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“Fantastic value,with a few minor quirks”

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Club Amigo Farallon del Caribe - Marea del Portillo
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Pilon
Hagersville, Canada
Level Contributor
20 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
“Fantastic value,with a few minor quirks”
Reviewed April 1, 2014

We stayed at the Farallon section in the superior room from March 13-20 2014.We had a great time and received a great value even with a few minor quirks.
The hotel is quite clean and staff is friendly.The rooms were nice and comfortable and most have good views.
The pool at the Farallon and Marea section were nice and always warm.We never had a hard time getting chairs at the pools or beach.Even though our trip partially overlapped the March break the hotel didn't seem anywhere near capacity.The beach is unswimable at the Farallon but is ok at the Marea and is a relatively short walk.It is dark sand so gets quite hot.
The restaurants are adequate though unspectacular.The spit roasted pig was great though.Snack bars are convenient and provide decent burgers ,fries,etc.
If your into hiking the hills beside the hotel provide some decent trekking.We found the easiest access behind the tennis courts.I recomend going on windy days to help keep the bugs away.
The evening shows were casual and fun.The entertainers genuinely seemed to be enjoying themselves.Our 8 year old girls had a blast dancing along.
The VIP package is a definite no brainer.It includes a scenic sunset cruise,2 trips to cayo blanco,late checkout and in room safe as well as room upgrade.
Cayo blanco is an island with a nice white sand beach and includes drinks and a delicous barbeque.Washroom facilities are the only negative here.Toilets have no water so no flush and there is no doors on stalls and no sinks.An outhouse with holding tank would be preferable.Pass on this trip if you have an upset stomach that day,trust me.
Bugs at dusk and at night at the beach bar can be quite nasty.No-see-ums I guess they are and pack a mean bite.Bug repellent didn't really help us.The price we pay for this beautiful natural surroundings.
Don't forget sunscreen or toothbrushes! I forgot both at our Toronto hotel.I guess it must be hard to import such things because neither of the hotel stores carry either and our Sunwing rep had no idea were we could obtain any,She didn't even think it would be available in town.Crazy that the store would have a large variety of shampoos,hair sprays and even dye but no sunscreen?!
If you are a diver the prices are very reasonable and pretty scenic.$35 per dive including equipment and the gear we rented was actually pretty good and new.
All in all I was glad we chose this hotel and will likely be coming back.

  • Stayed March 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank Charles W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
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English first
Huntsville
Level Contributor
12 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 169 helpful votes
Reviewed March 31, 2014

My Feb. 26, 2014, trip to Club Amigo Marea del Portillo and Farallon del Caribe was not my first visit to this charming little Cuban resort.

I want to be up-front about that because it’s an important point – I am a “repeater.” I will not give a one-off critique of a place I happened to stay at once because it was cheap; I will provide an honest commentary about why I keep going to this resort and what has changed since I began visiting in 2009.

I am a repeat guest at this resort for several reasons. First, as many people note in other reviews, the scenery is phenomenal. Located on the southern sole of Cuba, in the historically significant province of Granma, this resort is on the rim of a peaceful bay, on the cusp of the Sierra Maestra Mountains. Do you prefer the mountains or the ocean? Here, you don’t have to choose – it’s the best of both worlds!

You can go swimming, kayaking or sailing from the back porch of the hotel, so to speak. But, if you’d rather go for a hike, just head out a different door of the hotel and hit the trail. Or, if you want to simply sit and relax, you can watch the sun rise over the mountains and/or set over the ocean. If lazing about isn’t your cup of rum, however, you can take a bike trek, go for a horseback ride, participate in one of the many interesting excursions the resort offers, or just explore on your own.

There are options available for anyone of any fitness level. That is another reason to like this resort – it has something for everyone. There are the usual sorts of poolside activities, of course, but there are also opportunities to learn about the community and culture. You can take a tour of local villages, visit a farm, go on a “Jeep” excursion (in Suzuki 4X4s) or take the Manzanillo Art Tour – a new day-trip that was launched while I was there in February. And, if you like local art and crafts, be sure take a stroll to the rotary at the resort’s main entrance; you’ll find a nice selection of souvenir booths there almost every day. Crafts are also intermittently available by the pool at each hotel.

