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“An Honest Review...”
3 of 5 bubbles Review of Brisas Santa Lucia

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Brisas Santa Lucia
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“An Honest Review...”
Reviewed February 21, 2014

First time at this hotel and this region. My review is based on my overall honest opinion. We travelled with 3 families, all with children and grandparents. 17 of us in total. We paid for a family of 4 $2500 incl. taxes so it was a very good deal for 1 week. Overall had a nice time but would not return to this part of Cuba because of the beach.
Positives
Cleaning and Bar staff are wonderful people, always willing to help or serve you. English is limited for most of them but I can speak some Spanish and Italian so it was fine.

Pool kept very clean and nice size. Pool slowly goes deep so you can keep your kids on the shallow end if needed. Plenty of pool chairs and beach chairs so no need to run out early in the morning to save your seats. My husband still got out by 7 to keep the chairs he preferred.

Food was average for Cuba, they had ketchup so no need to bring it, but it does taste a little different then ours

Horse back riding was the highlight of the trip for the kids, cheap $10 pesos for an hour but again negotiate as we got it for 3 people for 20 pesos. They went 2 times.

Not so positives!
Beach is not as clean as you can find in other places of cuba such as Cayo Coco, Holguin, Cayo Santa Maria to be honest. I am a beach person and this was the first time I spent 3 days by the pool instead. Lots of weeds that wash up, but in the water itself you can only go so far until it is completely weeds at the bottom of the ocean. I could not get past my waste in depth before you must go into the weeds to give you an idea.
Lots of sand flies that are visible on the sand but the kids can play closer to shoreline which is fine.

Entertainment Staff
Horrible - There is no organized beach activities for anybody. At the pool the only thing I saw was a 4:30 salsa lesson that lasts 10 minutes, they did BINGO but only have 4 cards to play with. Then around 3:30 they did some water games for 1/2 hour which was fun to watch. So basically all day there is nothing happening. Im not sure what the entertainment guys do all day other than chat with each other.

Kids Club was a joke, when they opened 1 day out of 7. They complained that they could not take the kids because they wanted to go to the other hotel for a competition. We left the kids 7 in total so they were forced to watch them but within an hour our kids came back as they had nothing to do.

Evening entertainment is below average. Perhaps it was because it was carnival week. You had to go to other hotel one night, then our hotel another night it was all over the place but the actual hotel evening entertainment I would rate a 2.5 out of 5 - average.

Bar - You must know this, the bar only serves local Cuban cheap alchol (which is ok) but they don't mix with juice, it is all power juice mix like Tang, etc. even the Pina Colada's is a mix not real anything. You can only do a day or two drinking this sweet stuff before you get sick of it because it is sooo sweet. Also no name Kola which throws the taste off for rum and cokes.

In summary I'm glad we went, we still enjoyed ourselves but thankfully we had each other to keep ourselves entertained. I find the entertainment overall at a hotel makes your trip memorable in this case there is none. For the price we paid I have no regrets but would not return for sure because of beach, bar selection and mostly ENTERTAINMENT is lacking any sort of management and structure.

Room Tip: We stayed Block 5 and it was great. Walk out one side and you can get to the beach right away as it...
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  • Stayed February 2014, traveled with family
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    • Service
Helpful?
8 Thank luvtravel46
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Polish first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
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English first
Brampton, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed February 21, 2014

Just returned with my family (wife and two daughters 7 and 10). We have never been to Cuba and were not sure what to expect and I can say we were pleasantly surprised. The kids loved it and had an awesome time.

The beach is awesome, the staff are helpful and friendly and the guests were great. The resort was smaller and it had a feeling of a small village where you came to know many people.

The food was not gourmet, however we ate well without any issues or stomach problems. The kids ate very well without any complaints.

The rooms could use some renovations and touch ups however they were clean. The maid washed the floors and cleaned the room very well every day. The beds were a bit small and hard but we quickly got over that.

