We give the Las Brisas Huatulco a 4 star rating due to its great beaches and nice grounds, but food was mediocre and typical service was not nearly as good as experienced on our other 8 vacations to Mexico. This is a long review, but worth the read…
Resort size & grounds:
This is a fairly expansive resort with lots of stairs due to its hilly location; however, the shuttle service seemed to work quite well most of the time and we hardly ever had to wait for a ride (around typical meal times, service seemed to be a bit slower, but that was it). The grounds were nicely manicured with great tropical / semi dessert feel.
The beaches were really nice and swimmable (except maybe the Secret Beach for swimming). Snorkeling was excellent at the beach in-front of the Mexican Restaurant.
We are usually not overly picky about food and hoped that the food reviews were exaggerated; however, we soon discovered that the food reviews stating the food was mediocre and often lukewarm were quite accurate. The dinner buffet was quite poor and food was room temperature at best (at least the 1 night we ate there because any other nights we didn't have an a-la-carte we went in to La Crucecita instead), the breakfast buffet was the same, the lunch buffet however was consistently better than the other two buffet meals. The snack bar was ok too, but the same day after day and again barely warm offerings. We had the majority of our breakfasts at the location of the Mexican Restaurant as the food seemed fresher and hotter, along with a more pleasant atmosphere.
We visited the Mexican, Mediterranean, Steak, and Seafood a-la-cartes. The Mexican was descent for the most part, but the Mediterranean was quite poor (undercooked chicken and again lukewarm food). The Steak house was fairly descent for both beef and chicken and overall the Seafood restaurant was quite good (and food served hot).
Again, the food here was by far the poorest of any all-inclusive we have stayed in Mexico, which have ranged from 3 to 5 stars (with the biggest issues being food temperature and lack of variety)
Drinks were OK, but not great. The draft beer was so-so and you could only get bottled Corona (except the Coronitas given in your room) by paying for them as they were not included, which seemed odd considering it is made in Mexico and not typically considered part of the 'top shelf' alcoholic drinks (draft beer taps said Corona, but we were told it is actually Modelo inside). Slushy drinks were ok, but often lacking taste compared to similar drinks elsewhere. We brought insulated mugs for beach use or else drinks were often somewhat warm by the time served since it was so hot outside (which obviously has nothing to do with the resort, just a tip for other visitors)
Entertainment / Evenings:
Visiting this resort as a group of 5 between 29 through 45 who enjoy the nightlife, we found this resort quite dull and boring in the evening. There was live music each night, but it seemed to be basically the same thing night after night. Since the resort had an older crowd (at least during the time we visited early March) the disco was basically non-existent. Probably 2/3s of resort guests were made up of Mexican visitors who enjoyed the live music nightly so they did quite a bit of dancing, which was entertaining to observe (but more Spanish style dancing, which we’d like to participate in, but didn’t really know the moves so just watched for fear of looking silly).
We rented a sea-doo for 30 minutes for $500 pesos (about $40 CAD/US), which was awesome. They can be rented from Playa Tornillo (beach area to left of lobby). Additionally, we went for a boat ride (just 4 of the 5 of us in our group) ran by a few guys usually hanging out beside the bar at Playa Manzanilla (to right - below - adult pool) who are hired by the resort. Captain Pablo took us out, with his son as the driver, and we paid $2400 pesos ($200 CAD/US) to go out for as long as we wanted, which included 24 beers (FYI - small boat without washrooms). They took us to an awesome snorkeling spot (Playa La Entrega), which we highly recommend visiting (can get there by land as well); we also caught 7 fish and saw 2-3 sea turtles swimming way offshore. It was a great time.
We just stayed in a basic deluxe room. No balcony, but awesome ocean view towards the south. We first thought it would not be as pleasant as a room with a balcony, but in reality it was quite nice because you could experience the views right from the room appose to looking out over the balcony first (and most rooms have an ocean-view as well). The room itself was descent and clean, but a little tile grout work would go a long way to making them looking a little nicer / cleaner. A forewarning to anyone with neck problems… the pillows are quite thick and do not compress much (if visiting here again, I’d bring my own pillow since I have neck problems). Additionally, they can be a little cheap on leaving adequate towels, but if you can catch the maid she’ll give you more (leaving a small tip for the maid also goes a long way).
Overall, service was lacking compared to our experience in other areas of Mexico (Puerto Vallarta 5x, Mayan Riviera 2x, and Manzanillo 1x). There were a few exceptions to this, such as Roberto who usually served us at breakfast in the Mexican Restaurant and at the snorkeling beach... Roberto was awesome! Other than that the overall service was so-so except here and there. We usually had to wait for quite a while to give a drink order at the snack bar, buffet, or Mexican breakfast place (unless Roberto was there) and sometimes did not get served at all (and the resort was not that busy).
An additional note is that the level of English spoken here was definitely much less than in other tourist destinations we’ve visited in Mexico (with some key staff speaking none at all, such as few servers we had). We have no problem with this at all since we are visiting a non-native English speaking country and do speak a little Spanish, but it is just a fore-warning to those who may find this intimidating as at times there was a complete language barrier where we had to resort to hand gestures and motions in order to communicate (either way).
Area in general:
The surrounding areas we visited in and around La Crucecita / Santa Cruz were nice / quaint and we felt quite safe during our numerous outings from the resort. We did; however, experience a few of occasions where at restaurants the server would write on the bill “tip not included” or there would be a note taped to the inside of the bill folder that stated, for example, “10% tip not included”. On another occasion at a popular night club, not only did we get charged for more drinks than our group actually had (because we kept track and only one drink of which was removed from the bill) we were also charged an additional approx 17% as a mandatory tip. We refused to pay the mandatory tip, but still left a tip at our discretion.
We really found the tipping issue to be a turn-off. We realize that Mexican workers in the tourist industry count heavily on tips, but we do not feel it right to demand a specific amount (or try to take advantage of the tourists) - our group always tips pretty well... we actually think we tip too much sometimes. In Canada, there is sometimes mandatory tips added on for large groups, but it must be displayed somewhere so the patron has the option to either accept it or leave. Mexico, as other countries, has a different way of doing things, but that doesn’t mean you have to pay it if not told ahead of time.
A suggestion for future travelers in regards to paying your bill if in a busy drinking establishment, especially in a group of 3 or more, is pay your drink tab each round… don’t let it build up and check it carefully for add-ons.
Another instance we ran in to is a case of a peddler in Santa Cruz playing songs for us while we were in a café then demanding 50 pesos per song after playing 3 (about $12 CAD/US). We knew he obviously expected a tip, but again at our discretion (especially since he didn’t say ahead of time his rates). We gave him an amount we thought fair / willing to pay and that was that. So another tip… always ask up front how much if approached for personal service (appose to someone just playing in a restaurant or on a bus for the entire place then going around with a jar for tips of any kind).
Now we know, but again, with all our trips to Mexico we’ve never ran in to these few issues so didn’t give much previous thought…
Overall, our group had a nice, relaxing vacation full of snorkeling, sunshine, heat, and fun. We’d go back to the Las Brisas Huatulco again, but only if a really good deal (less than we paid this trip) due to the food and service issues, but the beaches were awesome so we wouldn’t write it off completely. Hope this was helpful!
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- Also Known As:
- Las Brisas Huatulco Hotel Huatulco
- Las Brisas Hotel Huatulco
- Brisas Huatulco Los
- Las Brisas Huatulco Mexico
- Huatulco Las Brisas