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Reviewed October 27, 2012

My fiance and I traveled quite a bit to Cuba (we visited the Paradisus Rio de Oro, and the Buenavista last year among other hotels, just to give you a perspective)

This time we chose the Iberostar Ensenachos. We travelled as a group of 3, my Fiance and I along with my sister, we're all adults and so I listed it under "Friends" instead of family. We booked a "Villa" in the grand villas section, we had a two level two bedroom villa which had an extra guest bathroom. There was a living room, dining area, a small kitchen and small balcony with a hottub. It's was very spacious and would fit 4 people or more, we felt very comfortable!

Our only issue with the room was that the toilet upstairs did not flush but they fixed this promptly, also the battery in the safe in the upstairs bedroom died and they were going to send the repair man out but it dragged on for a few days and they said he came while we were out (though we were in the room pretty late) I told them to just cancel it as I didn't want to spend my vacation in the room waiting and so we moved our belongings and valuables and crammed them in the safe downstairs (which was ok, we had a lot of cameras/equipment)

We travelled to the main lobby on a daily basis in the little van (the drivers are sooooo nice, we had two and they alternated every 2 days or so) and spent time at the Maygano beach and dined at the buffet every morning, lunch and nearly every evening (there was a large selection and satisfied our different tastes)

Food: My fiance is allergic to fish, and there was a lot of seafood there but at dinner they separated the meats (beef/chicken..etc) to the back grill and had the seafood at the front which was good for him, (too bad they didn't do that at lunch) and they did have beef there. Would also have been nice if dishes that contained fish were placed in one area, quite often the 4 trays would be along the lines of rice, fish, vegetables and meat, since the serving spoons are placed on the counter there is alot of cross contamination of people using them for all the dishes which was a problem having a fish allergy.

Breakfast was always great, lots of variety, everyone was happy, I enjoyed the breads, cheeses and sliced veggies as this is my main breakfast everyday. My sister and fiance are more picky in general but they were always satisfied and happy at the buffet (which is why we ate there more frequently)

The waiters and waitresses at the buffet are SO NICE and sweet!! We loved Maivelys, she's a blond, vibrant, amazing lady, we always sat near her station and were so sad to leave. She made us promise to return so we are definitely considering this hotel for next year.

We booked 2 of the a la cartes and I cancelled the seafood one last minute because I wasn't feeling too well (which I was going to alone because my sister doesn't like seafood and my fiance is allergic) That night at the buffet they had grilled lobster and I enjoyed that!

We went to the Italian which to be honest was not memorable. We were looking forward to the Asian Teppanyaki restaurant but unfortunately it was under construction, hopefully next time we'll get a chance!

We did try the grand village gourmet restaurant for dinner on the first night and it was ok, we had lamb, beef and chicken dishes and all were pretty good. Once we ordered the chicken nuggets off the room service menu as a snack in the afternoon while sitting near the pool on the restaurant patio and they were very kind to make it for us, it was delicious and high quality. As a food blogger and foodie, I will say that I really enjoyed the food!

We frequently saw the two Spanish chefs walk around and they were always kind and courteous saying hi to us and making sure we were happy, they constantly checked on all the dishes in the buffet to make sure they were up to their standard.

Beach: The water is great on both sides of the beaches and it's very shallow with some fish coming right up to the shore. We enjoyed our time at the Magyano beach, and it's a very family friendly vibrant beach.

The Ensenachos beach is also nice, especially on the opposite side (not the one near the villas) because there are some rocks and if you walk up to them you will see tons of fish!!! (no need for snorkling equipment)

We did snorkle with Tony (who is a star friend at the grand villas, he resides near the pool and takes people on snorkle tours at the beach behind the grand villas lobby)
I'm a new swimmer and my sister is still learning how to swim (it's her first time in the water) but Tony encouraged us and guided us along the shallow areas.
I even had a phobia of breathing with the snorkling equipment but he let us practice in the pool and supported us until we got over our fears.

We saw lobsters, star fish, fish, snails, all kind of amazing things in the water. It was fun and I highly recommend this.

