|Blau Costa Verde||LindaBT||Quebec Canada|
Blau Costa Verde Trip Review - Nov. 15th to 22nd 2007
We left Montreal at 7:00 am. We discovered that travelling with a baby has its perks. We (son, daughter-in-law, granddaughter, husband and myself) were allowed to board first. We had not reserved our seats and were ok with those we were allocated which were at the back of the plane, two seats in the middle and the two seats on the left (configuration 2-3-2). Flight was a bit turbulent but not bad. When we landed, there was a mad dash to get off the plane (not by us but everyone else), so much so that people were not giving us a chance to get up to get our carry-ons. We exited the plane last and ended up at the end of a long line-up for immigration. A very nice Cuban woman came over to us and said to follow her. She took us to the head of a line and explained to those waiting that we would be going ahead of them because of the baby. We breezed through, got our luggage and exchanged some money and were on the bus in no time.
Check-in at the resort was quick. Because I was a repeat guest of the BCV, we were given rooms on the third floor of bldg #6 with oceanview. In my room, there was a bottle of dark rum and a fruit platter to welcome us. Later in the week there was a note on our door inviting us to a cocktail party with management but we not able to attend as it was scheduled after our departure on the 22nd. The note also informed us that we were entitled to a free lobster dinner (these are normally available upon request at 19 CUCs) which we were happy to accept. If we had had a late departure, we would have been able to get a free late check-out also. The people at Guest Relations were very helpful. Senora Noemi Mulet (Jefe de Ventas) whom I had emailed before our arrival was very nice. She made arrangements so my son and dil could receive a tetra pack of whole milk in the fridge every day for the baby.
There is a room safe (program your own code) which is free.The maid did an excellent job. Our rooms were very clean. As during my first trip, my bed sheets were changed every day. I don't know if this is always the case or because I left gifts every day, but it was a nice touch. The resort was clean throughout including all the public washrooms.
We found there was a nice variety of food offered. There is the main buffet were we had breakfast and most dinners. We always had lunch at the beach restaurant (my husband had the grilled shrimps every day). My son and his family ate lunch with us or some days at the snack bar next to the pool. There was never a problem finding things that my granddaughter would like, she is not a fussy eater. We ate at the Italian à la carte and the Cuban à la carte, both were good. The drinks were good at all the bars and for those like us who like slushie (sp?) drinks, they were available at all the bars (including the beach). Service at the bars and dining areas were very good, we never had to wait long.
There were plenty of loungers at the beach and palapas and trees for shade. I went snorkelling every day right from the beach and my husband and son and dil went out on the catamarans a few times and loved it. We had lovely weather, a few minutes of rain one morning and a shower late one evening. It was hot but there was often a nice breeze.
We left for the airport right after breakfast. We were again last in line and this time had to wait lol. We figured we wouldn't be seated together but were surprised to be given the three middle seats of aisle 6 and an aisle seat in front of me for my husband. We had a smooth flight back. Montreal was covered in snow which we could have done without.
All in all, we had a great time. We received very good service and never felt the pressure to tip which we were glad to do anyway. It was my son and his wife's first trip to the Caribbean and they loved Cuba. When they saw the beach they just couldn't get over the color of the water. They finally understood what keeps bringing us back to Cuba, how friendly the people are, how relaxing a vacation can be. This is a lovely resort, a smaller one (approx 300 rooms) which is what we like. We enjoyed our stay and I would love to return again. There is however one condition. As I mentioned to Senora Mulet in my initial email for a room request, the beds at this resort are hard, not just firm, but hard. She agreed that ALL the beds were that way. I mentioned it also in a form I filled out at the resort for Guest Relations. There were also several springs that you had to avoid while sleeping. It is unfortunate and I honestly can say that I am not exaggerating when I say that the mattresses should be changed. I think I would have to be assured of a comfortable mattress before I would return. It may sound silly, but I didn't sleep well all week and I think it is an important part of any vacation.
|Blau Costa Verde||iluv2travel||Ontario Canada|
Just returned from the BCV, we were there from Feb 21st - Feb 28th. Both of us are in our thirties, and have travelled alot in the past but this was our first trip to Cuba.
I would have to say Cuba is alot different from Mexico, so don't go with the same expectations.
Sunwing- Flights there and back were both on time and the service onboard was great, check in at the airport in Toronto was a little time consuming, I would suggest getting there early to avoid standing in the long line. We did have a stop on our return flight in Cienfuegos which we were not told about until we read about it on a forum and confronted our travel agent she confirmed that the plane would be making a stop on our way home. I did feel like both Sunwing and Selloff Vacations were being deceitful by not mentioning this at the time of booking and acting like it was a last minute thing when indeed it was not.
The ride from the airport went by quick and you are transferred in a brand new very comfortable bus. Check in at the resort was super fast, we had purchased the VIP package and I strongly recommend it, we received everything we were promised and more.
Rooms- at the resort could really use some updating but again your in Cuba, our shower did not work, and we had to ask the maid to do a little extra cleaning , she did with out a problem and then things were clean and comfortable and we made do with the shower. We had a ocean view room, but all rooms are pretty far from the ocean and even a view of the resort would still be nice, our mini bar was stocked daily you just need to hang the mini bar sign on your door. We were in block 5, room 5311 and we found it to be central to everything.
****** Do not leave any food in your room, we had some open food and we had a army and I do mean army of red ants move in, they were in our luggage our bed etc. this was our fault but just a tip for those of you going so you don't encounter the same problem*****
Food- there was no shortage, the Buffet Pasta bar was excellent but really slow, their breads/buns are very good. We agreed that breakfast was the worst meal of the day but lunch and dinner were very good with alot of variety. The ala carte restaurants were both excellent, and if you purchase the Vip Package the gala dinner is excellent, steak & lobster!!!!
Pool- very nice, big and clean, never a shortage of chairs, close to the bar, swim up bar is there but was never busy, actually this is the first resort we have ever been to where no one swims in the pool. This is most likely because the ocean and the beach are so beautiful.
Beach- Out of this world, it is just awesome, there is lots of shade if you want it, no shortage of chairs, calm blue water and white sand and big enough to go for a long walk and gather shells. We loved the beach and only went in the pool once because we thought we would enjoy the ocean as much as possible. You can snorkel right there, without having to take a boat, bring some bread and bananas for the fish. There are some paths that you can walk on to go to a little deserted beach, worth the walk we really enjoyed it. During our stay there was not one peddler on the beach selling anything, this was a nice change, anyone who has travelled to Mexico knows that it is a very common practice there. It is a little walk from the resort to the beach, but there is a little bar right at the beach as well and a towel hut and a beach grill with washrooms.
Staff- Most were very friendly but there were some that only seemed to be motivated by money. There were a few occasions when they would tell us that they ran out of something ex: rye/orange juice but once you gave them a little $$ they seemed to be able to find some. We did bring gifts to give out and everyone (resort workers) we gave them to were very grateful so it was nice to be able to make a small difference.
Tours- We took the VIP shuttle ( a air conditioned new bus) into Guardalavaca and I would really recommend this over the train, as the train was way overloaded and swaying from side to side. There is a little market there for shopping, very cheap prices and some neat stuff. There is a beach there that is even nicer than the one at the resort, absolutely the most beautiful beach I have ever seen.
We also took a taxi into the town of Holguin, it cost 80 cuc round trip, it was nice to see how they live and go about their day to day business, there really isn't any shopping there at all though and we didn't find the locals very friendly..
Vip Package- with this we got- a express check in, we went in our own line served right away, big beach towels in our room which you can exchange these daily down at the beach, a bottle of rum, a fruit basket and a cigar, reservations when ever we wanted for the ala carte restaurants, a gala dinner, late check out, we were able to stay in our room till 5 pm when the bus came, a 1/2 massage, trip into Guardalavaca, and a ocean view room
I may have forgotten something but it just seemed overall that we were given better service as soon as we were identified as purchasing the Vip package.
Watersports- These were included in the all inclusive package but 3 out of the 7 days they didn't have any. If the weather is not nice in the morning they send the workers home and even if it clears up later the water sports are cancelled for the day. Make sure to get them in if they are open you may loose your chance if the weather turns so so.
