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“A Bridge Too Far”

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Sol Cayo Santa Maria
Ranked #13 of 16 Hotels in Cayo Santa Maria
Reviewed February 9, 2012

Sol Cayo Santa Maria is a great place to visit and explore but is well off the beaten Cuban track and takes a really long drive (about 90 minutes) to get there from the nearest airport. We made this drive very late at night and it took me a while to figure out why our bus was often stopping or slowing down in the middle of no where. After I moved up front on the bus and watched out the front window I realized that a lot of cattle were wandering along in the middle of the road. Welcome to rural Cuba!

Sol Cayo Santa Maria isn't the prettiest Cuban hotel we've stayed at over the years but it rates as one of the most interesting after one has a chance to do some exploring in the area. The food is pretty standard for Cuban hotel food with some both good and not so good surprises. The staff here is very good and we met some really delightful and really helpful people. We enjoyed some awesome Spanish coffee and some great pina coladas - it pays to talk to bar tenders on a slow day sometimes.

  • Stayed: April 2011, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank Cubatan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lati N, Gerente at Sol Cayo Santa Maria, responded to this reviewResponded October 20, 2014

Dear Guest,
Thank you very much for your good comments. That is why our staff works for.
We keep working every day to give all our best to our dear guest.
We hope you can come back to Sol Santa Maria again.

Best regards,

Management

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed February 9, 2012

Spent 2 nights at this hotel all inclusive whilst on tour.Basically it is a beach resort as it is miles from anywhere. The accomodation is villa style and it depends on where you are allocated how good they are. Ours was rather dark as the french windows faced North out onto thick undergrowth. The room was clean and a decent size but we found the bathroom strange. It had a full length clear plate glass window alongside the bath/shower. Add in a blind which would not stay down it made you glad of the thick undergrowth outside. The restaurant is a huge barn sized affair a bit like a holiday camp and does get busy, We had to queue at breakfast, but once seated the staff are very attentive. Plenty of choice foodwise and of decent quality. There are other eating places around the site but we didn't try them unlike the bars! No complaints whatsoever with this hotel which is ideal for those seeking a beach holiday but if you are sightseeing try somewhere less remote

  • Stayed: January 2012, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank Dave H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lati N, Gerente at Sol Cayo Santa Maria, responded to this reviewResponded October 20, 2014

Dear Guest,
Thank you very much for your good comments. That is why our staff works for.
We keep working every day to give all our best to our dear guest.
We hope you can come back to Sol Santa Maria again.

Best regards,

Management

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 6, 2012

This resort has a fabulous beach, beautiful pools and lovely gardens (including a biologically-complete concrete bull!). The food was generally good, including the buffet restaurant. The a la carte Cuban restaurant was the exception which was quite disappointing. The a la carte Italian has a couple of strange dishes (cold roast beef in a tuna sauce!) but on the whole was good and the wine was much better (and still all-inc). The lunchtime beach bar was good and the staff fantastic, however, the best lunch by far (and probably our best meal in Cuba) was the pizza joint - we were staggered this is not also open in the evening. Most of the staff were great and the lobby and piano bars were lovely. Our room was comfortable but very tired and really needed some maintenance e.g. the patio door that took two people to open it, the safe that wasn't bolted down and the bath that had been hand painted by Stevie Wonder. Overall, it was good but with just a bit more maintenance, it could have been so much better.

  • Stayed: February 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Jill_Oxted
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lati N, Gerente at Sol Cayo Santa Maria, responded to this reviewResponded October 20, 2014

Dear Guest,
Thank you very much for your good comments. That is why our staff works for.
We keep working every day to give all our best to our dear guest.
We hope you can come back to Sol Santa Maria again.

Best regards,

Management

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 6, 2012

This was my third trip to Cuba. I visited the Sol Cayo Santa Maria in May 2011 for one week.

Distance from Airport
This was a lengthy drive, but very scenic. About 1.5hrs (maybe longer) from the airport. I did not mind the drive. If it was an evening trip to the hotel, I imagine it would have been very boring!

Hotel
Check in was great - smooth, speedy, although we were the only ones being dropped off haha! We booked the Oceanview Rooms. Really clean, and spacious. Private too. We were in villa #17.

Maid service came everyday, we tipped everyday too. I suppose my only real complaint would be the maid service in this hotel. I did have to ask for new towels, and our floors were never swept well. I always enjoy towel art, and have been spoiled in the past - our maid never did any towel art lol...so that had me a bit bummed. My folks in the adjoining room had a problem with their AC - but it was fixed promptly by hotel staff :-) They really responded well to any problems we had.

Food
Everyone knows you don't go to Cuba for the food. I would say that this was one of the better experiences I have had with food in Cuba. Not too bad, at all! Eddie, from the buffet restaurant was such a nice guy - he would always reserve a table for us in the part of the restaurant that had a nice breeze blowing through. The lady at the meat grill was such a sweetheart too! (A little extra tipping goes a long way!)

