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Sol Cayo Largo
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Reviewed 17 November 2013

Went to the Sol Cayo Largo for the 5th time this past October 2013. Had a super time. Management had promised us special treatment and they delivered. The Hotel is being modernized with new funiture, it's been painted mostly white and it makes it more fresh looking. Same for the rooms. The pool is now fixed. The food has imporved. The beach is still spectacular and finally the Staff. What can I say about the staff, they are friends that we will never forget and hope to see real soon. We love you all. Can't wait to return.

Room Tip: I prefer rooms on the second floor. If you can afford it, oceanview rooms are excellent.
  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled with friends
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2  Thank bengay
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
HGeneralManager, General Manager at Sol Cayo Largo, responded to this reviewResponded 25 November 2013

Dear Clients
We are proud to be part of your good comments, we will keep on working hard in order to increase the level of service and maintain the highest standard for the clients who choose us as beautiful destination. Thanks for your loyalty.
See you in your sixth time.

My Best Regards
Thomas Lehnhooff
General Manager

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 November 2013

just returned, after a 10 day vacation at sol cayo largo. this has been our 4th stay at sol and had a wonderful time. as always the weather was beautiful, as for the resort we notice a lot of improvement since our last vacation here in may. one mayor improvement was the two pools, both liners and rails have been replaced, pool looks fantastic, the grounds have always been beautiful and this visit was no different. my wife and I have never had any complaints about the food, always something good to eat, if not, they will cook it for you, if front of you,the way you like it, steak, chicken, etc.
our room was always kept clean, no complaints, yes the room could use a makeover, but I did notice that they are also it the process of doing so. while we were there we noticed rooms being painted, new furnishing, tv, etc. so they are always making improvements. as a returning customer for the price you can,t find anything this nice. this is a resort to go and relax, not a party place and really not a place for kids. the beach was again fantastic, the only complaint my wife and I really have, has to do with the clothing optional section of the beach, we love this area and spent every day here, the problem we have is if your going to use this section remove your cloths if not , move down the beach, the only reason is that a couple of days it was full and there were a handful of couples with suits on taking spaces. we had a great vacation here and will most likely return in the spring. I really can,t say any thing bad about sol. beach was amazing, pool and ground look new and fresh, good food and clean rooms. this is a resort where you feel totally safe, where else can a single lady or couple walk for miles nude enjoying the sun without a care in the world, we stayed here October 20th.

Room Tip: they are all good, it depends on your age and your likes we are not pool people so for us we like a room away from the pool. all the rooms are basically the same other than location.
  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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2  Thank 40SBEACH
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 November 2013 via mobile

Pros: nice beach, great pool, great service. Property is really nice ...Nice grounds. Beach in front of the hotel is ok but not special. Really nice beach sirena takes a cab ride.

Rooms are adequate. Whole grounds very clean

Nicest of the resorts on this island nice atmosphere

Good live music Cuban style

Very romantic spot

Cons: not much to do except drink and lay in the pool unless this is your goal then very relaxing
Drinks are made with really cheap liquor except the rum which is great
Food is terrible except the grilled meat with lunch
but then it's cuba!

Internet is 10 cuc per hour

Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
2  Thank dbdurango
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 November 2013

Hotel:

It is a medium-sized hotel; I think they have like 300 rooms. It only takes around 15 minutes by bus to get there from the airport. Alas, they (the tour representatives) do not provide you with any info at the airport, so you do not know what room to expect after your arrival. This was different than our previous experiences in Cuba, where at the airport we were given information packages together with room numbers and keys. This time, we did not even know about the introductory meeting at the hotel, which we totally missed. There is a total lack of any information for arriving guests. Arrival time to Cayo Largo from Toronto was around 11 am, and when we got to the hotel there were, of course, no rooms ready at this hour. The reception desk checks your hotel voucher and tells you to come again after 3 pm to get the room. That’s it. Do whatever you like with several hours of your precious vacation time. There is no special storage room for the luggage, so you have the choice of leaving your luggage at the entrance to the hotel with no supervision, and going to enjoy the pool (if you brought your swimming suit in your carry-on), or sitting tight and waiting four (or more) hours while watching your belongings. We elected the second option to be on the safe side. We had booked two single rooms for this trip. After 3 pm, we learned that only one room was ready; for the second one, we had to come again after 4 pm. We requested our rooms to be on the second floor through the travel reservation and also by e-mail, but the room was on the ground floor. So much for email requests to the hotel before you go. No room change was possible, we were told. In addition, our luggage was not delivered to our rooms by the hotel staff; nobody even suggested it, and we had to do it ourselves, guided by the small map given with the magnetic cards for the room.


