Cayo Ensenachos, Caibarien, Villa Clara, Cuba
"Not as advertised..."
Posted by: Joseph on Mar 13, 2016
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Iberostar Ensenachos offers a choice of accommodation under a Deluxe All-Inclusive plan, featuring the highest standard of quality and personalized service also offers 506 comfortable rooms distributed in 3 areas:
Family Area, with 270 rooms, including 5 disabled rooms
Villas area, with 46 superior rooms only for adults over 14 years
SPA area with 190 rooms , only for adults over 18 years
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"Not as advertised..."
Joseph on Mar 13, 2016 >
3 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Feb, 2016 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
26 people found this review helpful
We recently visited the family-oriented Iberostar Ensenachos on a 5-day AI package to celebrate a special anniversary. This was our 5th visit to this resort, formerly known as the majestic unrivaled adult-only 1-of-a-kind Occidental Royal Hideaway Ensenachos, a resort where - unlike Iberostar - you actually WERE treated like a ‘star’.
A 3-sector resort, this was the 1st time we stayed in the upscale Grand Village sector (because it was a special occasion, not because we could afford it). After scouring IE’s own website and asking several questions on Tripadvisor’s online Cayo Ensenachos forum we went with what we thought were reasonable expectations. Here’s how it went down:
Pundits on the Ensenachos travel forum had told us to expect a “greeter” upon arrival at the resort....didn’t happen. The “champagne drink” mentioned on Iberostar’s own website?....didn’t happen. The “private check-in” mentioned on Iberostar’s own website?....didn’t happen. The Ensenachos forum cheerleader’s suggestion that we might get to skip the main lobby building and be ferried directly to the Grand Village’s own reception area for a private check-in?....didn’t happen. Alternately, that Iberostar fan’s indication that if our check-in took place at the main lobby building we might at least expect to be taken “to the side” and checked in “immediately”….didn’t happen. Quite to the contrary, our group was checked in by 2 unwelcoming & uninterested-looking young ladies. The folks in line in front of us weren’t feeling the love either. So much for Iberostar’s mantra about making guests feel “like a Star”. Sticking bracelets on us didn’t help matters. Needless to say, by the time we got half way through our check-in I was beginning to think we were unsuspecting victims on an episode of Candid Camera or Just For Laughs: Gags. At this point a 1-STAR rating was the best I could come up with for this resort.
Restaurants and Bars:
OK, now you might think that after all that, the rest of our journey was going to be sugar-‘n-spice-&-everything-nice. Not so fast. After finally settling into our impressive huge 1-bedroom Villa it wasn’t long before we noticed something else was amiss: that “welcome gift” promised in the Iberostar website - nowhere to be found. (But I’ll get back to that later.)
Nevertheless, despite the missteps mentioned above we genuinely had a great time at Ensenachos: awesome piece of real estate; awesome property; the regal timeless styling of the main buildings - if this place could pay more attention to maintenance and detail in workmanship…..OMG! The potential is there to be a 6-Star resort! And there’s a lot to experience and enjoy at this resort. The things that stood out for us were the peacefulness and tranquility of the Grand Village sector (we were overjoyed with the near-adult-only experience); the lush well-groomed landscaping in all 3 sectors; the friendly & talented gardeners (maybe they should be working the front desk?); the luxurious, spacious and well- appointed Suite, c/w extra VIP amenities & hot tub on the private terrace (CARAMBA!); the 2 exquisite exclusive beaches where we had daily, lazy, long relaxing walks; their own on-site Spa; their own gym; the impressive menu at the stylish & romantic Grand Village gourmet restaurant (you could eat lobster thermidor every night if you desired!); the Grand Villas exclusive lunch time beach restaurant with amazing views of the beach & ocean; the very entertaining & tasty teppanyaki dinner to be had at the (Azia) Japanese restaurant; and the great variety of food & excellent service at the Buffet restaurant. Very nice.
