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Brisas Trinidad Del Mar
Cheryl & Norm 

February 2008
We were at this resort January 14 - 21, 2008. The trip from the airport was very, very long - approximately 3 hours not the 1.5 - 2 hours we had been told as we were travelling at night and we were told the shorter route was not as safe. Oh well, we were given a break about an hour into the trip so we could use a washroom and get a snack or drink if we wanted.

The check in at the resort was very quick. We arrived at about 9:30 pm and there were still bellhops to take our suitcases to our room very quickly. The buffet was still open, so we were able to grab a quick snack and then we headed off to the lobby bar to relax and just soak in the atmosphere.

The rooms were very nice, quite large and clean. The room safe was free and very large, it was actually large enough to hold all of the cigars we purchased for friends back home. The only issue we had was the lack of water pressure and that we had little hot water, not a big deal since we wanted to cool off anyhow. The last day there was actually no water in the morning. Jely, our Air Transat rep, and I were talking about this and she was mentioning that Cuba actually doesn't have a lot of fresh water and that the more tourists and resorts, the less water there is available. It really didn't bother us too much as we pretty well just go with the flow and don't sweat the small stuff.

The food at the buffet was what we expected. There was lots of fresh fruit and vegetables for salads. The potatoes, rice, meats and cooked vegetables were what we considered standard for Cuba. The a la carte was very nice, they didn't rush us through our meal and we really enjoyed ourselves. We didn't eat at the snack bar but we did notice quite a few people having pizzas and french fries. We ate a few meals at the beach restaurant which is a Cuban buffet and we really enjoyed their food.

The entertainers were great, the shows were fun and the music was beautiful. We really loved sitting outside and listening to the musicians in the evening.

This was our first experience with a public beach in Cuba. After the first few people approached us to offer us cigars, rum, dinners at their homes, we learned that a quick no gracias was sufficient and they wouldn't pester us. However, we did go to dinner one night with someone we met on the beach. His friend picked us up in his 56 Chevy and took us to a house in Casilda for lobster, and chicken for myself as I don't eat seafood. It was fantastic. The people were so nice and the food was better than the resorts.

We also booked the catamaran snorkelling trip. However, we discovered upon arrival at the marina that the catamaran was out of service but we would be taken on a sailboat. We went to a small island and snorkelled for about an hour and then had lunch and drinks on the island. The island was inhabited by a gazillion hermit crabs, the clacking of their shells would almost give you nightmares. The cook on the sailboat introduced us to Monica, which we are under the impression is something called a tree rat, but we aren't sure exactly what she was. We took lots of pictures of the fish, hermit crabs and Monica. Then we motored back to the marina. It was a little disappointing that we didn't sail but it was still a beautiful trip.

You could also go on an excursion with the nautical center for 10 cuc out to a coral reef for about 1 hour or so and apparently the snorkelling there was fantastic. Lots of fish and sea life. We'll have to do that next trip.

We really enjoyed our stay at this resort and would not hesitate to go again. We met a lot of really friendly people from Canada and from Cuba. We'd also recommend this resort, just keep in mind that you are going to Cuba, not Disneyland.
Brisas Trinidad Del Mar
Jay 

September 2007
My girlfriend and I decided to take a trip before returning to school in the fall so we chose this destination as a last minute deal. We are students and do not have a whole bunch of money to spend so this sounded like a good idea.

Below you will find the facts based on my account of the trip.

*AIRPORT:* We traveled from Toronto to Santa Clara. Everything in Toronto went with no hassle and the Hola Sun desk was great and extremely helpful in getting us going. We left at 4:00 PM on Friday afternoon

*AIRPORT TO HOTEL:* After landing in Santa Clara at around 9:30 PM things began to go down hill. Customs and Immigration was very fast and efficient. After getting out to the front of the airport and directed to the correct tour bus we then waited another hour for everyone on the flight to purchase beer from the airport vendors and continuously go out for repeated cigarettes we were then advised by our Hola Sun rep that the bus ride would not be 1.5 hours as advertised, but instead would be 3.5 hours due to the airport we were supposed to land in being closed due to the off season.

*CHECK IN:* We eventually checked in at around 12:30 AM and of course did not receive our complimentary cocktail. Not like I cared, but it was the whole idea. So our first day was pretty much shot.

*SNACK BAR: * After checking in we were extremely hungry and exhausted. I just wanted a drink so we proceeded to check out the 24 hour snack bar. We stood at the bar with two workers behind the bar that completely ignored us. I felt like a ghost. After waiting for about 10 to 15 minutes we finally got one of their attentions. We asked for two orders of fries and a beer. We received one order of fries and no beer. They employee's seemed very relaxed and spent more time walking around and making jokes between the two of them.

*HOTEL LOBBY: *I must say the lobby was very nice in the Hotel except at night when the bugs came out. Please bring bug spray if you are going this time of year. They have some kind of mosquito and they mean business. They are very tiny and hard to swat. None the less the lobby is the highlight of the resort. Very well put together and clean. It had a currency exchange, small store, a much more classy bar than the snack bar and some other little shops.

*POOL:* The pool was okay and we actually spent more time here than in the ocean. It was split into three different sections and you had to get out of the pool to get to each section. You still had to get there early if you wanted to be under an umbrella. This is a must because the sun is very hot this time of year. Don't expect to be served while at the pool. Even though this claims to be a four star resort the service is very poor compared to others I have stayed at.

*BEACH: *The beach is a public beach and is not just for the resorts in the area. Next door is club Ancon and it is accessible to them and the general Cuban public. This can be a good thing and a bad thing. Sunday is a big day for Cuban's to be off work so I would not suggest going on a Sunday. All in all the beach was gorgeous. Just like in the pictures you would see in a brochure. We met the beach cleaner one morning while swimming around 11 AM. He was very impressed to tell us he was the cleaner, but he wasn't cleaning at all he was swimming. Later on about an hour later he started to clean the beach.

*TOWELS: *All I have to say is bring your own beach towel. Very confusing beach towel system with a deposit. I didn't even want to try it was so confusing.

*BARS:* Well really the one bar that they had was the lobby bar and the snack bar. Both bars had the worst service I had ever received from any where let alone just resorts we had been to. It is very hard for someone to pay attention to you unless you have money in your hand.
This is an all inclusive resort, but I must have spent $40.00 CUC which is about $45.00 CND during the week in tips to the bar tenders. Once you tip you get great service for the remainder of your stay. So keep this in mind. I was even taken behind the bar one night and brought into a small storage room where the bar tender locked the door behind me. He then offered me a sample of his Cuban rum and gave me a huge discount price that I won't even mention how ridiculous it was.

