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“Less is more a Diamond in the rough!!”

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Gran Caribe Club Coral
Ranked #4 of 6 Hotels in Cayo Largo
Reviewed May 1, 2012

Our group of six started our vacation on April 20, 2012, we travelled with Canjet and began our trip on a positive note, our flight was on time and we had pre-booked our seats both ways, which I feel is well worth the money especially when travelling with several people as you are assured that you will be sitting together even if you happen to be at the end of a long line-up. I also contacted the resort about a month before departure to request our rooms and then again as a reminder a week before departure, the Lady I emailed was very accommodating and was able to fulfil all of our room requests and emailed the room numbers to me at that time.
When we arrived at the resort, two rooms were ready and two were not, which was a bit of a rocky start to the people in our group who had to wait and since we arrived on the early flight it seems all the longer to wait, one room was ready at around 2:00 pm and one room was ready at approx. 6:00 p.m. since previous guests had booked the rooms for a late check-out but I feel that the rooms, the location and the fact that we got the rooms that we requested more than made up for this little glitch.
The Rooms as stated are basic and could use a bit of a TLC, a coat of paint, a couple of chairs in the room would have been a nice touch and we found the mattresses to be a little firm but for the amount of time you actually spend in the room, the price, the gorgeous views offered and the closeness to the sea the pros far out-weighed the cons in my opinion.
The Beach was just beautiful, a little rocky in areas and quite rough for most of the week that we were there but as other people have said there are sandy areas around the rocks in certain areas, you also have the option of taking a free train to Playa Sirena and Playa Paraiso which is a definate must see, be forwarned that there are no washrooms at Playa Paraiso and as others have said always carry a roll of toilet paper with you on any outings away from your resort. You will also see a lot of naked people walking on the beaches, to me this was a bit of a novelty at first but became more common place as the week went on and I didn't find it offensive in the least.
The Staff were excellent and I can't stress this enough, to me the resort was small enough to get to know everyone (staff and guests) by the end of the vacation and cozy and warm like being home away from home, on our week we had an amazing group of both staff and guests and we all seemed to get along like family, my friend and I walked over to see the gift shop at the Sol Pelicano and although it is a beautiful resort, to me it didn't seem to have that same cozy, friendly atmospere that comes from a small resort.
The Pool always seemed to be the hub of activity since the only bar for our resort is located at the pool, the only thing that I didn't like at the pool was that if you weren't ordering drinks from the water you had to go to the back of the bar and bend over the bar to get your drinks while the bartender had to reach them up to you, it seemed a little uncomfortable for both patron and bartender.
The Food was satisfactory some things are cooked in a different manner than what we are accustomed to at home but it doesn't mean that the food is bad or flavourless, when I think of Cuban food I think of it being more pure and with less additives than what we are used to, I personally also believe that since it seems to be a well known agreement that people don't travel to Cuba for the food it is up to the people that visit Cuba to realize that they are in some way responsible for satisfying there own taste buds by bringing spices, condiments, pancake syrup etc. whatever you feel you personally need to enhance your food and make your dining experience more enjoyable, they do the best they can with what they have. I often have people chuckle at me for the bag of condiments that I carry with me to each meal but I can honestly say that in the 15 times that I have been to Cuba I have never been sick from the food and have quite enjoyed it.
As I say I feel that this resort is a Diamond in the rough, it isn't perfect and well-polished but it is in my opinion a gem none the less and sometimes less really is more. I would go back in a heartbeat if the price was right and I very rarely go to the same resort twice but would gladly make an exception in this case.

Room Tip: Three of our rooms were in the 4000 block and all had wonderful ocean views
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  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled with family
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5  Thank cubalovervickit
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Redys Adalberto C, Subdirector Asistente at Gran Caribe Club Coral, responded to this reviewResponded May 17, 2012

Thanks for your excellent comment. We hope see you again and not doubt to contact us directly 2 or 3 weeks early; we will be waiting...

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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13 - 19 of 488 reviews

Reviewed April 29, 2012

This, in my opinion, was a fantastic hotel: The food was excellent (for Cuba) and there were always several choices, the staff were friendly and happy and provided all services needed. The rooms are about what you should expect in Cuba, but so many had little balconies with an ocean view…who cares about the room! The beach was right there, not crowded and it was like walking on silk.

The pool bar, accessible from both sides (*wet and dry) was the hub of activity and a great place for people to meet up and socialize. The guests, mostly Canadian, ranged in age from early 20’s to mid 60’s and blended well.

The sea was a little rough most days and although a coral reef is about 100 meters from shore, you’re probably better off to plan your snokelling for the excursions. Not good for swimming, but great for bobbing in the waves!

Even though The Villa Coral is a “bare bones” resort, just for it’s service, food and location, it deserves more that a 2 star rating.

As with most of Cuba, public toilets are missing seats, take your own TP and hand sanitizer wherever you go and tip, tip, tip: they not only need it, they deserve it!

My tip: take a shoestring, lanyard with a clip or small carabiner and get the reception to punch a hole in your key card so you always home somewhere to put it!

Room Tip: 5000's are close to beach but farthest from hotel 4000's are equidistant to both beach and...
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  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled solo
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4  Thank Cindi R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 28, 2012

This is a very basic bare bones resort but the staff were extremely accomadating and tried really hard to serve. Been to a lot of places 5star where I felt that the locals didnt want you there but not here. 2 star resort with 5 star service. Beautiful beaches beautiful people. I would go back. If you want 5 star then pay for it .If you want basic, relaxing and clean go for it. Doesnt matter where in Cuba you go there are flies so get to the buffet early and have omelettes made to order for breakfast.

Room Tip: 4000 block is the closest to the beach
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  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled solo
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4  Thank karen_kershaw
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 28, 2012

We returned form cayo largo yesterday, april 27, stayed one week. It's a very good place to seek a retreat from your busy schedule and hastle, or honeymoon, etc, one practical advice: when go to cuba take a little bottle of your own shampoo, and a roll of a toilet paper. The beach was great, white sand, celestial ocean, very few people if at all, nice nature, but if you like more you can go to another two beaches : paraiso and sirena, where you can drink mohito. Overall food in the hotel is ok, fresh vegetables, chicken and fish are always there, the bar at the pool is very good: rum and pina colada are very good, a pint of beer and always cold is there too. The personnel is helpful, but speak poor english, so pick up some spanish. There is a store just across the hotel where you can buy necessary things: shaving razors, disinsectant, toothpaste, etc. Mosquitoes are very aggressive after 8 pm. Hot and cold water was always there at any time of the day. Wherever and whenever you want to go, ask reception and they'll book you a bus to go marina or village, it's the same thing, for 2 cuc/person. The airport is only 5 min ride from the hotel. What we did not like was flies in the restaurant, very annoying. TV channels are good, I was able to watch all European soccer games with barca, real, bayern, chelsea, teenis final from monter carlo. Massage therapist is good, but you have to catch her with some extra help. Tip wherever/whenever you want/can or bring some old attire, foam, sweets, etc and give it to the people. Overall, we enjoyed our stay with minor discomfort. The air conditioner was working well at all times.
P.S. There is no toilet seat in the washroom in the international airport on cayo largo.

Room Tip: take an oceanfront view room, it's awesome!
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  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Viktor T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 22, 2012

Such a great beach, definitely a wonderful vacation if you are a beach lover. You can walk for miles and miles over beautiful powdery white sand.

My Canjet flight left Toronto about 6:30a.m. arriving about 9:30 Cayo Largo time. Canjet was excellent even the snack was pretty good. A ten minute bus ride from the airport and I was quickly checked in by 11a.m. Yoel, one of the bell men took me by golf cart to my room 5020 in the Coral section.It was perfect.

