This was my first time visiting Brisas Guardalavaca and it will be my last. I want to start off my saying that the resort is sitting on a very beautiful white sandy beach and the weather was amazing my entire visit.. I won’t mention the food because there was so surprise there. My issue during my visit was with my room. The first day I checked in I noticed ants in my bathroom and on my beds ( I had two twin beds). I went to the front desk that evening ask told them of the issues and asked if I could have a new room because of the ant problem and asked if I could have a king bed. They told me there were no rooms available that night but to check in the morning. The next time I ask them if they have any new rooms due to the ant problem, they tell me they will spray the room and to check the next morning with the front desk as they have no rooms (I found it hard to believe there were no rooms and the resort wasn’t THAT busy). The third time I ask, I provide photos of how many ants were in my rooms. They were crawling in my makeup bag, all over my bed, side table, along the walls and floor. The assured me they were going to spray and she would check herself after they sprayed, if there were still ants- she promised me a new room. Well later in the day I check my room and there are still many many ants, so I go to the desk and tell them what has happened.. and again they tell me they have no rooms. It was very gross and disappointing to have to deal with this problem with 0 solution especially after the front desk has promised new accommodations.
I couldn’t upload videos but I have uploaded screenshots from the video clips.
Typical but good
Jan 28, 2023
First time back to the Guardalavaca area in a many years. I had heard that this was a grand resort and it lived up to it's name in many ways and did not in a few.
First impressions were mixed. The lobby was grand and has a nice little bar to wet the whistle at. The room seemed more dated than what I expected. Some of the lights would work one night but not the next. Musical light bulbs perhaps?
The beach is a beaute. Long and full of soft white sand. The guys at the snorkel shop were a good source of knowledge. Many palm trees to shade under. The water was a tad cool and sometimes a bit murky but it served it's purpose.
The buffet was a bit of a bore, I expected more, but the A la cartes were quite fine. Some late night cruddy snaks were to be had for those who needed. The hotel would periodically run out of certain wines or soft drinks but we didn't go thirsty. Quite enjoyed the 4th floor Rum bar at sundown.
The animation team were spectac at keeping the guests entertained and that is good considering there wasn't much else going on in the tiny town. The hotel has a couple of nice pools to experience. The music however did not reflect the crowd very well. Way too much modern tripe for an older crowd. Worn out bicycles were available for free use.
The front desk were a mixed bag of nice and sometimes nice. The cadeca as per usual in these hotels wouldn't supply receipts. The broad must of made a killin'.
Overall quite enjoyed overselves even in that somewhat stagnant atmosphere of resort life. Ate and drank plenty! Beautiful people in Cuba!
Jan 09, 2023
A few notes to consider when reading this review: (1) This was my 3rd time at the resort, travelled with family that has been over 40 times to Brisas Guardalavaca; (2) We all know about the current economic & geopolitical situation affecting Cuba, it's worth looking into if you're not familiar.
Brisas has become a very comfortable property to visit for my family. From the front desk staff, to bartenders, to groundskeepers, and everyone in between -- the staff here will go the extra mile to make sure you're enjoying your vacation. They fully understand that there are areas that Cuba is lacking in, but they'll always make an effort to make you feel like a VIP. I had the luxury of travelling with a couple of actual VIP returning guests, but there was no noticeable drop-off in service across the board.
If you're looking for a quieter, more relaxing trip, the Villas are where you want to be. There's a la carte dining close by, a separate pool and swim-up bar, and easy access to the beach. To be more in the action, the main hotel has its own pool, bars and restaurants, as well as an entertainment team and music throughout the day. Flexibility to bounce back and forth makes it easy to have the experience that you want.
The food in Cuba is never "amazing" -- but it's not as bad as people would have you believe. If you're looking for an abundance of over the top, five-star dishes, you'll never find that in Cuba. If you're eating like a regular person with 3 meals per day and some snacks -- this is more the vibe you'll get. Admittedly, buffet options were a bit limited -- they do what they can with what they have, and it's not going to win any awards. Mixing in a la carte restaurants and not trying to eat every item at the buffet at every meal will make for a much more enjoyable experience.
Overall, a visit to Brisas Guardalavaca is a great, relaxing vacation. That being said, I have to comment the on-going "scam" that seems to be shining through here. As noted by both S_A_E122 (we were alert because we read their review before going, thank you!) and V L (who seemed to be there at the same time as us) -- be very wary of the cleaning staff and the towels. We were staying in the villas, and faced the same issue TWICE (again, we were with guests who had been over 40 times...still didn't stop the staff from trying).
We had a family of 4 staying in 1 room and a couple in another -- because of size and views, they decided to switch rooms and made note of how many towels were in each room. 5 towels moved with the family of 4 and 3 towels with the couple. Despite letting the front desk know of the switch, and telling the cleaners multiple times, I was there as one of them confronted my mother in her room about stealing a face towel. My mom pointed out and showed them the towels and looped in all of the staff that she had informed. The maid continued to accuse her of stealing a towel, despite us counting out the total quantity that was accounted for. This was immediately reported to guest relations and the GM -- we even made a point to let them know that this is on the internet and is an ongoing problem. Two days later, a single guest in our group ran into the same situation, with the same cleaner accusing her of taking a towel, despite her counting out and showing the full quantity of towels. We raised this again (obviously there's been no discipline, or actual looking into the situation) and she was left alone. The third, "near" occurrence came when trying to switch beach towels, a group of 4 asked the cleaner, who responded she could give them 3 now and 1 later -- immediately they said no, knowing exactly how this would go. For myself and my guest, we ended up using the same towels for a week, we weren't playing that game with them. Extra disappointing because we tipped every other day, and brought along clothes, candy, everyday goods, etc. to gift to staff around the hotel -- my parents have done this each of their 40 times there.
