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“Lovely Cuban Holiday”

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Brisas Guardalavaca Hotel
Ranked #2 of 3 Hotels in Guardalavaca
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 21 February 2012

Always nice to get away for a bit of a winter break. I enjoy going to Cuba as the scenery and the people are just beautiful. This hotel has a wonderful beach where you can enjoy paddle boats, kayaks and a sail boat ride. I think the snorkeling would be quite good also, however it was a little wavy while we were there.
A friend and myself enjoyed a baseball game in Holguin. They have a great stadium and the players are very good. 9 innings with 1 error. I consider that very good baseball! Great atmosphere. Buy peanuts in a small paper cone and have a cold beer. 3 pesos to get into a game. 25 pesos for the bus ride. We booked with our Nolitours rep.
Our room was in the hotel 4th floor facing the front of the hotel. Nice new bathroom not much of a view but we were only there to sleep. Would definitely stay in the villa side next time. Regulars told us not to stay in the ground floor villa, go for the 2nd or 3rd floor.
We talked to allot of people who have been going to this resort for years. Some for as many as 13. After 5 yrs they give you a tree planting ceremony, nice touch.
Nice market within walking distance.
Trying not to repeat what the other reviews have said.
Good holiday, wonderful people, beautiful scenery.

Had a nice holiday with good friends

Room Tip: Villas are the way to go. If you want a little more entertainment you can always head over to the m...
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  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled with friends
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2  Thank soxmack
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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2,254 - 2,260 of 4,216 reviews

Reviewed 20 February 2012

A group of us went here and i must say we had a fantastic time! The hotel is getting on a bit but still in good nick. The rooms are good and the maid is excellent at cleaning and every day too Bonus! However we had a couple of cockroaches ( we were on the ground floor next to the pool) but you are in a tropical island but we told the maid and she sorted it straight away and the maintenance man came within half an hour to "debug the room" which was effective as the odd few that came in were dead after! The maid does sculptures with your towels every day Very impressive! Thank you Hidi! Our friends had a different visitor however of the 8 Legged Variety about as big as my hand ! Eek! but the Gardner came in and moved it! lol!The pool is super clean and The drinks are great! A visit To the doughnut lady near the pool is a must mmmmmmmm. Entertainment is good and you must watch the water ballet! We did nearly every thing our self trips wise as its safe and much cheaper ie we got a Cuban Car to take us to the Indian grave yard site! you can also get a bike free of charge outside the villas! and a hourse and cart ride outside too! The market is just a 30min walk down the beach and is on everyday! And the bars on the beach near the market are the locals well worth a visit on a sat night 24hrs too! Our fav bar was the havana club ( rum and cocktails ) on the 3 floor of the hotel through the end fire escape! well worth it! open from 5pm till Eleven! We tried all the a lacartes sea food was our fav! You can have late breakfast as well in the cuban rest till 12 behind the main pool bar!The trip on the catamaran and dolphins is well worth it too! Amazing time! the food at the place is wicked too! The beach is lovley and is kept clean! the hut at the end near the hotel has free pedalows and wind surfing etc! well worth a trip on the mini catamaran too! although you have to book that day early to get your place! Over all This was a great holiday and you seem to tip the staff alot not that its expected but you do! however they much prefer cloths and toiletries which are hard for them to get! so we gave most of ours to different people as the airport on the way back is very strict on weight allowance, and they are very gratefull for cloths etc If you buy a painting DO NOT put it in your suit case as you have to have it stamped at the airport which costs 3pestos each and you will not get though with out paying as i found out! last on the plane lol! Although when i asked the rep he said you didn't need to! You also need 25 pestos each at the airport to come back with! And for the smokers Hollywood cigs are the best to smoke and cheap the rest are like camel poo! We all had an amazing time here apart from the few days we all came down with tummy bug for 2 days! Remember do not drink their water! And there salads are washed in it! so don't eat to much! I would def return to the Brisas well worth it! Thats about all i can remember but i hope this is useful enjoy it if you go!

