Memories Holguín Beach Resort (formerly Sirenis Playa Turquesa and Occidental Grand Playa Turquesa) Reviews

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Memories Holguín Beach Resort (formerly Sirenis Playa Turquesa and Occidental Grand Playa Turquesa)  

Calle Guardalavaca, Playa Yuraguanal, Rafael Freyre, Holguín, Cuba
(Holguin Maps)

"Relaxing week at the Memories Holguin Beach"
Posted by: Claire on Dec 10, 2015
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Memories Holguín Beach Resort (formerly Sirenis Playa Turquesa and Occidental Grand Playa Turquesa) Reviews
Memories Holguín Beach Resort (formerly Sirenis Playa Turquesa and Occidental Grand Playa Turquesa) Pictures and Information
Memories Holguín Beach Resort (formerly Sirenis Playa Turquesa and Occidental Grand Playa Turquesa) Playa Yuraguanal Cuba

#1
of 1 Hotels in Playa Yuraguanal

User rating 4.2

Based on 39 reviews

Memories Holguín Beach Resort (formerly Sirenis Playa Turquesa and Occidental Grand Playa Turquesa) Information


This all inclusive resort is located on a stunning, natural beach in the resort area of Holguin.

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Memories Holguín Beach Resort (formerly Sirenis Playa Turquesa and Occidental Grand Playa Turquesa) Reviews

Memories Holguín Beach Resort (formerly Sirenis Playa Turquesa and Occidental Grand Playa Turquesa) Review: 4.2 of 5 39 reviews
Excellent
  14
Very good
  19
Average
  6
Poor
  0
Terrible
  0
By Occasion...
Business (1)
Leisure (16)
Wedding (2)
Party
By Traveler Type...
Family and Kids (6)
With friend (1)
With Group (4)
With Spouse/Partner (8)
Solo
11 - 20 of 39

"Good vacation, they do their best"

Memories Holguín Beach Resort (formerly Sirenis Playa Turquesa and Occidental Grand Playa Turquesa)
User Rating:  Memories Holguín Beach Resort (formerly Sirenis Playa Turquesa and Occidental Grand Playa Turquesa) Review: 4.00 of 5

Posted by:  Ronald  on Feb 2, 2011  >  2 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Jan, 2011 | Leisure | Family and Kids
454 people found this review helpful

Guests at The Sirenis Playa Turquesa were in a good mood, enjoying all of the resort, complaining only about the swimming. And the airport... but this is Cuba. Here are some comments, mostly on things other people have not mentioned. It includes the drawbacks of Sirenis, which other surprisingly high-praise reviews seem to have missed. It is not a better place than many other good resorts; other reviewers must have been shocked that it is good at all.

Room Number:
716

Rooms:
Ours was fine (700s, for Nolitours), everything worked, hot water always, very good aircon. Big enough, and quiet balcony. It is true the walls seem thin... we were beside an incessant cougher. Medium-sized buildings set nicely in greenery; you get a nice forest view from the balconies.

Restaurants and Bars:
People did not complain about the food. There are grilling stations with great choice (not big line-ups), quite a few salad mixtures (didn't get sick), many cheeses and cold meats, even smoked salmon ... they try to make the food classy. There is always an excellent large baked fish and a meat hidden behind the middle of the line-up for the pasta station. Always several cooked vegetables (canned, but this is Cuba), several fruits, and mushy cakey desserts.... Pre-prepared foods were okay, kept in regular warmers. No foods ran out. We enjoyed the Italian a la carte, a quality meal. Serving staff was friendly and quick enough (coffee or tea water sometimes cool). The buffet has a knockout view... we usually sat at the edge to enjoy it.

Bars seemed fine, although drinks could vary. Service was good, without tipping. The lobby bar is filled with lobby noise, buses pulling up, not too nice. Three evenings a pianist plays forlornly amidst the din. The bar by the upper pool has a nicer atmosphere; and there is a bar in one pool for those who wish to soak and drink.

