Located in Cayo Santa Maria, the Coral Level at Iberostar Selection Ensenachos is designed for adults only, offering luxury villas with butler service, a private pool and restaurant. Guests also have access to all services and amenities of the Iberostar Selection Ensenachos.
Please note that this review is pretty much entirely for the more exclusive no-kids-allowed mini-resort at the westerly end of the property.
(1) Awesome staff all around - friendly, attentive, courteous, and always ready to help you with whatever you may need or want. Obviously they can only do what they can do, and I'd just be a jerk if I started nitpicking. Muchas gracias mi amigas y amigos!
(2) Great food, both in the restaurant and the beach-side snack bar. Yes, you read that correctly. I went to the main resort's buffet only once and it was of more standard Cuban resort quality as was the main resort's 24-hour snack bar.
(3) Spacious suites with comfortable beds and big well-appointed bathrooms. Each unit even had a hot tub. The only thing missing was a hammock.
(4) Generally decent wi-fi (except in the suites), though that is not particularly important to me when I'm on vacation. The internet service was certainly good enough for email and browsing news websites to keep abreast of what was going on out in the real world.
(5) Live music in the reception area was excellent. Cuban musicians are the coolest! I always bring a guitar and its always a blast to jam with the locals.
(6) As for the outdoors, the wildlife was wonderful, especially the reptiles and butterflies, and biting insects didn't seem to be an issue (at least, not to me). Change into long pants (tucked into socks) and closed shoes by 3:30-4:00pm, and the sand flies (no-see-ums) won't bother you.
(7) I totally enjoyed the following excursions and heartily recommend them: Buena Vista Social Club show; guided bus tour of Santa Clara.
(1) the beach in this part of the resort is ok, but nothing spectacular and the water was surprisingly chilly (compared to the beaches and water at the Varadero and Holguin resorts I've been to). One boardwalk was in desperate need of repair but, to their credit, renovations were underway. There were 3 days with red flags and lousy weather, which also caused my speedboat excursion to be cancelled, but that was just bad luck and obviously no one's fault.
(2) Speaking of excursions, I was a bit disappointed that reef fishing wasn't an option as I quite enjoyed that in the Holguin resorts.
(3) Almost everything is at the main resort, a good 10-minute shuttle ride away. That includes the 24-hour drink and snack bar, gift shop, cigar shop, shows/events, excursion booking, money exchange, etc.... That said, the shuttles do run constantly and you rarely wait very long.
(4) The bus ride from the airport in Santa Clara to the resort is about 1.5 hours one way and certainly even longer if you're staying at any of the other Cayo Santa Maria resorts. This is not the fault of any of the resorts, of course, but its still a bit of a negative.
The downright awful:
Beautiful Resort and Beach!
Mar 15, 2020
Just returned from another amazing week at Iberostar Ensenachos, Coral level. This was our second time at this resort (stayed in the Spa section a year ago), third time in Cayo Santa Maria and 10th time in Cuba. This resort is the best we've visited in Cuba and we will return one day. Sadly it was VERY windy the week we were there (threw a wrench into our distance ocean swimming plans, but obviously no one's fault), but still just beautiful.
We stayed in villa 6201 and the room was beautiful and enormous: one bedroom with a King bed and the other bedroom with two Double beds. Both bedrooms had full (large) bathrooms, there was another bathroom off the living room, and a private hot tub on our back deck. The Coral lobby was a short 2 minute walk, as was the Ensenachos beach - and we alternated between walking the Ensenachos beach (1km) and road to the main lobby (another 1km), or taking the shuttle (golf cart). Also spent most days way over on the Megano beach as it was actually calm there. The other thing we were exceptionally impressed with was that the pool at the Coral level was so tranquil: no music blaring! If you wanted that, it was available at the other pools over near the main section of the resort.
I was impressed that the resort is taking environmental action in eliminating plastic straws (paper ones were offered on some drinks), changing the bedsheets every three days and only washing towels if left in the tub. The food and service was very good, there was always lots of options (including so much smoked salmon, fresh fruit, cheese and bread - on top of a variety of buffet foods - the 'cuban corner' tended to be the best, in my opinion). Sadly there was no white wine to be had the week we were there, but loads of other options...
If forced to come up with constructive criticism it would be that one night the entertainment staff went around actively soliciting votes (which was just strange as we didn't see them the rest of the week other than walking around - which was fine), and that for some reason while they have some of the best musicians in the world in Cuba, they decided to put loud children's entertainment in the main lobby right around dinnertime.
Other than that, an amazing week at a very affordable price point. Oh also of note is that we took a vintage taxi from the hotel back to the airport as Air Transat allowed online check in 24 hours in advance (WOO) so we didn't feel we wanted or needed to leave on the bus 5 hours before our flight - it was $70 CUC's and well worth it. Beautiful (1.5 hour long) drive.