This hotel was a nice change after we had spent a week at the Playa Turquesa, which consisted of a lot of stairs. Blau is a much smaller hotel with staff who begin to recognize you after a couple of days. The bar here is very pleasant, and the food quite good. The beach is lovely with good snorkeling right there, and a nice restaurant on the beach. The rooms are not as nice as the adjoining hotels (Playa Costa Verda and Pesquero) but the service makes up for that.
Also it is a 15 minute taxi ride to get to Guaradalava, the tourist centre of the area. River to kayak up
Good horseback riding to bat cave
Nice cycling or jogging to local areas
Good tours to some good local sites like the steamtrain &sugar factory,
Good area to rent a car and bumble in the countryside.
Just returned from a two week vacation at maritim Costa Verde Beach resort. We thoroughly enjoyed every minute of our stay. We have been to Cuba on a number of occasions and this was by far the best experience we have had to date. The hotel and staff are very accommodating. The mix of guests was as expected - numerous Canadians with about 1/3 Europeans - Italian and German mostly. The selection and choice of food was outstanding - the best ever in Cuba. There did seem to be two standards for dress code for men and that was not appreciated. If there is a dress code, then it should apply to everyone. Our room was as advertised but the excellent maid service turned a standard room into an enjoyable experience each day we returned from the beautiful beach.
Paradise at it's finest!
This resort was absolutely glorious! The food, the drinks, the friendly staff, the beach, and the facilities were all top notch. I truly enjoyed my full body massage (1hr. for $13 US) and my manicure ($5 US) which added to the truly pampered feeling! I am glad I'd read the reviews and took along a couple sets of snorkelling equipment...they were well used!!... as the coral reef and amazing schools of beautiful fish begin before you get out chest deep! The disposable, underwater camera I took was filled in just two outings! I was glad I had water shoes on as the coral was quite sharp. I really enjoyed the Hobie Cat rides and the trolley to the market in Guardalavaca ($5 US). We took out the mopeds (like new!) and toured around the local villages and school. Cuba and it's people are truly beautiful! The only down side to this whole vacation was spending two hours in line at the cuba airport waiting to go through immigration (with about a 1,000 others). They were so slow, our plane was about an hour later departing. Thank goodness the rest was so perfect...
This resort was excellent. The staff was very accomodating. The front desk staff were somewhat reserved. The restaurants were the best for variety, taste & service that we've seen in the carribbean. Grounds are beautiful and well kept. Room service was excellent (take your own soap as it is hard to come by) Next time I will take enough to leave some for the people. There is a dress code for dinner in All restaurants.
Pants for men. Scooters are worth the adventure. Check out beach at Guardalavaca. Bar staff always made us feel welcome.....Alexander # 1, Alexander #2, Alberto, Julio (Tom Cruise), Maximillion, Carlos, Henry, Mayalen, Sonelly, MyFairLady and all those we can't spell. If you go, tell the pool bar Staff that FREE WILLY sent you. If possible next year we will return.
There is a Heaven on Earth
Where to begin. We visited this resort from Feb 16 to Mar 2, 2004. I have never experienced anything like Cuba, nor do I think I ever will again. It truly is heaven on earth. The people, the landscape, the beaches, the 28 degree (Celsius) sea water, the impeccably clean hotel and pool, the buffet servers (namely Dixan, Yunier, and Hector) and most importantly the animation team, particularly Johnny (we love you Johnny), Yordan, Otero, Eva, and Peanut. We developed a love affair with this hotel and the staff that will live with us forever.
Since I found this website to be most helpful in my decision to go to this resort, I will add what I hope are useful comments as well. First I would like to say that we went as a family of four...myself, my husband, our 18 year old daughter and our 15 year old son. This part of the island is still relatively unmarked by tourism and caters more to those people looking for a peaceful vacation where they can get a taste of rural cuban life and culture. My family is not into the party scene that would be found in places like Cancun and that is why we did not choose Varadero. For us, Holguin was an ideal location. There are not many young people (below 25) even though we were there during Canada's reading week.
Although many of the new resorts boast of several pools, the Maritim only has one, but it was not only sufficient in size, there wasn't one leaf or bug in the pool EVER. The maintenance on it was unbeatable.
There were many loungers around the pool, although a few more would be good.
The food was SCRUMTRULESCENT (my daughter's word) - in other words, incredible. We never had to wait in line anywhere for food or drinks(occassionally for a table outside, never inside though). For those with special diet requirements, there were plenty of heart smart options including made to order omelettes (egg white only or full egg).
