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Reviewed July 21, 2018 via mobile

Just returned after a 2 week break. Having read a number of poor reviews before we departed we went with an open mind.

The room was well appointed and modern with an iron, fridge, great air con etc. We stayed in block 12 overlooking some greenery. The hotel needs to focus on general maintenance and the up keep of the hotel. We noticed a number of minor faults that could easily be fixed but were left broken or unfinished.

The service from the staff was very good with all the staff friendly and attentive. The all inclusive drinks were good although very few branded drinks. I only saw absolute vodka and Jamesons whiskey although the local brands were fine and plenty of tasty cocktails were available.

The food quality was generally good with fresh meat, fish, pasta etc available. The problem is it is very repetitive with basically the same or similar choice each day. They would benefit from theme night's. The gourmet and Japanese restaurants are very good. The cuban was bland with small portions. We travelled with a 6 year old and brought our own ketchup after reading some reviews however it is available at times. I would recommend to bring tea bags if you are a tea drinker as tea was frequently unavailable .

The free use of canoes, pedlows and hobie cats was fantastic and at low tide it was an easy 10-15min walk around the beach to playa pillar beach. Bring some coral shoes.
The pool was great and plenty of sunbeds however you need to be reserving beds before 07.00 to get a fixed parasol. The hotel would benefit from more shade around the pool especially with so many families with young children. There was always plenty of sunbeds and shade available on the beach and boardwalk.

We brought insect repellent and had no issues with mosquitos.

Go with a open mind and you will enjoy the experience.

Stayed: July 2018, travelled with family
6  Thank DaveoN_Ireland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
DirectorGeneralIPP, Gerente at Iberostar Playa Pilar, responded to this reviewResponded July 29, 2018

Dear guest,

Please let us express our sincere appreciations not only for choosing IBEROSTAR to spend your holiday in Cuba, but also for taking the time to send your comments about your experience at Playa Pilar.

We are glad to know that your accommodation and grounds were to your liking and comfort, also to know that you and your family have spent a great time at our resort and that you enjoyed the facilities and activities. Thank you for noticing the kindness and attentiveness of our staff, we will make sure to pass your comments along, as they will be thrilled to know they are on the right path. It is certainly a cause of satisfaction hearing that our staff, made you feel welcome.

Thank you very much for your feedback that will help us to keep working hard on the areas where we can improve; Hopefully we can have the opportunity to welcome you back at any of our IBEROSTAR hotels around the world, to prove you our commitment to a higher level of customer service.

Best regards,

Assistant Manager
IBEROSTAR Playa Pilar.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed July 19, 2018 via mobile

Top 10 things to know:-

Staff are amazing
Hotel is located on a small beach with decking directly into the sea
Plenty of sun loungers on the beach and at the pool with fresh towels most days
Tropical climate with minimal rain in July
Excellent cocktails, beers, wine and latte's
Nice selection of themed restaurants - Japanese, Gourmet, Cuban, Mediterranean
Sea view rooms offer lovely views of the sea - high floor is best if your party have no children - we stayed in Block 4
Free water sports include, snorkelling, catamaran, pedalos and canoes
Fabulous ice cream parlour
Themed evening in main bar - Mojito night, Gin night and Liquor coffee night

This was our first visit to Iberostar Playa Pillar and we are just back after a relaxing two week break. It is good choice of hotel and the staff are all very friendly and attentive. Nothing is a bother and they will go out of their way to give you fantastic service. We were also impressed with Thomas Cook reps.

The transfer was around 40 minutes. We were surprised with the speed of check in as there were over 40 people who arrived at the same time. Janet was very nice on reception and explained about the towel cards, themed restaurants and gave us directions to our rooms. All of us and our luggage were transported on the golf buggy.

We loved our sea view room and it was modern, nicely decorated with a good balcony. The room was very clean and the bed was very comfortable. We also had a fridge which was refilled daily with soft drinks, beer and water. Our daughter had a junior suite (4028) with adjoining door to our room (4027). It had everything and they were very impressed. Our maid Betty was exceptional and friendly - a HUGE well done!

Despite some very poor reports the buffet food was good. Plenty of choice at breakfast with omelette station. Odalis who made our omelettes deserves special mention! She always remembered our names. So friendly, funny and efficient. At lunch and dinner there is a great variety of choice. There are a number of food stations - fish, steak, pasta, and pizza with all food made to order. Our waiters Robert and Yenisbel were excellent ( friendly, informative and passionate about Cuba ). The food got better and better every day and the chefs try their best and could not be faulted for effort.

