during the week, we could notice Megano is normally a great and vast beach, but is more noisy and crowded.
Overall, if you are looking for spectacular beaches with crystal-clear water, you will definitely love IE.

FOOD
This is my first time in a 5 star hotel in Cuba. I’ve been to a 4 star in Cayo Caco and a 4.5 in Varadero. I don’t think IE is worth 5 stars from a food perspective; it was just as average as the other ones. Just don’t think that you will have gastronomic meals because is it a 5 stars.
Buffet
The food at the buffet was acceptable. You will find lots of decent bread, cheese and delicatessen. Fruits and vegetables are limited, so I always went for the same ones. There are different stations where you can have omelets, crepes and grilled meat. There is always the traditional pasta and pizza for the ones who are extremely picky. I am not a fan of seafood, therefore I found that my options were limited. I was never hungry but sometimes sick of always eating the same things. However, my spouse loves seafood and he was absolutely thrilled with what was available to him. Desserts were average, ice cream was good.
Restaurants
During a stay of one week, you are allowed 3 à la carte restaurants. We went to the Italian, the steakhouse and the Mediterranean restaurants. The Italian was okay; my meal was not so good but my spouse’s meal was good. The steakhouse was great; I had the sirloin which was surprisingly good. Also, the steakhouse is an adult-only restaurant, which creates a different atmosphere. The Mediterranean restaurant has a great location, with a beautiful view on the water. We had a table by the window and it was beautiful. If you love seafood, you will be pleased with the Mediterranean restaurant.
Cocktails
I did not really like the cocktails I’ve tried. There was way too much rum/tequila for my liking but I understand some people like their drinks that way. Also, most cocktails are made with that same cheap slush that does not really taste great. However, we liked drinking the local beer “Crystal”, I thought the sparkling wine was pretty good and my spouse liked the Bailey’s at the Lobby Bar.

ROOMS
We stayed in the family (Park) area. The room was spacious and clean. I must however admit that there were clear signs of aging within the room, even though the hotel was only built in 2005. Lighting was deficient, refrigerator was leaking, patio door was almost impossible to open, and so on… I have to agree with those who said that some repair/maintenance work had to be done. Our room was cleaned every day and bath towels were changed when we asked to. Refrigerator is replenished every day and 2 large bottles of water are given. One day, for some unknown reason, we found no bottles of water in our room. Overall, our room in the Park section was decent, clean and spacious, but will definitely need to be renovated in the near future.

RESORT
The resort is huge and beautiful, with lots of trees, plants and flowers. You will get to see many iguanas while walking around the resort, some scarier than others! The main building is great too. We used one of the 3 tennis courts a few times and even though the net was torn apart, we did enjoy playing. Bathrooms are okay in the main building, but make sure to have toilet paper at all times! There is only one toilet for ladies and one for men at the Ensenachos beach; the door doesn’t lock, it smells and there is no paper/soap. Just know what to expect!

STAFF/ENTERTRAINMENT
In general, the staff was nice and polite, some more than others. I liked the fact that they were not begging to get stuff from you, as was the case in Varadero. We did not participate in any activities, therefore I cannot comment on it. We saw only one show at night, the Cuban show, which I thought was not too great but my spouse liked it. I found it sad that a lot of people were leaving in a middle of a performance. Although we did not see it, we were told the Michael Jackson show was great.

OVERALL
We liked our vacation at IE, mainly because of the beach, which was amazing. Our room was clean and comfortable. Food and drinks were average, similar to a 4/4.5 stars in Cuba. We paid 1,150$ for the package, departure from Montreal and with a room in the Park section. Personally, I don’t think it is worth more than that. I don’t think it is worth paying a lot more to have a room in the adults-only sections, as there is only one buffet and you will be surrounded with kids anyway. My review may seem harsh but my intent is only to give you an accurate and realistic overview of what you should expect from your vacation at IE.

Anic, Gatineau (QC)

Room Tip: We were in room 4225 in the family (Park) section. We liked the location; close to Megano beach, no...
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  • Stayed April 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 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 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brenda C, Manager at Iberostar Ensenachos, responded to this review, May 1, 2014
Dear Anic G,

We would like to thank you for taking your time to express your opinions and thank you for letting us know. Our clients’ comments are very important to us and we sincerely value them. They will assist us in better serving our guests in the future. I will make sure that this comments get all the departments at the resort.
We apologize for all your inconveniences and we appreciate all your comments, because allow us to improve our services and we work hard in order to all our guests feel themselves like home. We hope to have you again among us.