We had lunch I day at the Spa section resto. The service was really slow. Some folks even got up and left. We just sat back, relaxed, had a few laughs, took in the sights, chit-chatted, and drank extra cervezas while we waited for lunch to show up. No worries.
We remembered from our last visit (2012) that the best place to get a cappuccino was in the main lobby bar. Unfortunately, their cappuccino machine was out of order this time. So we got to enjoy the cappuccinos in the Buffet and in the Grand Villa restaurant instead, the latter being simply THE BEST – bigger, better presentation (served in a tall stem glass), and more flavorful. YUM!
We got to meet 3 Villa concierges during our stay (the “Butler” title is about as relevant as their disabled Villa kitchenettes, IMHO). The first one went WAY out of his way to get us an early sitting in the ever popular Japanese a-la-carte. He actually jumped into one of the on-site golf carts himself, drove all the way over to the Azia, and manually pencilled us in to the restaurant’s reservation list. How’s that for service?
Now, that brings us back to that missing “welcome gift” I mentioned earlier. They made us work for that one! Indeed, after numerous attempts, it wasn’t until the 11th hour of our last day that a concierge finally delivered the goods. And it was well worth our troubles ‘cause he pulled this one off the top shelf. THANK YOU SIR! Estupendo! By now, my star rating was up to 3.5*.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
And now, we come to the final moments of our visit. They did manage to give us our requested 4:30 AM wake-up call. They failed to pick us up at our Villa at the appointed time (so we dragged our luggage down to the Villa main building ourselves). They did manage to get us to the main lobby building to await our bus at the designated time of 5:30 AM. AND, they had the Lobby Bar open for us, where they served us breads and pastries (the rest of the resort was still asleep and bathed in darkness). AND, to our great surprise, the cappuccino machine was back! (YAY!) So we got to sit back, munch on snacks and enjoy one of our favourite drinks while waiting for our bus to arrive to take us to the airport.
So it appears you lucked out Iberostar. Those concierges and new Lobby cappuccino machine saved your bacon. Final review star count: 4*. Congratulations. Now, if you could only address the sad issue at your main building front desk. Those folks have to get with the program. Maybe they need to be reminded that ALL hotel guests are important - not just dignitaries, celebrities (Sting stayed in 2007), cheerleaders, and Destination Experts.
Buena suerte y a ver otra – tal vez.
rocky on Aug 4, 2014 >
1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: May, 2014 | Leisure | Solo
181 people found this review helpful
I am proud to say that this is my second time visiting the Iberostar Ensenachos hotel and also my second time in Cuba, I was led to this hotel based on good reviews I found on the internet and I wasn’t disappointed even one bit. Brenda is the best hotel manager I have ever met and for a woman, she is doing a pretty good job and I am not scared to say that when next I am in Cuba, this hotel is my destination and choice. I have been to hotels and have seen the way good managers interact with her guests but for this particular manager, she takes it as a special duty to get to know the guests and make sure that everything you need is provided and on time. Just as caring as the manager was, you can expect that the staff would be the same way; they are the most caring bunch I have ever met in all my travels to all inclusive hotels in the Caribbean. Majority of the food served was good but I had a bad food day and that was it. The foods are descent and the staff at the restaurant was polite. The beach here is beautiful, one of the best and cleanest beach I have been to. Once they know you are a returning guests, you automatically quality for special treatment and so my check in was pushed even faster and I went to my room. Clean rooms and good view, I will be back.
"Great resort, would have loved an extra week"
Posted by: Art
on Jun 28, 2014 >
7 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Apr, 2014 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
194 people found this review helpful
This was our 1st time at the Iberostar Ensenachos. We especially picked this resort to celebrate my 60th and we weren’t disappointed. The weather was great and resort itself felt very pleasant and welcoming. For context we are retired empty nesters, now in our early 60’s and have enjoyed many trips to Cuba, all at various AI’s. This trip was from April 19th to April 26th, 2014.
Check in was relatively easy and though it was late at night we were able to find our room quite easily without waiting for a bellboy to be available. The buffet was even open for a late snack which was a pleasant surprised. We were in the Spa section (18+) and were very happy with our choice. It was nice to be in the quieter section at times. We discovered that the school break in Quebec is the week after Easter. This meant the resort was fully booked and lots of kids. However considering the number of kids and the associated noise level that goes with them, for the most part they were well behaved and certainly did not take away anything from our holiday. But we were grateful to be in the Spa section. And while the resort was fully booked, most of the time it never felt crowded, even in the lobby. The resort itself is fairly spread out which helped but means you can do a bit of walking. For example, it took us about 15 minutes to walk from our room to the Ensenachos beach so we did try and catch a cart whenever we could.
We requested for a king/ queen bed on an upper level and the room we got was perfect. Nice comfortable room with quiet air conditioning, very hot water and good water pressure for showers. The maid did a good job keeping it clean and the towel art was always a treat to see. The staff throughout the resort are among the best we encountered. All of them made you feel welcome and the service they provided was top notch whether you tipped or not. However we do know tipping was appreciated.
Restaurants and Bars:
The food. I’ve seen many reviews stating you don’t do to Cuba for the food. I think that’s only half true. There are many restaurants off resort that have great food, we’ve been to a couple, but I don’t go to a buffet and expect gourmet food so I don’t expect it to be different at an all-inclusive. What I do expect is relative quality for what I do pay for. Maybe we are not fussy eaters but I found for the most part the food at this resort was above average with excellent variety. It was impossible for me to sample it all. When I’m on vacation I tend to eat what I don’t normally get at home and for me that was the lobster. Four nights of lobster was not a hardship and my only disappointment was no garlic butter.
If you like to snorkel I would recommend starting with the Ensenachos beach in the morning and swim along the shore towards the nautical centre. On a still day, which unfortunately we only had a couple, the snorkeling was great with lots of various fish to see. The beach itself is a nice long white sand beach with very little rock or coral and feels very private. The Megano beach where the restaurant is located is busier, but even then we were still able to find a suitable spot late in the morning or early afternoon. Yes the spot was a little further from the restaurant but they set up a small bar nearby so refreshments were always close at hand. You can snorkel here as well and if you walk out to the sunken barge you’ll see the usual suspects along with many starfish. I would also recommend beach shoes for parts Megano.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
Besides snorkeling, music is also very important to us and again we were not disappointed. There was lots of local entertainment in the main lobby, usually 3 different bands at various times in the evening and they were a joy to listen to. Of the evening shows we did get a chance to see we were delighted that it was done to live music. On another note, the resort sprayed for mosquitoes daily so we didn’t seem to have an issue while we were there but I would still recommend bringing your mosquitoes spray as you never know.
One important thing we did learn was the Santa Clara airport is very busy Saturday evenings. OK zoo is more like it so it’s something we’ll keep in mind for the future. Lastly, you can also look up my channel on YouTube (MrJarArt) to see the video of this resort and other Cuban resorts we’ve been to.
"RHE vs. IE"
Joseph on Mar 3, 2013 >
3 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Mar, 2013 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
325 people found this review helpful
We visited for 2 weeks, stayed in the Spa Suites “adult” section, got back Feb 11. This was our 4th trip to this resort after a 2 year hiatus. First 3 trips were before the changeover to Iberostar. Rather than a straightforward review I thought it would be interesting to compare the resort when it was Occidental with the current Iberostar version. Here goes.
