Oasis Brisas Santa Lucia Cuba Cuba Resort Review
Oasis Brisas Santa Lucia Cuba photos 1 28/2/2009 Oasis Brisas Hotel Santa Lucia Cuba photos 2 28/2/2009
Oasis Brisas Hotel Santa Lucia Cuba hotel facilities photos 28/2/2009  Oasis Brisas Hotel Santa Lucia Cuba bars and dining photos 28/2/2009
Oasis Brisas Hotel Santa Lucia Cuba beaches and pool photos 28/2/2009 Oasis Brisas Hotel Santa Lucia Cuba room photos 28/2/2009
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Last day bus excursion to Camaguey Cuba and the airport photos 5/3/2009  Oasis Brisas Santa Lucia Cuba Cuba Resort Review
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OASIS BRISAS SANTA LUCIA CUBA. 26/2/2009. Joe and Karen

TOUR OPERATOR AND CARRIER: We booked the vacation with Nolitours Vacations and we got a very good selloff price. The air carrier was Air Transat out of Toronto. Our flight was at 2:40 p.m. February 26th 2009 and left on time getting into Camaguey just after 6 p.m.. We were pleasantly surprised that the seat configuration on the aircraft left us with good legroom. A very comfortable flight.

CUBAN CUSTOMS AND IMMIGRATION: Pretty slow going here. It was 8 p.m. by the time our bus left for our hotel at Santa Lucia. We were on the last bus from our flight. Two hours seems a lot of time to process 300 people through immigration. However our bus ride to our hotel was pretty fast at 80 minutes.

HOTEL CHECK-IN: Kind of a lengthy check-in here with many people arriving at Brisas from our plane. It would have really been preferable if they had arranged all of our rooms beforehand and handed us the keys and hotel info in an envelope when we were on the bus to the resort. We had this done several times in the last few years when we had a late arrival at the different other Cuban destinations and hotel chains. Once we got to the oasis Brisas hotel some people we're in a check-in line up for up to 1 1/2 hours. We waited at the bar for the biggest part of the rush to finish checking in but still had to wait 40 minutes in line after that. Eventually we were checked in and were allotted two half liter bottles of water, one 200 CC tetra Pak of juice, one 70 CL bottle of rum (because we booked with Nolitours) and our luggage was then taken to our room by a porter by 11:15 p.m..

OUR ROOM: ROOM NUMBER 1521. Very nice indeed. Our room was on the second floor (which we had asked for) and we were quite pleased. It had a nice balcony facing the gardens. The room was very clean and simply furnished. There was a writing table, two bedside tables, a small round coffee table, one armchair, two single beds side-by-side. There was also a fridge underneath the writing table and a television atop the writing table. The closet was quite a good size with a small chest of drawers inside. The closet also contained the security box (safe) which cost 14 CUC per week. The safe was actually the type we liked that you could program yourself and have your own designated combination to open it. The bathroom which was tiled very nicely was quite a good size with toilet, bidet, vanity, sink, and shower. The bathtub which really could not be used for a bath as there was no faucets and no drain plug. The shower controls were somewhat lacking but we managed to manipulate them successfully. I would say you would have to see this shower setup to fully comprehend it LOL. We have to say though there was never a shortage of hot water all week. We were supplied with one large bar of soap and one 400 or 500 mL bottle of body wash for the week. We were supplied with two large bath towels and one medium sized hand towel and one small hand towel (that could be used as a washcloth) daily. Because we booked with Nolitours we were supplied with two beach towels in our room. These were to be left in the room on check out. We didn't have to pay a deposit on the beach towels. Our nice sized balcony had two folding reclining chairs that were quite comfortable. A very great plus to our room was a small side patio 3 m x 3 m that although being in a public area was quite private as our second floor room was at the end of a corridor. We used this area all week to sit in the sunshine in the late afternoon using our folding reclining chairs and have a Mojito and a snooze and listen to some music. One small note about the room keys that we had. These room keys have your room number stamped on them. We didn't think this was a very good idea securitywise. If you inadvertently misplaced your key or even left your key under your towel while swimming anyone could have entered your room. On the overall though we have to say we were very pleased with the room and its location in the Nolitours Cameleon section of the hotel.