Not sufficiently entertained yet? Well, don’t miss the evening entertainment that’s offered at both hotels – the Marea and the Farallon (which is open in high season only). These shows are high-energy variety nights that generally include live music, comedy and dancing. As a repeat guest, I can tell you there are some consistent elements and schticks but there are also new skits, new dance routines and new costumes on display every year, as well as new bands that feature some incredibly talented local musicians. As well, for those who want to party into the night, there’s a disco on the beach, where the d.j. will take requests.

I can also tell you, as someone who has been paying attention over the years, that this little resort has been working hard to make annual physical improvements. This past year, for instance, they did a major overhaul of the Marea Hotel dining room, and it looks great! They’ve created a new a la carte restaurant at the Farallon Hotel, added more outdoor beach showers and patios at the Marea Hotel, upgraded the Marea cabañas and enhanced the grounds in general. It just keeps getting better, each and every year!

Other improvements include more shaded seating at the Marea poolside snackbar, as well as more choices of snacks (although supplies do sometimes run low). The food at the resort, in general, has improved over the years, in my opinion. There’s more variety at the buffets and the new steamer tables at the renovated Marea dining room keep things hotter. My best repeat-guest dining tip is this: be sure to check what they’ve got on the grill before filling your plate at the buffet. The grills at both hotels always have the freshest, hottest meat, and sometimes vegetables too.

Here’s another repeater tip: book the VIP package. It is available with Superior Rooms at the Farallon or Cabañas at the Marea, which are the only two hotels in the main complex – the Punta Piedra Hotel is technically part of the resort but is actually located 5 km down the road. The VIP package includes two trips to an idyllic island called Cayo Blanco, a lobster meal, a Sunset Cruise, free use of the in-room wall safe, etc. You can pay for these options separately after you arrive but, if you do the math, you’re better off being a VIP, which must be booked in advance.

The physical stuff aside, there’s another compelling reason to return to Marea del Portillo time and again: the people. I’m not just talking about the resort staff; I’m also referring to the community surrounding the facility. According to my own observation, reading and conversations with others, the people in this part of Cuba are some of the warmest, most welcoming folks in the entire island.

Maybe it’s just good, old-fashioned southern hospitality. Perhaps it’s because they aren’t as over-run with tourists as other parts of the country and, therefore, aren’t tainted by the inundation. I don’t know. Whatever it is, I like it. I appreciate the opportunity to chat with the locals and get to know their culture in a more up-close and personal way – not just observing life through a bus window!

Why do I keep returning to this obscure resort in a rather remote, rural part of Cuba? I’ve fallen in love with the people, as well as the place itself. I feel at home here – peaceful, happy and safe. Guests are not warned to stay on the grounds; they are encouraged to explore the area and consider Marea del Portillo their second home. For many people who visit this resort regularly, it is a place of healing and rejuvenation, which is why they keep coming back. The rate of repeat clients here is among the highest in Cuba.

Club Amigo Marea del Portillo and Farallon del Caribe may be rated as a three-star resort but I consider that a mere technicality. People say ‘you get what you pay for’ but, here, I truly believe you get MORE than you pay for!

Room Tip: The VIP package is a good value - for either Superior Rooms at the Farallon Hotel or Cabañas at the...
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  • Stayed February 2014, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
17 Thank JennyC-Muskoka
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed March 30, 2014

My boyfriend and I just returned from a week long stay at Marea Del Portillo- Club Amigo (there is another hotel up the hill called the Farallon, which you can also visit and use; the third one called the Punta Piedra has apparently been shut down for tourists as of a couple of weeks ago).
It was absolutely amazing. I felt extremely safe and comfortable the whole time I was there (which is something I don't experience in the Dominican or Mexico) and worried about the locals 0% of the time. One day a group of 6 of us actually went to a local's home for a big lobster and shrimp lunch (it was amazing!!). The culture and people who live in Cuba are so beautiful, it was such a great experience to go into town.
There are a lot of older people at the resort, as we met some people who have been to the resort 60+ times (it has been open for 34 years). The average number for most of the older people we spoke with was around 20 times throughout the last 34 years. This is unbelievable to me, as I have never been to a resort that had such loyal guests. After our stay though it was clear why. The resort has absolutely everything you need. A pool, an amazing beach, buffet, snack bars, nightly entertainment, amazing room service and even a disco with a 24 hour bar and snack bar!
Having said all of that, it is clear that the resort is clearly geared towards older citizens and couples. We were likely the youngest couple of the resort (21 years old) however we made friends with many of the locals, most of the regulars, the staff and plenty of other couples as well. We never had a dull moment!
Service-AMAZING
Value-UNREAL
Sleep Quality- Rooms were all A/C, with extra blankets in case it was needed
Cleanliness- very good, some rooms have open windows in the bathroom, sometimes little ants were present but this was not alarming for me
Location- SO beautiful, the mountains and the whole area is absolutely stunning (many opportunities to hike and tour through them).. you also have the option to go on a boat and travel to Cayo Blano (white sand beach island close by)
Rooms- We were in the very standard "Hotel" room, water was hot, room was A/C, room was clean, little ants sometimes were present but this was not too alarming to me
Room Service- AMAZING! I did not even get a safe and I ALWAYS get a safe!

