24 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
Fantastic Holiday second time around !
"Brisas Guardalavaca was wonderful AGAIN ! We have just returned from two glorious weeks at this Hotel, our second visit. We took our 27 year son, as he is emigrating to NZ in a few weeks so it was great to spend some quality time with him before he goes. Also my Mum and her sister who are in their 70,s and two very lovely friends. We had a blast. We had a villa in block 5 which was huge and exceptionally clean .We had a view of the villa pools and a huge cheese plant growing up past the balcony which hide some of the view, but it kept the area cool and secluded which was lovely. The house keeping was excellent, room cleaned every day, fresh towels when requested, and clean sheets, bed was very comfortable and pillows were good. Coffee making facilities in the room, just ask at the bar for a cup of milk every day. Lovely hot water enough for a bath and plenty for showering. Food we thought has improved this year, the main restaurant was great loads of choice, and the Al a cart restaurants were very good all of them, with more choices for each course. The waiting staff were amazing and very attentive, we could not find any fault with any staff, they were all polite,courteous, and friendly from the gardeners, the people that cleaned the beach, the lifeguards,reception,waiters, everybody. We booked a couple of trips, one with TC for the steam train ride, this was great, seeing the countryside of CUBA, a fab meal at a posh Hotel in Gibera and a show. The other trip we hired two Old American cars via one of the lifeguards on the beach. The cars were driven by two brothers who were great very safe drivers, the cars were amazing, loved it. They took us to some lovely places for photos, and also into Holguin to a friends restaurant, where I had traditional Cuban food which was fantastic. A lovely day I would recommend this. We booked to renew our vows on the beach on our 30th anniversary, this was a fantastic day. Katerine helped us first as Yonania wasn't there when we arrived, she was so good, she arranged the Cuban band, the flowers and the meal in the evening. We arranged for 4pm. The lady from public relations came to the room to collect me, and walked me to the beach gazebo. The gardeners had decorated it with flowers and and heart on the sand made of flowers. My son walked me up the aisle. We had our vows translated by Yonania and we signed the certificate, loads of photos by the photographer and other people, meal in the Cuban restaurant , with a table made up for us all. Champagne from the maid, a huge plate of fresh fruit and breakfast in bed the following morning. My son had books the special meal on the beach for us it was fab, very romantic we had the week before, worth the money. My mum and her sister enjoyed walking to the market on their own, felt very safe. They loved the staff at the Hotel, they couldn't do enough for them. Mum had an infection in her toe while we were there and the Hotel Nurse was so good, she got antibiotics and kept and eye mums foot every couple of days. Our son enjoyed the chill out factor the free water sports etc and the snorkeling. All in all a fabulous time again, glad we were able to introduce the family to this fab Hotel, we met some lovely people there. Special thanks to the following, Yoania, Katerine, Louis ,Vladimir, Roger,Emillio,Olga ( who looked after the oldies in the restaurant ), Daniel TC rep, too many to name. Thanks to Bob for taking pics at our vow renewal, and Hayley and Rob for joining us. We will be returning again, we love Brisas.........."
- Travel date: 29th March 2015
" Mikey's Limos Just returned from Brisas 27/12/13 to 11/1/14 had a fantastic time staff very helpful and friendly they can't do enough for you we was put in the villas 5002 and 5005 very clean and plenty of storage space one over looking the villa pool the other over looking the sea both fantastic views all the restaurants and al a carts are all clean the food not brill but there is plenty of choice you will never go hungry remember you are in Cuba and not at Blackpool if you want English food stay at home loved every minute and will defiantly go back again met some really nice people Cuban Canadian and English everybody gets on really well some people go on holiday just to moan and complain just to get some money back just go with a open mind and enjoy your self you wont be disappointed see you soon Brisas team and thank you well done to you all â with Mikey Grinhaff and 2 others. Mikey's Limos's photo. Mikey's Limos's photo. Mikey's Limos's photo. Mikey's Limos's photo. Mikey's Limos's photo. Mikey's Limos's photo."
