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Islazul Costa Morena
Ranked #7 of 12 Hotels in Santiago de Cuba
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“You get what you pay for”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 25, 2014

I stayed in Costa Morena for one week with my daughter.
Good Things:
Coffee
Snorkling
pool
friendly staff
Nice patio for night show

Bad Things:
The room
Heavy cigarette smoking in the main lobby where a lot of children also have to hung out at night
air condition not working, toilet seat broken
Noise coming from other guest if you are in the building across from the main lobby

Will I go there again or recommend? No

  • Stayed March 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank toyota2007
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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188 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (56)
Date | Rating
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  • Any
English first
Toronto
Level Contributor
7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 14, 2014

Getting there and check in and the front desk: The ride from the airport was about 50 minutes. Check in was smooth. They even changed my room for me without any hassle. I was initially set to get a room in the first block. But I read some bad reviews about it, and asked for 5th or 6th block and I got it.

If you need to change money, make sure you do it at the airport. The front desk always ran out. And make sure you have small bills with you if you're going to venture out. Sometimes the stores don't have change for you.

The room: I've been to Cuba quite a few times, and have stayed at 2.5 and 3 star resorts before. But this is the first time I've had a room without a closet. Just a hanger bar in the room near the bed and 2 night tables and a small desk. Not a holiday breaker. I use packing cubes so my clothes were always organized. I highly recommend them.

The toilet in the room was slow flushing. I consider that an irritant. I asked for it to be repaired. The repair man did show up the next day, but little changed. It's the type of problem you come to expect when in Cuba (the other thing you come to expect, is being told the repair man will come to your room soon, even though you know he's gone home already because it's after 6pm and the receptionist your talking to is aware of this and is lying to you). The medicine cabinet was also dirty..... that shouldn't happen. There was only warm water there for the first 2 or three days. After that, showering became a game. I also find I itch alot at night on the bed when trying to sleep. I'm assuming I'm allergic to the soap they use to wash the bedding. I can understand why some people bring their own sheets.

The food: Buy cuban standards it was ok. The first day there, the first meal was lunch. They didn't have much. They had fish and spaghetti along with some side dishes. Both the fish and the pasta was good, so no complaints really. I've only once been to a resort in Varadero where the food was terrible. They typically had pork or beef and chicken and or fish. Spaghetti was always available, along with 2 rices, salad, side dishes and desert. Sometimes they ran out of napkins. Always have kleenex on you in Cuba, even when in the resort.

Activities: Didn't do any excursions as I've been to the area before. But I brought a bike and did some cycling. Unfortunately, I lost my travel air pump the first day, and decided to keep my trips short after that, in case of a flat, which I did get. I went to Santiago a couple of times, with a guide, and there were no travel pumps to be found, which is what I expected anyway.

Santiago, to my surprise isn't nearly as tourist ready as Havana. No real outdoor cafes that I came across. And not alot of old cars around. Also, I didn't come across artists like you do on the streets in Havana selling their paintings. Maybe I just had a bad tour guide.

The other guests and staff: Sometimes what makes a trip for me more or less memorable is the other guests at the resort and the staff. This time around I did meet other friendly guests, which is great. But I have to say, in the last 2 years of trips there, I've noticed more Canadian women there hanging out with younger Cuban men than I've seen Canadian and European men hanging out with younger Cuban ladies. Except the Canadian women are always more touchy/feely than their male counterparts. I find it very entertaining to watch.

They had a disco at this resort. It was open 3 of the 7 nights there. Me and my new resort friends went there. It was interesting that none of the Canadian women, except for one (my new touring buddy), would accept an invitation to dance with me. They were there only to dance with the Cuban men.

At one end of the disco, there was an iron fence, that separated the disco from the main road the hotel was situated on. On the other side of the fence, there were locals there hanging out. Not much else to do there. So it became their hang out, they could listen to music and watch drunk older Canadians trying to dance. The ladies of course were looking for business. But once they got that you weren't interested, they stopped asking you. In the end, me and a couple of the other guests found them to be friendlier than the other hotel guests. So we gave them some clothes as gifts. We also got them a few cokes from the bar. For this, we were cut off from ordering anything else for ourselves. And rightfully so I guess.

Trip highlights: Went for a bike ride the last night there. I was planning on doing a loop in farm country. I had found it on google maps and it was near the resort. It was only about a 7 km ride. But it was a little dark when I started out on my journey. By the time I was a third of the way through it, I decided to return the same way I came in, because by then it was pitch black out and the roads were really awful. On the way back, I came across a "y" and didn't realize it. I ended up in the mountains. That's when I new I was lost. But a very nice farmer ended up walking me back to the main road. It was a long walk. All's well that ends well.

