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Reviewed 22 September 2018

The flight to cuba

The Thomas cook flight going to cuba was good plenty of seat room and leg room on the airbus A330

Holguin airport

Very small airport and takes a while to go through the passport control

The transfer is advertised at 30 minutes actually takes over 60 minutes on busses the AC a bit hitty missy

Arrival at PCV you are greeted with a cool drink before checkin. Check in was chaos with the amount of people that needed to check in the staff seemed incompetent and took on average 3 staff members to check one person in. The lobby area has a few broken tiles especially on the steps and when you look up large lampshades are veryu dirty as is the ceiling and a few rotten timers where its been raining in my first impressions were a neglected resort.

They supply electic mini busses to take you to your room as some are quite a distance, the rooms are blocks of 12 scattered in grounds of resort. The room was adequate bit dated but was fine for cuba the AC worked good did not like it above the bed though as you could see the vents were dirty. Patio furniture dirty and dated but still fine for cuba.

The grounds of the resort are beautiful and very well maintained and gardeners very polite and friendly the maid for the room was also friendly and polite.
The beach was amazing but is accessed by a bridge crossing a large smelly swamp. Beach bar on the beach great when was not running out of drinks.

Bars in general run out of vodka rum gin cola sprite orange every day it seems they get a daily allowance when its gone its gone now ive traveled to cuba plenty times before this is a hotel management issue rather then a Cuban supply issue maybe its to try to limit what the guests can have to save costs I don’t know but not very good

The food

How on earth no one has died yet from food poisoning in the buffet bar is beyond me apart from the fresh cooking station the rest of it is just left unattended with flies and birds present also the stuff what supposed to be hot is stone cold. We ate in the snack bar a lot at least its cooked and served straight away however the locals would order 5 meals each and put them in bags to take away so when you ordered sorry nothing left!!!! I don’t mind locals doin g that but when no food is left its beyond a joke

alacate restaurant

STEAK HOUSE
Don’t waste your time its 16 cuc each an although was ok the steak was the size of a golf ball and is served with a lettuce leaf and 1 small new potato

ITALIAN

Was free and ok but you have to book it and they have a no short trousers dress code

JAPANESE

Excellent and food cooked in front of you

The onsite shop is very expensive apart from cigarettes 1.20cuc a pack

I would not return to this hotel due to the health risks from the buffet restaurant I seen no evidence of this big bird the hotel say they have that scares little birds from the restaurant and they run out of drinks everyday

Tips
take plenty of dehydration sachets with you and take 1 a day to stop you becoming ill as dr charges a fortune to put you on a drip

Take plenty of Imodium you will need it

Take plenty of mosquito repellant you will need it

Date of stay: September 2018
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
7  Thank Miles E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Alexei R, Director Comercial at Hotel Playa Costa Verde, responded to this reviewResponded 25 September 2018

Dear Mile E
On behalf of Playa Costa Verde Hotel staff and management team, I want to express our apologies for any inconveniences you might have had during your stay with us. We are really sorry you have this opinion about our Resort, however we don´t share your point of view. First of all we don´t have any complain from your part that allowed us to solve any inconvenience you would have had. You can be sure management team and staff are committed to increase the level of service doing special emphasis on hygiene. As any hotel in the world, we receive several inspections from the national institutions related with Health and Safety and also those carried out by the tour operators from different countries. We don’t have any situation with illnesses caused by lack of hygiene. There are strict measures to accomplish the requisites of the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point System, which is implemented in our resort. The members of the staff have all the items and products to properly clean all the areas. We respect your opinions but also the opinion of the huge majority of tripadvisor members who have a radical different judgement. Anyway we will recheck all the hygiene procedures in our resort to avoid any incident that could affect our guests’ security. We would be honoured if you decide to return to our resort.

Regards

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 September 2018 via mobile

We both had a great time the hotel was very clean and tidy the only issue we had was no toilet seat. The buffet food was ok but the fresh cooked food was lovely.
We enjoyed the all inclusive and the drinks were amazing ( esp the Spanish Coffees )
The only down side was there is nothing around we had to get a taxi an hours journey for the closest town.
The staff were amazing very friendly and helpful.
Would return for a relaxing time.

Date of stay: September 2018
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
5  Thank Sarah H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
YanetDR, Sales Executive at Hotel Playa Costa Verde, responded to this reviewResponded 25 September 2018

Greetings from Playa Costa Verde,

Thank you very much for your review. We are glad to know that you have had a good holiday with us.
Thank you for sharing your experience with the world and we will be very happy to have you back to our hotel anytime soon.