*STAFF: * In general the staff was extremely lazy and pretty much useless except for the hotel's cleaning staff. They were very impressive each day and I had nothing but good things to say. The bar staff, shop and restaurant staff were horrid. All very un-attentive and seemed to not have much of a work ethic. Considering Cuban's have to go to University for three years to even work at a resort you would think they could be a little more schooled in the customer service field.
Don't expect to be catered to if that is what you are looking for. If you want something you have to go and get it.

*TIPPING: *If you want anything done here you have to tip. That is all I can say about that. Read above for my other comments. Tipping is a must for this so called all inclusive.

*FOOD*: By far the worst part of the entire trip was the food. The worst food I have ever had at an all inclusive. There were two ala cart restaurants here, one of them was an Italian and the other a Cuban cuisine. Of course there was the buffet as well. The buffet had pretty much nothing, but different colored rice, shaved cabbage, onions and some other stuff that I would not consider eating. I had the bean soup one night and a large chunk of meat was still sitting in the bottom of the vat to give the broth flavor. I should have taken this as a warning as I spent the next day throwing up and sleeping on and off for the next 16 hours. One day of our trip was gone because of this food. For the rest of the trip the two of us had very bad indigestion and were constantly running to the bathroom. I would stay away from this resort for this reason alone. The other's that were on the trip with us that flew down on the same plane all complained about the food as well as those that stayed at Club Ancon down the road. We all talked about how we would have rather ate Kraft dinner for the whole week.

*ROOM:* Our room was pretty good. It was your standard king size bed room with a balcony. Cleaning crew was amazing. The only strange thing about the room was that there was some strange little animal in the AC air duct for our stay and it only made loud squeaking noises at night.
We also found a large cock roach dead on the bathroom floor one morning. This may sound horrible, but the room was pretty good and the satellite TV was pretty good as well.

*TOURS:* We took two separate trips. One trip we took was a local tour of the city Trinidad. It is one of the oldest cities in Cuba and actually appears on their twenty five cent piece. Very nice spots for you to see like some very old Catholic churches and original pottery makers. The second tour we did was a three and a half hour sail boat ride to go snorkeling on Iguana's island in the south Atlantic. This was very cool, but no one on our tour spoke English. We stopped the boat in the middle of the Atlantic and the boat captain and his mates just jumped off the boat leaving us there afloat. They were fishing for fresh lobster for our meal on the island. But we didn't know this. The island was very interesting as Iguana's just run wild here. They are like dogs as they rush up to meet your when you get off the boat. I kid you not they will let you pet them and they will jump into your lap.
These are probably semi tame due to tours, but they have not been put on the island. They actually reside there. I would strongly suggest this trip. Prepare to wear lots of sun screen as you get lots of sun.

*OVERALL: * I would never go back to this resort, but if you are short on money and just want to get away it is okay. If you have extra money, go to a real four star resort outside of Cuba.
Brisas Trinidad Del Mar
Marius & Grace 
ON. Canada
January 2007
My wife and I and another couple stayed at the Brisas from January 5 till January 18. Our package was booked through Flight Centre with Sunwing Vacations.

AIRPORT: We flew with Sunwing Airline from Toronto to Cienfuegos. We departed from Pearson halve an hour late. The flight had a stop over in Camaguey. For unknown reasons we had to get out of the airplane there. This caused a delay of more than halve an hour. We arrived in Cienfuegos close to midnight instead of 10:40 pm.

AIRPORT TO HOTEL: The bus trip to the hotel was 90 minutes. Our Sunwing rep. Maria Julia gave us our wrist bands and room information.

CHECK IN: The check in was quick, but at that hour there was nobody to help you get to your room. Also at that time most of the lights are of even in the hallways.

HOTEL: The hotel’s design is beautiful and practical. But maintenance is a problem. For a relative new hotel it shows a lot of wear and tear.

Room: The room we had was 6009. It was clean and spacey, but the furniture is not practical. No dresser and only one suitcase table. The water pressure was too low for having a shower and we only had once hot water. The cold tap on wash basin had no cold water for the last 5 days. I had informed the desk immediately.

POOL: The pool is fine. Lots of chairs. We did not swim in the pool since we are beach people

BEACH: The hotel is directly on a public beach which is well-kept with many comfortable chairs and lots of shade. It is nice for swimming, but not much for snorkelling.

TOWELS: As described by other travellers their towel system is complex. A deposit of $15 CUC to get a ticket to get a towel and so on. We did bring our own towels

BARS: We had no great problems with the bars. The staff likes to get tips, but you don’t have to tip for every drink. Guests do not always get first priority.

STAFF: Most of the staff were helpful and friendly. Very few spoke good English. Some were less attend than others.

TIPPING: It is a good idea to tip at the beginning of your stay. As mentioned they appreciate small gifts, since soap, toothpaste and lotions are hard to get for most people in Cuba. Don’t forget the garden and beach staff. We took some crayons, colouring books and pencils for a kindergarten in Casilda. It was much appreciated.

FOOD: The buffet was nor bad. The food was not kept warm enough and some food was recycled. The bread toaster broke the first morning and never came back! The coffee is out of coffee machine that do not work halve the time and do not make good coffee. The snack bar makes a good thin crust pizza and has good fries. The a la carte is worth the visit. For extra money they make a great lobster dinner. We had also a lobster and red snapper dinner in a private house in Casilda for 10 pesos each plus drinks and taxi. The taxi we asked for was local. It was a beautiful red Chevy from the fifties. Local dinners can be arranged by the beach staff.

TOURS: We took the Trinidad day tour which was worth the 17 pesos. The guide was friendly and informative. We also took a tour to the Topas de Collantes and Guanayara Mountains. The trip is with an old Russian truck with a leaky radiator. The ride is rough and when it rains you get wet! The trip was a great adventure with great scenery. We booked these trips wit Maria Julia, the Sunwing rep. We paid with VISA. It took almost an hour to get this done. We even had to produce passports!

Bicycles: My greatest disappointment was that there were no bikes! The Sunwing information clearly promises you bikes. I talked with the Sunwing rep Maria Julia. She was nice and tried her best. I talked with the Public Relations person several times, but no bikes. The hotel Club Ancon next door had bikes that were not used much, but could only be used by the guest there. No bike could even be rented from Trinidad. I know that bikes in Cuba are not usually in great shape. I even brought oil for the chain and a few tools. However I did not get to bike there. The surroundings are great for biking!