The pool is small but good enough and the kids loved it. We have been to the Dominican and Mexico at 5 star resorts and although the rooms and grounds were not quite as good at Brisas the food was better and did not make us sick.

The kicker is this resort cost us 1/2 as much and was definitely worth it. We would not hesitate to go back again.

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
9 Thank 160Guest
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Peterborough, ON
Level Contributor
17 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 60 helpful votes
Reviewed February 20, 2014

Our Seventh Trip to Brisas Santa Lucia, Cuba. Arrived Jan 30th, left Feb 6, 2013

We went Nolitours again as usual and as always are very happy we did. Plane ride there and back was uneventful, just the way we like it.

Check-in: can take a very long time...they will unload your luggage so if you can, get in line to check-in and have someone in your party get the luggage. You will be greeted by music and fruit drinks and the entertainment staff. A nice touch as you wait. If it is later in the evening (10pm for example) they will keep the buffet open for you. Don't forget if you want to use the safe it is 2CUC a day, so get money at the airport if you can if you want the safe right away...the line up at the resort's bank the next day will be long. This time we were very happy to see 5 people working the desk at check-in and it went a lot smoother and faster than in the past.


Room: We were once again in our favourite block, 6 (same housekeeper) and had a fantastic view. The rooms had their curtains/rods replaced with newer ones that were not a chore to open and close.
Beds...as usual not that comfortable, really could use new mattresses. And more pillows, only one each just doesn't cut it, but the pillows were larger than in the past. Otherwise we aren't too fussy since we don't want to spend a lot of time in the room. TV worked, enough English channels, tub and shower were good...all in working order (new shower heads we noticed).
Blocks: 1 and 2 near the pool and lobby bar, 3 is pool and beach, 4 is too close to the stage, 5,6,7,8 fairly quiet, 9 is a bit loud, as it is near the stage and the food carts in the mornings. After that the blocks are further away so are always quiet unless somehow the resort is full and you are close to the on-site disco which can be loud until 2:30am.


Bars: Lobby Bar 24/7, still gets that sewer smell sometimes but otherwise a great bar, great service that depends upon the number of customers (just like at any resort) with a good range of drinks and even specialty coffees.
Beach Bar - love this one as most people don't notice it is there it seems.
Pool Bar - really needs 2 bartenders from 11am onwards but love the bar and most of the staff...and they can make slushy crushed ice drinks now!!!

Coffee Bar - one of our favourite places! Open at 7am until 11pm. We absolutely love the coffee there...and the staff are amazing :-)
Ice Cream Bar - mid day only from 10am till 4pm I believe. It was a nice refreshing change to have ice cream and not have to wait for the buffet.


Restaurants: Buffet - as is known, the buffets in most Cuban resorts are lacking. But! There was always eggs and omelettes for breakfast, something grilled hot at lunch and supper and also pasta and pizza at lunch and supper. So there is no excuse for "there is nothing to eat". The buffet items themselves are sometimes quite interesting (french fries at breakfast) but there are bread products, lots of deserts, fresh fruit and fresh vegetables. They have listened to our pleas and now have proper ketchup AND maple syrup! And they even make pancakes and french toast fresh for you in the morning! Note that the bacon is still undercooked so I would take some first and go to the grill to have it cooked further.
Italian/International, Cuban, and Seafood restaurants are all a step up from the buffet to say the least. We have never had a bad meal at any of these and as mentioned...7 times at Brisas. They really know how to make the food very tasty at these restaurants and your experience is always enjoyable.
Booking your ala Cartes...do it as soon as you can (10am-noon) so you have your week planned and know what excursions you are doing as BBQ night is one night, and if you do the lobster excursion (35 CUC) it will at supper so don't book an ala carte for that date.


Pool: heated by the sun, so if the weather is cool the pool will be also. Love the swimup bar aspect of course and it is shaded too. They do clean the pool and the pool deck. They finally added a few umbrellas again (yeah! they had some 4 years ago and haven't since)...but it seems people would reserve them and not use the loungers until later in the day. Also are "beds" that are slightly covered and have wispy curtains...nice touch.