Kind Regards,
Playa Costa Verde Hotel

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 September 2018

First of all, if you see my other reviews, you'll see a person willing to overlook the little things and I try to find positives wherever I stay. As a frequent traveller to "poor" countries and I have been to Cuba (Varadero) before, I can honestly say with my hand on my heart that this was the biggest waste of money and most disappointing "holiday" I have ever had.

This will be a long review, like all my other reviews.

Lets get the positives out of the way, as there are a handful.
(mostly) Excellent staff. The people there are smiley and try their best to remember your drink choice. The buffet staff are friendly too, especially when they see people crying in the buffet (more on that later). Ground staff always greeting you back when you say hola.
The beach is lovely, it's not the Caribbean (it's the Atlantic side of Cuba) but it's still got decent white powdery sand, palm trees and pretty clear ocean.
The rooms are of a decent size too. You don't travel to spend too much time in your room but overall the size of the room and the huge beds are nice.
Now for the negatives.. minor ones and work up to the major issues..
Reception. It's grubby. The water and plant "features" are unloved. We loved watching the crabs walking about but the hotel should decide whether or not they want a reception with or without the greenery and water or not.
Internet cards. They cost 1 CUC per hour and it works fine. But get the reception staff to scratch off the pincode for you as the cards are way too flimsy. We spent 5CUC getting cards that were wasted until I asked the staff to help.

The grounds are pretty sparse for this part of the world. Forget the idea that it is a tropical/Caribbean paradise. It has trees here and there, a few palm trees about. But the buildings are ugly on the outside and look scruffy beside the bushes that are there.
No real suggestion on how to fix this aside from planting more and doing a lot of painting.
Our room had a number of problems as well. The bathroom was filthy, the taps were in poor condition. Our safe didn’t work at all. We needed to be in the room for this to be fixed and as our trip was short and we didn’t want to wait hours for this we left our stuff locked in our suitcases.
The balcony was infested with ants which we sprayed deet and we alerted maintenance, who didn’t bother to clean this. Our main room light would not turn off. We alerted reception of this as well and after 2 days we were able to turn it off… we had to in the meantime switch off the main power to the room which ended up flooding our refrigerator, but it was either that or leaving the light on at night! Our friends at the hotel didn’t even have a toilet seat for their entire stay!
The Pool. It was hard to love the pool when you could see a thick layer of dead skin on the crust of the pool. We all had to wait to use the pool until at least 9:30am, but it's not always cleaned and we found pockets of disgusting dead skin around the edges which were scooped up by plastic cups and thrown onto the concrete by the pool entrance. If you didn't see it, or choose to block this image from your head, then overall the pool can be a very positive experience and it is a decent size.
They advertised a jacuzzi, but they were not filled and were full of dirt. Not the type of place you could relax in.

The drinks.... oh my god. If you like cheap weak lager then you're in the right place. They have this beer everywhere and even a designated beer corner open later in the day. It's not going to win any awards but it's cold and wet. However if you came to a hotel expecting good cocktails with decent quality booze - you are dreaming.
The pool bar runs out of rum all the time and every bottle of alcohol in the pool bar is really nasty cheap. You can feel the cheapness in your gut and you cannot sustain a daily drinking process based on this alcohol. This is why we only saw a couple drunk guests and even then, they were too wise to repeat their sins. It was disgusting what they had to use for cocktails and none of it tasted like what it was supposed to be.
The lobby bar had a slightly bigger selection, but even their "international" selection didn't taste right. Not to mention the staff cannot make a proper cocktail.
Pina Coladas without pineapple, just watery coconut water/milk and rum with a couple ice cubes. Mojito's (have added an image of this)... were a crime. Most days we had no mint, but they threw a dead stick into a glass, added some cheap rum, soda water, sugar and fake citrus liquid. And it tasted so bad our first was our last. As we sit close to the bar anyway, we could see a procession of people handing their mojitos and other drinks back, I can understand there may be shortages, but for staff to not be trained well enough to know how to make basic cocktails, unacceptable.
If you were lucky you could find sparkling wine at the lobby bar but this ran out pretty quickly. The cigar bar was thankfully air conditioned but the wine was well out of date and off and the staff member not happy to serve people.
The hotel management? Poor. In a state of utter and complete denial. And I can guarantee there will be a reply from the hotel after this review where they'll deny again the points I have brought up. Look at their other replies to bad reviews. We spoke to the customer service lady who refused to accept the issues with the food. Told us that 500 other people at the resort had absolutely no problem at all. We then found out days later that she had told this same patronising lie to other couples as well, who had all had major stomach issues. Her response was to give us more "upgrades" to the à la carte restaurants but in all honesty this was just to keep us quiet and far away from the buffet "experience" at night times. We found management were never greeting guests and only after we left we saw them turning on the charm to Thomas Cook who were visiting. Thomas Cook had actually stopped booking this hotel for 2019 due to the number of complaints it received and considering that Thomas Cook have kept their contracts longer with hotels that were literally killing people, it says a lot that they had taken this hotel off earlier. If only we’d known.