Conclusion: I'd definitely go back if the price is right. The food was good enough. The scenery was great, with the ocean on one side of you and the mountains on the other. I also found a beach near by were you could walk out quite a ways and still be in shallow water. I don't swim, so this is great for me. The resort also had a natural pool that was protected from the rest of the ocean. Great place to practice your snorkeling. The only drawback for me was the distance from the resort into Santiago, in case you wanted some night life or a little more culture.

Thanks for reading.

Room Tip: Ask for block 5 or 6. They are newer but are further away from the buffet and the all night front lo...
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  • Stayed April 2014, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank internal_calm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 22, 2014

Trips come down to very simple things. Good company, state of mind and intentions on vacations.

Ive travelled to cuba many times and always to a five star hotel. I must add before my unbiased review is continued I have travelled to over 40 countries and do believe I have some valid points to make here. First and foremost as the last poster commented numerous times. it was 500 for one week. Flights round trip from Toronto to Vancouver ALONE will run you over 7 bills.

One week in the hot Cuban sun with a place to lay youre head is a blessing all in of itself.

Take Santiago for what it is. It is not the northern part of Cuba and is very different and unique

I always found something to eat, though anything lack luster and repetitive can be a bit yawns after a few days. But again, food is there and so are the free adult beverages.

Many prostitutes for sure. But who cares. These girls are starving for money and love and freedom, can you blame them. Both parties seem highly satisfied and they at least act like they are happy couples.

Rooms are truly just OK as well as every other aspect.

If you wanna be a king for a week, get a grip if youre looking for that at anything less than a five star and maybe try Bahamas that will cost you a thousands times the money!!

I had great company with me which made the trip all the better.

The staff is also AMAZING and if you tip one peso to everyone you interact with, you will be treated like a king there! I did and was like a queen for a week!! WONDERFUL !!
Thank you JACKSON!!!!

  • Stayed April 2014, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank Elizabeth C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kingston, Canada
Level Contributor
37 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 55 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 20, 2014

Mosquito bites:9 / Dead Mosquitos:11 .... I win.

First time in a 2 star, last time in a 2 star.

We took this because it was cheap ($500 ea, 7 days). You get what you pay for. Nice scenic spot on the southeast end of the island, about 40 min drive from Santiago, somewhat isolated at the foot of the Sierra Maestras, across from Jamaica, mon. The damaged coast road is no longer used. Complimentary drink on arrival.

Room 618 in Block 6 of 6 (farthest) was large, bright, clean, high ceiling. Comfortable bed & decent pillows for a change. About 26 rooms per block, all back onto the Caribbean, quite close. Quiet.

Many times to Cuba, so we expect mould, cracked tiles, water problems, etc. This area was hit by all of the last 5 hurricanes, recovery is in slow progress. Small staff doing their best. Popular with Canadian seniors: canes, walkers, beer guts, etc, some book every year for several months at very reduced prices. Best rooms are generally kept for these guests, so I understand. One old girl had a 4 month deal for $500 per MONTH.
You get what you pay for ....

Door onto balcony was a solid wood door, windows don't open. Block 5 has sliding glass patio-style doors, newer (I think) a/c. Our a/c was coated with the expected rust & pretty beat up, but worked OK despite no controls. Block 5 is the building to request, from what I saw. Our mini fridge in 618 didn't work, and was replaced immediately when we told them that my wife's meds needed to be kept cold. Very friendly people, like most of Cuba. CNN on TV, that's about it.

Bright white tile washroom had the usual fluctuating water temps. Never hot, but sometimes warm enough for a reasonable shower after running for 4-5 min while you clean up & brush your teeth. Entire new single lever tap assembly turned when I tried to move it to the warm position. Not secured to sink. Hey, 500 bucks ...

One pool. One restaurant. That's it. Three bars open at varying times. The bar by the pool shuts down at 6:00 pm, the one by the restaurant closes when the restaurant closes up. The bar by the lobby might be 24 hrs, not sure. Good cappuccino. GREAT fries from the small grill beside the pool Bar Marino, which made the worst mojito I ever experienced. Beer's always cold though. Prostitutes were no bother.

OK ... The food sucked. We know not to expect much, no one goes to Cuba for the food, but I had trouble with this. Coffee was never better than lukewarm, 2 large pans of rice per meal were always luke also. Shredded carrots, canned beets, bok choy. Spaghetti was always there. Liver dish three days in a row. Most "resorts" have about three choices of each dish (chicken, pork, beef, fish), here you choose 1 main dish, of two or three (eg, 1 pork dish, 1 fish dish, etc). First time I ever had difficulty finding something I liked for meals. Hurricane recovery, I guess is the problem. And it is after all, third world, so you have to consider. Staff tries hard, but omelets every morning is hard to take. Eggs can be fried up, but no bacon, sausage or ham to accompany. Cold mystery meat. Good bread. Hey, 500 bucks ... I filled up each morning on small pancakes & honey. Fresh fruit as well.