OVERALL: The resort claim to be 4 stars. The design is good, but there are too many things inadequate. In Canadian terms this is not more than 2 star! If bikes are promised and are not available then future guests should be informed before hand!
Brisas Trinidad Del Mar
Penny and Reg 
Pembroke, ON. Canada
January 2006
My partner and myself were married at this resort on the week of January 8th, 2006. I will post a seperate wedding review as well as this review of the resort facilities.

Our package was booked through Signature Vacations 6 months in advance. Approximately four weeks before departure we were informed that the flight that was due to leave on the 8th was cancelled and the new departure date was January 7th, take it or take a full refund was the only compensation offered. As this was my wedding I was pretty much at their mercy.

AIRPORT: To reach this destination though Signature one must land at the Santa Clara airport adding an hour onto your journey than if landing in Cienfuegos. The airport is small and customs very slow and thorough. After getting our bags and going through customs an official came up and asked for my 17 y/o son's passport yet again and left the area only to return 20 (frantic) minutes later and asked him if he smoked and how much in a day. Anyway, their country, their questions.

AIRPORT TO HOTEL: The Signature rep, Maggie, is a smiley hard-working sorta gal. She collected us and we piled in a mini van. She then told us that we must make a stop in Santa Clara so we made the best of it and bought some cheap beer for the long journey ahead. The drive is quite spectacular...straight through the Escambrey mountains. It's only 90 km but is a 2.5 hour trek.

CHECK IN: Maggie had us well prepared and it was a breeze to check in.

HOTEL LOBBY: The lobby of this hotel has the most incredible views I've ever seen in a tropical resort: Mountains surrounding the entire front entrance. Our luggage was delivered right away and the staff seemed friendly.

POOL: The pool is really neat, it's divided into sections that aren't accessible to each other without exiting the pool. One would think that this design would keep each section warmer but hence it was still pretty cold all week. Spotless, but cold. There were no lack of chairs around the pool.

BEACH: The hotel is directly on the beach which is well-kept with many loungers and grass huts for shade. This is a good swimming area with very calm waters.

TOWELS: As described by another traveller in December, their towel system is terrible. A deposit of $15 CUC to aquire the ticket to get the towel and so on. We did without. My cousin bought one in the gift shop for $8.95 CUC.

BARS: Well you aren't going to get too far without tipping almost everyone in here. In general most of the workers in the bars were friendly (Ernest Hemmingway and Octavio have it down pat) but I found it really difficult to get anything without money in my hand. I'm not an aggressive person by nature and I can't say how many times I stood at the pool bar and was ignored (by the barkeeps) and butted in on (by other tourists).

STAFF: In general the staff was very friendly, some more than others. Specifically there were some that really stood out and tried extra hard but there were also those that seemed to wish you hadn't come to bother them. There seems to be a lack of a good system for anything at this resort. For example, to book the a la carte restaurant you must go through the public relations officer/wedding coordinator who is quite a busy fellow as you can imagine. To take out the equipment on the beach (kayak, paddle boats etc...) you had to track down the guy/gal in charge (who doesn't dress any differently than anyone else) and he/she may be anywhere on the beach. The kids program that they advertise was poorly set up as well. We asked several people on Tuesday about the possibility of leaving my little cousin for a few hours on Friday and were told "I'll show you on Friday where to find them" which wasn't helpful when we wanted to make plans. We did end up leaving him and it worked out OK, but again, not very user friendly system. It gets frustrating because you're only there a week and you spend so much time trying to figure out this stuff. The entertainment staff tried hard (2 of them were witnesses at my wedding) but Bingo? and a "fashion show" displaying the giftshops clothes? We weren't very entertained. We noticed a real lack of music during the day, it really lost some atmosphere because of it. In the evening there were many trios and quartets walking around playing (see pic). (with their cd in hand for sale $8-$10 CUC) we bought one and although the exterior was home-made it was excellent and had a great quality sound.

TIPPING: It's been awhile since I've been on an all-inclusive trip and I remember that tipping then was not commonplace and most times you had to sneak it to them. Not so here. We sure tipped alot, every second drink was a $1 CUC. We also brought a full suitcase of stuff to give away. We researched what they may need most and what they have trouble getting. Shoes are a big deal, especially kids shoes. If you have some gently worn ones bring them or spend $5 in Canada on a cheap pair, they will love them. Soap is rationed in Cuba and we were told by our tour guide that they are alloted 1 bar a month for 2 people. So soap is a big deal too. Pens seem to be very appreciated, also feminine hygiene products, make up, nylons, clothing, toothbrushes, toothpaste, . I brought a pair of dollorama reading glasses and put them in a bag with some other things, we drove into La Boca and walked up to the fence at someone's house and gave them a giftbag with a bunch of stuff. A few minutes later an older gent walks out with the glasses on, so I guess they were a good idea.

FOOD: The buffet was pretty bad. We certainly didn't go hungry but I've travelled to 8 different resorts in Varadero and they all had great food (not fantastic but certainly appetizing). The buffet was simply unappetizing. The snack bar makes a good thin crust pizza and the a la carte is worth the visit. I think I was most disappointed with the coffee in the morning. I mean this country is known for their fabulous strong coffee and they have a machine in the buffet area dispensing crappy sludge with watery milk if you dared. We bought some coffee to bring back and it was fabulous. I've seen other resorts place a carafe of brewed coffee on your table or have someone going around pouring. I don't know why they wouldn't adopt this system, it's not for lack of staff, at breakfast they wait and watch and as soon as you lift the last bite into your mouth BAM! your plate's gone.

ROOM: The room we got was great. Spacious, clean etc... A mini fridge would have been nice. I love that this hotel includes the safe fee in their price. I've read that others have had trouble figuring it out but the bellboy gave us very specific instructions when he delivered our bags.

TOURS: We took the extended Trinidad day tour which was well worth the $27 CUC pp that we paid. It came with lunch, city tour, and a visit to the sugar valley. We took this one right away so that if we wanted to go back into Trinidad we'd have a good idea on where to go and what to look for. We also took the catamaran tour for $40 CUC which was amazing. It goes to Iguana island with a stop to snorkel. It was my first time snorkelling offshore and I am now hooked. The island is full of very well-fed iguanas who seem to know that tourists drop food around the picnic table. This was the most interesting meal I've ever eaten (with my feet tucked under me) *see pic.

OVERALL: I chose this resort for it's size and proximity to Trinidad and I got what I asked for. It's layout was the best I've seen. Lit up at night it's like walking through a dream. My wedding turned out fine (see wedding review) it had the backdrop I wanted.
Brisas Trinidad Del Mar
Richard  
Montreal area
January 2006
“Deepriver, Ontario”s comments about Brisas Trinidad del Mar are very accurate. We were there from Dec. 15th to 22nd and agree with most of what was said. We will only add our personal experience where they differ.