One notices slightly the focus on tips, some staff being unnaturally friendly, etc. We accept that as their life, on a dollar a day under their repressive system. So no complaint here about the pressure for tipping -- we ignore the hints (which are minor), and don't try to solve Cuba's problems by sympathy tipping. Others were tipping, feeding this lop-sided system where people can earn ten times as much from tips as from their salary... and more than a teacher or medical worker. Anyway, we have already paid a healthy labour fee to the hotel; but instead of the staff getting it, most goes to the government.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
The beach is long enough, with sailboats and kayaks available at one end. But walking further, in either direction, is painful coral rock. So no long seaside walks. The coral rock has interesting fossil shapes in it, but no shells. At the right end there is a track that curves inland for a pleasant kilometer walk up to the road. At the left end also a path going inland. The road out toward the highway is okay for walking; bush both sides. There is a tourist attraction park (Rocazul) 1 km. away. Sirenis is really isolated.

The beach itself is nice sand, good swimming at high tide, but bad for swimming at low tide. It becomes a huge wading pool, 2-3 feet deep. Hence the pleasant turquesa colour. Enough nice sandy parts underwater, but there are also coral rock parts. For our week, high tide was 8 a.m. and swimming was perfect... but lonely. Lots of loungers. Very basic snacks and drinks cabin. Good bathrooms nearby at the Cuban restaurant and the gym. There is medium seaweed, but they clean it up (very slowly). Surprisingly, the beach has no palms, just basic low trees. So it is not as pretty as it could be. (Only five little palm trees in total at Sirenis, at the swimming pools. Lots of mini palm type plants around the pools)

The pools are impressive, ranged down the slope with nice ocean views. Seemed very clean; and never really lacked in loungers. The whole large central area is neat and open and well landscaped. From the beach towel house at the bottom by the beach to the top pool is four storeys of stairs. One guest was heard groaning ohmigod. The whole huge resort is neat, good for walks. From our average room to eat and back totaled 1.5 km. It is well enough lit at night.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
No comment, not our interest. The so-called animation at the pool seemed to be blessedly minor. The kids club seemed unused.

Other Comments:
The airport is small and basic. They tortured our planeload on entry by scanning each bag (for what?), only two scanners: a 45 minute sardine line-up at 1 a.m.. And the government wants to have happy tourists? The equal line-up for check-in on departure is, alas, more normal. No mention at the airport of the nasty new law requiring everyone to have health insurance. The tour package operators use this new law to try to scare us into expensive health insurance, but nothing said at the airport. (One rumour is that the provincial insurance card is enough to satisfy the law anyway, so it may be good to take it.)

Overall, a very good holiday for us. This resort does try to make everything enjoyable.

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"good food and good service"

Memories Holguín Beach Resort (formerly Sirenis Playa Turquesa and Occidental Grand Playa Turquesa)
User Rating:  Memories Holguín Beach Resort (formerly Sirenis Playa Turquesa and Occidental Grand Playa Turquesa) Review: 3.00 of 5

Posted by:  Diane  on Jan 10, 2011  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Jan, 2011 | Leisure | Family and Kids
263 people found this review helpful

we were at sirenis playa terquesa in holguin cuba..very nice resort the food was very good.. i'm uselly sick but not there..the staff was very friendly..the a la carte very good food..the bed comfortable..the only complent i have is not enough bathroom on the resort..everywhere there was only 2 stall and the one by the beach by wednesday one stall was not flushing and the one beside it the door did not lock..but i was close to my room and i was going there instead of going to that bathroom.. the view from the top pool was breath taking..we rented a scouter for one day and felt very safe..the view of the mountain mesmorizing overhall very satisfied Diane n.-b

Room Number:
3

Room Block:
4

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"Our Wedding (May 2009) not October 2010"

Memories Holguín Beach Resort (formerly Sirenis Playa Turquesa and Occidental Grand Playa Turquesa)
User Rating:  Memories Holguín Beach Resort (formerly Sirenis Playa Turquesa and Occidental Grand Playa Turquesa) Review: 4.00 of 5

Posted by:  Kristine  on Oct 19, 2010  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Oct, 2010 | Wedding | With Group
288 people found this review helpful

When we arrived in Holguin Cuba it was just after the whole Swine Flu epidemic so we were a bit nervous to see so many Cubans wearing full face gear, but hey, can't blame them for being health conscious.

My husband and I were getting married on the beach and we were so excited to have our best man, maid of honour and her family with us. When we checked it, it was about 2000hr so it was dark, but we were welcomed by friendly faces, and welcome drinks, which I think I had about 3 I was so thirsty. We checked in no problem, took the little taxis shuttles to our rooms, and relaxed. My husband noticed that we had the view of dirt, and it wasn't very romantic for us, so we changed rooms the next day. Not only did they change our room, but also our best man's with no hassle at all. Our other friends had to change that evening because they were to had adjoining rooms for their kids, and that wasn't right, but not a problem there. They were changed as well.

We had read so many reviews before going that we really didn't expect much out of the food. We were very surprised, and happy that the reviews were wrong. It's Cuba people what do you expect to get? The Buffet was perfect for breakfast, and lunchs, we spent most of the time at Don Bartolo's getting some polo fritto!! We actually made it through the drink list that's painted on the top of the bar. Try it, it's fun.

The wedding co-ordinator Yjami (spelt wrong I'm sorry) was absolutely amazing. She sat down with us for about 30min, that's all we needed, she asked me the flowers I wanted, the song I wanted, type of cake and goodies, and all done. The day of the wedding i had my hair done in my room, we had champagne every day in our mini fridge, not high class but hey it's free, and my wedding day. Put my dress on, and then took one of the taxi shuttles to my beach setting. As I started getting closer to the beach the driver was honking his horn for dear life. I thought it was to announce my arrival , but I found out later it was to tell the staff to hurry up and finish decorating. My husband and best man found it very funny. Goes to show you that there's real time, and then Cuban time. The ceremony was perfect, the flowers amazing. We shared our goodies and champagne with people on the beach, took amazing pictures, stood in the ocean in my wedding gown. How could it be so wrong. It wasn't. Not one bit.

Restaurants and Bars:
The restaurants and Bars were perfect. Food was always good, and the bar, could you ever go wrong with drinks? Never, we did learn as we are resort virgins to bring your own sippy cup. They are bigger and you don't need as many refills as often, plus you get more alcohol in it. The disco was awesome, loved every minute of it.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
It was fairly windy the week we were there, so we didn't hang out on the beach at all, except for the wedding of course.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
We did the catamaran and dolphin lunch excursion, if you have the 103 pesos, do it. OH MY GOODNESS!!! it was the best thing I have ever done. It was a rainy day, so we were a bit worried, but the captain of the catamaran made us feel at ease, and kept the beer coming. It was the greatest day besides my wedding of course. Plus to swim with a dolphin was one of my husbands to do things on his list, it was incredible.

My husband and the best man went into Holguin, and did a tour there, but they realized that the "children"/"beggars" were probably working with the tour company because they seemed to be everywhere the bus went, but they did enjoy themselves. They did tip a guy to keep everyone away from them, and that helped the situation.

Other Comments:
There are a lot of stairs, I think we counted 185 going from the pool bar up to Don Bartolo's washroom. I found on the last day that my room was closer, lol. I loved every second of this trip and wouldn't have changed anything.

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"One very hot week (sometimes too hot actually!)"

Memories Holguín Beach Resort (formerly Sirenis Playa Turquesa and Occidental Grand Playa Turquesa)
User Rating:  Memories Holguín Beach Resort (formerly Sirenis Playa Turquesa and Occidental Grand Playa Turquesa) Review: 4.00 of 5

Posted by:  Pierre  on Aug 25, 2010  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Aug, 2010 | Leisure | Family and Kids
320 people found this review helpful

Arrival:
We were greeted at 20h30 with a cold towel and a drink they simply call the "Welcome Drink". My wife got hooked on these and didn't drink much else during out 7 days stay!

Rooms:
Rooms are grouped in individual blocks of rooms making it harder to have connecting rooms. We were 3 groups of 2 people and our daughters had to stay in a separate block (at least close) which didn't make us a bit worried. We had room 504 which was better than the other 2 rooms (506 and 512) because it had an additional sofa, table, bar stand and 3 stools. The rooms wasn't physically bigger, but more places to sit which was useful for the 6 of us when we wanted to relax in an air conditioned room. The resort is huge, but it doesn't take long to learn its layout.

Beds are a bit too hard for me but still acceptable. The pillow is thin but wide (like 1'x3'), so you can easily fold it to make it the thickness you want. The fridge is filled daily with at least two 1500ml water bottles and 2 pops (flavor randomly vary). It seems we had a small problem with our shower as the water was only warm, but my brother-in-law said he had plenty. We didn't complain because it was enough to make it refreshing anyway.

I had to kill only 2 bugs in my room during my stay. You might want to bring tape to block the gap under the room door because it's quite big allowing most bugs to easily get it. My daughter (who's terrified of bugs) used a little flashlight we initially bought as a gift for room service. She couldn't leave without it in the evening because this is when crabs come out.

The curtains are not thick enough and light brightens the room at 7am.

Restaurants and Bars:
Buffet is the same everyday although slightly different between lunch and supper. It's not fine cuisine, but hey, you're in Cuba; you have to expect the food to be different.

Restaurants à-la-carte are not on the map provided by the reception and it wasn't obvious to find them on our own, so we had to call reception who did their best to explain it in this huge resort. By the way, the stuffed chicken at the Italian restaurant is just awesome!

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
The pool with bar is the most popular but also has the most kids who play more with the plastic glasses than anything else (like others have said, where are the parents?!). The barman at pool is called Ivan and he's impossible to hate. Like I told him the last day I saw him, he's part of our best memories.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
We went to swim with the dolphins; well, actually, our 2 daughters went. My wife and I didn't have any interest in doing the swimming part so our daughters took our "20 minutes swim" coupons and went again for a total of 40 minutes. They had a blast. One of our daughter was selected to be thrown out of the water by 2 dolphins which made unbelievable memories. Glossy picture from the so-called "expert photograph" (a regular guy with a above average camera) is 10 pesos but not really worth it. We were right next to him while he was taking pictures and we barely see any difference when we compare our pictures with his. But even if we didn't swim with the dolphins, my wife and I were still allowed to go on the platform to have our picture taken with a dolphin between us.

There is a different show every evening at the theater. On our second evening, we sat behind two guys who had too much to drink and they really ruined it for everyone around them. Remember that seeing a live show is no different than seeing a movie: Shut up! It's even worse as the performers are there to see the lack of respect compared to a movie. One guy stood up and asked them to shut up to which the other reply "We have the right to speak". When the pissed spectator loudly yelled "You're a f-----g idiot", we thought "Ding! Round one", but no, he just left now that his show was completely ruined. The two drunk idiots kept taking. Please, people, if you're not there to see the show, just leave.

They cancel katamaran and pedalos reservations as soon as it's too windy, so better go make your reservations very early in the morning. Katamaran was quite boring anyway as they just go straight toward the ocean for 10 minutes then just come straight back. Pedalos were most pleasant for that.

Other Comments:
General rules: You can tip everything, you can bargain any homemade stuff (my 16 years old single-handedly bargained a 30 pesos item for 22 pesos!) and there's rum in everything. Everybody expects a tip although they will not frown if you don't give any. The only "I really don't wanna work" face I've seen was from the cook on the beach.

Some people told us it was the raining period, some others said it wasn't so. Verdict: We had rain for a total of about 3 hours during our 7 days stay.

When it came time to leave, I found out the cashier had no canadian coins meaning no less that $5 bills. When I went to exchange my pesos for canadian money, I was offered $35 for my 37 pesos, which didn't make any sense. The cashier told me that if I could manage to find 1 more peso, he could give me $40 instead. This means the initial amount was somewhere in $39 but he had to round it down to $35. That's so bad!

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"holiday"

Memories Holguín Beach Resort (formerly Sirenis Playa Turquesa and Occidental Grand Playa Turquesa)
User Rating:  Memories Holguín Beach Resort (formerly Sirenis Playa Turquesa and Occidental Grand Playa Turquesa) Review: 3.00 of 5

Posted by:  diego  on Jul 17, 2010  >  1 contribution(s) ITALY
Visited on: Jul, 2010 | Wedding | With Group
256 people found this review helpful


I spent a few days of vacation (ten days ago) at your resort, along with friends and family.
Have to write because the beauty of your property is met with rudeness and inability of some staff, I am referring especially to your manager cheff Mr. A. Frizza, which the complaints of our group on eating, he replied in the wrong way repeatedly demonstrating through and through his incompetence and rudeness (as an Italian I am ashamed).
Then I felt this situation should make you, the beauty of the place is thwarted by ignorance of these people are sure of who directs.
Will inform in more detail (as review) that our experience so that everyone can be aware of this.

