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Reviewed January 31, 2017

Probably like most all inclusive hotels, you could be anywhere.

Check in was fast and efficient and not so friendly. The bell boys were amazing. The bell boy (I forgot his name, sorry) escorted us to our pretty dirty room. Shame it was also showing signs of being run down and it is only 1 year old. He carried our bags down and advised reception . We decided to pay and upgrade to a junior suite.

Again, there were stains on the bed and some of the furniture was chipped but much better than the last room. That aside, the bed was huge and comfortable. Room modern and more than enough space with a good view over the sea. The room was cleaned once in 6 days but towels changed each day and bed made. All in all it was great as we had been staying in air B&B cheap accom. The shower is great with good soap and shampoo etc.

Food in cuba is generally very bad. The food at the hotel is excellent compared to anywhere else we ate and we did eat in some expensive places. Lots of choice and like I said, compared to the food in Cuba it's amazing. That said, if you are used to good food with lots of flavor you will find it very average but seriously, you can not complain. Of course the Japanese is the best restaurant. Try not to be late for any restaurante bookings or they will not let you in, even if they appear to be half empty.

The wine they serve is the cheapest money can buy and they use the cheapest spirits UNLESS YOU ASK for a brand. Bar people are generally very friendly.

When I saw 'the beach' area I could not believe it. I thought it was awful but actually it grew on me and it is fantastic. Some fish in the sea so it is reasonable. Best snorkeling I did off a beach in Cuba. Just please DO NOT touch the star fish.

The night time entertainment is fun and the daytime entertainment is ok too. Un- usually I did not really get involved. But the team work hard and are friendly.

All in all I loved my time here. It's a great spot to do and see nothing except the hotel.

I would recommend this hotel for sure and if I felt I needed a break for a week to do nothing I would certainly return.

Room Tip: Ask for a room close to reception.
  • Stayed: January 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
5  Thank adam1111_11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed January 30, 2017

We spent the week of January 11-18, 2017 at Iberostar Playa Pilar. We had great weather during our stay. It is a gorgeous resort with a large pool but unfortunately no real beach to speak of. There are 2 small beach areas with loungers separated by a walkway that leads to the beach bar and a boardwalk that runs along the coral waterfront. The boardwalk has loungers and beds and a staircase into the ocean. Or you can walk into the ocean from the small beach area near the sports centre but you have to be careful of the coral. Once in the ocean it is sandy and beautiful. If you are a beach lover this isn’t the place for you. The staff are adorable and couldn’t do enough for you. We had an upgraded ocean view room and it was well worth it. We were in Bungalow 9 on the 3rd (top) floor and had a fantastic view of the beach area and ocean and could see Playa Pilar (Pilar Beach). We could watch sunrise from our front door and slightly see sunset from our balcony. However we often watched sunset from the beach bar on the boardwalk. There are no elevators so if you have mobility issues you would want a first floor room. Being a new resort our room was modern and clean but only had a large walk-in shower (no tub). Beds are very firm and the body pillow they use as sleeping pillows was flat so I folded it a few times. AC worked great and the room was well maintained by our maid. The resort is clean and is well laid out and easy to get around. The drinks were great and they offered a good variety. We ate at all the a la carte restaurants and they were all very good. The Japanese was very entertaining and interactive. The breakfast buffet had minimal selection but it was very good, from the eggs and omelets and crepes/pancakes they make to order, to the breads, sweets, meats, etc. But it could have had minimal selection due the time of year we were there as the resort was not even half full. There is another small buffet/bar near the beach that we would go to for lunch. They had pizzas, salads, ice cream, etc. It was all very good. The nightly entertainment was ok. We went into the Cigar Lounge one evening. It was very nice and had great air circulation drawing out the cigar smoke.

One day we walked the road to Playa Pilar which took about 20 minutes. It is a gorgeous powder sand beach. You have to pay for a lounger, either 2 pesos for the day or 10 pesos for 2 loungers and 3 drinks. There is a grill there too and the food was awesome! However if you go, bring your own towel as they don’t provide any. We made the mistake of walking back along the water. It was coral in sections and difficult to navigate carrying our beach bags. However if we waited for low tide it would have been fine. We would recommend walking the road to and from. Or you can take a taxi or bus there as well for about 5 pesos.

Overall it was a fantastic vacation. We went into it know the beach wasn't great so we made the best of it. I LOVE CUBA and Cubans. They are so beautiful and are very hard workers.

Room Tip: With the layout of all the bungalows I think all rooms would have great views. Top floor is best.
  • Stayed: January 2017, travelled with friends
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
5  Thank WolfieJo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed January 29, 2017

Fantastic Hotel with good food, Staff super nice and friendly, great entertainment and very clean rooms. Overall this is a new resort located in a very nice section of Cayo Coco away from mosquitoes!!!!!

  • Stayed: January 2017, travelled with family
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank pamerafg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed January 28, 2017

Arrived to a warm welcome, staff are so friendly. Our rooms were located on the top floor with fantastic sea views. Rooms were clean, sparkly and new, huge shower with the most amazing air con. Thank you Judith.

Could not fault any amenities, having been to Cuba 15 times before the food here is excellent. There were eight in our party that came for Christmas, the Christmas Eve meal was exceptional with fresh lobster, sushi, roast turkey, canapés, champagne they even had sugared almonds.

The sun beds are very comfy and are plenty for all, clean towels available every day. The canopy beds by the beach were fantastic for the younger children to keep them out of the sun. The A la Carte restaurants were good with a special mention for the Teppanyaki and Gourmet restaurants that we went to on more than one occasion.

We would like to thank the entertainment team for the brilliant shows, nothing was too much to ask. Special mention for Miguel and Lyndianna who looked after us and made sure we all had a good time. The bar staff in the lobby and around the pool saw to our every need, nothing was too much trouble.

Would not hesitate to recommend to anyone, have re-booked going back in June 2017.

Room Tip: Top floor is best for sea views.
  • Stayed: December 2016, travelled with family
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
7  Thank Ian J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed January 27, 2017

I'll start by saying : We loved our time at Iberostar Playa Pilar

We've been a couple times in resorts in Mexico, which is my baseline for comparison, and this was our first time in Cuba.

The people at this resort are awesome and super friendly, and it was the best service I received at an all-inclusive resort so far. Everyone was lovely: reception, maids, the people at the bars and restaurants, literally everyone I met.

I loved the beach setup at this hotel - they have a boardwalk/deck on top of some rocks, and you can access the water from it. There is a strip of sand behind it with palapas and sunbeds. If you`re not entirely happy with this setup, Playa Pilar is just 15-20 minutes walking through the water.
The water is super clear and you can see a lot of different fish, starfish, crabs and so on. The guys at the watersports building can take you on a 90 min snorkelling trip to the coral reef in front of the hotel on a catamaran for $20 CUC/person. I highly recommend it. Other than that they have kayaks and water cycles for free.

We found the grounds and the rooms very clean and well taken care of. As many have mentioned, it is not 5 stars for an North American or European standard, but we found it more than adequate for a beach retreat.

The drinks were usually good, especially the rum based ones. Wine was hit or miss, and they do not have Pepsi or Coke lines, but their own Cuban soft drink brand, which was ok. Really like their mango juice. Sometimes the gardeners are opening up coconuts and getting fresh sugar cane juice - Give it a Try

Internet: you have to buy a card for 2 CUC that is good for 1h of internet use (you can use 15 minutes per day with the same card, for example, but do not forget to disconnect, otherwise you will lose your minutes. The only reliable place for connection was the lobby and it was adequate for browsing and emailing/messaging. I wouldn't bet on it for streaming/netflix/youtube/etc.

Food: If a gourmet/high end food experience directly correlates to your trip's enjoyment, do not go to this resort. Especially if you must have beef. Their beef is not good. Despite this beef issue, we found the food at the buffet ok. My favourite meal at the buffet was the breakfast - I really liked their fresh fruit (papaya, guavas, bananas) and their cheeses and cold cuts and breads. Their espresso based coffees were good. Other than that the food was okay, we always found something that we liked to eat. Oh and, the service at the buffet was great!

The a-la-carte restaurants, we went to the Japanese, the Gourmet and the Parrilla/Grill. I found the gourmet restaurant delicious (had the Lobser bisque and the lobster and shrimp risotto, which were excellent). I did not care for the other two - food was okay, the Japanese grill was fun, but for the food, we could have gone to the buffet that it would be the same or better. If I return, I'd book my 3 dinners at the gourmet restaurant.

This was the first time that we attended the night entertainment at a resort, and we found it good. They even had a Brazilian night (we`re brazilian), which was fun to watch, if not too stereotypical.

They have a small shop, the rum bottles are slightly cheaper in this store than at airport's duty free shop. Cigar prices at the cigar bar are good as well.

Other than the snorkeling tour, we did not do any other tours as the main goal was to relax. I do not think there are a lot of super entertaining options for tours anyway, nothing that appealed to me at least.

In all, we had a fun and relaxing time, and loved the people at this hotel. Based on this trip I`d say the Cuban people are the best hosts for tourism that I have experienced (they just topped the Uruguayans). I`d recommend it for the ones looking for a relaxing trip, and If I ever return to Cayo Coco I`d definitely stay there again.

  • Stayed: January 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
14  Thank rafaelrms
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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