We stayed at this resort for two weeks and we did like it a lot. I will try to organize this review in topics:
1. People – people always come first and the men and women who work there are very good at their jobs. Previously we went to newer hotels in Cuba where the freshly recruited personnel showed that they needed several years to gain experience. But at Daiquiri you could see that they were seasoned employees who didn`t shy away from hard work.
a. Waiters and cooks – all very good. Greetings to Waldemar! Thank you brother, for working for us and preparing our dinners every night, the best shrimp I ever had! Rosa, thank you! Edel – this guy is amazing; it was a pleasure to watch him work.
b. Bar tenders – didn`t get to personally know any of them (not much of an alcohol drinker), but my kids had a load of non-alcoholic cocktails and we never had to wait to get them. No lineups and this was mostly due to the fact that compared to bartenders in the previous resort these lads were not taking breaks, they were serving the customers.
c. Entertainers – ok, these are a whole different category of employees in the resort. They are good, good, GOOD! Some of them should be on major productions. Every evening they put up really nice shows. Some of them also they interacted with the kids and they enjoyed it.
One remark though, I don`t need to see women dancing in thongs in order to appreciate their artistic talent. Also had to explain my child why were they showing their rears. I can see that this might appeal to another class of audience though.
d. Kids club: Thank you Yanara! She organized mini discos for our children even when there weren`t any other kids there (so daddy had to dance too). The chariot ride was fun as well, kids from different resorts get to visit their neighbours’ kids club.
e. Store tellers – there are a bunch of shops at the resort and the people who worked there were very nice too. O day 3 all them knew my son`s name and were greeting him every morning.
f. Raul, thanks brother! Acted as a PR, did a good job in trying to help us have a great time.
g. Room maids - we rarely saw them but they were doing a good job as well.
a. Architecture – very well thought and pretty buildings, conceived in a way so that every single room is facing the ocean. Of course if there is dense vegetation in front of your balcony you might not get to see it, but that is a different story.
b. Interior – room a bit dated, but clean. TV was CRT, rooms are not very large, but ok. Safe box was weird, as mentioned you get a lock cylinder from the reception and end up with a key that you need to keep with you all the time. I opted for the first grader look and had in on a chain around my neck :-).
To me it was very unusual that the minibar was restocked only once every two days, and not always, nevertheless with the usual daily tip you`d otherwise leave on a daily supplied minibar you can buy and stock on the same things from the small stores available on the grounds.
I was told that the renovation that was undergoing in the other half of the resort was a major overhaul, so I am expecting pleasant surprises there.
c. Restaurants – we actually visited the main buffet only – it is ok. I`ll talk about the food later.
d. Lobby bar is great, lots of comfortable furniture in the lobby area. No remarks there.
e. Pools – when we went the resort was half empty and this was the perfect load for the pools. Mind you, there are only two pools and they are not very big. Small kiddie pool that my little kid absolutely refused to go in (what is the fun when there is no one to chase you and jump in to save you all the time, right) was a definite advantage, but it is simply laid out, no slides or anything. Water seemed adequately chlorinated (very important when you inevitably swallow a drop of water here and then that just washed another tourists intimate regions). We stayed away from the pool with the wet bar. We have heard bad stories from other resorts so I preferred to be on the safe side. One thing though that I found a very good design idea was that the stools at the pool bar were raised above water level.
Ultimately we liked the pool a lot as well and spend a lot of time there. No problems finding long chairs, no jerks leaving towels and not showing up. All was perfect. Mind you though, if there are twice as many tourists though (full resort), pools will be a bit preoccupied in my opinion.
f. Ranchon – basic but good. Once again the staff were the ones who made the experience good. Thank you guys.
g. Kids club – nice, it was working all the time and kids enjoyed it. Did I say, Thanks Yanara :-)!
h. Gardens – very very good ! A lot of very mature vegetation. It really added to that exotic tropical location feeling. Cudos to the gardeners. Having labels with common and taxonomical names of plants was a nice touch!
I would have praised the beach if there weren`t so much seaweed. May be it was due to the winter season, but the water didn`t have that turquoise color that is typical for the region (namely because of the above-mentioned rotting vegetation). A tip to the hotel: The tractor that cleans the algae from the beach needs a larger rake (unless this would increase the chance of accidents). The one attached to it was approximately 150cm wide. So the machine had to do many, many rounds without a great efficiency. Also the beach at the nearby Melia was always cleaned neatly, which argues that a better approach to this problem is possible.
High tide drastically decreases the beach size, but at low tide it is much better, so keep this is mind as well.
On the plus side – long chairs and umbrellas were always available (keep in mind, 50% resort occupancy) no matter what time of the day we’d go. Lots of palm trees so umbrella or not shade is abundant. Just beware falling coconuts (could be a heavy impact).
4. Pillar Beach
Ever since we discovered Pillar beach, we spent most of our time there. It is a very beautiful place and the water is everything you might expect from a tropical beach. Taxi ride is short and the cab drivers were very punctual. So yes, Pillar is the place to go. Very, very beautiful! Well Hemingway knew where to go, right!
5. Food. Yes the buffet was not abundant compared to other Cuban resorts, but the cooking stations more than compensated for that. We never had to wait in line; those stations were readily available to take our orders. Cooks were actually nice and courteous enough to invite us to go back to our table and then serve us the meals once they were cooked. Is that something that I appreciated a 100 times more than an overstuffed buffet – definitely YES! So the food access and service was very very good. We ate freshly cooked food every meal, I can`t complain at all.
6. And this is my special section - Bugs, bites and beyond
Many reviewers complained about the bugs. Take these notes from a medical scientist. This was my experience:
We went prepared, used common sense (and see the outcome at the end of this section)
a. Chigoe flea (jigger or simply sand flea) – lives where there is rotting seaweed, this crustacean (not an insect) can occasionally parasitize under your skin (imagine the crustacean version of a tic). What we did, never stepped in the abundant seaweed piles with bare feet and avoided stepping on them with flip flops as well. On a wet day we kept the towels on the balcony if we didn`t change them at the end of the day. Did not berry our feet deep in the sand. Outcome, no bites, no parasitoses etc. Smooth coexistence between human and crustacean :-).
b. Sand flies (locally called jejenes) – tiny dipterans with a painful bite, sometimes dangerous vector of certain parasites. As long as it was sunny and there was at least a little wind sand fly bites were not a factor at all. You risk being bitten in the evening and early morning. What we did, long linen trousers in the evening alleviate the need of exposing yourselves to toxic chemicals such as DEET
c. Mosquitos I don`t remember seeing any, but the kids were attracting them so keep reading.
d. Stray animals, I noticed many tourists did not use common sense and let their children touch and cuddle outdoor (if not completely homeless) cats at the resorts and dogs at the beaches and then to add health risk to poor personal hygiene they would touch their food without washing hands. A big FAUX PAS! Well in my advise, remember you are in the TROPICS, there is a rich bouquet of parasites in any improperly vaccinated, deparasitised and followed up outdoor animal all over the world, even drastically more so in the tropics.
I actually strongly suspect that many of the people who have digestive system problems after returning from these vacations actually manifest symptoms of parisitoses.
I did not use a single drop for 15 days and I had no bites at all.
The first night the kids got a few bites so we helped them out with a repellent. However, no DEET as the chemical has known adverse effects esp on young children. Citronella is a joke (in case you wonder). We used an all natural European product by Chicco an insect repellent for babies (not toxic, no maximum dose). It worked miracles. Not a single bite on any of the kids when we used it.
So if you use common sense and proper hygiene you will seriously decrease thet chances of nasty surprises.
6. Tourists class
I am adding that as in other resorts we have had perfect moments spoiled by some not very cultured visitors
Tourists at the Daiquiri seemed well behaved. We were left with very good impressions from the few people from Argentina and the few Cuban visitors. Compared to the rest of the crowd they stood out with their cultured manners and friendly behavior. We also got acquainted with a couple of families from Ontario, Canada who also seemed like a very friendly bunch of people and our kids made new friends.
The next has nothing to do with the resort but I still feel the need to share it as our vacation experience is always 50% the resort and another 50% that some people forget – our own behavior and this story will illustrate that moral.
With pain I have to say, though, that at Pillar, one day we saw some things we`d rather didn`t. I have no idea which resort these people were from (definitely not ours as they had different color bracelets), but they were a huge family (?), maybe 10 people who behaved as if they were raised by wolves, drank constantly and vocally and loudly announced their intentions to go and urinate in the water every time they felt like it. To make things even uglier they would go with their beers in their hands waist deep, urinate for 10 – 15 sec and then go out leaving no doubt that they really meant what they said. At one point these tourists decided that it would be very original to all go waists deep in the water take off their pants and start shouting so that the entire beach would see them while throwing their swimsuits up in the air. This utterly low class behavior was endorsed by the elderly members (60 years and older!?) of the family who kept on taking photos of their offspring’s “heroic” deeds. To top things up when a large catamaran full of people came to shore, one member of this family boarded the boat despite being many times politely asked by the local Cuban crew on board not to do it and then started yelling something at the people as he was showing them the victory sign with his fingers… yes, a “victory” for rude simpletons indeed. I will be as polite as I can be and will not say where exactly they were from, but please if not else, keep in mind that in an international environment you do not only embarrass yourselves and your kin, but your entire nation as well.
So to finish with a conclusion: We liked our stay. We would definitely return. I hope this review would be helpful.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Directly on the long, fine, sandy beach of Cayo Guillermo (Cuba). An oasis of relaxation. Elegant luxury. Pure water sports. Unspoilt Caribbean nature. Pleasant, modern construction style. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Iberostar Daiquiri Hotel Cayo Guillermo
- Iberostar Cayo Guillermo
- Iberostar Daiquiri Cuba
- Iberostar Hotel Cayo Guillermo
- Iberostar Daiquiri Cayo Guillermo