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"Holiday in Paradise"

Memories Holguín Beach Resort (formerly Sirenis Playa Turquesa and Occidental Grand Playa Turquesa)
User Rating:  Memories Holguín Beach Resort (formerly Sirenis Playa Turquesa and Occidental Grand Playa Turquesa) Review: 5.00 of 5

Posted by:  nicholas austin  on May 31, 2010  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: May, 2010
562 people found this review helpful

This resort is wonderful.It is staffed by very courteous,and friendly people.I will highly recommend this resort with all its great activities and entertainment.

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"Worth a visit"

Memories Holguín Beach Resort (formerly Sirenis Playa Turquesa and Occidental Grand Playa Turquesa)
User Rating:  Memories Holguín Beach Resort (formerly Sirenis Playa Turquesa and Occidental Grand Playa Turquesa) Review: 4.00 of 5

Posted by:  Veronica Sullivan  on May 3, 2010  >  1 contribution(s) United Kingdom
Visited on: May, 2010
534 people found this review helpful

This hotel is in a beautiful setting. It's lovely and clean, as are the staff! The staff are all friendly and helpful and speak such good English. Great to have such a choice of pools or the beach. Food pretty good, plenty of choice although rarely hot. Spaced out a bit but we all need a bit of exercise! All in all I would go back but only after I've checked out the other resorts in Cuba.

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"A vacation to remember."

Memories Holguín Beach Resort (formerly Sirenis Playa Turquesa and Occidental Grand Playa Turquesa)
User Rating:  Memories Holguín Beach Resort (formerly Sirenis Playa Turquesa and Occidental Grand Playa Turquesa) Review: 4.00 of 5

Posted by:  Janice  on Apr 24, 2010  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Apr, 2010 | Leisure | Family and Kids
255 people found this review helpful

This resort is built on a hill with a spectacular view and beautiful grounds.The gardeners work hard to keep the grounds looking so beautiful and are always friendly with a smile.Depending on where your bungalow was situated, you may have to climb some stairs, however the resort had many golf carts running and readily available that would pick you up and drive you to your destination,simply by calling the front desk requesting a drive.

Your Arrival:
WE arrived at 11am., and upon checking in were told our room would not be available for a few hours. Knowing this from a previous trip, we came prepared with our bathing suit/sunscreen/hat etc. in our carrying on luggage, making it easy to access. So once luggage was stored, off we went to explore. We had lunch, checked out the beach and resort, then went swimming in pool.

Rooms:
We were pleased with our room. Our bungalow was in the 500 section on second floor.Enjoyed sitting out on our balcony relaxing,the scenery was very nice. The beds are rather firm...but usually we were so tired by nighttime, we had no problem sleeping. Our a/c went on the blink one day,however we got prompt service after notifying front desk. Otherwise, the a/c worked wonderfully. There was no tub in our bathroom, only a shower, but we prefer showers. The shower stall had lots of room to place your essentials. The safe was user friendly..you could change your password # as often as you wanted.Lots of storage for clothes in the 2 closets. And there was an iron/ ironing board in our room.

Restaurants and Bars:
I was traveling with two 16 year old's and had some concerns whether they would like the food.We came prepared with our own ketchup which they enjoyed on their favorite food item... fries.The bars all had good food. I really liked the tuna sandwich at the sports bar and the fries were great.The kids enjoyed the ice-cream for dessert. The buffet in dining room always had a large variety of foods. Any meat you wished(burger/hot dog/beef/pork) and they would grill it for you. We ate a lot of chicken, even turkey which was very moist and tasty. The kids really enjoyed pasta, especially the friendly welcome from the cook.There was always fresh veg/fruit, the banana's, pineapple and pears are so tasty, not like we get at home. The waitress were friendly.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
It was too windy to enjoy the beach during the first few days, plus my daughter disliked the sea grass.We really liked the pools. We enjoyed the second pool, it was large and deep and you could swim up to the edge of the pool and observe the scenery below.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
We enjoyed the nightly entertainment. The aqua entertainment was fabulous! A must to see. And get your seat early, it was packed. The entertainment staff were always present in the dining room every evening, dressed in their costume(depending on the theme that night), they too are very friendly.