Room Tip: The Sea and pool view is noisy because of the late entertainment but you should be out there watchin...
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  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled with friends
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9  Thank ozmanotts
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 February 2012

Had already read here that the villas would be quieter. We had villa upstairs (as requested) No. 8205, which overlooked the quiet little square dedicated to John Lennon! Statue of him there & once a week for about half an hour, there was a 'tribute band' - not just playing John Lennon's own songs, but other artists' from around the same era & a little afterwards. 1st band the best! Villa was very spacious, but dark inside, but fortunately we didn't need to spend much time inside! Definitely more peaceful than the main hotel - had to go to 'our end' of the beach to get away from various noise - aerobics, etc. (I did go along to a few of the short salsa lessons - but these were on the outside stageWent to villa's restaurant for breakfasts. I am not exactly a 'foodie' myself! However, being vegetarian, there was virtually 'nil' choice at the hotel's restaurants! We tried most of them & my partner thought the food quality very poor. In the end we opted for the buffet restaurant at the main hotel, where we could each choose something we wanted. Found the receptionists rather 'less than helpful' (& I can speak some Spanish); in fact you need to ask their Tourist info. desk on ground floor re. any info. e.g. even local bus services etc. (when you can't locate your tour rep). Otherwise, staff wonderful, friendly, always smiling! Our cleaner, Mariella, was delightful. However, felt that as, perhaps the huge hotel was 'filling up' more quickly during our second week, this reflected rather in the service in the buffet restaurants, but the staff themselves 'did their best'!
The evening entertainment was almost always 'top quality': entertainers in the bar area followed by varied entertainment on the stage area by the pool. As a dancer myself, much appreciated the 'in-house' dance team who did ballet, salsa, Caribbean - definitely professionals!! The musicians were also amazing & 'top quality' - in particular one 'house band'! Dancers & musicians high enough quality to be perhaps be in 'top venues' such as Havana - or worldwide! I can quite see why many families keep returning. Interesting to see what nationalities were holidaying here: Brits in the minority - definitely lots of Canadians rather 'out-numbered' by them - some other guests from countries such as Argentina, Columbia; many from Italy too - interesting 'mix'. On the whole, hotel very good value for money. As with most large hotels, don't generally find them so friendly with such a high turnover of guests - 'sea of strange faces' - but then got the advantage of such good entertainment. Beach lovely & clean; nice walk available along sea-front to local village market or pick up one of the friendly horse & buggy drivers outside; catch local bus to Holguin 8.30 a.m. returning around 1.30 p.m.; local open top bus and/or mini-train - which was too full for us to get on!, lovely to get out into the nearby 'real' countryside via the bus or buggy; interesting little 'Indian village' nearby; or opt for various tours offered by reps. Most locals speak English but we found many appreciate it if you can speak some Spanish; our delightful first horse & buggy driver couldn't but we 'got by' very well!
Air conditioning did break down from time to time, but it wasn't hottest time of the year. (plenty of 220v. plug sockets in villa) Internet access: only TWO! computers available most of time at reception for 'dial up' internet (for contacting family) 3 CUCS only allowed half hr.; however, Orange (Cubacell) mobile signal good if needed. YES - we would go back!

Room Tip: If you want all the daytime entertainment/noise etc. fine, go along when you want - but we found the...
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  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled as a couple
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8  Thank CalianaB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 February 2012

This was our third time at this resort. Travelled with my wife and our 18 mth old son. Nolitours rates this property as a 3 1/2 star but it should be a 4. Here is my honest rating of this property under the two most important features - accomodations and food. Pools and beach are nice and nothing more to say about them.

Accomodations

We stayed in the Villa mini suite and it was very nice. The mini suite is a bit larger and you get a king size bed and a small sitting area with sofa. It was spacious and very clean and plenty of room for our son's play yard as well. We recommend bringing your own play yard because the cribs provided by the hotel are not very nice. Our son slept much more comfortable then he would have in one of their cribs. The washroom could use some updating but again very clean. It's worth the extra money for the villa. The main hotel is adjacent to where the entertainment happens so it will be noisy until past 11pm. The villas are farther away and less neighbors above and next to you making for a quieter nice sleep. Just a warning that the pillows are very hard but other than that we were very happy with the accomodations.