There is no beach. There's a natural tidal pool down past the restaurant, and I understand the snorkelling is great. They have a 'cement beach" you can walk along to the tidal pool, don't look for any sand. As flyboy9503 mentioned, the games room is now 2 small cubicles with a ping pong table (no equipment) on one side, a small pool table on the other, with four cues but no billiard balls. The original games room is a twisted hurricane wreck near the restaurant bar..

All in all, it's not such a bad site except for the food hazard. OK if you are on a tight budget and have low expectations or want to lose weight.
Hey, 2 stars, 500 bucks ... You get what you pay for ....

Room Tip: Ask for Block 5.
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  • Stayed April 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank CyKottick
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers are raving about these Santiago de Cuba hotels

Welland, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 15, 2014

This was my first time in cuba, and i did not enjoy going to this resort. Our hot water in the shower was left on for two days and we asked the front desk 4 times to come turn it off. The maids did not change our bed sheets all week. The food was poor, not much of a selection and most of the time it was cold. You can only use the hot water in the shower between 6-9 am and 5-9 pm, what an inconvience.

  • Stayed April 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Cassandra F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Port McNicoll
Level Contributor
17 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 92 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 20, 2014

The only reason why I am giving this resort an average review is because of the snorkelling. The natural pool, (a ladder down into the ocean), had an abundance of sea life. We even spotted a 2 foot barracuda and 2 eels near the sea wall. There is a living reef a short swim out on the other side of the coral.
We had a very nice room, beautiful view of the ocean and the sunset. The room was clean but I wound up fixing some of the problems with the plumbing myself. One Cuban minute has a whole new meaning here.
The buffet restaurant itself is a joke. I lost 8 lbs during our 2 week stay. I understand that there are limited supplies of certain foods on the island, but I think you can come up with more than cabbage done 4 different ways as your vegetable dish. For breakfast you are offered mayonnaise, (that has been sitting out in the heat with flies attaching themselves to it), in place of butter for your bread. We went in to the kitchen and asked for butter and only got it when 5 of us demanded it. They had it there, they just didn't want to put it out. Same with the ice cream for dessert at lunch and supper. We knew they had it in the back. We asked for the manager and he personally got it for us. The chef on one occasion was having a spat with his girl friend and worked the grill intermittently with the dish washer. Fries at the pool/snack bar were good when they had them available. I liked the dogs who used to sit outside and happily wait for some grub, but when they came into the restaurant and sniffed at your plate while you were up was a bit much.
I understand that this area was hit quite hard with hurricane Sandy, one resort which I used to frequent, (Club Amigo Buccanero), was wiped out completely. They are still doing repairs to the main road. The games room was nothing more than a closet. The one you see in the brochures is the old one that was destroyed.
There was supposed to be nightly entertainment, that was when the entertainment decided to show up. Shows were cancelled without any notice to the audience who was patiently waiting for over half an hour before they decided to tell us. There were no bikes to use because the bicycle mechanic hadn't come for a visit to the resort for quite a while.
The most frustrating part of this trip unfortunately were the staff. There were a few who were customer service oriented but for the majority it was ridiculous. I had maids coming up to me and asking me why my neighbor hadn't left a tip. I was asked for my camera, my clothes that I was wearing and money. I bring large quantities of gifts for the local people and the staff. I just ended up giving stuff to people who didn't ask, (and there weren't too many of them).
The price is excellent for people on a budget and you want to do a 2 week vacation, but that is about it. We won't be going back.

Room Tip: All rooms are ocean view. If you want something a little quieter try block 4. If you don't want...
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank susan b
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
canada
Level Contributor
11 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 6, 2014

They have a rec hall with a pool table, ping pong and also tennis courts elsewhere on the property. Could someone bring a set of
billiard balls as they have the cues but no balls. Nice place out in the country with not much around it. You will meet plenty of friendly people. Tip the servers $1 and they greatly appreciate it. Across the street you can arrange for a car ride into Santiago $70
or a buggy ride to the next resort past the aquarium for $5 each if you have 5 riders. All said you should have a good time but don't expect steak and potatoes. We had roast pig on our last night! Be careful in the water as there are urchins in the off resort swim areas and 3 of our fellow guests got prickles on their hands and feet. Every room has an ocean view!

Room Tip: 500 block is newer
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  • Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank flyboy9503
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 #7 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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