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“Beautiful beach, wonderful people but the resort is in need of an update”

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Sol Cayo Santa Maria
Ranked #13 of 16 Hotels in Cayo Santa Maria
Reviewed 26 June 2012

The staff and the beach were wonderful but the resort as a whole is in need of an update/refurbishment. The facilities are worn and tired and not as clean as they should be. We had a/c problems with one room and there was no problem moving to a different room. While I do not know for sure I would imagine there are much nicer places to stay on this beautiful Cayo.

  • Stayed: June 2012, travelled with friends
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
4  Thank Tbouy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lati N, Gerente at Sol Cayo Santa Maria, responded to this reviewResponded 21 October 2014

Dear Guest,
Thank you very much for your good comments. That is why our staff works for.
We keep working every day to give all our best to our dear guest.
We hope you can come back to Sol Santa Maria again.

Best regards,

Management

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 22 June 2012

We were at the Sol from June 5 to June 12 and it was a fabulous vacation for me and my son. We spent most of our time on the fabulous beaches, either under a palapa, or in the crystal clear water with a drink in hand. The first few days the ocean was calm, and we saw plenty of fish by the coral rocks to the west of the Sol. Later in the week, we enjoyed bouncing around as the surf had risen enough to bring out the red flags, but there were still plenty of us in the water. Your first view of the beaches will literally take your breath away. Beautiful.

It is easy to find fault with the Sol. No knobs on the beach shower faucets, some broken planks on the footbridges to the beach, shower heads that leak, toilets that don’t completely flush, and in our case, an air conditioner that didn’t work for one hot, very hot night. But it has an unsophisticated, laid-back feel to it that larger resorts just don’t have, and the staff, and I’d say the people of Cuba in general, are just wonderful. The Sol has “only” 300 rooms, spread over a large property. The new Barcelo has 2700 rooms. In my opinion, I’ll accept a few imperfections for the friendly at-home feel of the Sol.

The weather was just as expected for this time of year – the rainy season…it rained twice during the whole week, and for no more than 45 minutes at a time. And it’s a delightful warm rain, quite refreshing to stand in at the end of a day in the Cuban sun. The days were sunny, with some white clouds, and on those two days when it rained, it was later in the day, happy hour time actually.

We flew with Sunwing and experienced major delays in both directions. It seems at this time of year with increased heat and humidity their aircraft do not have sufficient range so refuelling stops were necessary. Bring a good book and lots of patience.

The food at the Sol is plentiful with lots of variety. We didn’t try the a-la-cartes, as we enjoy the selection of a buffet. Try sitting in the same area of the buffet each meal – you’ll get to know your servers, they will get to know you, and they will welcome you to their section with open arms and warm smiles. And if you try to speak as best as you can in Spanish, you will easily communicate with them. And you’ll be pleased to leave them a couple of pesos in return for their genuinely friendly service.

The crepes for breakfast were excellent, try the vanilla syrup. The crepe chef seems rather serious and unfriendly at first, but again try to speak to him in Spanish and he tries hard to speak English. We had crepes just about day and he gave us a warm farewell handshake and invited us back soon – “proximo anos” we said, “next year”.

The flambéed fruit for dessert was awesome – bananas, peaches, pineapple, cooked in cream and sugar, flambéed with rum, and coated with a caramel and/or chocolate sauce. Add a scoop of ice cream and you’ve got yourself a dessert worthy of this beautiful place and its beautiful people.

The pizza at the Pizza Bar near the footbridge at the west end of the Sol is as good as everyone on here has said, and we really enjoyed the hot dogs at the Beach Bar at the east end. The cerveza was always cold everywhere. We’d brought large insulated clear plastic cups that we’d bought at Superstore for $5, and believe me, they are not afraid to fill it almost all with rum if that’s how you like your drinks.

It is definitely mosquito season – and I hate the little pests. Definitely, insect repellant with deet works really well, but I hate the smell so we just put up with the itch, and it really wasn’t that bad.

Currency exchange at the booth at the Sol is easy and trustworthy….the young man working there speaks excellent English and will explain the whole process to you if you wish.

We tipped in CUC, though we did give a couple of baseball hats to the gardeners – who work in the sun all day long. I returned later to see the gardener still wearing the hat I’d given him – I pointed to my head, gave him a thumbs up and he gave me a big gracias and a warm smile.

While we were there, Canada played Cuba in World Cup qualifying soccer, in Havana. Canada won 1-0. Later that day, I went up to the lady behind the counter at the Pool Bar. I hadn’t spoken to her yet. I said to her “Lo siento” (Spanish for I’m sorry - you can learn a lot from English TV with Spanish subtitles!). She looked at me with a puzzled look…I said “futbal….Canada uno, Cuba zero”. She laughed. Then she said “Lo siento”. My turn to be puzzled. She said “Cuba sol, Canada friyo.” (Cuba sun, Canada cold), and wrapped her arms around herself. I laughed, and made the zipping motion with my hands over my lips as if to say "I'll say no more, you win". Beautiful people.

My wife and I spent a week at the Melia Las Dunas a few years ago and enjoyed that a lot. It is certainly more upscale and we loved the live music in the lobby every evening. But if, like my son and I, you’re looking for a relaxed week or two in the heat of the tropical sun, on some of the world’s best beaches on clear turquoise water, with warm friendly people smiling at you wherever you go, and all at very reasonable prices, then the Sol is the place. Go and enjoy Cuba – a beautiful land, with beautiful people – at the Sol Cayo Santa Maria.

We booked our trip via the helpful people at www.cayosantamaria.info, a great source of information about Cuba.

I'd be pleased to answer any questions.

Room Tip: Oceanview is a glimpse of the ocean in the distance but will provide more privacy. 2102 is an excel...
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  • Stayed: June 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
7  Thank threedeweys
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lati N, Gerente at Sol Cayo Santa Maria, responded to this reviewResponded 21 October 2014

Dear Guest,
Thank you very much for your good comments. That is why our staff works for.
We keep working every day to give all our best to our dear guest.
We hope you can come back to Sol Santa Maria again.

Best regards,

Management

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 June 2012 via mobile

My fiance and i stayed here for two weeks in May. We were here during the tropical storm which lasted almost a whole week meaning lots of rain! If this happens there really is very little to do as the main pro point of this resort is the beach.
We had to move rooms as the first room we were given had a window that wouldn't fully close, which as we arrived late at night we didn't notice till the morning so were bitten to death by Mosquitos. There was also no safety deposit box and the lock on the patio door was missing. We had to harass the reception staff for two hours to be allowed a new room. As to them this wasn't a problem! Second room was not brilliant, there was a huge gap under the door that was big enough to allow pretty much any animal thru and again the patio door lock was faulty! By this point we were tired and gave up and just got on with it. A maintenance man fixed the door and we resorted to stuffing the gap with towels at night. We spoke to a lot of other guests and it seemed that nearly everyone was moved from their initial rooms as they werent up to scratch. It was like musical rooms! They really do need to spend some money giving the rooms a good refurb! However our room was very clean, they were basic but had everything you'd need.
Another problem we had was on the last two nights there was a rat in our air conditioning unit! Initially we didn't know what the noises were untill it's tail dropped down thru the grill! However reception sent a maintenance man straight away who blocked up the hole the rat was using the come in through. There was a LOT of wildlife at sol cayo! Lizards, snakes, rats, crabs, frogs, insects (especially Mosquitos which ate everyone alive!), scorpions, cats and birds that attacked anyone who threatened them! If you are coming here be prepared to see all these things around the resort! It's a tropical country and the fact that the hotel is set in a very secluded and natural location means it is to be expected! But these animals are not poisonous! you do get used to it after a while.
The food was brilliant. Lots of fresh meat cooked for you then and there, pizzas, pasta, omelettes and smoothies. Just double check your meat is cooked through especially with the chicken. The pizza bar down near the beach which is open at lunch is also excellent. Wouldn't bother with the a la carte, it's ok but buffet is much better! Patio and piano bar both served great cocktails but pool bar wasn't as good and definatly avoid the pool bars chicken sandwiches!!
Pools are ok, could do with a lick of paint. Beach though is absolutely amazing! It's the best thing about the hotel! You can forgive the hotel it's flaws all because of the beach. There are lots of watersports for free at the marina club like kayaking and wind surfing.
Even though there are downsides to the hotel for the price it's not a bad little place. Just don't be expecting too much and you will be pleasantly suprised. Not a lot to do at night as fun pub is closed so probably not for those looking for a lively night life! Also would recommend doing excursions! The Havana day trip by plane was amazing! Really great way to see Havana! Nice change of scenery!
Staff were lovely. Not all, some would ignore you if you didn't tip but this is only a small minority. On the whole they really would do anything for you and if they do do try and give them a peso or so if they deserve it.
Not sure I would come back to this hotel, we had a great holiday despite the initial few set backs but I'm the kind of person that likes my home comforts so it's just not for me. Don't be put off though it's just my personal preference. Would definatly return to Cuba though! It's amazing.

  • Stayed: May 2012
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
5  Thank hannah_banannah
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lati N, Gerente at Sol Cayo Santa Maria, responded to this reviewResponded 21 October 2014

Dear Guest,
Thank you very much for your good comments. That is why our staff works for.
We keep working every day to give all our best to our dear guest.
We hope you can come back to Sol Santa Maria again.

Best regards,

Management

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 June 2012

My 2 weeks @ Sol were excellent! Great beach, snorkeling, staff, food (fresh grilled chicken, pork, fish, and the pizza beach cafe). Better than expected so IMO ignore the negative reviews.
4th time to Cuba and this resort is a hidden gem. Been to Tuxpan Varadero, Brezzes Jiacoba, Chamelon Jiacoba, and now the Sol Santa Maria! Best beach in Cuba!

Room Tip: 1407 - oceanview near everything!
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  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
15  Thank Michael123456789
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lati N, Gerente at Sol Cayo Santa Maria, responded to this reviewResponded 21 October 2014

Dear Guest,
Thank you very much for your good comments. That is why our staff works for.
We keep working every day to give all our best to our dear guest.
We hope you can come back to Sol Santa Maria again.

Best regards,

Management

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 June 2012

ive never wrote a review on here before although i do check it before i go away all the time but after seeing the bad reviews and the experince i had in cuba i felt i had to.
the place itself is a few years old so expect abit of wear and tear other than that its a really lovely place. its really clean maid service everyday, fresh towels everyday and bedding changed few times a week.

i am a massive fussy eater and i worry about that everytime i go away but here i had loads ov choice, the breakfast had everythin from harshbrowns, fresh fruit, crapes....dinner u had a beach bar bbq, pizza place or main buffet bar that did pasta soup all sorts of meats, fresh fruit and tea is the same....i could not fault the food at all...its the best i have every had away on holiday.
the staff was out ov this world really friendly and couldnt do enough for u...just give them the odd one peso every 2/3 drinks ul be well looked after if u do....talking about drinks there is alot ov branded spirts thats incudled in ur all inclusive so check them out....cocktails are amazing 2!!

one real bad thing MOSSY BITES!! i never get biten away i have always joked the dont like me but here everyone was bitten...eaten alive should say....just take plenty of mossy stuff and u will be fine

over all this is a lovely place with wonderfull staff....dont be put off...great vaule for money

  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
7  Thank wild-smout
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lati N, Gerente at Sol Cayo Santa Maria, responded to this reviewResponded 21 October 2014

Dear Guest,
Thank you very much for your good comments. That is why our staff works for.
We keep working every day to give all our best to our dear guest.
We hope you can come back to Sol Santa Maria again.

Best regards,

Management

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 June 2012

We just returned from a week at the Sol resort in Santa Maria, June 1 - 8th, We were pleasantly surprised with the resort and it is definitely a GREAT value for the money. I will list below some of the PROs and CONs that we observed (group of 5 adults):

PROs:
- the BEACH was incredible, one of the best I have ever seen (the staff is very lucky that it is naturally so low maintenance as the beach was not cleaned daily at all but still was amazing)
- people, the staff as well as the Cuban people that we met on our excursions were very welcoming, polite and wonderful to get to know
- the FOOD, yes, the food! Great selection, kept things simple and fresh so that everyone could find something they enjoyed. The pizzaria was amazing and the Cuban restaurant as well.
- lobby bar had great cappucinios, Piano bar was the best just wish it was open all day!

