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“Great Place for the Right People”

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Gran Caribe Club Coral
Ranked #5 of 6 Hotels in Cayo Largo
Port Perry, Canada
Level 5 Contributor
22 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 93 helpful votes
“Great Place for the Right People”
Reviewed April 6, 2013

That's 4 stars for the vacation in general, not for the physical plant which has some deficiencies.

Having spent Mar 22 to Apr 5 at Villa Coral I really don't have much to add to SuckaJones' comments. I know a lot of people I would strongly advise to stay away (many of whom should probably never leave home in the first place). For anyone who can put up with a few imperfections and needed repairs I don't think you could find a better place.

There was a definite shortage of hot water while we were there, in fact a lot of the time nothing at all came out of the hot water tap, but after a day in the sun the cool water felt pretty good. The soap they provided was pretty basic but the cheap, house brand shampoo I took lathered well and did a good job in the shower.

The food is certainly not fancy but is well prepared. Service in the buffet was always good if sometimes a little slow (but it's a holiday, who's in a rush). We were quite content to wait a minute or two for our usual drinks (which mostly arrived without us even having to ask for them). We tipped regularly but not much during our stay and then made up for our stinginess at the end. No hassles from anyone at any time and always good, polite, friendly service.

Again, if you demand perfection in all things and lots of action (one of the selling points for me is that there is nothing to do but relax, walk the beach and spread on more sunscreen) at a very low price don't even think about going here. If you have some flexibility and can roll with a few gentle punches chances are you'll have a great vacation.

Will I go back...you'd better believe I will! I calculate 11 months and 23 days until the start of my next visit.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
17 Thank grenadierca
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (16)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Bowmanville, Canada
Level 2 Contributor
9 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
Reviewed April 1, 2013

Gran Caribe Club Coral is not for the 4-5 star individual. HOWEVER it's truly the 'diamond in the ROUGH'.
The beach- Absolutely amazing. Close to white sand, crystal clear water, and various lawn chairs and shelters alongside. Walking barefoot is great. HOWEVER certain spots have head to toe nude sun bathing, men and women full out nudity.
The Hotel-There are 2 lodging areas. For families and closeness to pools, bar and restaurant, request the Villa Coral with your travel agent. 3 max per room. But with families of 4 or more, request 2 rooms connected, meaning a door in between both rooms. Double and single occupancy.
If you want peace, and seclusion from all of that, request the Soledad Villa. Huge rooms closer to the beach. Quiet and very peaceful.
HOWEVER, the whole resort and property looks run down. Paint faded, concrete broken and cracked, grass is hit and miss for landscaping. Sometimes there was no hot water. Hit and miss each night. Maintenance also spray a fog machine for insects in the evening around the whole resort. The biggest complaint is the Villa Isle hotel where you check in, is only for Italians. Very serious about that. Run by the Cuban staff, depending on your wristband, put it on yourself rather than they applying it on your wrist. You will not be allowed to use the Italian bar, pools and restaurants.
Internet is about 12 dollars CAN for 1 hour access. Make sure to log off, or time will run out.
The food- Decent selections, covers chicken, beef, fish, vegetables, fresh breads, pasta, and whipped cake desserts. Breakfast was decent. One a la cart restaurant.
Pizza, burgers and fries during snack time.
HOWEVER, Only 2 serving tables, 4 hot trays of food, and that's it. Breakfast is from 7:30-10:00. Lunch snack from 11:00-1:00 PM. Lunch from 1:30-3:00 PM. Dinner snack from 4:00-6:00 PM. Dinner from 7:30- 9:30. If your arrival is between those times from the airport, you have to wait.
Try and close the doors of the restaurant. Flies are all over the bread and desserts.
The Bar and Entertainment- Decent drinks, nothing elaborate. One bar available alongside the pool. Children's pool along the walkway. Pull up some chairs from the stage and enjoy some family fun in your almost private pool. Nightly entertainment was decent. Good dancers, decent shows. Not every night, but something always happening.
HOWEVER- As mentioned earlier, unless you're Italian and part of the Villa Isle hotel, no access to their pools or bar. That sucks.
To conclude, my family had fun, but we're low key and don't mind the blemishes that would turn away many 4-5 star guests. For the time period, it was worth it!

Room Tip: For 4 people or more, book 2 rooms. One double occupancy and one single. Request connecting rooms...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
16 Thank Bubba B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Montreal, Canada
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed March 16, 2013

Beach and scenery lovely and intimate. Bring a shade tent if you go exploring. The snorkeling was fantastic, right off the beach in front of Coral villa. Bring snorkel and mask from home. Took an excursion by catamaran ($70) and the snorkeling was even better. Food is bland, all buffet, breakfast was best. Our waiter 'Urbano' was attentive. Coffee was great. Milk with cream was only at breakfast. Snackbar would forget about you after you had ordered. A la carte dinner at Soledad was a fixed menu and slightly better. Small drinks sub-par and you get tired of rum. (Even Anejo wasn't smooth, Pina coladas varied from OK to excellent depending on who made them). Bring a LARGE thermos mug. Rooms were very nice and clean. Keep doors closed to avoid tiny mosquitos. 'Daysi', our maid was sweet, and efficient. Upkeep is below par. Occasional hot water. (Not often enough) Enjoyed the dance shows, and the guitar players at dinner. Staff was mostly friendly. Did not get to know very many of them. (Too bad) Tennis courts in disrepair yet playable. Change money at airport. Hotel charged 15% more for convenience. Not much for a kid to do except ping-pong. I may sound like a complainer, yet I had a very relaxing easy time.

Room Tip: Ask for room by phone or internet before you leave to assure a beachside, quiet room. We were centr...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
9 Thank Paul T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Niagara Falls, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed March 10, 2013

Friendly staff like family, Breakfast is our favorite! The beaches on Cayo Largo go on forever. We always request the cottages at the west end, every thing was fine, AC, hot water all there!
If you want just a quite warm beach excellant staff this laid back this resort is for you. We have returned a number of times, prefer this resort over Playa Blancha. Although Playa was very nice, larger resort great Cuban staff and food. We alway take a cab from airport to hotel, just a couple $. I always take a couple cases of Molson Canadian canned beer from the duty airport duty free, a great welcomed tip. People alwasy tease me about taking beer to an all inclusiver.

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
7 Thank NiagaraCL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
elora
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed February 16, 2013

Just spent a week at villa coral in Cayo Largo....hotel is old and run down, grounds not kept up food was so so couldn't get a glass of juice all week. It's either water or alcohol with meals. They seldom had coke for cuba libre???
beaches were ok but barely went into the water as a lot of rocks and very rough. some of the staff spoke very little English. Jose and giavonni the two main bartenders at the one and only bar were great. Entertainment was lacking and in every other language other than English. Have been to cuba many times but would not return to this resort. Went to Pelicana down the road one night for supper and it is superb! excellent buffet staff were awesome hotel beautiful if we go back to cayo largo we would definetly stay there. If it weren't for the friends we went with and met would have been a miserable trip don't recommend this hotel at all.

D&D
Elora, Ontario

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank flash4now
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ottawa
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 82 helpful votes
Reviewed January 2, 2013

This was our third time to Cayo Largo and our ninth trip to Cuba in general. Before I begin, just a few words of caution:

First, if you are offended by nudity, DO NOT go to Cayo Largo. Nudity is theoretically forbidden in front of hotels but it is a soft rule. Away from hotels it is the norm.

Second, if you are on the hyperactive side, you will get bored to death.

Third, if you are travelling with kids, go to Holguin, Cayo Coco or Varadero. Kids will enjoy it much more. Parents with kids unanimously said that it wasn’t the greatest place for kids (both because of nudity and complete absence of activities)

This said, here is our take on the Villa Coral:

RESORT: It’s tiny, only about 80 rooms. After 2 days you become part of the family. Staff will know you by name. Everything is close by. You never walk far for anything so you keep your energy to walk on the AMAZING beach. The room was very decent and clean, no unpleasant odour. Rooms are all close to the beach. After reading reviews we had asked for a room away from the pool (for the noise). They nevertheless gave us a poolside room. It was a bit noisy but bearable. All noises stop at 10:30-11:00 and it becomes dead quiet.

POOL: Tiny. Not the best place if you are a pool person. We didn't care.

FOOD: Given the size of this resort, choice is limited. However, quality is above average for Cuba. Although the buffet is small, the menu varies from day to day and there is always something different and interesting to try. We did not go hungry. They will organize an A la carte dinner if at least 15 people ask for it (interesting way to do it but it worked with us).