DINING ROOMS: There was one buffet dining room. There was three   la carte dining areas. There was Italian   la carte, seafood   la carte, and Cuban   la carte. If you like   la carte dining be sure to make your   la carte reservations your first day of vacation as they book up rather quickly. The buffet was mostly our choice during the week. We did eat one time at the seafood   la carte, we had sea bass which was done to perfection. We enjoyed it very much. There was snack restaurant by the beach open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. serving burgers, hot dogs or fries

BREAKFAST: This was probably our favourite unhurried meal of the day. You could have eggs any style you wanted. These were prepared by a chef at any one of two cooking stations. There was a short line up at these stations. The hot tables usually had home fries and scrambled eggs and bacon to choose from. There was cold cuts and cheeses at another station to choose from. We really liked the cheese assortment. Also there was an area with a nice array of bread and rolls and butter. There was available every day a good variety of fresh fruit, yogurts, fresh orange juice and various other fruit juices.

LUNCH: We always had our lunch at the buffet. This was our second nicest meal of the day. There were two grilling stations which were manned by chefs. The lineups at the grilling stations at lunchtime were somewhat longer than at breakfast. Mostly the choices that the main grilling station had each day were, fish, chicken, pork, beef burger, and on one occasion liver. The other station was for pasta and pizza. The pasta station I would say was a little less busy. There was the usual hot tables with an assortment of vegetables, different meats (beef stew, chicken pieces in sauce, Lamb cubes etc.). Tables with a variety of salads and cheeses and cold meats.There was a good assortment of desserts and fruits along with three varieties of their wonderfully creamy ice cream.There was a lack of labeling on the food tables so sometimes you didn't know what you had until you got back and did "the taste test". Actually we were never disappointed with our mystery choices and were always able to figure out "what the mystery dish was" .

SNACKS: This snack area situated down by the beach was open from about 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.. It was mainly serving hamburgers, hot dogs, french fries. At noon there would be grilled fish served in this area in addition to the burgers and fries. At noon they set up the hot tables with vegetable dishes and they also set up a small salad bar. The fish fry and salad bar were open until about 2 p.m. or until they ran out of fish and salads. The snack area remained open until 5 p.m. for just hot dogs, burgers and fries. There was the beach bar close by if you wanted a cocktail or beer with your lunch. Very handy indeed. The beach Ranchon snack bar and Beach bar though a bit sterile in looks were pretty efficient with a fair amount of tables and picnic tables. Yes even though we shouldn't have we did have an afternoon snack. It was nice to sit there in the afternoon sun and have our burger and fries and Cervesa and listen to the entertainers at the pool and just people watch.

DINNER: Here there was major lineups to get into the buffet. It was like all 900 people staying at this complex were waiting in the first half hour to get into the dining room that would hold 300 people. We usually waited 20-40 minutes in lineups to just get into the restaurant. Once you are in the restaurant you still had to line up for quite a while to get your fish or chicken cooked at the grilling stations or your pasta cooked at the pasta station. Once you had that done there was then a lineup for the hot tables for vegetables etc.. Still we never went home hungry and managed to feed ourselves very well every night. Usually where we sat the service was pretty good as our waiters and waitresses though young were as attentive with the wine service as they could be under the tremendously busy circumstances. Maybe there should be either two sittings for dinner or open another buffet area just for evening use?.

BEACHES: We certainly liked the beaches in Santa Lucia. The beach in front of the Brisas is quite beautiful and kept very clean every day by a motorized cleaning apparatus pulled by a tractor. The color of the sea was a spectacular azure blue by midday and with the beautiful white beach foreground it was certainly a wonderful sight to behold. There are lots of lounges on the beach at the Brisas but I would have to say that there is very little shade at the moment. However we did see that they were preparing Palapas for use on the beach but they were not yet finished yet. These 30-40 Palapas were laying in an area on the west side of the Brisas property. We didn't see any work being done on the Palapas all week though. There was certainly a lot of beach to walk from the Brisas hotel right through for about 1 1/2- 2 km to the catamaran docking area to the west. There was lots of beach to to walk from the hotel in an easterly direction as well.

