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Reviewed April 21, 2013

Just got back from this resort April 19th. The property is absolutely beautiful, lush, maintained, a real tropical paradise, but too big. We were there for two weeks and explored about 20 percent of the property. Too big has it's shortcomings. I will use the rate option but with the too big proviso.

I realize the reception desk has hundreds of people all wanting special attention to their requests and it is not possible to please everybody. However, my main complaint with the resort is with the way the reception desk handled our particular issues. Each time we had to consult the reception desk to make requests or explain issues they all seemed to respond with "well, this is not our fault." The major issue occurred when part of the group were advised by the maid that they had to move (maid used the word 'change') from their room because the room was needed to accommodate a baby. Essentially, the guests were put out of the room with no room to go to on the 3rd day there. As with each previous time we had to approach the reception desk, the staff would cut me off mid-sentence and say, "you are going home tomorrow?" It becomes frustrating explaining the details each time. When the guests in our group were put out in the sidewalk I exploded. The staff responded by saying they should have rooms ready by 4pm. Imagine, you're on holidays for 2 weeks, and on the 3rd day in you are put out on the sidewalk at noon and told you should have a room by 4pm. I asked to speak to the general manager and was repeatedly told the manager was not available.

The next offense occurred in my daughter's and my room. We came back to the room after the maids had been and discovered the patio door unlocked and open. I immediately checked our belongings and the safe then called reception and was directed to guest services. The attendant kept saying "we will send someone." I asked if he understood what i was explaining and he repeated my story so he understood. I iterated there was no need to send someone, the door was not broke, but that I was complaining that I did not want the maid to leave the room unlocked. His response was to fill out a complaint and that if I was staying for two weeks it should get addressed. I asked to speak to the manager again and was told the manager was not available. I asked what he did when he wanted to speak to the manager and was told he sent an email and waited for a response. Needless to say we stuck a note on the door in both English and Spanish asking to please close and lock the door. The maid never went out on the patio to clean after that.

To further sour my opinion I was greeted by a 5 foot long greyish brown snake on the way to my room. When we asked the gardeners and maintenance staff they first said no, never, there are no snakes, but when we insisted that we and others had also seen snakes, they said, "oh, yes." When we asked if they were safe or poison they didn't seem to want to commit. When we asked at reception the staff there said they had never heard of it, never seen or heard of snakes on the property. We still don't know what they were except about 5 feet long, and about an inch and a half in diameter.

Now for the awesome stuff. The buffet was always excellent. As a family we have been to several 4 and 5 star all inclusive s and I am pleased to say it may have been the most consistent, well balanced, with exceptional variety. It is a buffet service for hundreds of guests so of course it is not elegant dining. Other resorts present a lot more filler (local fare that may be lovely, takes up space on the display but is not very popular) but this buffet catered to international guests.

We did try the a la carte. Of the 6 offerings on the menu they had one thing. The 2nd attempt was the same so we decided to pass on that luxury and stay with the buffet.

The beach....very nice. 15 to 20 minutes walk from our room. We enjoyed it but I wouldn't say it stood apart from the rest of the Caribbean. If you like walking the beach for a long ways, Punta Cana is better, however, in Cuba you are not subject to sales pitches on the beach. Beaches in Aruba are nicer with no hassles either. The same race for shade applies to this beach as with most.

The service staff...exceptional...can't say enough about their professionalism, friendliness, attention to detail; we did watch some professional troubleshooting and thought, 'hum...very skilled....they are not just smiley faces, they do know how to use conflict resolution...but most important, they seemed to genuinely want to make your stay memorable.

Contrary to the reception staff. I understand the other staff, servers, porters, etc, are not as attacked by guests as the reception desk staff are, but that is no excuse for there unfriendly attitude. Once my daughter had to call a cab and the concierge explained that his phone did not work so to please go to the reception desk. The staff at reception were rude, ignored her until she persisted and then charged her a peso to make the call. After paying the peso she had to go to two other sources before we could get a cab to the local hospital.

Would I go back? Perhaps to the Villas or the Adult section and that's because when we met folks who did stay in those sections they explained their experience was more 'meet people friendly.' It seems that the bars are designed to appear inviting to guests but are really service bars and guests are not encouraged to mingle about them but are asked to be seated at a table in the main lobby area and staff will bring drinks to your table. That keeps people stationary and within their immediate group. Also, the entertainment is not interactive at all and does not engage or include guests. Other resorts seem more conducive to bringing guests together.

Would I go back? The value for the dollar is exceptional and overall it was a nice time. I was disappointed that management is unapproachable and I was tired of hearing, ' this is not our fault.' I wasn't looking for someone to fault, I was looking for a solution.