SERVICE: Seems to be a serious effort to boost service. Iberostar "service cops" as I came to call them, sporting the Iberostar gold-colored sport coats and 2-way radios, were in full view during our stay, especially in the Buffet and even conducting walkabouts throughout the resort. They busied themselves with everything from seating/greeting/chatting-up/glad-handing the guests, monitoring the restaurant staff, bus boy duties, and keeping a close eye on quality control (I watched one of them go to every vacant table in the Buffet, flipping up every coffee mug on each table so he could look inside each one to ensure it was clean). One big difference with service now…..no concierge at each bungalow anymore. Any issues guests have, or to book your a-la-cartes, you now deal with the Public Relations office or the Reception folks. But generally, more and better service throughout the resort now, including at the restaurants, bars, beaches and pools. Great job.
Now a family resort, previously an adults-only resort - the biggest and most noticeable change of all and a major let-down for hard-core 'adults-only' fans. I would venture to guess they will not return. Major changes to the Park Suites “family” section reflect this change, now offering more kid friendly play facilities and services. The wrist bands are a new ‘feature’ too (yuch!).
With Iberostar, no longer any robes, slippers, or rum to greet you in the Spa Suites section rooms. (However when they found out this was our 4th visit a bottle of French champaign magically appeared in our mini-bar room fridge one day while we were down at the beach). Nice touch. No longer any outlet for your electric shaver in the washroom; the outlet has been taken over/replaced by a hair dryer. The facial tissue holder in the washroom emptied during our first week and was never refilled. This is not a complaint, just a comparison with Occidental’s tissue holder during our 3 previous visits. It somehow managed to stay full back then.
Restaurants and Bars:
Maybe a little more selection in the Buffet. The PIZZA station in the Buffet is new and enjoyed by many. Pleasantly surprised to see smoothies offered during our 1st few days but then they disappeared (darn). Really missed Occidental’s fresh squeezed orange juice; the stuff we had this time came from a liquid dispenser, not a juicer. The real stuff might be back in late Spring or early Summer when the oranges are harvested? Disappointed at no longer being able to get cappuccinos in the Buffet, you now have to get this fan-favourite and much talked-about delicacy at the lobby bar (oh well.....sigh).
The Japanese restaurant (Azia) was closed for renovations. The Spa Suites pool-side snack bar becomes an a-la-carte at dinner time and the name changes to 'Steakhouse'. The Park Suites pool-side snack bar becomes an a-la-carte at dinner time also and the name changes to the 'International'. The seafood restaurant, once called La Punta del Pirata, is now called the Mediterranean. The Villas restaurant, once called the Royal Club Gourmet, is now called the El Colonial. They've added an open-air buffet-style lunch time restaurant at Playa Megano. A similar restaurant near Ensenachos beach was almost ready to open near the Villas. The change to 'family' status obviously changes the dynamics/atmosphere/nuance in the restaurants. But let’s not go there.
Both beaches are amazing but Megano has always been and always will be my forever #1, hands-down, over the top, favourite beach of all time, anywhere…..period. I could write chapters about these beaches (especially my beloved Megano) but that would cause me to stray from the intended purpose of this narrative, which is to compare the beaches under Occidental with the beaches under Iberostar.
Oh my, where to begin? OK, the long wooden walkway from the front of the main building to Megano beach has been rebuilt. That’s a good thing. Both beaches now have children, strollers, carriages, and loud music playing and more garbage strewn about. On Playa Megano, half the palapas are missing (damn hurricane Sandy!) But we’re still wondering why none of these palapas were replaced during our whole 2 weeks there? While we were there if you didn’t get your towel down to Playa Megano by 6:00 in the morning, forget about securing that most savoured and coveted prize on the whole darn beach – the palapa located furthest from the above-mentioned #*@^ loudspeakers!! Grrrrr. Anyway, besides the kids, extra garbage and loud music, beach entertainment recruiters (as mentioned above under “ENTERTAINMENT”) go around trying to get you to do stuff, the west end of Megano beach is narrower and covered with sharp tiny sea shells that threaten to cut your feet (Sandy again?), and food is no longer served right to your palapa. (Boy, were we ever spoiled by Occidental!!)