Our favourite themed restaurants were the Japanese and Gourmet. The food was amazing. You should also try a visit to the cigar bar. Air conditioned, international brands and Oney the barman made the most amazing cocktails.

A nice touch is the themed drinks stations that are set up in the main lounge. These included, a Gin evening, a coffee liquor station and a Mojito station. I would recommend the apple and peach mojitos. Most of the drinks were branded. Yunel who makes the cocktails is very knowledgeable. You will be impressed!

Janet and Gretal on guest relations are simply the best. They did great in accommodating us with booking the themed restaurants and thanks for making our stay special!

One of the highlights of our stay was going away for the day in the purple Chevrolet with Abel our driver. It included a visit to the speed boats, crocodile farm, an all you could eat buffet restaurant and a visit to Maron. It was like taking a trip back in time and great value for money.

Don't be put off by some poor reviews. You will have a great holiday and will come back refreshed and relaxed.

Stayed: July 2018, travelled with family
11  Thank Colin P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
DirectorGeneralIPP, Gerente at Iberostar Playa Pilar, responded to this reviewResponded July 29, 2018

Dear guest,

On behalf of the IBEROSTAR Playa Pilar staff and Management, we would like to thank you for choosing our resort as your holiday destination in Cayo Guillermo Cuba; also for taking the time to send your comments with the Trip Advisor community.

We are glad that you enjoyed our beautiful resort; also we are pleased to know that your accommodation and grounds were to your liking and comfort; but above all, it is so rewarding that you found our staff to be attentive especially from Bett, Odalis, Robert, Yenisbel, Oney, Yunel, Yanet and Gretel. As everybody at the hotel reads these reviews, we are sure this will motivate the entire staff.

We are happy to hear you had an amazing holiday while staying with us and that you particularly enjoyed our great food and service from the Japanese restaurant; we truly appreciate your beautiful comments, as well as your appreciation of our buffet restaurant food. We will pass to our Executive Chef your good impressions.

Once again, thank you for sharing your opinion and for your next visit to Cayo Guillermo we hope to have the honor to welcome you at our lovely hotel IBEROSTAR Playa Pilar your home away from home.

Best regards,

Assistant Manager
IBEROSTAR Playa Pilar.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed July 17, 2018 via mobile

Most of my feedback has already been shared by other reviewers, but there are definitely themes, so here are my two cents.

We had a couple minor issues with our room - safe wasn't working, and we were given one king instead of two doubles so we asked them to set the sofa bed up for my son. The mattress was too long for the frame once unfolded - picture attached. We were too tired to change rooms so we just lived with it.

Service was hit or miss, some employees were fantastic but some were either disengaged or downright rude. I am a huge tipper but this didn't seem to change the sour ones' temperaments.

Having wifi only in the lobby sucked, not because I wanted to be connected 24/7 but because it was hot and muggy in the lobby at all times (no fans, no air movement) and there were also so many flies and mosquitoes it did not make the lobby area somewhere we ever wanted to be.

We fell in love with the beach here, I am a very early riser so was able to get us a bali bed on the pier every day. I know others have said it is not a "real" beach but I absolutely loved it. It is in a small sheltered bay so the water was warm and calm every day. We spent hours just floating in the water, but we also went kayaking and sailing on the Hobie Cat and it was fantastic. The bartenders at the beach bar were all consistently amazing as well - thank you for being so great!

The dealbreaker with this resort is the food. I have been to Cuba 5 times and do not consider myself a picky eater, but this was one of the worst resorts in terms of food. The Teppenyaki and French a la cartes were good, but everything else was not. I would not recommend or return to this resort for this reason alone (which is a shame).

Stayed: July 2018, travelled with family
3  Thank Stephanie D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
QualityMCuba, Manager at Iberostar Playa Pilar, responded to this reviewResponded July 19, 2018

Dear Stephanie,

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for choosing our hotel Iberostar Playa Pilar for your holiday and for sharing your experience with us.
First of all we are pleased to read you had a wonderful time at our beach area, enjoying of the activities we offer there and the service of our bartenders in site.
However, we regret your observation with reference to a king size bed instead of a double bed. We understand that this was not the category that you had requested. However, we would like to explain that at the request of a guest, our dedicated team offers a solution of changing you to a two single beds room, without losing the desired comfort. We are sorry that you did not have this information before now, and we are sad that this perhaps made your holiday less than perfect.
Regarding your comments on the service that you received during your stay, we will take note of the improvement opportunities that your observations offer us. Excellence in service is truly one of our strengths and we work with enthusiasm for it to remain so. We choose and train our staff following strict criteria. Customer orientation and a personalized service are essential to achieving maximum satisfaction among our guests and we are sad that during your stay we did not accomplish our goal with you. We will pass on your comments to the correct department for their consideration and we apologize for the inconvenience caused.
As per WIFI comments allow us to say that this service is provided by a state company, totally independent of Iberostar and therefore they have their own policies, however it is our concern to ensure that quality services are delivered to our mutual customers, to achieve their complete satisfaction. We will look into it.
Again we thank you for this review and hope to see you again soon in the future.

Best regards,

Quality Manager
Iberostar Cuba

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Reviewed July 14, 2018

We (weerooney) booked knowing the hotel had had a mixed Review, I will give a fair overall reflection of my experience. The Hotel is not a 5 star hotel and it is not a Premier Collection Thomas Cook Resort, I would honestly give it 3 Star.
Before other people quip “it’s Cuba” I have been to Cuba several previous times to both Havana & also Varadero and the food was superb. I also regularly holiday abroad 2/3 times per year and have travelled to countries all over Europe (Greece, Spain, Balearics, the Canaries, etc) Turkey, Egypt and the Caribbean.
We arrived and first impressions were great, however after 2 days it was apparent that the quality of the food was very poor and the “seen” food hygiene was bad.
Breakfast was ok, probably the best choice of food, fresh cooked eggs (fried/omelette), cereal, cakes, fruit etc was all ok, but the bacon can only be described as thinly deep fried pieces of horrible fat.
Lunch and evening meal was repetitive and bland, we there for 2 weeks and it was more or less the same choice.
The Steak/beef was cooked to order at the grill station, the beef was thin sliced & small, it was awfully tough and to say the least was very very chewy
The grill station was a good idea but flawed, the chef was cooking chicken, beef & pork all together and using the same plate and food tong to lift the raw, cooking & cooked food, Not Good Enough and dangerous.
The first week the beef, pasta and pizza was inedible.
The salad bars were ok but not great, believe it or not we were 10 days into the holiday before tomatoes or onions were made available, a salad without tomatoes and bizarrely olives were available at breakfast and lunch but not with the evening meal!
On a positive the bread and bread rolls were nice, but, sometimes there was butter portions, sometimes there wasn’t an at other times there was well “a bowl was of spread’y thing”.
We were on holiday for 2 weeks and the food did improve a bit on the last 4 days with tomotoes, onions and the pizza and pasta was better.
On a positive the buffet waiting staff were very nice.
The Beach snack bar wasn’t very good, we only tried this a couple of times and although it was popular and busy it wasn’t my cup of tea, quite chaotic and not a great choice.
We used the Gourmet, Mediterranean and Japanese restaurants, the food was underwhelming and given this was suppose to be fine dinning again was served cold and was mediocre food. The Japanese was a hit as it was entertaining, the chef put on a “show”.
We did not use the 24 hour snacks so can’t comment on this.
To sum up the food, the food was generally cold to warm not hot, but be aware none of the buffet type food was covered or protected with lids and worryingly there was lots of flies and a bigger concern was the cockroaches, they were everywhere!
I am very careful on holiday and take precautions with food, sunbathing and only drink bottled water but conceringly we still had a several and prolonged upset stomach’s and generally feeling unwell. This was experienced and reported by a number of holiday makers appeared common throughout the resort.
Our room was great, good view, the fridge restocked as required and the maid kept the room fairly clean.
The staff on the whole were ok, in particular the female workers were great however 2 different male workers were not nice and challenging.
I always tip generously, however at this hotel it made no difference the the service you received. On 1 occasion I got seated waited service tipped the waiter Michael) he returned took another oreder and I waited 45 minutes for the drinks, even though he nodded to me acknowledged I was waiting, he servered 3 other couples twice each then brought my wife’s drink and forgot mine, he was laughing then brought my drink about 15 minutes later, I am sure he and the other serving waiter were “game playing”.
Another time I waited and the barman served everyone in front of me, even though I was asked my order! not good enough!
However I can not compliment the female servers as they were fantastic!
My major complaint was that there was the lack of sugar free soft drink, occasionally and I do mean occasionally they had a bottle of sugar free cola every other day, but no other sugar free was availble, black tea quickly became a rare luxury being unavailable in all restaurants and bars after a few days, this is not good enough for a 5 Star Hotel and as I am used to only drinking sugar free juice, this spoiled the alcoholic drinks and the fizzy drinks experience.
The main pool area was pleasant enough but there was not enough shaded area and definitely needs portable sun parasols, the hotel does not have any, they only have the fixed type of sun shades.
The pool bar waiter was really nice and regularly asked if you wanted a something to drink, was a nice young man, well done and keep it up.
The pool was good but not once in two weeks was it commercially cleaned, the pool attendants picked up litter and tidied up, but that was it.
The pool attendant collected the sun beds and removed them from the pool area to their “station” therefore in the morning they would take them to your sunbathing place for a wee tip. Not once did the pool cleaners hose down and throughly clean the pool or poolside.
The beach was lovely, and the beach bar was also good.
The hotel does not have free WiFi however you can purchase internet cards at 1 peso for an hour, which was a blessing for contacting home.
The disco was ok but predominately played Cuban or America’s music, and on a personal note for 3 pencils the DJ will play your song (this is for you June & Kev haha)

Room Tip: “Close to reception 8or9, others are very far out” “Rooms on 1st or 2nd floor, ground level invite various wildlife.”
Stayed: July 2018, travelled with family
7  Thank scott m
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
QualityMCuba, Manager at Iberostar Playa Pilar, responded to this reviewResponded July 17, 2018

Dear Scott,

First of all, we would like to thank you for your review and say that it is through feedback such as yours that we can continue to maintain our excellent standards.
Although your comments show that in most areas we are on the right track with our numerous efforts and our detailed service, we have taken your feedback regarding the concerns you raise on board as we are aware that we can only improve on the basis of constant dialogue with our guests.
Regarding our food hygiene allow us to say our hotel has a specific Health & Safety department which works in association with consultancy of an independent external company who is in charge of verifying our hygiene procedures. We can guarantee you that there is nothing to worry about this situation, we will not take any risk in this matter.
We have also researched the records of our internal control of water quality in the pools during the days you and your family vacationed at our hotel. According to all our records, ideal chemical parameters have been effectively maintained in order to assure the safety and health of our swimming pool users. Besides our internal control, there is an independent company that comes to audit our entire water quality management program on a regular basis.
Again we want to thank you very much for sharing your review of our hotel and would be delighted to welcome you back to one of our hotels soon.

Best regards,

Quality Manager
Iberostar Cuba

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed July 14, 2018 via mobile

We are just home from an amazing 2 week holiday. We loved every minute of it.

All the staff could not do enough for us, far too many to mention but Dariel who is the waiter for the pool bar definitely made our holiday. He knew our drinks order and never had to ask! Will miss him loads.

Yeah the food may not be the greatest but it was definitely getting better during our 2 week stay. Quite repetitive but we never went hungry at all.

My 2 kids aged 10 and 8 took part in all the pool entertainment and loved everything. They also made some lovely new friends.

Will really miss the place .

Everyone that has still to go will have a fab holiday

Stayed: July 2018, travelled with family
6  Thank Nicola B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
DirectorGeneralIPP, Gerente at Iberostar Playa Pilar, responded to this reviewResponded July 22, 2018

Dear guest,

On behalf of the IBEROSTAR Playa Pilar staff and Management, we would like to thank you for choosing our resort as your holiday destination in Cayo Guillermo Cuba; also for taking the time to send your comments with the Trip Advisor community.

We are happy to know that you and your family have spent a great time at our resort and that you enjoyed the facilities and activities. Thank you for noticing the kindness and attentiveness of our staff, especially from Dariel; we will make sure to pass your comments along, as they will be thrilled to know they are on the right path. It is certainly a cause of satisfaction hearing that our staff, made you feel welcome.

Once again, thank you for sharing your opinion, hopefully for your next family vacations visit our hotel IBEROSTAR Playa Pilar, your home away from home.

Best regards,

Assistant Manager
IBEROSTAR Playa Pilar.

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