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“Good value, not luxurious, all in all an average trip & pleasant time”

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Brisas Guardalavaca Hotel
Ranked #2 of 3 Hotels in Guardalavaca
london
Level Contributor
50 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 87 helpful votes
“Good value, not luxurious, all in all an average trip & pleasant time”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 May 2012 via mobile

I booked a good all-inclusive deal to Brisas guardalavaca through firstchoice, staying 2 weeks. It was significantly cheaper than other package holidays in Cuba. Arrived at Holguin airport and the coach transfer took about 80-90minutes. Check-in was very slow but luckily I was 2nd in the queue so unlike others my wait was not too long. Porter took us to our room (and waited for a tip) and as I was expecting a 3star hotel I was not disappointed. The room was fine, the bathroom had the usual plumbing problems you get abroad (smelly drains at times). There was no kettle but you can go to the bar at any time and get a hot drink. There was a fridge which didn't work and the safe was 2 CUC a day (that's about £1.30 uk money). The resort was mostly Canadians, with British, German and a few other varieties of people. If you are familiar with the concept of the Chav then you will find a few of these at Brisas, up drinking 24hours throughout the night. 
As far as value goes, I can't complain, there was always food&drink available, the variety being good, the standard certainly variable. The beach had the prettiest bluest seas i've seen but it's not a private beach so expect Cubans to approach you when you're sunbathing/reading/talking and there'll ask you for money/clothes/toiletries,etc. That said if you politely say no they will leave you alone (unlike other places I've been). There are a few stray dogs around the complex which didn't bother me but my friend hates dogs so I thought I'd mention it. Included in all-inclusive are pedal boats and canoes and I had great fun with these! There is a hut where you can borrow books free and Internet is available in the lobby (at 3 CUC per 30 minutes - that's £2 uk money). There's no wifi (in the hotel or in the area). The Entertainment is average, probably helps if you're a bit drunk, and the TV channels are variable with about 5 in English. The staff are mostly friendly particularly if you tip them, only a few were grumpy. I'd recommend trying the ala carte restaurants.
Parts of the resort could do with refurbishing, there are enough loungers but not alot of shaded areas (no problem for me-I love the sun, but I know some like to lie in the shade). The "gym" is a small room which a few bits of old equipment (1 bike, 1 treadmill, no crosstrainer).
There are lots of repeat guests so some people love it there but personally I wouldn't go back. There's nothing to do in the immediate area, it's literally just a beach strip in the countryside. I did an enjoyable trip to Havana but it's far away (a plane ride) so expensive (300 CUC for a 1night trip).   Havana was the best part of the trip & I wished I'd stayed there instead.
For the price I paid though I can't complain!

  • Stayed May 2012
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14 Thank donna11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
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English first
Rotherham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
53 reviews
30 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 82 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 May 2012