Food

This property maintains a 4* depending on where you choose to eat. If you just eat at the one buffet restaurant attached to the main hotel building for every dinner then this resort would be a 3* or below. Stick with the a la carte restaurants for dinner. Your tour operator may say you only get 2 or 3 a la carte dinners but Brisas has 6 a la carte restuarants and you are allowed to eat at every one. The food was awesome except for the Kabab restaurant which was our least favorite. The rest were fantastic with great beef, lamb, chicken and even lobster. For breakfast the nicest buffet is at the villa end. For lunch just stick with the pool grill or head over to the "El Patio" restaurant by the beach for an a la carte lunch. Must try the Bucanero Tavern during the day and for dinner. They serve premium bottled beers such as Corona, Heineken and Becks along with other Cuban beers you don't get on tap at the bars. If you are an espresso lover the best espresso is served at the pool bar adjacent to the grill.

We would definatately return to this property.

Room Tip: Villa suite - preferably a Mini suite
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  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled with family
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14  Thank Michael G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 February 2012

We traveled to BG Feb 7-14th flying Sunwing from Toronto. Flight uneventful.
Not a long wait once arriving in Holguin. Longest wait was one person from our busload of people heading to the resorts, decided he needed to exchange money at the airport. Thankfully rep on the bus got his wife to go get him, after waiting way too long. Fortunately we had grabbed some cold beer and pop from the fellow by the buses selling it.
Bus to hotel was just over an hr long, but provided some sights to see along the way.
Arrived to the Villa Lobby just before noon. Not very welcoming - no welcome drinks etc...
Check in was fairly quick, surprisingly our room was ready and we were shuttle to it quickly.
Had booked a mini villa suite - had asked for 2 reg. twin beds as we were traveling with our 12 and 16 yr old. Our room was in the villa section - 4201. Not overly fancy but clean, roomy and comfortable. Coffee maker, 4 beach towels in room, tv, bath towels etc...
Air was cool, fridge worked, shampoo, soap and body lotion provided as well as 2 loofah sponges.
Resort was easy to navigate through. Staff on the most part very friendly and helpful. 6 a la carte restaurants there, and you could book as many as you wanted. We tried them all - nothing spectacular at any of them, but we found them better than the buffet that we ate at the first night. People do not travel to Cuba for the wonderful food!! The a la cartes were: a kebob one, seafood, Cuban, international, Italian, and buccaneer(all things containing beer apparently). Nice to have all the options of them.
Buffet for breakfast both on hotel side and villa side. we ate at the villa side all days but one. Breakfast was by far the best meal of the day. Champagne available all mornings.
Bars were plentiful and never had a long wait for drinks. Mint was some days hard to find for mojitos.
Sat on the beach all days - if you sat in front of main pool area/snack bar area, Johnny was quick to find you and bring you drinks. We did find locals on the beach and using the loungers in this area, esp on Fri and Sat.
Good snorkeling out from this area, a good swim out from shore.
Always seemed to be available loungers around the pool as well.
Snack bar by main pool good - fries, burgers, sausages, hot dogs, sandwiches, pizza. some days you could ask for poutine.
Doughnut lady's hut off the side from the stage by the main pool. Yummy freshly made doughnuts - my favourite eat of the week!!!
Always had entertainment in the lobby area by the main buffet and main bar. Guitar player was the best as was the violinist. Seemed to be nightly entertainment from 630/7ish till 9ish till the entertainment started on the stage area by the main pool.
Evening shows at 930 weren't the greatest but at least they had them. Water ballet was a good show.
Games room off to the side of the main lower lobby bar was great for our teens. Pingpong, pool, board games with wonderful staff in there!!
Quick walk along the beach path to the small market - walked this walk every day as the vendors changed daily. Wonderful selection of leather and wooden goods here. Bought 3 paintings - did have to may $3 each leaving the country as they weren't stamped. Not a big deal.
There was changing vendors every day at the resort as well.
Went on a catamaran trip to an island - called Bay Adventure. $79 for adults and $39 for kids. Left at 8ish, returned just before 6. Long day but good day. Hr bus ride to catamaran, hr or so ride on the water- plentiful drinks, and snacks on board, snorkeling for 45min or so, then arrived at beautiful island. Boarded large jeep for safari tour. Didn't get to see the zebras we were told we would see however was a great excursion. Back to lunch - wonderful buffet with the best food of the week!! Included each person got a 8x10 pix taken with a parrot, that was delivered to the hotel 2 days later. Great pixs. Great trip.
We also did a hr or so tour via horse and buggy through Guardalavaca which was nice and relaxing. This was $15. We also chatted one of the reps, Air transat I believe and he arranged for a old car taxi for the afternoon for us. Raul arrived on time in his 55 Chevy to be our personal tour guide around Holguin. Spend 5 hrs with him for $80 (four of us). Visited the cross at the lookout which was wonderful, cigar factory, several parks, market, we pit stopped at his mom's home and she made us coffee and offered the kids icecream. Nice to see their home - I think the kids liked that experience the best. Nice not to be a large group and could decide to come and go when we wanted too. Well worth the $80.
Overall a great week - we defintelty got what we paid for and weren't expecting more than what we got, especially after being to Cuba before.
We did have some "perks" which were to be included in our package as we were given at the welcome meeting- our bracelets were gold in color vs other's who were bright yellow. The sheet we were given said we were to get the following as being part of the "SMILE CLUB" (not sure how we got to in this club, LOL!!!) welcome cocktail- which we never got, special bracelet, free safety deposit box (vs the $2.day charge - we never used it as we locked what we needed to in our 2 suitcases), reservations in our a la care restaurants, beach towels in room, one bottle of rum per room per stay, private dinner for Club Smile guests on Monday at eh El Zeguan Restaurant at 6pm (kebob rest.), private dancing lessons on the stage every Fri at 3pm and a get together party at the Tea Garden every Fri at 4 to watch the sunset.
All in all a good stay - message if you have questions!
one last thing - pillows were awful, pack your own if you can - very hard thick foam.

