Coral Level At Iberostar Selection Ensenachos

Coral Level At Iberostar Selection Ensenachos
4.364.364.364.364.36
4.36 based on 25 reviews
#11 of 25 hotels The Monarc.ca popularity scale (#1/15) classifies all the hotels of a single destination according to the number of grades received on 5 and the total number of reviews. in Cayo Santa Maria
Rated 4.5 stars
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Will not return

, Rockland, ON
2023-02-27
Iberostar Coral Ensenachos at Iberostar Selection Ensenachos

February 2023

Don't do what I did. I read and relied on the recent reviews with
excellent, very good and average ratings. I also read the ones with terrible, poor and average ratings, but somewhat ignored them, thinking that they were exaggerating but should have relied on those instead.
By day 3 of our 14 days stay, I apologized to the couple we recommend this resort and invited to join us there. By day 7, we said, 1 week down and 1 more to go. Time didn't fly fast enough. As the days went by with the second week, we couldn't wait to get back home. The last day, we didn't sleep because we were too excited to get back home.
We tried to make the best out of this experience and stay positive.

IN A NUTSHELL:
I leave with mixed feelings. We have seen and been to this resort when it was in its full glory but for many reasons (embargo, inflation, COVID-19 and etc.) it isn't anymore.
The Iberostar Selection Ensenachos is a 4 star and the Coral Level (CL) section is a 5 star but may vary depending on the information and publications of various sources.
Because of what all of the 4 of us have experienced and of the present situation in Cuba, we will not be returning to this resort or any resorts in Cuba, until all gets stable and all issues get rectified, and with this, being very well aware that it may never change.
The status of the premises (buildings only, the landscape is breathtaking) and the availability of products to assure and reflect the operation of a 4 and 5 star(CL) resort is poor to none existent or not available. What is sad is some guests are trying to make it acceptable or justify or making it look insignificant by saying 'you know, Cuba is Cuba' or the 'what do you expect, it's Cuba'. This is unacceptable and actually it is denying the reality of the situation by sweeping the problems under the rug. We expected way better for what is advertised as a 4 and 5 star (CL) and by relying on the majority of published reviews and info, especially for the amount of money we have paid for our trip and comparing this stay with our previous stays at this resort. This was not a cheap trip. For the amount of money, we could have had way much better and we would have experienced all the perks of a true 4 & 5-star resort.
(In this review, I refer to the 4 or 5 star ratings, but it varies depending on the sources/media platforms)- MORE DETAILS FOLLOW...

DETAILS ON VARIOUS SUBJECTS AND ISSUES:
Overall, as previously mentioned, this is a resort with obvious major problems and issues that a lot of guests avoid discussing or acknowledging, so like many reviews that I have read, I don't understand why some are given an overall excellent, very good or even average, some thumbs up and 'the best ever of ‘X,Y and Z'....because it is not. The only exception: the 2 beaches and the manicured landscape that is very well maintained and breathtaking.

As REPEAT GUESTS at the Coral Level, we, my spouse and I, stayed at the Coral Level (CL) Iberostar Selection Cayo Ensenachos from Jan 31 to Feb 14, 2023. The info is based for this period only.

We have been to Cuba, at least 40 times, if not, then very close . We visited and explored many cities, did multiple tours, experienced the culture, saw the many faces of the country and we stayed in many resorts from 2 stars to 5 stars.

We also suggested friends to join us at the CL because of previous experiences and how wonderful the resort is, the people and the food were. What a huge huge huge mistake it was this time around.

This review was written by me, but my spouse and both of our friends gave their input and suggestions, and all have approved the content of this review.

We paid more to be at the Coral Level. For 14 days we were expecting the same quality, the same experience and to do the same as our previous stays which was to be doing all our activities in that part of the resort only. But, circumstances (described latter) made it that we slept at the CL villa and stayed on Ensenachos beach CL section, but 98% of our meals were taken at the Buffet (Ventanas) near the lobby of the main resort which is separate from the CL.

There is a 2.8 km road between CL section (5 star) and the main resort that has Park and Spa sections. There is a van and a golf cart with non-stop rides to go back and forth between both CL section and main resort. If you have mobility issues, I want to let you know that at the CL section there is a lot of walking between the CL lobby and the villas. Overall, the complete resort is huge: 3 sections – the Spa, the Park and the Coral Level

The CL section (rating of 5 star ) has 23 buildings (46 villas that are approx 1200 sq/ft). Advertised for adults (14 ), 8 restaurants (à la carte – Cuban, Mediterranean, Italian, Asian) and 8 bars that you can access at the main resort.

We visited this specific island, way before the original resort Occidental Royal Hideaway was built in 2005, when it was a virgin island. We previously stayed at the Occidental Royal Hideaway and we also stayed at the Iberostar Park suites 3-4 times and twice at the Coral level, previously called Grand Village.