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
A little more live music in the main lobby at night now. The piano, once located in the main lobby, can now be enjoyed in the lobby bar. Sometimes live music will be found in the new beach-side open air restaurants at lunch time, a nice touch. Unless it’s beach night, large spectacular music and dance entertainment still takes place in the Auditorium each night. Very talented and hard-working group. And of course now there’s the beach entertainment crew who try various things to keep you from getting bored, including cranking up the ol’ loud speakers. (Somebody pull the plug please!)
Seems to be a serious effort to boost service. Iberostar "service cops" as I came to call them, sporting the Iberostar gold-colored sport coats and 2-way radios, were in full view during our stay, especially in the Buffet and even conducting walkabouts throughout the resort. They busied themselves with everything from seating/greeting/chatting-up/glad-handing the guests, monitoring the restaurant staff, bus boy duties, and keeping a close eye on quality control (I watched one of them go to every vacant table in the Buffet, flipping up every coffee mug on each table so he could look inside each one to ensure it was clean). One big difference with service now…..no concierge at each bungalow anymore. Any issues guests have, or to book your a-la-cartes, you now deal with the Public Relations office or the Reception folks. But generally, more and better service throughout the resort now, including at the restaurants, bars, beaches and pools. Great job.
To summarize, at least according to our 2 weeks of observations, you now have a resort trying harder to make more money (i.e., opening up to the ‘family’ market), trying to run a tighter ship, trying to keep a tight rein on costs (perks for return guests have been cut back), and trying to enhance service. Guests with young children are the big winners here; the losers are those folks who used to look forward to their annual pilgrimage to this once pristine, quiet, peaceful, romantic, and special place. Where can they go now to find a value-priced adults-only resort island location with 2 long spectacular postcard-like, picture-perfect beaches and no competing resorts? Heck, I’ll bet they won’t even find a resort that matches this description with even just ONE such beach. Major loss, mega-HUGE disappointment…..I wish them all the luck in the world. Hasta luego.
Sue on Mar 11, 2012 >
1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Mar, 2012 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
416 people found this review helpful
We were at Iberostar Enchenachos from March 1st to March 8th. This is my 5th visit to Cuba and found the resort to be one of the best I have visited in Cuba. We arrived at 11:00 a.m. so had an enjoyable bus ride with an excellent guide on the bus giving a commentary of the local towns. We were checked in immediately and were given a glass of champagne upon arrival. I was pleasantly surprised that our room was ready when we arrived. We were able to convert our money at the reception desk as soon as we arrived with no lineup. We stayed in the Park Suites. The room was very nice with a king size bed, a lovely separate shower and soaker bath tub. The maid service was excellent. Our fridge was stocked with bottled water and beer every day, and the beach towels were replaced daily. The beaches were the nicest I have ever seen. We preferred the Enchenachos Beach as it was much quieter. We spent the mornings at the pool near the Park Suites where there was a lovely breeze each day. There is a restaurant by the pool where we had a very good lunch a couple of times. Enjoyed the floaters at the pool and the swim up bar. I can’t understand why some people complained about the food. There was an excellent selection in the buffet with lobster on Saturday night. I had an omelette each morning and lots of fresh fruit. The waiters were very attentive refilling your coffee. We went to the Asian, the Italian and the Seafood restaurants. They were all very good. My favourite was the Seafood restaurant. At the Seafood restaurant we had an excellent lobster and crab bisque and surf and turf. The steak was excellent and very tender. We also had lunch at the Seafood restaurant where you can sit outside with a lovely ocean view. The Cuban people are the nicest friendly people. We had a very pleasant waitress Sonya who remembered us and what we were drinking on the second day and brought our beer and wine without even having to order it. The gardens were lovely with so many beautiful flowers. The resort is very well run. The gardeners do an excellent job. We had a really enjoyable vacation, had a great time and are looking forward to going back next year.
"Before booking this Resort, I suggest you read my review."
