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“Excellent Value - Amazing Area”

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Brisas Guardalavaca Hotel
Ranked #2 of 3 Hotels in Guardalavaca
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed April 12, 2010

I stayed at the Brisas Villas (5000 block) with my teenage son from March 10-24. Loved it so much I went back a week later with just my sister and stayed in the Main Hotel ocean view this time. I won't ramble on endlessly as I have been reading these reviews for months now and it has all been said. Some people complain about everything so I think it is just in our personalities and attitudes... I definitely got back what I gave at the Brisas... smiles and an Hola for everyone. I absolutely loved it and cannot wait to go back. I had no problems with the hotel at all. I have traveled to Mexico and the Caribbean a fair amount and rarely have problems. I research lots to ensure that where I am going is what I want and then I take my good, friendly attitude and open mind with me.
The people in this area of Cuba are country people and are just good decent people - I met many people and families that were just so nice and helpful - and I have several families to visit when I return.
My only complaint is that I found the Nautical center a bit aloof if you did not give huge tips... your next Cat ride is cut very short as they do remember... which is not really fair as we have already paid for this. Front desk staff at resorts everywhere I have been for some reason are always borderline rude - but I found the Brisas front desk staff reasonable. The rest of the staff at the hotel go above and beyond in my opinion. I particularly loved: Enrique who did my pasta each night, the fish fillet guy, and the omelet guy in the main buffet, the grill/pizza guys were always friendly, the churro lady is a sweetheart, Freddy with the mopeds, Delvis on the grounds, Luis in the villas pool bar, excellent Security staff and many more. I travel alone with my son a lot so safety is always an issue for me. No problem here - we took a moped and went to Yaguajay, Boca de Sama, Sama, Canadon, and even to Banes 34 km away with no problems. Friendly good people everywhere we went!
Oh, and for you guys who like to go fishing - you don't always get lucky but the day I went with my boy we came across 2 Shark Whales with a school of Tuna and our 4 guys hauled in 10 Tuna between them - one of our best days ever!! Tuna on the grill at the main hotel that night was fresh!

I definitely have left my heart in Cuba - no more Mexico for me!! Oh I should point out that I have been to Cuba before: In 1989 to Cienfuegos/Trinidad, and 2009 to Varadero/Havana - really I left my heart in Guardalavaca !!!

  • Stayed: March 2010, traveled with family
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6  Thank AngieWithChad
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed April 12, 2010

We travelled out of Halifax with a group of 14 ages 32-49(ish). Most of us booked last September for $650 + HST per person for villa side. Travelled via Air Transat which was flawless. Mind you, we were well over in our luggage allowed weight with all the things we had to give away. It was cheaper to upgrade one of our seats for $50 than it was to pay by the kg. Hindsight is 20/20 as if we had of prepaid our upgrade through our agent it would have only been $25. We did however pre book our seats for the round trip to ensure we sat together. Many of our group's couples were separated for the trip down.

We were a bit apprehensive with the last few reviews here before we left, but we quickly realized that your vacation is what you make of it. Treat people with respect and a smile, and they usually return it twofold....usually.