The hotel was about half full at that time and many residents were Cubans (noisy) taking advantage of one of their perks: some “good” workers can get a stay at some hotels at the government’s expense.

Everything was smooth at the Montreal airport. Flight was OK. Seats of airplane are old and uncomfortable.

We did not have the small bar fridge in our bedroom and only learned on the way back that we could have asked for one. It would have been moved from an unoccupied bedroom. The shower head worked fine in our room but hot water was lukewarm and so was the cold water. Water pressure was often low. We did have shampoo and rinse even though our deal was a last minute low price trip.

We used the bicycles on 2 occasions. They run OK but are squeaky and have only one gear of course. The seats are OK. When returning the bicycles, if you don’t ask, Jorge will keep the one peso per bike deposit but if you ask, you get it back with a smile.

The scooters are lots of fun and cheap: 24 pesos for one day and you can ride 2 adults on them. They run A1. The beach bar had juices and beer: the very good Crystal.

At the buffet, in the morning, get the omelettes. They prepare them with cheese, green peppers, onions and/or ham, all as you like. They are as good as anywhere else.

The service varies with the waiter but if you play your cards right you will be treated like a king. Some waiters don’t see you while others go out of their ways to serve you very nicely. You must first identify the hard working ones and give them the usual peso. At the next meal, they will be looking for you. Again, one peso. After that you don’t have to tip anymore if you don’t want. They still come and get you at the door as you enter the restaurant, take you to a table in their section, get you wine or beer without having to ask, etc. One day, I was not feeling well and returned the house wine saying it was very bad. I honestly think it was bad. The waiter came back with a different house wine, better but again because I was not feeling well I told him that we would not be having any wine at that meal.
The waiter came back with a corked bottle of wine, free of charge. Be conservative in your selection of food. If it does not taste good, don’t touch it. Stick to foods you can be sure of.

In Trinidad, don’t miss the church and the Museo Romantico. The seats at the Cienfuegos airport are most uncomfortable. The 3 hours you have to wait there appear to last forever. The beach is dangerous for young children. The water gets deep very rapidly and for the first 50 ft., the depth varies a lot from one point to another. Young children should stick to the pools. Snorkelling is very good at the rocky point, about 1 km to the right of the hotel (to the West?) The water is shallow for some 200 ft but then gets 4 to 6 feet deep and the rock formations harbour all types of nice fish. We are ready to go back but be more careful of the food we eat.
Brisas Trinidad Del Mar
Deepdiver 
Ontario, Canada
December 2005
Preface It should be noted that this resort, unlike the vast majority of All Inclusive resorts in Cuba is wholly owned by Cuban interests. This is very important when considering different aspects of the resort and in particular the procurement and acquisition of equipment and furnishings as well as any repairs required. The paperwork and administrative details are time consuming and would not be tolerated in North America but in Cuba, everyone has to be in the “loop”. Ordering replacement chairs can take over 3 months as approval travels up the pipe to almost the Ministry of Tourism. I pass this information along so that you, the reader, will appreciate the fact that to get anything done requires patience and any errors or omissions at this resort are not the fault of any one individual but is the result of a bogged down, snail paced and almost dysfunctional bureaucratic government.

I would also like to add that for some reason there were only about 50 of us as a “hotel base” while we were there. Of the 50, only about 6 of us were there for two weeks and only 5 of us were Canadians. The rest were Italian, Spanish, German and a few Brits. About every two days a couple of buses would come in and about an additional 100 folks on a tour would only stay 24 hours or in some cases 48 hours. Needless to say there was no problem with seats in the eating area, around the pool or on the beach. Some of the hotel staff also found it unusual that there were so few Canadians there at that time of the year.

CUBANA Airlines Hola Sun was our vendor and Cubana Airlines the carrier. We were in the Toronto airport, as required, 3 hours prior to departure and que’d up for check-in which should have commenced at 4:55pm. At 5:15 pm there were only two agents behind the 5 desks and they were chatting on their phones. Shortly thereafter 3 more agents joined them and they sat on the baggage belt, had soft-drinks and ate chocolate bars. At 5:35pm I approached a desk and asked when check-in would commence. I was advised that they were waiting for the “seats”. I believe they felt that the average passenger would not question that statement but as a retired airline pilot I knew that their statement was bogus. There would be no waiting for “ seats” as the outbound aircraft was an A-320 coming in from Cuba and the number of seats would not change for the outbound flight. Airlines do not reconfigure their seats during enroute operations. I conversed with the lead CSA about the delay and a second later all 5 check-in counters were operational. Check-in went smoothly and there was no comment about our Scuba gear bags. Although the ticket said max weight of baggage 30kg per person I was well aware that the weight restriction was much higher as Toronto is an exception to restrictions with Cubana. I will not post the limit here as it could change as all airlines are looking for ways to conserve fuel. Suffice to say, do some research and get hard copy documentation to back up your baggage weight if you are ever confronted by a testy agent when checking in with any airline.

The next snag was the delay of the inbound aircraft and the lack of information dispensed by the gate agents. All in all, the aircraft was almost a half hour late in arrival and the gate agent assured me that they could groom/cater/fuel and flight plan the aircraft in 15 minutes…. Again bogus. Having flown, I knew the minimum time would be closer to 30 – 45 minutes. At no time did the departure board time change, nor were there any PA announcements as to the one hour delay, or the reason for the delay.

We finally boarded, the F/As rushed through their procedures and the Purser actually advised us that they were dimming the cabin lights for take-off, which she did, and we hadn’t even left the gate !! Lights came back on and we waited for about 15 minutes prior to leaving the gate. Take-off and enroute was uneventful however there never was a word from the Flight Deck as to reason for the delay, estimated arrival time or anticipated weather upon arrival, nor was there any mention of the one hour time difference. Meal service was standard fare for a charter and acceptable, Cabin crew were pleasant and most everyone was resigned to the fact that it was going to be a long night.

Arrival Cienfuego A non-event. Customs and Immigration were the normal Cuban standard. Out to the 10 passenger van, delayed a few minutes as one person was adamant they were going to have a cigarette before we left on the 90 minute drive to the resort. We actually had one passenger who wanted to stop half way to the resort and have a beer or two. He was voted down by the other 7 passengers, was not a happy camper and sulked for the remainder of the trip.