Posted by: Elaine
on Feb 6, 2012 >
5 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Jan, 2012 | Leisure | Family and Kids
444 people found this review helpful
We were at Iberostar Ensenachos for 2 weeks from January 22nd, 2012. I will give you the good points, and then the bad.
GOOD: The people are amazing, the facilities, rooms, pool areas, lounges are all beautiful and immaculate. If you like the beach, though, it was too far away so you had to take a golf cart ride to it. They did have a bathroom and bar at one end of the beach but if you wanted food, back to the resort with a golf cart. We also found the water too calm and way too shallow. Great for kids and non-swimmers so we stayed at the pool and were more than satisfied with that.
BAD: The food was TERRIBLE. At the buffet, they served the same food every day both for lunch and dinner. The food was usually overcooked, and everything was cold. Breakfasts too were not very appetizing. The bacon was usually almost raw and no variety whatsoever. We were not impressed with the A la carte restaurants either. We also did not appreciate all the smoking (both cigarettes and cigars) in the lounge area where people sit after dinner.
We will not be returning and suggest you give it a pass too.
Posted by: Stuart
on Jan 23, 2012 >
1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Dec, 2011 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
419 people found this review helpful
My wife and myself stayed at the Iberostar Ensenachos resort from the week before Christmas until the week after New Year. We had a wonderful time. We hit it lucky with dry weather throughout our stay, the only slight drawback being a "cold" front for a couple of days. By Canadian standards 18C by day and down to 12-14C by night is not cold, but we did feel it to be nippy after regular temperatures in the high 20s. We recommend that you bring a sweater if you are visiting in the winter months.
Various construction projects were underway (see below), which seem to be the result of the resort becoming an Iberostar, a company that we like from our experience elsewhere. All staff – including managers, animators, waiters and bartenders, bell boys, beach and pool attendants, maids, and gardeners – were extremely helpful and friendly. We had a problem with the fan in our room and the lady at human resources (who also books the specialty restaurants) had a new one installed in one day.
As for New Year itself, a stage was set up outside at the main door of the hotel, where we were entertained with dancing and music right up to and past midnight. Everyone received party hats and other coloured streamers and noisemakers. A special dias was also set up with a beautiful brightly-lit backdrop that allowed some very interesting photography. At 6 p.m., when it was New Year in Spain, there was a live television feed to a Spanish network, allowing Europeans to enjoy a special celebration. Everyone agreed that we brought in the New Year in Grand Style.
We also had the opportunity to travel to Sancti Spiritus and Trinidad, two colonial towns, and to Havana. This historical dimension to our trip complemented our stay in the resort and gave us some appreciation of the "real" Cuba.
Fast check in, with a friendly welcome at the main desk - and a nice drink to set up our vacation!
Our room was spacious and comfortable, with a luxurious king-sized bed.
Restaurants and Bars:
People say that the food and some of the wine at resorts in Cuba is not as good as in other countries. Our experience was that there may have been less choice than what we have seen elsewhere. However, we could always find something that we liked. And there was particularly friendly service at the egg station in the mornings.
Special mention must be given to the meals and festivities around Christmas and New Year. On December 24 and 31, a veritable banquet was laid on. The chefs outdid themselves. Prior to each meal, there was also champagne, and entertainment in the large open hotel lobby area.
The setting is marvelous – it is the only resort on the island (Cayo Ensenachos) and has two beautiful beaches (Megano and Ensenachos) of soft white sand. In combination with the blue sky and turquoise ocean, you have a picture postcard. The water was shallow and calm – ideal for gentle swimming and snorkelling, especially around the rocks at the Ensenachos Beach. There is an eating area at the Ensenachos Beach and a new one under construction at Megano.
