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“Can't wait to go again!!”

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Brisas Guardalavaca Hotel
Ranked #2 of 3 Hotels in Guardalavaca
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed April 26, 2013

In spite of the few hiccups we had before leaving, once onboard our flight out of Halifax (1/2 hr late leaving) things went quite smoothly. Flight with Sunwing was ok nothing more...going through customs in Holguin was faster than I expected. Bus trip (after dark) was fine. Fun people on the bus and no lack of cold cerveza. Check in was quick. Almost all the people on the bus were staying in the villas so that's where the bus stopped first. There were 5 of us coming from Halifax on April 3. Awaiting us at reception were 3 friends from the UK. I had wrote before hand asking that we all be as close together as possible (there were 7 more coming after us). Most of us weren't in the same building but except for those in building #7 we could see across to one anothers patios. Nothing is that far on this resort which is one of the reasons we like it so much. This was our second visit to Brisas. First time we have ever gone back to the same resort. The location and the staff are definitely what really makes the place. With a party of 15 its not easy but I think everyone was quite pleased. My husband & I and his sister spend a lot of time off the resort...some days we had company...some days we didn't. We went to the market most every day (get your caricature done by yoandi (nickname Flacco)...he's a fabulous artist and a great guy...take him some artist paper and pencils if you can). The bands who play are quite talented and loads of fun!! We have had a friend in Holguin for a number of years now so everytime we go we spend at least one day at his mom's for a pig roast (it's usually the highlight of our trip). We did the double decker bus out to the Indian village. They really don't give you much information in the hour you spend there (as Loony Lou said "it's kinda cheesy") but the bus ride is worth the trip. However, we took a taxi (52 Willy that cost us 50 cuc) to Banes after that and toured the archeology museum and the city with tour guide Luis Quinones Garcia who speaks very good english and is a wealth of information. His son Luis works as a life guard at Brisas. The museum was small but quite facinating. We also visited Gibara again. Such a worth while trip. The scenery is spectacular and Gibara is a great town with cold beer, cheap food, great music (on Sat. and Sun. there is usually live music at the Fort that is open to the public). We also went to a new restaurant off the resort (Miremar) that we were able to walk to. It's on the same road as "El Anca". The views were incredible and the food was good but we accidently ordered way too much!!!
The highlight of our trip this year was having our friend, his wife and their 2 1/2 year old on the resort for a day. The baby had never been to a beach before. They were so grateful for that opportunity!!! We loved it I'm sure as much as they did. I've never seen a child that well behaved have that much fun with no napping, no crying and absolutely no whining!!!! His laugh is so contagious!!!!
As for the resort itself, yes the rooms are in need of some work but how much time do you spend in your room??? We actually had a leaking toilet which almost flooded our room. The maid had it cleaned up and had someone from maintenance in and fixed in no time. We did notice a few things that need some work but I'm sure with the reno's in the villas those things will be done. It may take time. After all it's Cuba.
We had no problem with the food. The buffet always had something (sometimes too much) we liked and the ala cartes were all good, the Bucanero being the best this visit, with the Italian a close second. We never got to the El Zeguan so can't give an opinion on that. The seafood was good with excellent entertainment. The only negative thing I can think of is the bugs. They are similar to our "No see ems". Have a vicious bite. Unfortunately, I seem to be alergic so I end up faring the worst. Others in our group got bit but their reactions weren't nearly as bad as mine. This is not the first time, so I was prepared somewhat. You learn to deal with crap eventually. Wasn't enough to put me off of going back!!!!
The most amazing part was how small the world really is...in two weeks, we saw people from home (we didn't know they were going), people we hadn't seen in years, people who were related to people in our group, people who knew people we knew (even a gentleman who had hired my youngest brother many years ago and where they both still work today) people we had met before at Brisas, etc. It was crazy!!!! And we also met some wonderful new people!!!
The only really bad part for us was leaving!!!! Can't wait to go again!!!!