Arrival at Brisas Trinidad del Mar A very quick and courteous check-in and baggage taken to the room. It was now 4:00am Cuban time. The room was very clean, two twin beds, TV, desk, glass coffeee table, two chairs, nightstands and sufficient storage with a large closet and we were lucky as we had a small bar fridge. We were on the top floor, ocean view, and far away from the entertainment stage. Nice balcony and a great view. The bathroom was starting to show it’s wear and tear. Low water pressure and hot water only now and again. Best to shower very early or very late during the day if one wanted water pressure. Hand showers only, no free standing shower….. unless you were vertically challenged and could fit under the hand shower holder at about three and half feet from the bottom of the tub. All electrics were 220 V. No shampoo or Rinse, no hand cream. The little soap that was provided was not good but then again we always carry all our own soap/shampoo etc and leave the partial bottles for the staff when we leave. Porcelain bidet as well, and if we had fresh flowers we could have found a use for it as well. During our stay we did notice a few little ants in the bathroom but they never took anything so, no big deal. Wall safe was “no-charge” and was nice to have. Some people complained that there were no instructions about how to use it. They are fairly standard…..punch in a 6 number code, punch the letter “A” and you have a useable safe. Unpacked, shower and off to bed.

The Resort Facilities This resort had pretty much everything any other resort had in Cuba and the equipment was in good shape. Nice little gym with adequate workout gear. Bicycles, water volley ball, beach volley ball, tennis courts, Jacuzzi and a great swimming pool that wound through the center of the resort. Also had catamarans and paddle boats. Not a facility but an item I had not seen before was the resort clock tower, about 4 and a half stories high, and the clock chimes the hours loudly….. every hour…although the hands do not move. There is a stairway to the top and one can get some really great photos of the entire complex from that vantage point. I think all the facilities were what one would expect at a 4 Star resort. Now this resort did experience Hurricane Dennis this year so there are a few ongoing repairs to crown moldings and roof tiles but nothing that was really important.

On our first day at the resort we did a walk around the entire resort and was surprised to see that all four boardwalks that radiate out from the resort to the beach had broken planks in them and some planks were actually missing. One would have to watch their step when using the board walks. I took my camera, shot about a dozen pictures, tracked down the manager and PR fellow and showed them the photos. They agreed they should be fixed but..alas…”that is the responsibility of a company the resort subcontracts to and they didn’t know when they would get the boardwalks fixed”. Fair enough, I said but I mentioned law suits and broken legs as well as possible comments on the Internet, (reviews) That afternoon while sitting at the pool we hear an abundance of hammering and by that night all the boardwalks had been repaired.

During the evening it is not uncommon to see two groups of musicians moving around the resort playing Cuban music. In the A la Carte restaurant there was a young man on guitar and an older man on violin and they were just excellent. They were the only ones who did not have a CD for sale…what a pity as they were the best.

Entertainment Well done and the kids really put their heart into their work. Show every evening and the themes follow what most All Inclusive resorts have.

Beach Towels Like all Inclusive resorts beach towels are provided but the way one acquires one is a bit of a headache. Normally when one checks into an All Inclusive resort one receives their room key plus a plastic card that one turns in at beach towel hut in order to get a towel. When one leaves, one merely turns in their last towel, picks up their card and takes it back with their room key. If they have lost their towel and do not have a card they are charged $25.00CUC.

At Trinidad del Mar one has to pay $15.00CUC to get a card at Reception. You get a card plus your money receipt and trudge off to the beach towel hut, pass in your card and get a towel. When you leave you take your towel to the towel hut, get your card, go to Reception with the card and your money receipt and your $15.00 CUC will be refunded. If you misplace your money receipt it throws a wrench into the works and you may be standing there for awhile until they figure out that THEY have a copy of the receipt and that would be proof enough that you paid for the towel. Ahhhh the bureaucratic lunacy …have patience. I mentioned this funny operation to the PR fellow…they will look into possibly conforming with other resorts.

Bugs If the wind was not blowing or the wind was light the “no-see-ums” were out in full force. These are very tiny black dot like creatures that have the jaws of a gator and by the time you realize you have been bit….it is too late. Their bite feels just like someone breaking your skin with a very sharp needle, just a pin prick, but…my oh my…do they itch and the can swell into a reddish bump. They do not bother the locals and seem to really like light skinned, fair haired folks. The only resolution is DEEP WOODS OFF with DEET. If you use that stuff be warned that you will only be protected where you spray so spray right up to your shorts/bathing suit line. Wait until it is completely dry or at least put a towel on the chaise lounge before you lie down as DEET reacts with plastic and you may need a crowbar to pry yourself off the lounger. Don’t forget to spray your neck and arms.

Internet The cost is $6.00CUC for thirty minutes. It is not run by the hotel but is located near the Lobby Bar. One must buy a code card from one of the telephone persons that sit around the two screens. Unfortunately none of the operators speak any English but I’m sure you will be able to follow their prompts and the Net is v-e-r-y- slow but if you are an email fanatic you make do.

Lobby Bar Excellent service by a great group of fellows. Very courteous and quick to serve. No complaints what so ever.

Beach Bar. Service was OK but surprisingly they had no plain water, only carbonated water. No snacks available either. We personally only used it once.

24 Hour Snack Bar Makes the best pizza in Cuba. Also hot dogs, burgers, fries, grilled cheese sandwiches, alcoholic and non alcoholic drinks and better cappuccino that the Lobby Bar. A great fellow there who is always happy is a young man who introduces himself as ERNEST HEMMINGWAY but who is actually Ernesto Jorge and everyone knows him. Great place for a snack and………….. for some, the only place to eat.

The Main Buffet There is little I can add to what others have posted. The food was really not that good but I must elaborate. Let’s face it, eggs done at home can be done there the same way but the bacon was swimming in an inch of fat and there were no link or pattie sausages, just some other type of sausages that turned most folks off but there was always juice and fruit as well as cereal and French toast and small pancakes. All in all, breakfast was OK.

The service was not good, in fact we were ignored for almost a week and then I guess the word got out that we were there for two weeks and all of a sudden we had service. Personally I don’t think that is the way to treat guests and made that fact known to the PR fellow and a manager. Perhaps the servers were tired of the bus tour types but in my opinion everyone should be treated the same. Not the case in the main Buffet, Hopefully they will get the problem resolved. We certainly do not go to Cuba for the food but it is nice to be treated as paying guests and not be totally ignored.

Lunch was switched over to the outdoor restaurant on day three for us, (El Ranchoe) and here it got pretty bad. The food was probably the worst I have ever seen in my six trips to Cuba and certainly does not equate to 4 stars. The only upside was that good ice-cream was available for both lunch and dinner…in fact…the pastries and deserts were actually 4 star but the main course food was recycled and very uninviting ….so…. pizza anyone?? The same can be said about the evening meal which was back at the main Buffet. …not good.

Craft Market and Store. The hotel has a store with just about all the same stuff you find at any resort and they do take credit cards. As well there are normally some craft people around the Buffet Restaurant almost every night.

Ala Carte Restaurant Excellent service and a great menu, the only place to eat, but guests are normally only allowed there once every 7 days. Again this was 4 star quality.

Scuba Diving Rather than take up space here you can read about our experience at
http://www.debbiescaribbeanresortreviews.com/scuba.html#cub

Money Exchange.. The best place is the bank in the basement of the ANCON hotel which is located next door to the BRISAS. It is open almost everyday but closes early in the afternoon. From Brisas head for the beach, turn left and the ANCON is about ¼ mile away. Surprisingly Security at the ANCON does not want you to walk in front of their hotel. You must stay on the beach and then turn and walk up to the hotel. The rate in December 2005 was I.00 CUC = 1.3046 CDN. The rate at the Brisas was about 1.3254 plus a 4 % surcharge.

Downtown Trinidad This is a “must-do” trip. A cab will cost you about 5 or 6 CUC each way and if adventurous, a “CoCo” will take two for about 4 CUC. A CoCo is a vehicle with two seats and is powered by a scooter engine and comes complete with a driver. The passenger seats look like they are inside a coconut shell…thus CoCo. All vehicles will drop you off near the center of the city, vehicles are not allowed in the very center of this historic town. Head for the “tower building”, enter, pay 2 CUC and go up the very narrow spiral staircase to the top. Fantastic view of the surrounding area from the top and well worth the 2 CUCs. Lots of craft markets in the alleys and streets and some good bargains. We stopped and had drinks in a small restaurant. Beer was 2 CUC a bottle and soft drinks were 1.5 CUC. Wear comfortable shoes as all the street are real cobblestones. It was a treat to walk through the area and peer into shops and homes. All the people we met were very nice and no pushy sellers anywhere. On a hot day one could spend about 4 hours and see all you want to see. Easy to catch a cab back as they wait for the “touristos” to exit the “old” part of town.

The Return to Canada An early morning bus ride to the airport in Cienfuego allowed us to see the countryside we missed during our night drive to the resort. The airport terminal is one of the nicest and the cleanest I have seen and check-in was a breeze. The duty free shop was a bit cheaper than the hotel for all products including alcohol. Once again we noted that there were only about 30 of us in the entire plane…must be the time of the year or perhaps not too many Canadians know how good this area really is. Once again we were late leaving on Cubana but who cares…it was snowing in Toronto. The only odd thing was that on our return flight the crew was charging $1.00 CDN for a can of pop whereas there was no charge for soft drinks on our flight down. Was this Hola Sun’s policy, Cubana’s policy, or a bit of a money making enterprise by the crew ?? No big deal.

Summary The only downside to this resort was the quality of the food. If you go to resorts strictly for the food you will be sorely disappointed but if you accept the fact that the quality is lower than one would expect at a 4 Star then all will be well. No one has ever starved at any resort and naturally we all have different tastes and I have yet to book a resort based on just the food review. The resort is well laid out and the staff do all they can to make your stay pleasant…well almost…the service at the main buffet was questionable at the beginning of our stay. The PR fellow and the manager are well aware of the food problems as they hand out questionnaires every week and I am sure they are trying to get the problem fixed. We found the weather great and the vast majority of the staff very friendly and helpful. I have written a letter to the manager pointing out the names of at least 4 persons who went beyond what was required to assist guests and I think it is important to give credit where credit is due. It is very easy to sit back and complain about little things but I think those that deserve a bouquet should be pointed out to their bosses. And finally….would we go back??? Yes, absolutely…we had a great time.
Brisas Trinidad Del Mar
Karen 
Canada
December 2004
March 2002 Our trip was almost 3 years ago and I am reading reviews as I plan my 2005 trip to Cayo Largo. As I was reading reviews, I saw very little on the Ancon Peninsula. Let me just say that this is one of those highly underrated areas of Cuba. I am not sure why, because I found it just stunning and everything I wanted in a vacation. We were originally planning on going to Cayo Largo but it was right after Hurricane Michelle and the area had not reopened. Our travel agent suggested the Ancon. We are so glad she did.

Arrival - we arrived very late 10:30pm and the staff had kept the buffet open for us as they knew there was a flight coming in. It is a 90 minute drive from Cienfuegos and as much as I would not want this to me my daily commute, it is certainly a fascinating drive while on vacation.

Room - our room was on the 3rd floor (top floor) with a pool view. This was of course not what we had asked for. We had wanted a king bed with ocean view. We spoke with concierge in the morning but in the end decided to stick with what we got because the room had a vaulted ceiling, very large, located in a convenient part of the resort and we just came to really like this room. I have learned that there are no guarantees in Cuba and sometimes you get an unexpected surprise.

Pool - was fine. We did not spend anytime there as we are beach people. There is a pool bar that was a hot spot.

Beach - was stunning. There was never any problem getting chairs (very comfy) and shady spots. There was lots of beach for walking and only as we ventured really far down the beach did we begin to feel a little uncomfortable with people approaching us. If you stay in the resort area, no one will bother you at all. Most impressive was the clear, clear water. I have a horrible fear of jellyfish and there were absolutely none. One of the staff told me this was the case in March but I would not like it there in May. As for nudity, it was some topless bathing but nothing to make you feel uncomfortable.

Other Guests - lots of Ontarians, some Europeans. Everyone was very friendly. It was a small resort so you got to know people quickly.

Bugs - never saw any, nothing bothered us. They do spray for mosquitos around dusk with no warning at all. I saw women grabbing small children and pulling them out from under the fog of chemicals. Best to stay inside during this time.

Staff - very helpful and so kind. They work so hard and constantly remain friendly. We tipped like crazy. I can't imagine working 7 day weeks for 16 hour days for about $5 a month. I was happy to supplement that income. Of course some of the staff really know how to milk it. The bartender in the piano bar kept mistaking me for this gorgeous blonde that had graced the beach all week. Trust me when I tell you, he either needed cataract surgery or just knew how to make me smile and leave a bigger tip. Either way, it worked for both of us.

Food - now I know you are waiting for the food review. Well, it was a bit disappointing. The lobster in the a la carte restaurant was amazing. However the buffet was a bit blah. The fries were good but not sure how often they change the oil in the fryer. Don't go to Cuba for heart healthy diet. I laughed at the one poster who talked about mistaking the liver kabob for beef. My husband was up in the room and I smelled these kabobs and thought they smelled so good. Thinking I was doing him some huge favour I brought him one. He was so excited, he bit into and promptly spit it out and yelled at me that it was liver. I swear to you it was a mistake....haha. Suffice is to say that I had brought several cans of pringles with us and I was rationing them near the end.

