Playa Pesquero Resort Reviews page 2 – Holguin – Cuba Hotels – Debbie's Caribbean Travel & Resort Reviews

Playa Pesquero Resort – Holguin – Reviews Posted – 5

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Playa Pesquero Resort – Holguin Kirk — Ontario

March 2004

Spent 2 weeks there Feb 16th to March 1st. Weather was great. We have travelled quite extensively and found our first trip to Cuba quite memorable. Playa Pesquero is the largest resort we ever stayed at but you would have never known that there were over 2,000 people there. The resort is layed out very well. The pool is gigantic!

The staff could not have been more accommodating and friendly. If you go please say hi to Leo,(bartender, swim up bar) from the guy with the same haircut, and tell Yis (entertainment crew), Hi from his adopted parents. He will know who you are talking about. Yes you may have to wait at the swim up bar between 2 and 4 pm., but you probably need to take a break from a drink anyways!!!

Rooms were well designed and the beds were awesome. I have a bad back and I had no problems for the 2 weeks we were there. On touring the town I never felt safer. I felt less intimidated than any place in Mexico.

Our first day there, yes we had to wait in line to book our al la carte restaurants (total 1.5 hrs), but then we were set for the week. We have been to resorts where you had to book daily so this was actually a nice change.

The resort is huge! If you have problems with your legs or knees and have braces by all means bring them. There was alot of people using theirs.

Restaurants – It was nice to visit all the different restaurants, yes some of them were better than others. I will not tell you which ones I preferred as I folllowed previous reviews and everyone has different opinions on what they prefer. I will just say that they were all decent! Previous reviews commented on the bad wine. I do not know where they got their wine but anywhere we went on the resort we asked for Cuban wine and it was better or comparable to any wine we drink here in Canada. Maybe those people should have stopped wineing about trival things and maybe the staff would have made suggestions to try the Cuban wine. The only complaint I have with the restaurants and this goes along with the whole resort is the Quebec people. They give Canadians a bad name! We found them to be very arrogant and ignorant! We are from Ontario and we were enjoying our vacation and were told to keep the noise down, in one of the restaurants!. One time during breakfast I even had a lady steal my toast after talking to her partner in english then when I confronted her she pretend she could not speak a word of english.

We did tip more than we usually do but I do not feel that it made a difference on the service I received either at any bars or restaurants.

At the pool, yes you have to rise early to researve a chair, but I have been travelling for years and very few resorts do you not have to do this. People have complained about the chairs. Yes they are hard but this is not a 6 star resort and almost any resort you go to will not have cushioned chairs.

In conclusion, if you go on vacation with the thoughts that you are on vacation and going to have a good time, you will. If you go there to try and find things wrong, you will find something that you do not like and spend your vacation complaining. Boy doesn’t that sound like a good time! NOT!

You make you vacation what you want it to be!

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Playa Pesquero Resort – Holguin Mark — Canada

March 2004

Took the late afternoon flight out of Windsor with pre-assigned seats. No problems. Tight seating but the in-flight movie kept us entertained.

The bus ride from the airport to our room took @ 50 minutes, only one dead goat on the road to slow us down. No working bathroom on the bus (shouldn’t have grabbed the second beer at the airport). beer was only a 1.00 us. Check in at the hotel was very fast and we remembered to ask for a second room key and obtained it without any hassle. The room we stayed in was in the 1500 block on the first floor and it was a huge room. Nicely appointed with hairdryer coffee maker umbrella, iron, bar fridge, television, CD player and electronic safe. No problems.

We went on our first day to book the a la carte restaurants and to listen the Sunquest rep give an orientation of the area and resort. The booking of the restaurants and the orientation took less then an hour, no problems. We found the resort to be a wonderful place to wander, the beach area, the pool area, the ponds and walkways were all great. When you arrive you should check out the trips that were available through the gymnasium desk, by the time we found out about this place the free trips etc. were already booked.

Note that you can’t get insurance to rent scooters and cars in Cuba. So we didn’t rent any. We took the trip to swim with the dolphins and it was great. We took the taste of Cuba trip and that was fantastic. Note for future travellers take pencils pens small gifts with you on these tours as there are children and street people looking for you to help them out.

We had no line ups worth mentioning for any of the bars however we spent a lot of our time on the beach. Note that while laying on the beach in the shade expect a few sand flea bites. People have mentioned mosquitoes and no see ums in past articles we did not see any mosquitoes but the sandfleas like the shade on the beach.

We would definitely go again but would consider the two week package to maximize our stay. PS. On our return flight we stopped in Veredero to pick up passengers and found that Skyservice had double booked some seats. Fortunately there was enough room to seat everyone and the delay was short.

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Playa Pesquero Resort – Holguin Kim — Canada

March 2004

My husband (48 year old), my two children (10 year old boy, 7 year old girl) and myself (42 years old) just returned from one week at the Playa Pesquero. Tbere were some highs, some lows and overall I’d say we had a nice time. I wouldn’t return there however, though many guests we met had stayed there before and continue to plan more visits..

The Good…..
Weather was fabulous with at least 28-30 degrees celcius every day we were there. It rained the last day we were there, but there was a drought in Holguin and the countryside needed the moisture badly.

Pool is wonderful. Very big with swim up bar. Gets crowded at this bar about 2-4 pm daily which makes it slower service, but otherwise okay. If you want to be part of the daily recreational activities, seat yourself near the swim up bar. If you like a quieter environment, get as far away from the swim up bar as possible.

Rooms are generally pretty good. Beds so so- we both left with major backaches, though our bed at home is quite firm. They have a neat system whereby you can’t get power unless your key card is inserted at the front door. We found this handy in keeping track of our card key! and saves on energy consumption too. Additionally don’t expect your A/C to work unless your patio doors are closed and locked.

Bugs or lack thereof were appreciated. We purposefully asked for a second story room and we also put a towel across the front door at night. Had a few ants on our balcony but okay otherwise. Saw a few cockroaches in the outside of the room but never inside. if you go for a walk on the beach late afternoon or at night, put on insect repellant! The no see-ums will bite you to death. Excursions offered through Sunquest- seemed diverse enough with minimal hassle booking. There was one Canadian born Sunquest advisor who I found exceeding rude on several occasions. I heard this from a number of other guests as well. I heard her giving inaccurate information to guests about not needing to book the hotel run excursions. You need to book for all excursions regardless of who they are operated through, and for the hotel excursions, book at the Gym (next to the pool).

Kids clubs and safeness- very safe resort. Our kids were often off in the games room or playing with other kids in the pool. We never worried about their safety and the staff really seem geared to making the holiday fun for the kids.

Staff in general- extremely kind and polite. We found them to always try their best, even if they struggled in their English or their understanding of our needs. They love to tell you about their families and it is obvious that family is very important in the Cuban culture. Many of the staff are very highly educated and it is not unusual to hear them speak Spanish, English and French (quite fluently!)

The Bad…..
Line ups and waiting- this is a huge resort and you will find you spend much of your first day (and some following) waiting for one thing or another. If you book the a la carte restaurants after your arrival, expect to wait 3 hours to make your reservations unless you start lining up at 8:30 am or earlier (reservation room opens at 9 am). They have the most primitive computer system and although they try their best, this was one of the most frustrating experiences for us.

Sun cots at pool- wake up early (by 7 am) to "save" your suncot with your towel. If you try to get a suncot after this- you’ll be out of luck. There aren’t too many more on the beach either and they are always taken if you visit the beach during the day.

Food- Oh my goodness. Although there were some we met who weren’t bothered by the food, I got to the point near the end of our week where I would literally gag if I smelled the grease that they seem to add to all their foods. In all fairness to the resort, they are probably trying to appeal to too many nationalities and in the case of Canadians, they have probably heard about our fascination with fast food. Unfortunately, they don’t do the fast food thing very well. Expect grease poured into the frying pans before they crack an egg for an omelette. I was disappointed by the general lack of selection they had for fruit (only pineapple, unripe watermelon, papaya, bananas and guava).

A la carte restaurants- after spending 3 hours in line to book for these restaurants, I was diappointed in all of them with perhaps the exception of the Italian. The food they serve is basically the same as what is offered at the buffet, though is usually presented in a slightly glorified manner. Expect long waits for service. We usually sat between 2-3 hours at these restaurants, and this was particularly hard on the kids. If you like your red wine as I do, they serve only a mediocre wine from Spain. No other options in wine.