Entertainment. Not great. The pool team tried their best and it wasn't terrible. But there is nothing to do at nights. Nothing! They try some carnival event across the road but they drag it out and it's really poor for all the anticipation they led us to believe.
The food.... deserves its own post. I have eaten in Cuba before and enjoyed it. I have also eaten in conditions that would put most people off in some countries.... the food here was our most lasting experience of the trip. Our first impression of the buffet for our first dinner was shock. Complete disgust. And then realisation that our holiday was not going to be so good. Old food buried by warmer "new food", rotten potatoes, bugs in every salad (all salads uncovered), fruit flies on fruit (all uncovered), warm cheap luncheon meat, melty cheese (with flies hiding in there), butter that was thrown into large glass bowls from their packets and left to melt, cold food, dirty crab meat, prawns not cleaned (the tract that holds their digested excrement) all still on the prawns, raw meat, canned olives/corn .... the list goes on. This doesn't include the sub par desserts packed with fake cream and tasteless toppings.

Note, you have to ASK the waitresses to have bottled water at the buffet or they will try give you tap water. Be careful that this water is not safe and will result in long times in the bathroom.
We genuinely felt worried every time we had to eat there and were not the only ones. Many of our friends we met in this hotel were ill from eating in there. The only safe option was to only eat from the grill stations where you could get fish, meat and pasta cooked for you. If you stick to only that and bread, you should avoid the contaminated and poor quality food. I ended up making cheese toasties for my last 4 days as I could not stomach the food in those containers. Watching the chefs not replace the old food but throwing hot food on top of the old food and mixing it all in was awful.
The buffet staff had to comfort a young lady who found maggots in her salad and yet when this was brought to the attention of the customer service representative she was blown off and told it was "normal".
The snack bar was recommended by customer services as another safe option but was for lack of a better word, EMBARRASSING. They constantly ran out of food and the staff there were rude. I asked for a pina colada and was given a glass of warm milk with cheap thrown into it. It was swiftly returned. The food was cooked badly and was always so greasy. I asked for a Hawaiian pizza one day and they told me there was no ham - not a big problem for me. However when I received it, the pizza also had no pineapple on it and it was replaced with pears and peaches! They had simply thrown some canned fruit salad onto a pizza base! And they still left the remnants of the canned fruit "cherry" on it. (photo added to review). This was typical of the lack of respect the cooks had for us.
The à la carte restaurants were slightly better - but still had some scary features, especially the Italian. The Italian staff had a terrible job as they were returning food all the time to the kitchen. We tried a dish with potatoes and rice, both tasted exactly the same - giving off a sickly sweet taste which was inedible, alongside boiled to death vegetables that were still rock hard and the driest chicken they could find.
When you're dreading dinner and getting food this bad, it's extremely unsettling.
The Japanese restaurant tried to get the teppanyaki grill show done, but it was a poor comparison to other teppanyaki places we have visited. Undercooked rice, chewy meat... the starters were awful (mango sushi!!)... and all soups we tried at the resort were tasteless. The Cuban place was not as grim as we expected. The food wasn't seasoned so much but as it was so simple and plain we didn't get sick from it.

The gym/medical centre was really bad. We spent time in the Doctors clinic as my wife was very ill from the food and was on a drip for hours. While we were there it was an endless procession of ill people with stomach complaints from the food and water. I have never seen a doctor’s office so full in any hotel before, but after seeing he buffet I was not surprised. The huge numbers of guests needing electrolytes for dehydration from diarrhoea was eye opening. We paid an extra £250 in medical costs including a test for bacteria that the Dr insisted we do, that he never even gave us the results for and told my wife she didn’t have cholera…

With all this in mind, we decided to cut our trip short and get out of the resort.