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled with friends
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5  Thank CathynPete
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed April 25, 2013

I really don't know what to say! We (a family of 8) stayed at Brisas from April 13-20 and honest to goodness we can't find a fault. The food was above average, never hungry. I have a very picky 19 year old boy and I didn't hear one complaint. The pizza at the 24 hour bar is to die for, I crave it! Breakfast every day was amazing, Odales was our server in the morning, she is a doll! We only had lunch in the buffet once and it was very very good, we usually ate in the 24 hour bar mid afternoon. We had 3 suppers in the buffet and again above average, the service is the best I've experienced in any resort I have been too, its obvious the staff enjoy their jobs. We ate at the seafood, el zaguan, and the italian al acartes, every one of them delicious! We celebrated my birthday and my sons birthday at two of the ala cartes, our rep Annabel from Holasun booked our reservations for us, and arranged for birthday cakes, mind you there weren't very good :( Our rooms (gardenview on the 4th -5th floor lol) were very very clean, always had clean towels when needed. Elizabeth our room girl was very thorough, we got 2 packages of coffee daily, mind you I had to swipe the coffee cups from my brothers room as ours were espresso sized :) I love my coffee and its the best ever at this resort, every bar I ordered from the cappuccino was excellent! The evening entertainment, and day activities are alot of fun, never pressured to join! Water polo at the pool everyday is a lot of fun to watch! The beach is beautiful and calm, always chairs, but I was told by my son that as they were returning from the beach party at the public beach around 1am people had already put their towels out for the next day, really???? We didn't have any issues getting loungers at either the pool or beach. I've heard gripes about the front desk staff, we were treated really well, I guess a kind attitude and smile go a long way. If you need the International Clinic, (unfortunately we did, as 2 in our group overdid the sunshine on our first day, and had extremely burnt feet, ankles and shins, with a lot of pain and swelling), they are very kind and treat you well. I have saved the best for last, "the donut lady", these little things were the highlight of my trip, sooo yummy! I don't want to be repetitive as the reviews below all sum it up! I can definitely say WE WILL RETURN because I want a rock with my name on it and a little tree :) We loved it here and can see why all of the reviews are so good!

Room Tip: We were in garden view rooms on the 4th floor, rooms 515, 519, 521 and 527...very quiet at night and...
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  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled with family
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4  Thank Luvthesun08
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 25, 2013

I want to thank all the reviewers for taking the time to reflect back on their own experiences. It helps everyone prior to booking a trip.
Traveled for 11 days with family including 2 daughters (ages 9 & 4) April 2013. This was our 11th time at an all inclusive resort from 3.5 to 5+ stars. We are not fancy and are open minded individuals that appreciate the privilege to travel to other countries and adjust experiences according to where we are.
Resort capacity at 90 - 100%.
We bought Clothing and other items to help locals outside of resort and tipped staff accordingly.

Beach: Enough has been said, great snorkeling, clean but appreciate that there are weeds in the ocean (that is why snorkeling is great) and trees for shade, hence some leaves / weeds in sand. Cleaned daily. Getting shade however was hard unless you get to beach and reserve chairs under palapas before 8 am. Show up at 9 and forget it.

Pools: Very little to no shade in both Villa section and main building pools. A concern to anyone that has children, gets burnt and needs relief or is particularly sensitive to the Cuban strong sun. Main pool gets crowded and we did not find either of them particularly well maintained with cracked tiles in main one and lining breaking on Villa side.Kids pool was a repugnant.

Rooms: We stayed in 3107 in Villa section. We use rooms to sleep and shower and normally don't give a hoot about decor. But this was pushing even my relaxed standards. To best describe rooms, think of renting a cabin in the middle of the woods for a very cheap price but with mad service. Rooms kept clean and maids do their towel thing which kids loved. Safe works, but lock on sliding door did not so I improvised. We did not complain or ask to be moved since options were not any better. Toilet handle broke but was noticed by our excellent maid and fixed without our request.

Food: If I managed this hotel, I would love to do a cost analysis of the waste of food and money that happens everyday. It is simple - check the garbage. So many Cubans lacking basic food outside of the hotel and yet so much waste going on by us visitors. But it is not our fault. It is the chefs and management. You see Cuba has all the ingredients but very poor execution. Overcooked is the first word that comes to my mind. The rest just gets worse. We did not go hungry but hated seeing so much variety of food poorly cooked both at specialty and buffet restaurants.

Drinks: Beer was cold, some top shelf items but you need to know which bars to go to. Better then most high end resorts I have been to where they serve their own no name garbage. No waiting for drinks for more then a couple of minutes. Oh and most of the time it is because bartenders are filling 40 ounce jugs for my fellow Canadians. Good table wine from Spain.

Staff: Top notch, great people, friendly, hard working and they make this resort better then what it is.

Entertainment: Kids loved night shows. OK day activities but that is up to you to get involved. Overall we liked it. We have had better and worse. It varies so much with each Hotel. But they all tried very hard. Something always going on at any time.

Guests: Many Canadians and British, some sprinkles of German and Dutch. We met fabulous people from everywhere, but spent lots of time with people from east coast - they rock ! Over all guest define a lot of the ambiance at a resort. Main age groups where 55 + and then in the 18-25 ages.

Hope this helps, the rest you can gather from the many reviews. Over all we had a great time and always make the best of any vacation. But in my opinion this resort is over rated by most reviewers and you need to define your own expectations to make a correct decision prior to booking. Lots of return guests, some that had stayed here over 15 times, why ?? I did not get it. We had no regrets about booking our vacation at Brisas but it is safe to say that most of the people we know would not be as open minded as our family.
Rooms, food and pools are way below average. Staff, beach, bars and service above average.

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank curacaO_10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 24, 2013

We reside in Alberta, Canada and have travelled 7 times to Cuba (Varadero, Cayo Coco and Holguin) and have stayed at the Brisas Guardalavaca 5 times the last of which was from April 5-19, 2013 and prior to that in September 2012 just before Sandy arrived. We thought going to th same resort 5 times was a lot but when you hear people having gone there 20 plus times is in itself a testimate to the resort and the staff, most of whom have worked there since day one. One cannot say enough about the hospitality, warmth and true friendship displayed by the staff and the cleanlienss of the facility is foremost. Most certainly there is construction/changes on going but they in no means diminish from the picturesque setting. The two main features of this resort in our eyes in addition to the cleanlieness are the staff and the beach as you do not have to walk blocks to the beach, it is right there. As for the food it is Cuban and my spouse does not eat pork or shellfish but loves the resort and has no problem with the food and we experience no difficulty from the food or water. There is always more then enough to eat and I suggest to people when they go to #1 leave all expectations at home and enjoy what they have to offer and #2 remember you are in Cuba, not home and it is impt. not to leave food on your plate so just take small portion to see if like and if not eat anywways and if like can go back for more. As for the a la cartes pace yourself as there is a load of food yet to come. The water show is well worth seeing and uf just want to relax on beach go for it but if want to experience the cuban life take the horse and buggy outside the hotel for a 15 peso excursion of rural Guardalavaca or a tour into the rural area. We take gifts each year for our friends and somethings we have found good are over counter medicine such as Advil, Aspirin and you can take 10 kg per person without permission and as for the medicine and gifts always state are for friends, not humanitarian as if state humanitarian they make take and distribute whereas if state for friends they will leave with you. Beef jerkey, jello, summer dxink mixes ie: koolaid, camp toaster, manual can openers, pasta mixes such as Sidekicks the require water only, clothes pins, gloves for gardners and fishing line and med to large hools are items worth taking. Enjoy yourself as there is so much to learn and the experience is beyone words.

Room Tip: Get an ocean view villa room if possible near the seafood restaurant and make sure you have supper a...
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  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Bill K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 22, 2013

Excellent,place,stay,service,spent two weeks there got married,had an amazing time and couldn't fault the service,staff food etc,can't wait to go back,my best holiday so far.The people are so friendly and nothing is to much bother.The high standards in all areas are amazing.From the second we got off the plane every part of the holiday,wedding was of super high standard.I can't even think of any negative fault as it was all so perfect.Totally an amazing trip can't wait to go back. X thank you Brisas x

  • Stayed: March 2013
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3  Thank Wendybrotherdale
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 21, 2013

We travelled out of Halifax, N.S. April 6-13 with Air Canada. Unfortunately AC had overbooked Brisas for our first night so we were bumped to Playa Costa Verde which was an upgrade in rating but not in my opinion ( which in their defense was only based on a one night stay). We thought Brisas was an amazing resort!