Beach: Amazing white sand...yes there is seaweed...IT'S THE OCEAN PEOPLE! In the water itself there are patches of nice soft sand to walk in, but there is seaweed. The other beaches in Santa Lucia are not nearly as nice in the water. They do rake the beach frequently to remove as much seaweed that has washed ashore as they can. The only bad thing about the beach are the tourists...leaving cups, straws and of course cigarette butts (amazing that smokers don't realize those things are garbage and don't deteriorate). There are lots of umbrellas too so that isn't an issue. I don't like most of the loungers but no one else minded them (uncomfortable for me for some reason). I prefer water shoes in the ocean due to the potential for coral.


Vendors et al: Very few on the beach this time that we noticed. There is a gentleman, Enrico, that is allowed to talk to tourists about horse riding (he has a badge)


Entertainment: The staff are the nicest of any resort we've been to. They do have a schedule of activities, but sometimes it seems they miss some of them, but most of the time the tourists simply aren't interested. There is only so much coaxing the staff can do. As for the nightly entertainment, it does seem that a few of the nights are mainly audience participation (as others have posted) but they are hilarious and a lot of fun! When the shows do comprise of dancing and music they are great...those that complain must never have worked in the entertainment field before.


Service/Staff: The people at Brisas are amazing. Plain and simple...they are easy to talk to, to get to know, and very funny and kind. Treat them as you want to be treated (they are not your slaves) and you will have a fantastic time.


Nolitour extras: we used to get an extra Cuban meal and a bbq...but now the bbq is huge (very nice!) but the rest of the extras are in the line of a White night of entertainment on the beach, a volleyball tournament with other resorts, and different excursions etc. Not really sure the differences outweigh losing the Cuban meal but that is minor as the extra interaction with the culture and other resorts offset this. Thus, a look on the Nolitours site would be in order before going (like bringing a white outfit). The Nolitour reps, MaryAnn and Jorge are the most helpful and accessible reps of any place I have ever travelled to. Any issues at all, you go to them.


We didn't do any excursions this time, but did hear that the Playa Bonita one (75 CUC) was fantastic, we knew 2 women who did it twice last trip and a couple did it this and raved about it!! That means a lot for that kind of cost. (We have done the Iguana tour and reef snorkeling, and Camaguey in the past).


Basically, we love the place...we love the people a lot (many we consider our friends) and we will go back. Yes, the food can get monotonous (so mix it up yourself, be adventurous), there is a sewage smell on occasion at the lobby bar and the bathrooms by the beach, but you have the same sun and beach and water (and a pool) as resorts that cost a lot more! The rooms can use some TLC and upgrades but that means a much higher cost of course.

Please feel free to contact us with any questions!

Room Tip: Blocks: 1 and 2 near the pool and lobby bar, 3 is pool and beach, 4 is too close to the stage, 5,6...
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
12 Thank JimBarbCanada
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Montreal, Canada
Level Contributor
28 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed February 15, 2014 via mobile

I had an enjoyable trip but found that the 4 star rating high for this property. The staff and beach are a 4 star but the pool and rooms are more like a 2-3 star. Rooms are clean but need updating and new mattresses. But then again you are not there for the rooms. The pool is on the smaller side especially for the Christmas rush.
I was happy on the beach. The ocean is very shallow till you get far away from the beach. Great for sitting in the water with your drink!
If you are limited in budget then this property is good dollar value. However if your budget can handle it, I would throw in a few more dollars and get a better 4 star resort.

Stayed December 2013, traveled with family
Helpful?
4 Thank TnT1999
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gatineau, Quebec, Canada
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
Reviewed February 14, 2014

Third trip to Cuba, second in Brisa's resort. As expected, very good. better then my 5* hotel in Santa Maria last year...