We attempted to get out to Havana but the prices quoted were insane. Holguin is so far away from anything and the cabs etc are all price fixed for tourists so it’s extremely hard to get out.
Thomas Cook quoted us almost £900 to leave on their next flight but we found Skyscanner deals for £560. This brings me to the appalling service we got from the Thomas Cook staff, Monika and Daniel.
When we brought up our food concerns on day 1 Daniel told us there has never (ever) been a food complaint there. (lie) Told us that no other hotel in the area has food as good as our hotel. When the next day my wife and I returned to show the Thomas Cook rep the effect the food had on her, Monika was combative and accused us of making up the food issues and told us that the hotel “only cooks good Cuban food”… (another lie). She refused to listen to our complaints and would not file a sickness report. We tried again with Daniel and eventually on our second last day he told us not only would be complete a report, but will email it to us that day and put it on our Thomas Cook portal. To date it has never arrived and there is no function on our portal for such reports. (even more lies)
Needless to say, Thomas Cook lied and treated all of us as mugs throughout the time we spent there and we were not the first ones to fly out early from the hotel and even though they told us they would add our transfers to the airport that day, none of us were on the list.

I do not buy the excuse that Cuba is too poor and we should have sympathy for this hotel for their inability to source the basics. I have stayed in Cuba before. I know what is available and what a reasonable standard of care and service is. This hotel says it’s a 4 star hotel, this hotel is no more than a 2 star at best. The hotel could not even provide any citrus fruits for goodness sakes. Their mint supplies were dried twigs that were not even used properly. It seems like management is not prepared to invest in this hotel and to not train their staff on the basics.
With a hotel this small, people talk a lot! And every conversation was about the poor quality of food and people comparing their illnesses to eating it. Gossip was rampant about who was stuck in their rooms each day thanks to the food and water.
Worse still, there are people running Facebook pages saying that this place is a top end paradise of a hotel and therefore raising expectations for guests who have not been there before. Beware of these pages.

Trust me, this hotel is NOT worth the money. If you want to go to Cuba, go to Varadero or Havana and pay that extra more to get a hotel that doesn’t care about your health and safety.
Do not encourage bad hotels like this to flourish, save your money! I will include photos of what we found at this place as pictures tell a thousand words!

And No, I do not want the hotel to reply to this and give more lies!

Date of stay: September 2018
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
17  Thank CaptainPinaColada
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
YanetDR, Sales Executive at Hotel Playa Costa Verde, responded to this reviewResponded 25 September 2018

Greetings from Playa Costa Verde,

We would like you to receive our deep appreciation for writing your comments on the trip advisor.

For us guest´s feedbacks are so important to improve our service

We will analyze your opinión with our staff.

Best regards,
Playa Costa Verde Hotel

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Reviewed 18 September 2018 via mobile

Terrible hotel wouldn’t recommend disabled people yes hotel is good but can’t use Thomas cook services food horrible and half cooked entertainment is a hit are a miss staff in restaurant always talking can’t see serve coffee are tea there are a few staff who were amazing

Date of stay: September 2018
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
9  Thank Carol H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
YanetDR, Sales Executive at Hotel Playa Costa Verde, responded to this reviewResponded 19 September 2018

Greetings from Playa Costa Verde,

As usual we take into consideration all the comments that our guests post in Tripadvisor and mainly when the guests are not satisfied.

We fully understand and respect that everyone has his own approach and point of view regarding the hotel.

Regarding your opinion that our hotel is not suitable for people with disabilities, we do not agree with you, we have 4 equipped rooms, which are confirmed in advance to travel agencies. All restaurants and bars have ramps to access them, as well as in public areas. We are sure that Thomas Cook informed you before you make the reservation.

We, staff and management, put a lot of our effort to make all our guests enjoy their holidays with us.

It’s good to read that you recognize the work of some of our workers, our staff is our main asset.

Best regards,
Playa Costa Verde Hotel

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Reviewed 17 September 2018 via mobile

Just spent two weeks at Playa Costa Verde and can honestly say this is the worst hotel I've ever stayed at in Cuba.

I've stayed at several hotels around Cuba and fully understand the issues with getting supplies into the country etc.

The food in the Buffet and Snack bar is disgusting and mostly cold. Complained to Hotel and they always blame it on the locals staying at the hotel.

If you've booked this hotel please reconsider and change you booking to a different hotel.

Date of stay: September 2018
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
9  Thank christopherwS6813PR
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
YanetDR, Sales Executive at Hotel Playa Costa Verde, responded to this reviewResponded 18 September 2018

Greetings from Playa Costa Verde,

Thank you for your comment. We are really sorry you have this opinion about our Resort.

Many clients visit us every year, and most of them really love our resort. But as unique individuals we are, not everyone thinks the same way. Maybe, what someone saw as something great of our hotel, another person considered it to be a negative feature. We always recommend people to come and see with their own eyes what our hotel has to offer, for we always work to satisfy our clients and to leave them good memories of their time here.

We have already analyzed your remarks with our management team.

Kind regards,
Playa Costa Verde Hotel

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