My partner and i stayed here for 2 weeks at the end of March. Wr had been planning to travel to Cuba for a while and finally got round to it, and looking at reviews and location, the Melia was our chosen hotel.
We planned our own flights to Cuba as the operators times didn't really work for us. Due to this we had to fly via Canada which although exciting, was incredibly tiring, and we were both looking forward to getting to the hotel. Luckily enough, the hotel is conveniently only 15mins away in a taxi (I imagine slightly more for the shuttle buses. From memory the taxi was roughly £15 so not cheap, but not unreasonable either. No real scope to barter on the price due to size of the Cayos I.e. the taxis aren't exactly run over with competition.
Arrived at the hotel at about 11pm. Had read reviews of people arriving to glasses of champagne and snacks, and although we witnessed this in later days, we didn't receive the gesture. Probably down to the fact that we travelled ourselves and not 'on mass'. Wasn't really a problem as we were just glad to be there! The grounds are a reasonable size so we got a lift to our room on a golf cart. We stayed in the 6 block which wasn't a bad location, but there were worse. The view from the balcony could have been nicer, but the gardens are very well cared for so it was pleasant enough.
We noticed that reviews were often commenting on a putrid smell, and although we did occasionally get a passing whiff, it certainly wasn't constant.
The beach was fantastic; sand like flour in both colour and texture and the typical carribean clear ocean. Pretty easy to get a decent lounger here, and if your early enough there is someone there to lend a hand. Bear in mind tho that there is only 1 bar on the beach and depending where you put yourself, it could be quite a walk. Alot of the veteran visitors had the wisdom to pack flasks to make this less of a pain. Well worth bringing one or grabbing one last minute in the airport.
The pool area was lovely with both the main lobby bar and beach bar being close on hand. I favoured the lobby bar as service was a little quicker there and staff seemed friendlier. Sun loungers were easy to come across, even coming down at 10/11am. There were some really lovely spots around the pool, especially the canopies for a 'shade day'. Usually a few geckos living in them too which were nice to look at. But if you want a nice spot, naturally you need to be there early.
There was a reasonable level of poolside activities for those that wanted to get involved.
Pepé was there almost everyday providing drinks as well as the famous coconuts. To not have one leaves your holiday incomplete. More rum the better! Learn a bit of Spanish before you go too, as he enjoys the banter.
Service in general around the pool was pretty good with staff taking drinks orders, but 9 times out of 10 it was quicker to walk there yourself, but nevertheless, a nice touch.
The restaurant was always nice but with any buffet style restaurant; it can get a little samey. A good spread of meats cooked to order though which were good. Staff were really good at remembering what you have and how you get cooked. In the second week I didnt have to ask for a medium/rare steak, a look was all that was needed! We generally skipped lunch but what we did eat was good too. Breakfast was always lovely, especially the pancakes!
Cayo Coco is a pretty remote location so walking anywhere is pretty much a no no, and even if you did have the inclination, there was only the next door hotel to walk too. They do have a shuttle running to the other hotels (you get free access to all ammenities), but we never bothered. There are excursions available, but due to location they are a little pricey. There's a good 3 day trip to Havana, but as I said, it is a little pricey! We wanted to do some snorkelling and there was a speed boat trip that included this so it seemed like a winner. Speed boats were good bu the snorkelling was lousy. Visibility was poor, as you swim through mangroves which makes the lagoon water a greeny yellowy tinge. And the current was insane making it impossible to just look at the fish. If you want snorkelling, I'd go with the diving place on the beach. The coral was good and the fish were really impressive, but one word of warning; take your own snorkel gear. I though that as you were paying to rent snorkels, they would be good kits, but they were pretty grim.
I didnt find tipping an issue like some people. I stuck by my British principles of tipping when it was only due and not just for the sake of it, and it worked out well. We always got looked after so no complaints at all.
All In all, a very enjoyable holiday in a great hotel. If you want to go and relax for a couple of weeks, then the Melia could well be for you. If you like getting out and seeing some of real Cuba, then maye not. I like to go to new places so can't see myself going back to this hotel, but that's in no way a reflection of the hotel. I certainly want to see more of the 'real' Cuba though, so you never know. Could work for a multi stop holiday.
- Also Known As:
- Melia Cayo Coco Hotel
- Melia Cayo Coco Hotel Cayo Coco
- Cayo Coco Melia
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located beachfront in Cayo Coco, habitat of a large colony of pink flamingos. Five-Star All Inclusive Resort with 250 rooms. Conceived only for adults aged 18 years or more. Its superior suites and rooms are built on stilts over a natural seawater lagoon. Recommended for couples, weddings, and honeymoons.Guest Rooms250 rooms: 168 Standard, 62 Standard Superior Lagoon, 6 Junior Suite, 2 Junior Suite Deluxe Lagoon, 12 Suite Deluxe LagoonDining4 Restaurants (A la Carta, Buffet, Barbeque), 5 Bars ... more less