- Travel date: 13th January 2014
Last proper holiday for an English family of 4
"Having read countless good reviews over the last few years about Cuba, I decided that we would book the Brisas for 2 weeks for what is likely to be our last family holiday together due to kids now reaching late teens etc. I was personally recommended the Brisas by a friend who stayed for a week there last year and has been to many caribean islands over the years. Booking was very easy online although i did watch the price go up and down quite a bit between Dec and Feb when i finally booked. i was very happy with the cost which was much the same as an all inc. holiday in spain or turkey at Â£3400. Flights were very good and relatively painless with very quick check in. I fully recommend use of the VIP lounge on your return at Holguin which is approx Â£20 PP and very comfortable with free drinks, food, A/C etc. Check in was fairly quick and we were given 2 adjacent rooms at the front of the hotel which were fine, huge bed, good air con and reasonable sized balcony. Food in the main buffet was fine but did get a bit repetitive after a few day, the Pasta bar was our favourite part with dishes cooked to your exact liking and recipe by a very funny chef. Waiters were very keen to assist and serve at all times. We tried all 5 a la carte restruants at least once, returning to the Cuban, International and buchanero for second time. All were good with the exception of the Italian which offered slow,poor service, rude waiter and generally dissappointing food. TheBucanero and international were equally absolutely delicious but the Cuban also highly recommended with its beachside location. I also fully recommend the late breakfast special or lunch at the Patio/seafood restuarant. Staff were generally very nice and polite but many do favour the Canadian guests who constantly tip them, regardless of service. Best staff in my opinion were Roger (pool swim up bar) Jose Pupo at the Cappochino bar for his lectures and taste sessions in the history and many varieties of Rum and also Roberto for his delicious lunch time pizzas made to order. To summarise, I would definitely recommend a holiday to the Brisas but there is not much to see or do locally. The local market is ok but limited to wooden figures, leather goods and cigars. A trip into Holguin in the convertible Buick often parked up outside is worthwhile as is a trip to the local farm, indian village and fishing village. I also went on the speeedboat adventure for Â£20 with my eldest which was a great experience."
- Travel date: 19th June 2013
"We spent 2 weeks here in march with friends and the 4 of us all had a fantastic time.The hotel location rooms staff and food were all very good.There was plenty of eating places to choose from we went to the italian and cuban restraunts for special meals both were good especially the cuban.Whereever we went the staff were very friendly and efficient.The entertainment was very good especially the water ballet and the two groups we watched in the John Lennon garden.I had my 60th birthday while there and the hotel helped make my day extra special bringing me breakfast to my room and champagne and a cake out to me at lunch time.I strongly recomend this hotel. "
- Travel date: 19th July 2012
great holiday great place
"flight entertainment was rubbish. they played one film 3 times on both flights of 10 hours. hotel brilliant beach beautiful people friendly. no hassle no beggars. i gave few gardeners and guards a peso[ about 3 days wages], every body tips the bar staff. took trip on steam train. take little bags with pens toiletries sweets razors etc to throw out to the children along route "
- Travel date: 5th April 2009
All in all, an excellent holiday for whi...
"All in all, an excellent holiday for which I would personally recommend both Cuba and the Brisas Guardalavaca hotel. The hotel is right on a beautiful beach in a village where there is nothing more than tourist hotels and the houses where the staff for the hotels live so don't expect to walk about and get a taste of the real Cuba. However, everything you need is in the hotel complex and there are also plenty of varied excursions to go on if unlike me, you are not satisfied laying on a beautiful beach in brilliant weather, drinking rum cocktails! The hotel is very clean and the staff work extremely hard and are very friendly. There is plenty of daytime activities to get involved in which my two children aged 14 and 11 really enjoyed, although the evening entertainment gets a little repetitive during two weeks and finishes too early (10.45) although the bars are still open and there is a disco from 11 pm to 2 am. There is plenty of choice of food so even if you are a fussy eater, you will always find something you will like, we certainly did not have any complaints."
- Travel date: 14th August 2008
My partner and I have just returned from...
