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Brisas Covarrubias November 19-26, 2013. Joe and Karen.

After an on time, quick, smooth, well watered and fed flight from Toronto with Sunwing, we landed in Holguin Cuba. Our exit through the Cuban customs and the luggage pickup was quick and painless. Outside the terminal we boarded a small, comfortable, air-conditioned tour bus bound for Brisas Covarrubias. It would be our first visit ever to this hotel. Two hours later, we arrived at the Brisas Covarrubias hotel.

BRISAS COVARRUBIAS QUICK SUMMARY. We spent quite a nice relaxing week between November 19-26 2013 at Brisas Covarrubias, it was our very first visit to this hotel. The hotel is about a 2 hour drive from Holguin airport, the commute time went by quickly. We had a quick check-in as there were only eight people on the bus. The hotel was completely booked up for the first four days of our holiday. Our basically furnished, clean, large, comfortable room #6326, was oceanview with a good-sized balcony, the ocean was about 50-60 m away. Good housekeeping service in our room all week long. In our opinion, service in all areas at this three-star hotel are pretty good. The food at this resort was typical three-star basic Cuban all-inclusive hotel food. We found the food to be well presented and well prepared although they had a problem here and there with the hot table at the buffet. We dined at the buffet mostly, the exception being one lunch at the Ranchon and one dinner at the a la carte. The buffet dining room staff were pretty good attentive staff and when beckoned, were quick to address any needs that you had. The a la carte restaurant staff were quite attentive and excellent as they had a little more time for clientele. The lobster$$ entrée for Karen and fish entrée from me at the à la carte was excellent and the whole lobster was really good value(15 CUC). We never had a problem getting service at any one of the bars or snack bars on the property. We were always met with the friendly smiles and a friendly greeting from staff everywhere we went. The beach is one of the better beaches we've ever been to in Cuba and we have been to quite a few of them. The Nautical Center on the beach was well-equipped. The hotel had a good sized saltwater swimming pool, the pool was ringed with lots of lounges and quite a few palapas and some natural shade, we loved the pool. We certainly took advantage of most if not all of what this resort had to offer. During the early evening and early morning hours the mosquitoes here, just like in Cayo Coco or Cayo Santa Maria, or any other Caribbean destination, can be somewhat of a nuisance as there is quite a bit of mangrove swamp in the area. For the mosquitoes, they did fog the perimeter of the hotel area both in the morning and in the evening. But, if you come prepared with a DEET-based lotion or spray, or a homeopathic bug repellent, some calamine lotion, antihistamine tablets etc., you will have no problems, we didn't and the mosquitoes, sometimes, like us more than anybody else. We would certainly go back to this hotel, even considering it was shoulder season, it was absolutely top value for the money that we paid for our vacation. If you want somewhere just to chill out in a small sized hotel, laze around in the sun, walk one of the most beautiful beaches in Cuba, enjoy the quiet countryside, this is the place for you. Below, a more detailed version of our review might be of interest to some.

HOTEL ARRIVAL. On entering the lobby, Karen and I knew we had come to a place where we would feel comfortable. The lobby itself, although enclosed for the most part, has a very nice open-air feeling. There was lots of comfortable seating throughout the lobby area where you could sit and sip a Mojito or two or just people watch. As we entered the lobby it was very nice to see a white linen covered table was set up with champagne glasses and sparkling white wine. It was lovely to have a sip of bubbly whilst waiting to check in. A very nice welcoming touch by the hotel staff. Check-in and bracelet were quick and easy as there were were only 8 guests checking in. Within 10 min. We were on our way to our room.

