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Sol Cayo Largo
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Reviewed 6 July 2014

I retuned to Sol Cayo Largo for the 15th time in June for 2 weeks. It is the number one beach's in the Caribbean. I have been everywhere in the world, 5 stars resorts, nothing is like Sol Cayo Largo. The staff is very friendly and remembers you. You have a freedom feeling that needs to be lived and cannot be lived anywhere else on this planet.

  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled solo
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Thank Fred572
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
HGeneralManager, Director General at Sol Cayo Largo, responded to this reviewResponded 9 July 2014

Dear Fred:

Thank you so much for such beautiful words. This is really a quiet and peaceful place, that is why you feel like the perfect place for freedom. Our staff is always friendly as you said and very commitment with their job. Thank you for calling us the number one beach in the Caribbean and for feeling like there is nothing like our hotel.

We really hope you come back for your 16th time.
Kind regards,
Fernando Martin
General Manager

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A TripAdvisor Member
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Reviewed 4 July 2014 via mobile

We just came back from 9 wonderful nights in Sol Cayo Largo, wich I think is probably the best hotel in Cayo Largo. Nice swimming pools, bar and restaurants. Most of people there are very kindly and really commited to make your stay unforgettable.

The hotel's beach isn't bad but it has too much waves (anyway you can also swim safely). To go to the real beaches there is a free shuttle to Paraiso and Sirena (takes 20 minutes), wich are honestly breath taking and best ever beaches I've ever seen.

The atmosphere in the hotel is pretty nice, and rooms are very good too.

Very recommendable hotel, for young and mature couples, even for families.

Stayed: June 2014
1  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
HGeneralManager, Director General at Sol Cayo Largo, responded to this reviewResponded 8 July 2014

Dear guest:

Thank you for sharing your experience with us. As you afirm our hotel is mainly for relaxing and having fun, that is why our staff is always trying to do their best for making your stay unforgettable with their kindness. Our beach sometimes has waves, but it is not all the time, there are a lot of months that our beach is also quiet, anyways we agree with you that Paraiso and Sirena beaches are really breathtaking.

Hoping to see you again.
Fernando Martin
General Manager

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Reviewed 3 July 2014

We went to Cayo Largo between Feb 14-21 in 2014, and the resort was full at that time. Not only were there lots of guests from Canada escaping winter, there were also some S. Americans (Argentina) there for their summer vacation. Based on the website and reviews, we expected this to be an adult resort, but we also read that there was a pool for children-- the latter turned out to be true. To be fair, though, majority of the guests were adults/couples, and we hardly ever saw the children on the beach. There were a few infants (< 1 y old) who accompanied the parents, and they actually added to the atmosphere (for me).

We chose Cayo Largo for two reasons. First, the resort is located within 15-min of the airport, and secondly, it has a bona fide nude beach at the resort with palapas and lounge chairs for naturists. But be aware that if you want to use the nude beach, you should bring your own LARGE mug and fill it up at the beach bar before you settle for the morning or afternoon. It is quite a trek to get a fill-up. The beach is only accessible via boardwalks over the sand dunes (which are protected because it is a nature reserve). Vegetation on the sand dunes are adapted to the desert-like conditions and this means that cactus-like plants with sharp thorns can inflict a lot of pain on bare feet (I found out the hard way). Some of the rooms are located closer to the boardwalk nearest the nude beach (to the west), but you are smart not to wander off the board walk in any case.

The room:
We got one of six suites in the resort, which comes with a few other perks. The suite was in fact two adjoining rooms, with one of the rooms made into a sitting area. Consequently, we had two bathrooms, two closets, two front doors and balconeys, as well as two A/Cs and TV sets. The "his and her" bathrooms turned out to be a nice treat for me. The decor and some of the furnishings are very dated, and are probably going to be replaced in the near future. Some of the units are getting a fresh coat of paint and some furniture like the wicker sofa and chairs look relatively new. Please be aware that there is only 1 outlet with 110, and if you want to use any of the outlets in the room, you have to bring transformers. Although we cannot see the beach from our balconey, the view over the dune is still spectacular, and you can certainly hear the waves of the ocean, reminding you that you are on a tropical island.

The pool:
The pool has two sections. The section closer to the Las Dunas buffet is the more active one, and is where the pool volley ball, dance lessons and games, etc. are played. The other section is close to the Sol Azul bar, where you can also get some lunch and mid-day snacks. This section has a baby/wading pool and is quieter. I spent a few afternoons there when the beach got to be too windy. I noticed lots of chairs and umbrellas, because most of the people were at the beach.

