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“Hey its Cuba... I expected peeling paint and some lacking maintenance.”
Review of Brisas Santa Lucia

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Brisas Santa Lucia
Reviewed 2 June 2014

Was in Brisas last week with my girlfriend and 15 of her family members for a night and two days. Was all-inclusive and a really great deal overall. The beach is gorgeous and the food was decent... (again keeping Cuban perspective). The entertainers were really great as were most of the staff minus the front desk lady upon our departure.

Room Tip: Ask for a room close to the pool... or you could have a walk for everything.
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  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled with family
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7  Thank WiseTraveler1974
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 27 May 2014

I would like to express my great dissatisfaction of my recent trip to Brisas Santa Lucia.

In our seven night trip we moved a total of four times, with disappointing results each time. Originally our entire group was requested to be placed in the same building for various reasons but when we arrived we had been scattered throughout the entire resort - leaving teenagers without the accompaniment of adult supervision and someone with a serious heart condition far away from all main amenities and in a room lacking proper air conditioning.

The following day after much persistence, the majority of our group was relocated to the originally designated block of rooms in building 1. My GF and I had decided that we would keep our room in building 18 because we enjoyed the exclusivity, obviously to no avail for our problems started shortly after.

Following is the chronological series of events from this trip. Please note attached photos and documents.

April 18 - Check in, group has been split into several different buildings
April 19 – My GF and I decide to remain in room 1818
April 21 - 3am we return to our room after a rain storm to see the ceiling leaking and the bed is soaked - see attached photos. After attending the reception desk, we are moved to room 918, this was done with little assistance and much resistance from hotel staff. After spending the remainder of that night in room 918 with very cold AC that could not be turned off, it was noticed that the room was filthy, had extremely uncomfortable bed springs poking out, and had blood and other unknown stains on the pillows - see attached photos. We attended the reception desk yet again and were moved to room 233 that afternoon. Upon inspection of the room we found it satisfactory and significantly closer to our group. However, we did notice later in the evening the room was getting perpetually warmer.

April 23 - After each visit to room 233, we were certain that the room was getting hotter and that the AC was malfunctioning and only pushing in warm air. It was noticed that there was no thermostat on the wall, when brought to the attention of staff at the reception desk on two separate occasions on the same day, maintenance staff was called but there were no noticeable improvements. That night the heat was becoming unbearable so the sliding door was left open with the curtains drawn (preventing any actual ventilation) to avoid the entry of mosquitoes.

April 24 - At 2am my GF woke up showing signs of heat stress and me extremely warm, with our bed soaked with sweat due to the heat. When we finally deciding to open the curtains to allow air flow we were riddled with mosquito bites! We attended the reception desk yet again at 230 that morning to have maintenance fix the AC. I accompanied the maintenance guy to our room where he looked around saw no thermostat and said in Spanish that he cannot help us and to speak to reception about changing rooms. So, we went back to reception where we were told to come back at 9am and a room will be ready for us in the same building but on the second floor. With nowhere to sleep, we spent the remainder of the night on the beach because of the pool chairs were wet. At 9am, after being awake over 24 hours with only two hours of exhausting sleep, we attended the reception desk where we were told our room would only be ready at 2pm that day. At that point, after such frustration from the constant room changes, lack of help from staff and sleep deprivation, we had to strongly express our need for a new room by raising my voice. Still, with much resistance, they reception desk arranged to have room 225 available for us to look at and if we decided to take it that it would be ready for us in an hour. At 930 on our way to look at room 225, the maid said it could be ready for us in 10 minutes if we decided to take it. In desperation we looked at the room and it seemed to be in better condition than our previous three rooms so we accepted it. While I was moving our luggage without help, my GF attended the reception desk to get new room keys where the staff attending her was extremely rude and sarcastic when he found out we are only staying one more night and changing rooms yet again.

At this point we were so exhausted that we slept the entire day and forcing us to miss our Rancho King excursion. That night in room 225, after another rainstorm, there were several leaks in the bathroom ceiling and cockroaches found in our room.

To add, a cockroach was found in the white rice in the buffet and brought to the attention of kitchen staff who then simply took the cockroach out and shockingly spread the rice around. When the two tours left on Thursday they cut all staff to half and shut down many amenities and the food that was barely bearable became disgusting.

