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“best "return on investment" ever seen”

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Islazul Costa Morena
Ranked #7 of 12 Hotels in Santiago de Cuba
Munich, Germany
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“best "return on investment" ever seen”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 31, 2011

We (European/Cuban-family with friends) booked some double rooms for just 42 CUC (34 EUR) each room/night, means two persons, all inclusive. Therefore we arrived with less expectation. Other hotels charge the triple and more. What we found was better than hoped for:

- breakfast with scrambled or fried egg, cheese, bakon, bread, butter, jam, sausage...

- lunch / dinner in buffet-style, diversified and fresh food, every day also fish or beef available. Try the "garbanzas"! More than enough food for all the guests, nearly no queuing. Sometimes live-music in the dining-hall. During the day there is also running a grill-station besides the pool-bar.

- drinks: all inclusive! Beer, cocktails, rum, whisky, vodka, wine (not very special), coffee, softdrinks, icecream. Even at night in the club-disco. Never seen that they run out in any drink.

- animation: existing, but without importunity. The guy, I forgot his name, was very funny and very friendly ("no me digas que rompiste otra bicicleta"). And yes, to rent a bicycle is free of charge, included.

- rooms: clean, really clean and big (also the balcony), well furnished with kingsize bed (comfortable), Sat-TV, telefon, fridge, air-condition. Clean towls are available whenever you want. All rooms with seaview.

- secureness: At the night there is security walking around. I don't remember if there was an safe in our room, but should be avaiable.

- stuff: All the waiters and bartender, reception, security, animation were very friendly and not just looking for tip. There was no problem to organize food and milk for our 11 month old baby (free of charge). Nobody was bothered because we took some dessert with us to our room (not for the baby - which is not really allowed). They speek English, French, a little bit of German and of course Spanish.

- facilities: Yes, in some corners should be made something. Some tiles are obviously not new, peanuts. The hole area is clean and planted very nice with trees and grass. The buildings are cared well. This are the points of interest.

- beach: nature stone, no sand. Don't forget to bring shoes.

- guests: Mostly from Canada. Some European also. Old and young. The Costa Morena has a lot of regular guests since years and also there are retired persons which spend weeks and month there. But young families are also wellcome.

- trips: Don't miss to visit the aquarium. It's very close to the hotel, can be made by bicycle. The aquariums are a little bit dark and not very special. But the delphine-show is great!

- not recommended for: beach-trips (no sandbeach), city-trips, buisness-trips, vain tourists which just want to pay for 2-3* and expect 5* and more.

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank PanchoHLG
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
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Montreal, Canada
Level Contributor
14 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 88 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 23, 2010

I just read a horrible review about costa morena, i urge anyonoe going there, to ignore this review, unfortunatly, the hotel was closed during the pas of huricane tomas, and they opened, leaving behind some necesities and some important issues to please their clientele, it is true, that the hotel, needs to select their cuban clients to mix with our candians, but, what happened before my arrival, will never happened again, i just came back, i have been in costa morena 15 times, always around this time of the year, and thereafter, the facilities of the hotel are awsome for what we pay for, if you looking for a nice beach, do not go there, but if you want relaxation, wonderful views, great food, great entertaiment and most of all a profetional and down to earth service, no , other hotel in cuba , gives what these people give to us, sure, sometimes lacks, of hot water, or maybe wine, or maybe they forget to place toilet paper in the public bathrooms, but just comnplaing, and it will be done, the cuban tourists, are a bit loud, some of them over drink, but, they are wonderful people, always happy, just try to talk to them, and they will behave their best, but, do not ignore them, for what we pay in costa morena, no other hotel in cuba will give you its value, i know, i have been in hole cuba from no stars hotel to 5 stars hotels, and to me costa morena is the best, you have a choice, pay more and go somewhere else, or pay less and get more, happy holidays to all

  • Stayed December 2010
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank pepita8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Morrisburg, Canada
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 14, 2010

My girlfriend and I booked a one month sta at the 2.5 star Costa Morena via Sunwing after reading the positive reviews on Trip Advisor. My son joined us for the first week on our stay. .
On arrival at the Santiago Airport we exchanged our money. The banker at money exchange whicket slipped an American 10 dollor bill in with the convertable peso bills. Be careful when exchanging your money. We arrived in Cuba when Hurricane Tomas was to hit. We were diverted to the Islazul Balcon Del Caribe for 2 nights as the Costa Morena had been under evacuation order. My room was poorly lit and scuzzy. We arrived at the Costa Morena late Saturday afternoon. The first four days were great, just like the reviews said. We thought we had found paradise. Great ocean view room in upper level of building 6. The resort had about 15 tourists. We pretty much had the pool to ourselves and it was quiet and relaxing which is just what were looking for.
Then on Thursday evening the nightmere started. First of the weekly and weekend Cuban tourist invasions began. Don't get me wrong, I've been to Cuba at least 25 times and have always loved mingling with the Cubans at the resorts. They ate and drank from 8:00a.m till bedtime. The litter around the pool and snack bar area attracted thousands of ants and even cockroches. It was Disgusting!. Plates, cups and food floated in the pool. Men seldom used the washroom, preferring to urinate wherever. A soiled diaper lay on the patio of the snack bar for 16 hours before someone finally picked it up! The horseplay around the pool was dangerous to say the least.