We had a great week, I've always had issues at other hotels, but this week was really amazing and stress free which is just what we needed!

If you're going to the grand villas and want to take a gift for Tony, I think he needs a new pair of sunglasses as his old pair broke while he was sitting with us near the pool playing cards.

Room Tip: Book the spa suites if not travelling with children, try to get the best rate you can when booking the grand villas suites (we had the 2 bedroom, two leveled "apartment" or "villa") It is spacious!!!
  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled with friends
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6  Thank DewyDew
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 24, 2012

I’m writing this to voice my dissatisfaction with the resort. We stayed at the Iberostar Ensenachos from October 13, 2012 to October 20, 2012. I will start at the very beginning so that I may paint a clear and accurate picture of this experience. Upon booking this resort through our travel adgent, we attempted to place my husband and father in law and myself in the same room with our 10 month old daughter, however we were told that this could not happen as we had an infant and the hotel rules were such that triple occupancy was not permitted with the infant. Understandable, so we instead asked our travel agent to request an adjoining room, so that my father in law may be right next to us as he is 73 and has been having some health issues and he was not comfortable being alone. I was told that it would be requested but to also mention it once we checked in. At this point all was fine ad I presumed we would have no problem being in adjoining rooms. In an effort to secure this request I called the resort directly on Wednesday October 10, 2012. I spoke with both the front desk staff as well as the “Customer Relations” office whereas I was told that they would put a note in my file and ensure that the request was reported to the front desk manager. Once again, I was under the impression that this would not be a problem, as at this point I had no reason to believe it would be.
Upon checking in, I once again mentioned the request that I had made and I was directed to speak with the Manager in the morning because there was no record of my request. I wasn’t too concerned as my husband wasn’t scheduled to get in till the following evening. On Sunday morning I went to the front desk and again mentioned the adjoining room that I was supposed to be in as the room that I was assigned (3207) was not an adjoining room. It was at this point that I was told that there was nothing available. Understandably I was getting quite tired of this ordeal. I requested that they look a little harder as I was promised an adjoining room. The receptionist then asked why I didn’t just book the 3 adults with the baby in one room. I told her that we tried but that it was not permitted when we were booking the vacation. Apparently it is allowed. I’m not sure if it was the resort at the time who wouldn’t allow the booking or Air Canada vacations. The lady that I was dealing with told me to come back later in an hour and she would try to find something. This occurred twice, where she kept telling me to come back in an hour. By the third time I was done with it. I wanted the room that I was promised. When I asked to speak to a manager as this was becoming quite tiresome, I was instructed to go to the “Customer Relations” office, as apparently they were the only ones who might be able to help me. I once again explained my situation to “Tammi” in said department (who in all fairnes was trying to be helpful). After about an hour of trying to find me a room and coming up with nothing Tammi said there was only one other option available. It was the Disability Handicap room (3208). She sent me to go take a look and let her know what I wanted to do. The room was exactly that a Handicap room complete with hospital bed, at this point I had no choice but to take the room as it was the only thing available even remotly close to what I wanted. Tammi requested that I sign a paper stating that I was ok with the change. In all honesty I was not ok with it but what other choice did I have? Had I known all of the issues that the room had I would never had agreed to it.
When I first entered the room there was a distinct smell of mold, which I was told by the house keeping lady was “normal” because the room had to be “aired out”. I left both the sliding door and front door opened for over 4 hours, the smell never left our room. When my husband and his father checked in they came to the room and tried to turn on the air conditioning where upon we discovered that it didn’t work. We called front desk and they sent a maintenance man about an hour later after numerous calls back. When he arrived all we were told after he looked at it that, was that it wasn’t working. He said someone would have to look at it in the morning. When we called back in the morning they once again sent someone out who told us the same thing. At no point did anyone actually fix the problem. As you can imagine this was very uncomfortable with a 10 month old. Being that when it was 42 degrees outside it was the same in our room and it did nothing to aid in trying to put a tired baby to sleep as she was (and we were) very uncomfortable. Apparently this mattered very little to the staff as nothing came from it. Our whole stay the air conditioning was never fixed and I’m quite certain it probably won’t be fixed. Another concern (of many) we had with the room was that the chain on the sliding door was broken again this was never fixed. Our television in the room gave 10 channels of “snow” and nothing else. We could never put the baby on the floor to play as the floors were never mopped or properly cleaned. This we know as a fact because we were always in the room when the cleaning lady came. This was also a known complaint amongst other guests. This pretty much sums up the room. On Wednesday October 17, 2012 my sister went to “Customer Relations” and spoke with Tammi. She requested to speak with the General Manager as the whole experience was just getting worse and I remembered when I was looking into Trip Advisor for this resort he seemed to respond to peoples complaints, so we figured he would of some assistance to us. Tammi left a message, no one got back to my sister. Two additional requests to speak to the General Manager went unanswered. I find it pretty sad when you can’t get a hold of any management to assist you. Although, I'm somehow certain he will responde to me on Trip Advisor. Another problem that we had with the resort was that we were never able to get any reservations at the restaurants. We would go first thing in the morning to make reservations and there was never anything available. Yet when we would speak to other people who had frequented the restaurant they stated that they were empty as was the case when we lucked out with reservations one night at the Mediterranean restaurant. There were 3 tables including us. This is completely unacceptable. When a resort offers a service such as additional restaurants you can’t constantly turn patrons away for any good reason. Again this was a frequent complaint from various guests.
The resort itself is nice. I would say it was gorgeous. Its an attractive resort till you start looking alittle deeper. There are many things around the resort that are in need of repair. At night the resort is very poorly lit. There are light post around however, they are either shut off or burnt out not sure which as all I can say is they were not on. The entertainment at night is pretty good but like with the whole resort alot of the costumes that the dancer wear are in dire need of replacing. However, they are fun enough shows. The food much like the rest in Cuba is not the greatest but surely not the worst. The crepes at breakfast were pretty good, The staff are friendly, however alot of them were either over worked or maybe a little past their experation point because they werent the happiest. Again this was only a handful and you cant bunch them all together.
The most frustrating part of this whole ordeal is that we paid good money to attend this resort, and I feel completely slighted. My husband and I are not wealthy by any means; we saved for quite some time so that we could all go on vacation. We expected to have a great family vacation and ended up completely disappointed. This was our first “family” vacation with our 10 month old baby and instead of a memorable trip this became the trip that you never want to remember.