POOL: A very nice pool with a lovely swim up pool bar. There were lots of lounges around the pool but again very little shade from the tropical sun. On a windy day when all guests usually converged on the pool area it was difficult to get a lounge if you arrived after 8 a.m. simply because everyone wanted to be away from the beach because of the wind. There's not much the hotel can do about this as with full occupancy in the high season there is about 900 people vying for a spot at the pool. Lots of people hold lounges and never use them. But that's another story

BARS: There were three bars and a coffee bar. The main bar that was open 24 hours was in the lobby courtyard area. Here you could have cocktails and beer. Coffee was available as well. In the evening after dinner there were long lineups at this bar as there were on a lot of occasions only one person serving. There were lineups during the day here as well . There were two people on staff on certain occasions but really they needed a lot more help here. The pool bar was quite busy from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. and then again from 9 p.m. until 11 p.m. when it served as the bar area closest to the entertainment. This bar was quite busy all day. The third main bar was the beach bar. We never had a problem getting a drink at the beach bar but again we didn't frequent this area so we can't say much about the service there. The coffee bar was great. It was open at about 7 a.m. and as far as we know it closed about 11 p.m. or before (we never lasted that long). In the mornings, you can get a great cup of Cuban coffee here and sit there feeling the warm morning tropical sun on your face thinking about all of those poor souls back in Canada shoveling the white stuff or enduring -28C temperatures. LOL. Ahh the good life! This coffee bar was a very busy place all of the time especially after dinner when we all went for a Spanish coffee. We usually had our Spanish coffee or two around 8 p.m.. It certainly was an enjoyable nightcap. A great way to finish off the day before toddling off home.

CORAL REEF EXCURSION: This excursion was included in our package by Nolitours. It was called the Coral Tour and was valued at 25 CUC per person. We booked this tour right away but unfortunately the day of our booking was too windy and the tour was postponed but we managed to get another timeslot for the next morning at 9.30 a.m.. This tour was certainly a plus. It was one hour of snorkeling out by the reef. They took us out in a catamaran because the regular coral tour boat was not working. We were supplied with non-alcoholic refreshments on board the catamaran. Coke, Sprite, orange, water. The snorkeling was great. The weather was a tad cool but quite sunny. A good time was had by all. This tour takes about three hours overall from the hotel back to the hotel.

SANTA LUCIA. The Area: What we would say about this area is--uncrowded beaches, open countryside, kind and friendly local people. That is the reason we will be back to Santa Lucia as it really suits what we are looking for in a winter vacation spot...warm sunshine,good beach, rest, relaxation . We did tour all of the other hotels and we probably will be making plans to visit one of those on our return so as to compare the different properties.

RETURN BUS RIDE AND FLIGHT: We opted for a combination of a coach that took us on a tour of Camaguey and then back to the airport in time for our flight. We visited several interesting locations there with a tour guide. We had drinks at a very nice bar. The bar had quite a good local band that entertained us. Then we had one hour or more free time by ourselves to leisurely walk through the center of the city. There was also a dinner included in the tour. Dinner was a simple but delicious Cuban meal of chicken, rice and black beans and potatoes. Also included with the meal was a very nice glass of white or red wine. The total cost for the tour was 58 CUC for two people. For us this was a really good choice as we had a late flight out of Camaguey and we didn't want to hang around the Brisas for a full afternoon. We were happy we made that decision because Camaguey was quite an interesting city. A lot of Central Camaguey is being renovated with help from UNESCO funds. They are doing a wonderful job. We think that there is a very pretty town lurking there under a certain amount of exterior decay, so we will certainly be back to see the result of the rest of the renovations. OUR FLIGHT was on time and we were back in Toronto to a balmy 7C in three hours and 20 minutes after takeoff from Camaguey.

OUR OVERALL VIEW OF HOTEL: Overall we found this hotel to be a solid three-star property. We enjoyed our spur of the moment holiday week away from the frigid winter in Canada and we have some nice memories of our first time ever in the Santa Lucia area. We enjoyed a lot of things about this hotel and we were fortunate enough to get a very good room. We found the property to be nicely landscaped and well laid out. The beach was quite beautiful also. The main fault or should I say annoyance we found with this hotel was "lining up for everything all week" . That was certainly a pain. We even had to line up for the Cadeca. Up to 45 minutes on a few occasions. We didn't appreciate spending a lot of the week in line ups. I guess some of our disappointment would be of our own making and caused by picking a hotel that was a little bigger than we usually go to. I think from now on 300 rooms will be tops for the properties we pick. We may possibly go back to Brisas but we would definitely give Santa Lucia itself another try sometime next year but at one of the other properties so as to do a comparison. We did visit and spend some time at all of the properties there and have a good idea of where we will go in the future.