This being our first family vacation and first stay at an all-inclusive resort, I will admit we don't have anything to compare it to first hand. However, we read reviews, and some being good others being bad, we decided to go because it appeared as though the bad reviews were based on high expectations from a country that has different amenities and standards than North America. We are from Toronto, Canada.
My husband, myself and 2 kids (5 months, 5yrs) stayed at this resort from April 14-21. We booked through Air Miles (Transat Holidays) and upgraded to the Emporador Suite. We requested a non-smoking room on the main floor (due to having a stroller and not wanting to take the stairs when it could be avoided), and those requests were met. Our room was ready at check-in (processed quickly and efficiently), we noticed in our information package that all of our a-la-cartes were pre-booked with the exception of VIP (probably because it was adults only and we had kids). When we went to book our 5th a-la carte in exchange for the VIP, we were told we could go to the VIP with the kids (we assumed because the resort was not very busy at that time). All of our reservations were pre-booked for 6pm, with the exception of one, for 8:15pm.
- Our room was very spacious (with a little living room which could be closed off from the bedroom, and full bathroom (tub w/shower).
- Room was clean, being on the ground floor I was a bit nervous about little bugs making their way into the room, that was not an issue. Saw 1 spider and 2 little beetle things which my husband got rid of during the course of our stay and on a couple occasions when my son dropped crumbs on the floor we saw a few ants which were easy enough to just wipe up, and they didn't return unless there were more crumbs.
- Our maid changed the linens (bed sheets and all towels) everyday regardless of us keeping them hung.
- She always left the room very clean, and we showed our appreciation with a daily tip, and on a couple occasions a little item to go with the tip.
- A/C worked nicely, but didn't feel the need for it much, only when it got stuffy, as we enjoy the heat.
- Toilet worked flawlessly, and maid always made sure there was enough toilet paper.
Never had any theft issues, and never noticed that the towels were in real bad shape. They always had towels to swap, we could swap as many times a day as needed (we only swapped once a day), they didn't need to be returned by a certain time each day either.
It must not have been a busy time that we went, because there were ALWAYS LOTS OF LOUNGERS available poolside and at the beach. The little shaded huts at the beach were always taken because people woke up early to reserve those spots with a towel. We read reviews on that (seems to happen at all inclusives everywhere), but we are not the kind of people to stoop so low such as to reserve something that we will not be using at that time. If it was available when we were ready to use it, great. If not, oh well. It sucked a bit because it would have been nice to keep the baby out of the sun as much as possible, but there was no way I was going to reserve it and keep somebody else from using it, as perhaps they too may have a baby they'd wish to keep out of the sun. We think it's absolutely ridiculous that resorts even allow people to reserve loungers and/or shady spots when not in use.
I am an extremely picky eater, and I was so worried that I packed a whole bunch of snacks for our stay (and was quite disappointed when we exceeded our luggage limit when weighing at home, and had to remove them ALL. I thought I was going to starve there, after hearing so many people say the food in Cuba has little to no flavour, etc.
I was quite surprised to enjoy the foods there. Again, I'm picky so I didn't even try a lot of foods there as I wouldn't eat them here either, but I found things that I ate tasty enough and never felt I was unsatisfied after a meal except with some of the a-la cartes, but that was only because I couldn't find anything on the menus I was willing to try because I'm so picky. The steak at the VIP restaurant was really yummy! They had plenty of bread, which I'm a fan of, and their breakfast croissants were really tasty (though Baguette still has the best croissants ever!).
Resort was very clean - garbages were in sight everywhere we were except the beach. In other reviews people said the lagoon stunk. It DOESN'T stink. There is a slight nature smell to it, but at times we did smell a foul odor around the resort, and we believed this to be due to how they deal with sewage there. Sometimes the smell escapes, you smell it but you pass through it quick enough, not a big deal at all. We only noticed it on occassion when walking. Never smelt it by the eateries, nor near the lagoon, or near our room. Pools were clean.
Nightly mini disco for kids, and dance shows for adults (safe for the whole family). Dancers are quite good, and our son had a blast every night up on stage for the kids show. Lots of beach and pool games.
Weather was extremely nice! 2/7 days it was too windy for the pedal boats/kayaks etc, but it wasn't too windy to go in the ocean, and although it was windy, the breeze wasn't too cold, and the sun seemed hotter than normal those days whenever the wind was calm. Never had any issues of sand blowing around at the beach.
NO MOSQUITOS (I've heard this is due to Cayo Coco being breezier than other areas of Cuba). There are some tiny, tiny flies (smaller than fruit flies) which we noticed bit us (except for baby) a couple of times (maybe 3 or 4 times each during the whole stay). Sometimes they were a little itchy, other times not.
We tipped the maids on a daily basis, tipped the waitstaff for lunch and dinner each time we ate. We'd tip the a-la-carte staff and if we ate again at buffet that night, even if we just grabbed one tihng. Basically as long as we sat down, we tipped the waitstaff. We also tipped the guys who would cook food to order, as well as bartenders even though it was mostly for juice or pop since we aren't big drinkers. We tipped the guys at La Sirena (24hr snackbar) when we'd order food or drinks there, pretty much on a daily basis, and made sure the night crew got tips in addition to the day crew, since were were there both times. We tipped the gardeners as they would bring shells and little things made out of palm leaves and coconuts for the kids. We also took little items there for the people, mainly stuff for kids, which I'm sure they'd put to good use. Things like little toys for the kids (those happy meal toys), hair clips and barrettes for girls, frisbies, skipping ropes etc.
- My husband and son enjoyed the horseback riding. We didn't do any others, because we traveled with an infant and preferred to keep her on the resort. We were also very limited as to what she could do - couldn't go on any water excursions as there is no life jacket for her size.
THINGS TO CONSIDER TAKING WITH YOU:
-Cooler type mugs or bottles that allow for keeping drinks cool, and can carry more than one little plastic cup full, as you can drink out the plastic cup in a few sips.
-Maple Syrup - for pancakes as they don't have any.
-Jam - if you want it for toast at breakfast.
-Hot Sauce - we didn't feel it was needed but if you're someone who puts it on everything you eat, then you'll want it.
- Kleenex - you won't find any there in the hotel rooms.
- If travelling with a baby on formula, carry your own distilled water, as the bottled water is just bottle water, it's not been boiled to be considered sterile for mixing with formula. We carried our own and it worked out great!
We had a wonderful time, and would go back there in a heartbeat. The staff are all very friendly, everyone says hello, the resort is beautiful - the pictures the travel agencies show don't do it justice! We thought the lagoon was beautiful, and stopped EVERY TIME we passed it to look in the water and look for different types of fish and jellyfish. With talking to other vacationers during our stay, we heard that other resorts are more man built and it sounded like a lot of the nature is taken out, whereas this one has left a lot of the nature there, which we truly enjoyed being around. Perhaps it's the difference between Cayo Coco and other areas of Cuba, I don't know.
I hope you find this review helpful, even if in a small way.
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- Also Known As:
- Nh Krystal Laguna Resort
- Nh Krystal Laguna Hotel
- Krystal Laguna Cuba
- Nh Krystal Laguna Cayo Coco
- Nh Krystal Laguna Villas Resort
- Nh Krystal Cuba
- Krystal Laguna Cayo Coco
- Nh Krystal Laguna Cuba
- Krystal Cayo Coco