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Sol Cayo Santa Maria
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Reviewed June 1, 2010

I found this resort nice. Clean rooms, the food was good, staff was excellent as always. My biggest three complaints were that there were no planned activities for the kids which I Have two of (6,3). This was our second time going to cuba, last year we went to cayo coco. my other complaint is alot of nudity around the pool, where the kids were. I have no problems with if they had a secluded area or even when its on the beach, because the beach is big enough and you rarely see it. I have a problem when its in the shallowest part of the pool and they come wading in like nothing. The hotel should have a separate area or enforce a no nudity in pool rule.
My third complaint is that the people visiting at the time were pushy and rude. Not what we are used to. That does not go against the resort, but it did damper things. These people were pushing at the buffet like they have never been fed before.

The weather was great 7 days of 35c perfect. If you are a couple I would recommend it but as a family perhaps pick something that has a few things to do for the kids.

  • Stayed: May 2010, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank crystalmoreau
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 May 31, 2010

Arrived home on 22nd May after two weeks at the Sol CSM. Been to Cuba many times before, but first time to CSM.

We'll try to forget the flight both ways - someone's got to.

Arriving at the Sol, we were all very tired, but it was a big help to have check in on the transfer.
The rep tried to make the trip go quicker by pointing out various places of interest on the way.
Had a great welcome at reception with cool drinks, music and dancers to welcome us, and soon arrived at our room via golfcart.
The room was exactly the one I'd emailed to request( thank you guest services), clean,plenty of space for our things and free safe. Drinking water was cooling in the fridge and lots of hot water for a shower. The room was kept spotless the whole time we were there, always clean towels and sheets changed every other day. Had a problem with the safe during the first week, but one phone call to reception and someone came to fix it within 15 mins.

The beach and sea were amazing, just like in the brochures. Some days were quite windy but that's nature. We had a day when it rained a little during the second week but Cuba wouldn't be so green and lush without it. One complaint - the beach could really use more shade, there were only very few palapas and they were all taken very early in the day, every day.
While on the subject of the beach, we were also affected by "the Germans". Out of the 14 days of our "paid for holiday" we couldn't use the beach in front of the Sol, the beach bar, or the toilets for 3 days. Like some other posters on these hotels I was not very happy.

We used the buffet restaurant, the beach bar, the pizza bar and the Italian restaurant for food and I can say it was mostly good. Yes, there were some things, some days, that weren't perfect, but also there was lots of food that was fantastic. Freshly made pancakes, eggs, omlettes for breakfast, pasta or pizza cooked just as you like it for lunch or dinner, grilled meat or fish cooked fresh for you at dinner and don't forget the flambe fruit either. Just remember, you get what you pay for!

The staff were mostly very friendly and helpfull. You don't need to tip them every time, but remember the ones who give you the best service. If you try and chat to them, ask them about their family etc the are pleased you take an interest. Most of them speak at least some English( and French, Italian, and some German). Remember they are human, they might have other things on their mind which concern them. Don't we all loose concentration on our job from time to time?

The entertainment was plentiful if you look for it. Games and music around the main pool in the day, music in the restaurants and bars in the evenings, the piano bar after dinner at night, and then the show at the theatre at 10pm. I understand there is a disco late every night too, ...past my bedtime!! Also one nighttime beach party....


All told we had a good holiday at the Sol, would recommend this hotel and area to anyone who wanted a quiet, relaxing holiday in the sun.

  • Stayed: May 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank empee
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 May 30, 2010

I went with my wife and two kids for two weeks from jun 6-21 2009 I have more complaints that tumbs ups...only good thing is beach and water..everythingelse from restaurant, sevice, mosquitos, bugs in restaurant rudnest...would never go back to this resort even if it's free....we were sick from day one on and off...if anyone have a question about this resort I am willing to give the answer on any details because something like this resort shoud not be even a 4 star...and my family is not picky and my friends who travelled with us and many other people we met at the beach...

  • Stayed: June 2009, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank asteriks_obeliks
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.
Reviewed May 29, 2010

Sol Santa Clara

We are not foreign to Cuba at all and are quite familiar with the Melia and Paradissus class resorts ( see our last Varadero review ) and are happy to say that we had a fine time at Sol Santa Clara.

We booked our April trip on a whim. Knowing the differences between various classes under Melia, and having read the negative reviews, we knew we were not venturing into the unknown.


For the price, Sol Santa Maria offers pretty good bang for the buck, and absolutely. Please do shop around.

- located about 1 hour 45 min from the Santa Clara airport by bus ( not that bad really , reminds us of traveling to Melia Caya Coco a bit )

- check in was quick. Hotel lobby was standard open and minimal Sol fare, which is fine. We did not wait for the bell boy as we were quite hungry upon arrival, so we went to our rooms first and front desk had our luggage brought inside the room. No problem.

- room was surprisingly clean. More spacious than I was expecting. We would say room was just a little bit smaller than other Melia's but still more than enough .Bed was fine.

