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“Great 2nd stay @ Sol Luna Mares”

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Sol Rio de Luna y Mares
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Guardalavaca
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed May 2, 2013

Had a wonderful stay April 12 to 19. Flight & ride to resort were great, beautiful scenery along the way. We had a wonderful view of the pool & ocean in room 4002. Maid did a great job in the room, the whole resort was very clean to us. Staff were wonderful as soon as we arrived to the time we left. I didn't feel any one was all ways looking for a tip. We ate @ the Italian, Mexican & Mediterranean all were good to us but could have been hotter. We ate @ the Luna buffet for breakfast most mornings as it was smaller & quiter. All our days were spent @ the beach, lots of shade from trees and the water is lovely. There is lots to do @ the resort if you feel like it or you can just relax & enjoy the pool or beach. My husband enjoyed the ice crean bar and the young lady that worked there, she was a sweet heart on the Luna side. We had lunch @ the Mares & Luna beach bars and the 24 hr snack bar, all were good. We really enjoyed our stay, and we would go back, thank you to the staff who looked after us, Muchos Gracias.

  • Stayed: April 2013
    • Value
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5  Thank dsmith
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed May 2, 2013

We'v just got back (1st May 2013) from this amazing place. As others have commented before us, the hotel has areas that are tired but everything is kept very clean and tidy and certainly nothing to worry about and having read alot of reviews before we went, it was better than I was expecting. Our room 7315 Luna side was fresh clean & tidy, the only thing that looked tired was the bathroom, you could see the taps were a bit old but hay ho they did the job & we had plenty of hot water & excellent pressure in the shower so no problems when getting ready for an evening out. The view from our balcony was something to wake up to every morning, it was amazing. I will try & keep this review as short as poss, this was our first time to Cuba but have travelled alot & usually book 5*, we were not disappointed. The Cuban people are lovely, they work very hard for little pay, they are very friendly and always willing to assist you & if you have any problems they are quick to resolve them. The Buffet restaurant had a good variety of food at all sittings, even the fussiest of people will find something to eat, they cover all meats (cooked while you wait) fish, pasta, rice, omelettes, salads, bacon, sausages, toast, cerials, continental, fruit juices etc. etc. The four al a'Carte Restaurants were very good, we enjoyed all of them but our favourite was the Italian, even thow one of our party was French, closely followed by the French, mexican, and then the mediterranean. The pools are cleaned daily and the swim-up bar is a nice bonus to get out of the sun and enjoy a drink with friends, Jenni who servies at the pool bar is fantastic, she is so friendly & welcoming, you feel like you've known her for years. The beach is amazing, soft white sand and a warm sea and you dont have to get up early for sunbeds on the beach or around the pools. We did the fantasy Island excursion which was fantastic and great fun, the island is so beautiful you wont want to leave, we also did the dolphins brilliant, for me & my husband a dream come true and we did the sunset cruise, again a wonderful day with drinks & a meal after the sun has gone down & the men had a day deep sea fishing, all the trips were great value for money, with free drinks on the boats/cats and once on land a meal with one free drink and a bar if you want to buy more, we don't usually do trips but these were the best & we enjoyed all of them. The entertainment was ok for the first week but it more or less repeats itself the second week & not something you'd want to watch again but they do put their all in to the shows and are good at what they do which is mostly dancing, the exception to this was the water ballet that was very good. There are two 24hr bars and a 24hr snack bar which is great when coming from the beach disco in the early hours, we visited the disco twice & didnt feel out of place being slightly!! older couples. We met some wonderful people, Cubans & tourists & had a great holiday, remember this is a poor country, what you get at home will not necessarily be available in Cuba, like some of the reviews I read about no peanut butter, tomato ketchup or bagles!!! have a word. I would like to say for the less mobile there are a few steps from the beach to the pool areas but you can also use the slopes so it's not inaccessible & the steps help burn off the food when over indulging. We would deffinately return to Cuba & this hotel & would like to thank the management & all the staff who do an excellent job & make you feel very welcome. just remember Cuban time.