Room Tip: book a villa room - loud by hotel pool till late at night
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  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled with family
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16  Thank cinpicton
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 February 2012

Fabulous beaches. Lots of activities. Mattresses very uncomfortablle. Very big, very busy. Buffet food warm or cold but there are chef stations cooking food to order. Stay in the Villa area that is much quieter. The disco etc is in the hotel area. We were on all inclusive but some bars only served cava at certain times. The pool bar served it at any time. Lots of different types of food restaurants as well as the buffet.

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled with friends
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5  Thank jimbells
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 February 2012

This is a vast complex built along a beautiful stretch of beach with lovely white sand, palm trees and azure blue sea. If all-inclusive beach resorts are your thing then this one will suit. it is a place to go if you want to swim, lie in the sun, eat and drink all day, and maybe take part in the holiday camp type of activities offered. If you want to experience local culture and the real Cuba then this is not for you! The bedrooms are huge and of a good standard, the food is ample with a very good range of choices and the drinks flow freely.

Room Tip: If you want a quiet room then stay in the Villa area, as rooms in the main hotel are affected by the...
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  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank Sandra K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Brisas Guardalavaca Hotel

Address: Calle 2, Playa, Guardalavaca 84170, Cuba
Region: Caribbean > Cuba > Holguin Province > Guardalavaca
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 3 Hotels in Guardalavaca
Price Range: $127 - $307 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Brisas Guardalavaca Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 437
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Also Known As:
Brisas Hotel Guardalavaca
Guardalavaca Brisas Hotel
Brisas Guardalavaca Hotel Holguin Province, Cuba

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