Entertainment
One of THE best entertainment "SHOWTIME" that I have ever seen. I think I went almost every night to showtime lol! The best by far was the beach party - fire eaters, people walking on glass, music, dancers (wow were they good). My daughter (11 at the time) really enjoyed herself!!

Bars
The piano bar was awesome. I wish I had discovered it sooner - I didn't start frequenting this bar until two days prior to departure! This was the only "inside" bar (other than the covered pool bar). It did not open until 6pm, so if it was raining, we were hard pressed to find shelter.

Beach
WOW. Beautiful. I can't say enough about how wonderful and amazing it was. You could walk for miles it seemed! I did a bit of snorkelling on my second last day off the beach - for any beginner snorkelers, this was great! There is a small rock cropping a little ways up right at shore, that is home to lots of little colourful fish!!! Really neat! The waves were awesome!
If you wanted a chair or a palapa, you had to get there early.

A La Cartes
We went to two a la cartes - the italian and the Cuban. The Cuban was really good - it was outside, and had an outdoor grill. Delicious! The italian was OK - but service, as usual was fantastic.

My favourite thing to eat was the pizza!!!! I wish it was closer to the beach, as it closed at 3pm. The beach grill was great too. Like I said, the food was pretty good here, for Cuba.

All in all, this was a great trip. I would definitely go back to Sol Cayo Santa Maria. The resort is huge, and if you enjoy taking nice walks, this is the resort for you.

Room Tip: Oceanview - if you are in a single story - you may not have a "great" view of the ocean...
  • Stayed: May 2011, traveled with family
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5  Thank AlynnDavid
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lati N, Gerente at Sol Cayo Santa Maria, responded to this reviewResponded October 20, 2014

Dear Guest,
Thank you very much for your good comments. That is why our staff works for.
We keep working every day to give all our best to our dear guest.
We hope you can come back to Sol Santa Maria again.

Best regards,

Management

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 3, 2012

My wife and I have just returned from an amazing stay at the Sol Cayo Santa Maria for one week. We can't say enough about the beautiful hotel and BEACH!!!!!. The service from the maids, to the servers and gardeners was first class. Before we left home, we were quite anxious about the quality of the food, after reading some of the complaints from a few of the authors on this site. We couldn't have been happier with what we found, both in variety and quality. My wife has to be very careful with her diet, but she had no trouble at the Sol. We were treated like royalty by the buffet and bar staff. Our waterfront room, was beyond our expectations ... clean and well appointed, with an amazing view of the water. we have already made plans to head back to the Sol in January 2013. Here are a couple of hints:

* bring face cloths (nowhere to be found in Cuba)
* bring your own mugs for bar drinks (unless you enjoy drinking from thin plastic cups!)
* bring peanut butter ( we actually saw someone tip their table waiter with peanut butter!!!)
* plastic zip lock bags for your favourite snacks ( we brought small bags of dry roasted nuts)
* lots of suntan lotion ( more if you're using the nude beach!!)
* small packages of kleenex for trips out of the hotel ( no toilet paper in many toilets off site)
* advil, anti-histamines, cold meds etc.(crucial..would have helped us out!!)

Amazing staff: Manager Pachi - thank you for your attention to detail
: Else and her friendly staff at Los Flamencos bar
: Liili and Alain in the dining room - excellent personalized service
: Leidh - the "juice lady" who had my juice on the table before I sat down
: Eduardo - the friendly gardener
We hope you enjoy your stay at Sol Cayo Santa Maria as much as we did. Oh, one more thing... went to Havana for 3 days. 2 days too long!!! Very beautiful, but depressing. Gorgeous 17 and 18th century buildings in disrepair!!

Room Tip: i checked out the Trip Advisory suggestions before we left and requested a specific waterfront room...
  • Stayed: January 2012, traveled as a couple
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9  Thank Keishacourtenay
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lati N, Gerente at Sol Cayo Santa Maria, responded to this reviewResponded October 20, 2014
Google Translation

Estimado huesped
En nombre de Sol Cayo Santa María agradecemos sus comentarios sobre su estancia con nosotros.
Nos complace saber que ha disfrutado sus vacaciones en nuestro hotel y consideraremos sus sugerencias y comentarios, para mejorar nuestro servicio día a día.
Me asegurare de pasar sus comentarios al personal del hotel que seguro les hara mucha ilusion.
Esperamos poder darles de nuevo la bienvenida en un futuro cercano.

Saludos Cordiales.

La Gerencia

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 1, 2012

Very nice week...If you are difficult and criticizes all the time...unfortunately you wont like it...
But if your objective about going on a trip you have to accept all the inconvenient, specially...
When the price is low...

I have enjoy a very nice week food is not to bad ...for me lots of choice , room not to bad , hold but clean. Since most of your day and night are out side the room who cares .

Service good...Not a 5 **** but for the price I would go back tomorrow.

My wife and I we travel a lot ...and wether it's a five star or a 4 star or a 3 star ...we enjoy the moment ....So for those lookind for different area and like the beach and the sun no mather...appreciate...those who prefere luxary go five star ...

