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“worth a Million dollars.”

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Islazul Costa Morena
Ranked #10 of 12 Hotels in Santiago de Cuba
London Ont. Canada
Level Contributor
10 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
“worth a Million dollars.”
Reviewed January 28, 2014

Just returned from 2 weeks (Jan 12 to 26 ) at the Costa Morena. The views from the rooms, the restaurant and pools are worth a Million dollars. The rooms are standard Cuban rooms clean but dated and in of need maintenance. Air conditioner and beds were satisfactory. However one day we did not have towels for our shower. The staff in general are quite and more attentive to the repeating customers. The Lobby bar was the exception as the bartenders there were all pleasant and friendly. The few locals around all wanted something. Prostitutes with older men was the norm. They were not flaunting the act nor disrespectful The bars would run out of provisions at time but this is standard at most Cuban hotels I have been to. I would recommend this hotel to some one looking to relax and not expect the world for what you are paying..

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
5 Thank Grumpi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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189 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (56)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Pickering, Canada
Level Contributor
8 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
Reviewed January 21, 2014

We traveled Dec 25-Jan 1- they had some staff dressed in Christmas costumes singing carols and rum punch was given. Young person to help with the bags when we got there but not to leave; can exchange currency at the hotel- I exchanged $100 CAD and rec'd $90 CUC.
The food was repetitive but once hungry, you can always find something- they had bread daily, cheese, rice and meat and some veggies- bring what you like eg, PB and Nutella; they had ketchup but not how we like it; they had cereals and eggs were made to order. There were fries and hamburgers at the pool, but the fries were extra, extra greasy and not crispy, but some people loved them that way. The ocean was heavy most of the time; the little lagoon was nice for beginner snorkelers or just chilling in the water. The pool was nice. Lots of storm damage and the repairs were very slow. I attached some pics. Staff very friendly; a nurse on site 24/7- she sees her family once a month or so.
Yes, lots of men do go down there and 'rent' a prostitute for a week or whatever; the staff know them and are accepting. The girls keep to themselves and appeared nice, the one or two that we spoke with. There is a store to purchase rum, cigars, items you may have forgotten, sunscreen, bottled water, bathing suit, cookies-
The pillows were not comfortable and neither were the beds; A/C worked when it wanted to but we were facing the ocean so the breeze was nice; one can keep their sliding glass door open all the time with no fear of someone coming in. But the mosquitos don't need an invitation- they come in from the bathrooms mostly and are numerous mostly at night- bring repellant. The maid cleaned daily- yes, the towels are not washed daily, to save on water, detergent, etc, but at home do we always have a fresh towel daily? I guess if you leave it on the floor she may exchange it- I brought my beach towel to not depend on theirs. Plus they don't have pool towels like bigger resorts- you're on your own.
If one does not like smoking, stay away from the pool area.
We found it hard to sit at a table by the pool and not have smoke all around us and many, many people had cartons and cartons of cigarettes and smoked where they wanted. We just moved every so often. They had dancing etc. at night but was not interested to go. New Years night there would have been lots of goings on but we had an early start and didn't bother; and they were okay with my 10 yr old being there. They do try to entertain and one guy speaks French, Spanish and English. A vast majority of the staff do not speak English but they try.
At the airport, one can purchase trinkets like key chains, cigars etc. They had bottles of rum and other spirits- I bought Cuban Honey for $2.50 (pesos)- this week as I write this, the same Cuban honey is on sale for $2.99 CAD, here at one of our Chinese stores- I thought it was exclusive to Cuba (LOL)-
I found many lovely shells and rocks- some rocks had red dots on them- quite intriguing, not sure what that was about.
Bottom line, I enjoyed my time there, just wanted to relax and enjoy not being in -25 degree weather. I would go back but not right away. Most of these 2* resorts are basically the same anyway; lower your expectations and make the most of it- if you complain about every little thing, you won't have a good time.

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
5 Thank 8Jaye8_B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
St. Catharines, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed January 20, 2014

My idea of snorkeling is lots of reef, lots of fish and 5+ meters of water - didn't find it here.

When the tide is up, you have a couple feet of water in a tidal pool area and its protected from the waves. If you only know or like to float around on the surface within an arms reach to the bottom, yes you will see some interesting things here and think its great. The snorkeling here is for todlers!!!
I made my way outside to the ocean and found a couple small reefs but it was pretty wavy and churned up so vis was not too good. Further out it did clear up nicely. Happened to meet some local guys spear fishing out there and hung around with them for a couple hours, but not a lot to see. We came out way west of Morena and met up with their buddies who had also been out spearfishing. They took every fish they found including a 5ft Baracuda, green Moray also about 5ft, lots of conch(deshelled), and even Lionfish.
Went to Playa Juragua (Halfway back to Santiago near Bucanero resort). Once I swam out thru the shallow crap, 3-400 yards or so, there was some pretty neat stuff to check out there.
If you want to Scuba, that's at Club Amigo/Corales resort a bit further east.