Other guests did venture into town and had dinner in private homes. $20US for a lobster meal, freshly caught that day.

Rambo Tour - this was amazing. I highly, highly suggest that you face any fear you have and go on this tour. We travelled way into the Escambrey Mountains for views that you could only get from inside the range. We went in search of a waterfall way inside the mountain range. The elation after finding it and swimming in its pool was just amazing. Plus we had a chicken meal at a house in the range and it was one of the best meals we had. The tour was part of a package and was extremely professional and well organized. I can't say enough about it.

If you are all about the beach and remote, tropical setting with little to no amenities, then this is the vacation for you. If you still require largely populated areas with night life this is not for you. Hopefully I can post again upon return from Cayo Largo.
Brisas Trinidad Del Mar
Bill and Peggy 
Canada
February 2004
This was our 6th trip to Cuba but our first to this area. We spent 2 weeks in November December of 2003.

Reception: We arrived with 3 other couples in the wee small hours. The resort grounds were in total darkness and we were sent dragging our luggage into the night to find our own rooms. It was impossible to read signs or numbers in the dark but we had our own flashlight. Just as we located our rooms a service man arrived and turned on some lights.

Room: There were a few problems but except for the AC they were quickly resolved; ants, a pillow which smelled strongly and a broken patio door lock. The AC did not work despite 2 repair attempts, but in December this was not really an issue and it seems to have been specific to our unit. We had a room on the ground level facing the beach. It was spacious and comfortable.

Pool: Heavily shaded, shallow and at this time of year too cold.

Grounds: Well maintained and attractive. Resort design echoes colonial Trinidad.

Beach: Playa Ancon is a long partially developed beautiful white sand beach on the Caribbean. The water was a little murky on some days from wave activity churning up the sand but it was warm and with gorgeous shades of blue. There is a little coral to be found close to shore to the west of the resort but the best nearby snorkeling can be found on the other side of the Costasur resort. It is within hiking distance.

Despite being a public beach used by Cubans and tourists not staying at the local resorts it was not crowded. Away from the resort area there are biting insects so use repellant. There is ample shade and lots of chairs. In fact, the beach chairs were the most comfortable we’ve experienced. Expect to be propositioned to visit local homes for a lobster (langosta) dinner. We went out twice and thoroughly enjoyed the experiences.

Food: The main buffet offered the worst food we have experienced thus far in Cuba and the service matched. The menu varied little from meal to meal and we often had to set our own table while staff studiously ignored us. The highlight of the menu had to be the cold left over liver on wooden skewers. Unfortunately it wasn’t identified as such and looked attractive. The a la carte offered excellent service and it was easy to get reservations. The food was however not particularly inspiring. I would recommend the seafood medley as the best choice on that menu. Thirdly, there is the open air Ranchon buffet. We discovered it a couple of days after we arrived. The food was much better than the main buffet and there were generally only a few guests. The service was excellent. Unfortunately towards the end of our stay it was sometimes closed.

Service: With the noted exception of the main buffet and reception we found staff to be friendly and courteous. It sometimes got a little busy at the bars but the staff tried hard to meet demand.

Activities: The resort lists many activities on its calendar but most never seemed to take place. We saw some dancing and cocktail making classes and there were some attempts to rouse guests for a game of beach volleyball. We were particularly disappointed with the bicycles. Most of the bikes offered could not be ridden. There were bikes without seats or brakes and with broken pedals being offered. All had flat or under inflated tires. Knowing that the bikes at many resorts are not well maintained we arrived with our own tools and managed to put together 2 bikes with parts from others.

Entertainment: We didn’t watch much of the stage shows but they were on every night.

Tours: With the exception of the beach, the main attractions of this area are away from the resort. Do not leave without a visit to Trinidad and the Valley of Los Ingenios. There is a steam railway through the Los Ingenios Valley that is worthwhile. We did a ½ day guided tour to Trinidad, which included a side trip to the Valley and a pottery studio. The tour guide was excellent. The road to nearby La Boca goes past some of the most beautiful blue water we have ever seen. We rode ‘our’ bikes along the coast. I can’t say enough about how comfortable and safe it is to tour on your own like this. We also took a 4wd drive tour into the mountains with a driver and guide. It was a full day with sightseeing and hiking over quite rugged ground and precarious bridges. It was well worth it.

Despite the shortcomings we would consider going back to this resort. It is the best in the area and the Trinidad area offers more than enough to compensate.
Brisas Trinidad Del Mar
Jordana 
Toronto, Canada
July 2003
My name is Jordana, and I am from Toronto, Canada. I stayed for one week at the Brisas Trinidad Del Mar, in Trinidad, Cuba, at the end of June 2003. It was my fifth time in Trinidad, but my first time at this hotel. It was truly a relaxing vacation, and overall I had a great time.

The Drive:
An hour and a half drive from the airport in Cienfuegos. It's a bit long, but it's a scenic drive. Unfortunately, the plane landed at night, so it was a tad too dark to really see anything out the window. Ultimately though, the long drive is worth it.

The Rooms:
Since the hotel's fairly new, the rooms were absolutely great! Very clean, and a very spacious bathroom. We always had hot water, and the water pressure was always good too. Every room has a balcony or terrace which is also very nice. Air conditioner worked extremely well too. The chamber maids supplied the rooms every day with bottled water and those little hotel shampoos. As well, there is a safe in every room, which is included. (you get to make up your own code for the safe, which i thought was very smart!)

The Food:
Well, what can I say...it's Cuba! I think in this country in general, when eating at a resort, you have to remember that you are in Cuba...and you also have to remember what province you're in. (ie. not all countries in the carribean are created equal when it comes to resort food, and not all provinces in Cuba are created equal when it comes to resort food!)
This was the third hotel that I've stayed in in Trinidad, and out of the three, the food here was the best, however, not spectacular. The breakfast buffet was very good. (it's pretty hard to mess up breakfast) For lunch there was another buffet which always had salads, chicken, and then either fish or pork, and sometimes pasta. (and rice, potatoes, and vegetables - usually cabbage) There is also a snack bar which is open 24 hours, however, at three in the morning, your choices there seem to be minimal! During the day, you could always choose from hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza, ham and cheese sandwiches, and french fries. Sometimes they also have chicken and pork. I had the hamburger once, which was decent, however, they fried it rather than grilling it, which was disappointing. The pizza looked good though. Dinner was either buffet or an a la carte restaurant which you can make a reservation at once a week. The dinner buffet was always pretty good...there was always pasta, they had some sort of meat that they had grilled or something, plus different kinds of meat, salads, and vegetables. I think with all this meat though they were catering more to Europeans, however, they did try. (i was happy with the pasta!) Also, every buffet meal had fresh fruit, which was very good. (especially the mango!) The a la carte restaurant could be missed. You order off a set menu, and it seemed like it was just a lot of drinking, as the food was not very enjoyable. I had the caesar salad which was way too salty; the shrimp for the main course, which still had eyes; and for dessert cheese cake which I don't think had any cheese in it at all! If you're looking for something different, there is a guy on the beach who will come up to you and offer you a lobster dinner. (he'll find you!) I can't remember how much it is, but it's in La Boca. I've never had it, however, i do know some people who have and they were raving about it.

