Memories Holguín Beach Resort (formerly Sirenis Playa Turquesa and Occidental Grand Playa Turquesa) Reviews – Cuba Hotels – Memories Holguín Beach Resort (formerly Sirenis Playa Turquesa and Occidental Grand Playa Turquesa)

Beautiful hotel, grounds, pools. Large rooms, so-so playa, excellent service, alacarte restaurants very good, buffet to be improved. Weather in mid 30s and muggy, but perfecto all week! All of these comments were made directly (with appropriate constructive suggestions) to the PTBe at the Memories.

Room Number:

Arrival: CHECK-IN: fast and efficient, even for a large group at almost midnight. The hotel was less than a third full, mostly Canadians/Quebekers, many Pols, all nice people, a few families with young children. We changed room the next morning because we had requested a Qbed (anniversary trip)and had gotten 3 singles… All repairs during the week were done rapidly, efficiently, and with a smile (i.e. no hot water in shower, safe kaput).

Rooms: Rm 418, near pool and playa, very clean, small shower, no beer or colas in fridge (am assuming it’s just for vip clients?) but was no problemo for us. Water bottles delivered promptly each morning. No bugs of any kind in the room. Good beds, nice linens. No housecoats but lots of towels, facecloths, t.paper. Nice balcony surrounded by shaded trees…and huge Poinsettia bushes in full bloom, wunnerful!

Restaurants and Bars: RESTAURANTS: The Romantico and Cuban alacartes were very good, compared to the fare offered at the Buffet each day. The lack of variety –and HOT food– at the Buffet is our only major peeve (and we’re not fussy eaters when in Cuba!). The staff told us they were restricted by the supplier. The Buffet DID offer a spectacular view of the pools and sea, to die for! The 24-hr snack bar had good pizza and chicken wings for lunch, and the beachbar lunch grill offered pizzas, hamburgers and humungous hot dogs, all good. Note: The Romantico is the only enclosed restaurant with A/C onsite. BARS: Beach bar had mojitos, tried the Sunshine (white rum + naranja), no coco locos, no Sberry daiquiris. Pool bar bartender Giovanni puts on a spectacular show, won best international bartender. Lobby Bar great coffee, pink champagne para MOI and Santiagos para LUI, sweet! Snack Bar also has a bar, good coffees and cold ones. Good service with a smile.

Beach/Pools/Grounds: POOL AND PLAYA: The site is vast, with spectacular vegetation around the 4-tiered pool, as the hotel in on a slope with many stairs (of course stone walkways are an option). We did not use the pools but they were beautiful; we were told they were very clean, well stocked with chairs, palapas, and service. PLAYA was of course small (we knew going in; it was slightly longer than that at the PPesquero but much smaller than playa Esmeralda) and unfortunately the water was cloudy most of the week, despite calm seas. A bit of seaweed on the beach was rapidly picked up each morning before 9-ish. Some seaweed underfoot in the water, which apparently bothered some people, not us. Snorkeling could be done a few meters from shore and there were mangroves and coral on either end of the bay for this purpose. Saw some beautiful coral samples on one such excursion. No seashells to speak of, probably because of the reef off shore. The catamaran staff can easily paddleboat u out for some snorkeling. The site is almost spotless at all times. Cleaning staff very discrete.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel: ENTERTAINMENT: The Animation staff (with over a dozen new trainees) did their best to keep us occupied and were all very sweet and cheerful. There was soft live music in the lobby each night. One tourist, a retired concert pianist from Germany, honoured us with a few classical pieces, for which he received an ovation, twas impressive! No entertainment in the restaurants. Each night we enjoyed the live bands near the Snackbar who played for a good hour before the nightly shows. These bands were FANTASTIC! One such band, called CLAIM, played 80s-90s rock favourites, Clapton, RHCPeppers, ACDC, something I had never seen in Cuba, a huge ovation! We saw only snippets of a couple of shows (we turn in early). The hotel presented an Aquatic Show one night, and although the troupe was fantastic, the inadequate lighting made it hard to see/fully appreciate their performance, costumes and even faces… One noontime there was a Cuban Party with roast pig (looked like a baby pig) but it took so long for it to cook that many people just gave up waiting and went to lunch elsewhere… Others who did wait did not get any food because they ran out… Paddleboats are available for snorkeling as well as catamarans.

Other Comments: LOS GATOS: Several cats onsite (report made to Radar for SP). Cat lovers here, so fed them when we could, especially the kittens! BUG REPELLANT necessary as soon as sun begins to set (in November that’s around 4:30 at the pool) so bring Watkins or stuff of choice. Noticed no sand flea bites on people but lots of no-see-um bites on many. With Watkins, no problemo para nosotros. There is a huge fountain in the front lobby which did not work all week but would have been welcomed in this quiet area which fills ups quite a bit in the evenings and could add to the warm welcome of the hotel as patrons arrive/leave (pictures to post on FB and other media, for example). Kudos to this hotel for its recycling bins all over the site (paper/plastic/metal) and for the cards in the rooms asking us to save water (i.e. reuse towels).

MUCHAS GRACIAS Raquel (Community Mgr), Adel and Mayelin (Reception), Big Alexis(Bellboy), Linett and Ana (Lobby Bar), Ivonne (rm lady), Hanley (charming Maitre D), Annie, Claudia and Peachy (animation), Juan and Ariel (catamarans)

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