Vacationing in Cuba is not for everyone, and this is in some ways even more the case for the Cayo Largo resorts. You have to know what your priorities are and what to expect in advance if you are going to truly enjoy all the wonderful aspects of a good Cayo Largo vacation. This review is factual and intended to inform those who are not familiar and help them decide if this kind of experience is for them.
I’ll say right up front that I’m easy going, a great admirer of the Cuban spirit, and have enjoyed every one of my 10 trips to Cuba and all three of the resorts on Cayo Largo I have stayed at. The Sol Pelicano experience was one of my very best.
Arrival and check-in: The ride from the airport to the hotel is under fifteen minutes, and the check-ins were well handled by hardworking and efficient staff. However, during our stay we noted that if your transfer was in the morning, as ours was, your room would not yet be available. We had to wait until 2 or 3 that afternoon. Therefore, you will want easy access to your warm weather clothes, bathing suits, etc. from your luggage. Fortunately you will have access to all the food, drink, and facilities of the resort immediately, and the public washrooms are very well kept so you can change and freshen up. I don’t know if this is a long term situation or just a passing circumstance.
Rooms: We were pleased to get a room in the exact location we had asked for in advance. We didn’t get the “matrimonial” bed we had asked for, but that’s often the case due to the bed/room allotments. The room was ordinary but the balcony and the ocean view were terrific...and that was our priority. AC wasn’t functioning when we arrived, but fixed shortly. One of the pushed-together double beds had a couple of broken legs so was pretty shaky. It took three days to get fixed...and when the bed came back into the room it was about 6 inches lower than its partner. We just laughed at that, knowing that this is the kind of improvisational thing that happens in the marvellous crazy land that is Cuba...and remember that Cayo Largo is even more isolated.
The bathroom was small but functional, with a shower only. We rarely had hot water for showers.
The housekeepers worked hard and the room was clean, but that aspect needs better management as we never knew what time of day they would get to us. One day housekeeping did not arrive until we were heading out for supper.
The key cards and locks need to be fixed. They were constantly failing for us and I believe many others were having problems too. As usual, the staff will do their best to help.
Resort Grounds. We loved the layout and facilities of the Pelicano. It’s gorgeous! Compact but well designed, with interesting sightlines, and lots of fabulous art. The pools are beautiful and spotlessly clean. When we were there, lots of sunbeds were available (although we never could tear ourselves away from the beach). The landscaping is surprisingly green for Cayo Largo. We also loved the tower, which offers spectacular views of the resort and the island itself. A real gem.
Restaurants and Bars. We had some great food at Sol Pelicano, among the best we have ever had in Cuba. The buffet was very nice, with the grills and hot meat slicing stations outstanding. We had some excellent seafood. While we were there, all the meals were very light on desserts though, with no ice cream that week and very limited sweets. Service was outstanding, very cheerful and attentive staff greeting diners at the door and very quick with a beverage and utensils.
I loved the Zun Zun snack bar, which was very well organized and staffed as well. Check out the Mojitos here!! Yum!!
The Pizzeria is another wonderful spot, a very pleasant setting, great food, and friendly attentive staff.
We also enjoyed the service and drinks at the Lobby Bar in the evening. Be aware that after the show this becomes the disco for a couple of hours and it is very loud, crowded and somewhat understaffed for that period. Not our style of evening drinks and no alternative available. Again, I can’t fault the staff, who really put an effort into accommodating everyone. Nice place for your morning coffee in the sunshine too.
We can’t comment much on the beach Rancheron as the atmosphere didn’t really suit our style for lunch and we don’t use beach bars all that much in the run of a day.
Now (drum roll...) THE BEACH!
There are not enough superlatives in the thesaurus to describe the Sol Pelicano beach experience! It’s spectacular!! There are so many great things to say about this beach! I enjoyed the Sol and the Playa Blanca beaches but this is by far the best for the factors I value. The Pelicano is the calmest of the three due to location. During the week, I walked the whole length from Playa Sirenas to Playa Blanca, most sections many times, and on any given day the Pelicano was the most pleasing of the hotel beaches.
Solitary beach walking is a favoutite activity of mine. The Pelicano is the best location for this as well, centrally located on Playa Lindamar with many kilometres of barefoot strolling immediately available in either direction. The C/O section is the most conveniently located re walkways, washrooms, and drinks of any of the Lindamar ones, and very spacious. We really lucked out with the weather, which was perfect every day.
So that’s it! A wonderful beach holiday, with fantastic staff and beautiful surroundings. You decide...if the minor glitches I report will bother you, please don’t go to the Pelicano and make everyone unhappy. But if you are like me, you will love your vacation at Pelicano. I’m going again!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located in Cayo Largo del Sur, in the Caribbean Sea. All Inclusive Four-Star Resort with 307 rooms. Its comfortable accommodations offer guests the chance to enjoy a peaceful and calm vacation. The property faces 600 meters of beach, famous for its perennially cool white-sand. Fun-packed recreation programs for both children and adults. Recommended for families.Guest Rooms307 rooms: 259 Standard, 36 Standard Ocean View, 12 Junior SuiteDining3 Restaurants (A la Carta, Buffet, A la carte and mini-buffet), 2 Cafeterias, 2 Bars ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Sol Pelicano Cayo Largo