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Back from Colonial

Chatham, Ontario
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109 posts
13 reviews
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Back from Colonial

Spent from Feb 22-Mar 1 at the Colonial. Weather and location were absolutely perfect. The price was right, the service was excellent, and my husband, 2 teenage girls and I had fun. Fire away with any questions.

Beeton
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193 posts
4 reviews
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1. Re: Back from Colonial

We are going there with 6 adults 3 rooms on Apr 4th. We have never been to the colonial but we were at iberostar mojito ( formerly laguna)

How was the food - read some bad and some ok reviews.

How are the rooms, beds

We like the salt water pool because of the swim up bar what is the best building to request to be close to that pool?

Where there alot of bugs?

Do the ground floor rooms have patios with chairs to sit out on?

How was the entertainment / night life

Thanks sorry for all the questions

Ontario Canada
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1,633 posts
112 reviews
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2. Re: Back from Colonial

From the last few reviews, it appears that things are changing fast since i was there mid-Jan.

Bar service on the beach would have really been nice as the bar is a PITA to get to compared to beach bars in most other resorts. Nice to see that you could get grilled fish at the lunch bar. Not available when we were there. The only fish we could get was at the buffet and it was badly overcooked. I even asked the cook to serve it to me when I thought it was done (I've worked as a chef) and he insisted upon leaving it another 2 minutes. I walked away and got something else instead.

Glad to see things are better and that you enjoyed it.

Montreal
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78 posts
11 reviews
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3. Re: Back from Colonial

We are going on April 5th. Is it hard to get a spot in the shade on the beach? In other words, do i have to get up at 7 am to find a spot?

Ontario Canada
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1,633 posts
112 reviews
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4. Re: Back from Colonial

No, there should be plenty of palapas. Take deep if you are sensitive to sand fleas as the seaweed is piled right behind the palapas and that's where they live.

tncuba1: Cuban resorts are so susceptible to change, it's difficult to know how things are going to be even a month from now.

It appears, they are trying to get Colonial back up to decent standards, possibly to sell to another company - that's the rumour.

If you read all of the reviews, including mine, you actually get a pretty accurate picture. Is your cup half full or empty? Food is not great but you do get enough to eat. Things run out. Food is often overcooked or undercooked. Hamburgers are probably pork but taste good if you drink enough rum.

Rooms are very spacious, beds are hard and old. No door that you can close between toilet and the rest of the room, just a frosted glass cafe or saloon door.

Patios should have chairs. You are generally better off with a second floor room to avoid crawling bugs. There were mosquitoes and sand fleas when we were there in Jan. take deet. I was bitten by sand fleas before I thought I needed it.

Entertainment is generally good. They try hard. Piano bar was our favourite.

Chatham, Ontario
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109 posts
13 reviews
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5. Re: Back from Colonial

Honestly food is subjective. We are not fussy AT ALL. So we always found something to eat. Breakfast had the usual meats, chesse salad items, breads, brioches, as well as a pancake station, omlette station and egg stattion, with bacon (ask them to grill it up more to get it crispy). Lunch we usually went to the fish restaurant (can't remember the name, but near to salt water swim up bar). Supper at italian was good, buffet ok, 2 other a la carts would not bother.

Best location around building 30, 31, 32 for salt water pool.

Had no bugs to speak of, we always try for top floor in case any critters want to visit lol. Ground floors do have outside patios.. beds were hard! Nightlife after the show was pretty low key, try around the lobby bar or placita bar for groups hanging out there.

Chatham, Ontario
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109 posts
13 reviews
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6. Re: Back from Colonial

Getting shade never happened for us, and we were down at the beach around 10ish...so not sure when you needed to "reserve" the shade locations.

And Doug the fish we had was really good, even though there were alot of bones, they were lovely and moist. the fillets obviously had less bones, but still some. And yes fun was had...and for a good price I'd re-visit

toronto
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3,066 posts
1 review
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7. Re: Back from Colonial

Did I not say things were going to change LOL.

I am so happy to hear things have picked up especially for the sake of the workers who some of them were off for many months.

They must be doing something right as of last Saturday they had 820 clients.

The 'fish' restaurant is called Yuraguano near the aquabar.

Wish I was going back soon.

Peterborough...
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18 posts
5 reviews
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8. Re: Back from Colonial

We spent a week at the Colonial from Feb. 12-19 and had a great time. First trip to Cuba so weren't quite sure what to expect but we're both pretty easy going and we were there to relax.

I have to say I was pleasantly surprised with the resort. I can understand some of the reviews about things not being in tip-top shape but from what I could see, although 'worn' in places, everything was clean and serviceable.

We stayed in oceanview room 3338 (2nd floor of building between saltwater pool and beach) and we found it very comfortable. I prefer a harder mattress but neither my wife nor I had any problems sleeping or getting up sore in the morning.

Although we took lots of bug repellant, there were almost no bugs. We had 1 mosquito in our room and never saw any sand fleas on the beach. My wife did notice 5 or 6 little bites after we got home, though.

We got up fairly early each day and had coffee on the patio at the lobby bar then went for breakfast at the buffet around 8-8:30. We went for the fresh cooked omlettes or crepes every day I think - very yummy. We never bothered going to the buffet for lunch so I can't comment on it but the food from the lunch bars was more than adequate. The burgers were tasty (slices of cucumber instead of lettuce most of the time - interesting!), the fries actually very good and the fresh fish - you have to try it :). The churros were very addictive and I found myself making excuses (as if I needed one) to go to the bar for another one.

Dinners at the buffet were a bit repetitive but there was always something decent to eat, albeit rather bland in general. The a la carte restaurants were a mixed bag - the Italian was quite good but the 'creole' was worth skipping and the 'colonial' somewhere in the middle.

We usually walked the beach after breakfast then grabbed our towels and hit the beach for the rest of the morning. We never had problems finding a palapa to get shade and the lifeguards were always ready to clean off the ever plentiful loungers. The chairs were not the most comfortable but they are durable (they get dragged all over the beach in the course of a day).

The piano bar was a great spot to hit after dinner, have a few drinks and listen to the live music while waiting for the evening show. The musicians were decent, but I wished they had played more local (afro-cuban) music instead of covering top 40 tunes. Drinks at the piano bar were the best on the resort I thought - the only place they are served in real glasses.

Entertainment was fun although a bit repetitive (lots of dancing). A few of the dancers were actually very good. The magician was quite entertaining.

You can argue about how many 'stars' this resort has, but for us the bottom line was that we had a 5 star vacation. The resort was clean, staff very efficient and helpful, food acceptible and the weather and beach were fantastic. What more can you ask for from a vacation? Would we go back - absolutely.

Beeton
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193 posts
4 reviews
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9. Re: Back from Colonial

Peter reading your review is just about sums it up. Was a little worried seeing some other reviews. This resort was not actually our first choice cause we tried to book another resort but it sold out before we could get all of our rooms booked. The colonial was comparable in pricing so we took a chance and booked it. Looking forward to sun drinks and relaxation. Thank you for an honest opinion

Waterloo ON
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55 posts
5 reviews
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10. Re: Back from Colonial

Thanks for offering answers. My family and I have been to Varadero the past 2 years (AB/Solymar) and wanted to try something different. We were at Tryp about 5 years ago and loved the beach in Cayo, so we thought we'd try it again.

I booked the trip about a month ago after reading some good reviews. Now, the reviews seem to have gotten considerably negative and I'm worried, as this hotel was chosen by me for a group of 10 family members! I hope I didn't make a mistake.

Anyways, questions:

1. I saw a posting about beer shortages. Did you ever experience this? I'm not picky, but I do like being able to fill my Bubba whenever it is dry. Also, someone mentioned they only had the darker beer, Bucanero, and no Cristal. Was this your experience?

2. My in-laws are hoping to avoid a huge amount of walking. Is the beach pretty close, or it is quite a long haul to get there?

3. I enjoy a good cigar while in Cuba. I've read both that there is a pretty good government tobacco store at the Colonial, and have also read the selection is pretty terrible. Any experience here?

4. My kids are looking forward to seeing some wildlife. Are there any flamingos on the resort (there were some at Tryp). What about crabs? We never ran into any in Varadero!

5. Another drink question. My kids enjoy a (virgin) Pina Colada. In Varadero, they always had lemon & coconut slush machines at the bars. Anything like this at the Colonial?

6. Finally, I've read a lot about the front desk being difficult to find due to poor signage. We're arriving at night, with a couple retirees and 4 kids. Any tips to help me locate it before I have a group of cranky travellers on my hands? :)

Thanks for any answers you can provide.

Chad

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