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled with family
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21  Thank BryanKelly1973
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 November 23, 2012

Greetings from Iberostar Ensenachos.
Thank you for your review. I would first like to apologize that your stay was not up to the standards that you had expected before your arrival. I would like to point out however, that we do have a limited number of adjoining rooms, and as each request is made, we are never able to 100% guarantee that this will be available as it is determined upon the time of arrival. I also apologize that the air-conditioning in your room was not fixed immediately. Usually maintenance is quite good at responding especially with things concerning the status of the rooms. I will also be speaking to Tammi regarding the reservations at the restaurants and meeting with you. I did not receive any message that you were looking for me and I apologize again as I would have liked to hear first hand what you had to say in order to hopefully be able to fix everything on the spot. I can only offer my most sincere apologies that your trip was not to your expectations and wish you the best of luck in your future travels.
Regards,
Stefano Baratelli

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 21, 2012

My teenager son and I went for christmas and was wonderful. They have great shows and newyears is even better. The hotel staff are wonderful. Loved them. I have even sent stuff down to them from other friends of mine that went down this year 2012. Food was ok, but thats how it is everywere in cuba. The beach is to die for and we went and played with the dolphins. My girlfriend and I are now planning a trip in a month to go back down.

Room Tip: We stayed on the spa side and our room was great. All i can say is that i tipped the maid $20 a day and she took care of us for everything. Same thing with the bartenders. Our room was quite just dont get a joining door because the last night someone booked in and they were noisy.
  • Stayed: December 2011, traveled with family
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6  Thank Tammy S
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 November 22, 2012

Greetings from Iberostar Ensenachos.
Thank you for your review. I am thrilled to read that you had a great time with us during your Christmas holidays. We have changed many things since then, including a kids water park, beach buffet and are currently renovating the Japanese restaurant to include more Teppanyaki tables. We look forward to seeing you again soon and hearing about what you think of our changes.
Regards,
Stefano Baratelli

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Reviewed October 19, 2012

This was our 5th trip to Cuba, first to this area. Stayed in the Spa section. Overall the resort's service people did a great job. From drink service right on the beach, to the maids, gardeners, game staff, and nightly show time, they were all great, best I have ever seen in Cuba. We did have a hiccup when we arrived of no reservation an file, this being low season, they would make a room ready for use. We were told this would take 2hrs, after some persistance we got a room in about 1 hr. ( Why would not all the empty rooms be ready to go at a momentts notice, if this is low season and only 50% of the resort occupied) The Room was very spacious and well decorated, but sorry 2 twin size beds with only a spring mattress, very uncomfortable, and seeing as we had paid for a King size bed we kept inquiring of an upgrade. Finally after day 5 we were moved to the room next door with the King size bed for the last 2 nights, mattress still not much better. We were also disappointed that the spa side's main pool and pool bar were closed for refurbishing. The food on the buffet was less than warm at times, very disappointed that the fresh fruit we poorest we had ever seen, on windy days the beach restaurant had all the lettuce, tomatoe, onions all dried out, a clear cover on each dish would have save the food. We know you don't go for the food but presentation sure goes a long way. The gardens and size of this property is enormous. If you are limited in your walking this is not for you. We walked a few km's every day, which we enjoy. In all we had a great time, don't think we would go back to this type of a resort, but stickly due to preference. One other complaint is that the washrooms in the main building were always smelly, toilet seets missing, etc., worst bathrooms were the ones by the theatre. Have seen most resorts in Cuba have this problem with there public restrooms, don't know why?

Room Tip: If you want a King size bed, I would recomend you e-mail the resort ahead of time regardless of what your travel agent says, as these beds are limited.
  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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13  Thank bubba_One1_10
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 November 21, 2012

Greetings from Iberostar Ensenachos.
Thank you for your review. I am sorry that you were not able to get the room of your choice upon your arrival. When the hotel is at a low occupancy, we close some of the bungalows for repairs and therefore only have the rooms in the buildings that are open. I'm glad that you enjoyed our spacious and lush grounds, service and nightly shows. These are some of the best points of our hotel. If there is anything else that we could have done better, please do not hesitate to let me know.
Regards,
Stefano Baratelli

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Reviewed October 17, 2012

Stayed here the first week of October and had a great time. We chose this resort to get some rest and relaxation and that is exactly what we got. We stayed at the Villa section which was very quiet, just what we were looking for. We liked the fact that the hotel was not full, we got very personalized service, it was nice having the opportunity to talk to many of the staff. The service we found to be exceptional compared to other resorts we have stayed at. Everyone was very friendly and helpful.There were many staff that made our trip memorable. Never was there pressure felt for tips like other places.

The rooms were large and clean, we stayed at the Park Suites and upgraded to the Villa section and found both to be very nice.
Bar staff were very friendly and effecient.
The food we found to be very good for Cuba. There was quite a selection at the buffet and we were never at a lack of choices. We definitely never went hungry.

Sure, there were parts of the facilities that needed some cosmetic upgrading, but nothing that would ruin a vacation. The gardeners and grounds people actually work very hard to keep the resort looking lush, green and well manicured.

What really made this resort for us was the location and service. Superb beaches that were uncrowded and peaceful, could not ask for better. The water was shallow and always calm enough to swim. Never a problem finding a lounger. Many days we had the beach to ourselves.

We found our experience and the service to be so good that we would definitely consider returning to this resort again.

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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12  Thank DNASJ
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 November 21, 2012

Greetings from Iberostar Ensenachos.
Thank you for your review. I am so glad that you had a great trip and would consider coming back to our resort. We have a great team here and have much to offer in friendliness and personal service. I hope that you were able to do everything that you wanted while here, and we look forward to the possibility of seeing you again in the future.
Regards,
Stefano Baratelli

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