BEACH: Directly in front of the resort, the beach has suffered from hurricanes. Walk 5 minutes East or West and you will be on a breathtaking beach. You can litterally walk for hours on the beach and all you will find is an endless suite of white sand and turquoise water. Walking toward East you will pass the Playa Blanca Resort (eastearn resort of the the Island) and then will be able to walk for about 20km on a deserted unspoiled beach. Heading in the opposite direction you can walk for about 4-5km until you reach the Sirenas and Paraiso beaches. Out of this world! Every night, right in front of the Villa Coral, the sun sinks on the ocean, offering an unforgettable spectacle.

STAFF: Cubans are generally very pleasant people. Staff of the Villa Coral are one notch above that. We spoke with many patrons who were return customers. The see each visit to the Villa Coral as a family reunion.

TIPS: If you decide to go, bring with you walking shoes that you don’t wear anymore. It is a rare and expensive good in Cuba. They also appreciate thermos or Tupperware and other kitchen supplies that are sleeping in our kitchen cabinet. Benigno, the best waiter in town (he looks like Roberto Benini), would like to have comfortable shoes to work (size man 6.5 -7, they picked a small waiter for a small resort…). His colleague Norbert would love to have a watch.

You have to know what to expect. It is a small resort with limited services but it was well worth the price we paid for it. We are planning to go back next year.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
22 Thank ElGravellos
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Level 4 Contributor
24 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 76 helpful votes
Reviewed December 29, 2012

I have been to Cayo Largo many times.

I stayed at Villa Coral a few weeks ago and returned 2 weeks later and stayed at Villa Soledad. Both properties are part of the Canadian section of The Gran Caribe Hotel and both are very charming! Soledad is a 5 minute walk from Villa Coral where the restaurant, bar and pool are located. This is a basic property that does not offer a lot of extras, but it does offer a very friendly and family like atmosphere that the larger hotels in Cayo Largo cannot. You will get to know the chef, your bartender, your waiter and your maid because the property is so small, the same staff will serve you every day, and most of them really go out of their way to make your stay the most it can be!

This property is very relaxed! The guests who stay here are generally very friendly and by the end of the week, everyone knows everyone by name. This property RIGHT on the beach, closer than other properties. The view of the ocean is spectacular and you will always hear the ocean.

While they do not offer room service, I did make a request for a special dinner and the chef personally brought it to my room. He did not ask for any money, but of course I tipped him generously, and it was well worth it!

The property is a little rustic and nothing is perfect, but this is Cuba! I have been to every resort in Cayo Largo and personally prefer this smaller hotel over the others. While the food selection is not a great in the buffet as the larger hotels, you are also not waiting in a queue for your food and are able to eat together as a group! Afternoon pizza at the snack bar was fantastic - very thin crust! Ask for it 'well done' and it was even better!

Christmas dinner was INCREDIBLE! I was blown away with the selection and quality of food, even by OUR standards! Italian cured meats, smoked salmon, assorted cheeses, fresh fish, roasted pig and better turkey and gravey than my mother makes (shhh don't tell her)! Amazing desserts, fresh pears, apples, grapes etc. and I hear that dinner for New Years is even better! Maybe next year! :)

Alehandro and Vladamir are the best bartenders on the island! I love you guys!

Special mention to Julia and Beatrice (the public relations managers) who are exceptional human beings who will go above and beyond on a daily basis to make sure you are happy and taken care of.

Thank you for everything ladies!

It would be very nice if they opened up the Ranchon Restaurant at the 'exclusive' Italian sections of Gran Caribe to the Canadians. They used to offer this to us but have taken it away.

Bring snorkellling equipment with you, if you can. The coral reefs right infront of this property (Villa Coral and Eden) are amazing! No need to spend a lot of money on an excursion. You are better off buying cheap equipment at Costco or Canadian Tire and enjoying it all week. Ask the lifeguards on the beach for more details and assistance and consider leaving your equipment with them after your trip as a gift for their help. They know the best spots to go! I saw many sting rays, barracudas, lobsters, beautiful tropical fish.... really amazing!

Room Tip: The 5000 section is a little more rustic, but also quieter with a bath tub for 2 which was lovely...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
18 Thank MAMMMASITA
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

Property: 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:
#5 Family Hotel in Cayo Largo
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
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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