The resort is set in a mangrove, and you can enjoy interesting walks on the hedged pathways with the ocean on one side and the mangrove on the other. The vegetation is rich and the gardens are well-tended. We enjoyed walking and jogging around the resort and also found the gym to be well-equipped, with machines always available. The two main pools are nicely-designed, allowing you to choose shade or sun. We particularly liked the dining area at the (adult) Spa pool, where you could enjoy a nice lunch with friendly service. A similar dining area is under construction at the Park Suites pool, where children are welcome. Also under construction is a children’s water park. There are also various exercise activities at the Park pool, whereas the Spa section is quieter. The third (Villa) section of the resort is a little more removed, but ideal if you wish total peace and quiet.
Vacations are what you make of them, but Iberostar Ensenchaos made is easy for us to have a wonderful trip.
"Best Resort - Worst Spanish Red Wine!"
Frank on Aug 7, 2011 >
1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Apr, 2011 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
500 people found this review helpful
It was our fourth trip to this great resort, with our friends, Best Staff and we fully appreciate the troubles the Cuban Government is experiencing, however, Iberostar was just beginning to manage this resort with some new changes: Children any age, and CHEAP Spanish red wine!No problem with the Children! Love Them! But the horrible Spanish wine - forget it! We later took a trip on ALLURE OF THE SEAS, the largest cruise ship in the world, and at least one could buy a "wine package". Why not at this Iberostar? We would pay to buy Chilean wine, red and white!Would like to be contacted on this issue, otherwise we will unforunately travel somewhere email@example.com
wanda on Jul 4, 2011 >
1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Jun, 2011 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
514 people found this review helpful
My partner and I spent a wonderful, relaxing week at the Royal Hideaway. I have been to Cuba 4 times before at different locations and at different star ratings. This was my first '5' star resort. The grounds were magnificent. The groundskeepers work tirelessly to keep the bushes, trees and shrubs trimmed and looking at their best. I have never scene such tall trees before in Cuba. The fact that the grounds are mature is one of the reasons I chose this resort. You won't be disappointed in this feature. The food was the best I've ever had in Cuba. The only thing I found difficult to enjoy was breakfast. They had the lots of everything but I'm not a breakfast person so I really can't comment on how good it was. Lunch on the beach, or by the pool was great. The hamburgers are fantastic, so are the chicken burgers and the chicken fingers.. Nothing processed here all made fresh. The supper buffet was good, variety and you won't go hungry. The BEST was dining at the Asian, fish and Italian restaurants.... Best waitress award goes to... Damary! Oder the spring rolls at the Asian restaurant. Desserts usually are too sweet in Cuba but not at this resort. They were just right.. not overly sweet and just delicious. Oh and don't forget to drink as many Pina Colottas as you can... they are best I've ever had.
Rooms are spacious and beautiful. Staff friendly and helpful. We tipped..ALOT... only because we wanted to, not because we had to. These staff work very hard for very little money. The beaches are amazing,the best I've ever seen in Cuba. Clean, soft white sand, and a nice distance to walk. They offer beverage and food service at the main beach. I was in awe of the beauty of the beach and you will be too! I had a pedicure.. 35.00 and I was worried that it wouldn't stay on but it did for 6 days so far! I have only two negative comments to make 1: The trip for us was a long one, 4 hours on plane and then almost 2 hours by bus to the resort. But once there, it was well worth the trip. 2: They sprayed for bugs in the evening time when you walked thru the main building it was thick in the air. And they sprayed one morning in our courtyard and i could smell it in our rooms. They said they had to because it was humid and the mosquitoes were bad. The mosquitoes where biting me in the evening but I would have preferred they sprayed after midnight when we were all asleep. I have always said that I wouldn't go back to the same resort twice.. Until now... I would go back to the Royal Hideaway again in a heartbeat. It was well worth the money and the day it took me to get there. Go there and enjoy the sun, surroundings, food and people. :)
"Top Notch - With A Couple Of Minor Drawbacks"
Posted by: Jamie
on Apr 1, 2011 >
1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Mar, 2011 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
571 people found this review helpful
Flew Cubana out of Halifax. Left on schedule and arrived in Santa Clara a little early. Immigration was quick and organized. HolaSun rep met us outside the airport and told us the bus number we were to take. Trip to RHE took 90 minutes, and most was in the dark so we didn't "visually experience" the causeway. Upon arrival at the resort, we were directed to the reception area where the clerk asked for our vouchers, and presented us with an envelope containing keys, resort map and some documents to be filled in and returned the next day. We were then directed to the buffet (was closing in ~ 1 hour) and asked to return to get our luggage and be transported to our rooms with luggage by bell boys in golf carts. All in all, very professional.
