We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.
The latest reviews. The lowest prices. The perfect place to shop for hotels.

“second time in paradise”

Best prices for -
Check In mm/dd/yyyy Check Out mm/dd/yyyy
Prices are for 1 room, 2 adults
Show Prices
Compare best prices from top travel sites
and 2 more sites!
Sol Rio de Luna y Mares
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Guardalavaca
Certificate of Excellence
Mount Albert, Ontario
Level Contributor
12 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
“second time in paradise”
Reviewed February 10, 2013

After much debate we decided to stay hear for the second time. In 15years of travelling it is our first time returning to a resort! The reason: the amazing beach, fantastic snorkeling, great staff and great value for the price.

It was everything we remembered and more. They treated us like gold because we were returning guests. Even upgrading us to ocean view room!

If you are looking for a budget friendly place to go in the caribean...Cuba fits. The Sol Rio Luna y Mares is a great hotel with good food (especially for Cuba) and a truley spectacular beach!

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank dragonfly17
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

5,535 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    2,557
    2,004
    647
    206
    121
See reviews for
1,407
2,694
197
18
Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (1,363)
Date | Rating
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Polish first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Slovak first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Liverpool, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed February 9, 2013

We just got back from this resort. This is our second time in time in Cuba. The currency for turist is Cuban Convertible Peso. You can also pay, tip, in Pound, euros. The exchange rate 1,5 CUC is a pound. re Credit cards, apart from looking out for the exchange rate and any charges, Cuba will not accept any cards associated with American banks. So, no Amex, and no Mastercard if associated with a bank like Capital One.

Entrance Visa:
If you loose your Visa paper don't worry you can get it at the Holgen airport. Visa at the airport cost 15 CUC which is £10. They give you a receipt, give it to your local Thomas Cook rep at the hotel who will reinburse it. Thomas cook charges £30 pounds at Gatwick -:)

Make sure you put 25CUC per person aside for departure tax, including any children.

Keep your luggage allowance under control they do check, and charge for it. You can buy a cheap weighing hook from a shop that sells travel/trecking goods.

Transfer time is about an hour and ten minutes from the airport. Note there is no email access for Blackberry, only text and voice. There's no wireless. Internet access at the hotel lobby is 5CUC per hour and slow.

If you can, take a coffee thermos with you. Keeps your cold/hot drinks at right temperature and saves on the endless plastic cups used for the beach and pool areas.

Most or all rooms have some kind of sea view. All are tired, including the upgrades. We changed rooms three times and checked out a few each time. We found them clean and had experience of insects. The beds are sometimes twins and only pushed together for doubles, others have twin bases and one large mattress (better!) but none we had were fantastically comfortable, firm at best, lumpy if unlucky. The quietest buildings, in order, are 8, 7 and 6; these are on the Luna side and near the quiet pool. 5 has some good sea views. The main block 1-4 is around the main pool and over the reception/bar/restaurant on the Mares side. Inevitably noisier, but quite bizarrely the rooms are quiet when the patio and main doors are closed. All the buildings have lifts and stairs. The naming is not conventional as the ground floor is 1, the 1st floor 2 and so on. Most stop at 3 (second floor) although there is one section that goes one higher.

No need to panic about sunloungers on the beach as there are plenty and they are brought to you where you want them. The pool area gets busy, often there is no space there.

One warning, the steps that go down to the beach from the main pool area on the Mares side are concrete and steep. When its hot, and then it rains, so, when the steps are wet they are like ice, particularly as you look down the stairs - the one on the left. The right side seems to have had less use, and has a more textured surface and therefore more grip. We witnessed three accidents in one day, two minor, one resulting in terrible bruising and swelling of hip and elbow. The worry was if the person had been carrying a child, or had been very young or old, the injury could have been very much worse.

Taxi to Guardalavaca is 5 CUC there and the same back. Horse carriage available at similar price.

Beautiful beach, can be windy and sea can be rough, but nonetheless gorgeous.

Buffet restaurant has a no smoking area outside, but it's small. Generally, everywhere is smoking (much to our disappointment, but judging by the amount of smokers, a joy to them).

The only fresh juice is orange in the morning with breakfast. Others are from cartons, unusual for the Caribbean, but this is Cuba.
The buffet itself is broad ranging and generous and a lot of fresh fish from the Atlantic on the grill at both lunch and dinner.
Generally foods such as rice and bread and pasta are refined/processed, everything is white.
But, considering the situation of Cuba and its people, who find many/most foods we take for granted hard to come by, the buffet is a marvel, even a miracle.
This is worth bearing in mind when loading up, it can't be great for Cuban staff see a lot of waste when they can barely dream of having access to such meat and veg. They bring their own food. (Veg by the way, is the only thing we can agree is pretty grim, usually overcooked or from a tin.)