Forget about ordering French Fries at the snack far. Cubans were served first. By the time I was served all the fresh cut fries were gone - Frozen fries for the tourists!

In the dining hall one cuban child ate so much she vomited outside the dining room door. They loaded up their platesthen didn't eat it all. So much food was taken out in their bags the hotel may have used up their food budget for the season by years end. This occured every weekend and near the end of our stay they were arriving weekdays
as well. It costs them 15 cucs per day per person and $39 CUCs per couple per night.

FOOD:

Palatable but often cold and repetitive with the exception of the grilled meats. That was the only thing that was hot. Staff were good to replenish food on the buffet and get you anything you asked for. The first week there were 2 wait staff on. After that only one. It was a little much for one waiter. Especially when the Cubans were there. Birds flew about the dining hall, ate off the bread bar and deficated on tables and chairs.
Fresh cut fries, hamburgers, hotdogs(if you want a bun take at breakfast, they don't have buns at the snack bar). Mama does like her beer!.
The snack bar at the cement beach was not open, also no beer served there. No toilet facilities either. Great place to hang out when cuban tourists were there.(no beer and no food = no cuban tourists). We would leave for the day to avoid them, go to Santiago or the Los Corales.

BAR:

3 bars. One by the dining room was supposed to be run by wait staff, they were running off their feet, so it was pretty much self serve. Pool bar drinks I found were watered down, only rum, beer and a fewl liquors the first two weeks. After that they did serve vodka and tequilla. Bartenders were all friendly and courteous. They served you
in the order you came at the bar, regardless if you were Cuban or not.

ROOMS:

Large and spacious. Not fancy, but everything in good working order. When something did break down, it was fixed promptly. No hot water for bathing, actually we had hot water for three days out of the 28. Other wise cold, cold, cold.
Good lighting and lots of storage space, even a vaniety above the sink in the bathroom. We had 110 and 220 voltage in our rooms. No hairdryers. Walls are paper thin, keep your tv to a dull roar. If you are a non-smoker like me and you have smokers on either side it is not pleasant. As smoke wafts in beneath the adjoining doors and vents in the bathroom.

BEACH:

No sandy beach. A cement beach is how it is referred to. Numerous ladders situated along it. Water is only Thigh deep, deeper depending on the tide. Bottom is like a river bed. Water shoes are required. Good snorkelling. There are some nice shells to be found when walking up the beach towards the military base. Also, a nice place to swim. Deep, calm water in front of the base. Again, you will need water shoes.

ENTERTAINMENT:

Daily bingo game with a bottle of rum as the prize. In the disco area once a week there were 4 to 5 dancers and a not sogreat singer. Not well attended, a bit of a hike for some older folks and quite dark. Very few tourists at the resort.

CLIENTALE:

We met some very interesting folks during our stay. There are a good number of "Chicas" there with their older men.

STAFF:

Polite, courteous and efficient- aim to please. Only a few asked for things which in my case- if you ask for something or even if you hint that you want it you get nothing. 2 workers get top marks for their work- Esther the waitress and Daniel
the pool man. Animation staff were personable. However the only time there was activities other than bingo was when the Cuban tourists came. Then there was beach vollyball and tug of war. We were promised dance lessons but that did not happen because the Cuban tourists didn't want to do it!. The animation staff(which consisted of 2 fellows, Jose and Alberto) did present my friend with a lovely bouquet of fresh cut flowers from a florist on her birthday. That was nice, she really appreciated it!

Internet- No internet service the entire month. Menana- they would say!

Smoking: The No smoking sign was removed the first day by a guest. The no smoking rule was not enforced which made my dining experience not pleasant.

Cleanliness: This resort was not clean. The public washrooms rarely had toilet paper and were genearlly filthy.

Maidservice: Poor. Rooms never were properly cleaned(except the day our maid was off).

Transportation:

Good location, local and worker buses stop outside the gate. The local bus goes to Santiago City. Nice for a day trip. Aquarium just up the road. There are bicyles in the games room for tourists to use.

Disco:

Every night from 10p.m to 2a.m. One night I was talked into going up. A Cuban tourist sitting at the table next to me vomited all over the floor and never made any attempt to finish the job in the washroom. Disgusting!. The DJ would stay for 20 minutes then put the music on auto pilot and go home. Good music, bar up there but not many
tourists to make it a good party.