Some guests at the resort were aware of the situation because it was written in one of the travel agencies site but didn't think it was that bad. So, once back home, I read the info with our travel agency and compared it with the info of the other provider. With the other provider, on their website, at least they have put warnings under the title: '! - IMPORTANT INFORMATION' which informs you about the present situation/condition in Cuba. I wish I had known that before booking it in 2022. Check and compare the info with more than one provider. After reading a lot of reviews, I expected the resort to be like before because of all the recent reviews that I read and the majority were from being excellent and very good...well, it was not, way far from it. Our travel agency did not put any information or warnings. The only alert ‘Hours of operation and availability of all restaurants and bars are subject to change based on the hotel's occupancy throughout the season.'

VALUE:
Advertised as –4.9/5 Superior....from all the 4 of us, our opinion is that it is not at all a superior value. Having known the situation/conditions, I/we would have booked and gone to another country/island.

14 at the CL?: Guests talk between each other and quite a few were not happy with this situation - The CL section is supposed to be 14 but for a few days there were these guests that brought their son who was way younger than 14 years old. So, this means that a precedent has been created and if it is requested, other guests can bring their children or grandchildren way below 14 y.o. and their request not be refused...that is the way I see, and others saw it the same way too.

LOCATION:
Cayo Santa Maria Caibarién Villa Clara Cuba. 90 minutes bus ride from the Abel Santamaría Airport (SNU).

BEACHES ( not 1 but 2 of them) – AMAZING ...TREASURES OF NATURE:
as advertised 4.9/ 5 Amazing...I agree, we all agree., 1 island and 2 amazing beaches that are hard to beat...Megano being with the calmest between the two with shallow crystal clear water for you to walk a long distance in the water. If you prefer the tranquility and peace then it is the beach of Ensenachos, also with crystal clear and shallow water. Both have white fine sand. Megano's sand is more compact than Ensenachos but walking on both beaches is easy and very pleasant. Good for snorkeling and scuba diving – don't miss that chance.

POOL:
as advertised 4.6 / 5 Amazing...didn't use the pools, we are there for the beaches. But, we saw that at Coral Level it was not crowded. At Park section, Marino snack bar closed and there are no bathroom facilities functioning, so it makes the pool and water park a bit difficult to use – there was no one when we passed by a few times. On the Spa section which is supposed to be only 18 , there were a lot of babies, young children/families, 18 and seniors at the pools. The Mégano snack bar, on Spa section, was operational, and the food was really good – we went for salad and fruits, our friends said that the tuna salad sandwich was really good, and they craved it – that was worth it.

ENTERTAINMENT:
as advertised 3.2/5 ...we enjoyed the sax player, the magician and etc., when we went to the main lobby for cappuccino and we enjoyed the activities with Hector at the Coral level and in the main lobby (not CL) but we didn't go for anything else or the shows in the auditorium, so I can't comment on this.

VILLAS/ ROOMS
Coral Level villa: as advertised - 4.3/5 Excellent...a lot tired, lots of love needed if I compare from our previous stays, but all was clean and all was functional except the WIFI/Internet. We were supposed to have robes and slippers, but they were not provided, and we do not use them anyways. There was no facial tissue and no facecloth, so bring your own. But you have 2 bath towels, 2 beach towels and 2 hand towels and if you want/need to change them, it is not an issue. What we needed, we had to be comfortable in the room (except the mattress) If you ask, you can get a coffee machine and the coffee will be provided. Our friends' villa had a single bedside light and a floor lamp in the living room. Our room had two bedside lamps, a table lamp on the writing desk and a table lamp and floor lamp in the living room. After /- a week and many complaints, our friends had to change villas because of a bug infestation (like tiny black flies) that continued even after many fumigation attempts. Speaking of bugs, we saw one huge cockroach in our bathroom...most probably there were more so when came time to pack our luggage, we inspected carefully to not bring any ‘friends' back home.
Structures are falling apart: e.g. - when we closed the front door of our villa, the wood panel beside the door frame moves. I thought about safety because I could move that side door wood panel with my bare hands. We walked around the main resort in the Spa and Park sections and there are a lot of buildings that there are no trespassing with a sign or a ribbon blocking the pathway...most probably building are not functional or condemned – I am assuming here.

-Sleep quality – unfortunately, we both find the mattress too soft and lumpy which caused us both back aches during all of our stay.
-Cleanliness/housekeeping – we had no issues.
-Service - anything that was missing or needed, we asked and we got immediately or within 24 hours.
-How was breakfast? - we do not eat breakfast, we eat only lunch and dinner.
-on previous stay at the CL, on arrival in the room, we used to have a bottle of 'champagne' which is white sparkling wine as well as other beverages in the fridge. We were told they do not provide the bottle of
sparkling white wine and beverages in the fridge anymore, except 2 bottles of filtered water that is replenished daily. But we had the heart shape made of flowers leading towards the hot tub. We requested the bottle of 'champagne' to have with the arrangement of the hot tub but we were informed that too they do not provide/do this anymore. Our friend also requested the bottle but were told the same thing – they no longer do that. But, another couple that was there at the same time, that we met at the CL put a review on a popular media platform on Feb 20th, 2023 at 10h27 pm, stating what butlers do and that the butler brings the bottle of 'champagne' to the room. There is a picture of the hot tub with the same flower petals arrangement and you see the bottle in the champagne stand, on the round patio table you see 2 champagne flutes with ‘champagne' poured. As references, if ever requested, I took screenshots of what was written in that review along with the pictures that were posted. So, it looks like some guests at the CL get privileges and others don't. Shouldn't every guest be treated equally?