- bathroom was clean, again spacious. Actually we quite liked the huge window by the tub : ample sun light. The tiles around the tub did show signs of wear and tear, but acceptable. We did not have problems with bath towels at all. Water pressure both hot and cold were fine.

- there's in room safe, we didn't use it. There were also extra blankets and umbrella. Mini fridge was cold enough.

- the up keep of the whole premise, walkways, gardening were fine for it's class. Pathway is a bit too narrow to my taste. Do watch out for the staff motor cart though as they frequently traveled a bit too fast.

- Buffet restaurant was better than we expected. First, we had excellent service there through out our stay. The service from the buffet staffs was the best we have ever experienced so far of " all the Melias " we've been to. We have never seen any " you haven't tipped me " face there at all which is amazing by Cuban standard. Very polite, attentive staffs. Our drinks were always filled.

- Buffet food was good. For 4 nights during dinner, we had lots of fresh shrimps - right off the fishing boat fresh - something you'd pay $ 40 per person back in North America . And they were ocean fresh, did I just say that . Food selection in general was fine. The pasta station was very good. If the hall was not too full, the chef would normally bring your dish to your table when ready. For lunch and dinner , we usually focused on seafood , pasta, cooked vegetables.

- Buffet breakfast was fine. no complain. Selection was fine. Coffee was excellent. Coffee and juice , they brought to your table.

- swimming pool 24 hours snack bar: nothing to brag about but it did it's job. Service there was hit and miss, as one can understand because of the high traffic and I'd guess not a lot of guests tipped there. Limited snack menu, 4 items: ham and cheese sandwich, red sauce chicken sandwich, don't remember the other two. Also served drinks and coffee in plastic cups. No complain, for what it is. Drinks and food were good.

- lobby/Patio bar - service hit and miss, but acceptable. The thing is when the bar tender knows you're tipper or remembers you, service would come with a smile and more, nothing new there. Coffee and drinks served there, plus some cake during day time. Things can get busy there.

- Piano bar - one of our favorite place for after dinner drinks. There were 2 female piano player, usually playing classical/pop and Cuban standards. The older pianist has lots of friends that are returning guests, she has her fans and we can understand why. Service was excellent there but again, that place can get very busy. Too bad you can't smoke cigar in there any more.

- Beach bar, a rancho/type bar with bench and tables by the beach. Service was very good, and again it can get very busy : guests eating, and guests dropping in getting their drinks refilled for sun bathing and what not. Hamburger, grilled squid was good. They even had poutine. Fish filet was so so, ymmv.

- Italian restaurant: cozy little place, excellent service. Pasta was good. I'd suggest stay away from their beef/steaks items. Coffee and deserts were good. . As posted, you'll need to reserve this at the lobby, at the desks close to the lobby bar.

- pool : ok. Didn't go into it. Pool wasn't too clean though, but then, the beautiful beach is just a stroll away.

- beach: fantastic, although you'd be at the mercy of the weather, and it has not been that predictable for a while this winter. Half of the week was windy, although you could still go wave jumping. We walked both ways along the beach and can say that at the moment, Sol has the best location for beaches in Cayo Santa Maria. To the right, are all the Santa Maria resorts, Melia's...etc. We usually went to the left end of the beach, less people, and yes there was police there as well. Further left about 20 min stroll is the nudists area, so beware if you are sensitive to that. For us , no problem really. White smooth sand, blue green clear ocean, with pikes swimming around , there're area where you can snokle... absolutely fab. Beach was clean. There were some sea weed ashore as it was windy, may be a turn off for some. Didn't have problem with beach chairs.

- beach towels: you get them at the sport centre by the pool. Exchange for new ones when you want and return them before check out. They'll give you a receipt to show the front desk, standard fare.

- nightly entertainment: very good. In terms of music performance, this was one of the best we ever had in Cuba . From day time lobby bar, buffet dinner, to evening show, 9 out of 10. Especially the band at the buffet, fantasic rendition of bossa nova's and take this : Hotel California. God knows how many HC we have heard in the past, and that band took the first price.

- Disco: didn't stay there but it's opened till 4 AM. the pool tables are there. It's next to the buffet restaurant.

- Currency exchange: A small booth between the lobby and the mini hotel store. We exchanged our CAD there for CUC, no problem whatsoever. Rates are posted daily on the booth window, staff spoke very good English.

- excursions : we did the Santa Clara, Remedios tour. Worth it if you want to see and know more outside of the resort. 70 CUC per person included lunch with a drink. Tour guide was fine. NOTE :There will be stops where you cannot bring large bags and cameras into, be prepared. We really liked the Che memorial , train ride, the cigar factory ( my favorite ) and the stop at Remedios. We have been to Havana a few times before and actually prefer Santa Clara and Remedios . FYI A beer at the hotel Los Mascotes, downtown Remedios was 1 CUC. We tipped the driver and the guide.

- tipping: as usual , a peso per seating for us. You do not have to. But when the service is good, why not.