We have spent a super nice week...and loking fowerd for are next trip in march in mexico...

Francine & Mike....

  • Stayed: January 2012, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank Sweet01
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lati N, Gerente at Sol Cayo Santa Maria, responded to this reviewResponded October 20, 2014

Dear Guest,
Thank you for posting a review about your stay at Sol Cayo Santa María and for having chosen our hotel to spend your vacations.
In the name of the Hotel Management, we would like to express you how pleased we are to read that you had enjoyed your staying among us as your review shows us and we are very pleased for your positive lines referring our gastronomy , hotels beaches and the friendliness of our staff. This motivates us to keep working to make feel our valuable costumers a dream come true as we aim in Sol Cayo Santa María.
We kindly invite you to give us a new visit; please do not hesitate to contact us before your arrival.

Best regards,

Management.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 21, 2012

Stayed New Years and first week of January 2012. Most staff were very helpful despite extreme lack of English including front desk. Customer service ladies went out of way to assist though! This wasn't the worst place I've stayed, but I won't return and can't honestly recommend it. I heard good things from people staying at the other Cayo S.M. resorts though.

Cayo S.M. is very secluded, so other than buying off resort excusions, the scheduled activities were high on my list for my stay - perhaps moreover being a solo traveller and I like to be active. A high majority of the listed activities turned out to be unavailable. I spoke with SunWing rep day before leaving about lack of advertised activities - he spoke with the activity centre employees, and a new effort was put into activities that afternoon and last day of my stay. The one fairly routine activity was half hour of 'salsa' with Carlos - thanks Carlos, u r the best! To note, I was told the other resorts did have a nice array of ongoing activities.

II you like to dance, there is no disco at the Sol. You can go to another resort and pay to dance though - which I did!

I went through problems with my room upon check in as did other people I met or spoke with (12 others). My room had an unbearable scary odor in it, toilet did not flush, phone did not work, safe was broken, curtains falling down etc. The second room was much better and I stayed there, although fan broken, patio door lock broken which never did get fixed, phone worked sporadically, curtain issues etc. Others I know had to move up to three times upon check in to get a decent room.

In general, this resort is run down and needs some attention. Be careful walking anywhere, for tripping hazards are all over etc.

It's very windy this time of year there, so many days, catamarans not available and limited beach activity.

Nightly entertainment was very good!

Buffet food in Cuba is not the best anywhere including the Sol, but they make a great pizza (when not out of supplies to make one) and the Fontenella Restaurant is amazing if you want fine dining. For great Cuban food, try off the resorts - tasty and much better!

I became VIOLENTLY ill during the night at end of stay - suspected buffet fish. Was extremely dehydrated from being up all night - but could not get a bottle of water to rehydrate until 3:00 p.m. Customer service tried to find one bottle anywhere, but the Sol was simply out of bottled water for much of that day.

I do highly recommend taking Trinidad overnight trip while there. Excellent!!!

My opinion in short, if you want a less busy, more quiet place to simply tan have some drinks - and a steal of a price shows up, the Sol may be for you. I wouldn't pay big dollars for this resort though - if you do go, and don't like it, you can pay a little extra to upgrade to one of the newer Cayo S.M. resorts. :-)

Room Tip: I think second floor has better air circulaton than bottom floors. Note, no clocks in the rooms (o...
  • Stayed: January 2012, traveled solo
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7  Thank LongLiveCuba
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lati N, Gerente at Sol Cayo Santa Maria, responded to this reviewResponded October 20, 2014

Dear Guest,
We are sorry to read your comments in regards of your stay with us; normally everyone always enjoys our resort very much. In our effort to continuously improve the quality of our service we put a great interest in our clients comments as their perceptions are the most important to us as this is the only way to know what specific points we must focus our attention.
Once again please accept our apologies for these inconveniences and I would be much honored to invite you once again to Sol Cayo Santa Maria showing you keep on trusting in our Hotel and in our Company and you will enjoy our new changes and renovations and at the same time you will give us the opportunity to change any negative perception you may have about us.

Best regards,

Management.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Sol Cayo Santa Maria

Address: Cayo Santa Maria | Villa Clara, Cuba
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Cuba > Villa Clara Province > Cayo Santa Maria
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#11 Top resorts Hotel in Cayo Santa Maria
#11 On the Beach Hotel in Cayo Santa Maria
Price Range: $120 - $356 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Sol Cayo Santa Maria 3.5*
Number of rooms: 300
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
In an island paradise off the northern coast of Cuba stands the All Inclusive 4-star Sol Cayo Santa Maria hotel (300 rooms). Ideal for simply relaxing or for exploring the clear ocean bottom and neighboring keys that surround this marvelous Cuban tourist destination. Enjoy an unforgettable holiday with your family, all included. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Sol Cayo Santa Maria Hotel Cayo Santa Maria
Sol Hotel Cayo Santa Maria
Cayo Maria Santa Sol
Sol Cayo Santa Maria Cuba
Cayo Santa Maria Sol

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