CLEANLINESS OF BATHROOMS IN THE BUILDING OF THE MAIN LOBBY (NOT CL SECTION) - THAT IS AN URGENT ISSUE TO BE RECTIFIED:
On the Sunday before our departure, my husband went to the bathroom that is in front of the travel agency reps. There was a lack of toilet paper and one of the stalls was 'decorated' with explosive diarrhea all over the toilet seat, the cover and wall. My husband went back 12 hours later, but the bathroom was still not cleaned and with the heat, the smell was not pretty. The next day, I went to the woman's washroom past the jewelry store, only 1 stall had toilet paper and 1 stall was also 'decorated' with explosive diarrhea. Decorations with flowers are nice, but cleanliness and providing soap and toilet paper are essential and should be done as needed.

Since there is a shortage of toilet paper, bring one with you if you are going to be elsewhere other than your room.

Speaking of this issue...each person that we talked to had border line diarrhea and some did...so we stopped drinking water, milk in coffee and milk products...we drank only sparkling water, and we got better.

DINING:
as advertised 4.3 - Excellent...THIS IS A FAIL FOR US we do not agree with the rating.

During our stay there was a food and potable water shortage … the situation is very unstable and unpredictable.

The reason I wanted to eat at the Coral Level was to have sit down meals vs the self-serve buffet that you have at the main lobby (described later). My husband and our friends eat everything but because of my eating lifestyle (mainly vegan but will be lacto-ovo vegetarian if I need to), the menu at CL didn't accommodate me, even though I had sent an email to the resort prior to our stay and I have mentioned it to one of the butlers upon our arrival. The response was for me to eat at the buffet if I wanted vegetarian/vegan options. That it was at the CL or at the buffet or at the à la carte restaurants, there was extremely limited to no accommodations for vegan, vegetarian or plant based dietary lifestyles. What is described in the menu and what is, you can't rely – e.g.: at the Italian restaurant, they had a vegetable moussaka and I had asked the waiter who had assured me it was only vegetables , sin carne (without meat)...when I got it, it was a slice of eggplant on top of a pile of ground beef....so my husband ate it. At the Asian, I had rice and vegetables, but no proteins. At the CL dining room, I would have taken vegetable cannelloni, they were never available. No matter the potential vegetarian option on the menu, they didn't have it. It was a big miss in all my trials. It is a good thing that I brought sachets of oatmeal and all kinds of nuts as backup.
After my husband and our friends ate at the à la carte or at the CL dining room, most of the time, they ended up eating at the snack bar on the Spa suite or at the Ventanas (at the main section) because either the food they ordered was not good to not at all edible. Also some guest mentioned that they had lobster every day but neither my husband or our friends had it once.

Near the end of our stay, guests were told that all the à la carte restaurant reservations were not available no explanations/ reasons were given.

THE BUFFET (Ventanas) which is near the main lobby (NOT PART OF CORAL LEVEL SECTION):
This is why I wanted to be at the CL with sit down meals vs eating at the buffet because this was exactly what I wanted to avoid at all costs: every single day, I saw this common, on a regular basis behavior and actions of food touching with hands by guests and resort staff (other than kitchen staff) at the buffet. This is what I have witnessed and other guests too (we do talk between guests) even if there are food tongs, people (adults and children) would pick up bread with their hands, put it ON (not near) their nose and sniff it and put it back in the baskets. I have witnessed also adults and children sticking their fingers in creamy desserts, sauces and dressings and then licking their fingers and go sample the next condiments/foods and taste them...this is like spitting in the food – this is NOT acceptable and disgusting. No wonder people get sick. My appetite was often lost or spoiled by this. Many actions can be put in place to prevent this, one of them is identifying what the condiments/foods are to prevent this, put sign of a hand with a bar across to warn no touching or a sign that mentions ‘no sampling' and etc.
What was not available of at the Coral Level (wine, milk, fruits, beer and etc. – the list is long) we got at the main section of the resort, yet we paid more to be at the Coral Level.
At the buffet, there were black beans, white beans, chickpeas and lentils (all good veg. Proteins) for veg dietary needs but way over salted and most of the time mixed or cooked with fish, sausages or other meats and so were nice vegetable salads mixed with fish or meats. A solution: put the meats/fish on the side instead of putting it /mixed it in with vegetarian/vegan proteins...by doing these changes it would accommodate a lot of people. I saw a woman beside me eating from a bag with vegan protein that she brought from home (Montreal, P.Q., Canada) and teens trying to taking off the sausages from the chickpeas and other dishes because they were vegetarian too, so I am not alone... there is obviously a demand for it and that demand is increasing all over the world. I brought oatmeal and a variety of nuts as a backup in my luggage.

