Just got back to cold, wet England today - 19th March 2013 after 2 weeks all inclusive at the Sol Rio de Luna & Mares. First off, this is a large complex, 2 separate pool areas, half-a-dozen bars, 4 a-la-carte restaurants, semi-private beach, etc. If you are in some of the further out apartments, it can be quite a trek to the buffet restaurant, although you do have a choice of the 24hr snack bar which is much closer (and does a fantastic burger and chips). Be very careful on the stairs and many of the pathways - these are beautiful shiny marble, looks great but extremely slippery in your heels / shoes.
Food was a mixed bag. The buffet had a huge selection of food with lots of choice of freshly cooked meats, pastas and fish - chefs will cook your food while you wait with your choice of accompaniment and seasoning. The only issue with the buffet was it got repetitive, lots of choice yes - but the exact same choices every day. The a-la-carte restaurants are very good indeed, we loved the French, Italian and Mexican ones, the Mediterranean was a little disappointing though but to be fair they had to relocate it due to a wedding party and the food turned up cold and very bland. Hats off to the staff though, we complained (not loudly or anything - just expressed our disappointment), and the manager couldn't do enough for us to make it up - we were personally invited to a complimentary lobster dinner which was fantastic.
Day-trips are ok if you like 'real-life'. Firstly, don't expect a day trip to Havana the capital, it is 500 miles away, an overnight stay, internal flights and the best part of £600. We were gutted as we didn't realise it was so far out. Having said that we did the Cuban Life tour - farm visit, market visit, museum tour - and we really liked it. remember this is a very poor, communist country so everything is fairly basic as soon as you leave the complex.
The People. Unlike some other Caribbean and north African countries, you don't get the feeling the locals are just out for your cash. Of course they love small tips and any little gifts you choose to give but we at no time felt hastled or pressured.
The rooms are comfortable but a little dated compared to Western standards - again remember 'this is a communist, poor country' but they are perfectly acceptable and cleaned to a high standard.
Drinks are very strong unlike some all inclusive resorts we have been to. Enjoy it but remember to drink water too - it is very hot and dry and we did see people get quite sick (to the point of hospitalisation) from dehydration.
We spoke to a lot of people from other hotels in the area when we were on trips and the feedback we got was that Sol Rio is by far the best in the area. Some may look a bit more modern but we heard a lot of complaints about food and facilities from elsewhere, so we considered ourselves pretty lucky.
We highly recommend this one, go for it and have a great time.
- 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:
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- 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