The beach restaurant had the most amazing grilled shrimp and was not busy most of the time because of its remote location.
The beach was beautiful. Perhaps not as nice as in Guardalavaca, but nice all the same. Guardalavaca beach is unreal!! The resort beach has many many lounge chairs and there was never a problem finding a free one. Yes, there was some coral on the beach, but there were also areas that seemed to be clear of the shells and coral and walking was not difficult. It gets worse if there is a lot of high wind and everything gets washed up on shore, but it doesn't take long for it to disappear again. I never used water shoes, but my family did and found them useful. The snorkeling was fabulous...we saw more here than when we went on the catamaran excursion, including a small shark, eels, schools of barracuda, and many many colourful fish that come right up to your face. If you are an avid snorkeler, I would suggest bringing your own equipment, but if not, and you just want to try it, the resort equipment is sufficient. Honauma (sp) Bay in Hawaii does NOT compare.
The hotel itself - the lobby is open and airy and very well maintained.
I must admit that when I first saw our room (at 4 a.m., thanks Air Transat), I was a little disappointed because it seemed quite sparse, but I soon realized that not only was this exactly what I wanted, we didn't spend much time in the room anyway. The room was immaculately kept, never ran out of hot water, efficient air conditioning (sometimes a little too efficient), and it looked just like the brochure. King sized beds are hard, but very comfortable after the first sleep. The housekeeping staff is amazing and as mentioned in other reviews we looked forward to our daily towel and blanket creations. Beautiful view of the ocean and the entire courtyard. The grounds are immaculate and beautiful. The gardeners were up and working before sunrise, and were still working after sundown. BUTTERFLIES everywhere. A nature lovers paradise.
Activities were abundant and well run by the animation team. Beach volleyball, bocce ball, archery, pistol and rifle shooting, pool volley, pool basketball (go johnny), water polo, dance lessons, spanish lessons, etc., and, in my opinion, made the resort as wonderful as it is. You could be as active or inactive as you wanted. The nightly entertainment was also well worth staying up for, and the disco is fun if you can stay up that late. Yordan, Otero, and especially Johnny can dance like there is no tomorrow and even if just to watch them dance, its worth going to the disco. The twice weekly bike tour is very interesting and FREE - well worth the 2 hours, and very casual...no hills, not much work and free sugar cane juice with lemon (yum).
Unlike other third world type countries, we did not experience much harrassment from beggers. In our two weeks, we were asked (nicely) by a total of 3 people (all at the flea market in Guardalavaca). Tips may be expected, but they are never asked for (except at the airport by the porters) and greatly appreciated when received. As mentioned in other reviews, people in Cuba make between $15 to $25 US a month and tipping definitely helps them to buy some things that are not otherwise available. If you choose to bring things to give away, my suggestion is to bring soap, shampoo, scented body lotion, toothpaste, toys, candy, candles, clothes, diapers, and basic necessities that we take for granted. Even if they could afford to purchase them, these items are not available there.
Well, I've gone on long enough, and I could write for hours and hours.
Feel free to email me if you have any questions and I will gladly respond. Two last notes. One - you MUST go swim with the dolphins, and two - say HI to JOHNNY for us....we'll be back!!!
wonderful water and shade
Our family of five ( age 13,20 22) really had a great time at this
relaxed resort. The picture in the brochures makes one think it is a
far walk to the beach but it really is only about a minute or so.(
Especially from the building #6) Lots of great shaded trees right to
the waters edge. We windsurfed, went on catamarans, snorkeled kayaked,
and swam to our hearts content. ( We tipped the catamaran guide $1.00
each time we went out ) Snorkeling was great for us. Snorkeling
directly from shore, there were many beautiful fish, and we also saw a
small ray, a moray eel, spiny lobster and lots of great coral. Of
course you could walk a little way along the sandy beach and have a
sandy bottom for those who don't snorkel.
Very talented local entertainment, food was great,
staff was generally very accommodating. Our best surprise was the
complimentary 2 1/2 hour bike tour through the local area. We stopped
at a school, local store, sugar cane juice kiosk, and a small family
farm where the family graciously showed us over their home and farm.
When we go back again, I would take insect spray just for the half hour or so around sunset.