OUR ROOM was a very clean, comfortable, spacious, second-floor room with a good-sized balcony, the balcony overlooked the ocean. The main room was very simply furnished with two three-quarter beds, two bedside tables, a small round table with four chairs. A sideboard writing table with 2 side cupboards and 2 center drawers, a television, a fridge. There was also a storage blanket box. To the left of the entrance door there was a fairly good sized open closet, the closet housed the safety deposit box$ also (2 CUC per day). Opposite the closet there was a marble vanity with sink, mirror, hair dryer, and a 220 V outlet. The separate bathroom housed a bidet, toilet and shower stall. Afternoons are the best time to have a very hot shower as the water is only lukewarm in the mornings. All in all, were very pleased with our simply furnished room. The housekeeping was good all week long, lots of towels and towel art as well in our immaculately cleaned room.

WE DINED
for the most part at the buffet dining room. The food here was simple Cuban cooking…For breakfast you could have eggs any style on the grill, on three occasions they had grilled bacon, sausages most mornings, lots of pancakes and French toast, boiled eggs, potatoes, beans, toast, some pastries, juices, a small variety of fresh fruit, a cheese plate. Dinner was usually fish, chicken, pork, ground beef, stew etc. If you wanted something freshly cooked you could have some fish or pork kebabs done on the grill, pork ribs on the grill, whatever was going that night or lunchtime, pasta at the pasta station etc. There was a reasonable variety of salads at the salad bar, lots of cakes at the dessert table. Also for dessert, they had ice cream and sliced fresh fruit every night. We didn't go hungry at any time. Lunch was somewhat of a mirror image of dinner but without the ice cream for dessert. Wine or beer was served with lunch and dinner. We enjoyed our lobster dinner (15 CUC, notice required) at the a la carte (reservations required,) I ordered the fish entrée and Karen ordered the lobster and we shared. An absolutely great meal and we even had lobster meat left over. We took the leftover lobster meat back to the room and stored it in the fridge. The next afternoon, as we had tomatoes that we had bought in Puerto Padre in the fridge, and after putting the arm on mayonnaise and lettuce from the dining room at lunch, we made ourselves a lobster salad. We enjoyed that just sitting on our oceanview balcony and sipping on a glass of white wine. Waste not — want not, or maybe we are cheapskates!. Who knows. The a la carte dinner is once a week on Friday night, reserve as early as you can.

THE POOL at Brisas Covarrubias was salt water and quite a good size. There was lots of seating around the pool and quite a a few shade palapas. There is only a small bit of natural tree shade in the pool area. The pool is quite beautiful, spacious and fairly well-kept. The pool has a lovely swim up bar where you could have cocktails, beer, or mixed drinks. On one end of the pool there was a particularly nice shallow area for small children, there were lots of lounges in this area. This was a great spot for the parents to closely watch the kids in the pool and have some sunbathing time as well. There was a pool volleyball net that didn't interfere with the general swimming area. Two bridges span the shallow end of the pool. The largest part of the pool was a fairly good depth and you could swim some laps. The pool temperature was quite good, not too warm and not too cold. Afternoons, we did spend quite a bit of time just swimming and vegging out by the pool.

BARS, there were three bars open while we were there. The pool bar which is a 24-hour bar, the beach bar which is from about 10 AM till 5 PM. The lobby bar which was open from about 10 AM until 11 PM. THE POOL BAR has a swim up section and a dry land section. Lots of seating by the dry land section of the pool bar as it is adjacent to the entertainment stage. You could get any manner of drinks at this bar, it was also a coffee bar as well. A nice touch here at 4 PM in the afternoon was that they served ice cream, this was a great hit with both the kids and some of the adults as well. THE BEACH BAR at the Ranchon was a great place to go and have a cold beer and some burgers and fries. Any time after 10 AM for alcoholic beverages, 11 AM for the food. We especially liked to just sit there and have a nice cold one and take in the beautiful view of the beach and ocean after doing our twice daily walk on the beach. THE LOBBY BAR is quite a nice spot for a coffee or for a quiet drink before or after dinner, most of the seating here is open air, so you have to put on your DEET bug spray for early evening times, the mosquitoes can get pretty heavy around that time. All the bars had great friendly service.

