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offwegoOntario
Ontario

One week of cuba paradise, The six Pack..Perkinsfield, Ontario

4.0 of 5 bubblesReviewed Mar 15, 2007
Wonderful week of relaxation with the wonderful cuba beaches. All in all we all had a wonderful week, the people are all friendly(except a couple of girls at the frong desk that could use a attitude ajustment)and make your stay a good one. The restaurants are all excellent so which everyone's you chose i think you will be pleased with. A little hint about their poor towel managment, it seems they have a problem with stolen towels so if you are saving chairs in the morn. use something else other than your towels to do so, we were a group of 6 and 2 had towels stolen which cost 20 pesco's to get another one or they charge it to you room before you check out and please get a receipt for anything you purchase they seem to forget .The chef's and servers at the buffet are all pleasant and always ready to help, the food is good but sometimes the warmers don't always work the way they are supposed to so food tends to be a little cold the other stations(pasta, pizza, on and on)are all very good.I don't know if i would return every year like some do but i would probably stay at a later date down the road. Bring bug spray, had problems with sand flies on the beach with some of our group and i strayed out room with it as well, had tiny bugs on our bathroom vanity due to a drinking cup(sweet)not being rinsed out so make sure you do that rinse thing. If you like to fish see a activity guy by the name of FLIPPER great guy,guys from our group caught a 19 1b red snapper(wow).Large bobbers for FLIPPER would be i nice tip.So great time had by all!!

Date of stay: March 2007
Trip type: Travelled with friends
4.0 of 5 bubblesValue
3.0 of 5 bubblesRooms
2.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
4.0 of 5 bubblesCleanliness
3.0 of 5 bubblesCheck-in / front desk
4.0 of 5 bubblesService
4.0 of 5 bubblesBusiness service (e.g., internet access)
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    Reviewed March 6, 2007

    My wife and I travelled on the week of February 24th for a one-week stay. This was our second trip to Cayo Coco, the previous one having been to the Sol Cayo Coco.
    Transportation was via a charter in sardine class. Friendly crew, tolerable food and no crashes.
    Customs was a breeze, which was a blessing as we had landed around eleven in the evening.
    The Cubatrot people were very efficient in getting everyone aboard their respective buses. The half hour ride was very smooth, considering the state of the road, and our hostess was very friendly and tolerant, considering the state of inebriation of some of the passengers.
    Check in was uneventful. The only glitch being the no show of the porters, thus we were left to carry our luggage to our rooms. My last act of voluntary physical toil for the week to come.
    By midnight we were all neatly tucked away in our pigeonhole, a full seven hours after out departure form Ottawa.
    Our room was on the third floor, to the right of the lobby cafe, with the ocean just barely visible above the lush canopy of coconut trees. Not one of the most secluded rooms to be sure, with the amphitheatre to the rear bellowing with the sounds of the animacion show and the lobby bar veranda in front, which could get just as animated at times. If you seek more tranquil accommodations request a room closer to the beach.
    The room itself was clean, no mold or suspicious odours of any kind. Spartan, but very comfortable furnishings with plenty of storage and drawer space. Another wicker chair with the ottoman would have been handy on the balcony. Unlike the Sol, the electric sockets had converters in them, a much-appreciated thought. The television was mounted on a lazy Susan type of contraption allowing you to view it form anywhere, including the balcony. The venue included Cinemax, HBO, BBC America, CNN, ESPN and The Discovery Channel. Word of warning to parents; programs of scandalous content do air on some channels after midnight.
    The bathroom was also mold and odour free. The tub had a few chipped spots and because of the constant low water pressure water kept accumulating in pools along the tub's edge making for a slippery exit. The bathroom sink also exhibited erratic water pressure behaviour but otherwise functioned as was intended to.
    A hairdryer and a shaving mirror are also provided. As is a safe, a minifridge and a coffee maker (which you should avoid using at all times as it functions at glacial speed).
    Room keeping was excellent; our room usually ready before one and our minifridge restocked, with two cans of beer, pop and a litre of water, by four in the afternoon.