Rooms were amazing; extremely clean and roomy, 2 beds (didn't get the king size) that were very reasonably comfortable with large thick pillows, and a spare pillow and 2 duvets on the shelf in the walk-in closet. Bathroom was large as well with a big walk-in shower and a separate tub. We were on the ground floor and the patio had a view of a wall of trees / bushes that blocked view of the walkway. Some may find this a nuisance, but we enjoyed the privacy and the natural habitat for numerous birds.
Our Concierge was Miriella (SIC??) who was wonderful and took care of any of her duties or requests we passed on promptly, and met us each day with a smile and kind words.
Restaurants and Bars:
We ate at the Italian and Seafood A La Cartes, and one evening at the "grill" at the Hideaway pool. Food at all 3 was better than anything we've ever experienced in Cuba for any of our 6 previous trips. Service at the 2 A la Cartes was near perfect and comparable to any high end north American restaurant I've ever visited. Service at the grill wasn't quite as good, but still more than acceptable.
The buffet food was of relatively high quality (very subjective I know), but unfortunately, quantity of prepared hot food was somewhat lacking, and layout was a little unorganized. To get to the trays of hot food, one has to reach in through the lines of people lined up (normally 3 lines) for fresh grilled food. Cold foods were plentiful, well organized and of high quality.
Mornings I was always at the lobby bar (24 hours) for coffee, which was reasonable.
Most of our days was spent at the Spa section pool so we frequented that bar the majority of the time; with nothing less than extraordinary service from Dayker (pronounced Die-kr) and Sonja. Margaritas, Pina Coladas and Mojitos were among the best I've ever tasted.
Night time bars were somewhat of a disappointment. We didn't go to the jazz bar at all, and only saw it open once, but weren't needing loud music. Lobby bar was crowded every night, maybe 3 deep at the bar waiting for service and all tables taken, with waiter service somewhat slow. Cigar lounge was always packed after dinner, with unfortunately, most of them non-smokers or at least not smoking cigars.
Grounds in general (including beaches and pools) are in a word - remarkable. Both beaches are wonderful and very clean (to start the day, unfortunately, guests make sure they don't look that way at the end of the day). The flowers, trees and shrubs are meticulously maintained daily.
Layout is beautiful, and cut into natural vegetation, which makes it look bigger than it actually is.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
We didn't take part in any activities on the resort, nor did we look for any.
Only time we left the resort was to visit the Pueblo. I would only recommend this if you want a better selection of cigars than at the RHE shop or if you're looking for some crafts at the booths there. Otherwise, it's a "tourist trap" in my opinion.
Make no mistake about it, this is one ginormous resort. We didn't see half of it and while everything is well marked, anyone "directionally challenged" should familiarize themselves with the map.
The age limits at this resort is refreshing, but rumours at the resort are this restriction may soon be lifted.
The Cadeca at this resort should be approached with patience. Service is extremely slow, but very honest. No issues with exchange rates and all money was counted several times, and a receipt promptly supplied without being requested.
I've read several reviews where writers have pointed out "attitudes" of various staff, including and predominately reception staff. We saw none of this, but did see a few occasions where the way they were treated by guests could cause such "attitude". I'm not saying it would be justified, I'm just pointing out my experience proves "you shall reap what you sow".