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Reviewed January 24, 2012

We have enjoyed this resort annually as the Royal Hideaway since 2008. We took our last trip to the property in December and it has become an Iberostar managed property in the past 6 months or so. We wanted to take the trip before Iberostar changed the resort to a family resort from an adults (over 14) destination. We weren't quite quick enough as it officially became a family destination Dec. 15, 2011. The little ones had already invaded the place. This will be a huge change not only for previous guests, but for the remaining staff who were previously with The Royal Hideaway. Many of those staff members are gone and the visible changes were the elimination of the concierge service in the buildings, changes to menus, bars, limited room service etc. etc. Construction of play areas is underway. This was a vast and beautiful property and while Iberostar seems to think they can manage it as both a family destination and an adults only destination with two distinct section, I have my doubts. It's really one or the other.
While the beaches will still be fantastic, they will be overrun with toddlers of all descriptions - regrettably not my idea of a vacation destination.

Room Tip: Spa section will be adults and park Suites for families. Villas are14+
  • Stayed: December 2011, traveled as a couple
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14  Thank Tigandgrace
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Stefano B, General Manager at Iberostar Ensenachos, responded to this reviewResponded January 26, 2012

Greetings from Iberostar Ensenachos,

Thank you for taking your time to share these comments. I understand your concerns about this becoming a family oriented hotel but we believe that with the separate adult only sections at the Spa and in the Villas, we will continue to be able to cater to those who enjoy the tranquility of the hotel. If you would like to know more about our plans on how this will be achieved, please contact me and I will be happy to discuss this in detail. We would love to continue seeing you staying as often as you do and we hope to be able to change your mind about our family sections.

Regards,

Stefano Baratelli

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 23, 2012

Wow, beautiful place, great food, really friendly staff. The food was plentiful, presented very nicely and everything wash made with fresh ingredients. Although long, the ride from the airport is very interesting and informative. The coach bus is comfortable and air conditioned. The airport was even nice. What a huge difference from Varadero. Also, the beach was gorgeous. I took toilet paper for use at the hotel, but never needed it. I could not believe I was eating so well and I never had to worry about having tp in my pocket to use at the hotel. I would go to this place again in a minute.

  • Stayed: January 2012, traveled with friends
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10  Thank cindy b
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Stefano B, General Manager at Iberostar Ensenachos, responded to this reviewResponded January 27, 2012

Greetings from Iberostar Ensenachos,

Thank you for your review and I am glad you enjoyed your stay. For future reference, all hotels should have toilet paper, but if you go on an excursion, this is where you may need to bring your own.

Regards,

Stefano Baratelli

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Reviewed January 23, 2012

We were at the resort from January 11 - 18, 2012. We were upgraded to the Villa section of the resort as it was my girlfriend's third time staying at the resort. The room was spacious, with a great ocean view and an outdoor jacuzzi tub.

We found the staff to be quite friendly and accommodating. The gourmet restaurant in the Villa was very good for dinners. We preferred the buffet for breakfast -- lots of choice and something for everyone. The beach a la carte restaurant was also very good, with prompt, friendly service. We were less enthused with the dinner a la carte restaurants (seafood, azia and the Italian restaurant). We did room service one night and it was fast and decent quality.

The beverages and drinks were excellent. Lots of premium options and lots of little beach and pool bars, night club, piano bar and lounge. Excellent mojitos!

The beaches are spectacular and we were able to snorkel also.

This was my first time to the resort, and to Cuba. I would definitely return and recommend it to others.

Gracia, Iberostar Ensenachos!

  • Stayed: January 2012, traveled as a couple
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8  Thank Matthew M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Stefano B, General Manager at Iberostar Ensenachos, responded to this reviewResponded January 25, 2012

Greetings from Iberostar Ensenachos,

Thank you very much for your review. We are so happy that you decided to stay with us once again and enjoyed yourselves. All of our guests feedback is important to us and we are always looking for ways we can improve your experience. We look forward to having you back in the future.

Regards,

Stefano Baratelli

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Reviewed January 23, 2012

We just came back from 6 days at the Iberostar Ensenachos.

We upgraded our regular room to a villa for an additional $100 a night, and it was well worth it. Staying in the villas I believe changes your experience from a pleasant resort holiday to a truly memorable stay. Our villa, like the regular rooms at the hotel, was very clean and spacious, complete with a living room, terrace, jaccuzzi and kitchen area. The staff are very attentive, and if it's a special occasion they'll help you organise something like a cake or an outing. The lobby for the villas is also very nice, and so is the restaurant (which is complimentary only if you stay in the villas) and the pool area is also great. The Ensenachos beach next to the villas (as opposed to the part of the beach next to the regular rooms) is just as breathtaking and more quiet (they do not allow children under the age of 14 to stay at the villas).

All in all, you're in this very nice "village" on a breaktaking beach with a more personalised service, and less distances to walk as this resort is truly HUGE.

The restaurants - well... it's Cuba! Not great food BUT for Cuba, they're not bad. Breakfast is great, lunch is decent. For dinner, we didnt like at all the Italian, the Asian was very average as was the Seafood restaurant. Your best bet is the buffet which has a great selection and they'll cook you whatever you like on the spot.

However the most fantastic part of this resort is definitely the beaches - they are STUNNING and very clean.

Alot of redevelopment is going on at this hotel, with special kids areas etc so I would definitely keep an eye on what's going on before you book as the resort is truly in transition from an adults only resort to a family destination.