At the snack bar everything is mass produced and left sitting out with flies everywhere. don't eat the fresh meat burgers eat the frozen stuff... they mass produce the fresh ones in the morning and leave them out on the counters until they have cooked and served them all... these could be out for approx. 4 to 6 hours

At the bars unless you show the money first then you don't get good service. In the buffet may of the servers were unapproachable.. both morning, noon and night. Only two three people looked like they cared about what they do. The lobby staff one person was polite and helpful while the others were rude.

This sort of treatment was not only at the hotel but also in the airport. At the snake bar you have to be very specific with the servers, in the stores there was little to no help and huge lack of manners.

I did notice is that at the shift change everyone is walking away with several bags per person... items given to them by tourist like me and many of you how are trying to assist the locals with the basic needs by providing better products fro them to have... very few people know that the current administration in Government have opened up Capitalism to the local economy. these item that we all have been spending our hard earned money are being taken and in turn sold. YES this is what's a happening with our kindness. the locals have grown so used to this being the transaction that it has become an expectation of them and no they lack the common courtesy of a thank you. BEWARE!!!!

One more thing for the Tourist that usually purchase Cigars cheaply from Hotel Workers or locals... they are not telling you the truth as it was explained to me by a local there... they say its from the factory (which is true), they say that it is the brand and type that you are purchasing (also true) however what they don't go into detail is the process in which these "cigars" don't make the manufacturing quality and is placed in the reject pile, which locals then product bands, boxes and place the official seals on the boxes them selves... I'll tell you what... I have done this with a local contact of mine years ago... THEY ARE Fakes.... Be smart go to the government stores if you want the real thing. It cost more but is still up to 40% cheaper than purchasing them here.

I have been on several trips to Cuba in various areas, this being the 9th, and am aware of the different levels of service that can be expected, but I have been left completely appalled by the entire experience at Brisas. Never have I been regarded with such rude behaviour by so many people in a customer service environment with the exception of few saving grace. This has changed my entire view of the country and doubting will ever return.

We didn't bother taking pictures of the problems in the room because we were already disheartened after the changes with the best thing in site was going home on Friday April 25th 2014.

The saving grace was spending time with My friends and lovely GF....

Room Tip: Don't chose anything near the pool... ensure your room faces away.... was not able to table any...
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  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled with friends
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10  Thank Nick S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 May 2014

Stayed from May 11-23
This 3 star hotel has been designed well and most public spaces are in the traditional Cuban style. The ocean here is crystal clear, but the bottom is so shallow that any real swimming is only possible at high tide. The settlement you see way down the beach to the right attracts Cuban tourists; a 10 minute walk to the left, past the other hotels, brings you to a little beachfront shopping centre. This mini ghost town has little to offer, except for a working bank useful for changing money (bring your passport). Out to sea, a shipwreck sits on the outlying coral reef. According to the locals, this large vessel was carrying would-be migrants from Haiti to the U.S. They were evacuated and repatriated. No one seems interested in salvaging the apparently intact wreck, and there it remains, testimony to the desperation of those fleeing crushing third world poverty.
The tourist season in Santa Lucia is now at a low point, mostly to remain so until November. Brisas had perhaps a 30% occupancy rate when we were there. This meant diminished services, but on the positive side, the bars, restaurant, pool, and beach chairs were hassle-free. The maid service was exemplary—the room was cleaned promptly before eleven am. Everything in the room worked. The buffet in the dining room was very basic, but adequate. The service there was poor. (You may want to get your wine directly from the bar in the back.) Some of the wait staff seems to have an attitude problem; none of them are sociable. We found the people serving the bars more satisfactory
Not to be missed: the ever-changing view from the beach, of clouds, sky, and water; the flamingos in the lagoon in front of the hotel; the 7 year old rum and the mojitos (made with fresh mint from Venezuela, bottled lemon juice, no fresh lemons in Cuba) at the bar; an excursion to the historical city of Camaguey. A taxi to Camaguey, 90 mins. each way, with the driver waiting while you sightsee, costs 90 pesos. The hotel tour (leaving Tuesdays) costs almost 50 pesos per person and did not seem an attractive option. There are, however, no taxis in the hotel, and very few passing on the roadway. The reception can call one for you, but we found ours in the nearby town with the help of a horse cart driver. Read about Camaguey in Lonely Planet or another guidebook—visit its monuments on foot and with the help of pedicabs. Walk the length of the charming newly renovated shopping street, closed to vehicles, that goes from the railway station to Plaza de los trabajadores; visit the old convent and the contemporary artist’s studio on Plaza San Juan de Dios; check out the beautifully restored Hotel Colon; finally, have a coffee and a snack etc. at any café. The local people are very friendly.
We booked our holiday through Hola Sun, the government tourist agency and flew Cubana, the government airline. The price is right, but don’t expect anything from Cubana, including toilet paper and paper towels in the lavatory. Hola Sun offers a “free” tour (departing Mondays) to the King Ranch, also a government enterprise. My wife took it. She enjoyed the included lunch but not the rodeo, which seemed hard on the animals. She was nonplussed by the community’s massive turnout for the tourists and the programmed visit to the village.
The hotel’s predominantly Canadian clientele is quite diverse. Many Cubans come for weekends. Luckily, there were few party animals in evidence; the cats in residence were not a problem. The grounds are well maintained but not entirely litter-free. On arrival, you will find 2 bottles of mineral water in the room; after that you’re on your own for drinking supplies. The bars will fill your container with purified water. The hotel charges an exorbitant 2 pesos per day for activating the room safe; you can save money by locking valuables in a suitcase. These are hard times for the Cuban people—nothing new about that---they need everything, used clothing, medicine, fishing line, toilet paper, soap, etc.

