OK, let's start by stating that my wife and I are seasoned travellers (late 50's) who have visited over 20 countries and have experienced everything from mud huts to high end Spa Resorts so we are open minded and therefore view a holiday as a complete experience. Our days of tailor made independent travel are over (thanks to the recession) and our last couple of trips have been all inclusive. We looked long and hard at options available for Cuba and finally chose this resort as it appeared to offer value for money.
The good bits.
Cuba is probably one of the most amazing countries that we have ever visited, it is the Caribbean without any of the problems. White sand beaches, culture, fabulous music, simple but superb food, very little crime, places of interest and the kindest most accommodating people we have ever had the pleasure to meet. Oh and don't forget the Rum :)
Staff at the Brisas, on the whole, were kind and friendly and willing to make your holiday as special as possible. Marbellis, in particular, in Customer Relations, did everything she could to ensure our holiday was a memorable one despite the problems we experienced.
Get off resort as much as possible and try to experience the real Cuba. Don't use the tour reps as they charge 3 to 4 times what you will pay using a local taxi and guide (we had a total diamond who looked after our every need) Cuba is about the people and the culture not beer and pizza.
The not so good bits.
The resort was probably really special at some time in the distant past but time, lack of investment, government ownership and the elements have not been kind. In all honesty, without a massive injection of funds they should probably close the place down for one season and give it a total make over.
The main pool area was the haunt of large groups of shaven headed, pot bellied, tattooed and generally objectionable individuals (and that's the women) who believd that all inclusive means drinking, eating, shouting and smoking as much as possible 24 hours a day. Thankfully the Villa area is a haven of peace and quiet although during the off peak season the Villa buffet was closed so the main buffet could not cope with the increased number of customers during breakfast and dinner (not that we ate there after our first experience)
Food in general was pretty diabolical (yes I know Cuba is a poor country) with recycled food, canned or frozen veg, overcooked meat and a very poor selection of desserts. Quite a few of the guests we spoke to complained of upset stomachs. The main buffet was referred to as the "pig trough" by many guests. I have owned and run a food business so I am more than aquainted with food quality and basic food hygeine requirements. Unfortunately the A la Carte restaurants offered the same food but served with the odd garnish. The lobster was frozen and cooked to the consistency of rubber. The Fillet steak in the Italian was Rump and the food in the Cuban was totally inedible. I have to say that after bringing our concerns to the attention of the Customer Relations Manager and talking to the Food and Beverage Manager we were treated to some special attention but that should not have been necessary.
We ate off resort on 8 occasions and the food served was simple but fresh and beautifully cooked so there really is no excuse for what is served at Brisas. We spoke candidly to some staff and were told that after change of ownership from a Canadian company to the Cuban Govt, the quality of the resort had dropped dramatically. On 3 occasions I asked the waiter if he would eat what he had just served me and the answer all 3 times was "no".
While there, we had a flood from the ceiling in our room which ruined some of our belongings and we had an issue with cockroaches in the bathroom. Again issues with the age of the property.
We have already started to look at returning as soon as possible to Cuba but not back to the Brisas. Just because something is inexpensive, it should not mean "cheap". Spend a couple of extra pounds and stay at a resort that offers bags more value.
Villa rooms are larger and quieter than the hotel rooms. Block 5000 or 6000 offer the best location...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC