We have been returning, annually, to Breezes Jibacoa, for a two week winter vacation since 2006. Never once has the resort disappointed. Some past guests complain that they don’t go back because it’s “not like it used to be”….thankfully so, in our opinion. One would hope that resorts grow and improve rather than remain stagnant. Breezes Jibacoa continues to improve over the years whether it is improvements around the property or ways of catering to the guests.
Oceanview Suite #2204
Oceanview building #14
Arrival: Our latest visit was during the period of February 5th – 19th, 2012. Flight: direct out of Vancouver via Air Transat with Club Class seating. Although we have used Air Transat for quite a few of our trips, for next year’s vacation we will be looking at Air Canada. We have been very dissatisfied with Air Transat’s flight schedule out of Vancouver the past 3 – 4 years. They seem to get worse and worse. Over this time period, the departures have been late evening resulting in arrival at the resort pre breakfast time and departing the resort around 1 or 2 am to return home. As a result, you start your vacation exhausted and arrive back home the same way. Not a great start or end to a vacation. Air Canada, on the other hand, has a much better schedule and, if it holds for next winter, we will be booking with Air Canada Vacations. We’ve heard great things about their Executive Class. For this trip, we arrived in Varadero at 3:45 am and were quickly through Customs. As we were flying Club Class, our bags were tagged “Priority” and, amazingly, it worked. The Club Class bags were the first to hit the carousel and we were quickly through and onto a bus for the drive to the resort. We had a 45 minute wait on the bus for other guests going to Breezes and the resort next door, Cameleon Villas. Since everyone was so tired, we got in some snooze time while we waited. The drive to the resort is about 45 minutes in a comfortable bus. If you are thirsty, buy some cold beer or sodas from the vendors, out where the buses park, for your drive to the resort. We arrived at the resort just before 6am and within 15 minutes were checked in and a hotel porter placed our bags on a gurney and escorted us to our room. There is at least one porter on duty 24/7 so there is no need to pack your own bags to your room unless you don’t want to wait for the service. If you don’t see a porter, ask at reception for assistance with your bags. Note: you can make prior arrangements with Reception to have your bags picked up from your room at a pre-arranged time on your day of departure. If you do decide to pack your own bags to and from your room, please take care not to bang the bags on the stairs, cracking the tiles.
Rooms: Accommodation: OCEAN VIEW SUITE: # 2204 Building #14. We were pleasantly surprised to find that the suites have been revamped and the bedding, etc, is a fresh improvement over what had been there prior years. The pads for the lounges, on the balcony, now have vinyl upholstery rather than cloth which makes much more sense for outdoor furniture. The suite amenities are as follows: · separate living room/dining room/kitchenette and bedroom · a full bathroom off the bedroom and a half bathroom off the living area · two large closets; one in the entrance hall and one off the bedroom · fridge with small freezer, sink and cupboards in kitchenette with a stock of wine glasses, water glasses, cups and saucers, carafe, coffee maker. The fridge is restocked daily with juices, beer, sodas, small bottles of still and sparkling waters. Large bottles of still & sparkling water are replaced as needed. There’s a bottle of rum and a bottle of red wine provided. · Dining area has glass topped table and 4 chairs · Living area has two large chairs with large foot stool, table, TV. with DVD player (the DVD player is a new addition to the amenities) · Bedroom has large king size bed, night tables, vanity/desk & chair, TV., 6 drawer chest of drawers for clothes, safe in the closet, love seat, a full bathroom and sliding patio doors leading to a double sized balcony . · The balcony has two seating areas: two wooden chairs and table outside the living room area and two lounges with cushions and table outside bedroom. As well as accessible from the bedroom, patio doors, also, lead of the living room. There are 10 suites at the resort all located at the end of the second floor of the ocean view buildings. There are six ocean view buildings and all have 2 suites each except for buildings #10 & 11 which have one each.
Restaurants and Bars: There is a new food and beverage manager and he is doing an excellent job, in our opinion. The buffet food shows more variety and was consistently replaced as dishes emptied. Wine is now offered for sale and is displayed outside the door to the buffet restaurant. I wish I had known about this new feature prior to our visit as I stock up at Duty Free and pack wine down with me. The selection at the resort proved to be quite good and the prices far better that what I paid at Duty Free! You can purchase the wine in any of the restaurants to have with a meal and have it charged to your room or buy it to take to your room. We hope they continue with this feature. NOTE: FREE WINE IS STILL PROVIDED WITH MEALS AS PART OF YOUR PACKAGE. The only grumble we had about the wine sales was that not everyone was on the same page when it came to providing information. I guess the feature was so new that the wait staff was still on the learning curve. When you asked a question, you tended to get different answers from different wait staff; somewhat frustrating. Another new feature is a “special” table that has been set up in the table area below the buffet restaurant beside the fountain. The table is beautifully laid out with a white linen table cloth and red napkins and matching white covered chairs and a special menu from which to order. We didn’t have the opportunity to try it out, this visit, but it’s on our to do list for our next stay. It’s clear the new manager is trying to take things up a notch and kudos to the attempts to date. Because the resort was full, booking the ala cartes proved to be a challenge. It is really annoying, when you are in the ala carte and it is half empty, to find out that people who booked didn’t show up. If you book and change your mind, have the courtesy to cancel the reservation so that others can take advantage of the ala carte. TIP: if you can’t get a reservation, go to the ala carte about 15-20 minutes after a given reservation time (i.e. 7:15-7:20 p.m.) Reservations are only held for 15 minutes and, if someone fails to show up, you will have a good chance of being given their table.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel: Roberto (waiter at the Ranchon) has opened his restaurant in Santa Cruz del Norte called “Los Amigos”. We had lunch there with two other couples and the food and service were great. Do check it out, if you want a treat. Private taxis are now allowed to pick up passengers at the resort and you will find them lined up on the driveway. If you want a ride to Havana or other location, wander up and chat with the drivers and make your arrangements.
Other Comments: What hasn’t changed is all the great workers at this resort. Many have been there since the resort opened. We’ve read comments by some past guests that return guests get “special treatment” inferring, conversely, that first time guests do not. This just isn‘t true. If it’s free upgrades that’s being referred to as special treatment, well, we know of both return guests and first timers receiving this perk. If it’s how you are treated by the resort employees, I feel you get what you project. Whether you are a return guest or first timer, if you are friendly and courteous with hotel employees, you will be treated in kind. If you are cold and demanding, you’ll get service but don’t expect bonhomie in return! We would recommend this resort for adults looking for a small, quiet, friendly resort. If you have mobility issues, you will not have any problems getting around this resort. We would NOT recommend this resort for teens. Although 14 and over are allowed, it really doesn’t cater to young teens. If you have kids that age, you are better off looking at resorts in Varadero. We’ve only seen a couple of young teens at the resort, over the years, and they were bored silly because they had no one their age with whom to hang out. All told, another fantastic vacation at Breezes Jibacoa and we look forward to returning next February. Photos: http://s103.photobucket.com/albums/m157/cigarbreak/Cuba%202012/Breezes%20Jibacoa%202012/ To access the photos, the password is bj2012
Medical Facilities: I now have first hand knowledge of the medical facilities provided at the resort after cutting my hand quite badly a few hours after our arrival. There is a medical clinic on the resort grounds manned by a doctor and nurse 24/7. This was fortunate for me has I was bleeding profusely. The doctor quickly tended to my wound giving me 4 shots to numb the area and 6 stitches to close the wound. He ordered a prescription of antibiotics for me to take and I had to return, daily, to have the wound checked and cleaned and then the stitches were removed a week later. The wound treatment cost me 25 CUCs (including the two weeks of daily visits) and the prescription was 26 CUCs. I was very impressed by the service provided by the clinic staff but sad to see how under supplied. I know what I’ll be packing down next visit as an expression of my appreciation for how they treated me.