Room Tip: An upgrade to the villas is worth it. Also, be careful of not getting a room too far from the lobbies, or you'll face a long walk to go anywhere!
  • Stayed: January 2012, traveled as a couple
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8  Thank Ana H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Stefano B, General Manager at Iberostar Ensenachos, responded to this reviewResponded January 24, 2012

Greetings from Iberostar Ensenachos,

Thank you very much for your feedback. We are constantly trying to better ourselves and the hotel, and your comments, as well as those of other clients, help us in this undertaking. I am glad that you enjoyed your stay with us and that your experience in the villas was able to meet and hopefully exceed your expectations. Thank you again for your kind remarks and we hope to see you back in the future.

Regards,

Stefano Baratelli

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Reviewed January 22, 2012

Just returned from a wonderful vacation with my hubby and small toddler in tow (week of January 16th). We flew Air Canada - which is a great airline for travelling with babies/kids. Both washrooms had change tables and the seats were much roomier. The in-seat enterntainment is a bonus to keep the little ones occupied. Flying in mid-week also meant a 70% capacity flight.. which also meant my family and others got entire rows to themselves! The 23kg weight allowance is also a big help when flying with little ones. You can bring a seperate checked luggage and carry on even for a lap baby.

Santa Clara airport was clean, organized and were quick to let us know where to get the stroller once we disembarked. This was a nice change from the airport in Varadero. The 1.5 hour long ride to the resort did not feel long at all. Since our flight left at 7am, the little one was pooped enough to fall asleep for 3/4 of the ride. The bus on the way in had a washroom, but no toilet paper!

We were the first to be dropped off. And we were immediately checked in by Oreste at the front desk and offered a drink. We were then shuttled off to our room in the Park Suites and we immediately noticed the gorgeous grounds. The rooms are quite spacious with a set of louvered (shutter doors) just inside the "front door". This was great for us as we stored the stroller and the little one's floatie in this area so as not to take up room. There was a Graco pack n' play/playard for my toddler (I had emailed the resort a week prior to ensure that there would be a crib of some sort). The Graco is definitely a better option as the crib we had in the past at a resort in Varadero was definitely not up to standard. The room also had a walk-in closet and the washrooms were quite spacious as well.

The beach is BEAUTIFUL and probably the best one I've seen in all my travels (Dominican, Jamaica, Varadero and Mexico). The water was like a sheet of glass! There was no issue of towel reserving here. We went down to the beach as late as 10 am and there were many palapas still available. The palapas closer to the walkway at building 41/42 were spaced out a little more than the ones closer to the main walkway. There was always someone at the beach ready to help you setup your loungers and get you drinks. The Park Suites pool was great as well. Each "corner" of the pool had a wading area which is perfect for toddlers and small children. The construction was right beside this pool, but you barely even noticed it. My guess is the construction should be completed in about a month. It looks like it's going to be a great aqua park - complete with splash pad, pirate ship and whale slides. The staff at the pool were absolutely wonderul. They genuinely wanted to make sure that you were comfortable and entertained the babies/kids constantly!

There were high chairs at the buffet. 4 to be exact. I'm not sure if they were at the a la cartes as we never ventured there. (The seating times weren't early enough for the little one and to avoid any meltdowns that could potentially wreck someone else's dinner, we opted not to go). The buffet was fine - always something to eat. I would have liked more of a variety in terms of the veggies. They didn't have many veggie dishes. We always found something for our toddler to eat however. The milk is pasteurized. Our toddler didn't care for it. I think it was a little sweeter than home. We packed some tetra packs of UHT milk (5) just in case. And these were a big help. Little bub has about 3 5oz bottles a day. And we came home with 1 pack. There were no issues taking these packs both to and from(1 in a carry on and the rest checked).

There were no high chairs at the Pool snack bar, but the stroller did just fine. We did make a suggestion to the GM Stefano one night. He said that they were in the process of ordering more during this transition and said it was a great suggestion. The next day, there was a high chair at the snack bar!!!

A stroller is a good idea to get around the resort as there is a bit of walking. But there are always carts going by. The staff was eager to pick us up and put away the stroller, but to be honest, the walk was nice. There is no stroller/wheel chair access from the rear of the main building, but if you walk around the fountain and the bend a little bit, you can access the main building from there.

We tipped the staff frequently - never because we felt obligated to, but always because the service warranted it. The service here is second to none. I cannot say enough good things about the staff here.

We never ventured into the Spa section not just because it's adult only, but because there was no reason to. It was convenient to stay at the Park Suites pool which is central to the Park Suites area. I'm sure all the other families felt the same way.

Iberostar Ensenachos is a great family choice. The "anti-kid" sentiment is definitely felt more on these boards then at the resort.The staff and guests were completely enamoured with our toddler and the other kids that were there. If you want a peaceful and relaxing vacation spent with loved ones and/or friends, you should consider coming here.

Room Tip: Buildings 41 & 42 are closest to Megano Beach and the Park Suites Pool. Ground floor rooms are best with strollers as there are no elevators in the bungalows.
  • Stayed: January 2012, traveled with family
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23  Thank laplaya1111
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Stefano B, General Manager at Iberostar Ensenachos, responded to this reviewResponded January 24, 2012

Greetings from Iberostar Ensenachos,

Thank you very much for your detailed review. As we have just started to accept families with young children, we are always looking for comments and suggestions on how to better this service. We expect the construction of the mini club to be completed soon and hope that you will be able to return in the future to see finished project. Thank you again for your comments and all the best for 2012.

Regards,

Stefano Baratelli

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