23
Feb
2014
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It’s not all rainbows and butterflies …

…oh no. There was sunshine and blue skies during the day and pink skies at night. Lush gardens and crystal, clear waters. I’m sure there was even a unicorn somewhere. Hubs and I returned early Monday morning from a week in paradise. I’m sure it was Adam & Eve’s abode once upon a time but is now the Iberostar Ensenachos. This was our third trip to Cuba. We have visited other Caribbean islands but since discovering Queu-ba (I’m flustered just thinking about those Spanish accents) we haven’t been anywhere else. This resort was by far the nicest we have been to. It’s the first time we have said we would return. The grounds were luxuriant and mature. It’s not a place for anyone with mobility issues as it’s quite expansive but this was part of its charm for us. While it was close to being full some days – or so we were told - there were times when we felt we were the only people there.

it's all about me; iberostar cayo ensenachos

The rooms were well appointed and laid out. Marble everywhere. Walk-in closest. Aahhh, hello ladies, I know you’ve got my back on this one! Stand-up shower and modern, acrylic bathtub. Large balcony with real chairs. And not just the plastic Walmart ones that you stick to 43 seconds after sitting down. Hot water anytime of the day (for anyone who has traveled knows that 86% of the time the hot water runs dry during prime times). Air-conditioning to the point I actually had to get a duvet. You wouldn’t know you had neighbours. Each bungalow had gardens and bushes in between them. Because they weren’t on top of each other, it really felt like we were staying at a private, intimate hotel.

Iberostar Ensenachos; review; Iberostar; Cuba; travel;

Kudos to the architects on all of these fronts! The resort layout was flawless in my - for it’s worth - opinion. Best part of the resort? The beaches. Yes. Plural. Because the resort was in the Cayos de Cuba (Cuban Keys) it was essentially on its own little island. When we stepped on the beach for the first time I couldn’t believe what was under my feet. I swore I was walking on layers of silk. It was the finest, smoothest sand I have ever felt. Sigh. To be back there now.

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Obligatory toe shot
“I got my toes in the water, ass in the sand, not a worry in the world, a cold beer in my hand”
Iberostar Ensenachos; review; Iberostar; Cuba; travel; playa mengano
Playa Mengano
Iberostar Ensenachos; review; Iberostar; Cuba; travel;  playa ensenachos
Playa Ensenachos

And the water. Wow. It’s the water you see in the pictures of travel magazines that you think has been photoshopped and doesn’t really exist because it’s so clear. I can now tell you it does. You can walk out hundreds of meters before it’s above your head all while looking at the bottom of the sea.

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There is a small coral reef right off the beaches that made for fantastic FREE snorkeling. We brought our own equipment so had the liberty of going whenever we wanted. Under the water we saw huge starfish, squid, sea veggies, and lots of other beautiful fish. We didn’t need to take food out to attract them – they naturally performed all around us. And besides, it disrupts their natural feeding and can make them dependent on a new source so please just leave it at the buffet. Getting to the beach was a bit of an adventure in itself. You walked across these long, wooden boardwalks through the mangroves that eventually opened up to the most amazing views. There were no skylines because the blue of the water was the same as the blue in the sky.

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Boardwalks leading to the beaches

We stayed on the Spa side of the resort. In other words: adults only. We both work hard and in our spare time give back to our community by volunteering with different organizations. Translation: not a lot of downtime together. When we’re away I don’t want to worry about a little rugrats accidently kicking my drink over and wasting good alcohol or their mom’s scurrying to cover their eyes because my girls were free and soaking up some sun.

Iberostar Ensenachos; review; Iberostar; Cuba; travel; spa
There was one day of overcast so we turned it into an “activity” day. We hopped on the open air double decker bus (spend the extra couple of pesos and take a taxi, trust me) and went to the market where we partook in Cuba’s national sport: 10 pin bowling. No joke. Lots of laughs. Me more so than hubs as I KICKED HIS ASS!! Back at the resort we played tennis & basketball before going for a long walk.
Iberostar Ensenachos; review; Iberostar; Cuba; travel; bowling
Selfie since hubs wouldn’t take a picture of the proof I won.
Iberostar Ensenachos; review; Iberostar; Cuba; travel; bowling
Yup, he’s 40. Can’t you tell?
Overall the food was pretty good. We never went hungry. As with any resort we’ve been to, breakie was the best meal of the day. The servers, however, make up for anything your taste buds are lacking. I can’t say enough about everyone who works in the restaurants. There was always a big, friendly smile waiting for you as soon as you walked in the door and you were doted on like royalty. From our observations, it didn’t matter if you were young or aging, a couple, family or single person, everyone was treated this way. They really do know how to make you feel special. The guest services folks could learn a thing or two from them.
A huge thank you to our travel agent Alan Hedderick. He was the one to recommend this place and we were grateful he did. Need an agent? He can be reached at (416) 399-4432.
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Highlight of the trip? Having some time reconnecting with hubs. Don’t worry, I don’t often get all mushy. Just when I’m in a world of rainbows and butterflies.
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The only two pics where we’re in the same frame: travel days

A few other great things about the resort:

Consideration for the environment. You could find recycling bins all over the resort.
Cappuccinos. Ohhh, the cappuccinos.
Air conditioning. You don’t realize how much you appreciate A/C until you’ve traveled from -40 degrees to +40.
Privacy. Other than guests and staff, there are no locals hackling you to buy cheap souvenirs or trying to convince you to “com par-tay mon”.
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4 Responses

  1. @pcrpauline

    I was there around the same time. We were a large group which stayed on the adult’s only section . We loved it! The beach was amazing and they had a super fun beach party with a pretty good Dj one night. Dancing on the beach under the stars was a blast. The only problem was the dismal smelly pool hall dance club in the lower level. We took over the space to watch the superbowl. Other than that disappointment, we had fun and restful vacation with absolutely perfect weather. @pcrpauline

    1. Wasn’t it gorgeous Pauline? Wish we would have hit the beach party but we thought for sure it would have been cancelled with the lightning. Dancing under the stars does sound perfect! I didn’t explore downstairs much – guess that’s how I missed the Disco lol!

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