HOLGUIN, CUBA: SIRENIS PLAYA TURQUESA (formerly OCCIDENTAL GRAND PLAYA TURQUESA)
COA & Family
We just returned from a fantastic week at the Turquesa. We were there from Feb 24- March 3,2008. Although my wife and I have been to many resorts during the past 20 years this trip was to be different as we were traveling with our daughter, son-in-law and our 21-month-old grandson. We had to bypass adult only resorts, avoid resorts which had unusually rough beaches and hopefully avoid the larger more crowded airports. We had flown to Holguin several times to another resort (5 star) and thought, after much investigation, that the Turquesa would fit the bill. We booked.
The week at the Turquesa exceeded all expectations. Let me comment on some negative reviews. I am convinced that many people like to complain and must have misguided expectations. Fortunately we read enough positive reviewers to balance the picture a bit. We have been to 20 resorts and have never written a review although we have read hundreds for each trip. We had to write this time to keep the balance positive.
As we often do we sent an email four days before we left Canada asking for rooms close together and saying we were traveling with a young one. When we arrived the rooms were adjoining and one even had a crib. Rooms were perfect.
Rooms were large, clean, air worked fine, water was hot all week, water pressure was good and balcony furniture was comfortable and attractive. Fridge refilled every day. As good or better than most other resorts except the upscale places.
No bugs. It may depend on time of year but we had no bugs of any description. Yes they spray every night around 6:00 pm.
The beach is one of the best! It is shallow, normally very calm, great white sand, easy to walk, more than long enough to have all the privacy you want, great for kids and building sand castles. Lots of trees to give shade if you want it. There was never a fight for shade or chairs. The water is shallow and that may concern a very few. Yes, for those that point it out there were weeds from time to time. They were never an issue and the staff worked hard to clean them up every morning. We would go back just for the beach.
You could also get great ice cream, snacks, beer and other drinks right on the beach served out of quaint little rustic buildings. Very well done and unique. Lots of boats to take out, continuous volleyball and in short the beach lacked nothing!
The pools are a sight to see and are generally quite empty until later in the day and even then securing chairs was never a problem. The pools starting at the top with the adults only cascade down several levels through five or six pools to the kids’ pool at the bottom. This was in fact right next to the swim up bar pool so handy for the baby sitting parents/grandparents. Lots and lots of chairs. Worth a trip just for the pools.
The food was great. Although we normally join the frenzy to go sign up for the specialty restaurants we decided with the young one that we would stick to the buffet. Food was great with lots of choice that appealed to everyone in our group, which included 2 meat lovers, one vegetarian, one in between and of course one toddler. The wine glasses were kept filled, live music and a fun atmosphere. In spite of other reviews I am sure I tasted more than a few spices and we thought the food was well cooked and hot. The resort was full and food was being restocked at a rapid pace and that may account for it always being hot. We heard that most of the specialty restaurants were good and there seemed to be no restriction on how many times you can go. In short if you can’t more than fill up with good tasting food at this resort you must be hard to please.
As one review said, don’t overlook the “Bucanero”, which is the buffet near the beach (Italian at night). They have a good bar and lunch buffet was different than main buffet.
The kids’ building with its own pool is the most elaborate of anything we have ever seen. Also a great play ground area. This resort is family friendly and young and old will have a great time.
The resort is built on a bit of a hill (the cascading pools) and set into the natural “forest”. They have done a great job in preserving the vegetation and every room looks into vegetation/forest/jungle all with a feeling of being very much a part of nature. If you walk up the resort from bottom to top by the pools you will be faced by the much talked about “stairs”. These can be avoided by using the walkways on the side of the resort. Yes the resort is large (uncrowded) and some walking will be required. My guess is 5-10 minutes from top to bottom. Not really larger than any of the other new resorts yet this one is all in a natural forest setting. Worth the trip just for that.
Bars, bars, – they have them all, in many places, available 24 hours and carry more than a full selection.
We are going back without question! The resort, the staff, the pools, the beach, the vegetation, the happy kids, happy parents and happier grandparents and good food all led to a week that was far too short. Give this place a serious look when you are making your next selection.