  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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7  Thank Reuel-London-Canada
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 May 2014

We traveled as a group of 11 the week leading into Easter weekend. I went with my partner and two teenaged children. I think this is the cleanest resort I have been to in Cuba. The room was always sparkling and had many staff working in the gardens, restaurants and bars. The hotel was accommodating to our needs as a larger group. All rooms were together and an extra bed placed into the kids room too.
My children spent all their time at the pool, where the animation team had activities and music.
There was no activities or music on the beach which I did miss but it was truly nice to have a week of r and r.
The snorkeling was great right off the beach of the resort was fantastic. Lots of fish and starfish too to be seen.
I had a massage on the top of the beach water sports hut that was to die for. Probably the best 25 Cuban pesos spent.
The food was average for Cuba, we never went hungry. At the beginning of the week, there was a great selection of seafood, crab, etc. The thin crust pizza at the buffet was excellent too.
You must try the Spanish coffee from the coffee bar, fantastic!!!
It was a great week in all, too short if you ask me.
For the deal we got, this was a great resort for the money spent.

Room Tip: Our room was in the 700 block, very quiet and peaceful. Maid was great.
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  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled with friends
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4  Thank happytravaller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 May 2014

Overall an amazing vacation and we are definitely going back next year!

Where do I even begin?

Our first Caribbean vacation together for my boyfriend and I. However, this was my third time to Cuba and first time in Santa Lucia.

I do admit I was a bit skeptical when I read the negative reviews but I decided to book anyway and you do indeed get your money’s worth, that is if you are not a very picky traveller.

First of all we flew Sunwing. Check in at YYZ (Toronto) was very smooth and staff very friendly. They have free allowance for sporting equipment on top of your baggage allowance. ( 5kg for snorkeling and 20 kg for scuba diving equipment) but you do need to pack it in separate bags.
In flight service was very good.

The transfer from Camaguey to Santa Lucia was very smooth and the guide was very informative. We arrived to the hotel in about an hr and a bit.

Check in at the hotel was very fast despite the large number of guests arriving. The staff was very friendly and they welcomed us with a big smile. They greeted us with dancing and drinks.

The property is 20 years old and it shows in some aspects, however it is very clean and you can see everyone works hard to maintain it. If you can ask, building 4, 5 or building 6 are very good, they’ re close to the beach but at the same time close to all other amenities and not very noisy. We got building 6 (room 611) which is right by the beach. Beautiful ocean view.
However, we did find that the balcony door was not closing properly and there was a lack of privacy so we asked to be moved. We then moved to building 5 in room 523 which seemed a little more updated and we had no problems.

For Cuba standards I would say that the food was not bad at all. Lots of variety and we did not starve .