It was large, 2 ¾ beds, table chairs, TV. With several channels including CTV Edmonton, CNN and a host of others, bar fridge, bidet, tub with shower, also a safe. A plus, were 110 outlets which made charging my camera battery very easy. Solar power was in use and there was no shortage of hot water.

The back patio overlooking the sea offered two sun beds, a hammock and chair, a perfect spot to also take in the sun. and overlooked the beach which was steps a way.it was a five minute walk to Ranchon where you could have an early afternoon snack or a la carte dinner, both very good

A “doesn’t forget” is a flashlight. The pathways at night are very dark and in some cases uneven.

In short order I found this resort to be pretty much the type of resort I very much enjoy, small, only about 80 rooms, intimate, you quickly got to know many of the other guests, the staff and vice versa.. There weren’t a whole lot of extras such as wind surfers, pedal boats, hobiecats, tennis courts etc. that you often pay for at the larger 4 star resorts but may or may not use. The centre of the universe at this resort was the salt water pool bar and seating area above. where there were dance lessons, exhibitions and Spanish classes. It was the perfect shady spot to gather for drinks and chit chat. The bartenders were terrific after a few drinks they pretty much knew your drink of choice for future orders.

Very much the big attraction at this resort is the beach, much of it is clothing optional. There are lots of palapas and tee pee shelters and no shortage of sun beds. A favorite pastime for many guests, self included was to take long walks on the white sandy beach which extended as far as the eye could see enjoying the beautiful Caribbean as you walked. walking past the other larger resorts, Pelicano and sol Club Cayo Largo which shared the same beach. If a guest wanted a change there was a free road train to take you the short distance to Playa Sirena, beautiful but very busy. The train schedule is posted at the Coral activities office which is where you can also exchange your beach towel.

Dining. The buffet is amazingly good for a small resort. There is always a good selection.
Dinner.. Always a soup plus a choice of , chicken, fish, pork, beef pasta, rice, salads, fruit, potatoes, fresh baked bread, cakes, ice cream. .always something to satisfy even the pickiest eater. My favorite place to sit was the outdoor area at the back of the dining room which offered a great view of the sea. The dining room staff were terrific. Since they work long days for several days straight then have time off you quickly get to know the servers and many of the kitchen staff.

Dinner wasn’t until 7:30p.m. But if you were hungry earlier, you could get a snack, i.e. Hot dog, pizza ham and cheese sandwich at the snack bar adjoining the activities centre to tide you over.
Lunch. Pretty much the same as dinner only not quite so many choices.
Breakfast. Eggs, omelets, pancakes, sausages, fruit, cold cuts, salads, cheese,, toast, fruit, fresh bread, pastries plus a variety of juices.


This resort is as unpretentious as the guests you meet and has to be the friendliest I have ever found in Cuba. A guestimate would be more than 60% were Canadian, the rest mostly Argentine and Italian. The age groups appeared to be mostly over 30 with several couples in the 50- 60 age group, a few same sex couples who told me they were very comfortable at the resort. there also several solo travelers. Many of the guests were repeaters, one lady told me they were on their 31st visit. This resort would appeal to tourists who don’t need constant entertainment but can create their own good times. I tend to think younger children would be bored and the resort is more geared for an older crowd.

Room Tip: Block 50 is perfect for the beach
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  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled solo
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7  Thank richiehere
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 21, 2012

We arrived on Fri. Apr.13.... Reception dark gloomy, and lady was no help at all...
we were given a very far from everything room.... Which took 1 hour to get a working card key to get in...
Room very old, and dated... Smelled musty..
Buffet was a disgrace.... Nothing we would even touch..... all food covered in flys..
Very small and dark eating buffet area..
Beach was very high waves... Nothing special at all..
Pool bar was full of Italians, not leaving to go to the washroom..
We contacted our Rep from Notitours, paid a bit extra, and went to the Playa Blanca.... We were in our beautiful room, settled by 4:00 pm. same day.
DO NOT WASTE YOUR MONEY AT THE CARIBE.....
Even the bar in the Reception area was NOT included.....
(Please see my write up on the Playa Blanca... Best Vacation....
Oh... By the way, this was our 10th trip to Cuba...... 2nd time in Cayo Largo..

Room Tip: No room at all...
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  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank cubamama011
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 10, 2012

VILLA CORAL - VILLA SOLEDAD - ISLA DEL SUR - EDEN VILLAGE - VILLA LINDAMAR

I just came back from the Gran Caribe Cayo Largo on April 7, 2012, after a 7-week stay. I was confused when I got to the hotel because it is called Isla del sur (main reception area). There is the Eden Village right next to it which is for Italians. The Villa Coral, Villa Soledad and Villa Lindamar are all the same hotel, but in different little "villages" on the resort. I stayed at the Villa Soledad (2-story buildings). It was a 5 minute walk from the main reception at the Isla del sur. Villa Coral is a bit closer to the main lobby and it is very central being around the swim up bar, the restaurant, the activities, 2-minute walk to the post office, car rental and store on the other side of the street. In order to call to Canada, you will need a calling card that you must buy at the post office.

BEACH AND WATER

I was surprised to see how quiet the beach was... We had great weather all week and although we had beautiful days, sometimes, we were alone on the beach in the afternoon. When there were people on the beach, lots of them were nudists. I've never seen so many on a beach before!!! You can also go to Playa Paraiso or Playa Sirena which are about 10-15 minutes by taxi (2 cuc per person) or you can take the little train that picks up people at the hotel (free, but bumpier ride than in the taxi and longer). It leaves at 8:30, 9:30 and 10:30 in the morning and comes back at 12:30, 3:30 and 5 something. If you walk about 30 minutes at Playa Sirena, you get to a point where you see lots of starfish. It's amazing! The water is cristal clear and it's just like in the pictures. It's perfect... :)

STAFF

As for the staff, they are the friendliest people ever, very professional, and that is why I always go to Cuba. We even went to a party with some of the dancers that did the night shows! They showed us how to dance salsa and merengue. The disco is like "downtown Cayo Largo" at the marina. This is where all the employees sleep, there's the disco, a restaurant, a shop and marchants outside during the day. We were dancing outside with the wind of the Caribbean Sea... You can dance on the street if you want! It was wonderful!

FOOD

As for the food at the main restaurant, it was good compared to other resorts I went to in Cuba and I am a very picky eater. However, there are not a lot of choices from one day to the next...

ROOM

As for the room, there were mini ants in my bathroom, which is to be expected when you go to Cuba... There were a few other insects in my room, but after a few days, there were a lot less. The A/C worked very well; however, in other rooms, they were working, but they weren't as cold.

OTHER/MISCELLANEOUS

The Cubans work 20 days and then they go back home for 10 days. If you have a problem and he is there when you go, contact Yoel (the one that takes care of the luggage, not the chef). He works his butt off for people!

There are also spanish and salsa lessons near the pool around 4:30. The beach was a 30 second walk from my hotel room.

I would go back there in a heartbeat. What I like about Cayo Largo is that it is very cozy since it's a small island... There's only one place to go party every night if that's what you want to do. The marina is about 10 minutes from the hotel. This was my favourite vacation to Cuba by far... :uD

Room Tip: If you want to be very central, you should ask for a room at the Villa Coral (rooms in the 4000). Vi...
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  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled with friends
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7  Thank Goodlife555
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Gran Caribe Club Coral

Address: Archipielago de los Canarreos | Cayo Largo del Sur - Isla de la Juventud, Cayo Largo 27900, Cuba
Location: Caribbean > Cuba > Cayo Largo
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 6 Hotels in Cayo Largo
Price Range: $155 - $171 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Gran Caribe Club Coral 3*
Number of rooms: 79
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Also Known As:
Gran Caribe Villa Coral Hotel Cayo Largo

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