Where to start.... we landed in Holguin around noon. Have your camera ready when the plane touches down, as there is a large (manned) anti aircraft gun at the end of the runway on the right hand side! Lots of armed security at the airport. We are used to Punta Cana airport were they have flowers and picture opps.... Holguin had uzis and camo. We went through quickly and easily. Once you get through customs and get your bags, you are directed to your bus. It is almost an hour commute, so most of us first walked to the departure side of the airport for the three B's. Bano (bathroom), Bank (to convert some money), and Beer (no explanation needed).
We converted $100 Canadian at 1.15% which left us with just under 75 pesos. The exchange was the same as the hotel, but this gave us some tip money and our 25 cuc each which is needed to leave the country. Other than departure tax or paying for excursions with cash, you do not need large bills! Most of our spending was tipping. If money is charged on your credit card, it will convert from pesos to US$ to Canadian$. It is confusing, but the world money exchange is based in greenbacks, so it is a necessary evil. Compared to Dominican the excursions and trinkets are cheap so no worries about a lot of money needed..
When arriving at the resort, one person get the bags, the other get in the check in line. We arrived at he resort around 11am so only one of our rooms were ready. Ask for 2 rooms keys at check in. The safe is 2cuc per day. Hide the safe key in the room as it is 25 cuc to replace it.... two of us lost our keys!
We were scattered throughout the resort, most in the villas and one couple in the hotel. We were in the villas in room 6207 which was very nice! Nice view, the a/c was cold, bed is low to the floor but comfortable for both our bad backs. Extra blankets and pillows in the closet. Lots of hot water and enough water pressure to say it hurt when turned to full power! The fridge was turned down when we got there but was ice cold when we turned it back up. We did have a large bottle of water in the fridge which we could refill at the bar or buffet and also the housekeeper gave us a new bottle every second or thrid day. I really do not see what the big deal is with refilling your water bottle. In Dominican, our resort had rooms with daily stocked fridges which included 5 water and at least 5 sodas nightly. So on our DR holiday we would have emptied 70 plastic containers per week....imagine that times the may tens of thousands of visitors over the span of a year!!! My god people, recycling is a way of life. The Cubans do not have the infrastructure to embrace a recycling program but refilling water jugs is the next best thing! If you feel the need to break a new seal each time you raise a bottle of water by all means, it is for sale in the hotel store for a nominal cost.
First vacation where no one was pestering to give us a free gift for a timeshare meeting which was nice!
Phone calls home were expensive so we utilized the internet time. It is 3cuc per half hour. Make sure you get a drink (or have a leak) before you go online because it is dial up and not high speed! It took me 20 minutes to send off three emails through my Aliant webmail, but I didn't mind, I had nowhere else to be!
Our girl kept the room nice and neat, clean towels and sheets when we requested. We usually tipped 3 cuc per day along with gifts. We took various things such as dolls, personals, shoes, crocs, snadals, baseball gloves(with balls), etc etc. Her towel art was great!
Food was good and we always walked away uncomfortably full. The villa buffet was not as busy as the hotel buffet. A la cartes were good for a more formal sit down deal. Waiters here were great and very entertaining. The seafood buffet was good and the waiters took turns singing and playing guitars. Can't complain about the food as yes, there was always something. The villa buffet seemed to be burdened with houseflies, but that was a simple fix... we ate outside. The pizza and fry guys were great. The donut lady worked her charms on us Canadians..... but we aptly renamed them sticknuts for their shape.
We did a horse and buggy ride out front of the hotel. He will go for 1,2,or 3 hours. We did the 1 hour for 15cuc. It was relaxing, but I always feel bad for the horses. haha. We also did the Paradise Island tour which is highly recommended. It was our first ever all day tour, but it was great. I think it was around 70 cuc per person which was more than reasonable. The guys also did the deep sea fishing..... I'll refrain with the details but it was rough that day and we were four miles out, caught 2 fish, 37cuc per person...nuff said.
The beach was nice. Always breezy (sometimes even a 4 club wind lmao) but it would have been too hot without the wind. Some of our group took out a paddle boat and snorkelled past the grass which was coral and plenty of nice fish to see. Please watch out for children! There is plenty of sand to swim in but as you get out further, it does turn grassy. In this grass there are plenty of sea urchins which will ruin a holiday quickly if stepped upon!! We did see hotel crews out cleaning them up twice but it would be a full time job IMO. Other than that, lots of loungers any time of day either at the beach or poolside. Not a lot of topless, but something was disturbing on the beach. For those fellas who like to parade in the g-strings, before you pack it in the suitcase, please stop and think..... then think again. If it is still in the bag, please ask a neighbor how it looks on you, or maybe even wear them in front of a mirror, put your glasses on and be objective. For those who were so compelled to wear them during our stay I have a little insight for you. If you seen a group of 14 people on the beach, and the 7 women were taking pictures of you, do not take it as flattery!! You are now the laughing stock of 7 Facebook pages! So let's recap guys, thong bad, shorts good.
The market was a short walk, some different things to be found everyday. The stuff seemed reasonable enough price wise. They do not dicker like in the DR an they do not hassle you either. If you stand at their table they will talk price, but they did not come out and drag you in to see their wares. If they asked 5cuc, they usually took 4. Nice stuff and seemingly well worth the money.
I'm rambling now, but there is lots more to say and lots I am forgetting. This was our first Cuba trip, as we usually do DR. Price was right, but not a $1400 per person resort in my opinion. If you want quiet and relaxation, Brisas is it. If you want go go go, go elsewhere. The Cuban people are a beautiful gem all of their own. If they don't bend to your will, it is probably because they live a very meagher existance and don't need your guff. Holguin is very non commercialized and you will drive forever and still not find a McDonalds or a Tim Hortons.... personally I think they are the better for it.

  • Stayed: March 2010, traveled with friends
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7  Thank Clemmie70
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 11, 2010

Cost us $3000 Cdn. all in, spending money included (two adults/one child)- I can't go to Halifax for a week at that cost ( and we only live one hour away)- Not sure what most people expect when they travel but I would think value for you dollar would be at the top of their list. Some people who complain about this resort should just stay home - you have a gorgeous beach, clean pools, and if you look hard enough ok food. Think of the top 3 things you want in a vacation, then make your choice. If food is that important to you- and you are concerned, pay another $200 per. person and go somewhere else - Was the food bland? - Yes. Was it repetitive? -Yes - But if you take advantage of all the eating venues, you won't go hungry and there's a good chance you won't get sick. As for the rooms, we stayed at the villa section and it was great, huge room nice balcony and running hot water - if your concerned about room service and 50 channels on the T.V. - go to Vegas - Other people have complained they have had to walk too far to access other parts of the resort - A 5 min. walk to everything in all directions, again - go to Disney and see how far you have to walk - I am in no way a seasoned traveller - However, when I have the opportunity and means to visit other parts of the world, I do so with a sense of adventure and open-mindedness - Again, think of why you want a vacation - If it is sunshine, nice beaches, freindly people, very good rum & other drinks- this place will suit you just fine - Adios Amigos

  • Stayed: March 2010, traveled with family
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5  Thank scotchcove
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 10, 2010

Flew Airtransat with upgrade to Options Plus so we could take extra luggage and a few small perks. Upgraded to first class on return flight. We were a family of six with 2 friends and 3 other relatives. The arrival at Holguin airport went smoothly, found bus easily and loaded luggage. Grabbed a few Cristals for the trip which was fairly smooth. The roads have been upgraded in the past 2 years. The Villas reception check in was surprisingly quick and they were actually friendly! We arrived before noon and our room was not ready for 2 hrs and the adult/teen kids rooms were not ready until about 5 pm. However we had a late check out on departure day. The food was better than previous years or I am getting more selective! There was a lot of beach and grounds maintenance going on throughout the week. There was always available cots on the beach if you look around but not always in the shade. There were people who were rather stingy and wouldn't share their space with others. I witnessed a women chase a child from under the shade of a grass umbrella because it was "hers". She was sitting out in the sun nowhere near the hut! The entertainment was ok with a variety of acts. We were dissapointed that there was no night shows on the villa stage this year. The rooms were clean and comfortable. I took my own pillow. We enjoyed several excursions with the family. The land and sea jeep tour was great as was the Island Paradise tour. We enjoyed several local tours of the villages by horse and carriage and bicycles. As return guests we got a bottle of rum, late check out, and a welcome lunch. Over all it was a great week and we will likely return.

  • Stayed: April 2010, traveled with family
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1  Thank NovaScotiaSeaport
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 10, 2010

Arrived at the Villa section at 6.30 am after the delay caused by the bankrupt Skyservice. First impressions were not so good with a grumpy guy not wanting to off load our cases from the bus, I did it myself. We were then given our mini suite key and arrived to see only two chairs with no couch, not a problem for us but the room was dark with a big tree in front. Went back to the reception but was told to go to the main hotel at 9 am to speak to them. Got a new room at 2.30 pm that was great, on the ground floor in Villa 6, not a mini suite but we didn't care. It had a great view and was kept very clean.

The food was good but by the end got a bit repetative. Other than the grumpy guys making cappuccinos in the the Vila dining room and Sea Food restaurant in the early morning ( may have been the same semi bald middle aged guy that would not help me with our bags, they multi task) the staff were great and had a ready smile.

The location is excellent, beach very good but it was always very windy. You do get shelter from the wind at the Villa Pool. A walk down to the beach at Club Amigo next door and you will find it more sheltered, golfers will understand when I say it that on many days it was a four club wind on the Brisas beach.

Drink quality was good, they have Chivas at the Sea food restaurant bar but you have to ask for it. This also serves as a breakfast and lunch spot with excellent piizza at the latter plus it had beautiful views of the beach, ocean.

Not a lot to do, we rented a Taxi for a morning, 40 cuc's and checked out other Hotels, the Blau would not let us in, too busy they said but we were able to go down a path to their beach. It is next to the huge Playa Tusquira (spelling incorrect) Hotel, neither had much ambiance in our view. We had a nice reception at the Sol Luna Mares where we got a tour, looks like a great Hotel with a stunning beach. We dropped off supplies to a local school while on that trip. We went on walks and took the free bikes out one day.

The Villa section is quiet as opposed to the main Hotel and that is what we wanted. We used both buffets for variety, the main one had more choices. The evening entertainment was so so, we only took in snipets of these, don't go there looking to be entertained. We took books and magazines and did a lot of reading, weather was great, other than the wind which I have heard is a constant there.

The only real negative for me was that the bed was old and I woke up with a sore lower back, not an issue for my wife or an other couple of guests that we asked. Cuba's four stars in my view are really three stars but if I could I would rate this a three and a half. Overall it was good, made so in particular with our great room location. It should be mentioned that there are few rooms in the Villa's close to the beach so we lucked out. Would we go back? Perhaps some time in the distant future as it is good value especially if you pay around $600 plus tax like we did.

  • Stayed: April 2010, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank 54partyguy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 8, 2010

This was our 5th time to Cuba, different location each time. Hotel was very pleasant, clean, roomy, grounds well kept, beach beautiful. Food was excellent, even for our picky member. Good choice of drinks but no slushy drinks. Would have enjoyed volleyball in the pool but only water polo. Staff pleasant but not as friendly as other resorts. Travel to and from went off without a hitch. Canjet very good carrier. Adult children enjoyed the disco all safe and on the resort. Most people we met were return visitor's which was a good sign. Would we return, most certainly. Very reasonble price 750 taxes in.

  • Stayed: March 2010, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Carling29
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 7, 2010

This was our second trip to this resort, we loved it the first time, the second time we felt like we just got back home. We have traveled to a couple other resorts in Cuba, always in January and none of them compare. You are always going to find 4 different meat dishes, 2 different potatoes, 2 rice, salads galore, several different vegetables, dinner rolls, dessert. Every day the "pizza guy" is baking up a storm of pizza, hot dogs, grill cheese, salads, hamburgers. Of course the drinks are free pour so beware :-) The rooms are standard but you are on a vacation, spend time on the beach! The Ocean View rooms are very noisy, don't plan on much sleep, just ask to move to the garden view rooms they are more than willing to accommodate. The beach is nice and clean, we actually watched four Cuban's hand building the beach while we where there, quite interesting actually, physical labor and no complaining. They have bicycles that you can use for as long as you like. The gym was so so. If you are prone to mosquito bites take bug spray, the bar at the villas is bad for mosquito's. I had to get an anti histamine and it cost me 11 pesos for 12 tablets. There is internet, very inexpensive 6 pesos for 1 hour a phone call is 2.50 pesos for 1 or 2 minutes. The Cuban's call it dial up but it was a bit quicker than that, We are planning on going to this resort ever year, it is so comfortable and homey.

  • Stayed: January 2010, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank KbobOntario
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: $99 - $240 (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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