We will 100% be back!

REMEMBER TO TIP! These people make 10$ a month in wages, if even that

  • Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Kids M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Meaford, Canada
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed March 30, 2014

To be fair to the average traveler I rated the Marea a "3". For me it is a "5". I absolutely love the laid back style here - no pretense here as in so many other resorts. This was my 4th time here and hope to be returning again next year. I explain it to people as going to the farm. Yes, there are sheep and goats wandering around and everything is very simple but it is all part of the charm. We have made many friends here. In response to an earlier review, you may think the lifeguards are not paying attention but I know first hand they are after one of our group last year was stung by a jellyfish. It was also evident again this year with someone being stung and the lifeguard was right there. When people decide that they don't have to swim within the limits of the buoys, the lifeguards are there blowing their whistles calling them in! I have no qualms about their commitment to the safety of the guests.

If you want a nice room and pool then stay up at the Farallon. If you prefer the beach and aren't so fussy about your room then the standard room is best choice. I haven't stayed in a Cabana but they are located at the end of the resort and not the nicest part of the beach.

As for the bugs....it seems if you sit under the trees, that's where they seem to be. We did have some in our bathroom this year so sprayed bug spray around the baseboards and that took care of them!

If you want a no-frills holiday, then I would highly recommend this place!

Room Tip: We stayed in room #128 this year which is right by the gazebo for sitting out at night. Also, there...
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  • Stayed March 2014, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank Lynn A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Niagara Falls, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed March 27, 2014

I ended my vacation to Marea Del Portillo yesterday and I had a great, relaxing and stress free vacation. I stayed at the Club Amigo Marea Del Portillo. Not the Farallon. Although I had use of both properties, I prefered my resort because it sat right on the beach. The thing about "cheap" vacations is that you risk having an awful experience (as I have had once or twice before!)...but this resort was well above my expectations and here is a summary of why....

THE SERVICE
The staff at this resort are very friendly, attentive and made me feel very welcome. That's a huge plus for me. I've paid alot more for 5 star resorts in Dominican and received very poor service.

THE FOOD
Yeah its Cuba and it's basic but there are many opportunities to spice up your plate. I mistly avoided the buffet tables and went to the grill where the chef would customize your order. I had fried fish, chicken, pork or burgers most nights. There were lots of salads and pastas for sides. Breakfast was great - I had my two fried eggs cooked sunnyside up and bacon was added a couple of days (yum). There are snacks served by the pool everyday so I really ate well.

THE ROOMS
Again, its Cuba. Its basic. But the room looked onto the beach and each morning I was greated by the sound of the ocean and a beautiful sunrise. I had hot water all day, everyday....and the maid was very friendly and warm. I left her a big tip for her great attitiude and warm smile.

THE AMENITIES
The pools were well maintained and clean. The activities were great - morning water exercises, bingo and daily dance lessons from a very energetic MC. I was never hassled the way I was in Dominican. No one ever asked me to buy anything and that was a welcome treat.

My only complaint is the fact that the resort is 90 minutes from the Airport. They use modern, air-conditioned buses which is great but the ride was a bit of a chore because it was at night and I couldnt see anything. I wish SUNWING would return the Cuba flights to the morning like they used to be!!

In summary. If you want a great vacation for cheap, this is the place to go. A+ FOR LOW DOLLARS.