Cordially,

Online Reputation Manager
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Hamilton, Canada
1 review
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 28, 2014

Service is warm and wonderful. Cubans really want to assist and make new friends. Understand that their economy is tourism first and mining second. Add in sugar cane, rum and cigars after that. As Westerners we're spoiled with overly comfortable settings and expect our home to be the same when we travel. So why do we travel then? Drop the expectations in Cuba and satiate in the warm sunshine, beautiful setting and some of the worlds top beaches.
Tipping is not expected but helps Cubans live decent lives and send their kids to school. It puts food on the table for them. A Peso goes a long way with all tourism employees here. You will be treated extra special after recognizing the hard work they do and you've made a friend that will remember you. Change your money at the hotel in the afternoon close to 4pm. They are well stocked by then with Peso bills and not coins. It closes at 5pm. If you miss this window, the front desk will do the same and at a different rate. If you pay by credit card for anything you will be charged 3 Peso extra and the conversion is based on the daily American rate. Plan wisely.
Don't expect the Ritz either as Cuba is steeped in history. The hotel was comfortable and clean with hot water and clean towels changed daily. Spend all your time outdoors even if it rains. It's amazing what you will find on the beach on the rain.
Food is of Cuban understanding. They do not do beef well so don't order it. Fish, seafood, pork and chicken are cooked many ways and Cubans are of African decent. They don't do spices but you can expect spicy food. Fruit especially the Cuban unique white pineapple is amazing. Papaya and mango are always on the menu with guava. They make wonderful soft ripe cheeses as well and their olive oil is amongst the worlds best. Too bad they don't export it. You will eat well and have to choose well. Do not wear shorts to the A La Carte restaurants. You will be turned away for looking like you don't care. Everyone dresses up nightly and the tourists look wonderful. Guys: linen shirts and pants are comfortable, look great when worn the night before and are easy. Ladies: skirts or dresses, coo and comfortable in the warm evening breezes. Bring your own hair dryer and a converter for 220. The DVD player is plugged into a 110 but you have to unplug the DVD player to access it. It's the white heavy unit. The bar fridge is stocked daily with water and beer. Ask for what you want more of.
Do spend all your time on the amazing beaches. Relax, enjoy, read, walk and explore. We saw starfish, flocks of pelicans, small sand crabs (and 1 big one stuck behind the fridge at the beach bar that was freed carefully by an employee), postcard blue skies and turquoise waters. It will heal your soul. Friendly Iguanas walk the resort. There is not a poisonous animal in Cuba. Butterflies are amazing and so colourful.
At 9am take your old beach towels to the tennis court for a fresh exchange. They have English books there to read also if you need it for the beach.
Cubans would like it if you bring or leave western toiletries, soaps and personal products that their country does not import.
If you stay in the Spa section of the resort you will receive a gift certificate for the Spa valued at 50 Pesos. Use it. They have many spa services and the "Exfoliating Moisturizing" treatment is luxurious. Book it before you come home and a few days before to get the time you want.
They have nightly entertainment and a weekly beach party. It starts at 930pm and is an hour long. Afterwards people congregate in the lobby nearby for coffee, drinks and cigars. The spectacular ceiling in the lobby with a warm breeze makes for a great evening of conversation with other travellers. Make sure to take in the star sky and if you have time, print the star chart before you leave and take it to the beach at night.
The shuttle to the hotel is 1.30 minutes. There is bar service at the airport after you get your luggage. Make sure to get water or beer for the bus ride. Note: there is not a washroom on the charter buses. The ride through the towns and onto the causeway is an eye opener. The guide will speak about Cuba and the surrounding are. It's informative.
The wait to check in on the flight home is a long one. Transat and Sunwing are the major carriers for a reason. They are the best priced. You can get VIP Lounge privileges for 20 Pesos and have to purchase it at the hotel before. It gives you express check in, air conditioned lounge with food but not express customs check in. The woman in front of us thought she was smart paying for the VIP. She was 2 people in front of us at customs. Note: To get out of Cuba you have to pay 25 pesos per person and have your boarding pass stamped. This happens after check in and before customs. Cigars and rum are cheap after customs and priced a little better than the hotel. Cuban dark rum is excellent.
Cuba is a "medium threat" when it comes to water quality. Bottled water is recommended for drinking and teeth. I purchased Bio K travel tablets before the trip to fortify intestinal flora. It works and can be ordered online before the trip. It's a choice if you like to travel the world.
There is much more to Cuba and the resort. Read the notes we all post and plan your trip smartly for the best results.