For the 14 days, I ended up eating mainly cheese that I am not supposed to eat because of medical reasons, and I am not allowed to eat more than 2 eggs a week...I was lucky if/when I had rice or beans not cooks with meat...I didn't lack food but eating cheese and egg whites for 14 days and wondering if there would be something to eat at the buffet was a challenge for me. Also, I was trying to avoid eating raw/uncooked foods (vegetables) to not get diarrhea that was rampant at the CL and the main section of the resort (remember the toilet situation mentioned above)

Overall, this time around, no matter the venue, eating was a challenge for me when before it was not and never has been.

CHAMPAGNE!?!
By the way, I read some reviews that mentioned they had champagne all they wanted...it is not champagne but sparkling white wine. ...there is a big difference! The sparkling white wine was good, the CL sparkling white wine was superior than at the Ventanas buffet.

INTERNET:
was available only at the main resort or at the lobby of the CL. We were unable to get it in our villa at the CL section.

TIPS and GIFTS:
On the bus going to the resort and on the bus going back to the airport, the tour guide talks to us about many informative issues and also how workers rely on tips and gifts. What they need the most is MEDICATIONS , any medications – Tylenol, cough syrup etc. Even if the bottles are opened it is needed urgently. Again, anything that you give, they will be appreciated.

HEALTH TIPS/SUGGESTIONS ONLY:
Don't forget Pepto Bismol and Imodium, electrolyte powder and etc. Just in case you need it while on a trip abroad and if you can fill out a prescription of Ciprofloxacin go for it, that is, if your doctor approves of course. This is an antibiotic used to treat a number of bacterial infections that includes bone and joint infections, intra-abdominal infections, certain types of infectious diarrhea, respiratory tract infections, skin infections, typhoid fever, and urinary tract infections, among others. I also bring medications for every orifice and system of the body...I even have splints and tape in case of fractures. I can say that my complete medical kit came handy quit a few times to a lot of people.

SNAKES:
All the times I have traveled elsewhere or to Cuba, this has never ever happened before at the Iberostar Cayo Ensenachos that it is at the main resort or at the CL. Daily, at the CL, I saw 1 to 3 snakes. They are not poisonous and are about 3 feet / 1 meter long. The reason I mention this is to let people know about this to be aware. It is no ones fault, it is nature. There were also some on the 2.8 km road between the CL and main lobby. There were also some around the bushes of the pool too at the CL section.

IN CONCLUSION
The highlight of this trip and what I am taking with me is all the laughter, the people we met, the sun, the sea, the beaches, the marine life, the different birds, seeing our friends after 4 years because of COVID-19 and celebrating exactly 20 years of friendship. We met 20 years ago in 2003, when Ensenachos was a virgin island at the spot where the Nautical point is today. In other words, I am keeping all the memories that the island has provided us with over the years. This was our last time at Cayo Ensenachos. [Details]
  • Room
  • Quality - Price
  • Front desk & Reception
  • Beaches
  • Location
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  • Staff / Crew
  • Cleanliness
  • Food & Restaurants
  • Sanitary measures (Covid-19)
The strong points
Beaches: Mégano and Ensenachos, manicured breathtaking landscape
The weak points
shortage of food, food quality, shortage of potable water, actions of food touching with hands by guests and resort staff (other than kitchen staff) at the buffet, overall cleanliness of 'public' bathrooms, lack of accommodation for vegetarians/ vegan

Nov/22 TRIP

, Bouctouche, NB
2022-11-15
the Coral level section was amazing, a la carte everything was delicious, service was very good, was really impress with this resort, the only thing i would recommend more lights on pathways,
beaches are stunning's everyone his helpful, if you want something just ask and you will get it ...really enjoyed YURI is service was exceptional
will go back for sure [Details]
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The strong points
service , food , rooms really nice GOOD
The weak points
more lights on pathways it's dark
Certified

Un voyage de rêve!