This resort was recommended to my daughter by a frequent guest of the resort and an event planner who has sent group guests there. Prior to our arriving he presented our names and asked the manager to look out for our arrival. We're not sure what happened there because we couldn't even speak to the manager when 4 of our group were evicted to the sidewalk because the maid understood she could ask them to leave the room because someone wanted it for a baby. When we told reception they responded with, 'well, we are busy with weddings and actually, we are over booked." We booked the resort and paid in full in September 2012. I was angry that somehow it seemed that we were less valuable customers than the others. We all paid to be there. I truly expected the management to respond.

Would I go back? Probably not.

Room Tip: request a second floor...there are gaps under the door and things can crawl under the door and entre. We kept a towel at the bottom of the door to discourage entry. The 40 to 41 units would be closer to beach and main lobby.
  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled with family
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6  Thank 714Leah
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brenda C, General Manager at Iberostar Ensenachos, responded to this reviewResponded April 30, 2013

Dear 714Leah,

On a behalf of the staff and management here at Iberostar Ensenachos we would like to thank you for your review,I am very sorry if this experience did not match your expectations and by the fact you have not been satisfied with your stay at our hotel also I will forward this review to our front desk manager so she can realize that the way that you felt you have been treated it is not the one that we are use to give as we always try to give the best customer service in order to accomodate all our guest and make them feel comfortable and in home,as per the inconvenience of the patio door left open the maid service manager has took care of this issue and was a mistake but greatfully nothing else happened. About the snakes well we are in a Key and sorrounded of mangroves and greenery of course we do have all kind of insects but they are not poison neither go inside rooms just it is the wild life that we have to preserve.
If you decide to give us another chance, please do not hesitate to contact our guest relation manager.

Wish you all the best

Kind Regards

Brenda Correa

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 21, 2013

Our family, my husband and two teenagers, age 15 and 13 stayed at the Iberostar April 6-13th,2013. As I read all the reviews since we booked the vacation back in November, I expected the wow, factor. As we arrived at 2am, we were directed to a room and given the info. and room keys. With no edible food left at the buffet, we tried to find out room as they did not have enough carts to take us there. We finally found it. My daughter and my room's breaker was not working and had to wait untill the bellboy appeared with our luggage. The following morning we had no electricity, then my husband's door card to his room didn't work. Went to the front desk, and they were of no help. Said the computers were down, and had no problem solving skills to possibly get a maintenance individual or maid to open the door for us. Pretty sad. We had 2 rooms with mold on the ceilings, broken tiles on the floor, taps that didn't work properly, curtains hanging off the rod, broken drawers, and an odd smell in our room. We were only given 1 a la carte as all of them were booked, and when we asked for the steakhouse, we were told we wouldn't be aloud because our son was 13. We paid adult prices for our children. Not once were our children approached by the rec staff on the beach. Only the very young, or the drunk, obnoxious people seemed to be involved in the activities. We tried several times to talk to Brenda, but staff repeatedly told us she was not there or away from her desk. The food was okay, but with two meals every day at the buffet, it became boring very quikly.
There were a few positives, yes the beaches are beautiful, the maids and the gardeners work very hard. We shared gifts with the gardeners whom are often over looked. Please stop and tip them and tell them what a beautiful job they do. Our family loved Jilian the piano player. She should be the centre of the entertainment, rather than a side show, More Cuban culture should be shared. That's what people go down there for. Unfortunately we will never return or recommend this resort to any family or friends. We were totally disappointed in a family vacation that we've waited for so long to have!

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with family
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6  Thank Ria R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brenda C, General Manager at Iberostar Ensenachos, responded to this reviewResponded April 30, 2013

Dear RiaR,

On a behalf of the staff and management here at Iberostar Ensenachos we would like to thank you for your review. However, we feel sorry that our hotel was not up to your expectation. We assure you that improvement, in all our services are an ongoing process and our priority is guest satisfaction. Yes, on a sunday the whole Key were ut of power and all hotels were in teh same way that us, unfortunately this hotels doesnot count with a emergency power plant but as soon as it showed up we start setting up the sever and programms to help all our guest and to continue the operation actually it was on sunday and I came here to help and in case that any guest want to talk to me I was available, but if I am not in the property unfrotunately I can not attend.We do hope, to have another opportunity in the near future, to make your holiday unforgettable. If you decide to give us another chance, please do not hesitate to contact us.


Cordially,

Brenda Correa

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Reviewed April 21, 2013

Travelled in April of 2013. Having been to other resorts in Cuba, including the Melia Buenavista (which allowed us to travel to the other Melias including the Melia Las Dunas) I can say that the Iberostar Ensenachos is top notch.

We walked to the Ensenachos beach (the Megano beach was closer) and what a beach...fine powdered sand and crystal clear shallow water. Even in the middle of the day we managed to find some much needed shade under one of the palapas.

The grounds are spectacular. Landscaping offers shade, privacy for the two storey spacious bungalows, and is home to many birds and the occasional iquana who make their appearance on occasion.

We only ever needed to eat at the buffet restaurant, which offered plenty of fresh fish, grilled on the spot, grilled chicken, fresh salads of all kinds and a great dessert table. Fresh fruits, juices, breads were always a welcome sight.

For all of those who have written bad reviews, re: for example the lack of food choices keep in mind this is Cuba (wings and beer ...come on folks) or about some minor detail (frayed beach towel, spider in room, seaweed on beach) I would venture to guess that you may also have complained about a catamaran ride being too windy ....Folks you are on vacation....

As for activities there is plenty to keep you occupied. To burn some of those extra calories accumulated at the buffet or bar, I would highly suggest a tennis 'RENOvation'. Reno, the on-site tennis coach, is a great coach and a super guy. Me and my wife took lessons each morning and his easy going personality, sense of humour kept us coming back each day. But don't let him fool you...he isn't afraid to make you sweat :). Reno...Thanks for the lessons and we will be back to work on the forehand.

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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8  Thank filosof1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brenda C, General Manager at Iberostar Ensenachos, responded to this reviewResponded April 30, 2013

Dear filosof1,

Thank you so much for taking part of your time and write us about your recent stay at Iberostar Ensenachos, we appreciate all your comments, we love that you have been a wonderful stay here among us, we work hard in order to all our guests feel themselves like home. We hope to have you again among us in the future and offer you even a better service.

Cordially

Brenda Correa

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Reviewed April 21, 2013

Booked this pacage through Sunwing and flight portion was very good with something hot to eat in both directions.
Both airports were pretty good but on the Cuba end looks like they were struggling to get people checked in quick enough for the flight departure times, it was close but everyone got checked in and we just waited until the plane to get duty free.
When you arrive wait until you get on the bus to buy beer as it is cheaper and they take Canadian $$.
Now for the resort:
We got there early on Sunday so the rooms were not ready but had or bracelets and were prepared for this so we had a couple drinks in the sun with some people we met on the trip to the resort. We got checked in about 3pm and luggage got taken right to the room...no issues there.
We stayed in the adult only Spa Suites section and the room was very nice with a patio and everything we needed. We did have an issue with the fridge one day but filled out the repair card and it was fixed when we got back from the beach.
Rooms were cleaned every day and there was only one day they missed putting beer in the fridge. Only one night the hot water ran out and that was only for about a half hour at supper time.
The pool was right across the path from our room and we spent some time there everyday usually on the way back from the beach. The staff that worked the pool were great and really seemed to appreciate the gifts we gave them. If you spent the day at the pool the one thing you notice is how nice and quiet it was so you could relax and read with no kids running around.
Beaches were fantastic but get down there somewhere around 6am-6:30am if you want to get a spot under one of the huts for some shade. There are a couple guys working the beach in the morning that will help with chairs and finding a place for you. We went to the other beach towards the villas one day but pretty much the same as the main beach.The resort they said was full while we were there.
OK the food: I had no problem finding something to eat each meal. I stayed away from beef and generally had fish or chicken and they had lots to choose from at the main buffet. I tried the pizza and that was pretty good as well.
The beach restaurant was good for lunch with a good selection and you can never go wrong with french fries :). It did get lined up pretty good at lunch a couple times but wait a half hour and good to go.
We tried the steakhouse a la carte and were not impressed with the steaks but the chicken ceasar was very good. Not sure how they expect you to cut that tougher than average beef with a butter knife??
The Asian restaurant was closed for renovation when we were there so couldn't try that and didn't bother with the rest.
They have some very good coffee, espresso, cappachino at the lobby bar and it was nice to go sit in the lobby area and have a coffee in the morning, the staff that brought the coffee were very friendly and plesant every morning.
The staff have no problem taking Canadian money for tips but remember they can't change the coin at their banks.
We found for the money exchange on the resort the afternoon was best.
They had entertainment every night that happened usually around 9:30pm.
We stayed at the resort the whole week to relax so no excursion info...sorry.
Overall great vacation.

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank T-Pev
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brenda C, General Manager at Iberostar Ensenachos, responded to this reviewResponded April 30, 2013

Dear tperevill,

On a behalf of the staff and management here at Iberostar Ensenachos we would like to thank you for your nice review. We all are hardworking people always seeking the best for all our clients. Should you choose our hotel, or some other Iberostar Hotels, for your next vacation, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Wish you all the best,

Brenda Correa

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Reviewed April 20, 2013

Travel dates : April 4-11, 2013

As stated, this was our 5th trip to our Cuban paradise and we were still amazed by the wonderful staff and the service they provided.