The only thing I disliked is that their juices were made from concentrates and were not natural same with the drinks at the bar pina colada and other stuff. However, at breakfast there is a very nice guy named Reynaldo who will make smoothies for you from fresh fruits and they taste AMAZING!

At the resort they have condiments, however they do not have lemons/limes for the drinks.
We tried 2 a la carte restaurants. The International one was very good: lots of variety pizza, pasta chicken beef pork…. We also tried the Cuban restaurant and the food was good too (lots of rice and plantain)

The beach is very clean and the sand is fine with no rocks. And they do clean the seaweeds quite often. There are lots of little straw umbrellas for the shade and you always find a chair available.
The pool is quite large and there is a bar inside so you can relax and enjoy as many drinks in the pool as you like.

Beware, when it is not windy there are LOTS of mosquitos. Bring tons of repellent. It is quite pricy at the hotel. 6 pesos for a very tiny roll on bottle.

In terms of excursions: right by the beach, there is Marlyn Nautica which offer catamaran tours, wind surfing, free snorkeling equipment, pedal boats and kayak. All of this is included with the package so you do not have to pay but you do need to make a reservation with them to use the equipment.

We did book the Lobster Dinner Excursion to Coco Beach with Anita Cha Cha Cha (from the hotel for $35 CUC) It was lots of fun. Dancing on the beach, bonfire , lobster dinner and the best part after: dancing on the bus on the way back to the hotel :D

We booked the Playa Bonita tour as well. However, they kept on cancelling on us because it was either too windy, or it rained or it was too hot. Eventually we just gave up and got refunded. However, we still got to snorkel by the beach at the resort and also we booked a 2 hour snorkeling trip with the catamaran from Marlyn Nautica. It was only 25$ pesos as opposed to the $75 for Playa Bonita. The guide snorkeled with us and showed us lots of marine life (starfish, sand dollar etc) that we were able to touch.

We also did a tour of Santa Lucia with Enrique and if you get the chance to meet him you should do it too. Enrique is a local who will approach you on the beach to ask if you would like to do a horse and carriage tour with him for 2 hours. For 10 pesos you will tour Santa Lucia and Enrique will explain to you the history of Santa Lucia and the Cuban way of life. His English / French are very good. He is very knowledgeble about Canada because his wife is from Huntsville. He will then take you to his house where he will make you a real Mojito (with lime). You will be able to meet his family and see what a typical Cuban house looks like. You will also be able to swim at the beach in front of his house. Over there the water is crystal clear, unlike the beach at the hotel.

The entertainment was amazing. We became friends with the entertainers there: Jamie, Carlitos and Luigi. They kept us busy with so many activities throughout the day: dance lessons – Merengue, Salsa, Bachata, we then played bingo and other “crazy games” by the pool. At night they put on some funny shows. One of the entertainers was so nice; he even called us to make sure we got back home to Canada safe and sound.

If you like going to the disco I would recommend going to Rumbo which is a 10 min walk from the hotel. It is a local disco, free admission. You just pay for the drinks which are very cheap and the music there is great.

I could write an entire novel about my trip but I do not want to spoil all the details for you. Bottom line, it was an amazing vacation and we are definitely going back.

Room Tip: If you can ask, building 4, 5 or building 6 are very good, they’ re close to the beach but at the sa...
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  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled as a couple
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7  Thank bia0202
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 May 2014

April 2 to april 16 2014

We spent 14 days at this resort .We won't be back the food was taste less and cooked the same all the time they never changed the way it was cooked .There was chicken or pork and they crossed cooked it on the same grill they either had pork cooking or chicken at the same time .I'm glad that il didn't take my daughter for she couldn't eat pork or anything that touched pork in any way .And nothing had names on the food so you had to guess what you were eating.

The people that worked there were just great and friendly and if you had problem they tried to fix it for you as fast as they could and with what they had.

