A little background info. We’re a couple in our mid to late twenties and I’d like to stress I am writing this review without bias, as I realize other individuals rely heavily upon reviews when making decisions about vacation spots.
3401 & 4369
Granma & Manzas
Arrival: The flight was pretty turbulent both there and back, however the entire process went quite smoothly. We found the rep for transat and asked if the bus was going to Iberostar Daiquiri and it was, so they put our luggage away and we hopped on. The bus ride itself was incredibly bumpy and I had to put my head down to avoid bringing up, however it’s not the drivers fault as the roads aren’t in the greatest condition there.
The check in process was quick and we were up in our room within about 20 minutes or so. We were slightly disappointed that we had to pay 2 pesos extra a day for a safe though …
Rooms: The first room we were in was in the Granma block, room 3401 and had a walk-out patio area with a table and chairs which was nice, however their was a leak in the bathroom from the room upstairs. Apparently, their toilet was leaking down into our bathroom. There was also no remote control for the tv as well (which isn’t really a big issue), but the main issue was the leak, specifically for sanitary reasons. The second room we were moved to, which was 4369 in the Manzas block was perfect, until we went to turn on the tv and yet again, there was another problem. The picture was completely distorted. After called a few times over the course of two days, a technician finally came and replaced the tv, but that was the least of our problems. I kept getting bites around the ankles and on my arms, despite the fact that I would wear pants and a sweater out in the evenings due to the chill from the wind. By our fifth day, I had about 60 bites on my arms and legs, some of which were in clusters. Two of my friends also started developing the same type of bites as well. Upon returning to Toronto, I had a grand total of 100+ bites and I started doing some researching and also paid a trip to my doctor who confirmed my fear … I had been bitten by bed bugs and am now on antibiotics along with a full body lotion to help with the swelling, burning, and itching.
The rooms were kept clean and our maid was very sweet, leaving us all kinds of designs with the towels, however bed bugs are a major issue at this resort, as we weren’t the only ones who experienced this problem. If you read other reviews on different websites, you’ll notice a pattern regarding the bed bug issue.
Restaurants and Bars: The bars were all pretty good, no complaints there. We really like the disco bar and pool bar. They make the same drink differently at each bar which we thought was pretty funny! They all taste great though. The blue lagoon, blue daiquiri, and rainbow punch, and miami vice (not mixed) were all really yummy! Make sure to tip the bar tenders here and there, because they don’t make very much money at all and they could use the extra cash. We decided to forgo the italian and cuban a la cartes, as our friends said they weren’t very good. The main buffet is decent. All the rice and veggie dishes were great, but the pasta sauce tastes really strange along with some of the meat and chicken dishes. Stick to the fish if you can! The pizza would have been ok, if it wasn’t for that weird cheese they use. All the desserts were fantastic, so if you find the food to strange tasting, just stick with the fruit, bread, and desserts!
We did try the mexican a la carte and it was pretty good. The appetizers were actually better than the main courses. I had the chicken fajitas with no complaints and my boyfriend had the chicken and beef skewers and didn’t really like the beed. It was pretty chewy.
Beach/Pools/Grounds: Beach: The beach was gorgeous. I stayed at the Melia last January and thought the beach was a bit wider there, however the beach at the Iberostar was just as stunning. Crystal clear water (provided the water is calm) and white sand. The water is a bit cool, but it’s too be expected if you’re traveling to Cuba during their winter. The beach was always clean, with very very minimal seaweed. I would go back to cayo guillermo just for the beach. It really is that gorgeous. Pool: There’s actually only one pool at this resort and the water is freezing! You have to work your way into the water inch by inch, so your body can adjust. There’s a tiny pool for kids which is only about one foot deep and we found ourselves lounging in there because it was significantly warmer. The pool bar was different from what I’ve seen before as the seats are actually up out of the water, rather than in the water. Nonetheless, it was still quite nice.
Grounds: The grounds were always well kept, with gardeners working throughout the day, maintaining the property. There are a lot of beautiful large bushes with pretty red, pink, and yellow flowers. All in all the property is very well kept.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel: We didn’t really partake in the activities. They offer volley ball, bingo, water activities etc. We mainly enjoyed the shows and disco after the shows, which was a lot of fun.
I went to pilar beach on my previous trip to Cuba and it’s definitely worth seeing. One of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean.
Other Comments: Some of the bad: Again, I have to stress the problem with bed bugs. Quite a few people staying at the resort at the same time as us, have complained about bed bug bites. As I mentioned above, I am currently on antibiotics and have to use a body lotion for the intense burning and itching. The bites are enough to ruin a vacation, as they itch and burn non-stop and are far worse than any mosquito bite. If you’re planning on still going to this resort after reading what I’ve written, I suggest you thoroughly inspect your mattresses and sofa for bugs, bug feces, and blood stains and if you happen to find any, ask to switch rooms and check again.
In addition, I was also harassed by some of the male entertainment staff. We made friends with a couple of them and also they tended to be a little "touchy", I would keep reminding them that I did in fact have a boyfriend (whom they also made friends with) … the one incident that occurred which is completely unacceptable, was that one of the dancers grabbed my crotch from behind as I was walking in front of him and made it seem like it was no big deal when I freaked out on him. Furthermore, if you’re a family going there on vacation with teenage daughters, please think twice because you’d be shocked to know what happens at that resort after hours between not only the entertainment staff and vacationers, but also between the young vacationers. We were actually quite shocked.