This was our third time to the Sol and we had a very restful vacation, fortunately for us, even with more than the "normal" bumps & hiccups along the way. We found a terrific deal that worked out to about $210/day for the both of us, and that's realistically all we would want to pay for a basic non-OceanView room here. After sharing each of our experiences at the Sol last spring with a friend here on TA, her comments (…"we just weren't that enamoured by it on our last vacation"…) really resonated with us. Our trip was good for us ~ it was 10 days, which was great. However, after the vacation "high", there were just too many "little niggles" that we took in stride (as we are "always look at the bright side of life" types), but others may not see things in that way ~ therefore we took our time in writing a review about it, because we weren't sure how to put that "feeling" down in words.
We had been assured, by email, of a room in the area we've been in before ~ more to the west end of the resort, very quiet & away from all the action and noise of the pool & theatre. Unfortunately, after checking in, we found out by looking at the map, they had us located right by the pool restaurant, with a balcony facing the theatre! So, it was back to the front desk staff to let them know there was "un pocito" mistake in where we were supposed to be located and, fortunately for us, we were happily and cheerfully accommodated! Whew! Good thing to know a few words in Spanish! Building #3414 - room was rustic and basic, but very clean. Unfortunately there was no phone, and a toilet whose tank was running constantly, but a new & working hair-blower! There was shampoo & conditioner, but no soap - later we went to one of the "maid huts" and fortunately for us, got the last bar. Apparently they had no soap for a few days there, one of the maids told us. So we made do with the one bar, and the bottle of shampoo (good thing we always travel with our own ~ just in case) for three days... then we got three bars! Fortunately for them, we understand "es Cuba!" ~ others may not! The AC was a bit loud and even louder at other times, but fortunately for us, we never travel anywhere without our earplugs. No problem, it's all part of travelling and we've used them in many other hotels, too, all for various reasons. We had the AC looked at, the phone was installed, and the toilet also was fixed. Fortunately for us, the maintenance team of the resort was very prompt and well run ~ as long as you let them know of any problems.
The west end of the beach had plenty of palapas. By 7am, more than half were reserved, by 8am, all were reserved. Don't know about the ones out on the east side towards the Pelicano, but it looked like there were quite a few out that way since that resort was closed, and there was a beach out in that direction, too. We're not ones to play the towel game so if we wanted a spot, we ended up most times out past the resorts' beach where, fortunately, there were a few palapas set up further from the water's edge, randomly here and there all the way to the point. The main beach directly out front of the resort was there for two days, then, it was basically gone (we researched this, as there was a "new moon" phase) for 4-5 days and was coming back quite nicely the last 2-3 days. The palapas here in front of the resort were random, some stood OK, others were toppled, some were dug in topside of the rock wall. We had to go "rock climbing" like mountain goats to get from the west beach's entrance boardwalk to the Beach Bar, each day. The climb was precarious at times and fortunately for us, only one toe was stubbed throughout the vacation ~ not sure how other less fit and agile guests managed.
Our 2nd day @ 8:30am, was when all the Pelicano guests (2 buses) were brought over to the Sol. We knew that the Pelicano was closing from May - October, and that the pre-booked guests would be transferred. We were fortunate to have seats already at the buffet before they all disembarked, as they had to form a line-up outside and had a long wait for their breakfast. The resort was 80% full on Friday, and 110% (according to our favourite beach-bar attendant, Miguel Antonio) on Saturday! Fortunately for us, we knew this ahead of time, so we had made sure we were the first to book our a la cartes Friday afternoon (4-6pm @ the Gazebo by the Lobby). The Beach restaurant "La Ranchon" really isn't an a la carte anymore, as it's now a (very) small buffet and you have to go out to a new "BBQ Hut" on the boardwalk to pick out, and stand in the sun to wait for your meat to be grilled. Again, we knew this upfront, but others may find it odd to have to wait in a line-up to book "a la carte" for a buffet. We arrived early, and were fortunate to be the first guests to be seated at the table in the front-western corner, affording us quiet solitude with amazing views. Thus we had a wonderful evening, even though the mosquitoes were soon out in force as fortunately, we were prepared with plenty of bug-spray. We had a great meal at "Las Trinas" too, as we chose all our favourite items off the menu on the first visit, and didn't feel the need to go again. The only reason we would have gone a 2nd time, would be that the choice of red wine was better there than the rest of the resort ~ although we had no complaints with the regular house-wine. We were told at booking, that with 10 days, we could come back, line up again and book each "a la carte" a second time, but we didn't bother. By that time *Sand Gravity* was setting in, and we didn't want to line up again to book. We were more than happy with all the choices at the main buffet, and Anabel & Ivis (they are the best waitresses there!) took very good care of us! And again, fortunately for us, we are early birds so we experienced none of the long line ups to get into the Buffet.
The Main Lobby Bar used to be our favourite spot ~ always friendly, quick service, even when extremely busy ~ but no longer! We ended up only going there for our daily morning cappuccinos, freeing up our table at the buffet for the next hungry guests, since we like to linger over a great coffee. The Main Lobby Bar really changed ~ it was the feeling that you were an inconvenience, and that they really weren't eager to do anything for you. That said, we endured the wait every morning ~as we really, really wanted cappuccinos~ because we found a new favourite spot! Fortunately for us, "La Marimba" was more convenient, has a new outdoor patio/deck seating area that catches the ocean breezes and ~bonus~ is in close enough proximity to overhear the live entertainment playing each evening at the Buffet!
As mentioned previously, it was an adventure to get to the Beach Bar each day, but fortunately for us, we had Miguel Antonio awaiting our arrival to serve us with a smile! Each year, he tells us that I'm the only one drinking red wine on the beach, but we know he'll always have it ready and waiting. In fact, once when he saw us coming, he waved at us and said he'd "be right back", as he ran up the staircase to the Beach Restaurant's bar to grab a bottle of Chilean wine for me! Talk about "service"! We really missed him when his shift was over and his replacement told me that they didn't have any red wine, but fortunately for us we could go and get it up at the Beach Restaurant or the Pool Restaurant! =8-(
Fortunately for us, since it depends on the number of returnees, not only did the Sol Melia General Director send us a "Welcome Back Letter" along with a bottle of rum, but we were also invited to the "Repeater Dinner" on Tuesday night at the Pool Restaurant, the Sol Azul. It was very nicely planned and well attended by staff who were courteous, friendly but professional. Special Martinis were handed to guests, as they arrived to be then promptly escorted to their respective tables. The tomato based lobster soup was excellent, as was the whole meal, except perhaps for one appetizer ~a failed paella attempt?~ rice pressed into a round shape, with some type of seafood ~> very bland looking & tasting. Most all of the guests' plates were barely touched. The one staff member Noel ~who has a keen sense of humour~ kept going around, making a "face" and asking people at the tables... "So! How is the rice?" !!! It was very funny as he had all the guests laughing, including all of the staff members! LOL! He handled the whole situation brilliantly, as everyone knew that the rice course was a "bomb"! It was a wonderful evening over all - live music from the attending 8-piece Cuban House Band on the resort, dozens of candles created special lighting, while white linen covering the chairs and tables transformed the whole restaurant ~ it was a unique and tropical magical event! Quite special, really.
All in all, we had a very relaxed, low-key and restful vacation. It was just what we needed, and we weren't sure how to rate it this visit 3*? 3.5*?. Cayo Largo isn't a place we would recommend to all people but, fortunately for us, it met our needs for rest, recuperation, relaxation and rejuvenation!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located in Cayo Largo del Sur, in the middle of the Caribbean Sea. All Inclusive Four-Star resort with 296 rooms. Ideal for enjoying its pristine environment and for exploring its idyllic landscape and crystal-clear ocean bottom. The resort faces 600 meters of beach renowned for its perennially cool white-sand. Recommended for couples, weddings, honeymoons and groups.Guest Rooms296 rooms: 244 Standard, 34 Standard Ocean View, 10 Standard Superior Ocean View, 8 Junior SuiteDining3 Restaurants (A la Carta, Buffet, A la carte and mini-buffet), 1 Cafeterias, 3 Bars ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Sol Cayo Largo Hotel Cayo Largo
- Sol Hotel Cayo Largo
- Cayo Largo Cuba
- Cayo Largo Sol Hotel
- Sol Club Cayo Largo