The room we had the fridge needed fixing and we had to tie the door shut for it to get cold .The air condition you can't control it for it only has 3 setting and you have trouble changeing it. The room was very clean and the maids did very good job of cleaning them.The rooms are outdated and need updating badly. The tv we had in our room half the time didn't work and when it did work we only got one English and that was the news.But when l talked to other people there they got 5=6 channels that were english and movie channel,

The pool was very nice but they need another pool there for the amount of people there . there were things that went on in the pool that should have been done in you rooms and not at the pool and when someone said something about it to someone that worked at the pool they said they were lieing for he was there all day and he didn't see anything that was reported..Also this was the first resort that l heard people complain about stuff taken out of their rooms.The people that had stuff taken had been to this resort for 12 yrs or more and even they say that they won't be back .There were to many children there for us also and there were to many who spoke French there who you know spoke English but when you spoke to them they said no speak English and walk away .But there were some who were nice and spoke English if you didn't speak French

L.ve been to 3 star resorts in cuba and never had to pay for my water before .There was always a big bottle of water and 2 cans of pop and 2 cans of beer in the fridge every day. But not at this resort.We also had to pay 2 a day to use the safe in your room. We were told that if you took your bottle to the bars they would fill it up for nothing but the few times we tried they said no and go to some were else .

The beach was very nice and they tried to keep it clean but there was lot buts laying around after people who smoked . The people in the buffet room they were so good and treated you so good l can't say enough about them.

And if you wanted to take a ride on horse and buggy you had to walk off the resort to get one ,Thats ok for the young people but senior people it is hard or people who have trouble walking.

I won't go back to that resort but l will be back to Cuba again and its people

Room Tip: get a room away the pool i.
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  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled with family
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4  Thank bob c
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 May 2014

Second time in Cuba. Know that in seeking a resort I want a nice beach, decent food, cleanliness and quiet. If you want more than this, or a party atmosphere, this review won't be helpful to you. We booked through Nolitours, and CanadaTravels. Both were helpful.This trip was a graduation trip for our 18 year old son, and so read this as a non-romantic mother and son chance to get away and share some time together. We wanted to have beer, find places to smoke a Cuban cigar, play some board games, soak up some sun and beach, and get some rest. All were possible here.

We asked for a room in the 600 block on the second floor after reading other reviews, and were given this. The room was clean and comfortable. Beds were, however, very uncomfortable with springs pushing through. We asked for these to be changed, and they were immediately replaced with much better mattresses.

The food is average and not flavourful. The servers were lovely and friendly as are all the hotel staff. The grill is fresh. Pizza and pasta bar is great. Fresh fruit was also great. Some of the hot buffet food was excellent; in particular i enjoyed the braised oxtails.The beach bar food is not great, burgers and grilled cheese only, so choices outside of the daily buffet if hungry are nominal. Of the a la carte restaurants the Cuban was by far the best food. Note that the outside courtyard at the buffet was frequented by cats, both around and on the tables and this was a deterrent for us so we stopped eating outside.

The big detractors were the entertainment at the pool side and in the evening. It was simply too loud. Mid afternoon at the pool was a 'rah rah' that interfered with peaceful reading time (and there is only one pool) and the late night show lasts sometimes until 11 and was much louder than required for the small crowd. Also people would get up early and put towels on chairs by the pool but not show up until hours later. I think in retrospect I would simply move these and lay in the shade, rather than politely lying out in the available chairs in the hot sun. Strange how entitled people feel to treat shared facilities as private domain.

The beach is lovely, long, groomed, clean. People kite surf and this is wonderful to watch. The weather was blissful and breezy. It is not really possible to swim as it is too shallow, but it is a lovely area nevertheless. Sandy bottomed for the most part.

Overall a very lovely respite, and a great price.

  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled with family
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3  Thank Stonesthrow65
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Brisas Santa Lucia

Address: Avenida Turistica, Tararaco, Playa Santa Lucia 74250, Cuba
Region: Caribbean > Cuba > Camaguey Province > Playa Santa Lucia
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 4 Hotels in Playa Santa Lucia
Price Range: £59 - £126 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Brisas Santa Lucia 4*
Number of rooms: 412
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Brisas Santa Lucia is an all inclusive hotel, located on Santa Lucia Beach, approximately 110 km from the Camaguey airport, and includes unlimited daily activites, water sports and entertainment. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Brisas Santa Lucia Hotel Playa Santa Lucia
Staybridge Suites Camaguey
Brisa Santa Lucia
Camaguey Staybridge Suites
Santa Lucia Cuba

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