Tips- I actually found the tipping situation out of hand at this resort compared to others we’ve visited. We didn’t find it sped up service or made it any more special. It appears that many of the employees there have gotten used to getting a tip before they provide you with the service, and this is only acceptable to me in limited circumstances. If you want to book the paddle boats or the snorkelling equipment on the beach, expect to be told that they are completely booked. Somehow they become miraculously unbooked if some American money becomes visible. On the note of snorkelling equipment, take your own if you can. We didn’t talk to one person who got snorkelling equipment at the resort that wasn’t either leaking or somehow malfunctioning. This is not the case if you book an excursion off the resort where snorkelling is part of the activity.

and the Ugly….
Canadian men trying to nonchalantly gok at the occasional topless sunbather by the pool- come on guys (and this wasn’t all of you, but the few (particularly middle aged) who were just plainly a total embarrassment to watch…First off, putting on a pair of dark sunglasses while literally standing over the topless sunbather does not make you inconspicuous. Second, pull your chin up so that your mouth is closed while you lurk behind the palm tree. Third, please believe that taking the long trip around the pool to get the the bar which is beside your sun cot hardly goes unnoticed by anyone.

Overall, I would say this was a better than average resort, but not a 5 star. I would rate it a 4 compared to other resorts we have seen (but outside Cuba).

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Playa Pesquero Resort – Holguin Sophie — St-François, New-Brunswick

March 2004

We just returned from this resort in Holguin. We were 3 couples travelling together (30’s & 40’s). It was all our fist time in Cuba and we stayed from Feb. 19th to Feb 26th. The weather was very sunny, nice and warm all week. We only got a few drops of rain will we were taking the bus to leave.

Departure: We flew with Air Transat from Quebec City and had great service and good food, not complaints. Check in at the Holguin airport was quick for us since we were the first in line. But, it took almost 2 hours for us to get our luggage. We were the last to get on the bus to leave the airport.

Check in: After an hour bus drive and a few beers sold at the back of the bus, we got to the hotel around 12:30am. Check-in was quicker than we thought. A small map with our name, room number and card key were ready for us as we got there. We quickly went to our rooms to bring our luggage and went to the 24 hr Beer Garden for food and drinks. Try the Shrimps & Bacon, Cheese Balls and French fries there, it is all good.

Rooms: Rooms are very large and nicely decorated. I did notice a few small ants during the week but it was nothing major. The maid was nice and I would leave her gifts. Our mini-fridge was filed daily with water, 2 colas and 2 beers.

Service: Found restaurant and bar service to be VERY slow. Found that the employees are very TIP-DRIVEN compared to other resorts we have been to. We often felt that some people around us would get far superior service than us. We did tip and bring little gifts but soon found out it was not always enough. It got to be very frustrating. We often saw line-ups at the bars and restaurants, even at the buffet restaurant. They definatley do not have enough staff at this hotel during the peak season.

Pool & beach: Both very nice but the chairs get to be very uncomfortable. The hotel was completely full during our stay and we had to wake up early to get chairs at the pool or beach. Please take note that the chairs at the beach are only available at 8:00am. The chairs are locked with chains until an employee comes with the key. I do not agree with this system and it can be very frustrating. The hotel should invest in more chairs and much COMFORTABLE ones. The line ups in the morning for Catamaran’s, Sail boats and other equipment was too long, we did not use any. Do not expect long walks on the beach since the beach is not that long.

Food: I found the food OK. The other couples said that they had better food in Mexico & the Dominican Republic. This all depends on the individual’s tastes. The Italian, Chicken & fries Restaurants on the boulevard are the best for lunch. Go early (around noon) to get a place since lunch only starts at 12:30pm. Try the Playa Pesquero Pizza at the Italian Restaurant, it is very good!

Drinks: They have a large variety and brand names. They are very generous on the liquor portions. The best were Crazy Canadian, Sex on the Bar, Brown Cow and Bahama Mama. Also try the Alfredo special (he works at the small bar at the far end of the pool).