The little insects bugs really seemed to like my daughters ankles. ( although they didn't really bother the rest of us)
Most of the guests were 30's-50's with few children. Our family would rate it a 9.7/10
A terrific time!
We had a wonderful time at this resort (Feb. 28 to March 6)! The beach is nice, the weather was good (although windy). The good stuff : the food (good variety, properly cooked, etc.), the friendly resort staff (esp. the endless patience displayed by the pool bar staff), the service (we did not have to wait long for anything), the beautiful grounds, the entire atmosphere was fun and comfortable. If you are lucky enough to see the fashion show for beach wear, bring your camera!
It's very well done, with hip music, lovely women and fashions (something for everyone)., Needs improvement : the Holguin airport terminal can barely handle the volume of tourists and therefore lengthy waits and delays are common; staff in government outlets are much less enthusiastic about service than the resort staff (i.e. the 'gift shops' at the resort, which are run by the government). Tips : take enough of your own soap, shampoo, toothpaste, etc. The resort provides plenty of toilet paper and towels (even the beach towels are nice and large and plentiful!), but even if you run out of toiletries they are available daily at the gift shop in the hotel for fairly reasonable prices. Bring your own medication (anything you even think you might need), as medicine is difficult to come by in Cuba. The resort will not give you a cash advance on your credit card (although they will cash traveller's cheques, and give you change for larger denominations of US currency) - you can take a short trip into Guardalavaca for that at the Banco Internationale ($10 US taxi ride each way, or take the train or bus for $5 US). Pick up the Lonely Planet Guide for Cuba if you have a chance (we bought ours at the TO airport), and read it on the plane for some terrific pointers. Neat things that they don't tell you specifically .... the Italian a la carte restaurant is open for lunch each day, and no reservations are required (men need pants, even FREE WILLY had to go out and purchase some to gain access), and some of the best food is served up here. Check out the daily specials board for the chef's creations. Sandwiches are always available from the pool bar, but you have to ask for them (a handy tip at 1 a.m. after an evening of drinking ..... they soak up some of the alcohol!). Be careful of sunburn, even if you think your skin can handle it .... many people had some nasty burns. Tipping the staff is not necessary, but is appreciated as a thanks for exceptional service. A great outing for an overcast day - we took a taxi (Carlos, #5105) from the resort to the old port town of Gibara. There are private restaurants that serve up a wonderful lobster and shrimp lunch for tourists, all food inclusive for $15 US per person. Drinks are extra, but reasonable. The scenery is wonderful - old pastel buildings from the Spanish era .... this is how the real Cubans live, as there are hardly any tourists here. It costs about $100 US for the taxi trip for the entire day, which also includes a jaunt into Holguin and an hour drop-off in the centre square. Lunch is extra. We were gone for 7 hours (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.)
We would definitely return to this resort, but perhaps book a weekday flight and hope to avoid some of the airport traffic.
Not to be missed
Just returned from Maritim costa verde on the 8th March. Negatives-ran out of breakfast teabags after first week.Apparently soap was in short supply-not a problem for us as we always take our own. These our our negative comments if you can call them that.The hotel food,rooms, staff,ameneties and the hotel surroundings were all excellent.Never had to wait to be served and the hotel was full to capacity.We have travelled all around the Carribean and this hotel was first class. If you fancy a couple of days out you must try the Fantastica tour. Visits to the local clinic, farm,local shops,elementary school,archaelogical sites and museum,reconstruction of indian village and then on to the aquarium to watch sea lion show,dolphin show and then your own time to swim with the dolphins.Lunch included.Good value for money.Remember to take some supplies for the clinic and the school as many on our coach were a little upset that they had nothing to give.Another good tour is the jungle tour,be James Bond for a day in your own speed boat.Very safe and excellent fun.Holiday was excellent all round and cannot understand how anybody visiting here can be dissapointed.For a fun and relaxing holiday we would highly recommend maritim costa verde.
Enjoy..... Alan & Anne, Blackpool, England
Blau Costa Verde
This hotel apparently was LTI and then changed to Maritim and now is owned by "Blau" chain. Has anyone been there? I seem to read mixed reviews on it... but we are considering staying there in 2006 because it seems to be priced very well for a 4 star hotel.
RE: Blau Costa Verde
We stayed at the BCV in May and had a great time for a review of this resort
and for some photos
we would definatly go back to this resort the staff were very friendly and service was excellent, the nightly shows could of gone on a bit later finished around 11pm then there was a disco in the beach bar until 2am