, Gatineau, QC
2022-07-13
Enfin, j'écris un bref commentaire de notre visite au niveau du corail en avril 2022! Je n'écris pas normalement de commentaires, mais notre voyage a été tellement magique que je ne peux faire autrement. Tout a été nettoyé et désinfecté pour nous faire sentir si en sécurité, tout était parfait.
La plage est tout simplement magnifique c'est tout simplement merveilleux.
Mais ce qui me donne encore plus le goût d'y retourner c'est le personnel incroyable du Coral. Ils vont au-delà pour rendre votre séjour le meilleur possible, en faisant tout ce qui est en leur pouvoir et à leur portée pour s'assurer que vous êtes heureux. Sans un personnel et un service aussi formidables, même avec les plages les plus étonnantes, nous irions probablement visiter d'autres magnifiques endroit. Iberostar Ensenachos a la chance d'avoir un si bon personnel dans leur emploi, un merci spécial à Diana et Yandry, ils font toute la différence pour nous faire sentir spécial ainsi que tant d'autres personnes formidables. Vous nous manquez tous et préparons déjà notre prochaine visite au printemps 2023! [Details]
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The strong points
Le personnel La plage Le site au complet
The weak points
None
Hotel reply, PR/Marketing, on 2022-07-25
Chère Julie, Merci d'avoir pris le temps d'écrire ce merveilleux commentaire suite à votre séjour dans notre hôtel. Ce serait un plaisir de vous accueillir de nouveau parmi nous pour vivre un nouvel enchantement qui, nous l'espérons, vous ravira de nouveau au-delà de toutes vos espérances. Cordialement, Quality Manager Coral Level At Iberostar Selection Ensenachos

So relaxing!

, Rideau Lakes, ON
2022-07-03
This was our third trip to coral and our 5th trip to this hotel.The amazing staff are the reason we return to coral. Marichal ,Yandry, Diana, and Dismar do an exceptional job of making sure our vacation is perfect for us. Maike is quick to get our pool chair cushions and always has a smile.The bar tenders will keep you refreshed and will try their best to make drinks tasty.Thank you Anier, Jorgito and Augustine.The gardeners work very hard to keep the grounds stunning.All the restaurant staff make our meals enjoyable, Lizzy, Chully,Rogelio,Ray, Diana, Yaquenia, and all the chefs and kitchen staff!The beach is the best! Lots of palapas and lifeguards to watch over us. The bell boys and cart drivers are always around to give you a ride to where you need to be and usually add some humor to your ride! We are coming back in April and are booked for Dec! This is our second home thanks to all the staff.Sorry if I left anyone out ,there are so many who make our stay so wonderful! [Details]
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The strong points
The friendly staff, Marichal and Yandry, the beaches, their service!
The weak points
None!
Sanitary measures (Covid-19)
Diana ,Yamilet and Milexy, are always hard at work keeping things spotless! As well as all the staff.

Paradise

, Saint-Eustache, QC
2022-07-03
We had an amazing beautiful and very relaxing time at the resort. It is very private and secluded, a very beautiful place.The Service we got from the staff here was simply impeccable. Our Butler,
Reinaldo Marichal De La Torre, surpassed our expectations as far as service is concerned from the very beginning till the very end of our vacation. He is simply the best!! Thank you Reinaldo and because of your great service, we will be back soon. [Details]
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The strong points
Beautiful private secluded resort with amazing service
The weak points
None
Sanitary measures (Covid-19)
Sanitary mesures were fully respected

Amazing

, Pickering, ON
2022-03-27
Everything was great at resort. Even the food.
Staff were awesome.
Beaches were great.
Rooms were unbelievably awesome. [Details]
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Certified

Coral Level Villas

, Hampton, ON
2022-02-27
Wonderful holiday! I was well looked after and checked on being a solo woman traveller. I couldn't ask for anything better.
I will be back! [Details]
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The strong points
Beautiful location full of peace and quiet for those that want to relax and destress
The weak points
Wifi in rooms would have been nice...but I understand the whole island is week for wifi. Last day a 14 year old boy splashed around in pool with beach ball for a long time and I felt it was distracting and disappointing....should be 18 yrs and up!
Sanitary measures (Covid-19)
The villas were very clean and the chamber maids were awesome! Masks were worn in doors and staff diligent in having their masks on.
Certified

Coral Level

, North Bay, ON
2022-02-03
Just wonderful! All I wish for on my vacation. This was a return visit. The staff go out of their way to help you and take care of all your needs. It is so peaceful and beautiful. [Details]
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  • Sanitary measures (Covid-19)
The strong points
Staff, beach, restaurants, quiet.
The weak points
None
Sanitary measures (Covid-19)
Excellent
Certified

A paradise named Coral Level

, Saint-Raphael, QC
2019-12-26
My husband and I were in Coral Level Iberostar Selection Ensenachos for 2 weeks. We are seniors. This was our 4th stay and we are so in love with the place, we are returning in 3 weeks and considering a further return in March.

What is it about this place that is so overwhelming? Mostly everything! The sandy beach is long and there are lots of palapas, the water is as turquoise as can be, we are offered bar service to our lounge chairs and we are blessed with Janet to watch over our safety. We spend most of our days at the beach enjoying the relaxing, quiet, lovely, private heaven. Unfortunately, the storm in previous weeks has done some damage to the walkways and to the beach restaurant. Work is in progress to repair so the restaurant can be re-opened and both walkways be safe. Meanwhile, lunch is served at the pool bar restaurant.

The Coral Level itself is about 25 villas, some double, spread around a magnificently maintained landscape. Each villa is very private and offers a homelike environment: large bedroom, living room, dining room, kitchenette, 2 bathrooms and a wonderful terrace where a brand new jacuzzi awaits us 24/7. Everything is clean and very well maintained. The service to the villa, be it by the maids, the jacuzzi person or delivery is timely and well done.

The pool and its surroundings, the restaurant El Colonial and bar lunch area, the bar and lobby are always staffed with great people who will do their utmost to please you, especially our butlers, mostly Yandry and Michel but also Dismar and Marechal. The food, either at the Coral Level or at the main Lobby restaurants is offered in a wide variety and is tasteful. Despite the shortages we know about, we have not suffered during our stay, far from it. The shuttle is frequent and takes us anywhere including to our villa.

Now sure enough, there are things that break or don't go as planned sometimes but in no time there is someone taking charge and fixing the situation.

Although we understand the necessity of such, in previous stays my one and only critic was the bug killer which travels the resort around dinner time. Working with our butler, we now go out before or wait until after the spraying occurs. It works fine and it leaves us with no real negative to share with you about this resort.

You don't have to believe what I say. You can travel there and delight in all that Coral Level has to offer except if you are the type of person who would damage the private, the quiet, the beauty, the magic, the heavenly ambiance in which case I suggest you go elsewhere. [Details]
  • Room
  • Quality - Price
  • Front desk & Reception
  • Beaches
  • Location
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  • Staff / Crew
  • Cleanliness
  • Food & Restaurants
The strong points
Private, quiet, beautiful, excellent staff. The beach and turquoise waters. Site very well maintained. Villas much better than rooms. Food and drinks together with service. Our BUTLERS.
The weak points
Currently beach restaurant under repair but will reopen when fixed. One need to work around bug killer spray schedule. Wifi not quite stable but good enough to make vacation use of it.
Hotel reply, PR/Marketing, on 2020-01-02
Dear France and Michel, We are grateful to you for choosing us for your recent holiday and for sharing the experience you had with us. It is great to read your enthusiastic comments about many of the prime pillars that we set in place many years ago to guarantee fabulous holidays. Amazing locations, professional staff, cleanliness and excellent standards of gastronomy are very important elements of our company and reading that you found them to your liking is brilliant news. It is amazing to read that you have returned home with a sense of satisfaction and we look forward to doing the same for you again in the future. Once again, we are truly grateful for this complimentary review of your time in our hospitality. Best Regards, Quality Manager Coral Level At Iberostar Selection Ensenachos

Return trip.... 8 years later!

, Dollard Des Ormeaux, QC
2019-06-03
We stayed at the Iberostar Grand Village from May 25th to June 1st 2019. We are a couple aged 44 and 43. We were last at this property when it was the Royal Hideaway Ensenachos 8 years ago - at that time we stayed in the Spa section so this is not an apples to apples comparison.

As we remembered the Cuban people were warm and welcoming, always wanting to please and the beaches were magnificent.

I would like to highlight the extraordinary customer experience provided by Yunexy in the colonial restaurant and Yandry a butler on the grand village side. Yunexy's smile and her warmth are a valuable asset and I hope the Iberostar management knows how special she makes clients feel. Yandry was so serviceable, calm and accommodating. Such a respectful young man who does his job with quiet confidence. Bravo to both these standouts!

We arrived on a late flight and so by the time we got to the resort all we had time to do was get a snack at the 24 hour snack bar near the main lobby. Be warned - very slim pickings. There was a choice of three sandwiches. That's it! Hubby chose the one that appeared least dangerous and off we went to find our room (or villa) never to return to the snack bar again!

Our first villa was beautiful but we quickly realized that we had serial smokers in the attached villa and our bedroom quickly reeled of smoke. Next morning, first order of business was to request a room change - which was too bad because everything worked and was great- but the constant cigarette smoke was a deal breaker. We were quickly accommodated and our new home was 5402 which has lovely views for those looking for an ocean view (see pic).

We didn't see a d-link access point in this villa though so if having internet your villa is a deal breaker then 5402 is not for you.

The villas are huge. Not sure why they were built this way with kitchenettes and dining rooms etc as with an all inclusive plan no one will be cooking but other than looking grandiose when you first enter it doesn't serve much purpose. The new jacuzzis they have installed however are divine and we very much enjoyed unwinding after our beach days and before heading out to supper.

The 30 minute free massage was another nice perk that we both enjoyed. In terms of entertainment - forget it. The best offerings were the live music (pianist on the grand piano on monday evenings only in the main lobby bar was outstanding; and the cuban trio in the el colonial restaurant grand village side some evenings were amazing).

At Megano beach we saw a stingray, we snorkelled at the wreck and had lunch at the snack bar before they closed it for the remainder of the week due to low occupancy. This was a recurring theme, where due to low season things were closed like the Cuban a la carte. I understand not having all the a la cartes open every day but they should have a rotation in order to increase variety since Cuba in general has a negative reputation for its gastronomy. This would help customer satisfaction.