The Activities:
There is always something to do at this hotel! The entertainment staff try very hard to get the guests involved in their games and activities, whether it be beach volleyball, aqua gym, dancing lessons, spanish lessons, pool volleyball, etc. They are also all very greatful when people join in! One thing I noticed was that even if there were no guests willing to participate, the games still went on (with the entertainers), which is very different from other hotels that I've stayed at. There is also a games room with various board games (although mostly in spanish), a pool table, ping pong, and chess tables. My only complaints about the games room is that they need a trivial pursuit game in english, and another pool table, as it always seemed to be occupied. There is also a very large sized chess game out near the pool which was kind of interesting! The tennis courts looked nice and they have new tennis equipment, although it was too hot to play. Oh yeah, there are also new bikes that are available to be taken out.

The Beach:
The beach was very nice and clean, with beautiful white sand. As well, the beach chairs were very comfy and great to take an afternoon siesta on!! There aren't many trees on the beach for shade, however they do have big beach umbrellas which provide great shade from the hot Cuban sun! Seeing as it was June and extremely hot, I found the water to actually be too warm. (it was like being in a hot bath!) You can take out snorkle equipment, however, there is nothing to see, as there is no coral. They also do have paddle boats and little catamarans, however, i did not try them. If you go to this hotel, but like snorkeling, I suggest you either take a bike, or go in one of the coco taxis to the Costasur hotel down the road, where they have a coral reef. (that was what my father did, and he quite enjoyed it)

There are cubans who will come up to you on the beach and try to offer you a lobster dinner, however, if you don't want it, then a simple no will suffice. They are very polite and courtious. As well, they bus in locals for the day on the weekends, but they stay on the beach right in between this hotel and the Ancon (which is right next door). They do not bother the tourists at all.

The Pool:
I absolutely loved the pool!!! (although I am more of a pool person than a beach person!) It was always very quiet in the afternoons, so it was very relaxing, especially with the beautiful surroundings. They played great music all day by the pool too. It took me a while to figure out where it was coming from though, until I realized that the white rocks around the pool aren't actually rocks, rather they're speakers!! The pool itself is very pretty looking, however, it was too shallow. (there is no deep end) It was nice though to just relax and cool off in. There is also a kids pool, however, they were renovating it while I was there. (which was fine because there didn't seem to be any kids around...or at least not many) The hot tub is very nice, and is very big and spacious. As well, just like at the beach, there are big umbrellas which provide shade. Oh yeah, there's also a little water slide, however, seeing as the pool is so shallow, I don't know how safe it is to have a slide there.

The Service:
Fantastic!! Any problems, no matter how minor, were usually dealt with in a very professional and speedy manner. We really didn't have any huge problems to complain about though. The big ones for my father was that late at night they would drain the oil out of the fryer, so he couldn't have french fries at 2am...minor, i know! However, they were always very accomodating, and always offered to make something else for him. As well, my father is a big fan of cheese cake, and at the a la carte restaurant, the cake that was advertised as "cheese cake" was more like birthday cake...I just assumed it was "cuban style" cheese cake! Anyways, after some very embarassing complaining on my father's behalf to the waitress and chef, the chef offered to make us a cheese cake for the next night. Although it was the exact same cake, it was very very nice of them to go out of their way and make us an entire cake! All in all, the service there was very professional...everyone was great, from the chamber maids, to the bar tenders, to the waitresses, to the managers, and especially the entertainers who (especially Duniesky!) who went out of their way to make sure we were having a great vacation. My one big complaint however, which I find is not so minor as small details like food, was when it came to phone calls and messages. I had people who tried calling me at the hotel, who either could not get through at all to the hotel (it would just ring and ring), or when they would call, the front desk would put them through to my room, however, again it would just ring and ring on their end, but not on my end! As well, when people left me messages at the front desk, (both on the phone and in person), I did not recieve the messages...not even if I went and asked for them. For us, this was not such a huge problem, since I always got in touch with the people who were trying to contact me, however, in an emergency, it does have potential to be a huge problem. So...as far as service goes, I think that's the main thing t hey should work on...other than that, they're doing a superb job!

The Entertainment:
The entertainers themselves are ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL!!! Every single one of them is extremely friendly, and all go out of their way to make sure you're having a superb vacation. They are deffinatley what makes this hotel worth while. The shows at night varied from traditional cuban dances to audience participation nights. (eg. various games, karaoke, etc.) I was very surprised at how dedicated the dancers are, as they practice so hard for the shows (they had already started practicing for the New Years show...and it was only June!), and are very professional. During the day, the entertainers organize games and such for the guests as well. They are deffinately the backbone of this hotel.

Night Life:
Well, as I said before, there is a show every night, usually around 9:30 or 10:00. It usually ends at around 11:00. Afterwards, they play music up at the piano bar until 2:00am. There is also karaoke up there, in case the crowd that night isn't into dancing! In Trinidad itself, there are also a few options. There's Casa De La Musica, Casa De La Trova (although i think it closes earlier), and Las Cuevas Disco (aka "The Cave"). The first two play traditional salsa music, and are great if that's what you're looking for. If you're like me, then you'd enjoy "The Cave"...it's a disco that's actually in a cave...they play a mix of salsa, north american, and European music...it costs $10 to get in, and includes drinks as well...it's truly a lot of fun, and worth a visit, if not just to see a disco that's in a cave!! A cab one way there will cost you about $7...if you want to go to the Cave though, talk to one of the entertainers, as they'll try to round up some more people, and will then organize a bus that costs $5, round trip.

Overall, for service, food, and location, I'd give this hotel about a 8/10. As for value for your money in comparison with the other hotels in the city, i'd give it a 10/10...keep in mind, you get what you pay for. For the people who work there, I'd give it a 20/10! Would I go back? For sure, 100%...however, only to visit the people.
If anyone has any questions about this resort, or even others in Trinidad, feel free to e-mail me at jordanad82@yahoo.com