Games Room: Pool table, ping pong and bicycles.

Music:

Good music around the pool area, the volume is generally cranked up quite loud when the Cuban tourists are there. Very talented musicians play several times a week during lunch and supper and when a bus comes in. unfortunatly they
only play for 1/2 to 1 hour at the most. In between meals they do nothing except for one band that watches movies on their laptop computer!.

Banking:

Banker not there everday and when he is you may have to hunt him down. Better exchange rates than at the airport.

Convenience Store:
I only was in once in the whole month. Poorly stocked and rarely open when it is.

Management- Poorly managed hotel. Manager rarely around and speaks very little English or French

Judy

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank Judy_Anne_10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers are raving about these Santiago de Cuba hotels

Morrisburg, Canada
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 13, 2010

Food - Food was good, typical cuban- rice, chicken, pork. Each night there was one or two different dishes, the rest the same. Only issue is that if you don't get to the buffet right when it opens, the food may be luke warm or cold. The Grill next to the bar makes a great lunch- REAL home-made french fries with either a hot dog or hamburger made by "Momma" as she is called. "Momma" likes her beer!!

Bar- Three bars. Staff made most of the drinks we wanted. They make a good Mojito. I reccommend going to bar on the "cement beach" in the afternoon, great view.

Rooms- Were large, overlooking the ocean, with a nice balcony. Showers only had cold water, not hot. Some people had warm water. It didn't bother me, but did for others.
Beach- No sandy beach, all correl or rock. Very nice "natural pool" that surrounded by correl. A good place to snorkel and see different fish. Be aware- wear water shoes as the bottom is rocky and there are sea urchens. The rocky shore had some nice shells.

Entertainment- Only 16 people were at the resort during my stay. Had singers/dancers one night.. If you are looking for a resort with lots of entertainment or activity, this probably isn't the resort for you. If you like it quiet and relaxing, then this resort may fit your needs.

Staff- Were nice, courteous, and helped you if you had problems. Only a few were pushy about gifts.

Pool- One nice pool overlooking the ocean. Water was cool and refreshing.

Internet- Internet access was out of service when I was there for the week.

Over-all impresson: Its a good resort for being 2.5 star, just know what they have to offer before and what your needs are.

  • Stayed November 2010, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank Ericw_82
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Trenton, Canada
Level Contributor
14 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 70 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 22, 2010

I travelled with my mother March 4-11,2010,We enjoyed it so much we went back in April and were welcomed as if we were relatives.To address the issue that comes up most in these reviews,YES there is prostitution and it IS more prevalent in the off-season.I for one don't think it is right but it is in ALL the hotels in Cuba.If it were not for the (mostly Canadian and European)men hiring these young girls there might be less of a presence of this behaviour at the resorts.
The food is what is to be expected in Cuba! A little repetitive but not horrible! You want 5 * go to a tourist trap.
The staff was wonderful,helpful,polite and very understanding considering the language barrier(which I am trying to ammend).We had no problem with stealing from our room or otherwise.
The scenery is beuatiful..mountains ,vegetation and the people are the friendliest ever.
If you want a week of "crazy" go to Varadero! If you want a really good time without the crowd,go to Costa Morena!
Booking my next trip to the Morena for November 2010..3TRIPS IN LESS THAN AYEAR..YIPPEE

Stayed April 2010
Helpful?
8 Thank krazycook1968
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Niagara Falls, Canada
Level Contributor
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 28, 2010

We come for sun and relaxation.
Plenty of both.
Excellent staff.

  • Stayed January 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Circumnavigate6970
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chatham, Canada
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 24, 2010

I have been travelling to cuba for over a decade. this was the worst hotel i have ever stayed at. not the rooms, or the food - but the staff!
I realize times are VERY difficult in Cuba right now - but in all my years and at all the places I have stayed at - and yes I have a favorite hotel that I stay at the majority of the time - but to have staff ( who I barely exchanged a few hellos with) knock on my door at 7:40am asking for "gifts" not to mention sizing me and my friends up to ask for the shoes on our feet and clothes off our back. We leave a tip at every meal and then are insulted by the waiters. We weren't to impressed.

We did manage to find one beautiful spot where we were treated with the friendship and kindness we have to come to know of Cubans - down at the natural salt water pool. Thank-you Oliver, Marco and Dadso ( I know I have spelled the last name wrong - my apologies) you guys made our trip enjoyable. If w ever venture back to this hotel - we know right where we are going.

  • Stayed September 2010, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank SierraMarLover
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
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Islazul Costa Morena Hotel Santiago De Cuba
Islazul Costa Morena Santiago De Cuba

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