Just spent 2 weeks at Brisas, 20th April to 5th May, our 1st time to Cuba, we loved it. On the way to Brisas we dropped guests off at the Luna Mares hotel, unfortunately our luggage was taken off the bus there.It took an hour for us to get our luggage returned to us, after 3 phone calls it eventually arrived in a taxi, not a good start!
We were upgraded to a villa suite room, 6207. It was a lovely big room, nice bathroom, sea view, couldn't fault it. Room was cleaned every day, got towel art every day, towels and bedding changed whenever you wanted.
Cannot understand people's comments about the food, we thought it was lovely, can't say we had a bad meal. We only ate in the main bufffet restaurant twice, food was okay, hot, plenty of choice, you won't go hungry. We just didn't like the restaurant, it was too big and noisy for us. We loved the a la carte restaurants. Our favourites were the Buccanero, International, Seafood and Italian. Didn't have a bad meal in any of them though service was a bit hit and miss on our 3rd visit to the Italian restaurant. We were left seated for nearly 15 minutes with no drinks, was about to walk out when 3 waiters turned up, dont think they could decide who was supposed to be serving us. Dont drink the water in the Italian restaurant, they fill the jug from the tap in the Cappucino Bar next door, we watched them do it many times. We had breakfast at the villa buffet restaurant, food was very good but it closed after our 1st week due to the number of guests so we used the El Patio restauant instead. We went to the paladar Dona Barbara one night. Marbelis, guest relations, booked it for us and sorted out a taxi. The food was amazing, great choice to choose from, we had the seafood. Only us and a cuban family there, they were very friendly. Turned out the lady worked at Brisas, we saw her there the next day! Cost 40 pesos for 3 courses each and a few drinks, worth every penny. Taxi was 6 pesos.
I booked this holiday as surprise for hubbys 50th birthday. We were woken up with breakfast in bed, what a lovely surprise. That night in the restaurant our table was decorated with streamers. At the end of the meal, they brought out a huge cake and the waiters sang Happy Birthday to him, it was so nice.
We loved the Havana bar, great mojitos there. Our favourite bar was the Capuccino bar, Orlando the barman was so nice, he made the best Pina Coladas in the hotel. Didn't like the lobby bar much, staff not very friendly. There were some really good acts on in the lobby bar at night though. Didn't go the evening entertainment, its not really our thing but did go to the water ballet, really good, really enjoyed it.
We went on a trip with First Choice to Holguin. Did a steam train ride, went to a cigar factory, upto the cross on the hill, lot of people begging up there even children. Had a meal in the centre of Holguin, wasn't the best though. Had some free time to wander round, lots of squares with statues, nice buildings. Friendly people, felt safe walking around. , saw an african show before returning to the hotel. Nice day out, cost 59 pesos.
Just outside the hotel we went on a horse and buggy ride with Jose. Took us round the local area, told us lots about the place. Cost was 15 pesos for 1 hour, he did longer rides as well. Lovely guy, very friendly.
Also went on the little road train to a fishing village Boca de Sama. Great to see local cuban life, everyone waved as we passed. Called at a local school, lovely to see all the children. Great trip for a couple of hours, saw some lovely scenery. Cost 10 pesos each.
Went to the local market a couple of times, a 10 minute walk along the path by the sea. Lot of stalls, mostly sold similar things. Nice to look round, no one hassling to you to look or buy. We bought a few bits and pieces, bag, jewellrey, belt, small carvings. Didnt haggle much as prices were reasonable. Very hot at the market though, not much shade.
Our 1st week the weather was fantastic, hot and sunny. Then we had 4 days of rain, 2 of which were very heavy with thunder and lightning. Then it cleared up and we had great weather for the rest of the holiday. We met a lot of lovely people, met lots of canadians, they were very friendly. Yes there were some groups of very loud ones but hey they were on holiday and having a good time, they weren't hurting anyone or causing any trouble. The ones we found rude were the germans. One day we "shared the shade" under a tree but they didnt seem to like it. Next day we went to the beach they had put 5 sunbeds all round this tree so we couldn't sit there, only 2 had towels on, the others they'd put bags and books on. We just sat somewhere else but did have to laugh to ourselves!
We enjoyed our trip to Brisas, found most of the staff to be very friendly. A special mention must go to some staff who made our holiday really special. Marbelis in guest relations, Ronald our waiter in the villa buffet restaurant, Janet in the International restaurant, Judy in the Buccanero restaurant, Rascielle in the Seafood restaurant and Orlando in the Cappucino bar. Not forgetting Omar, the First Choice rep, he was so nice .Very friendly guy, always happy to have a chat. Huge thanks to Loony Lou for all her help and advice. Hi to Ken (Bellagio) who we met on the outbound flight, lovely friendly guy.
Know everyone's expectations and opinions are different but we enjoyed our time at Brisas and hope to return one day soon.