I would say this was a 90% Canadian resort, with at least 50-60% french. But most of us speaks English as well.. 5% were Italian from Mtl and 5% from other countries. We paid 725$ each. Other people on the flight booked it for as low as 599$ 24 hour prior to departure. This was the best of the beach resort !!!!!! We made friend there, and ended up a group of Canadian of 12 between 21 and 31. We had a very good time !!

We stayed there from feb 06 to feb 13. Room 1814. Resort Was medium size (important to me) meaning, I didn't have to take a gold cart to go from one end to the other... Unit 18 was far enough from pool(night life stage) so it wasn't too loud. Room was clean, without smell or bugs. AC was working properly ( can't use the thermostat, it's ON or.. OFF) At first I thought my thermostat wasn't working, so I went to the front desk, and within 30 minutes someone was there. However, the walls are not very insulated.. Meaning whatever you do, can be heard from other rooms lol (or the other way around) it feels like there are no doors at all. And that little vent in the bathrooms, is connected right into the other bathroom I think cause it felt like that neighbor was right next to me when we would have to use the bathroom. Oh well, too bad for them ! We spent all our time outside, who cares about what other can hear from your room... The shower had so much pressure we had to only turn the knob like 50% (directing the other 50% within the bath) and water was ALWAYS HOT, at any time compared to other resort I visited...

Food was good. ALWAYS warm and trays are re-filled often. A quick tip for the bacon, bring it to the chef to put on the grill while he cooks your eggs omelet... To my surprise, hot dog sausages were very very good. tables were always ready too. 3 choices of 'a la carte' seafood was not very good.. :/ Italian Ok, and Cuban excelent ! If you want real seafood experience, get Edwouardo's deal on the beach. Visit a local cuban that will cook seafood for you for like 10-15$ and trust me, you will enjoy it !! (and it's safe)

Beach was Nice, with Cuban fine/white sand. FINDING CHAIR WAS NOT A PROBLEM wich I find a big advantage !!!! it wasn't a hassle every morning, even at the pool. There would always be a free hut available to get some shade. Water was not bad, but only within the first 20 feet. Then there were a few very short weeds. Could be the time of year. On the right side, there is a small corals with plenty of fish for snorkeling ( free equipment available at the beach)

Pool was warm and clean. Some bar had the Cristal beer, and others Bucanero. (I prefer the second choice) Drinks are not super fancy, but hey, it's free..

The Korona bar (for night party) sucks.. BUT there is another one right next to it, where locals hang out. It's usually packed of Canadian's as well. 1$ cover charge, 1$/beer lol and plenty of cuban chicks !!!!

Santa Lucia is a very small city. Not much to do there. 2 souvenir stores and 1 restaurant. But it's super safe to go outside the resort. Take advantage of the Wednesday white party on the beach. It's usually packed of goodies to buy for cheap!

Lot's of trips are available (NO DOLPHIN TRIPS BTW!!) and the animation team are great. They will book your spare time quite fast !

Staff is super friendly. They will do everything for you. They keep the resort super clean too ! Gardeners sweeping, chopping, trimming every day. That poor old men sweeping leaves EVERYDAY at that same spot cause it would wind during night. They don't get much tips like bartenders/maids/waiter.. Once in awhile I would give him a 1 pesos coin randomly and you could tell how much he appreciated it !!!

Room Tip: -Get your bacon grilled on the egg grill -Check the currency exchange everyday and within other ban...
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  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
8 Thank Marc D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Burlington, Ontario, Canada
Level Contributor
11 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed February 13, 2014

This was our 3rd visit to Brisas Santa Lucia but it won't be our last. The food is great. We are not picky eaters...if you are just don't go to Cuba. But if you are open to trying some new things and having some old favourites (that might not taste exactly like home) you will always find something good to eat. Omelettes in the morning was always a hit with our family and we had the best fish this time ! The coffee bar is another favourite for us ! We went with our 2 kids (10 and 8) they always make a friend or two but there are never many kids so it isn't too hectic around the pool. The resort is small and safe and we have no problems with our kids walking around on their own. The beach is shallow with very little waves and very safe for little ones. Bring a mask and snorkel because the snorkeling off the beach is amazing and we see something new every year. The staff are amazing right from the maid to the entertainment staff and everyone in between. We can't wait to get back again !!!!!