CONs:
- be prepared that this is an older resort, this did not bother us but may not be what everyone is looking for
- pool, not really a CON since i never used it, but it didn't look appealing compared to that beach!
- rooms - while spacious, they were not very clean and should be sprayed for roaches and the like (i brought my own sheets)
- mosquitos - no ones fault, just be prepared!

Overall, we really enjoyed the size of resort (not too big), the food was wonderful, the beach was breath taking and it made for a great economical vacation. But in the end do not expect extreme luxury if you are not paying for it!! We would go back!

Room Tip: Second level all the way!
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  • Stayed: June 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
5  Thank DMatanza
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lati N, Gerente at Sol Cayo Santa Maria, responded to this reviewResponded 21 October 2014

Dear Guest,
Thank you very much for your good comments. That is why our staff works for.
We keep working every day to give all our best to our dear guest.
We hope you can come back to Sol Santa Maria again.

Best regards,

Management

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 June 2012

I really enjoyed my stay at the Sol. I travelled with my sister and we each had our own room at no extra cost. For the price I paid I think it was a great bargain. After reading the reviews on this site I was prepared with what to expect. The resort is tired and needs some repairs but it appears they have started on some of this. The rooms need new paint, linens and window coverings (especially in the bathroom). We also had very little water pressure which made rinsing your hair an interesting challenge. However, the resort has character and beautiful grounds. We didn't come for the rooms but for the beautiful beach and water and they make everything worthwhile.

The worst part of my experience was with the front desk. Long story made short, we were assigned rooms on different sides of the resort. After much discussion and a tip we were assigned rooms next to each other. One room was ready at 1:00pm and the other (which actually ended up being in a different building) wasn't ready until 4:30pm. Luggage didn't get delivered as promised so we had to walk back and get it and take it back to our rooms ourselves. We had rooms bordering on MCSM so it was a long haul. We were dead tired after a red-eye flight and it made for a rocky start.

Our stay did improve greatly from there. We found the food in the buffet quite good. I stayed at the Melia Buenavista in February and actually enjoyed the food at the Sol buffet more. We found lots of options to change up our meals. There was the meat, fish, pasta, pizza and carving stations to choose from so we didn't repeat our main dishes during our stay. In the morning we also changed up our choices, omelette, crepes, fried eggs, scrambled eggs and bacon on croissant, fresh fruit smoothie, etc. We didn't try the a la cartes as we liked the options available at the buffet.

Loved the lobby bar for their delicious cappuccinos and drinks. We didn't have as much luck at the pool bar getting service except from the lady who makes the sandwiches.

What really makes this a place I would return to, is the wonderful staff. We enjoyed getting to know them and were treated with kindness and respect. Unlike a previous reviewer, we were never once asked for anything by any staff member.

If you go with an open-mind and aren't expecting a champagne hotel at a beer hotel price, you will enjoy yourself.

  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
5  Thank Mrs_Ell_63
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lati N, Gerente at Sol Cayo Santa Maria, responded to this reviewResponded 21 October 2014

Dear Guest,
Thank you very much for your good comments. That is why our staff works for.
We keep working every day to give all our best to our dear guest.
We hope you can come back to Sol Santa Maria again.

Best regards,

Management

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Sol Cayo Santa Maria

Address: Cayo Santa Maria | Villa Clara, Cuba
Region: Caribbean > Cuba > Villa Clara Province > Cayo Santa Maria
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#11 Top resorts Hotel in Cayo Santa Maria
#11 Luxury Hotel in Cayo Santa Maria
#11 On the Beach Hotel in Cayo Santa Maria
Price Range: £115 - £143 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Sol Cayo Santa Maria 4*
Number of rooms: 300
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
In an island paradise off the northern coast of Cuba stands the All Inclusive 4-star Sol Cayo Santa Maria hotel (300 rooms). Ideal for simply relaxing or for exploring the clear ocean bottom and neighboring keys that surround this marvelous Cuban tourist destination. Enjoy an unforgettable holiday with your family, all included. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Sol Cayo Santa Maria Hotel Cayo Santa Maria
Sol Hotel Cayo Santa Maria
Cayo Maria Santa Sol
Sol Cayo Santa Maria Cuba
Cayo Santa Maria Sol

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