Room Tip: If you want quiet ask for the Luna side, room 7315 has a great view and the sun on the balcony in th...
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  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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3  Thank Zubbee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 1, 2013

Just returned from 2 weeks at this hotel with my partner. This was not a 4 star hotel, at best it was 3 star.

Food & drink:
It was great to have a variety of a la carte restaurants to choose from but none lived up to expectation, apart from the Mexican. The Italian food was salty and we were served 'smash' rather than 'mash'. I paid an extra charge for lobster in the French restaurant and while the portion was fantastic the meat was dry as a bone and I couldn't actually get the meat out of the shell. When I complained they said they could make me a fresh one! This explained why mine was so dry and inedible. I have to say the atmosphere and the staff in the French restaurant were excellent though and agreed not to charge for the lobster.
The Mexican was in a lovely atmosphere, great service and nice tasty food (nacho starter is great!). There is a duo that sings and plays guitar that bring a real Spanish feel to the experience.
The Luna pool bar/restaurant does great snacks (burgers, pizzas) and the ladies that serve here are the nicest staff in the whole complex. Friendly, efficient and customer focused.
The buffet is great at breakfast. The variety is excellent. At lunch it isnt too bad either but by dinner time you feel like you are eating the same thing again and again. The queues for the meat counter a ridiculous. Often my partner would be gone for 45 mins and I had eaten dinner alone - not a great experience. The pasta counter is pointless. Why they heat fresh pasta with a sauce of your choice is baffling, especially as the food is so salty. This also creates large queues. The buffet staff a generally rude and inefficient. A few will work hard to please customers but many do not care. We always tipped friendly and helpful staff (you have to tip a lot in Cuba!) but the buffet staff in the main spent their time talking to eachother.
I agree with others comments on this site about the drinks sometimes being very weak. Soft drinks are poured from bottles that sit out on the counter so are warm. The staff have to add ice cubes to make them cold. There are no straws. Cocktails are rubbish but the rum punch is really wonderful as is the crystal beer!

Beach & Pool:
The beach is wonderful. Utterly stunning. It is clean with plenty of beds and shade. The sea is clear, great for swimming, snorkelling and the activities. The beach bar is good for a beer and grilled chicken during the day!
We were at the luna side and stayed at the pool her some days. It was quiet but this was fine for us (we are early 30's) The pool was very well maintained. Always clean and again there was always beds and shade available. There is a great little ice cream area near the luna pool which is really lovely and the lady who serves is a real star.

Rooms:
As mentioned we were on the Luna side. Amazing view of the ocean. We have stayed in a number of Caribbean destinations and this was one of the best views we had. The room itself was very very basic. The bathroom was pretty horrific but everything worked. The bedroom lights didn't work properly and our fridge broke a few times. Disappointingly, you only get a bottle of water in your fridge, and the maid doesn't even put it in the fridge, she leaves it on the side! If you want any soft drinks or beers etc in your room you need to bring them up in plastic cups from the bars or buy them. Items from the shops are expensive so this is an area the hotel ha to improve. For a hotel with this rating it is unacceptable to not offer a proper mini bar.

Trips:
we did a 4x4 trip and paradise island. Both were great trips and we really enjoyed them. Well worth it. We had booked Havana but there was an issue during the last 2 weeks with the plane so all flights were cancelled. We were however allowed to book and the night before we were due to fly we had a call to say it had been cancelled. This was one of our main reasons for going to Cuba so we were really disappointed.