A la Carte Restaurants: Please book them as soon as you can. Go to the conference room next to the front desk. It is open form 9:00-3:00pm. We booked 5: Asian, Gondola, Seafood, Romantico and the Bar & Grill. With our travel agent, we were told that we had the gold package(orange bracelet) so we could book 5 A La Carte Restaurants, the silver package(blue bracelet) could only book 2 A La Carte Restaurants, they had to pay extra if they wanted more. We met a couple that had to pay $20 USD each to get an extra A La Carte Restaurant. The Romantico and Gondola were the best for us. The Seafood Restaurant on the beach was not bad. The best service was at the Bar & Grill Restaurant.You will find the reservation system very strange. The first reservations we had were at 9:00pm at the Asian Restaurant. When we got there, 2/3 of the restaurant was empty. Our second reservations at the Seafood Restaurant was at 8:30pm, we decided to try to go earlier, at 8:00pm and were lucky. Again, restaurant was almost empty. We later found out from other guests that the A la Carte Restaurants are never full, they take a maximum of reservations, not the maximum that the restaurtant can serve. Some guests could not even get reservations at some restaurants because they said it was full. The system definitely needs to be upgraded especially during the peak season.

Excursions: We went on the 4X4 Safari EcoTour. It cost $71 USD/person. The activities included visiting a local farmer, cigar manufacturer, school, marina, snorlking and riding on powered boats(like seadoo’s). They come to pick you up at the hotel at 8:15am, usually 4 persons per 4X4 jeep. We were very surprised to find out that we had a total of 5 jeeps but only 2 tour guides. So, my husband had to drive the 4X4 jeep and we had to separate the couples. The couple that we ended up with were from another resort and they did not drive. My husband drove and had to follow the others through the Cuban roads. I have to say that that scared me a little bit(accident, insurance, …). Overall, we enjoyed our day and had fun, the powered boats was the highlight of the day. We got back to the resort at 4pm. We also went to Guardavlaca by taxi, $10 USD one way from Playa Pesquero. We went shopping and to visit. Not much shopping since it is the same people that come to the resort to sell things, just a few dollars less but since you have to pay the taxi, you do not save. The beach was nice. We only stayed for about 2 hours since not much to see.

Check out: Since we were leaving late at night, we paid $50 USD to have a room until 6:00pm. Found this very convenient. Check out at 6:00pm at the hotel was quick. Check out at the Holguin Airport took around 30 min. as we were on the only airplane leaving at that time. But, we had to wait an extra 2 hours at the airport since the plane coming in was late.

Things to bring: Large isolated mug(drinks), snorlking equipment, towelets, sunglasses, sunscreen, beach shoes, inflatable mattress(for pool/beach chairs), snacking foods (granola bars, etc…), Aloe Vera lotion, dollar store gifts.

In conclusion, I loved our trip to Playa Pesquero and the Cuban people. I would not rate this resort as a 5* but more a 4 or 4.5*. We will definatley return to Cuba but not to this resort.

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Playa Pesquero Resort – Holguin Rock — Canada

March 2004

My fiancee and I just returned from a week long holiday in Cuba (Feb 21st to Feb 28th, 2004). We had booked at the Gran Playa Turquesa. After a long day of driving in snow, long airport lines, a crammed flight and a 2 hour wait for luggage at the Holguin airport, when the tour representative told us our hotel was overbooked and the we were being sent to another comparable resort (The Playa Pesquero), we were too tired and numb to react and went with the flow. Being our first holiday, we weren’t quite sure what to expect, so we were bound and determined to make the best of it. We arrived at the Playa Pesquero around 1:00 am. After waiting in line another half hour or so, we finally got our room. Since there was another line-up for the golf cart to take your luggage, we decided to have a drink in the lobby bar instead. About half an hour later the line-up was almost gone and we got on the next "train".