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
7 Thank ohjebus
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
135 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 123 helpful votes
Reviewed February 13, 2014

So I've been to Brisas several times over the last 5 years or so, and every time it seems to me that they've been making some very minor improvements as far as the cosmetic appearance goes, however, for some reason the food seems to be getting worse and worse each time I return.

The staff are almost always quite friendly and helpful (keep in mind, I'm measuring this by Cuban standards) and the rooms are always clean and well kept with the ac and showers working well (apparently this wasn't the case for everyone though).

I always enjoy my time here as the Noli Zone reps are especially friendly and extremely helpful in advising you how to keep busy!

So this time, along with the usual Saturday night White Party and Friday night lobster dinner at Coco Beach (restaurant Bucanero), the reps told us about a new restaurant called Organic Restaurant & Gardens, which was in the nearby village called Teraraco and about a 15 minute walk. The rep said we would love it and that it was healthy and great tasting food, not cooked in traditional Cuban style - we were in! lol.

So we ended up taking a horse and buggy with a green "Organic" flag on it (which apparently the restaurant has a contract with them to give people going to this restaurant a discounted travel fair) and we paid $2 CUC each for a return trip (yes, a great deal indeed)!

Wow! That was my first reaction upon arriving. Really nice, open concept type of decor (still a roof, so don't worry), which a really friendly staff, of which a few spoke English quite well. And it turns out that the same gentleman that owned a juice stand in this village, which I met on previous trips, now opened this restaurant.

I couldn't believe the menu! They had many dishes which I actually had heard of, and weren't rice and beans! There was a great assortment of salads, chickpea burgers for you vegetarians, and they had the typical lobster, fish, and meat dishes, however, they were cooked completely different then anything I've ever seen before, and tasted great! Braulio kept on bringing us dishes to try that we could barely even eat of meals by the time they came!

And to keep things going, they have a fresh juice bar in the restaurant where he makes his famous "Alkalizing" drink, which actually tasted great! He thrives on the fact that they make a Pina Colada without any chemicals (and yes, it tasted amazing!).

Anyhow, we ended up eating at this restaurant almost every day, or at least stopping by for a fresh juice and to pick Braulio's brain on food and health, which by the way, he is incredibly knowledgeable about!

The rest of our trip was spent at the beach and in the pool! And I think I'm giving Brisas a 4 star rating because oddly enough, the reps recommending this restaurant to me, is what made my trip so great! It was a nice walk (or cheap buggy ride as we did the first day) and we had such enjoyable meals and conversations with Braulio (which by the way, I told him I'd write a review as I would love to help him promote the place, because it's tucked away in the village, but VERY worth while visiting - so if you do stop by, please tell him you read my review).

Room Tip: No real secrets as all the rooms are pretty much the same. lol
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
6 Thank Dannno777
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Brisas Santa Lucia

Property: Brisas Santa Lucia
Address: Avenida Turistica, Tararaco, Playa Santa Lucia 74250, Cuba
Location: Caribbean > Cuba > Camaguey Province > Playa Santa Lucia
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 4 Hotels in Playa Santa Lucia
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:4 star — Brisas Santa Lucia 4*
Number of rooms: 400
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Brisas Santa Lucia Hotel is a dynamic hotel located on Santa Lucia Beach, approximately 110 km from the Camaguey airport, and includes unlimited daily activites, water sports and entertainment. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Brisas Santa Lucia Hotel Playa Santa Lucia
Staybridge Suites Camaguey
Brisa Santa Lucia
Camaguey Staybridge Suites
Santa Lucia Cuba
Brisas Santa Lucia Playa Santa Lucia, Cuba - Camaguey Province

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