11 Jan 2015

My recent Trip Advisor review of Club Amigo Marea del Portillo + photos!

After every trip to Club Amigo Marea del Portillo, my favourite little resort in southern Cuba, I make a point of writing a review. I wrote this one after my November 2014 group trip.

I try to do what I can to help promote this lovely place because I think it is a truly wonderful spot but also, more importantly, because the resort is the single largest employer in the entire region and, if this resort does not do well, a lot of families will find it difficult to survive. There are simply not many options for work in this rural, rather isolated region. 

You can read my review below (with captioned photos!) or go to the Trip Advisor website (here's a link) where my review is now posted, along with all the other reviews I've written over the years – about my "second home" and a few other places.


You get more than you pay for at Marea del Portillo!

Club Amigo Marea del Portillo is a small, friendly resort situated on the southern shore of Cuba, nestled in the foothills of the historic and majestic Sierra Maestra mountains.

The main part of the resort sits on a secluded horseshoe bay and is comprised of a few dozen cabañas and two hotels, the Marea del Portillo and the Farallón del Caribe – accommodating about 280 in total. The smaller Marea hotel and the cabañas are beach level and just steps from the ocean, while the larger, slightly more upscale Farallón hotel is positioned atop a hill and offers stunning views from every room. 

The cabañas in the Marea section of the resort are all level
with the beach and most have an ocean view.
Although generally rated as a 3 or 3.5 star facility, some folks I’ve spoken with feel it should be rated higher; I say it has a 5-star heart. The cleanliness and service are definitely top-notch and the natural beauty of the setting can’t be beat. The food is always well-presented, fresh and abundant, featuring local fish and organic produce from the area. People say ‘you get what you pay for’ but, at Club Amigo Marea del Portillo, I think you get more than you pay for.

I initially started going to this resort in 2009 because it was the cheapest place I could find for a winter escape to a sunny beach. I have continued going there because it is such a lovely spot and the people are so wonderful – both resort staff and families in the community! In 2011, I began to lead groups there twice a year and, now, many of my friends have become repeat visitors like me.

The Marea hotel dining room and new hot buffet, photographed
soon after the recent renovation work was done.
Every time my friends and I return, we comment on the improvements that have been made since our last visit. During the past two years, a lot of renovation work has been going on, mainly in the beach-level section of the resort. The Marea hotel, dining room and pool area have had the most visible upgrading, and it all looks great! Changes to the dining room include the reorganization of the buffet and addition of large steamer tables to keep more food hot, as well as new décor. (I’ve written in more detail about these renovations in other Trip Advisor reviews, which you can find on my website: www.jennicacuba.com – see links in the blog archives at the righthand side of the page for April 2014 and Dec. 2013.)

Another significant upgrade was pending when I visited in November 2014, and I’ve heard since that it is now up and running. This one, however, is not visible. I’m referring to Wifi – wireless Internet service is now available at Marea del Portillo! Wifi access is possible in common areas like the hotel lobby and around the pool. My on-site source told me they are also working on setting up Wifi at the Farallón del Caribe hotel and, eventually, at the Punta Piedra hotel too. (Punta Piedra is located about 6 kms down the road but is technically part of the Club Amigo Marea del Portillo resort complex.)

Wifi Internet service is now available in certain parts of the
Marea hotel section, including the pool area.
I don’t know if having Wifi will mean that the resort’s star-count will go up to 4 now but, to me, that’s a minor detail. I love this place because it surpasses expectations. The friendly, welcoming staff members routinely go out of their way to make one’s stay enjoyable and memorable. The peacefulness of the place and the beautiful scenery surrounding the resort are second to none, and I feel rejuvenated by every visit. 

How can soul restoration be anything less than 5 stars?

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