Room Tip: Ask for a Beach view!
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  • Stayed March 2014, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank daviewj
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
toronto
Level Contributor
8 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed March 27, 2014

NIce large clean room. Ok food. Wide beach...(light gray)...warm ocean. Water is wavy...great for the kids. (although few youngsters there). I loved sitting under the trees to stay cool. Ocean was warm in February. HOWEVER!! a warning at the beach. The LIFEGUARDS are always trying to chat up tourists to make contacts and get stuff. To the point where often there is little attention paid to swimmers. I sat behind lifeguards, on the beach , every day....so I saw this firsthand and am not exaggerating. I would think the resort would be worried about this. They didn't seem to be.
The POOL was lovely, clean, warm....really a pretty good place. Just the lifeguard issue.

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank canadian069
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thornbury, Canada
Level Contributor
190 reviews
87 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 187 helpful votes
Reviewed March 22, 2014

I am an experienced traveller (have visited over 25 Caribbean islands, including ten times in Cuba: Cayo Santa Maria, Varadero, Havana, Holguin and Santiago de Cuba).
This Club Amigo resort is comprised of 3 sections: The Farallon, a four floor building which is terraced into a hillside with superior rooms facing the ocean and offering a spectacular view of the bay (and a few rooms with a lagoon view) and the surrounding mountains ; the Marea, which offers beach side cabanas and standard rooms located on the beach about 500 meters from the Farallon; and the Piedra, a cut-rate not-inclusive motel type location about 5 kms away. I stayed for 2 weeks in March, 2014. I had a room on the 4th floor of the Farallon building. The room was large, airconditioned (noisy),clean and offered amazing views (there is no bathtub, but the shower is very generous). The water was never hot, but warm enough for me. Housekeeping was excellent (kudos to Sandee?), the room had an in-room safe, minifridge, small t.v. which offered CNN, Canadian CTV, and an excellent movie channel, as well as several Spanish channels, and a Chinese station which offered martial arts instruction. The food was typically Cuban...plentiful and varied. (beef, chicken, rabbit, pork, fish, lots of carbs, fresh vegetables, fruit, bread, soup, etc)and there were omelet and grill stations.
There is a lovely pool/poolbar and easy access to the beach and water sports equipment. Music is played incessantly and loudly...it is hard to escape. Horses and goats wander at liberty through the property....nice but their excrement is every where.
A buffet restaurant with an outdoor section overlooking a lagoon, an poolside barbecue, a specialty restaurant, and a beach snack bar provide the food...and ALL guests have access to all the facilities at the Marea as well (and vice versa).
I found the staff to be less well-trained here; some of them (the men) seemed more interested in socializing than serving, but overall the service was acceptable. While the resort advertises tennis courts and a gym, they are both derelict and unserviceable...even dangerous.
The VIP package includes a boat trip to an island for snorkelling and a barbecue, free in-room safe, and a minifridge stocked with bottled water, a bottle of rum, beer and pop on arrival It is NOT replenished, but there are stores onsite from which additional restocking can be purchased.
WARNING 1: There was an outbreak of food poisoning there during my stay and many were affected.. I contracted it from eating the fish at the beach snack bar on my 10th day there(poor food-handling hygiene, cross-contamination and just plain carelessness).
WARNING 2: I have never been bitten so much on any trip to the Caribbean before. The mosquitoes here are voracious stealth bombers. I had at least 15 ongoing bites which cleared up only a week after leaving.
WARNING 3: Some of the most ignorant smokers visit here. They smoke, spit and generally make one ashamed to be a french-Canadian. Cigars seems to dwell comfortably in the hands of those most obese.
WARNING 4: It is a 2 hour bus ride from the Manzanillo airport (our bus ran out of gas, so the trip took 5 hours). The airport is very small and very disorganized.
Still this place offers an inexpensive vacation, great weather, and wonderful scenery.
FULL DISCLOSURE: I met many guests who were repeat guests (as many as 12 times or more)....which just goes to prove that you can please some of the people all of the time.

Room Tip: Fourth floor, western end offers great views and the quietest conditions. All rooms have either bal...
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  • Stayed March 2014, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
9 Thank Nigel G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Club Amigo Farallon del Caribe - Marea del Portillo

Property: Club Amigo Farallon del Caribe - Marea del Portillo
Address: Carretera Granma, km. 12 1/2 | Marea del Portillo, Pilon 87900, Cuba
Location: Caribbean > Cuba > Granma Province > Pilon
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
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
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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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