- Santa Clara Airport. Small , as expected, but adequate. At the departing lounge inside the gate, there are souvenir/duty free shops, money exchange, and a small diner for drinks and sandwiches. A ham and cheese sandwich was about 3.6 CUC , local beer was 1.8 CUC. For Cuban coffee fiends, there were no cuban ground coffee at the airport shops unlike other places, so buy them in town during your stay.



All in all, for the price we paid, Sol Santa Maria was well worth it.

For those who are more picky with the hotel and room setting, the other neighbouring Melias or Occidental Royal Hideaway Ensenachos may be a better bet.

We would go back to Sol Santa Maria for sure.

  • Stayed: April 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
9  Thank YYZ-Danny
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,

On behalf of Hotel Management and all the staff working at Sol Cayo Santa María, we thank you for publication on Tripadvisor about your experience in our hotel.
We are very happy to acknowledge that your experience was amazing and unforgettable due to our facilities and excellent service. In Sol Cayo Santa María we want our valuable costumers to enjoy memorable holidays.
We invite you to visit us once again so you can enjoy our facilities and remain at your disposition for any further assistance prior your return.

We hope to see you very soon.

Best regards,

Management.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 23, 2010

We were at the Sol Cayo Santa Maria from April 25 to May 10. We arrived at the resort at about 2:00 am - check-in was fast and efficient. It was our second time at the Sol and we had emailed prior to the trip requesting the closest oceanview room to bungalow number xxxx in a particular area of the resort, and requesting a double bed. We had gotten a positive response but of course no promises. When a porter helped us take our bags to our room we were so pleased that they'd put us exactly - EXACTLY - where we had requested to be and with a double bed! There was also a bottle of rum and a plate of sliced fruit in the room, very welcome at that late hour as we were famished! However there were also grilled sandwiches available at the pool bar at that hour if anyone was hungry. We spent a quiet hour and a half making enjoyable conversation with the bartender at the deserted 24-hour lobby bar before crashing in bed. Very pleasant.

The safe lock wasn't working and the remote control batteries died that first night; both of these things were taken care of almost immediately the next day when we reported it after breakfast. The front desk even called to follow up.

We were surprised that so many of the staff remembered us from our previous visit. The service was simply outstanding. The staff at the beach bar/restaurant were particularly friendly and accommodating to us. The cooks and wait staff at the buffet restaurant and the lobby bar, where we spent most of our socializing time, remembered our preferences and went out of their way to make sure we were happy. Besides the buffet offerings, chicken, pork, beef or fish will be grilled to order on request at the grill stations. There is also a hot carving station where fish, fowl or roast is served up each evening; a pasta station where you choose your pasta, sauce and garnishes; and a pizza station that works similarly. Breakfast buffet offerings inspire less enthusiasm, but that's been my experience throughout Cuba; however, the omelet station will make a mouth-watering omelet to order (or fresh fried or scrambled eggs on request) and there is a crepe station which we didn't try but if crepes are your cup of tea I'm betting they're excellent if the rest of the fresh-cooked food is an indication.

The beach bar/restaurant makes excellent burgers and chicken brochettes and in a tip of the hat to their French Canadian customers, even offers "pontine" on the menu! (This is poutine of course, and while we didn't try it, an acquaintance of ours did and it looked delicious.) They serve until 3:30 pm so are a great option for a late lunch.

Palapas and beach chairs were plentiful, although things were beginning to get a bit crowded by the end of our two weeks, as apparently a large contingent had begun arriving from Europe. There were dramatic changes taking place to the beach bar and the beach area in anticipation of this, with new stand-alone bars, tables and chairs, lights, and marquees being set up in the area next to the beach bar/restaurant and on the beach itself. The clothing-optional end of the beach was in worse shape, with very little shade available (a couple of large palapas) and that was snapped up early in the day. Anyone wishing to spend time on that part of the beach had better expect to be up good and early to claim your chair, and then to be crowded together with others all trying to get the small bit of shade.

However, the beaches in general were in good shape, having largely recovered from the storm damage of a few months previous.

There is excellent snorkeling at the western end of the beach (to your left as you face the water), about a kilometre from the beach bar. The reef comes right into the shore in bits and pieces, so you are among schools of fish just metres offshore. There is another larger reef perhaps another 1/2km down; we didn't venture that far but I'm guessing the snorkeling is even better.

In short our experience at the Sol Cayo Santa Maria was outstanding. The key was the staff. From the porter to the housekeeper to the maintenance man to the restaurant and bar staff we were made to feel incredibly welcomed. We will definitely return.

  • Stayed: April 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
5  Thank ronniecat
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,

On behalf of Hotel Management and all the staff working at Sol Cayo Santa María, we thank you for publication on Tripadvisor about your experience in our hotel.
We are very happy to acknowledge that your experience was amazing and unforgettable due to our facilities and excellent service. In Sol Cayo Santa María we want our valuable costumers to enjoy memorable holidays.
We invite you to visit us once again so you can enjoy our facilities and remain at your disposition for any further assistance prior your return.

We hope to see you very soon.

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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