  • Stayed April 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 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 10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brenda C, Manager at Iberostar Ensenachos, responded to this review, April 30, 2014
Dear GeminSteve,

On a behalf of the staff and management here at IBEROSTAR Ensenachos we would like to thank you for your nice review. We all are hardworking people always seeking the best for all our clients. Should you choose our hotel, or some other Iberostar Hotels, for your next vacation, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Wish you all the best,

Online Reputation Manager
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North Sydney, Canada
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 28, 2014

My wife and I are looking forward to our third trip to Iberostar Ensenachos in as many years.This is later in the year than our previous trips so we hope to avoid too much rain as it is getting into that time of year there.On our previous trips we stayed in the Villas so I can't comment on the other areas of the resort.The service at the Villas is second to none.The butlers Yandry,Dieago,Marchial,and Estaban treated us extremely well and the rest of the staff at the Villas are very friendly.The rooms are kept very clean and room service was very reliable when we called for it.We spent most of our time on the Ensenachos beach which is fabulous.They had lost a lot of their palapas the previous year due to a storm but replaced them while we were there last year.For the first week we were there it was hard to get some shade on the beach but by the time we left it was no problem.The Megano beach is also beautiful but busier.We ate at the Colonial for breakfast and most of our dinners and the service and food was great.We also ate at the buffet which we really enjoyed.We tried the Italian which was pretty good and also tried the Seafood restuarant but had trouble getting a shuttle back to the Villas and had to walk to the lobby in the pitch dark.Quite a long hike.I wouldn't go there again as you can't be sure to get a drive back.The grounds are beautiful and the gardeners work very hard to keep them this way.We did the Havana tour which was very good.They fly you there in the morning and back that night so you only lose one day at the beach:).It is easy to get your money changed as there is a banker right on site.We always tip well but I didn't feel like it was expected here as I've noticed at other resorts.The workers are very grateful here and do their best to make your stay enjoyable.I would recommend this resort to anyone who is looking for a nice quiet vacation.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brenda C, Manager at Iberostar Ensenachos, responded to this review, April 29, 2014
Dear Paul L,

Thank you so much for taking part of your time and write us about your recent stay at IBEROSTAR Ensenachos Grand Village, we appreciate all your comments, we love that you have been a wonderful stay here among us, we work hard in order to all our guests feel themselves like home. We hope to have you again among us in the future and offer you even a better service.

Regards,

Online Reputation Manager
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Toronto, Canada
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 27, 2014

While I agree with some of the reviews, I’d like to draw the attention to a few details:

We have been to Cuba 4 times, all of them in 3.5 star resorts. This time we decided to pay more and try a 5 star. We chose Iberostar Ensenachos for its endless flow of positive reviews. We stayed at the Park section of the resort, April 2014.

To our disappointment, except for the room which was nice, we found everything else to be exactly as the 3.5 star resorts we were already familiar with.

The grounds:

- the pool with fish outside the main lobby is in dire need of a clean-up (greenish thick deposits at the bottom)
- some lights along the alleys are either knocked down or simply missing from their supports, exposing bare wires.
- The electric carts that transport tourists through the narrow alleys are silent. As they don’t use any means of warning of their approach, you have to keep a constant watch when they come behind you and get out of the way on the grass. A very discreet sound like a ding dong coming from these vehicles would help.
- we experienced some electric black-outs during our stay and judging by what the staff was saying it occurs every now and then.
- many of the buildings need a paint job

The public washrooms:
- none of them have paper in the paper dispenser, and in some the soap is missing
- in most of them the stall doors either don’t close or don’t lock , you have to hold the door while inside.
- At the handicap restroom near the main buffet restaurant the door can’t be locked and there is no light, when you close the door you’re left in complete darkness.