The beach
The beautiful white sandy, wide, SWIMMABLE beach is the main reason that we will return to Cayo Largo. It is by far the nicest beach that we have ever visited in the Caribbean, and the nude section is a real bonus. We experienced such freedom walking for miles without any clothing and still unaffronted--not even a wrong glance. The only thing people wore were smiles and a hat, and maybe a pair of sun glasses. It was easy to walk for 45 minutes each morning and each afternoon. We saw iguanas sunning themselves, as well as the "shoe depot", where wayward shoes accumulated of all styles and colours. And the most remarkable part was that we did not have to get up early in the morning to reserve chairs at the nude beach. Of course, some creatures of habit who wanted a particular palapa and set of chairs did indeed get up early to claim their spot, but it was not necessary to do that if you just wanted to get a chair and some shade. The life guards also helped us find and move chairs to the nude section upon request. We could walk in both directions of the beach. To the left, we could walk about an hour and travel through 6 or 7 resorts, not all of which were clothing optional. So we brought a wrap and put it on whenever we passed through a resort that required textile. If we traveled to the right, however, there were no other resorts for miles, and so we did not need to put on any clothing for the entire journal. Needless to say, that was our favoured direction.

Our package also allowed us to take a taxi to a secluded beach on the island, where we had a special picnic that the resort packed for us. What we did not know, and were not told, is that we need to book this through the "Customer service"--a special contingent that looked after guests in this category. We made the mistake of asking at the front desk, and the staff did not know what we were talking about. To be honest, the front desk staff were not very helpful at all, and most of the time, just wanted us to go away. The secluded beach did not appear to be any better than the one at the resort, and there were only a few chairs and palapas that had already been claimed by the locals. Had we known, we would not have bothered to book a taxi and spend time organizing this. The morning would have been better spent at the nude beach at the resort. For those who want to snorkel and sail, etc, the hotel arranges a shuttle to a beach where such activities are offered, most of which were free to hotel guests. We were not interested in these activities and did not know anyone who tried them out, so cannot comment on the quality of these offerings.

Eateries
Las Dunas Buffet
This buffet serves breakfast for the whole resort, and therefore, it gets pretty busy between 8:30 and 9:30, especially when the resort is full. The food selection was very similar to what we got at the other Melia Cuban resorts, and once again, bacon was limp, and not crisp. About mid week, I found out that I could bring the soggy strips to the chef at the egg stations, and they could crisp them up for me and even make a bacon omelette. Only one of the chefs was able to follow this instruction, however, and I would therefore reiterate my complaint that they do not serve crisp bacon at this resort. As in the other Melia resort, there were lots of sausages and wieners and soggy vegetables, etc. The resort did not serve decaf coffee, either, even though they served good expresso. The water tasted very salty, and this definitely did not make good tasting tea. There were some nice quiches in the morning, and a decent selection of fresh fruits and cheeses. For dinners, the grill station was available to grill your choice of meats and fish. There was also a pasta station, and a roast of some sort. The hot buffet always had a choice of potatoes, rice, vegetables and some other sort of meat such as fried chicken or fried pork chops. You will likely find something to your liking at the buffet restaurant for dinner.

Lindarena Grill Beach Restaurant
The Grill is right beside the beach, and very convenient for those who don't want to wash off/dress up for lunch. There is a dress code, however, and everyone needs to put on at least a shirt and shoes, and the ladies of course put on some kind of a wrap over the entire body. This is the only place for lunch beside the Sol Azul, and so it's busy between 1:00 and 2:00. If you are not there by 12:45, you won't find a seat until after 2:00. The line-up at the grill can also take half an hour to move through, but it's well worth it, especially the bbq chicken and pork. There is also a selection of vegtables, rice and meats at the buffet in the restaurant if you do not want grilled food.

Las Trinas: This is a very small "gourmet" restaurant that only operated during supper. On the evening we went there (I believe the 8:00 pm sitting), they had already run out of four entrées. Some of the menu items looked to be re-engineered dishes we had at the Las Dunas. We are used to having gourmet food but I would not consider this to be gourmet. We were unimpressed, and disappointed, and do not recommend going there. We only went there for one evening and then ate at the Grill Beach Restaurant or at the Las Dunas Buffet.

The Sol Azul:
The Sol Azul is both a bar and an eatery, serving sandwiches and burgers. We found this to be a good alternative to the Grill Beach restaurant, especially during peak times at lunch. There, we could also get an afternoon snack with a cool beer. It is by the smaller pool, beside the children wading area. It is not really a swim up bar, but better than nothing I guess.

The service:
Overall, we found the staff working at this resort to be less friendly and genuine in their desire to serve as those at the Melia Cayo Coco or at the Melia Buena Vista (both of which I have reviewed). We found that we had to stand our ground and insist on what we really wanted, rather than take what they would offer us. Several times, we asked for more diet drinks or water in our room, and did not get it until two days later. They always smiled and nodded "yes", but we almost never got what we requested without having to ask again. To get our upgrades, we had to speak to the "Customer Service", but the representative was not always available. We did not get an orientation like we would get at other resorts; this was also the case at the Melia Cayo Coco, and so we learned to fend for ourselves, and asked a lot of questions from experienced guests. Just as in Melia Cayo Coco, there were no hand towels and no kleenex boxes. One couple we met at the resort told us that we have to just demand to have some hand towels and a kleenex box and they would bring us these. We didn't feel like being demanding customers, and so we made do without these. But really, these are just small things that would have made our stay so much nicer--and really what we should get to begin with. Much to my surprise, there was no room service, and even if this had been offered, I am sure that we would have had inconsistent service. Overall, the most friendly and professional staff were the gardeners, who were always smiling and bringing us flowers.

The spa:
The spa offered couples massage but in two separate rooms with a door that was slightly ajar. I could hear the masseuse and my husband talking but that was it. Overall, it was nice, but not very memorable. And why call it Couples Massage, when it is just two separate massages being given?

Overall impression
For the beautiful wide beach alone, the bonus nude bathing section, and access to miles and miles of beach for walking au naturel without any harassment, I would rank this one of the best clothing optional resorts in the Caribbean. If this is developed into a Melia adults only resort, with upgraded spa, room service and updated infrastructure, it would become a highly desirable 5-star destination. This resort has potential, and already has a pretty loyal naturist clientelle. There are still some problems with no-see-ums and other biting insects, both on the beach and at the resort later in the afternoon/evening (after around 4:30 or so). The problem with biting insects is, however, less of a problem, and more something that we have to come to live with--after all, if they are still there, then, it means that ecologically, the place is still relatively pristine. We are still looking for the perfect nude vacation, and have not yet found it, but the week in Cayo Largo certainly came close.

Room Tip: Do not bother to get the suite upgrade.
  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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7  Thank GammyCF
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
HGeneralManager, Director General at Sol Cayo Largo, responded to this reviewResponded 8 July 2014

Dear guest:

First of all I would like to thank you for such a detailed comment of our hotel and services. Your opinions are always useful for us, since they let us know what can be improved and the things that our clients like and prefer the most. Despite the things that you didn't like, that you can be sure that we took note of them, we are glad to know that we came close to be the your perfect nude vacation.

Hoping to welcome you again,
Fernando Martin
General Manager

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Reviewed 1 July 2014

I just got back from Sol Cayo Largo and am extremely disappointed that I had to leave.

The staff. I read an earlier review that said that the staff sit around and talk to each other instead of serving the customers but I couldn't have had any more of a different experience. Even when the world cup games were on (which the staff at the snack bar put on face paint of the teams) the service was great. The staff were always friendly and engaging, encouraging people to get involved in the daily activities (but not too much).

The room. When we first arrived we had to wait until 3 PM for checkin but this wasn't a problem. We headed to the snack bar to watch the world cup. We got in to our first room which had two twin beds (not what we had said when booking through our last minute all inclusive website. The front desk was happy to switch us to a room having what we asked for (a king bed). Some of the things in the room were a little run down (such as a big rust stain on the side of the tub or a sliding door that wouldn't lock or close properly), however the decor in the room was fantastic. The high vaulted ceilings and the blue walls gave off a real beach feel which was great.
TIP: Get a second floor room if you don't mind walking up/down 15 or so stairs. The vaulted ceilings on the second floor are amazing.

The beach. The beach was all white sand which was absolutely gorgeous. The waves were usually rather big (the flags on the beach were red every day except 2 the week we went), however this was enjoyable as we are a 20 something couple that loves to play in the waves. Volleyball on the beach was a blast and the beach bar was small but did the trick just the same.

