Oceanview Suite 2177
Arrival: Our package was booked through Nolitours and we flew Club Class with Air Transat. We departed Vancouver at 21:30 Jan. 30, 2011 and arrived in Varadero at 6:20 Jan. 31, 2011. Flying Club Class results in a stress free trip due to short check in lines, lots of baggage allowance (we haven’t been able to max out, yet, priority boarding and, of course, the big seats in a cabin dedicated to a small number of people. I have only one complaint about the flight down; the Club Class cabin crew sucked big time, especially the attendant who was working our side of the cabin. Fortunately for this lazy so and so (can’t use the word I’d like to but you can use your imagination), it was an overnight flight so, after dinner (excellent meal) everyone hunkered down to sleep or watch a movie so the attendants didn’t have much to do. Upon arrival in Varadero, we passed quickly through Customs and into the baggage arrival area. The priority tags on our bags worked as our bags were amongst the first off and we were out to the bus within 30 minutes of getting off the plane. The sun was coming up on a beautiful, clear, sunny day and the weather would not disappoint over the next two weeks.
We arrived at Breezes Jibacoa around 8am and check in was quick. Happily, our room was ready. In the past, morning check ins have resulted in having to wait until the afternoon to get into our room and we were prepared for this eventuality. Getting to the resort had been a long and tiring day and night so it was great to get into our room early.
We were very excited to discover we were given a different suite to our previous stays and found ourselves in building #11, suite 2177. This is one of the more private, set back suites and faces west and is the 2nd building over from the Ranchon. We loved it and decided we preferred it to our previous suite 2130 in building #4. The suites are made up of a large bedroom with a full bath ensuite, open concept living room, dining room and small kitchnette, large powder room off the entry hall and a double balcony with 2 padded loungers and table at one end and 2 wooden chairs and table at the other end. The suites are all located on the second floor at the end of the ocean view buildings. Although there are 6 oceanview buildings, I believe there are only a total of 10 suites at the resort. A couple of the buildings only have one suite. We always book our vacation quite early because we know when we want to travel, want a suite and travel Club Class. Because of this tight criteria, we don’t take the chance of being disappointed by putting off booking waiting for some elusive "deal".
Restaurants and Bars: We noticed a much tighter run buffet restaurant this time around and this was a change for the better. There is a new manager who wanders around checking to see that the buffet trays are being restocked, helping guests find a table to sit at (especially at dinner). The waitstaff is being rotated quite a bit so that none of them are at one dining area for more than a few days. As in the past, we found all the servers and workers in the buffet restaurant, bars and ala cartes to be very pleasant, polite, helpful and cheerful. Special mention to Andy and Hector, Yaniol, Yoel, Tony and Aislin, Nelson and, of course, Clark! Buffet meal schedule: Breakfast 7:30am – 10:30am Lunch 12:30pm – 2:30pm Dinner 7:00pm – 10:30pm Exceptions: Wednesday = Seafood night dinner starts at 6:30 pm Friday = Gala night dinner starts at 6:30 pm ALA CARTES…book as soon after checking in as possible. The resort was full the 3 weeks we were there and booking the ala cartes was difficult. Tip: if you aren’t able to book when you want, try going down to the ala carte after it opens and see if there have been any cancellations or no shows. We got in for dinner by doing just that.
Beach/Pools/Grounds: I took my first dip in the pool this trip (we are not pool people so rarely spend time there). It was so very hot the first 12 days of our stay and late one afternoon, after a day at the beach, we just wanted to cool off so we hopped into the pool. Even though there were a lot of people lounging around the pool, only a few were in the water and it was an enjoyable experience. It really is a quite beautiful area of the resort. The hot tubs were always occupied but we’ve never understood why people would go to the tropics to sit in a hot tub when it’s up in the 80’s…huh??? The hot tubs are drained around 10pm to keep any unruly guests from disturbing people in the pool view rooms with late night antics. Smart move!
We spend our time at the beach and were blessed with fantastic weather for 12 straight days…hot, hot, hot and calm so we made sure we got in snorkeling every day. You just never know when the weather will change and it did, big time at the beginning of our third week. The weekend was cool and cloudy but Monday returned to clear skies but very windy. It stayed this way for the rest of the week and the beach was red flagged due to rough waters and so many man o’ wars washing in it became the talk of the resort. No one, including the locals, had ever seen it so bad. They were strung like a necklace along the whole length of the beach. What a sight.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
Many activities are offered at the resort but we are not participators so I can’t give a view on any of them. The only thing we want to do is relax, read, snorkel, take walks and do some socializing with other guests. We enjoy going off resort and spent two separate days visiting friends and one day visiting Varadero to check out where we were back in 1978. Two days were devoted to Havana, both overnighters. One trip was made by my husband, by himself, to spend time with some cigar buddies from Canada. He stayed at a beautiful Casa, with them, and they had a great time shopping for cigars in various parts of Havana. The next week, we went in and stayed at the same Casa. A couple of highlights were a visit to the Debbie’s office to meet the staff running the site, a horse and buggy ride from Habana Vieja to the Hotel National and lunch in the courtyard at Hostel Conde de Villanueva.
Other Comments: An often asked question is why do we keep returning to the same resort. The answer is simple: Breezes Jibacoa has never disappointed and we always return home looking forward to returning. We can’t say this about any other resort we stayed in past travels. The resort is well maintained, grounds are beautiful, the staff pleasant, helpful and make you feel welcome. Everyone of them will greet you as you pass by, be it inside or walking around the grounds. Although remote, those who enjoy walking will love the opportunities offered in the area surrounding this resort. Personally, we love walking up the farm road towards the main highway or, in the other direction, towards the campgrounds strung along the ocean. Once again, the Cubans you pass by will all greet you with smiles or waves. Because of it’s remote location, this resort will not appeal to everyone. For those with kids who meet the age criteria of 14 and over, just because they can stay there does not mean it would be the best choice for this age bracket. While we were there, a father and son were in the building next door and the boy was around 14 or 15. There were no other kids that age or even close so he would wander around like a little lost soul. We felt quite sorry for him. He would have been much better off at a resort in Varadero that catered to families. We’ve spent a total of 13 weeks at this resort, all during the months of January and February, and it has been very rare to see teens at the resort during this high season period. The ones we have seen have been in pairs and were able to keep each other company and appeared to be having a good time. I can not close off without mentioning Vivian and Sarah in Public Relations. Two very special ladies who make every stay enjoyable. Thank you and everyone else at the resort for a most enjoyable stay. See you next winter!