"My partner and I have just returned from a three week holiday to Cuba. This was our second visit to the country staying in the Holguin province (stayed at Playa Pesquero Jan 2007) so we knew what to expect, this was not what we got! We booked with Airtours but flew with Thomas cook on 24/12/2007 we upgraded to the premium seats on the plane and we were not happy with the aircraft it was dirty, the seat pitches were smaller than advertised and the entertainment was on VCR so the staff decided when the fills would start and which films they put on. The reclining seats were a nightmare as people in front put their seats right back so you could not see your screen but thought it was their right to do so as it had the capability of going back that far. When we arrived at Holguin airport it became apparent that Airtours/Thomas Cook had not sent us the Visas we had paid for so it cost us Â£20 to enter the country but we were through the passport control and had our bags within 10 minutes of leaving the plane! We had originally booked to stay at Club Amigo Atlantico next door but after they had sold my room to someone else (long story - see review on Club Amigo for details) we got a move to the Brisas (Villas section) on Christmas Day! The rooms in the villas section were lovely we were originally put in the 3's Block on the third (top) floor but my partner had a problem with his leg so we asked to be moved and were given a choice of rooms we chose 5's Block (on beach and facing pool). The Good - The staff are very nice people they do their best to help you and you always get service with a smile, The aircon in the rooms (great!!), The locals (we spent a lot of time hiring mopeds and a car to get out of the resort - stop at local bars its cheap and friendly one of the best Cuban experiences), The beach - free non-motorised watersports DO THE CATAMARAN!! Itâs great. The Bad - The Food! - we had issues with the food Iâm vegetarian but not fussy, they donât do chips on a night as it is seen as a snack food, we spent two weeks eating the same food my partner had cheeseburgers through the day and I had pasta! On a night he had pork/turkey (avoid the rubber beef) and I had Pasta! They sometimes did smash and the always had rice on but it was hard and inedible. The ice-cream was always melted and often refrozen; the rest of the deserts tasted the same but were in different shapes/colours! The cleaner - she was a waste of time she didnât take anything away that was not in a bin, never changed the bed sheets even when the card was left out requesting her to do so, never swept the floor once in three weeks and moved things (both ashtrays in bathroom every day!! and weird things moving!) There were black caterpillars all over the room. The Entertainment - THERE IS NONE! This hotel was dead there was no nightlife and no one ever spoke to one another! We were so bored we spent a lot of money on trips/car hire/bike hire/horse and cart trips! beware if you are going alone or as a couple there is nothing to do in the villas section all the bars close at 10.30pm and you have to move to the hotel about 5 mins walk through the resort - donât expect much here we went to the disco one night and there were four of us and 6 teenagers the place was deserted (the disco closes at 2.30 and is below the hotel many people complained of the noise!) They did nothing for new years eve that was different from a normal night. The reps also sit in the hotel lobby bar so if you stay in the villas you have to walk through to the hotel to see the rep he never visits the villas even though you have your own reception (there is a Thomas cook book with his time in at the villas though) Tips - Take unwanted items of clothes I went to a sports shop before leaving and purchased sale items at Â£1 for children toiletries - soap shampoos shower gels are all hard to come by! Donât give these things to the hotel workers they get many things from tourists get out and about and see the locals you are 110% safe in Cuba! We had an accident where we fell off the bike in bad weather going up a hill we shouldnât have! a lady came out without a word of English signed at us to see if we wanted our clothes washing (we were covered in dirt) we went with her and the family washed all our clothes/shoes/the bike and expected nothing in return!!! We took to the family and returned a few days later we gave them everything we had taken the household income for 6 of them was $5 CUC about Â£2.70 they were not allowed to go to tourist areas or work near tourist because of the communism laws. We left them an expensive t-shirt and when we came back to visit the family we left it with the mother had converted it into two skirts for her twins, the logic was why have one t-shirt when I can have 2 skirts! AMAZING! Trips - Grand Safari - A good day riding horses, jet skis, off road driving (well driving on a bumpy road) focused too much on tips! Great Adventure - Excellent day - visit a waterfall, Castros Birthplace (a must but take $5CUC for pictures $15CUC for video camera), Coffee Plantation - downside is 6 hours of wasted time driving. Deep Sea Fishing - Got Cancelled because of weather (hardly ever runs) Speedboats - A fantastic day out Â£39CUC each about Â£20.00 1hr 10 mins on speedboats definitely best value for money! When we hired car we spent 4.5hrs driving to Santiago de Cuba! donât go we turned around within ten minutes they check out your All inclusive wristband and claim they work at your hotel, the people try to take any jewellery or money they can see after our 10 min jaunt we spent 4.5 hours getting back - we picked up hitchhikers on our way back as there are many on the roads and as they are straight roads they are headed your way - the people are sooo friendly it is safe to pick them up!! We returned on 15/01/2008 and the flight was the same as the outbound disgusting for the Â£239.00 per seat that they charged us! Hope this helps!"