THE BEACHES. We have traveled extensively in Cuba and have been to a lot of it's beaches, Covarrubias beach though is one of the best beaches we have ever been to in Cuba. In front of the Brisas Covarrubias hotel lies a really beautiful 1 km stretch of white hardpacked sands. As well, there are many more kilometers of sandy beaches on both sides of this hotel property. There is also an ample number of lounges on the beach, a truly lovely beach bar with great oceanviews', lots of nautical center facilities (catamaran, kayak, paddleboats etc.). We really have to say that this beach has it all. To top this all off, it is a very safe beach if you want to take the kids swimming there. This place was a truly wonderful find for Karen and I, we managed to and very much enjoyed walking some of the other beaches in the area as well. We can't say enough about the place. We were kicking ourselves that we hadn't come to Covarrubias before this visit. We had planned to come to Covarrubias about three years ago but it fell through because the property wasn't open when we were ready to go on holidays.

OUR EXCURSION TO PUERTO PADRE
. (15 CUC pp). A lovely little town with lots and lots of beautiful small parks to stroll in. We felt quite safe and wandered the streets at will, were never approached to buy or give anything. The local shopping area is quite busy. There was a few small restaurants with pretty good prices for simple lunches or dinners. You could buy a cold beer or a rum cocktail at several establishments. There was quite a lovely seawall or malecon and we walked the length of it. It was quite interesting to see how ordinary Cubans happily go about their daily lives. We did end up buying some fresh fruit and beautifully ripe tomatoes from a street vendor, they were delicious and I must say, dirt cheap. Puerto Padre for us was well worth a visit, on our next visit we will definitely return to this small little fishing town.

OUR HOLIDAY OVERALL

PLAUDITS: This hotel is a solid three-star property, it is wonderful value for money spent, this property has an amazing amount of potential. On checking in, the reception staff were friendly and courteous and informative about the room and the hotel. Our room was exactly what we wanted and the housekeeping was perfect all week. All of the staff at the hotel were so very friendly and cheerful and were always quick to acknowledge your presence when you needed them. A lot of the staff were fluent in both English and French and I'm sure other languages. The property is fairly well lit at night on all of the walkways. A wonderful pool, a super beach, clean and neat room, very quiet, good bars and good drinks and nicest of all, great friendly clientele that we met and chatted with on a daily basis. We had a super holiday. We will certainly be back to this hotel next year. If you would like to see some more details and photos of the property just Google Joe and Karen Cuban travels photos.
QUIBBLES Yes, we had a few. On occasion, cold soup, potatoes and other vegetables at the hot tables, there is no real good excuses for that. The hotel needs to upgrade or repair its hot tables as they weren't keeping the food warm for very long. Most of the time we took our potatoes and other veg to the grill for a warm-up. Maybe getting a microwave for something like that would be in order. Yes, getting the toaster fixed is in order as well, it needs a tuneup and a new plug or should I say a plug period!!. Other than these small quibbles we were happy with our holiday and will be back. Let's hope the Covarrubias managers read these tripadvisor reviews and take them to heart.

DEPARTURE. After a two-hour trip back to Holguin airport we made a quick check-in as we were the first bus to arrive at the airport. Due to deicing back in Toronto our Sunwing flight was delayed for 40 min. We were informed ahead of time at the hotel, so we didn't have a problem with that. After a somewhat bumpy ride over top of the storm we were back in Toronto before we knew it. With our beautiful, hot and sunny week at Covarrubias still absolutely fresh in our minds, driving home in the snow was a total shock to our system. We whined all the way home, and on shoveling our driveway to get our car in, we were wishing we were back there laying on that beautiful beach. Next year for sure.



ADDITIONAL INFO LINKS FOR BRISAS COVARRUBIAS LAS TUNAS CUBA
For a Google Satellite view map of the Brisas Covarrubias Hotel CLICK HERE
For a printable PDF map of Brisas Covarrubias click here CLICK HERE
For a Printable Pdf Brisas Covarrubias Info Sheet click here CLICK HERE