On the Cuban people: one(?) of their greatest difficulties is affording shoes and food. If you have shoes/clothes you can bear to part with, particularly sensible shoes for working in, please take them and give them to someone/anyone who could use them. Shoes are around 3 or 4 months salary!!! And if you can tip in CUCs or your hard currency, despite what the internet might say, you could make a big difference to a hugely difficult life. Many hotel staff earn 25 pesos (not CUCs) a month. Particularly needed are women's sanitary products: they have NO access to tampons, only rudimentary sanitary towels. Also painkillers, toothpaste, brushes etc.
Also PLEASE don't judge anyone begging (they don't hassle you and are very polite); they are people with no choice. Work is hard to come by; many only have seasonal work and for some even that is a few days/hours a week for four months. Even bus drivers and bus couriers are worthy of a good tip.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank kecioren
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
24 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
Reviewed February 9, 2013

Have just returned from two weeks staying at the Mares side of this hotel. Having been to Mexico for three years running, we thought we would give Cuba a try. After reading all the reviews on TA, thought we had found a good hotel, but was quite disappointed.
The hotel is old and in need of renovation.The bedrooms are spacious, but need updating.The walls and doors need a lick of paint, the furniture in our room was falling apart, the wardrobe smelt of damp, and the hairdryer was hanging off the wall by the wires.The bathroom was clean, but tiles were broken and it was hit and miss wether you got hot water for a shower. As the hotel is open planned,when it rains and it rained five days running,the water collects on the hallways outside the rooms and you have to paddle through water to get to the restaurant.
The restaurant was large and always busy.There was a good choice of food but the food was never set out nicely or looked appealing.You could have meat or fish cooked for you whilst you waited (this could take 15-20 minutes sometimes) but the chef used the same grill and utensils for both the fish and meat.There were never any soup spoons on the tables and you had to ask a waitress for one as though they were gold dust.! The desserts were always running out and always looked unappealing.
Whilst waiting for icecream, we had to mind the buckets collecting the rain and I had water dripping on my head from the leaking ceiling. The ceiling was also leaking in the looby bar and dripping on us whilst we were sitting.
The a la carte restaurants are just about ok with the exception of the French restaurant which was worth a visit.
The beach is lovely and the sea on our first week was very enticing.However, on the second week the sea broke its barriers and joined the lagoon at one end of the beach resulting in the sea turning a horrible brown colour, with dead fish and leaves and twigs floating around. It looked so bad we did not go near it after that.
The drinks are ok but they were forever running out of glasses, so sometime you got beer in a coffee cup or a cocktail in a small shot glass, which after a while became annoying.
The evening entertainment at this hotel was the worst we have seen for a Sol Hotel.
We have been to many Sol hotels and the entertainment has always been great. Here, all they do is put on a 45 minute show consisting of dancing and miming virtually every night.To make things worse , if you are staying for two weeks, the entertainment is the same the second week.
There are no audience participation games,karoke or even dancing, unless you want to go down to the beach at 11pm in the dark for the disco held in the little beach bar area. There is no reason why after the show they could not play music for dancing for 45 minutes at least.
The entertainment staff would stand at the restaurant door and completely ignore the guests waiting to go in. My husband got so annoyed with them one night that he started to hand out the drinks to people in the queue to show them what they should be doing !!
Whilst |I appreciate that most of the staff were really friendly, and the fact that it rained for five days non stop didn't help, I would not recommend this hotel.
I know many people love it here and come back year after year,but after having been to Mexico,where there is so much to do and the hotels have so many more amenities, it is just not our type of holiday.
Sorry for being so negative but this is how we found it

Room Tip: We paid extra to have sea view in the Mares side but the Luna is much quieter.
See more room tips
  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank angieb125
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Manuel V, General Manager at Sol Rio de Luna y Mares, responded to this review, February 17, 2013
Dear angieb125. Thank you for your visit, I am sorry we could not get your expectations. We are working to improve our animation services. We appreciate your feedback but we never use the same grill and utensils for both the fish and meat. If we can help you or close people to you in the future please, let us know. Manuel Vazquez
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cardiff, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed February 9, 2013 via mobile

We are so glad that we made the right choice to return to this hotel for our 5th time for our Golden wedding anniversary we went January 7th for 2 weeks and had yet another amazing holiday here.
The staff especially Ivan who works on the lobby bar in the Mares who always recognises us on each visit and makes us feel at home and welcome he has now become like a member of our own family.
The room had amazing views which the Manager had asked reception to show us on arrival and was exceptionally clean, we quite often had our bed turned down and had a rose left on our bed for us and on some occasions a bottle of rum waiting for us as well.
Unfortunately due to my husbands ill health we did have to use the doctor service which is the 3rd time we have had to do this but the doctor service is out of this world they are understanding and helpful and the wonderful Dr George was so good to us and looks out for us to say hello every visit.
Lastly I would like to thank the General Manager who helped make our Golden Wedding Anniversary as special as it was, the General Manager and the under managers were always to hand to help us and ensure it was a special occasion for us.
Anyone who is thinking of visiting this hotel should not hesitate you will receive amazing service and have a wonderful experience.

Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
2 Thank retiredcouple38
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed February 8, 2013 via mobile

We stayed from 14th January for two weeks. First time in Cuba . We most certainly made the right choice for our special wedding anniversary. Probably one of the best holidays we have had.
Our room was on forth floor Mares side overlooking pool and sea and we paid the upgrade .Our furniture was good ,bed we found really comfortable , best sleep for ages , bathroom slightly dated although spotlessly clean with really hot water any time, clean towels always in plenty supply . Room was cleaned superbly , bedding changed often , nothing too much trouble for maid .
Food in buffet was very good always a good selection with the availability of cooked fish and meat . We ate at all the Al a carte's and liked the French best followed my Mexican . Food we found in all of excellent quality and service always absolutely bang on, the staff really do go out of their way to please you , we could learn from this at home.
An earlier review complained about rain and dangerous areas but our experience was that the poor staff worked for hours mopping and cleaning . All bar staff were excellent ,you really don't wait very long any where , wine and spirits of good quality .
Beach is heaven!! Clean beautiful sand , plenty of sun beds .La Pinta our favourite lunchtime place to be .
We did the dolphins and the catamaran day both excellent value with excellent guides , plus some local trips ourselves , we always felt very safe and not under any pressure from local tradesman .
It was our 25th anniversary and I had emailed hotel before and wow did they make our evening , with a special meal in La Pinta finished with a cake and a special turn down service with flowers on our bed .
I really would like to thank the manager ( who always seems to be everywhere ) the under managers and the brilliant service team ( Elton made us especially welcome on our first day) all the staff are an absolute credit to the hotel.
We will be back , next January and can't wait to return .

Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
4 Thank Jones S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
8 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed February 8, 2013

Sorry its late but me and my husband stayed at the hotel from 1st 0ctober for 2 weeks. We were in block 5 room 5311. The room was lovely with fabulous views from the balcony. I would recommend blocks 5 &6 as the best blocks to stay in. The mares pool was closed due to refurbishment but that didnt spoil our holiday at all.
The food was in the self service restaurant was Ifantastic and my husband is quite fussy but always found plenty to eat. On arrival remember to book your al a carte meals your allowed 2 each week. The food and service in the french was wonderful. the setting for the romantic is on the beach and food was good but was a set menu which was dissapointing.the mexican was lovely but when we go again we will not bother with the italian.
The beach is breath taking but the water a little choppy some days and we would recommend beach shoes. Just pick your umbrella and someone brings you clean sunbeds over.Theres security on the beach so no worrys aboout leaving your belongings unattended.
We went on 2 excursions the 1st to paradise island and yes it is paradise you travel by catamaran with free drinks and amazing staff to the island where you can snorkel for about 45 mins with new mask and snorkel provided for you to keep. the 2nd was to the cigar factory this was a new destination and the trip seemed very unorganiseed we ended up speding 45 mins in factory 15 mins in a little village and 1hr in guadalavia to watch a show but was out 10 hours on the coach. WON'T DO THAT TRIP AGAIN.
There was entertainment most nights either at the disco on the beach. the theatre or luna and mares bars but theres also quiet bars if you just want to chill.
The staff in the hotel are amazing from the beach staff, security, maid service, groundsmen,bar and restaurant staff to manager there sole purpose is to please you.

We loved this hotel so much we have recommended it to family who have booked to get married there febuary 2014.

TAKE THERMOS CUPS WITH YOU AS YOU OFTEN GET PLASTIC CUPS AND THERE SMALL AND FLIMSY.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank jeannette67
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Manuel V, General Manager at Sol Rio de Luna y Mares, responded to this review, February 8, 2013
Dear jeannette67. Thank you for your visit and your positive recommendation, we are sure you will come back in the future. Kind regards. Manuel Vazquez
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Stoke-on-Trent, England, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
15 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed February 8, 2013

A party of 17 of us stayed here in October 2012 for my wedding. What an amazing place with the most amazing staff. Hands down the best place I have been to, absolute paradise! Outstanding natural beauty in the area combined with staff that couldn't do enough for you.

