We stayed at Brisas del Caribe for our first visit to Cuba. We went as part of a wedding group. The room was simple but adequate. Our maid did a good job and kept us well stocked with towels and so on. We had a mini fridge to store drinks. We weren’t too impressed with the food, but it was what we expected for Cuba. We had a few negative experiences with the staff: Upon arrival, the bellboy who drove us to our room grumbled because our party was in two separate buildings and he had to make two trips. His attitude improved somewhat when we tipped him for his trouble. On our second night, one of the waiters in the buffet restaurant threw a temper tantrum because our party of 14 asked to have some tables pushed together. He ranted that we hadn’t given them any notice of a large party. When he got agitated, we suggested he let us move the tables ourselves if it was such a big deal. For some reason, that got him really angry. We then said, "Forget it. We’ll just sit in separate groups." He ignored us and began pushing the tables together, all the while ranting and making insulting remarks in Spanish (which he didn’t realize I could understand). Despite the posted hours of the shops and the currency exchange booth in the main foyer, it became a running joke for our group that they were never open. They were supposed to be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., but the staff frequently wandered off and closed the shops for hours at a stretch. A couple of the bartenders seemed to like making nasty jokes at the guests’ expense (again, not realizing that I could understand Spanish). I had a friendly conversation in Spanish with one of the security guards on the second day. This was okay at first, but after a while, he began to complain about the condition of his clothing, how poor his family was, how little he was paid (all of which, I’m sure, was true). But the day before we were due to go back, he found me on the beach, asked me to follow him into a grove of palm trees, and asked me outright for money to help his family, which made me decidedly uncomfortable. He wrote out his address on a piece of paper, told me I was his "hermano" (brother), and asked me to talk it over with my wife. On another occasion, a groundsperson smiled and said hello to us. When I said hello back, he grabbed a coconut and said he was wanted to give it to my wife. My wife said "No thanks" in English, and I said "No thanks" in Spanish, but he proceeded to cut up the coconut with a machete over our protests and handed it to my wife. He then put out his hand for a tip. I understand that Cubans are paid miserably and are looking for a little extra, but we had a few instances in which the staff would do "extra" things for us, ignoring our protests of "no thanks," and then expect a tip. Despite these issues with some of the staff, we were generally happy with the resort and loved the beach.
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