We took an excursion called Inside Tour. The price was 49 pesos and what a great deal! We thoroughly enjoyed this tour, can't say enough about it.First we took a ride on a relic of a train for approx. 25 min along the farm land, then from there our bus took us to a cigar factory, which was very interesting. Then off again to a restaurant that was snuggled on a hill overlooking a valley..what a view. The meal was delicious (the kids say, their best meal) and we were entertained by a talented band and dancers, what more could you ask for. After our meal off we go to Holguin visiting the cross on the hill overlooking the city.The locals come here to pray.Then into the city the bus dropped us off at a square, where we explored for 50 minutes enjoying speaking with some locals, some shopping, the relaxing with an ice cream at the square. A trip to remember!

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"Sirenid Playa Turquesa"

Memories Holguín Beach Resort (formerly Sirenis Playa Turquesa and Occidental Grand Playa Turquesa)
User Rating:  Memories Holguín Beach Resort (formerly Sirenis Playa Turquesa and Occidental Grand Playa Turquesa) Review: 4.00 of 5

Posted by:  Mrs. Mireille Tardif  on Mar 28, 2010  >  1 contribution(s) Cuba
Visited on: Mar, 2010
550 people found this review helpful

Mon mari et moi revenons d'une semaine au Sirenis Playa Turquesa, nous étions 3 couples entres 50 et 55ans, avons beaucoups aimés, chambres propre, nourriture bien, aussi aux le snack bars et a la plage la pizza!!belles piscines, tres tres beau site A VOIR!!!, tres bon service et personnels souriants,pas de pression pour les pourboirs mais ils sont tres contents d'en recevoir!!La plage baignable mais pas la plus belle...beaucoups d'espace et chaise, palapas......je recommande cette hotel!! Tres belles vacances!!!

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"A Blooming Paradise"

Memories Holguín Beach Resort (formerly Sirenis Playa Turquesa and Occidental Grand Playa Turquesa)
User Rating:  Memories Holguín Beach Resort (formerly Sirenis Playa Turquesa and Occidental Grand Playa Turquesa) Review: 4.00 of 5

Posted by:  Valleyguy  on Mar 23, 2010  >  2 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Mar, 2010 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
240 people found this review helpful

We returned from our 10th trip to Cuba on March 10, this time staying at the Sirenis Playa Turquesa. This was our 8th resort. It is a very visually appealing resort.

Your Arrival:
We flew with Air Transat out of Halifax. Arrived at 10:00 and breezed through the airport, to the bus, to the resort. We were almost the first off the bus, (without any pushing or shoving, I hasten to add!) I got the luggage while my wife went to the check-in. It was so fast and orderly that the only slow down was them waiting for me to get there and be banded (1st note: only Air Transat guests get banded, like true snowbirds!), I had to stop for my welcome cocktail! A bellhop took us to our room on a golf cart and we were in our room by 11:30, THE FASTEST check-in we have ever experienced!!

Rooms:
Perhaps because we were first to check-in or maybe it was advance email (?), we got a room directly by the pool, which was a perfect location. I had emailed and asked for an upper floor room, however, our first floor room turned out to be good. The room was very typical to most of the Cuban resorts we have stayed in. An entry hallway with large closet (containing safe and iron & board), large bedroom with patio doors onto good sized balcony. Although almost of the buildings are only 2 stories, the ground floor is off the ground so the balcony does not step out onto the ground, thus avoiding low level insects or other creatures. The bed was typical, hard with thin long pillows. We had a daybed/cot in our room (useful for piling junk on) and an armchair, with another desk chair at the dressing table, TV and bar fridge, which was stocked each day. The only 110/120 volt outlet is in the hair dryer in the bathroom (usually meant for razors). The bathroom we had was in 3 sections, the main room had the sink and vanity, a separate toilet and a separate shower (no bath). It was adequate as bathrooms go. Overall the room was quite functional.

Restaurants and Bars:
A very nice lobby bar with early evening entertainment. The buffet was good with a good choice of fruits, salads, carver items, casserole dishes, cooking stations, and above Cuban average desserts. The 4 ala cartes (Cuban, Mediterranean, Grill, and Italian) we ate at were good; in fact, I think the food at the resort was some of the best we have had in Cuba. My main observation with the ala cartes was that although the service was okay, they did not seem as "special" as in other resorts; or that is to say that in many Cuban resorts the staff seem to attempt to make the dining experience more special than the buffet, even if they often fall short. The Italian was the best, although they have not completed the decorating. With Air Transat we were allowed 5 ala cartes, but we did not go to the Oriental ala carte due to the poor reviews and we are not that into Chinese food, if it had been Japanese we would have tried to go twice! However, we heard several favourable comments about the Oriental.