Room Tip: Decent place for the lowest price, you get what you pay for. So don't expect luxury with gourme...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Niagara Ed S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Montreal, Canada
Level Contributor
17 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed January 11, 2014 via mobile

We went between christmas and 1 of january 2013. I read a lot of reviews before and it is right ,you have to go with an open mind. The hotel is not a great one you have to ask the 500 and 600 blocks which had some redo ( the rest is like a cave), the maid only came once to clean the room and they don't give clean towels( don't ask for new towels because they take it from your room put it outside to dry and sometimes they mix with ones from other rooms). It is a hotel where there are cubans and Canadians .
The food is cuban don't expect a feast but you can always find something. These are the negative sides.
If you want to relax this is the place to go,the pool and natural pool by the seaside is great and very clean,there is entertaining during the day: water volleyball,aqua gym,bingo,dance classes. The stuff is awesome they do their best that you feel good and have a great time. The temperature is the best in whole Cuba 31-34 degrees,and is a very picturesque place with mountains and sea. In general is good just don't expect big things and low price. If you go prepared it can be pretty and good and have an excellent vacation

Stayed December 2013, traveled with family
Helpful?
7 Thank Judith_abigail
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
sarnia,ont,Canada
Level Contributor
12 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 72 helpful votes
Reviewed September 16, 2013

Were do I start...Well the food was horrible even by Cuban standards, and anything that would be considered good ,was ushered out to their friends waiting at the back door to the dining room/kitchen. Even the Great cuban tourists staying at the resort were appalled by the selection,that speaks volumes right there doesn't it.The constant harassment of tourists for gifts was bad enough but have to take second in line to the prostitutes that were being served before paying staying guests was also concerning.now for the best one!!!!!! Having just come from the ocean to try and find soemthing edible for lunch, As i reached to lift the lid on the metal service tray i received a shock very minute as not to think that it was a schock but merely a pain in my elhand radiating up. Once the lid was open however is when things got really severe,not realizing that there was infact barred wires in contact with the server conecting it to 220 v as i reached in to the server with the tongs i reeceived a shock so severe that iwwas unable to let go of the tongs till they unplugged it. I have been around electricity and been shocked before but never like this...being a typical man i collected myself and try to get the other guest that noticed what happended not to make a fuss.I reported it to the staff who now was aware of it and their quick fix was to wrap the wires in cellophane.Whe reported to the hotel managerm ..the same day nothing was done till hours upon hours later.and given the severity of the shock it seemed that he just blew it off.not concerned in the leat.Hola tours in deling with this matter was just as bad and I would not recommend flying ir booking a trip with Hola....THEY SUCK!I would copy and paste the letter that they replied with but have been instructed not to do so pending further actions on my part! Pleaser dont waste your hard earned money1.DO OTGO HERE

Room Tip: The rooms wouldnt be the problem!
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
8 Thank Dave E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers are raving about these Santiago de Cuba hotels

Algonquin Provincial Park, Canada
Level Contributor
15 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 97 helpful votes
Reviewed April 25, 2013

Perfect location right on the ocean. The rooms are decent always kept clean by the maid and quiet at night. From your patio or balcony the ocean is right in front of you. The grounds are kept nice and the pool is cleaned every day.The staff are friendly and will try to help you if they can.

A few bumps in the road at a two star in Cuba are to be expected. However when they start adding up it becomes tiresome. No orange juice all week no ice for a day and a half A/C broke three times no hot water all week no water at all for a day. On the weekend the resort fills with Cubans which was fine but when the weekend was over there was nothing left. For two sittings a the buffet the grill was not even open. The food is iffy at the best of times then after the weekend even that was hard to find.

Momma at the pool grill was the highlight of the week she will dance for you and make the best french fries anywhere good burgers too when she had them. But again after the weekend no fries left only banana chips left for the last two days we were there.

There was a store there but it was hit and miss if it was open and not much in it.

All in all we met a lot of nice people there and had a good week. However until they upgrade some of the equipment, plumbing and wiring be prepared a rough ride. The shortages of food and booze also need to be addressed. In all fairness the staff try hard to help you but cannot give what they don't have. I know you get what you pay for but there comes a point in time when too many little things add up this is why I give it a poor rating but it could be so much more.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
12 Thank ratwalto
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed April 12, 2013

My maiden travel had the most amazing time!!! THANK YOU COSTA MARENA!!

We were greeted upon arrival with rum punch, Eloy was at the bar and his beautiful wife checked us in.

My room in the 500 block was cleaned every day, however, my sheets weren’t changed and I only had fresh towels once.

The food in the dining room was plentiful and many choices, Chicken, Pork, Beef & Turkey. The serving staff is always eager to assist in any way possible. The best cappuccino after dinner every evening at the reception area bar.

Mama at the snack bar made the most fantastic French fries, and we got to enjoy her dancing a few times also.

The pool was one my favorite places to be, lazing on one of the lounge chairs (plentiful) and just jumping into the water was perfect. Played “BINGO BONGO” at 4:00pm.

The disco was so much fun I danced all but one night and was learning to salsa. Pina Colada, Rum and Cola, Tequila – need I say more.

Took a horse & buggy ride into one of the local villages, very fascinating. Another day went into Santiago by cab $20 CUC and wandered around the streets to purchase some artwork and gifts, than enjoyed some lunch on the roof top by the main square.

Met some wonderful people. You all made this time away the most memorable.

Many thanks to Jesus and his wonderful bar staff, Manuel and the other security folks and of course the entertainment staff and DJ. All are 5star in my books.

I will most definitely go back to this resort….Planning for the fall.

Room Tip: 500 block is nice and close to the pool, 600 block has some more updated rooms.
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
9 Thank teresaj882
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Islazul Costa Morena

Property: Islazul Costa Morena
Address: Carretera de Baconao Km 38 1/2 Sigua | Baconao Park, Santiago de Cuba, Cuba
Location: Caribbean > Cuba > Santiago de Cuba Province > Santiago de Cuba
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #10 of 12 Hotels in Santiago de Cuba
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:2 star — Islazul Costa Morena 2*
Number of rooms: 115
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Also Known As:
Islazul Costa Morena Hotel Santiago De Cuba
Islazul Costa Morena Santiago De Cuba

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