While being sold as a 4 1/2 or a 5 star hotel, you will see the luxury. The many ponds, tropical floral arrangements, marble floors, etc. It is a clean complex. One small complaint was the lack of bathrooms. The hotel can accommodate up to 3000 guests. The bottom line for this resort is that it is HUGE. So expect line-ups almost everywhere you go. Tipping is a big thing down there. Contrary to popular belief, tipping does not get you better service, nor does it improve much either. Some people tipped the Hobie Cats drivers to get on, only to deprive the ones who had reserved it the good ‘ol conventional way. If you are not lining up at 08:00 to reserve paddle boats, kayaks and catamarans, forget it, unless you drop a few dead presidents at the beach… Be prepared to walk a lot. For instance, forgetting your sunblock at the room, will result in about a 20 minute excursion! (Depending where your room is). Beach chairs… What a screwed up system that is. First I must say that this probably has nothing to do with the resort, other than they simply do not have enough chairs to accommodate the guests they receive. Bottom line is this, get up early (08:00 may be too late some days), walk to the beach, get your chairs, hang a t-shirt or leave an old pair of sandals on your chairs and you are set. I don’t agree with this system, but you have to go along. People are now even reserving their "spots" on the beach and pool. We saw people secure chairs on the beach AND at the pool and not even going there all day, while some poor souls laid on their towels with sand in their bathing suits all day! The beach is nice. Lots of shaded areas for those who want to stay out of the beating sun. The water is crystal blue. Most days the water is calm and snorkelling near the beach can be fun. I suggest you bring your own gear for that though. The hotel has maybe 30 sets and they are gone quickly. The masks we managed to get leaked badly. We could never get fins either (only sizes 11-12 men were ever available).

There are not very many bars for a complex that big. Only one at the beach. You may walk a good 10 minutes to get a drink, wait in line 10 or so minutes and 10 minutes back. So my advice is bring your own cups (Tim Hortons style thermo cups). The disco (called Karaoke Bar, although no karaoke ever takes place there) played urban music (AC-DC, Britney Spears, Christina, J-Lo, etc) and not a lot of typical Latino music we came to the Caribbean to indulge in.

No complaints about the food. You will not eat the same food you have at home. You are in a 3rd world country, where people make about $13 a month, so typically expect slow, but honest service but remember that you are on holidays and that you should relax! You will find something you will like and some things you won’t at most buffets. The a la carte restaurants were good and the portions were adequate. After playing the "musical chair" for over an hour to get your reservations (when you first arrive at the resort), all we managed to get were 8:30 and 9:00 reservations. Diners will take around 2 hours, you will eat late. After a few days you will learn the ropes and get better at understanding how the place works. Despite being full, the hotel complex does not feel overcrowded and there seems to be plenty of room for everyone.

The rooms were clean, big and beautiful. WARNING: WATCH YOUR STEP WHEN STEPPING IN OR OUT OF THE TUB! Both my fiancee and I slipped and hurt ourselves. The culprit seems to be the slippery anti-slip rubber mat! We spoke to about at least another dozen people who also slipped. One had a fractured jaw and another threw his back out and was basically gimped up for a week.

Overall, however, I must say we had a wonderful time. The weather was awesome with the exception of about 3 hours of rain one day. The excursions are a good time too. We did the catamaran tour (sunset trip). It was truly a lot of fun. The scooters are also a good investment ($18 for 3 hours). We took them out twice and saw the beautiful country side. They are new and safe to ride. We didn’t waste much time watching the evening shows. One was good (the one with the beautiful costumes). Bring old clothes, ball caps, perfume samples, jewellery, etc as small gifts for the maids and other workers around the complex. Money’s OK, but these gifts seem to really be appreciated. A quick trip to the dollar store will make many happy Cubans!

The following has nothing to do with the hotel, just nice to know stuff. Getting out of Cuba was a nightmare. The airport at Holguin is not set up to accommodate a large number of tourists. We waited in line to have our passports stamped for about 3 hours. 2 Toronto flights and 1 Montreal flight were all leaving at around the same time. Our flight left over an hour late because of it. Beware the attendants at the book-in counters. Your luggage will likely be over the allotted weight (20 kg each bag). The amount of money you will have to pay will vary based on the amount you may be over. Be advised that that money should be paid in CANADIAN dollars, not US as you will be asked to pay. Don’t get ripped off like hundreds did that night! Most travellers did not know this.

Overall, we had a wonderful holiday. I hope the info I provided helps you out in choosing the right hotel for you. You can e-mail me for more info if you want.

rockbrunet@sympatico.ca

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