The main buffet restaurant:
- food = 3.5 star at best
- at lunch time the soup is not always replenished, we repeatedly found the soup bowl empty
- some warming lights are not lit therefore part of the food is only lukewarm
- at times there are empty spaces between the display trays creating the impression of not enough food selection, or food not being replenished.
- Looking out from the restaurant, towards the bamboo grove, there is a big piece of equipment, looks like a refrigeration unit, laying on its side, abandoned between the bamboo trees

The room 3828:
- the toilet door wouldn’t stay closed, I had to hold it every time I used the toilet.
- The air conditioning is noisy, it’s maybe an old model, I assume all rooms are the same
- There is no clock in the room, so bring your own.
- On our last night we wanted to iron our clothes for the morning departure and when we tried to use the iron, some plastic parts flew off. We plugged it in anyway but it got only slightly warm. The iron is unusable.
- The web site was saying about each room having a DVD player, so we brought some DVD’s just in case. As we had two rainy days we tried to watch a movie but couldn’t: we had image but no sound. The people at the reception couldn’t help; they said there may be a sound system mismatch.
- The good: the room was kept spotless by the maid, with towel sculptures and flowers. The bar was replenished daily. Thank you.

The pool:
- the two Jacuzzi pools are empty and fenced off, it looks like they haven’t been used for quite a while.

The A la Carte restaurants:
- the Asian restaurant featured on the website is closed. We looked through the window, it’s not a pretty sight, dusty and deserted.

The beach:
- Despite the raving reviews, we found the beach not so great. Cuba has other beaches that are better (see Santa Lucia for ex.)
- it is true that the sand is very fine but we found the Megano beach (the closest to the resort) quite narrow, with waves at high tide just feet from our chairs under the palapas.
- The palapas are low, so mind your head if you’re taller than 5”5 or you’ll end up with concussions.
- The shower at the west end of the beach is not working.

The tourists:
- this resort is a preferred destination for Quebec tourists. They tend to be noisy, the bigger the group, the noisier.

Iberostar Ensenachos doesn’t have the exotic glamour of it’s sister resorts in Jamaica or Dominican. If you’re looking for palm trees and room with ocean view, you’ll not find it here. This resort is buried in a mangrove forest, through which there are two paths that lead to the beach.
The only real 5 star asset that this resort has is its staff: plite, always smiling and ready to help. We tipped every chance we got. They fully deserved it.

Don’t get me wrong, we like Cuba and we’ll definitely go back again, but back to the 3.5 stars. We know we’ll get what we paid for and we are cool with that, but at least we won’t waste an extra $1,000 per couple only to be disappointed.
We would definitely not return to this place unless they lower the rating to 3.5 stars and also lower the ticket price accordingly.

Emily and Alex, traveled as a couple, April 2014

  • Stayed April 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brenda C, Manager at Iberostar Ensenachos, responded to this review, April 28, 2014
Dear Alex P,

On a behalf of the staff and management here at IBEROSTAR Ensenachos we would like to thank you for your review. However, we feel sorry that our hotel was not up to your expectation. We assure you that improvement, in all our services are an ongoing process and our priority is guest satisfaction.I will forward your review to all our Head of Departments; they will take you comments into consideration. Due the DVD you have to see if it is compatible or not, for the Jacuzzi and the Asia restaurant yes they have been closed since IBEROSTAR took the hotel and we are asking to the owner to get them fixed that it is why in some brochures are not advertized.We do hope, to have another opportunity in the near future, to make your holiday unforgettable. If you decide to give us another chance, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Kind Regards

Online Reputation Manager
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dartmouth
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 27, 2014

I really enjoyed my stay here. I love to salsa dance and the staff here were more than happy to accommodate me. I had a one hour lesson every evening with one of the animation team; Pedro or Junior who are great dancers. The animation team is fun and friendly. I do not have small children but noticed that they have very pleasant, capable babysitters who care and entertain your children while you relax.
The property is lovely and the grounds are well maintained. The room was in need of refurbishment but was clean and comfortable. All the rooms are designed that you each have a very private patio.
They have lovely swimming pools and a really nice pool area for small children.
The food is good and plentiful; not what we are use to in Canada but you won't go hungry.
They have a lovely outdoor amphitheater and the entertainment was good.
I look forward to a return visit next year and to being reacquainted with the friendly staff.

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Brenda C, Manager at Iberostar Ensenachos, responded to this review, April 29, 2014
Dear frenchyDorthmouth,

On behalf of the staff I want to thank you for giving us your comments about your experience at IBEROSTAR Ensenachos. We are pleased to have given to you a great holiday and encourage us to keep improving our services. We hope to offer you again our hospitality whenever you decide.