Room Tip: Quieter rooms are the villas
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  • Stayed April 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
19 Thank lonny123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Shrewsbury, England, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 May 2012

Today 13th May 2012 I arrived back home from 15 nights in Cuba. Before our trip my hubby and I went through the reviews written on this hotel. We usually holiday in the Dom Rep and I feel we have been spoiled. I will try to be constructive in my review as I dont like reading bad reviews myself. The hotel is very basic. Its clean and the maid service and waiter/waitress services are unquestionable. Sadly this isnt enough to draw us back to this destination.
On arrival we found the reception staff unfriendly and not very helpfull. We arrived by taxi and were not met by a luggage service and my hubby who is 63 had to carry our baggage up the front steps of the hotel into reception.We were then shown (by what appeared to be a gardener) to our room. We were given no information on the amenieties of the hotel and were left to our own devices. The workers around the hotel are absolutley delightfull. It is a government run hotel so that may explain some of the issues. Obviously there is very little to do outside the hotel and you cannot buy English ciggarettes anywhere over there so if you are a smoker make sure you take your own supply. There is a daily market about 10 minutes walk from the hotel and some of the local handmade crafts are beautifull. One thing to be aware of is the fact that if you buy paintings or other large items you need to have a certificte of purchase otherwise you cannot bring them back home.
Conche shells are very popular and beautifull but you are not allowed to bring them home as it is robbing their environment. If everyone brought just one shell home very soon there would be non left there. April to May is their low season and a lot of amenieties close down which we were not aware of. This is the fault of Thomson not the resort as they'forgot to tell us' this small detail. Even seasoned travellers will need a serious sun block as the sun is extremley severe during the day. On the other hand you will need a long sleeved top for eveings as it does get quite chilly.The currency is also an issue. You cannot get currency before you go out to Cuba. When you get there there is currency for the tourists and currency for the locals. The locals are paid about 12 pesos per month which on average is £8 in English money. It is good manners to tip the staff as it helps their standard of life and also ensures that you have the best service they can give you. As a rule of thumb most people tip around 2-3 pesos. They have ration books for their food and are allowed five eggs a month..one slice of bread per person per day a tea cup full of coffee per month so they have a very hard time of things. Most guests leave behind any toiletries they havent used and any clothing that you can do without lasts them for years. Pencils and books and kids clothes are great to take with you to hand out to them and they will be eternilly gratefull to you for this act of kindness. To get back to the hotel, it is one of the better hotels in Guardalavaca if you have a chance go to look at the others as if I had chosen one of them I would have flown home. It is clean the every day staff are great and thats about it. The food is plentyfull but bland and usually luke warm so I always ask for it to be heated through before I eat anything. I hope this review helps in a small way and I have tried to be as honest as possible. I hope you enjoy your stay. One final important point is the hotel is very dissabled friendly and there are ramps for wheelchairs it is a very good facility.

Room Tip: try not to get a room in the hotel as the entertainment is provided around the pool which is directl...
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  • Stayed April 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
23 Thank Ellie E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Manchester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 12 May 2012

Just arrived home after our second visit to Brisas,
We went last year and i expressed my concern about the food, this visit was to judge any improvements made or not .
Last year my fave al-a-carte was the italian by far , this year this has gone down to 3rd place
thanks to the two new restaurants International & Buccanero they are both absolutely lovely, the menus are both great (the drinks are also).Unfortunately the Cuban was last on the list maybe i just dont like the food but some people love so each to their own . We stayed in the villa"s again block 5 eventually lovely sea view & only seconds from the beach, it was my birthday while we were there & we got breakfast in bed also a huge b/day cake in the Buccanero which we shared we all the other diners,
ROOMS as i said we stay in the villas as they are quieter than the hotel & only a couple of minutes walk from the main hotel so not a problem, while we were there a few people did upgrade to the villas because of noise into the early hours, also the police were called to the hotel on one night as some drunken guests were having a brawl on one of the corridors.
The villa rooms are very spacious lots of hangers in the wardrobes this year good for the ladies lol,cleaned every day we had no problems with the room but we dont go on holiday to go through every nook and cranny with a fine tooth comb,so nothing jumped out at us.
Food we went to the buffet for the first few days and found the choice to be a lot better than last year always found something to eat and a big plus was the air-con was on in the restaurant which made it a more pleasant enviroment to dine in , last year it was like a sauna every time we went to eat.
Breakfast choice of continental or full english or omelette , cereals , fresh juice , yoghurt drink
the only thing that could improve is the bacon station i think they should start cooking it a bit earlier as most of the time you are standing round waiting for some to cook.
you can also go to the fish restaurant or cuban for a wait on breakfast which is from a menu , but you do get proper cooked bacon without cooking your own .
Bars good choice from all bars didn"t manage to get up to the Havana bar on this visit but i will next year , Tip if you ask for rum at the bars you will not get club havana rum unless you ask for it.
Beach: Not the hotel fault but the spate of bad weather cuba had a few weeks ago a hell of a lot of sand has been washed away leaving big crevices all the way along , a new batch of sand is being ordered and should be pristine again in the next few weeks , it is still a lovely beach just dont look as good as last year,
Weather again nothing to do with the hotel but the first 5 days were virtually a wash out you wouldn"t believe it if you could see the colour we are now LOL.
Will we return ??????????????????
OF COURSE NEXT MAY FOR MY 50TH