On a previous trip (2 months ago), my mother was accused to taking a towel but not confronted at the hotel. It wasn't until she tried to check into her flight at the airport that they demanded she pay $13 USD for the missing items...which weren't missing at all. Be aware, be vigilant -- everyone is trying to squeeze money out of you in some way in Cuba. This put a damper on an otherwise great experience, but we're trying to view this incident as separate from the larger trip.
On the topic of 'scams' in Cuba -- unrelated to this hotel we ran into another situation with airport gate agents accepting bribes. My guest and I were nearly removed from an Air Canada flight that we checked into in advance, and paid for seat upgrades on, because a Cuban guest on Standby paid the Gate Agent $40 CAD. We watched it happen, and then watched our seats (18B and 18C) be given away as we tried to board the plane. Not related to this hotel, but something to be aware of when travelling to Holguin.
Great time for New Year's Eve
Jan 06, 2023
First time at Brisas and had a wonderful time. I was upgraded to an ocean view room in the main hotel section. Thank you so much Theresa, who works at the front desk, for accommodating my request. Had an amazing view. The room was clean and housekeeping came by daily. One thing to note is that all ocean view rooms in the hotel section also face the main pool and the entertainment stage.
Will be loud at night and during daytime activities. The noise did not bother me too much however if you are a light sleeper or want a daytime nap, this may be bothersome.
There is a $20 non refundable charge for the safe.
The New Year's Eve party was great. Lots of flowing "champagne", dancing, music.
Met Angel from the entertainment staff. Was always happy to see us and would give us an update on the planned activities. He took us on a bicycle tour of Guardalavaca.
His friendliness and laughter was a highlight of this trip.
By chance, I stopped in to the "Cigar Bar". Very nice atmosphere with great views of the entertainment stage and ocean. I was the only visitor. Yurlian, the bartender, made me a Spanish coffee. There are no cigars at the "Cigar Bar" due to lack of product. As there is a VIP area at the pool, this would be a great space for a VIP bar until cigars are available.
The beach was clean and there was an abundance of beach loungers. Lots of free water sports (catamaran, kayaks, peddle boats).
The food was good. Especially enjoyed the International a la cart. The Cuban restaurant is great for breakfast. You avoid the busyness of the buffet and can enjoy the amazing waterfront views to start your day.
We tipped the staff in US$. Also brought many essentials to give to the staff (over the counter medicine, shirts, school supplies, chocolate, kid toys, razors, solar lights).
Will absolutely visit again.
Gorgeous beach, lovely staff… but ..
Jan 04, 2023
Cuba has not fared well through the pandemic. That being said it’s never been a place to go for fine dining so keep expectations low on the cuisine front. You will always find something to eat …
This resort sits on a beautiful beach. The rooms are fine we had an ocean front villa area room which was great. We had to move since a leak in our ceiling in the bathroom left puddles of water dangerously all over the floor. After the move all was great. The staff accommodated luckily. The grounds are kept very clean and you can get a la carte breakfast and lunch daily at the Cuban and seafood waterfront restaurants. Servers are too notch at both. Be sure to tip $Cad no loonies and toonies these people work hard and live for tips. Bring lots of $5s and or USD bills.
the rooms will not be cleaned properly, beds made yes but nothing else and you won’t get bottled water in your room. I think this is a supply issue but also suspect cleaners are treated pretty terribly and may be penalized financially if towels go missing …!?
- we were accosted upon leaving about a beach towel that we never received and had to convince them we didn’t steal. this was not an isolated incident.
if you are going to Cuba for the food, it’s not your place but if you want to do some wonderful snorkelling , lounge
On Gorgeous beaches and meet some lovely locals than this is your place.
Make sure you bring all necessary medical supplies / bandaids and highly recommend bringing chips / granola bars / snacks and pop / wine. Cuba is struggling and their supply chains are hugely impacted. Even alcohol - no pins coladas/ tequila / martinis / no soda water / coke etc. first
World problems though so compared to what Cubans are facing Daily seems absurd to even mention.
The staff at the main pool bar and swim up bar are fantastic as are the servers at Cuban and Seafood restaurant. The market just down the road was fantastic and the beach you can access just ten
Mins from the resort is up there with beaches in Antigua etc.
The entertainment is … hmm not amazing nor are the kids programs. Our son made friends and had a ball but if
You are going to kids programs this isn’t your place
New Year’s Eve entertainment was great. Live music and fun. I loved that Cubans were hotel guests! Some people complained about this. To them I would say … stay in Canada if you just want to hang out with Canadians…
Would I return - yes. I would just be far more prepared.
They need Canadian tourist $ and the
Locals need tips ! Go ! Enjoy !