Hopefully this review will not duplicate those of others too much and fill in a few a few answers for those looking for more. First as a bit of background and summary, Las Brisas is somewhat unique in the Hutulco (Wa-TOOL-co), Tangolunda bay area. It started life in the early 80’s as a Club Med, and resurrected in the early 2000’s after a few years of non occupancy as Las Brisas. Tangolunda has all the higher end hotels, and what differentiates Las Brisas from the rest is the huge size of their prime location on a point with 4 fully private beaches. The style is one of a cluster of Spanish design condo villages, with only 3 stories. It also reflects the 80’s heritage with many tennis courts (mostly unused), squash courts, and even disco’s! Each village is spaced apart from the rest and is a considerable elevation above sea level, and will not be too attractive to those wishing to take leisurely walks between the beach and their room, or into the surrounding areas. Golf carts are only a few minutes wait for those who do not want to walk. Aside from that, the resort in our view sets the standard to which others in the area are measured to.
Tour Provider & Airline: Transat was the tour packager, and we flew direct from Calgary via WestJet to Hultulco (HUX), in about 5.5 hours. WestJet service was normal which is very good compared to others. Tip: There is a 20 Kg total limit per person on luggage. Travel down light if you plan to shop. Mescal is cheap! Fortunately the Mexican flight regulations did not ban liquids, pastes, and gels, so you can pack the heavy stuff in your carry-on luggage on the way back. You are limited to 10 lbs for carry-on, but as usual they do not weigh those items.
Rooms: We had a deluxe room in the Estrellas (Stars) village, and it was just fine. The theme is WHITE with lots of space. Air conditioning worked great, and there certainly was no musty odour. Clothing dries quite quickly in the room with the AC on. The bed was great, as was our view of the ocean. The minor “nits” on the room would be that there is no bathtub, and there was a shortage of hangers (actually had rod clips, but no hangers). The bottled water and mini bar was just as needed. It is not advised to drink the tap water in the resort.
Overall Resort and Facilities: As noted earlier while it shows the 80’s Club Med heritage, it is all in all very well maintained. We saw no evidence of major reconstruction in progress, and only normal maintenance. The grounds are well maintained and the landscaping and flowers beautiful. Kayaks, one and two man, are available for hotel guests to use at no cost. There are Hobbycraft catamaran sail boats to use as well, but a lesson at 200 Pesos is required for those without experience, and after that you can reserve for an hour a day. Snorkel equipment is available along with life jackets to guests. Those adverse to sharing snorkels with others may be advised to bring their own. The ones currently available from Costco at $55 were the obvious popular choice for at least the Canadians on the beach. Snorkeling was excellent at the beach just off the Mexicana restaurant. Minor nits would be a few spots where their sewer odour is not as well controlled as it should be, and some facilities could stand a little maintenance – pool tables and cues. No chalk is provided, and the “hustlers” are advised to bring their own along with their cues!
Health Issues: As noted above bottled water is provided. While we escaped relatively unscathed, spicy Mexican food and an extra drink or two can catch up to you. We noted some others, perhaps from day excursions on the rafting tours, or the golf course, experienced insect bites. Tip: Not everyone seems to be aware that the Oaxaca (Wa-HA-ca) area including the coastal areas has a risk of malaria, and you should see your doctor about getting a prescription for Chloroquine before coming. We saw hotel staff spraying, but it may be better to be safe than sorry.
Resort Food: There are really three different classes of food available at Las Brisas. The most basic buffet is at the satellite bars, and really is just hot dogs, hamburgers, salad, and nachos. Hamburgers for hamburgers were quite good. At the main restaurant the breakfast, lunch, and dinner buffet is excellent. Lots of choice, but all with a Mexican twist – breakfast hot food including bacon and eggs, hot cereal, cold cereal, omelets bar, and tortilla bar. Presentation is well … buffet. At the a la carte restaurants, presentation was very good as was the food. All items may not be for everyone, but if you do not want Mexican food why go to Mexico? The best meal I had was at the Moroccan restaurant, and was described as beef medallions, but came as a shish ka bob. This beef was excellent. Steaks in Mexico are not like in Canada, if you want a big thick steak, better to do a Keg in Alberta. Service was highly variable. The staff really seemed to want to please, but the overall organization/training of staff was suspect. Not sure they really had a system. If Huatulco Las Brisas could do one thing to improve their image, it would be to train their restaurant staff in how to seat customers, take their drink order, food order, and remain attentive to their table. Not sure if they read these reviews, but if they need a coach I’m available!
Seven Bay Tour: Highly recommended. Bring your own snorkel equipment or you can rent it before you board the boat. Consider that the easiest snorkeling on the trip is right off the boat. So if you are not confident about your swimming, make sure you arrange for a lifejacket by asking at the boat or renting it before you board. Alternately you can go to shore and snorkel from there. Even then a lifejacket may be best if you are not confident. At the furthest bay on the tour the snorkeling is excellent…better than at Las Brisas, but not by that much. The lunch stop is great, but not cheap…200 pesos or so.
Currency: My experience was that buying currency ahead of time was the most expensive, an ATM in La Crucecita (La Crew-sa-SEE-ta) the next most expensive, and VISA the least expensive… but not by that much. Suggest getting enough currency for tips in small bills before you leave, and then using the ATM in La Crucecita (one located in the indoor mall a block away from the main square), for most spending money, and using VISA for any larger purchases. Apparently Mexican ATM’s may not accept PIN numbers with more than 4 digits. Can’t verify as I changed mine to 4 digits before I went, an it worked. Canadian coins are worthless there, and paper currency not appreciated. Locals need a passport to exchange it at a bank, so also likely worthless for most. The airport restaurants do accept Canadian currency, and as usual most places accept US currency. However, you will get a better deal paying in Pesos.
Nearby Towns: Santa Cruz is closest and has the dock for cruise ships. However, it has few stores … mostly tourist traps, and a few hotels. There is a nice beach there, and shops, and restaurants along the beach. It is said that prices go up there when cruise ships are docked. Allow 45-60 min. to walk there given the heat, or 25 pesos by taxi. La Crucecita is a bit farther away (25 pesos for basic taxi, 30 for air conditioning, and 40 for a van), and has quite a few stores, a mall, and an interesting semi-indoors bazaar with many different shops. The church is the main attraction and worth going if you are there on a Sunday.
Electrical Appliances: Las Brisas has standard outlets like those used in the US and Canada. Bring your cell phone chargers, etc… However, keep in mind that your cell phone may not work unless you get your account authorized before you leave. The charges are very high and they want to be sure you are going to pay. Las Brisas has wireless internet in the main lobby area, if you must…
Nightclubs: Essentially none. If this is what you are looking for, take Huatulco off your short list.
All in all, I would highly recommend Las Brisas for those looking for a scenic place to enjoy a quiet private beach, snorkeling, and day tours. Expect about 70% Canadians and 30% Mexicans for company while you are there.
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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