    The buffet had and excellent variety of seafood, cheese, cold cuts, meat and poultry, rice, ready to order pastas, pizzas, omelettes and salad ingredients. Milk, fresh bread, mini Kaisers and a variety of yoghurts, fresh fruit, cereals, pancakes and sweet cakes were available at breakfast. A plethora of beverages was always made available including, orange, pineapple and coconut juice, beer (of course) and a fine choice of Spanish and Chilean wines. The dessert menu was impressive to look at but rather less palatable. (I suspect somewhere in Cuba there are shipping containers full of old East German cake mixes ready for the cement mixer). A few of the better choices included the fried banana and pancakes, some coffee and caramel tasting squares and rice pudding.
    The staff was efficient and courteous even during peek times.
    The beach grill had an equally impressive array of salads, fish, made to order meat and poultry dishes and there was always a cool ocean breeze.
    Our experience at the International Restaurant, for which you'll need to book in advance, was a bit of a disappointment; the food was not any better than in the buffet and despite the extravagant title of "Laguna" the building is situated on the outskirts of a swamp and its rather unpleasant odour of rot and decay are forever present.
    I never had the opportunity to visit either the pool snack bar or the Italian restaurant during the day, however, the latter serves excellent pizza after midnight.
    Alcohol is available at practically in every corner. There is a pool bar and attendants are constantly patrolling the beach in search for the alcohol deprived. If you seek solace from the heat and the hustle and bustle of the beach and would like to remain within arms length of your drinks then yonder over to the beech bar. This wonderfully secluded spot is a great place to catch some shade, cool breeze and, ahem, get horribly beaten at pool by one’s spouse. There is also the disco, which seemed to be mainly populated with middle aged Brits and Scottsman and to which on no account should one send one’s afore mentioned attractive 30 something spouse unattended to fetch drinks from.
    One cannot say enough about the young women and men who are tasked to keep the guests entertained. Daily activities range from aqua-fitness on the beach to volleyball in the pool and a variety quiz type shows to make us feel wanted and happy. Their dedication and professionalism shows best at the night shows. Imagine, if you will, night temperature of plus 34 Celsius, yours truly sweating profusely beneath the polyester shirt, and there, on the stage, the troupe performing to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats, in full feline paraphernalia. In the time it took me to figure out which end of my cigar to light, they had already changed into entirely new costumes and were well on their way to performing The Men Of Lamancha, from Don Quixote.
    There is also an in-house band that plays at the dinner buffet starting at eight and makes their way to the beach grill at nine. Their voices are beautiful and they are gracious enough to inquire beforehand if their presence is welcome at your table.
    The grounds of the resort are beautifully maintained. Coconut trees provide plenty of shade to and from the beach and the rest is filled in with a variety of tropical plants. There are numerous pools and ponds populated by tropical fish and water lilies. These, unlike the ones at the Tryp Cayo Caco, fully support and sustain life and do not require a breathing apparatus to approach. The walkways are of stamped concrete, the boardwalk is built of local wood and the main foyer is covered in tiles, and, unlike the Tryp, are well maintained and repaired as necessary. There are numerous Hammock stations to provide the weary vacationer with a resting place from the rigorous demands of, well, doing nothing at all. The beach jetty extends well over 400 feet into the Ocean and has been recently provided with night-lights to allow for a spectacular night walk. Oh, be sure to tip the resident pelican. The beach itself is without a fault and you are only a fifteen-minute boat ride from the world’s second largest coral reef. Be sure to arrive early, as there are a limited number of beach chairs available and guard your towels vigilantly!
    The resort has a modest number of stores, a doctor’s office, a barber, an outdoor massage hacienda and a bank.
    There are four stores offering various touristy accessories; bottled rum, liquors, beer, pop, carved figurines, beachwear, various assortment of comemorable plates and cups, circa 1970’s. Be prepared to pay a hefty price for suntan lotion and if you develop chafing due to walking hours on the beach in your swim trunks, (what kind of a bloke would do that?), you are out of luck; they do not sell baby powder.
    The cigar store has a nice selection of Cuban cigars at good prices as well as some nice humidors. Cohibas, and Montecristos dominate the shelves. You’ll also find a fair selection of Remoe y Julietas and Partagas, including Lusitanias at around twelve dollars each and Serie D No4 at seven dollars each. A box of 25 Bolivar Petit Coronas will costs you $124.00 Canadian. Diplomaticos No.2 was also available as was Sancho Panza. The Iberostar next door is also well stocked and you can always fill up on boxes at the airport. Be sure to keep all bills, as you will be asked for them at Cuban customs.
    Any transactions on a credit card require your passport
    Fortunately I had no need for the doctor, however, should you require to see one it will cost you $25.00 U.S. per visit.
    Now, let us get our heads out of the clouds and mention the things that could be improved upon.
    The bathrooms, although mostly clean and maintained, always had a weird residual smell of something disturbing. Especially so for the beach grill. The Spanish supplied toilets have a rather annoying habit of flushing without removing the intended cargo. Be sure to wash your hands very, very, well, and for God’s sake never go barefoot! A couple of more toilet facilities closer to the beach would be much appreciated.
    Obviously the many benefits of masking tape and paint thinner have yet to be espoused by the staff. The resort is decorated in a multitude of beautiful colours. As is the surrounding fence, grass, door, tree and the occasional bird. (If you are interested I run a construction company and I tend to get a bit picky when it comes to these things.)
    There are two computer terminals that are connected to the internet. Great for checking your e-mail on hotmail but I suspect that every other website is blocked by the government. I spent nearly fifty minutes, and six pesos, in an ever-increasing pina colada induced bliss waiting for the Economist’s web page to load and to no avail. I shall not even bother you with the comical routine bordering on the absurd, that involved in trying to receive a fax from back home.
    Finally, as has been mentioned by others, never pay any money for your towels. You will need to reclaim your towel voucher, at the beach house, before checking out. