I got back yesterday from two brilliant weeks at the NH Krystal Laguna. As many have said before I was apprehensive before going because some of the negative reviews on here, but I went with the attitude of a holiday is what you make it and I had the best time!
I'm going to break up my review so that I dont forget anything, here goes.
Check in - We refused to pay to sit next to each other on the plane so we got to the airport really early and got them for free. Be careful when checking in as they weighed our hand luggage and made us swap stuff between our hand and check in luggage.
Flights - We flew with Thomas Cook, the service was ok, seats were roomy but the attendants could have been nicer. On the way out my friends seatback entertainment failed to work, when we asked for help, we were basically told tough luck and that one of us could move seats - but we had checked in especially early because we wanted to sit next to each other and so that wasnt an option, the stewardess had a bad attitude and wasnt very nice about it. On the way home we had a Thomas Cook Scandinavian plane which had NO seat back entertainment, and was pretty awful.
Arrival - When we arrived at the NH Krystal, we were greeted by the entertainment team, dancing and singing and a waitress with drinks to give out. Check in was quick and we were given a map and the option of a bellboy on a golf cart or walking, we walked.
Rooms - We were given rooms in block 49 on the second floor. We didnt have a pool view, but it was literally a couple of minutes walk and so the location was great. As the Laguna side was closed due to it being low season, we were in the emperador side and had had our room upgraded. This meant we had a mini suite, with a living room as an extra. The room was perfect for our needs, spacious, clean, with lots of storage space. Our room was cleaned daily and we were left towel art every day as well. Our towels werent changed every day but this wasnt a massive problem. We didnt go all the way to Cuba to spend too much time in our room, but it was fine anyway. We had a tv where we could catch up on the news and our fridge was filled with bottled water daily.
The food and drink - We ate in the Cuban, steakhouse and seafood restaurant, along with the VIP and to be honest didnt think too much of them. It was nice to be treated to table service, but apart from the VIP restaurant the food wasnt that much better than the buffet. On to the buffet, I LOVED IT! There was so many options there was never a time I couldnt find something I didnt like to eat. Breakfast was great with omelettes and eggs cooked to order at one grill, and pancakes and waffles at the other. Bacon was constantly being cooked and there were fresh smoothies made on request. The bread was great too. For lunch you had the option of the beach bar grill where there was table service for a selection of different foods including burgers, grilled chicken, fish, fajitas and hot and cold sandwiches. The buffet has a massive selection too. Evening meals seemed to have a theme like mexican, seafood. There were chefs cooking cuts of different meats to order, a fish/squid/shrimp grill and a fresh pasta and pizza area as well as the wonderful flambay lady (I recommend flambayed pineapple - it was lovely!) Me and my friend tried to work our way through the cocktail menu, but I dont think we managed all of them! Between 6-8 every evening there was a special mojito bar outside the restaurants neat the lobby and Salvatore really does make the best mojito in the world! I did find that a lot of the drinks were really sweet, but you can ask for anything and the staff are willing to give it a go! Alfredo is lovely, look out for him.
Nightlife - We met a great group of Canadians on the first night of our holiday and spent the whole first week (until they went home) partying with them - I can honestly say I dont know why this hotel splits the british and canadian guests, because we loved meeting them and glad we were all placed in the same section together. Anyway, we used all the bars, the lobby was the main meeting area, we would head over to the oasis bar and cigar lounge on the way to the disco which started at eleven every night and was great cheesy fun! It was a mix of popular, classic and cuban music and was another place to get to know the other guests!
The beach - one word - STUNNING. The sand is like powder, its so clean and white and the sea is crystal clear. There were a lot of jellyfish in the laguna and me and my friend were nervous at first that there would be lots in the sea, but thank goodness there were none! We never saw them ourselves but there was a lot of talk of dolphins being on our beach at sunrise and sunset. We went to use the pedaloes which is free for guests and went out for an hour on those which was fun.
Entertainment - the entertainment team worked really hard, in the day they were round the pool organising, water aerobics, water polo matches, treasure hunts and bingo. At night they put on a show. The shows were the best i've seen, but the dancing and live music was good. On site there are quite a few pools, including an adults only one, and a games room with two pool tables, and fuseball and table tennis, we used this quite a bit. There is a gym that we did go into briefly and we used the tennis courts (big mistake in that heat!)
In summary, if you look for things to moan about at this resort, you will likely find them, we heard one couple moaning that their curtains were dirty - SO WHAT?!!! How long do you spend touching your curtains?? There was one problem I had with the whole resort and that was on my last day. After packing I went for the first time to hire two towels, when I got there the towel guy ignored us while he unpacked a whole cart of towels and when he got round to serving us about ten minutes later, he said we already had two towels. I told him we didnt and had never been there before and he said we had, I asked for proof and he showed me a signature which was not mine. Reception quickly resolved this issue for me by comparing it to my check in slip and I was told that someone had either given the wrong room number or the guy had got mixed up - it was all sorted pretty well, but be careful, you are charged 20 pesos for each towel not handed in on the last day.
Fran the Thomas cook rep was great, he was there every day along with Jess and could answer any questions and book us into all the excursions.
We did quite a few trips, one to Cayo Mortero which included snorkeling and a lobster lunch on a little island. We did the speedboat adventure, which I highly recommend, it was so much fun to drive a speedboat and the snorkeling was good there too. We booked the dolphin excursion, and got up to go on the morning of the trip and waited over an hour before being told it was cancelled, that was really disappointing, apparently it was cancelled because they couldnt get a plane, but I believe it could have been more to do with under occupancy. We went to the spa which was heavenly and the massage was wonderful, make sure you have a mojito and daiquiri here, for only two pesos they are gorgeous! We did the trip called Now! thats what I call Cuba. It involved a speedboat
trip with a guide through the mangroves, it was so much fun, then we drove onto Ciela De Avila and visited a cigar factory. We then got taken round the town on local taxi's (like a bike with two seats) and went to listen to a local band. After that we had an hour to ourselves to explore. We then got back on the coach and were taken to a ranch for lunch. After lunch it was a steam train trip to a sugar cane mill, then a quick visit to a crocodile farm - it was a long but really good trip. The last trip we did was salsa on the beach, where we met Danny the skinny - cuba's first sumo wrestler, it was a fun night with lots of participation and also rep interaction!
Go to this hotel, go with an open mind, dont expect top class from a third world country, but expect to have a good time and you will!
- Also Known As:
- Nh Krystal Laguna Resort
- Nh Krystal Laguna Hotel
- Krystal Laguna Cuba
- Krystal Laguna
- Nh Krystal Laguna Cayo Coco
- Nh Krystal Laguna Villas Resort
- Nh Krystal Cuba
- Nh Krystal Laguna Villas
- Krystal Laguna Cayo Coco
- Nh Krystal Laguna Cuba