The hotel is a little dated but you don't fly to Cuba to spend your time sat indoors so don't let that worry you. Everything was clean which is the main thing! Food was nice, lots of meat & rice but we really enjoyed that. There wasn't much in terms of children's entertainment.

We did the swimming with Dolphins trip which was fantastic, took our dslr camera & paid the photographer about £20 to use our camera to take photos of our whole group in the water. We went to Paradise Island & did the safari in the russian army troop carrier. Was absolutely brilliant, got to see things like water buffalo, zebra, gazelles etc. We went to the market at Guadalaveca with Fidel who has a horse & cart that you can go on from outside the hotel.

The staff at the hotel are what made the holiday & our wedding. They gave the best service that we have ever had. From the management down to the cleaners they were all fantastic & could not do enough for you. For example, with the storms our room got flooded & my wedding dress was drenched and Yilena took it away and got it hand washed & returned back to me in perfect condition within a few days.

The wedding day was lovely, we got married in the gazebo & had photos in the gardens & on the beach. The wedding coordinator Lily was fantastic & went the extra mile to make our day perfect. The hairdressers were really good & had a photo album of wedding hairstyles for me to choose from. I sat there in the hairdressers drinking cocktails to calm my nerves lol! The photographer was really good & directed us all really well. I wore my hair up as it was really windy there so I would suggest the same to any bride to be! We had our wedding reception in the Romantica Restaurant on the beach which was the perfect setting.

Our flight was delayed by a few days due to Hurricane Sandy hitting whilst we were there. Although it was a terrifying experience the way it was handled by staff was brilliant. They were staying in the hotel with us as roads were blocked & homes damaged. Some hadn't made contact with their families so didn't know if their families were ok yet their main concern appeared to be us holidaymakers. If it were English people running the hotel we wouldn't be putting others first and it makes you appreciate just what a selfish nation of people we can be when you see how the Cuban people live.

Our Thomas Cook rep Urli was amazing and gave us lots of good advice and kept us up to date with developments after the hurricane. Our maid Sandra was brilliant too.

There really is so much I can say about the holiday but I think the main points are it is a lovely hotel, with fantastic staff who put customers first and a perfect wedding destination. If you are thinking of booking go ahead & do it. There's a reason why so many holidaymakers return year on year!

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Vanessa201287
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hotels you might also like...
Also consider these accommodations in or near Guardalavaca
4.0 mi away
Hotel Playa Pesquero
Hotel Playa Pesquero
#1 of 4 in Rafael Freyre
7,451 reviews
0.5 mi away
Paradisus Rio de Oro Resort & Spa
1.5 mi away
Memories Holguin Beach Resort
Memories Holguin Beach Resort
#3 of 4 in Rafael Freyre
1,569 reviews
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices
3.8 mi away
Hotel Playa Costa Verde
Hotel Playa Costa Verde
#2 of 4 in Rafael Freyre
4,229 reviews
230.3 mi away
Hotel Playa Cayo Santa Maria
Hotel Playa Cayo Santa Maria
#3 of 15 in Cayo Santa Maria
6,222 reviews
229.6 mi away
Royalton Cayo Santa Maria
Royalton Cayo Santa Maria
#1 of 15 in Cayo Santa Maria
2,909 reviews
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices

Been to Sol Rio de Luna y Mares? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Additional Information about Sol Rio de Luna y Mares

Property: Sol Rio de Luna y Mares
Address: Ctra. de Guardalavaca | Playa Esmeralda, Guardalavaca 84170, Cuba
Location: Caribbean > Cuba > Holguin Province > Guardalavaca
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Guardalavaca
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Sol Rio de Luna y Mares 4*
Number of rooms: 464
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Four -Star All Inclusive Resort with 464 rooms. Located beachfront in Playa Esmeralda, on the northern coast of Holguin province, where visitors will be amazed by the dazzling superposition of blues and greens from the sea, sky and costal shrubbery. This hotel complex is surrounded by extensive green areas and offers a wide variety of services and attractions. Recommended for families, weddings, honeymoons and tourist groups.Guest Rooms464 rooms: 308 Standard, 108 Standard Ocean View, 30 Standard Superior Ocean View, 6 Junior Suite, 4 Suite, 8 Family Suite Ocean ViewDining7 Restaurants (A la Carta, Buffet), 6 Bars ... more   less 
Reservation Options:
TripAdvisor is proud to partner with TripOnline SA, Evoline ltd, Prodigios Interactivos SA and Booking.com so you can book your Sol Rio de Luna y Mares reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
Also Known As:
Sol Rio De Luna y Mares Hotel Guardalavaca
Sol Rio De Luna y Mares Resort
Sol Rio De Luna y Mares Guardalavaca, Cuba - Holguin Province

Is This Your TripAdvisor Listing?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing