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Reviewed April 29, 2018

I was not aware that April 15 week was a vacation week for Cuba, no work, no school, way more Cubainx at the hotel than tourist but everything was great with everyone behaving and having a good time. The hotel has some of the same tourist as in December as many stay there for 4-5 months. Great time again, buffet is limited due to the start of the low season but at $748 for 12 days what the hell....weather is getting very hot, managed to get a scooter for 10 days for the first time in 3 trips there. The upper part of the hotel is now closed for the season and coincidence I got the same room as in December on the first floor but with one elevator working it was not a problem. Our maid was fantastic as always and the staff recognized me. Good time again, becoming my prefered place when budget is important...try it , any questions ?

Date of stay: April 2018
  • Trip type: Travelled solo
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
13  Thank dan_g
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Brisas S, Director de Relaciones con Clientes at Brisas Sierra Mar Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded April 30, 2018

Dear Dan_g,
Brisas Sierra Mar Management and Staff appreciate your comments regarding our resort.
Our guests’ opinions are carefully read and every consideration is looked after. They are an opportunity to improve our services since our main purpose is customers’ satisfaction.
It will be a pleasure to welcome you in the near future.
Best Regards.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed April 1, 2018 via mobile

We stayed here for 2 weeks this winter and had a lovely time. Yes, the beach was dark sand and the water was murky. Yes, there was the occasional puddle of water in the halls. And yes, this tired old girl was in need of a bit of a makeover. But the scenery was to die for, the weather was perfect, the room was clean and well taken care of (with adequate hot water) and the food was edible. My partner thought the food was great, but he is happy with anything he doesn’t have to prepare! Our room was on the ground floor facing the garden, which was peaceful, quiet and shady, not to mention close to the beach. Here are a few hints to help you enjoy your stay. 1) Take advantage of the free bikes (or bring your own) and leave the property for an hour or a day. It’s all good and very safe. Just be sure to check your bike before you leave as they are old. My kick stand kept falling down and scraping the ground - most annoying! 2) Take advantage of the outdoor tables to eat your evening meal. The waiter named George is very kind and attentive with the wine. Thank you so very much, George! 3) Get to the lobby early for before dinner drinks as there is limited seating. There is usually entertainment (often piano, vocal, small group), which is lovely. 4) Check out the pizza and homemade fries, which are actually more like potato chips. They are offered at a little hideaway takeout place near the main restaurant during the afternoon. We only discovered it during our second week. 5) Take time to enjoy the wildlife! We enjoyed watching the goats sauntering through the property, as well as the horses and a huge Brahma bull. Because our room (and walkout porch) was facing the green space we also saw lots of hummingbirds and other birds. 6) Head to the beach, rather than the pool. Although clean, it is unheated and I found it too cool for my liking. All in all we enjoyed our vacation and thought we got basic amenities for a low price. I doubt we will return to this particular resort, though, as we want to continue experiencing other places in Cuba and around the world.

Date of stay: February 2018
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
10  Thank JofromCanada
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Brisas S, Director de Relaciones con Clientes at Brisas Sierra Mar Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded April 3, 2018

Dear JofromCanada,
Brisas Sierra Mar Management and Staff appreciate your comments regarding our resort.
Our guests’ opinions are carefully read and every consideration is looked after. They are an opportunity to improve our services since our main purpose is customers’ satisfaction.
It will be a pleasure to welcome you in the near future.
Best Regards.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed March 30, 2018

I've just returned from a 1 week holiday with friends at Brisas Sierra Mar. This is my fourth visit here. We lucked out because everything was in working order. The one elevator worked all week, the toilets worked, and the air conditioning in my room worked as it should. This is not always the case. The elevator is important for us as we love going down to the beach. The action on the beach has been cleaned up. Music was great with performances by Cesar on piano, Miguel on the guitar, Trio Tropicale, and Guama whom we heard four times. Numbers are dropping at season's end and consequently performers were missed at lunch meals in the Ranchon. The outdoors restaurant, the Ecologico, is operating again for dinners @ 5 pesos per person. Gardens are well tended and the resort was clean. Best of all is the staff who are all welcoming and friendly. 80% of the folks here are returnees. As usual they feted us with a returnees' dinner although the flags of the nations were missing this time. All in all, a wonderful vacation in a familiar setting.

Date of stay: March 2018
  • Trip type: Travelled with friends
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
6  Thank Allan S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Brisas S, Director de Relaciones con Clientes at Brisas Sierra Mar Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded April 2, 2018

Dear Allan S,
Brisas Sierra Mar Management and Staff appreciate your comments regarding our resort.
Our guests’ opinions are carefully read and every consideration is looked after. They are an opportunity to improve our services since our main purpose is customers’ satisfaction.
It will be a pleasure to welcome you in the near future.
Best Regards.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed March 26, 2018

First I would like to point out that there is a facebook group for the hotel - if you need specific info, go there for quick answers.
I traveled with my daughter (14) on a very last minute vacation in the middle of March (booked wednesday afternoon and left thursday!). Our flight was 'only' 1.5 hrs delayed with cubana but the flight was fine and food on the plane was better than sunwing in my opinion. The hola sun representative was joking that where other airlines have flight statuses of 'on time', cubana has 'ogk' which stands for 'only god knows'. Airport/transfer where efficient. Originally we booked garden view, room 302 so on the third floor. Our room's balcony door did not open so we went up to complain - there was another lady not liking her room at all so we got lucky and got her's instead which was ocean view, room 334 - right at the stairs so this was the best 'stair experience' only 2 flights up to main level or down to the beach. Always hot water (last time we didn't really have any in the upper building).
The first 3 times we were at the upper building and it was a lot of stairs and walking but the views are more impressive on floors 6/7. Please keep in mind that if you travel with persons that have mobility problems, that it's possible, but not great as the elevators are not reliably working and there are many stairs.
Regarding refrigerators, some said you have to upgrade but from my experience (and i thought so as well in the beginning and forked out the extra money) you can just ask for a fridge if you need one.
As many mentioned, the hotel is old and there are many repairs to be made, but they are fixing things continuously, for example there once was a waterfall system on the far left of the hotel, it looks like it might be working again soon. Last time we went they were fixing up rooms in the lower building and i hear now they are fixing the upper rooms.
There were not that many guests as it's end of season - the hotel is open in the summer but since flights are not offered directly to santiago, there are mostly cubans there from may - october. Most guests were from toronto/montreal and germany, a couple of russians were there as well. it is possible to book this hotel with flights to holguin, but it's a 4 hr. ride to there.
The food choices were less than in january but enough to find something to eat for everyone, some people said that it was much better than many other resorts in cuba. There also wasn't daily life music at the pool bar/beach restaurant, only on the weekend.
The bugs were worse as well, i never had issues with bug bites, but this time i had many. Only cool bugs i never saw in january were huge fire flies, really bright!
The staff was great as always, it's nice returning and getting a hug from many with 'welcome home'. For us it really does feel like home and family there. We also have off resort friends that we visited. We invited 2 of my daughter's friends to stay for an evening ($25/each) - they however were not impressed with the food at all and understandably so having been at their places for dinner a lot - i like their mother's cooking better as well even with fewer food choices.
We went horseback riding with Alfredo (he's near the beach), I mentioned it before in my reviews, if you like to go riding, you can ask him as per your specific interests, normally he offers rides along the beach, into the mountain including coffee farm/swimming in a river up there, to playa blanco or rocho (where the bat cave is). If you are bringing gifts, he's building a house and can use plumbing stuff (anything really), or anything else for a house. His current house is a shack only - he's a really nice guy!
The swimming on the beach is much better walking a little away from the hotel, the ground is nice and sandy instead of rock/weeds at the hotel.
Snorkeling is nice there and not far off the shore although it was better before the last hurrican.
Bikes are available to use for free at the hotel, mopeds for rent. I haven't done any organized trips but only heard good things about them. Cars can be rented, but that's expansive i heard. The roads are good, but lots of hills.
Someone mentioned it's not kid friendly but i think it's fine for kids, there's a kid's club with small playground and kid's pool, the ocean does not fall off too quickly so they can swim at the beach as well.
if you have teens, watch them as it's possible for them to get alcoholic drinks without problems.
For gifts (other than what mentioned above) - people appreciate clothing and hygiene articles a lot (deodorant, toothpaste/brushes and such), backpacks, tools, toys, candy. I would say school stuff not so much...
So if you go, don't expect too much and don't waste your vacations taking pictures of cracks and broken things, enjoy the views which are amazing, the weather as it's more reliable than the north, and enjoy the cuban people! We will be back as soon as we can to visit our 'family'.

Room tip: Great views/many stairs on the 6 or 7th floor, if you don't like stairs, lower building is better.
Date of stay: March 2018
  • Trip type: Travelled with family
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
11  Thank merlineaton
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Brisas S, Director de Relaciones con Clientes at Brisas Sierra Mar Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded April 26, 2018

Dear merlineaton,
Brisas Sierra Mar Management and Staff appreciate your comments regarding our resort.
Our guests’ opinions are carefully read and every consideration is looked after. They are an opportunity to improve our services since our main purpose is customers’ satisfaction.
It will be a pleasure to welcome you in the near future.
Best Regards.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed March 17, 2018

Brisas Sierra Mar Practical Advice

A grand old girl built by Canadians in the eighties to my understanding and now run by the Cuban government. While Brisas has seen better days it was built to last and has survived many things thrown at it with grace and dignity. Most of the guests that enjoy this place fall in love with the quiet unspoken charm of the old girl and special people who work here and return time and again. Located about a 75-90 minute drive (depending on the amount of goats, cows and horses to be avoided) west along the coast road from the Santiago airport it sits in quiet isolation nestled between the mountains and the sea.

While the resort is in need of some fixing up here and there it is well maintained and clean and lovingly looked after by an attentive staff of grounds keepers and maintenance personnel. The resort is only able to fix or replace things when the government allocates funds for the repair/replacement but even so Cubans are resourceful and hard working so they manage to keep everything working to their best of their ability and go out of their way to help people enjoy their stay when problems arise. That being said there can be issues like the elevator not working or water leakage but report your problems and issues with a smile and some kind words and the matter will be resolved promptly if possible.