Rooms:

The rooms we were given were so-called standard rooms on the ground floor: really small, bathroom not bad, furniture very basic and old-fashioned. We requested second-floor rooms; we were given a first-floor room. The TV in the room was a newer flat-screen model. The reception was quite bad (snowy) and the channel selection was not really for English-speaking people: only a couple of English channels (CNN); the rest were in Spanish, German, Italian, Russian, French, and Chinese (!). The mini fridge was very old, beaten and small, but big enough for keeping water in 1L bottles barely cool. No radio was provided in the room, and no alarm clock. All lights were of the fluorescent type, low-wattage, and quite dark at night. The air-conditioning unit over the ceiling was old and very noisy. The doors to the balcony were very difficult to open and even worse, they could not be locked because the locking mechanism was permanently damaged. Because it was rather risky to leave all our things with easy access through the unlocked doors on the ground floor, we informed the front desk that we needed them to be repaired. Even worse, for this reason, we could not go to dinner. The service guy came after an hour or so, and after a quick check, he told us that the lock was beyond repair. The only solution was to move us both to a second room, which had a better lock (slightly). Another move of our belongings. Even though we were very tired, we spent a sleepless night in the second room, as the air-conditioning was so noisy during the night. Theoretically, we could switch the air-conditioning off, but the balcony doors did not have a screen door, and without it, the mosquitos would eat us alive. In addition the phone in the room did not work; if someone called our room, we heard a single ring, and then silence (or noise) in the receiver.

So, back to the front desk. We requested a talk with the hotel manager regarding the problems with our rooms. We were told that the hotel manager’s name is Alejandro, which we learned later was wrong information. We spoke to him and he promised to have a room ready for us to view the next morning at 7 am. Next day, when we came to the front desk at 8 am, nobody of course knew anything about the rooms for us. We were told to come again in the afternoon. More wasted time and nerves. Another visit to the front desk later in the afternoon and we were offered a new room in a different building, also on the ground floor. Another couple of hours wasted of our vacation time to move all the already unpacked belongings. This time, the room had newer balcony doors, which were also heavy to close and open, and the locking handle did not work, but at least somebody installed a door chain at the top of them. Alas, the beds had rather nasty low-quality and very old mattresses, on which you could feel the springs beneath your body. So in short, another sleepless night (the third, if you count the night of travelling in). Next morning, another call to the reception asking to change the mattresses in the two beds for better and newer ones, which were changed promptly the same day.

No second room was ever offered, despite the fact that at the time of booking, two separate rooms were ordered and paid for. The hotel just assumed that we are so happy to get a single decent room, instead of two lousy rooms. We stayed the entire rest of two weeks in a single room. Not an acceptable solution for people who prefer to be in separate rooms. Only one bottle of water per room was provided, which is barely enough for two people in the hot climate. Room service was OK.


Beach:

The most important thing for me. The beach itself was very nice: crystal-clear water, white sand, no big waves, etc. The beach loungers, although there are enough of them, were quite old and used a lot, and it was rather hard to find one that was not saggy. I estimate that at least 70% of them were not fully functional. A 4-star hotel should really take better care of its beach loungers, and repair them or change them. There were enough palapas to get some shade if you needed it. You can walk the beach for miles in both directions. On same days there were small nasty black flies on the beach making your life miserable.

There is a beach bar with drinks and a beach restaurant, where you can have your lunch. Close to it is the barbecue kiosk with some selection of grilled meats.

Beach Restaurant (Rancheon Restaurant):

Nicely located, very close to the beach. It offers buffet lunches. You can always find something to eat there and something to drink, as well. There are several tables at the front with beach views, which makes dining so enjoyable. It can be quite busy between 12 and 1:30 pm, so if you want to avoid the crowd, come later. There is a big iguana living under the restaurant's floor; it comes out from time to time for your viewing pleasure and photos.

There are also cats begging for food, and we had a very nasty experience in this regard. People normally throw a bit of food to these poor animals, but waiters seem to treat them badly. On one occasion, the cats were, as usual, on the ground looking straight up for food. One of the burly waiters came and took out a laser pointer and started to use the laser beam on the cats' eyes. I could not believe that I was witnessing this very cruel behavior. Of course, we reacted to this and an argument erupted. When I suggested that I would talk to the general manager about the waiter, he just laughed and responded, “Go ahead”. This kind of behavior should never have happened in any category of hotel. I spoke to Alejandro (who we thought was the general manager, and later we learned that he was not and that Thomas Lehnhoff was) about it and he promised to talk to the staff. Whether this really happened or not, I have no clue.

Anyway, the beach restaurant serves as a specialty restaurant at night time, and you can book a dinner, too. We went there for dinner, but unfortunately the menu did not have any vegetarian dishes for us both. The right decision was to leave and go back to the buffet restaurant (Las Dunas), but we stayed and were given some vegetables, which proved to be very bad for us and resulted in diarrhea. Nothing good for the next couple of days.

Main Restaurant (Las Dunas):

There was a decent amount of food available, with good variety. There are normally enough tables to choose from in the main restaurant. Service is questionable at times. There are good waiters, and there are bad waiters. To the second category, I put waiters who choose to completely ignore you if they don’t get or don’t expect to get tips. We did not tip, so we were normally completely ignored by the waiters. No water, no wine, nothing. One day I waited half an hour to get my wine glass refilled, and finally I got up and went to the waiter and asked. There are also dedicated serving stations for preparing eggs, fish, pizza, etc. The peculiar thing that it was hard to find decent bread, I mean, with crust, European-style. The only bread available was Canadian style, soft and mushy, good only for making toast. Wine selection (free) is limited to two very basic wines. You can also buy better wines from the wine list if you so choose. Strangely enough, the main restaurant is not air-conditioned, which is something that you do not really expect from a 4 star hotel. On the positive side, no big problems with the stomach this time, only once at the end of the 2-week stay after a visit to the Rancheon Restaurant (beach restaurant for dinner). The strange thing was that no fruit like oranges, mangoes, or bananas were available.

Lobby Bar:

There is a lobby bar located not in the lobby, but close to it, serving drinks. It offers quite good professional service from the bartenders. They also have metal tables with chairs, but to get your drinks, you have to get up and go the bar yourself and order. The number of tables is not really sufficient, so you have to be lucky to spot a free table.

Entertainment:

Every evening at 10:00 pm, at a theatre next to the lobby bar, there is a show for an hour or so. They have professional dancers. Some shows were actually pretty good, I have to admit. Some others, like the guests competitions, were not. It all depends on what you like. I enjoyed the original Cuban music and dancing, and less showing off of female anatomy.

Summary:

Not a terrible place, but definitely not the best. The hotel is quite old and it is in desperate need of proper daily maintenance and/or repairs and renovations. Some things are slowly getting done, but the room choice is really a lottery. Most of the staff do not have proper manners towards hotel guests, which is especially visible when no tipping is offered. Tipping should be earned, not automatically assumed and expected.

Hotel is sprayed daily between 6 pm and 7 pm for mosquitos by a "smoke dragon" generating clouds of heavy oil smoke. The smoke probably kills everything on contact, including birds (almost none seen), cats, and other living creatures. And, yes, human lungs too. Not really a good time for people going to dinner.

The 4-star rating is obviously too high; 2 stars would be more adequate in my opinion. If you like a simple hotel with simple rooms with many problems and simple food, you have found it. If you don’t, find something better.

In short, instead of total relaxation we found there a lot of aggravation caused by the hotel staff and by the hotel’s poor condition.

Room Tip: Good luck! You need it!
  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank Krakus2000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 November 2013

We have visited Sol hotel the first week of October. We had the perfect weather that week with no rain. The drive to the hotel was very short (under 10min) and we were greeted by live band. Our room was not ready so we just walked around and got familiar with the hotel. The pool looks great and the hotel beach is just gorgeous. No need to go to Playa Paraiso or Sirenas if you don’t want to since Sol beach is very similar in impressiveness. The beach restaurant that serves lunch offers beautiful sea views and live band that plays for about one hour.
The chef is Italian and it really shows his creativity when it comes to work with what he gets from the main land of Cuba to the hotel restaurants. The buffet had always some good choices to satisfy any hungry guest. We enjoyed the international a la carte restaurant (next door to main buffet).
Coming in October we had a chance to experience the baby sea turtles. If you visit the turtle village at marina you can see bigger turtles.
If you want to try a great Cuban cigar from the hotel store go for the Hoyo de Monterey Epicure No.2 in tube. Just under 10 pesos it was excellent in October. But if you’re more into cigars, definitely visit newer La Casa del Tabaco store in Town. It is located closer to the airport just pass the turtles rescue marina. (Centro Rescade de Turtugas Marinas) also as must visit place if you’re in town.
If you are planning to go this November and willing to take a power cable with you (and just leave it at your hotel reception, it is for someone local) I would ask for you to contact me. Thank you

  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled with family
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6  Thank mikuspikus
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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