This was our fourth trip to Cuba and every place we have chosen was based on extensive research and care in making sure our vacation is the best it can be. We choose based on food, location, DEFINTELY snorkeling, and reviews, both good and bad. Brisas definitely met all our expectations and wants. The food was amazing! We actually chose to eat at the buffet all but 1 night because the choices were great and the fresh made stations were delicious. We especially enjoyed the stirfry station.

We stayed in the villas because we like the peace and quiet away from the main hotel building and we were very happy with this choice. We were still close to everything but at night the peace and quite was true vacationing! This resort is built very close to the beach. You walk right out your door and a minute later, you are relaxing on your beach chair! The beach is beautiful, clean and always lots of chairs and shades. They are building new shades every day so we never had a problem finding one.

My family are avid snorkelers, so they had a BLAST!! They snorkeled every day and saw amazing plant and marine life. They found the best areas out at the farthest buoy so a few days we took the pedal boats out and tied to the buoy so they could snorkel to their hearts content and I didn't have to worry about their safety. We have been to Varadero and Cayo Coco before but would definitely return for the snorkeling to Brisas.

There are two really great pools, the villas and the hotel pool. I liked the hotel pool better because I liked the infiniti pool and it was deeper. The villas pool was larger but quite shallow. I did find that with NO shade around the pool we had a hard time hanging out there. I brought a pool floatie from home and a lot of people said they wished they had thought of that so keep that in mind.


The rooms were nice, and kept clean daily. Nothing to rave about , but comfortable and really, how much time is spent in them?? This is the first time we have experienced having to pay for a safe which was 2 cuc a day, but I would never go without purchasing one.

The market was a great outing. It is a quick, beautiful walk and worth the time to check it out. There were lots of vendors and some great sellers! We really enjoyed talking to them.

We found the staff here was the best of all our trips so far. Nothing was too much for them to do to make you happy, and comfortable. EVERYONE said hello, and smiled and every single wait staff in the restaurants were the very best! I never one time felt like I had to tip to get service. I tipped FOR good service and I can honestly say this has to be the best thing Brisas has to offer. Marbellis was the sweetest lady and made us feel so welcome and special. She runs a great resort! The donut lady ( which is not the greatest way to address her I know, I just didn't catch her name) was soooo sweet, the waiter in our section in the buffet was ALWAYS happy to see us and made us feel special. The two bar tenders in the swim up bars were really attentive and never to busy to look right after you. I really think my favorite thing about this resort was the staff!!!

So....all in all I would rate this as a great vacation spot, and one we will surely return to!!

Room Tip: I would recommend staying in the villas. They are all in pretty good locations, so choose any block
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  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled with family
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9  Thank sunsandsnorkling
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 19, 2013

Well Brisas, you were sure a hit with my family... Wehave been to brisas 3 times and have been going to Cuba for the last 15 years and Guardalavaca is our favorite area in Cuba. The staff were amazing. We gave up our room the start of of second week (they were over- booked) we had the best time and met 10 wonderful people whom came together as strangers and had the best time together. We also met a great group of people from Ontario,England and of course Nova Scotia. The food was so great and no one went hungry... Or should I say... I'm sure there are a few that put on weight (myself included) There we 14 of us, our daughter,son-in-law and granddaughter(3) she loved it. Our son met us there fromEdmonton, Alberta. our son-in-laws parents also joined us along . Our Niece,her husband and two sons that surprised us at the Halifax Airport along with another sirprise from my bff and her husband. What could a Mom, grandmother, Aunt and a best friend as for! Thanks, Brisas for making our family vacation so great!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with family
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4  Thank ginger36
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Brisas Guardalavaca Hotel

Address: Calle 2, Playa, Guardalavaca 84170, Cuba
Location: Caribbean > Cuba > Holguin Province > Guardalavaca
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 3 Hotels in Guardalavaca
Price Range: $98 - $241 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Brisas Guardalavaca Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 437
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Also Known As:
Brisas Hotel Guardalavaca
Guardalavaca Brisas Hotel
Brisas Guardalavaca Hotel Cuba - Holguin Province

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