This is not a resort for the young and foolish but maybe the young at heart (stick with Varadero or Cayo Coco for young partiers) with the average age 45+ and is family oriented with a great kids club and the staff to look after your needs. The food is alas the food, no one will starve and there is ample choice and the staff tries very hard but this is the same story at most Cuban resorts. The pool is clean and well used if anyone complains about the black ring around the top take a look at who showers before entering (no one) so there is a permanent ring of sunscreen imbedded into the concrete. The beach is wonderful and you can walk for kilometers without running into anyone, there is vegetation in the water at supervised beach but it is sea grass not sea weed and feels rather good to sit in and walk in in my opinion.

The music is phenomenal here at this resort and you will find excellent live music being played nightly at all ala carte restaurants, the lobby and pool bar area. Please tip the bands well they earn their living from your appreciation of their music and ask for CD’s a souvenir worthwhile taking home. The same can said of the 9:00 pm shows here excellent, this is a small resort area and the entertainment staff are recent music and dance graduates that take their craft very seriously and practice day and night also show your appreciation and pass the hat after their performances.

Tipping, I know you already paid for your holiday but you actually paid very little for quite a lot. Tip you barman every round, tip your maid in the morning and your servers for meals, all tips are pooled across the resort and shared amongst all including grounds staff. It is very little out of your pocket daily to make a big difference in people lives and their families. This resort is a bargain and you would do well to remember this, you paid a weekend in Montreal or Toronto for an excellent week long adventure so remember as a wise man once told me “If you want home, stay home” as this is Cuba.

Some Brisas Do’s and Don’ts

Do learn some basic Spanish such as please and thanks good morning/day/night and use them frequently you will be surprised at the great service and smiles you will be rewarded with.

Don’t bring your attitude there is enough of that to go around and everyone has one so leaving yours at home makes for a great trip for all.

Do visit the ala carte restaurants they are all great with live music I especially recommend the ecological restaurant set near the organic gardens Aero and Leo will make your visit one you will never forget and if Pablo is playing you are in for a real treat.

Don’t forget to bring Watkins bug repellent, this works best for mosquitos and sand fleas, yes they are everywhere at night near the sand but they are everywhere in the Caribbean and Mexico as well.

Do bring some strong sunscreen for your nose and Chap Stick for your lips. The sun is strong here and I don’t care how many hours you have in the tanning bed you will regret not having these two items.

Don’t walk on the beach after 10:30 am without flip flops or water shoes. The surface of mercury maybe a little less hot than the beach sand after the sun does its job of heating things up.

Do bring some travel mugs with you save the environment and keep your drinks cold at the same time. I would recommend the Costco Contigo brand (right size for us) as they float but to each their own. I find the Bubba mugs a flat disappointment.

Do bring a few flash lights the power has been known to go out on occasion so be prepared and they also make great gifts to leave to staff.

Don’t take your old clothes to value village, pay an extra 30 dollars to bring an extra checked duffle bag with you and you will make a lot of people very happy. Clothes are not hard to get but selection is limited and sizes are as well. Larger clothes (big and tall), kid clothes, shoes and light jackets are greatly appreciated.

Do bring your old laptops, phones and assorted electronics, Cubans are a resourceful people and will refurbish anything that you have outgrown. Most of the cars from the fifties are in better shape now than they were then, even if they are Franken cars they run and usually very well.

Don’t miss out on the Sunset from the bar over the pool as well don’t miss out on a Mojito or coffee prepared by William at the lobby bar.

Do bring toys, board games and lots of love for Ainsley the head of the kids club and whom we affectionately call the kid whisperer. She will have your baby asleep in 2 minutes, your kids following her around like the Pied Piper and totally in love in very short order. We have our suspicions she might be a secret hypnotist.

Do bring a picnic pack of your condiments and some jam/peanut butter if you have to have what exactly have in Canada. We enjoyed the new flavors but tastes may vary

Don’t forget to ask Osmar at the beach bar to play some fresh Cuban music you will not be disappointed and Osmar loves to please. That being said he loves to please a little too much sometimes so don’t forget to waive him off the booze while pouring or you will pay for it later.

Do challenge Pedro to a game of horseshoes behind the beach bar! The pit is a little shorter than Canadian normal and they play leaners in Cuba, but their country their rules. Pedro gives his lessons very quickly and cheaply and will also supply you with a coconut for drinking on request.

Finally Do respect everyone and they will respect you. Make an effort to say hi to everyone and be nice and you get it back in spades.

Date of stay: February 2018
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
17  Thank Maryla26
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Brisas S, Director de Relaciones con Clientes at Brisas Sierra Mar Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded April 26, 2018

Dear Maryla26,
Brisas Sierra Mar Management and Staff appreciate your comments regarding our resort.
Our guests’ opinions are carefully read and every consideration is looked after. They are an opportunity to improve our services since our main purpose is customers’ satisfaction.
It will be a pleasure to welcome you in the near future.
Best Regards.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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