The breakfast was definitely better on the grand village side where we had access to mango, cappuccinos, pancakes and French toast - which we didn't see at the buffet. Perhaps these options are available at the buffet during high season but we didn't have that experience.

The only other good meal we had was also in the grand village el colonial restaurant for dinner, but the experience was uneven. The first time we had the steak it was perfectly cooked and tender. The second time we ordered the same thing four days later and it was definitely not as good.

I would qualify the entire week's food as edible. We really wish Cuban all inclusives would up their game in this respect but with the recent embargos it really doesn't appear likely.

At ensenachos beach I saw an octopus, several starfish (although I believe there were much fewer than last time we visited - and don't know whether to attribute this to human impact, hurricane or ?) Speaking of climate change - 8 years ago we also visited in May and I do not recall the mosquito situation being anything remotely like this years. They were devouring everyone and anyone - locals and tourists alike. The only reprieve was to go to the beach - otherwise - you were eaten alive!

There is much talk of quality decline overall. I have nothing recent to compare to. I do believe the food quality and variety is worse than last time we were here. I'm still trying to decide if the wonderful Cuban people we met and the beaches we enjoyed outweigh this negative and wil cause us to return. For sure it won't be soon....there are too many other beautiful places to visit and experience in the world and Iberostar needs to get the food quality sorted out to lure us back.

Overall - if you are in need of rest and relaxation and love beautiful beaches this is the place for you. If you need entertainment and/or good food you should look elsewhere [Details]
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Certified

Grand Village visit #5

, Dartmouth, NS
2019-05-27
Visited the Grand Village (5th visit) 2nd week of May/2019. It kind of went like this:
 Not Resort related, but pleased to report that the damaged Santa Clara airport reopened the day before heading down, saving us a HUGE transfer time to the resort, which is already long enough at 90 minutes by bus.
 The check-in was a fail: empty lobby, empty front desk, no receptionist, no 'in-room' check-in, no 'cool towel', no welcome cocktail, no glass of champagne, room not ready (waited 3 hours to finally get into it).
But, we actually got the exact bungalow & room we had requested! How Sweet is that?!? THANK YOU SO MUCH!
 Except for the check-in, all the Village staff was on the ball, friendly and pleasant to chat with. Thanks to one & all for making our stay so enjoyable. But we miss Yan at dinner.
 As usual, the food at the Village was mostly top notch.
 We got to chat with several other nice guests.
 We lucked out with the weather, sunny & 28 C to 31 C every day, with just a little rain shower 1 evening around dinner time, which lasted maybe 15 minutes. Fantastic!
 With the fine weather & usually wind-free days, Ensenachos beach was spectacular, and a BIG hit with the guests. Actually, Playa Ensenachos was so great, we didn't even bother going to Playa Megano.
 We only did 2 a-la-cartes (Italian & Mediterranean), neither one was anything special. (I guess we were spoiled too much by the El Colonial food & staff.)
 Though the Village section advertises itself as ‘14 years old & up', a large family with a 5-ish year old occupied both sides of a 2-story bungalow all week. No big deal though, best behaved 5-ish year old I've seen in a long time, and certainly WAY better behaved than certain so-called ‘adult' Spa guests who used Village shade, loungers & beach bar unimpeded all week.
 Looks like the maintenance budget has not been replenished yet for 2019. Anyone going down in the near future will have to watch your step on the beach walkways, especially the one on the east (washroom) side of the restaurant. The beach restaurant floor looks like it's getting ready to swallow somebody up too.
At night the lights in some of the Village pathways were sometimes not working…..bring a flashlight.

All-in-all we had a delightful week. Surprised a bit with the last 2 items mentioned above (and the poor check-in), especially with the Village's apparent laissez-faire attitude with letting Spa & Park section guests flagrantly help themselves to Village-only upgrades & amenities. This is a deal breaker for us, and if Iberostar Ensenachos doesn't get its house in order by the time our next winter getaway rolls around, we'll be looking for a vacation destination which is better at holding up its end of the bargain. ¡Felices viajes a todos y cada uno! [Details]
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The strong points
Beach, food, large suite, private patio with hot tub.
The weak points
Reception/check-in, long transfer from airport, lapse in resort maintenance, resort not enforcing rules regarding beach use.