Cordially,

Online Reputation Manager
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Barrie, Canada
Top Contributor
53 reviews 53 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 26, 2014

In 2007 I stayed at this resort when it was known as Royal Hideaway. It was an oasis of beauty in a setting that was outstanding. In the last seven years however, the resort has changed hands and is now owned by the Iberostar chain. It became apparent as soon as I walked into the lobby that things had changed. The couches and chairs in the lobby are tired and run down and need to be replaced as soon as possible. Cushions have lost their shape and are not very clean. The staff are still the best and are some of the most friendly and helpful you'll find anywhere in the Caribbean.

I stayed in the spa section in bungalow 21 which is the perfect location in case you're looking for something quiet combined with closeness to the main building and easy access to the beach. Although well appointed and clean the small details need attention such as paint and crack repairs. Heat and humidity can destroy wood and concrete if not maintained on a regular basis. Iberostar needs to start spending some money on maintenance. This once beautiful place will start to decline rapidly unless more is done to keep up the maintenance.

As for food, it's Cuba so you have to expect the food to not be the same as some other nearby islands. You won't starve but you also won't find five star dining. Keep that in mind and you'll be fine. The beach buffet was pretty good as was the buffet down by the pool bar in the spa section. Staff at the pool buffet were also excellent and bent over backwards to get me a meal that was a little outside the box. Don't expect too much from the a la carte restaurants. You may end up at the buffet to finish the night off. Keep in mind that Wednesday is lobster night at the buffet and that was very good.

Shows at night were fun and there was lots to do for the kids at the early shows. Lots of interaction between show staff and the kids. It looked like great fun for them. The adult shows were also fun and the Michael Jackson tribute had everyone on their feet. Mariachi bands roam through the lobby on many nights and are very good as well.

Our group of 6 took the catamaran excursion for $103 convertible pesos each (at 1.15 exchange rate CDN). We were a little disappointed the boat only stopped once to allow for snorkeling. In the past we had at least two stops to get in the water. It does included a dolphin interaction part and lunch in a restaurant but the increase in price may have you looking at some other excursion for your money. I don't think I'd do this again.

The grounds, beach and setting are still spectacular and are second to none in the area. The beach is very calm and is nice and shallow to allow for kids and adults recreation alike. If you want a seat in the shade at the beach you have to be down at 6 am to put your towel on the chairs. Just after lunch people start heading up to the pools so chairs start to become available in the afternoon.

It's still a great place overall and if this had been my first trip my rating may have been higher but I keep comparing it to how the Royal Hideaway looked after the resort. It's not the same place but it's still a pretty decent place to spend a week with or without kids. Just remember it's Cuba and the food isn't the best and you'll be fine.

The worst part was the airport at departure time. It can't handle the volume that they are currently trying to put through it. We spent at least two hours in three different lines before we actually entered the departure lounge. A major PITA to say the least.

Room Tip: Bungalow 20, 21 and 22 in the spa section are close to the main building and beach access with a sho...
See more room tips
  • Stayed April 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brenda C, Manager at Iberostar Ensenachos, responded to this review, April 28, 2014
Dear kuzzy1967,

First of all I would like to thank you for taking the time for writing to us about your experience at the IBEROSTAR Ensenachos. I am very sorry if this experience did not match your expectations and by the fact you have not been satisfied with your stay at our hotel. Of course that the years have passed and since you came on 2007 was only 1 year this hotel had in operation and everything was almost new, and now it is the same hotel but with almost 7 years more older . Since 3 years ago IBEROSTAR took on the Management of the hotel , it is very important that this get clear also with our new operation became a Family hotel were now kids and family are very welcome. We are working on a daily basis with the maintenance of the hotel of course in the low season it is when we take profit and we try to do more without disturbing our guest. On behalf the Lobster night we do not have a fix day.If you decide to give us another chance, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Wish you all the best

Online Reputation Manager
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Additional Information about Iberostar Ensenachos

Address: Villa Clara, 52700, Cuba (Formerly Royal Hideaway Ensenachos)
Location: Caribbean > Cuba > Cayo Ensenachos
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Cayo Ensenachos
Hotel Class:5 star — Iberostar Ensenachos 5*
Number of rooms: 506
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

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