Weather- It was great while we were there, hot! We had one morning of overcast and wind and one late afternoon of rain, we were able to tan and swim everyday 80's..
Entertainment- Would recommend for families with small kids, there was a mini disco every night and a kids club program, which on several occasions we saw workers trying to gather kids up to play. For adults resort entertainment every night but off the resort activities are limited ( no Carlos & Charlies) or a downtown for nightclubbing. There is a disco at the resort, we went to it was very busy and right down by the ocean, good music and lots of fun. You are able to do as much or as little as you want.
$$$ You can exchange it right at the resort, the rate was cheaper there than at the airport.
Calling home- VERY EXPENSIVE- in the past we have always used phone cards, so we bought one, it was a total waste of money when calling home they couldn't hear a word we were saying even if we yelled. We ended up having to call from our room, it was $2.00 a minute from the time the phone starts ringing upon checking out our bill was $75.00 cuc. Our friends used the email service and were quite happy with that.
Overall we enjoyed Cuba and the BCV, found it very different from any other destination we have been, would recommend it and would return.
Have a Great trip if you decide to try the BCV!!!
|Blau Costa Verde||Millybess and Messybill||Ontario Canada|
We stayed at Blau Costa Verde from Jan 3 - 10. There were 6 of us, and included in the group were 4 teenagers.
We flew with Sunwing. We arrived at the new, beautiful and seemingly efficient, terminal 1 four hours before departure. There were a few people ahead of us and within about 1/2 hour, the line was quite long.
The flight to Holguin was terrific. We left about 40 minutes late and arrived 15 minutes early. From gate to gate, the flying time was exactly 3 hours. They didn't even have time to finish the coffee service after dinner!
Sunwing provided us with a small glass of champagne and orange juice; free headsets; a hot meal (choice of chicken or pasta); free soft drinks and small snackpack and free wine with dinner.
We arrived at the BCV 2 hours after our flight arrived. There were only 2 desk clerks working, so check-in took a very long time.
My husband and I purchased the VIP package with the BCV. Included were: separate check-in -- very handy because we were also able to check in to the other 2 rooms at the same time, so the wait for us was much less; oceanview room; free excursion to Guardalavaca; lobster dinner; free massage; nightly turn down service; bathrobes and beach towels in the room; bottle of rum; fruit basket; preferential a la carte reservations. All of these things were readily available to us upon check-in, without having to ask.
The beach was very good. We found that the closer you got to Playa Pesquero, the rockier it became. Therefore, we enjoyed the BCV beach much more than when we stayed at PP. The beach was always crowded, but there was never a problem getting loungers. The peddle boats, kayaks, hobie cats were always easy to book. There is also lots of shade on the beach.
We had a room in block 6 with a gorgeous view. The bed is hard -- exactly like sleeping on a piece of plywood. It took me a few days to get used to this, but everyone else in our family liked the beds. Loads of closet and drawer space, although, not many hangers. We had a large bathroom with a powerful shower and lots of towels. There are no coffeemakers in the room, which was a little disappointing as I would have liked to take in the view off the balcony in the mornings with a cup of coffee.
The grounds of the BCV are lush with lots of shade.
The pool was nice and very clean. It was easy to find a lounger, even though the resort was at almost 100% occupancy. At the pool they use the nice, comfy, blue loungers rather than the hard plastic ones.
The dive shop is close by. Contrary to many positive reviews, we found them to be arrogant and unprofessional and they were only used once by my husband and son. Everyone went snorkelling and my daughter and her friend got a picture of a baby squid!
The food at BCV was consistently good. The selection is perhaps not as large as at resorts such as PP, but the quality was noticeably better than when we stayed at the PP last year. In particular, the bread and the rolls were excellent. In fact, there was enough excellent food at the buffet, that we cancelled an a la carte reservation to eat in the buffet on our last night.