IE Grand Village

, Upper Rawdon, NS
2019-05-09
We 6 travelled April 30-May 7th out of Halifax. Take off 1 hr late (no reason given), we landed in Cayo Coco due to the airport closure in Santa Clara. It was a 4 hr bus ride to the resort, so we saw some of the conditions the population exists under.
Check-in took 1.5 hrs at the main lobby for two in our party. Normally guests go directly to the Grand Village section to register, but due to staffing issues it was not possible (concierge explanation).
The room we had was huge, more like an apartment really, and immaculate inside. No complaints there. The beach is amazing. Nice gradual slope to deeper water which was nearly flat calm most days. Plenty of palapas and chairs too. On the busiest day we counted only 24 people on the beach. There is a pool that we walked around once. Rarely anyone in it.
Breakfast and supper are restaurant style, with a limited menu that has not changed in many years we were told by some of the repeat guests. But it is excellent fare, the best we've had in Cuba. Atlantic salmon and thick cut steak cooked to perfection. The pork I didn't try but wanted to, but it had made 2 repeat guests sick. The beach bar was for lunches and had a more varied menu with lots of choices and it was excellent as well. Chicken was scarce, so was only available 3 of the 7 days we were there.
We did have some major issues while staying here though: wifi rarely worked partial or no pathway lighting most nights so bring a flashlight. Undercooked burgers at the beach bar. A pina colada they shared made 2 of our party sick with gastro issues for 2 days. The Grand Village is advertised as only 14 yr.old and over. However, a large family arrived with a young boy of about 6 who ate and roamed the beaches and bars of the Grand Village for several days. They stayed in a family building there. It didn't bother me any and the child was well behaved, but others had complaints.
minor issues: NO CRISTAL!! Well actually, I did manage to get 6 cans during the week. They supplied Bavaria, Heineken, or Mayabe instead. Beach service was nearly non-existent. No big deal its a short walk to the beach bar. It opens at 10:30 or thereabouts, one morning it was after 11. It closes at 3:30 pm so there is no bar service there or anywhere else until 6 pm or later at the GV lobby bar. I found it odd that at the Ensenachos lobby bar they had 5 waiters serving 8 people in the bar, with not many guests in the lobby either. There was rarely anyone staffing the GV lobby anytime unless Michel was working that day. He, the concierge, works there every other day. Staffing is definitely an issue in Grand Village. We ate at the Italian a-la-carte at Ensenachos. I had the pork which was a fried steak, which was good. 3 others had the spaghetti which they couldn't eat. No flavor and salty, saly, salty.
Overall we think we got what we paid for, it was under $1500 pp for 7 days. Would we pay more? No! 2 Repeaters we talked to, who have been there 25 times, now stay on the Ensenachos side. The quality has dropped that much according to them. Changes are needed it seems if they want to compete with the other top resorts in the area. A larger dinner menu or even just a repeat of the lunch menu would be an improvement. We research any resort we have not been to, and did go there with higher expectations of service based on the info we found, but had a great trip. We are easy to please and can go with the flow. We know es CUBA. [Details]
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The strong points
-excellent food (except pork) - rooms - beach - most staff...if you can find one...
The weak points
- no wifi most days - no lights working along pathways to room - sick from pork dinner - terrible service in GV lobby - 1.5 hr check-in at Ensenachos lobby due to lacking staff at GV section -observed guest under 14 in GV section
Certified

Excellent place with sometimes sloppy service

, Toronto, ON
2019-04-29
Cayo Ensenachos is our favorite place in Cuba (and possibly in Carribbean in general). We stayed 3 times in the Spa section of the main resort previously; this was our first time in Grand Village. Perfect location, beach, rooms and pool - for those who value privacy and seclusion. You can order lobsters there any time of day or week (really). In general, local Colonial restaurant has smaller choice than the restaurant in main building, but quality of food is excellent, as well as choice of drinks in the bar (yes, you can find 12-year old scotch there). Service in general is not bad, but people who stayed in Grand Village for the third or fourth time confirmed it got worse over the last couple of years. From what I saw, it is rather problem of management than employees; some people a doing multiple tasks non-stop from dawn till dusk while others are walking about not sure what to apply themselves to. The worst part was transportation between the Grand Village and the main resort. There used to be at least two dozens of electric carts providing non-stop shuttle between two lobbies, but 90% of them were broken sitting in the parking lot to the left from main building (a real cemetery of carts, actually). Only two carts (!) were working, which obviously created a problem, since 3km walk under Cuban sun is not exactly something you'd like to do few times a day; consequently, some time was spent waiting for a cart in the lobby. Another problem one should be aware of, is well-known: internet. It is free in Grand Village, but getting an account and then making it work (when - and if - the connection is not down in general) is a typical Cuban adventure. Besides that, the vacation there was excellent, and probably the best we had in Cuba. [Details]
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The strong points
Perfect location, beach, pool, room size and design, quality of food and drinks
The weak points
Transportation between Grand Village and main resort; not very consistent service (sometimes good, sometimes far from that); internet connection (or lack of it).
Certified

Ensenachos

, Toronto, ON
2019-04-25
We arrived after dark, so it was hard to get an immediate feel for the resort overall, but first impressions of the lobby and buffet restaurant are very positive. While the buildings are indeed nice, they are largely hidden by the surprisingly mature vegetation.
Typically, we do not spend a great deal of time at the pool, as we would rather be at the beach, but the main pool (there are several smaller pools) is very nice and has a swim-up bar; in addition, the restaurant that serves lunch is located near the main pool as well. It became a great place to spend the afternoon...have some lunch, take a swim, have a drink.
Overall, I cannot imagine that there is another resort in Cuba that can match everything that this resort offers. [Details]
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