- Travel date: 20th January 2008
The hotel - advertised as 4 star - was d...
"The hotel - advertised as 4 star - was definitely not. Now, we have to remember that this is a Communist country and that shortages and apathy are both a way of life. The hotel was certainly not awful - it was just indifferent. The rooms - in the old part - were spacious but musty, damp and unaired, and the air conditioning noisy but ineffectual. The views from the balconies seemed to be all good as the grounds were lovely. Cleaning staff came through every day but the only evidence was the customary swan 'sculpture' made from the bedclothes, the smell of cigarette smoke, the signs that the TV had been used, and the progressive reduction in the levels of my perfume. The upshot of this was that the floor was not swept in 10 days and we had to remake the bed every night!! Food was adequate but repetitive. Good quality ingredients were skilfully cooked into dull dishes. Bar service varied from pleasant to surly - but was actually good only on the day we were leaving - when they were trying to get a good tip. On the plus side - the public areas were clean enough and attractive. The beaches were well kept. The climate was wonderful. The 'animation' team were low key enough to ignore if you wanted to - although grudging with their time for specials like pistol shooting or Spanish lessons. No-one told us that there were free pedeloâs, or catamaran trips, or wind surfing lessons. All daytrips are controlled by the government and the best advice I could give is to ask how much of the day is spent travelling. We spent a total of 6 hours travelling to see a waterfall and have lunch!! The best trips are the helicopter rides and days out. They are not 'approved' by most British companies so they don't tell you about them. They are great value and really exciting. We had the best day of the holiday visiting Baracoa - a 50 minute ride each way in the helicopter and the only fluent English speaking guide we had at any time."
- Travel date: 7th January 2008
Food was not amazing but that was no big...
"Food was not amazing but that was no big deal to me, there was a gorgeous bbq though! Go to the steak house every night, we did! Check out the time of year you go, we went in Oct and a hurricane came- a bit scary but nothing got ruined apart from the beach for a couple of days. A massive variety of people go there so thereâs a chance to meet new friends. We met 2 new couples and we are now very good friends with them! Great staff at the hotel, very friendly even though they get paid hardly anything, make sure you tip them as they work very hard! Have a good time here, we would go back!"
- Travel date: 12th December 2007
Booked a two centre holiday with The Hol...
"Booked a two centre holiday with The Holiday Place. 21/ 4 / 07. Travelled to Holguin airport on the 13.00 Cubana flight from Gatwick. What an experience! One hour late departure because of admin problem, meal and one drink within 2 hours of departure, then no sign of the cabin crew for approx 5 hours as they were asleep in the back rows of the aircraft. Once awake they offered water or fruit juice, which was immediately accepted. One and a half hours before landing we were given a sandwich, again with a soft drink. No drinks could be purchased on board!! So take plenty if using this company, this is a ten hour flight. Once in Holguin things improved greatly. Jordy, the rep was excellent and really helpful assisting everybody, with any problems they had, with a smile and calming manner. The coach was top class and the transfer to the Brisas hotel in Playa Guardalavaca, was no problem, except for the state of the roads it had to drive on. On arrival at the hotel the check in went very smooth and our luggage was taken to our room. After a good nightâs sleep we attended the welcome meeting, in which much useful information was given, and then explored the complex. It was spotlessly clean with plenty of amenities. The staff were very friendly and made you feel very welcome. The hotel offers two main restaurants and two a la carte (which must be booked); there is also a 24hr snack bar. Along with this there are 4 bars one of which is 24hr and a disco open until 02.00hrs. There are two large pools with plenty of sunbathing area, although, access to the white sand beach is only a two minute walk, and there are plenty of security officers to ensure all your personal belongings are safe, whilst you are swimming or using the water sport amenities on offer (free) to guests. However, there are always some slight problems, and the Brisas is no different, one problem being the food on offer. My wife and I found the food good to an extent although it was not always as hot as it should have been, a point not missed by other members of our party, however, it did seem to improve over the 11 days we were there. The second problem was the attitude of the reception staff when a power cut occurred and one of our parties was trapped in a lift. He used the emergency phone but nobody would answer it and it was only by another holidaymaker hearing him calling for help did any assistance arriving. This was duly made known to our rep who took up the matter with the hotel management. Overall, the setting, the attitude of the staff and the layout of the hotel was very good. The rep was excellent and, with taking some of the excursions on offer the holiday was very very enjoyable. The second part of the holiday, was two nights in Havana at the Comodoro Hotel/ Bungalows. Once through the flight from Holguin to Havana we were transferred to our accommodation. It was brilliant, a little Venice in the heart of a busy area, and after a great nightâs sleep we went for breakfast... what a disaster! The waiting on staff could not care less about setting your table and appeared to be put out if you asked for a spoon. The coffee /tea machine was not working and as for the food forget it. I understand they cannot cater for everybodyâs tastes, but what was out should have at least been edible, the only good thing appeared to be the fresh fruit and as this part of the holiday is bed and breakfast, you are being ripped off, so as a result we had to purchase edible food elsewhere. There are also many excursions on offer, one of the most popular being to the club Tropicana. It is a good show, if you like that sort of thing, but beware when having wine with your dinner before the show. We were asked would we like any drinks with our meal and opted for two bottles of white wine, as there was six in our party, check the price of a bottle before you get it! We were charged 50 CUC for the two, approx Â£17.00 a bottle, talk about a rip off, we found the same wine at the airport when coming home for 5 CUC a bottle. There are many other excursions but check as it is usually the most expensive, in the city part of the holiday that are promoted. Overall this part of the holiday was also very enjoyable apart from the two items mentioned. I would recommend Cuba for a great holiday."
- Travel date: 6th May 2007
Well what can I say - an absolutely amaz...
"Well what can I say - an absolutely amazing holiday all round. - apart from the flight. I work for airlines and I can honestly say, excel is the worst I have every come across, the plane was awful, cramped, smelly, old, - the crew were awful, rude, unknowledgeable, uninformative and seemed to be under trained, the food was awful, small, cold, inedible!! - anyway that was just the flight! The hotel, was brilliant. - please remember Cuba is a very poor country, firstly expect you are getting the same standard or accommodation as Greece or somewhere like that. The hotel is rated 3 - 4 * and this is fine, the rooms are spacious, with all you need, you can fill bottles of water up daily for your fridge and you are given a flask to be filled with coffee , juice, vodka or beer!! - the rooms are airconidtioned which stays on all day, the bathrooms are spacious and kept very clean. The chambermaids work very hard and keep the rooms nice for you. The hotel rooms are all the same standard - with the difference being sea or garden view, we had garden view with terrace on to the garden which was nice, friends of ours had sea views which were better. The villa sections - the rooms are bigger but as