There was a bizarre experience just before checking out when a maid complained about the number of towels (room towels, not beach towels) in one of the kids rooms. Apparently, they were short one face towel and two small plastic hangers. At the time, we thought that the maid's concern was driven by fear of having to own up to the loss of a towel, but perhaps it is just another charade to extract a few pesos from the touristas? We didn't really appreciate her fit of temper, as she had pulled the same stunt the day before and had apparently called security who found the hand towel drying on the balcony! So, in the end, the maid probably got less than she would have otherwise.
The service and friendliness of the staff were fantastic and comparable to Paradisus Rio de Oro. Like PRDO, it seems to be the staff that make this resort an enjoyable experience. They seem to all be working as a very friendly team to make the experience the best they can for the guests. We think that this indicates hotel management is doing a very good job.
The flight home with Sunwing seemed to take forever, even though we were 20 minutes early into Toronto. The flight stopped in Cienfuegos and if I had known this at the time of booking, I would have booked this holiday with another carrier.
|Blau Costa Verde||Garin and SWMBO||Lancs Uk|
Flight Monarch 330 airbus 8hrs 30mins from Manchester flight was OK we had 2 seats at the back of the plane which give you a little more room than the blocks of 3 seats leg room is minimum on monarch flights.
Airport Inbound Passport and hand luggage check was reasonably quick the suitcases took a while to come through and was slightly chaotic we changed some money while we waited took about 1hour to get through the airport,
Outbound Once the initial chaos settled down it took just over 1 hour to clear customs this was only slightly quicker if you booked VIP.
Hotel Room Check in took about 15 minutes, ask for your safe key and your card for the towels when you check in. The room was ready (arrived at the BCV at 2pm) and a reasonable size, the rooms are equipped with a hairdryer, TV and a fridge with 2 cans of beer and orange and a bottle of water this was not replenished at the end of the 2nd week all rooms were given a card to replenish the fridge if needed, the air conditioning had 3 settings and worked well.
Hotel Grounds The grounds were very tidy and cleaned everyday an quite spacious, the stage area and the pool were close together this was not a problem during our stay as the hotel was not full, the beach was a 5 minute walk away and had a beach hut were you got your towels and snorkel gear and a bar open from 10 to 17-30
Restaurants The buffet was very good and had a good assortment of food and the staff were friendly and efficient, there are 2 a la carte restaurants Cuban and Italian the service was excellent as was the food they seem to concentrate on the quality of the food rather than the way the waiters are dressed, beach restaurant this is set back at the end of the beach and is open for drinks 10 to 17-30 and food is served 12-30 to 14-30 with a choice of 5 set meals, snacks are available from the poolside bar from 12 to13-00 and 16 to 17-00 in all the restaurants the staff were very friendly and could not do enough for you.
Bars There are 3 bars piano bar, pool side bar and beach bar the staff in all of these bars were excellent especially one who served us with mojitoes as soon as our glasses were empty all night without us having to order them now that is what I call service, on most nights we watched the show from the poolside bar, the beach bar is used for the disco from 23 to 02-00.
Animation/activities The animation staff worked hard throughout the day and night especially with the audience participation which was a good laugh, I preferred the live bands especially the one that did rock through the ages, they sounded a bit like santana we could have listed to them all night they had people dancing all round the complex. Throughout the day there were many actives dance lessons, Spanish lessons, shooting. waterpolo, beach volleyball. Pedal boats, canoes,sailing ,water skiing were available on the beach.
Tours We booked the Jeep tour through the hotel and I drove the jeep there was only 2 jeeps on the day we went this was a great day out which included jet skiing, snorkeling. ox and cart ride, horse riding, a visit to a the place were Christopher Columbus landed, and a meal in a restaurant on farm (this is the official image of how they want you to think the Cuban farmers live). We were lucky enough to meet a very friendly Taxi driver so we booked 3 days out with him, this worked out a lot cheaper than the official tours and gave us some idea of what the Cuban people are really like and how they live.
Staff All the staff at this resort are very friendly and a few words of Spanish go along way, we discreetly left gifts which were greatly appreciated.
Overall view We enjoyed our stay at the BCV and would not hesitate to go back. the only fault we could find was that area in front of the stage could be bigger especially if the hotel is full
Pictures are here: http://www.7daysinparadise.com/gallery/BCVtop