Iberostar are still making changes to provide clients with the best possible vacation which will be an ongoing process as the wheels in Cuba turn very slowly.

We found the food to be vastly improved even from last April, not that we had any problems then. We just noticed that everything was better. In fact one evening in the buffet we had roasted turkey that was juicy and tasty. The buffet setup is not the best but they do the very best they can. Keep in mind that is was done when this was an adults only resort and worked just fine considering that hotel was never fully booked unlike now when it has been. Changes are coming to the buffet.

Many more tables & chairs in the lobby area for people to met and mingle. I personally loved the Cuban orchestra and the live band in the evenings. Would love to hear more Cuban music, perhaps a mix of both would fit the bill. When in Cuba I want to hear Cuban music more than North American. I know not everyone shares my thoughts on this so a good mix would work better. Once the live music was over I left the area as I personally found it far to loud in the lobby.

The beaches...Megano was by far always my favorite beach for the easy walk to it and the hard packed sand for walking to the end and back. Now not so much! By far the most crowded beach I have ever been on. This is a perfect beach for children of this there is no doubt but the palapas are to close together. I noticed that they have rebuilt many after "Sandy" and a cold front took many of out. They are mostly 4 post design which is nice. Megano is a huge beach and there is way more area available to the right side away from the crowd and noise. I realize that this a "biosphere protected area" and that they are trying to protect as much as possible and I appalud this but if you want the people there you need to open up the other area. I know that it would be a daunting task for the staff to drag chairs and provide service but in my opinion you could add another smaller bar and washroom facility or even just state "No service provided beyond this point" allowing people to decide where they want to sit.

We were in the Villa's this time and what a treat that was. Ensenachos beach is amazing but the sand is not as packed until the tide goes out. The villa end is more exposed and gets a bit more wind there but was lovely. More palapas are needed at this end as well and all along that beach. This would give clients even more options for the type of area they want to enjoy.

Can't say enough about the wonderful staff in the Villas as well as the rest of the property. Many we have come to know and appreciate every year and look forward to seeing them. The food in the El Colonial has improved so much, hats off to the head chef and the wait staff.

Had the opportunity to met the new GM Brenda Correa, a tiny beautiful, tenacious woman. She is just a lovely person and a real pleasure to chat with. It is very obvious that she loves her new placement here and is doing her very best to get things attended to. If only she had no constraints placed on her WOW what she could do :) As with every country, money slows all wheels! Keep up the great work Brenda.

Staff that so deserve a huge shout out, Bellman, Alexi and Roberto...long time staff from the beginning and have seen it all. They are one of the first impressions and they do a great job. Always a hug bear hug from both.

Lisbet Perez Legra & Yoanka Rodriguez Garcia, two very beautiful young women inside and out. They have a huge responsibility and their days are not easy. They both deserve a raise as well as recognition for the things they do for this hotel. Thank you ladies for making our 5 th trip the best yet.

The butlers in the Villas, Yandry, Marichal, Diego & Estaban another group of very hard working men always willing to do their best for each and every client. Hats off to them all. Zulma a very lovely young woman helping with all aspects of the Villa experience.

The wait staff during our breakfast & lunches at the Villas, Misleidi & Yudelsy, two very hard working ladies. After our first breakfast and lunch they just knew everything that we needed and gave us the very best service ever. Always a big bright sunny smile. We very much appreciated these two lovely women, they also deserve credit for everything they do in the Villas.

It is my hope that Iberostar/Gaviota will loosen the purse strings some and get everything done that needs attention.

I would also like to see a reward program in place for staff. These people work hard, some people tip others do not but the service is still the same. I think it only fitting that there be a monetary reward program and special recognition in place for staff that go well beyond expectations.

A big thank you to everyone for making this trip very special. We look forward to seeing everyone again next season.

Anne & Roger Morash

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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8  Thank sunlover1960
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brenda C, General Manager at Iberostar Ensenachos, responded to this reviewResponded April 30, 2013

Dear sunlover1960,

On behalf of all our staff at Iberostar Ensenachos Grand Village we would like to thank you and your family for choosing our hotel for your vacations. We are glad to know that we were able to make your days with us wonderful. I will forward your review to Lisbeth, Yoanka, alexi, Roberto, Misleidy, Yudelsy, Zulma and the buttlers, they will be happy to know that you remember them and their services. It is a pleasure to assist a respectfully and caring family like yours, who appreciate the effort that the staff make day by day. I would like to thank you as well for your nice words about my assistance.

We hope we can welcome you back in the future, I am sure we will meet again.

Regards,

Brenda Correa

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