Amenities:
The hotel has a range of bars which is good. On holiday previously, we have always enjoyed a few drinks perched at the bar so we could have a laugh with staff and meet new people. Do not expect this at this hotel. There are no bar stools and in general the bar staff are grumpy and keep themselves to themselves (The pool bar lady and one chap at the Gallipoli pool bar are the exceptions)
The Spa is a nice addition to the hotel. The massages are nice and good value. The jacuzzi is great at the end of a day on the beach too!
The hotel is poor at communicating events. We heard about BBQ's on the beach etc that some people knew about and others didn't. They hold separate nights (dinner and entertainment) for people from different countries. Not sure why they separate us all but they should at least ensure they invite you to the right night!
Evening entertainment was generally good. We enjoyed the main reception events and the those in the main theatre. These things are always a bit cheesy but generally we have seen much worse on other holidays! You just have to enjoy and go with the flow!
Around 1030 the hotel become very quiet though. There is a real lack of atmosphere for people in 20's and 30's. We were baffled for the first 4 nights as to where everyone had gone and then we met some couples thinking the same thing. The odd night we would head down to the beach disco. There were never mainy other people there but you make the most of it and the drinks are much stronger!

We met a number of other British couples in a range of ages at this resort. All have said they would not go back and I know we feel the same. Overall we had lovely holiday but the standard of service, variety and standard of food & drinks, accommodation etc is so poor, that this resort is not worth the money. If you want a 4 star Caribbean experience at a good price you need to go to Mexico!

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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1  Thank Lynne669
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 reviewResponded May 2, 2013

Dear Lynne669. Thank you for your visit. Honestly I am suprise that having a "lovely holiday" you give us a poor review. Of couse we have some areas where we can improve specially in our buffet when we are very full but we have many services and facilities and your opinion I see is very good in the most of them. About the mini bar we offer one bottle of water per day but no soft drinks or beer, I am sorry if you did not have the right information. We hope you come back to Cuba again to enjoy all the values of this country. Kind regards. Manuel Vazquez

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Reviewed May 1, 2013

Second time to Cuba after getting married there last year and second time to this hotel and by far it's the best in the area! Staff can't do enough for you, they remembered us despite thousands visiting every year. The management will do everything you want if asked, people complaining hadn't asked so did not give them the chance or opportunity to fix their problems before complaining. As always food is excellent, I'm sick of reading reviews where people complain about the flies, you are in Cuba and a fly never killed me! There is so much choice of food in the buffet it's unreal if you can't find something to eat it is not the fault of the staff or hotel, it's just your too fussy! We only visited the French and Mexican because we loved the variety of the buffet so much, we were able to have a little bit of everything.
The rooms are spotless and towels changed daily, no complaints there at all and our maid was lovely.
The beach amazing, customer service excellent (though remember to ask they aren't mind readers)
All staff excellent.
It is a little dated but remember this is Cuba they make the best of everything. We made lots new friends this year.
Trips are excellent value for money, but I'd recommend going to a taxi outside the hotel and asking him how much for a day trip and they will take you to see the real Cuba. We met a friend in a local village this year and had an amazing day with a beautiful lunch, definitely worth doing.
Cuba has changed a lot since our trip last year and the younger ones seem more forward in asking for things, I just think they are suggesting but it sounds like they are asking. I brought clothes and things to give away and gave to the people who deserved it and didn't ask. Clothes etc are very expensive for them to buy these are the best things to bring.
We had an amazing two weeks and I honestly had not one complaint to make about the hotel I did however have cause to complain about some guests who believe because they have paid for a holiday they can speak and treat staff however they want, and be extremely demanding, every time I found this totally unnecessary. We got served quicker because we were polite I didn't tip all the time nor did I feel it necessary to tip all the time. Staff do not forget who's polite and who is not this is worth bearing in mind.
Another amazing trip to Cuba I want to return right away! Cuban people are amazing and the mr Vasquez runs a very tight ship in this hotel and it's noticeable.
Please visit and make the most of it and you will enjoy it and have an amazing time as we have two years running! Thompson have pulled out of Cuba from the end of this season so we have to look into another way of getting there as Thomas cook is far to expensive for next year, bear this in mind when booking, it's as easy to fly to Canada and then Cuba and an awful lot cheaper if you live off mainland England.