Room Tip: Choose the villas if you want quiet
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  • Stayed May 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
10 Thank redbecky
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Derby, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 12 May 2012

Firstly, we paid extra for the villa's.. Not sure what the hotel rooms look like but the upgrade probably isnt much better! we arrived after a long flight and were made to wait for 2 hours to get to the rooms.. and the guy that ended up taking us there still thought he was worthy of a tip.. so then thought i'd put that behind me, get a good nights sleep and carry on. Nothing is that simple at the brisas, the room smelt as soon as we walked in, the bath was in terrible condition, bugs in the room and smashed glass out on the balcony. then we decided to ask to change rooms so they moved us - room exactly the same without the damp smell!!
every member of staff just bothered about tips.. never a smile until we give tips, no communication between staff and people seem to be touch food without gloves on. poor choice for food even in the a la carte the service and food is bad. i wouldnt send my worst enemy to this hotel its easily the worst hotel i have stayed in. no offense to the canadians but they seem to favour them a lot more, they are friendly towards them and have canada flags everywhere.it also rained there for a good few days and the hotel did nothing to try and entertain people - what would have been hard about playing bingo or organising a pool tournament - BADLY RUN HOTEL ITS NO MORE THAN 2* PLEASE READ THIS AND STAY AWAY

  • Stayed April 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
12 Thank LLM112
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Rhondda, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 May 2012

i could not have asked for a better day, i paid for extras such as horse and carriage extra pictures, dvd, it was very cheap. the hotel is in a perfect place on the beach. the hotel was good for the price we paid, not much entertainment in the nights. this place is definatley not for younger couples i think. the staff were very friendly and helpfull. the food was awful, even when booked to go in to the resturants it was not much diffrent, this was very dispointing! overall i did enjoy but could not wait to go home for some proper food. i found they cleaned every day and i also had my bedding changed nearly every day, which you can ask for by placein the card on your bed, my maid nayda was lovelly always doing diffrent things with the towells and blankets. we had a big leak with the toilet which flooded the bathroom, this was sorted straight away. it was definatley worth the money. just the food let it down.

  • Stayed March 2012, travelled with family
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Helpful?
6 Thank Alison S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
worcestershire
Level Contributor
16 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 10 May 2012

we came here to get married in march 2010 as it was cheap for all the family, we had an amazing time the beach was fantastic and clean and the activities like horse riding and dolphins was great.one tip would be if you want quiet then get a garden facing room as the canadians love to shout woooo hoooo till 5am.the rooms are clean and the food good as you would expect for all inclusive. this is great for kids and has a quieter pool if you want it by the villias. also take a bif therma mug for your drinks it keep them cool and saves using those silly plastic cups :))

Room Tip: garden view for quiet and ocean view for great views but looks out over entertainment area so is lou...
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  • Stayed March 2012, travelled with family
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Helpful?
7 Thank leigh d
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

Property: 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 (Based on Average Rates): $
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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