We had several lunches at the Beach snack bar, where the table service pizzas were the best we have had in Cuba. Through Air Transat we were offered the Beach snack bar for a continental breakfast, we only went twice as the selection was limited, however, there was no waiting for my omelette. We did not try the 24 hour snack bar for food.

The 3 bars we frequented most were quite good: Lobby, 24 hour, and Beach snack bar. They have 2 of the best bartenders I have encountered, 1 at the lobby bar and the other at the beach snack bar, they make the best Pina Coladas, my new favourite the Mulata and the guy at the Beach snack bar makes the best Mojitos going. The bar on the beach was limited and made the Pina Coladas with slush. I only used the swim-up bar a couple of times as the water was quite cool, but it had one of the most entertaining bartenders I have ever seen, and was featured on stage one night, think Tom Cruise in "Cocktail", only for real!!

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
The beach had lots of shade, which is important to us; however, we did not stay there very long most afternoons as the wind was quite chilly. It is a relatively short beach with exposed, dead coral at each end. You can explore beyond the ends of the sand but you need something on your feet.

The pools are one of the more aesthetic features of the resort. They cascade down the slope, going from the shadeless adult pool, down to a family pool, down to another pool with access to the swim-up bar, and ending at the shallow family pool were all the pool activities take place. Except for the adult pool, all the pools have shade cover on both sides of the pools; however, it was quickly snapped up by the unattended towels!! The one slightly annoying feature of the upper pools was that the music from the activity pool was piped up to them making for a distraction for those trying to read or sun-snooze. In addition, each pool is linked by blossom covered arches which disguise the number of stairs on both sides of the pools.

The Turquesa grounds are very lush and to my wife’s great pleasure the bougainvillea and other plants were in full bloom and cover a good portion of the resort. We found the layout good and logical. The roads/paths within and around the resort are wide and make for a good evening walk. Fortunately our room was very central, so I may have had a different opinion if we had been on one of the ends. However, I don’t feel that there was more than a 10 minute walk to most areas of the grounds.

There are also the usual facilities: a store which I thought had a limited variety, until I got to the airport; a Cadeca (money exchange), the exchange was 85.6 CUC = $100 Cdn (in early March, 2010) and has good hours so no great line-ups; and an internet area.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
I cannot comment on daytime activities as we seldom take advantage, however, as our room was by the pool, I can report that the late afternoon activities seemed well attended, loud, and of an adult nature. The nightly entertainment was as good as or better than many Cuban resorts with only one audience participation night, and one night was the water ballet.

As we have been to Cuba and the Holguin area several times we only took one tour, Inside Cuba. It was well worth the 49 CUC (?) each and included a train ride, a tour of a cigar factory, lunch, tour of Holguin and free time in the city centre. We had taken a similar tour before but it was made more interesting as there was a Book Festival in the main square.

Other Comments:
We enjoyed the resort but I have to admit it wasn't my favourite, although I cannot be specific as to why, it is just a personal think. My wife liked it more than I did. As I said it is very visually pleasing with a large plaza off the lobby.

This was the first resort that we had been to that actually catered to larger groups. All of the eating areas, i.e. buffet, ala cartes, snack bars, and bars, had large tables capable of seating 8 or 9 people with out having to pull tables together. I did not see any, but I got the impression that the suites were good for families and larger groups. In addition, there were 2 weddings in the week we were there. As well, the Turquesa had one of the largest Kid’s Club area I have seem at any resort, complete with shallow pool and cute kid sized sun loungers.

The resort staff were very friendly, helpful, and quite efficient by Cuban standards. I had read several reviews that talked about being ignored by wait staff or not being served at bars without tipping but I never found this on any occasion.

My biggest complaint (and this has happened at other resorts) was the lack of live musicians (as opposed to dead musicians!). There was a trio each night for a short time in the buffet, but not at the ala cartes, and there was either a pianist, singer, or saxophonist at the lobby bar for a short time early evenings. However, to be fair at least the canned music they played at other times was Cuban (one resort we stayed at a few years ago played "Hotel California" 24/7).

Overall, you will enjoy the Playa Turquesa.

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