The food. Breakfast: The breakfast at the buffet was really good. They have a panini maker, a person who makes pancakes and crepes in front of you, a lady who makes eggs with whatever you want in them the way you want them and a smoothie maker. The food that was already prepared was good as well. The coffee in the buffet hall from the machine tastes so good!
Lunch: The snack bar had a good selection of tasty food that always came out promptly (except once when I had to wait 45 minutes and ask three times for a plate of fries). We had the beach restaurants lunch buffet once which had an okay selection.
Dinner: The dinner buffet was good! They have a person who makes pasta the way you want it and also a person who makes a selection of meat the way you want it. Most of the meat the cubans used was pork but there were some others.
The two ala carte restaurants were really good (the beach restaurant being the better of the two in my opinion, likely due to the spectacular view).
The resort also has late night sandwich service which saved our hungry butts a couple of times.
TIP: Book the ala carte restaurants (you get 2) for the week right after you arrive; they fill up for the week rather quickly.

The entertainment. If you're going to a cuban resort to see world class entertainment then don't go to hotel cayo largo. The small island entertainment just can't compete with a 5 star resort from varadero (for example) that has travelling acts that go from resort to resort. That being said, the crew here did an amazing job. They put on dances most nights, had bingo one night and even had one absolutely hilarious show where they cross dressed a couple willing male customers and had an hysterical miss sol cayo largo competition. The female singer had one of the best voices I have ever heard. This girl's voice will put a chill down your spine.

The pools. The pools were both shallow pools (as standard across most resorts). One had a volleyball net and the other had the swim-up bar. I'm not sure what was in the water but when you go under water the worst taste is left on your lips (I've been in both salt water and chlorine pools and they have never done that).

Misc. The resort has an air conditioned sports bar with pool tables that opens at 7 and is open till 2 which was really cool.
The crabs that come out at night are hilarious (they are absolutely terrified of humans and scuttle away when you get even remotely close). There are hundreds of them out at night.
There are four or five cats that stay around the buffet / lobby bar that are completely harmless.
The activity center has ping pong, lifesize chess (and smaller chess), connect 4, bocce ball and some free books to choose from.

Important tips: BRING MOSQUITO REPELLENT. The mosquitos get decently bad at night so make sure to bring yourself some high deet repellent.
Change your money at the airport. When I arrived, I changed my money at the airport and got 88.5 CUC for my $100 CAD. I saw a gentleman at the front desk change $100 CAD and get only 80.80 CC. So when you arrive change the amount of money that you are positive you are going to spend (if you change too much and have to change it back that will cause you to lose money).

Overall, this resort was amazing. The staff was great, the food was awesome (I got sick at a 5-star in varadero last year and not here) and the resort grounds were gorgeous. In many ways this resort was better than the 5-star in varadero that I went to, and for the price, it blows it out of the water. If you're contemplating booking a vacation here, do yourself a favour and do it. If the price stays anywhere near what it is now (relative to other resorts), I will be making a trip back to Sol Cayo Largo.

Room Tip: Higher floors have beautiful vaulted ceilings. Stayed in 0521 (next to the snack bar) and had good privacy and a good location (even on one extreme end of the resort).
  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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3  Thank Dave F
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 2 July 2014

Dear David;
We would like to thank you for taking your time to publish your opinion about our hotel and its facilities. We are pleased to know that we have reached your expectations,for referring Sol Cayo Largo with other customers ,also heard that Sol Cayo Largo will be your choice in the future.
A real pleasure to see you soon!
Regards,
Fernando Martin
General Manager

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Reviewed 30 June 2014

This was first time back to Sol Cayo Largo in approx. 10 years, Hotel has not really changed at all, just aged a bit. The Beaches are still as beautiful, the plumbing fixtures need updating, very limited fresh fruit and vegetables. The International restaurant had great food and service, the buffet service 10 years ago was incredible but now all you can get is a hand shake or a hug looking for a tip but you can't get them to bring you a glass of water or offer to bring you a drink ? In one week I as never offered a coffee at breakfast and I was tipping !!! The 24 hour bar on the other hand had great service and Great Coffee...Thanks Guys !!! The manager needs to check out the buffet lack of service !!!

Room Tip: Try and ask if they have any with new bathroom fixtures ? A tub you would sit in ?
  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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2  Thank A H
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 2 July 2014

Dear Sr:
We are grateful for your return to our hotel after 10 years. Publication of your experiences is important. The details that you perceive regarding the need to update the accessories in the bathroom, and the scarcity of fresh fruits are elements we have identified and we work daily for satisfaction of our guests.
Relating to the service in the buffet restaurant, I assure you that we will check to correct and prevent any inappropriate behavior by the waiters.
It would be a pleasure to welcome you another time.
Best regards.
Fernando Martin
General Manager

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