you are not in them much you donât really need that extra space if its just 2 of you. The staff in the hotel will bend over backwards to make sure you are happier I have never met friendlier more helpful people. Some of the waiting staff seemed to be little pissed off with their jobs - but who wouldnât be working in that heat in stuffy restaurants. - speaking of restaurants, the food at the hotel isnât the best but there is always something on offer as it is buffet style, so you will always find something you like, it is nice to see the chefs coming out and testing the food with thermometers and things regularly too. The 24 hour snack bar serves burgers, chip pizza and sandwiches all day! Sometimes they get a little confused with the food - i.e. putting mash potatoes on pizza??? And calling stewing beef - fillet steak - but its all ok! The al la carte restaurants are lovely, especially the sea food one, they have other things on offer if you not a fan of fish too! The 24 hour all inclusive is really good, includes all activities, all drinks, local and imported, non motorised water sports and some excursions organised by the animation team - the animation team are the best I have come across - they are far from professional dancers / singers (the have singers and dancers to do this!) - they are entertainers and if they will make your holiday, they are around all day organising beach games and pool games, salsa lessons, cocktail lessons, Spanish lessons and anything else you want, they are there to make the guests happier and they certainly do this! - they put on shows all night for everyone to enjoy and they will even party with you till the early hours in the hotels discothÃ¨que! The hotel has everything you want and need, on site doctors, with English speaking doctors and nurses, massage, beauty, hairdressers, gym, sauna, tennis courts, 2 pools, disco, inside and outside bars everything you need! One tip - take spare clothes with you - not for you but to leave for the people that have made your holiday, Cuba is such a poor county, especially in places like Guadalajara. The hotel staff earn about Â£25 per month, this is just enough to feed the family - they can afford nothing else. The are so appreciative to anything you can spare! - my suitcase was so light coming home! - like I said before, the people that made our holiday were the animation and entertainment team, and they really like it when we thanked them for it - as not many people remember them like they do waiters and chambermaids! (and they earn less money!) We visited the hotel in a party of 31 for a wedding, not one person needed to complain about anything, the wedding was exceptionally planned and every last detail taken care of. Nothing could of been better It really was a fantastic holiday, I will never forget it and I will definitely return - not with excel airways though!!"
- Travel date: 31st August 2005
Our first ever visit to Cuba, which was ...
"Our first ever visit to Cuba, which was booked months before we travelled. I searched for information on many websites particularly those giving hotel reviews. Our flight left Gatwick on the 22nd December and we decided to get the National Express from Birmingham. We got on the coach at 1am and arrived at our hotel in Cuba at around 5pm the same day (4 or so hours behind us). My first reaction to the room we were allocated was that it smelt of mildew so we returned to the reception and after showing us 2 more rooms we settled for the third, which had an ocean view (yes I did pay for the view). This was a lovely hotel, which had 24 hour all inclusive food and drink. The food was very poor but to be fair you could always fill yourself up with 'fast food' at the snack bar and once youâd had a few 'Cuba Libra' who cared! The staff at the hotel (not reception who tried to rip you off with money exchange and phone cards) were amongst some of the nicest people we had ever met and couldnât be faulted with their friendliness. We spent an afternoon with the family of one of the musicians at the hotel and were treated like royalty and I will never forget their hospitality. This was a holiday, which was purely for R & R. There were a couple of shops, a bank that was packed to the rafters on the one day I changed some money and a flea market. So overall you had to rely on the activities in the hotel and the water sports on the beach. I thought the skydiving was a bit too ambitious as I couldnât see myself jumping out of a plane even though you had an experienced skydiver with you. How they managed to land at the same spot on the beach every time beggars belief (I even had to move my sunbed!) We did enjoy our holiday and the hotel and beach were excellent. We would like to return but I think it would be at a different time of year because out of the 14 days we only had about 4 or 5 when it was sunny so this was disappointing. We have spent the last 3 Xmas and New Year in Goa where there are blue skies every day and I must admit to having already booked up for 2005. Oh yes nearly forgot if you phone home donât do it from your room a couple of minutes cost me Â£15."
- Travel date: 1st December 2004
Top traveller tips for Brisas Guardalavaca Hotel
"patio restaurant. inside cuba trip"
"Just go with the flow"
"Try all of the a la Carte restuarants including those doing the lunch and breakfast menu - makes a great change from the Buffet."
"Be prepared for a lovely location right on the beach."
Brisas Guardalavaca Hotel is also called
- brisas hotel guardalavaca
- guardalavaca brisas hotel