Enjoy, room tip mares rooms are better it's a little bit noisier but didn't bother us at all both times we have stayed x

Room Tip: Luna quiet mares not so quiet, mares rooms appear better
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  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank Lisa D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 30, 2013

We just spend another fabulous two weeks at the Sol Luna Y Mares. It was our eleventh visit at that super resort.
We e-mailed our request for the rooms (on the Mares side as usual ) and we got what we wanted thanks to Lyna at the costumer service. When we arrived Juan Carlos (at the reception) had everything ready for us. Ronald also included my a la carte reservation thank you very much.
Minerva kept our room very clean and we asked for two bottle of water per day and there was no problem.
At the buffet restaurant there was lots of choice super cook Juan Carlos and friends, this year there was some nice hot bread excellent. Also we don't want to forget (Aboilo) Nicolas et Mayalis did an excellent job at the buffet.
During my two weeks we tried all the restaurant a la carte we liked them all and our favorite was the french and the super maître ''D'' Franco. I celebrated my birthday there again this year my husband had mentioned it in his E-mail big surprise all decorated champagne and cake double wow. THANKS Ronald.
Lets not forget our bartenders Amauri, Orphelina, Paula, Yennela, Kathy, Evilio. Alberto. Yusimi They are everywhere At the pool bar 1492 Pinta Nina Galillao very good job.
Don't want to forget Rubildo who made the arrangement for hose and bogie ride and taxi reservation.
Because of a all the name mentioned above this is why we keep coming back.
Lisandro You are a plus for this resort and I can see all the employes love working with you, You really make a difference here.
For those of you who are looking a place for snorkling this is the place plus a white powdered sand lots of palapas and sun bed.
Don't miss the Cuban day on Fridays its super.
There was one bad thing and this has nothing to do with the resort, it was the uneducated guest who at six in the morning reserved the sun bed at the pool (some like 5 bed using their personnel towel) and than go to the beach and reserve sun bed using the resort towel and spend the day at the beach to return late afternoon to their sun bed. Many guest do that which I think is unfair for the other guest who are more educated and care for others.

This resort is considered a 4 star but the personnel is very close to a 7 star in my book this is why we keep coming back.

Hey a little warning WE are returning in September 2013.

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank detteLasalle
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 reviewResponded May 1, 2013

Dear detteLasalle. Thank you for your visit and your confidence one again. There are not enought words to say you "gracias". We miss you and hope to meet you again soon. Manuel Vazquez

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Reviewed April 29, 2013

We stayed at Sol Luna Mares April 12 -19. We were immediately impressed when we entered the beautiful lobby. Lots of soft comfy sofas and chairs with a very welcoming atmosphere. Check in was quick and we were off to our room. We were even more impressed when we entered our room. Amazing view of the both the pool area and the ocean. We were located in the Mares section on the 4th floor. The weather for the entire week was amazing so spent our days on the beach. There are lots of natural shaded areas so no trouble to keep out of the sun. There is a gentleman who looks after the chairs and he was wonderful to us. After our first morning as soon as he saw me he would bring our chairs to our favourite spot. The beach is amazing as is the water. We ate in the Mediterranean, Mexican, International restaurants. We had breakfast in the buffet in both the Luna and Mares sections. Lots of food choices but was disappointed that there was not more fresh fruit choices. We really enjoyed the ice cream parlour too. Loved the ice cream sundaes. We spent late afternoons and late evenings at the 24 hour bar enjoying the most delicious Spanish coffee. The staff here are wonderful, friendly and very attentive. My husband went to the gym most mornings. Some of the equipment needs some repairs but he was always able to get in a workout. I did go to the yoga class and it was very good. Our room was cleaned daily and it was absolutely spotless. In fact the whole hotel was immaculate. The manager, Manuel Vazquez, is doing an amazing job. He is always around keeping an eye on things and is very approachable. We did discover on our return home that we had left a small wallet of money in our room. I quickly emailed Manuel and he immediately responded. Our maid had found the money and returned it to Manuel. We are so impressed with the honesty and character shown by her and the staff. We were fortunate to still have friends staying in the area so they picked up the wallet and brought it home to us. It was a very relaxing, wonderful week. We would definitely return.

Stayed: April 2013, traveled with friends
1  Thank turqueso07
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 reviewResponded May 1, 2013

Dear turqueso07. Thank you for your visit and your nice words specially to Yordanka, the maid who found you wallet with the money. It was nice to meet you and your friends again. Take care. Manuel Vazquez

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Reviewed April 29, 2013

We have just returned from another wonderful two weeks in heaven !

The Sun shone for the whole time and we encountered no problems at all - the Hotel,beach,sea,food, drinks were all great and the Staff are absolutely the best !!

We spent time out and about seeing the real Cuba and visiting friends in the surrounding areas - Cuban people are very friendly and love to spend time with tourists and truly appreciate any gifts that are offered -decent clothing and toys are very difficult for them to get hold off.

.An early morning walk across the beach and a Cappuccino in the Lobby Bar to start the day, followed by a huge choice of breakfast - from my favourite which was a freshly squeezed glass of orange juice, coffee and plate of fresh fruit to a freshly cooked omelette with your choice of filling - warm fresh rolls and many many other choices.

We ate many varieties of fish including lobster, shrimp and calamari and pork, beef and chicken were available for the chef to cook freshly to your liking.
Grilled fish of the day, calamari and salad a favourite lunchtime choice for me at the beach with a glass of bubbly !

The staff at Luna Mares work so hard - nothing is ever too much for them and will do their very best to accommodate any requests. Always a bottle of chilled bubbly available on request with any meal !

Most all inclusive hotels are tedious buffets but Luna and Mares offer restaurants with waitress service - even at lunch time on the beach! Drinks in glasses in the beach bars and always served with a smile, despite the heat and long hours, serving some people who do not always appreciate Cuban life and its hardships. Many of the staff travel for more than an hour to get to and from the resorts in a very hot climate.


The beach and sea are breathtaking and the water is so clear and warm - we swam , used the pedalos and took trips on the Catamaran all included in the holiday.

Another of the highlights was the trip to the nearby Dolphins, where we spent at least 30 minutes swimming with them - the cost was around £70 for the morning - collected at 9.30 at taken by coach 10 minute drive and then by boat, drinks, swimming with the dolphins and Dolphin and Sea Lions and back to Hotel by 1.30pm.

We love this Hotel and Cuba and have been drawn back there many times - this year our daughter and grand daughter accompanied us and they also have fallen in love with Cuba.

It is very important to read, understand and study the culture of this country before comparing it with other resorts in other countries - Cuba is a unique country! Realize this and you will be amazed by the generosity of these people.

Our special thanks to Fonsy, Aberlardo, Maria, Annie and Lily in reception, Jose Carrasco the gardener,Hector, Nancy and the Team in the Mexican,Yanet in Luna, Yeneli in the pool bar, Orphelina in Lobby Bar,Durdia and Nicholas in the breakfast buffet, the big chef who made our wonderful shrimps and Johandra our maid who left our rooms sparkling clean and did wonderful towel art which my grand daughter loved.
Thankyou also to Lisandro and Manuel for taking care of us.

We wish you all well and hope to see you all again soon.

Room Tip: We love a high room overlooking the ocean on Mares but this is only our opinion
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  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled with family
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5  Thank mojoknowles
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 reviewResponded May 1, 2013

Dear mojoknowles. Thank you for choosing us again and for your nice words to my team, they work very hard and we will keep doing. You come in a very positive way to enjoy all the values Sol Luna Mares and Cuba offer. See you again soon. Manuel Vazquez

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Additional Information about Sol Rio de Luna y Mares

Address: Ctra. de Guardalavaca | Playa Esmeralda, Guardalavaca 84170, Cuba
Phone Number:
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: $122 - $329 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Sol Rio de Luna y Mares 3.5*
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 
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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

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