Greeting to ‘Harry’ from Macedonia and family. It was nice meeting you all. Wishing you also a more pleasant experience as well next time.
We, my husband and I, stayed at the Sol Cayo Largo from June 30th to July 7th, 2014.
This is our 16th time to Cuba alone and the 8th time to Cayo Largo. We have been in quite a few resorts that were quoted as 4 or more stars in Cuba and elsewhere. I do not know the criterias that need to be met to be assigned those stars but I would not quote the Sol Cayo Largo as a 4 stars resort at the time of our stay.
They were fast, efficient and respectful. On arrival we had a room right next to the theatre and bar. We needed a quiet room; night life is not for us so we requested a room that would meet our needs for peace and quiet. The room was available at the check-in moment and they accommodated us. Our needs were met; the room was indeed peaceful and quiet.
We stayed in room 1914 on the first floor. At first glance it looked fine. Yes it was comfortable: we had two ¾ beds, AC (air conditioning) working fine, toilet and bidet working fine, water pressure was fine and we had plenty of hot water, TV, shampoo and hair conditioner, shower cap, hair blower, toilet paper, mini bar fridge were all provided. One bottle of water of 1500 ml/day is provided only- no cerveza (beer), no pop. You will also find an umbrella, an iron and ironing board. There are no facial tissues (Kleenex) so bring your own. There is also a safe at no extra cost in the room. If you want more water to drink, the store on the resort sells small bottles (500 ml) that comes to approx. 50 cents Canadian each. Beds and towels were clean. The wall next to the bed was dirty with brown stains as if coffee was spilled, along the bathtub there is black mould, the shower curtain’s hem has black mould and for approx 3 to 4 inches at the bottom of the shower curtain, pink mould is growing. I tried to wash as much as I could but the shower curtain would need a good wash and disinfection. Between the tiles in the bathroom, the grout is covered with a crust of black dirt that when we were walking on some pieces of build up dirt was coming off. The grout is actually white under the dirt. We didn’t walk barefoot in the bathroom. The grout between the bathroom floor tiles would need a good brushing, cleaning and disinfection. We were always wondering why we had so many mosquitoes and minuscule black biting bugs in our room. Our patio door (left pane) didn’t close properly we tried to push it as much as we could but still didn’t close properly. At least near the end of our stay it was more pleasant to sleep at night with fewer mosquitos and those black biting bugs.
We do not mind the food in Cuba usually. We do practice safe eating practices when in any resorts not just Cuba. We know what to expect but what follows is the first time that we experience this in Cuba. Flies, flies and more flies!!! The buffet restaurant Las Dunas is an open outdoor concept: no AC. It permitted birds, flies, mosquitoes and these black minuscule bugs (that takes a chunk of your skin – even with insects repellents) to fly right in. There were also cats coming and going. The flies were all over the food. In some of the sauces and some desserts what I thought were raisins were not! A lot of the foods were left at room temperature on the counter like cooked eggs, cheeses and meats. They do have a cold plate were you could also find more cheeses and hard boiled eggs but not cold enough even to touch for the warm temperature that was hitting near the 40 degrees. At diner time, we were near the hot meat serving counter and one of the cooks dropped a serving spoon on the floor. He put is back on the counter in the saucer but then looked around and after a few moments took the spoon and the saucer away. A professional shouldn’t even think of putting this back on the counter. A professional wouldn’t even hesitate for a second and would take it away immediately! At the ranchon Lindarena, my husband was served raw chicken. Beside the ranchon, there is a little hut where they BBQ fish, burgers and etc. My husband went for a burger and reported that the cooked burgers were left on a plate in the sun covered in flies and when you want one they just throw it back on the grill and serve it to you. We also tried the snack bar Sol Azul. They served us water that we drank in one gulp and we both looked at each other because the water tasted really funny. At the ranchon and at the buffet they serve bottled water (I have seen them open the bottles) and it doesn’t taste funny.
On day 3 of our vacation we both had diarrhoea for a few days. It is a good thing I brought medications for every system of our body!
We didn’t try the à la carte restaurant(s) but I can tell you that they have AC and are closed in, not open concept dining areas. As for staff, not only they work long hours but they work in that heat – no wonder they forget orders and more!
Overall, our stay made us question about the food handling safety and infection control practices in the kitchens (food storage, prevention measures of food borne illnesses, bacteria, cleaning and sanitizing methods) and as well at the serving stations. I do not want to think about what happens behind closed doors in the kitchen, but what you do not know could actually make to sick and in some cases kill you.
PS- I never saw anyone with a manual thermometer or an infrared thermometer to measure internal food temperature at the buffet.
We seldom drink alcohol but at the lobby bar El Cayito we requested the same drinks without alcohol and they were great. This is a great place for the best coffee ever. The servers were all very nice and always smiling. They will always give you what you requested. Boy do they work none stop!!! Busy spot!!!
Playa Paraiso…(SIGH)…there are no words to describe that beach except that it is spectacular. We prefer Paraiso to Sirena because it is quieter. Nothing beats that beach where the white fine sugary sand kisses the aquas and the blues of the water. The water is like a pool. The water is so clear.
In front of the resorts, all the week that we were there the red flag was up because of the waves. There is no beach in front of Playa Blanca resort only. The waves are dangerous: 2 women had adventures because the waves pulled them under. They were lucky that only one of them came out with scratches on her face as her face hit rocks under water when pulled by the wave. It could have been worse.
TRANSPORTATION TO THE BEACH
There is a schedule to go to Playa Paraiso y Sirena by a train on wheels at no cost. There is a sign that lets you know of the departure to and from the beaches. The sign also informs people to respect the line, in other words ‘first come first in/first served’. This is a huge problem and it was not pleasant. Twice we were first in line but then when the train arrived, people just went like a herd in a Stampede, did not respect the order of arrival and then we missed our ride. Someone who speaks Spanish started to argue and voiced ‘loudly’ his frustrations because he and his family were behind us and they didn’t go. The next ride was in one hour. This was a problem but it got more under control near the end of our stay. Please respect the line!!! Some people got so fed up with this arrangement that they paid for taxi to go and come back from the beaches.
Another problem is that once you are at the beach and wait for the train to bring you back to the resort, the train always goes to Sirena first. By the time the train comes to Paraiso to pick you up, it is full and you have to wait for another hour or again you get fed up and pay for taxi to bring you back to the resort. Our suggestion is that there should be a time schedule for Paraiso and one for Sirena so that the guests at Paraiso are not always penalized by waiting another hour or paying for taxi.
CUSTOMER SERVICE ASSISTANCE
We had problem with the AC. We contacted the front desk and within 10 minutes the AC person came and fixed it. Now this service!!!
The hotel needs a face lift, it looks tired. Yes the floors are clean but there is more to cleanliness than just clean floors (please refer to the room section above).
AIRPORT/ BATHROOM CLEALINESS / TAXI AND OTHER SERVICES
The airport is just 10 minutes from the resorts. Going through is fast. Do not forget; put aside the 25 CUC per person for the departure tax. There is no AC at the airport. There is AC in the departure waiting area but is not working well. Everyone is soaked because of the heat.
OMG, the bathroom at the airport!!! I can’t comment on the boys’ bathroom but let me tell you about the girls’ bathroom. I do not know whose job it is to clean the bathroom at the airport but it is filthy. There are not toilet seats, so you have to hover. There is no toilet paper but there is a lady sitting outside the bathroom who sells one sheet (4 inch X 4 inch) of toilet paper for 1 CUC. I brought my own. Hand washing is one of the best ways to remove germs, avoid getting sick, and prevent the spread of germs to others There is no soap, no hot water (only cold) to wash your hands and there are no paper towels or other means to dry your hands. So bring you own toilet paper, your own soap and paper towel or use hand sanitizer (Purrell) if you have any. There is nothing provided to help disease prevention and control in the airport bathroom.
We had Cuban currency leftover which came to approx. $50.00 CAD and they wanted to take it away because there is a new rule now that you can’t bring any Cuban money out of Cuba. We had to spend it before we left. The coffee is a better price at the airport than at the resort tienda (store) and so is the flavoured liquor of approx. $1.00 CAD. A pop is $2.50 CAD. Prices are better at the Caracol shop at the airport.
You can go to the Marina where there are vendor for souvenirs, a restaurant, a cigar shop, a turtle farm and a Cuban disco.
Taxi – the rate is for anywhere on the island: if you are 2 people it is 5 CUC each, if you are more than 2 people it comes to 2 CUC each
We do not know what has happened to the hostelling business in Cuba, but reflecting on this experience it brought us to conclude that the overall quality as declined gradually throughout the years to a point that we do not find acceptable anymore. As a guest, we would hope beside the leisure, our health would be one of the priorities in the mind of our host…
- 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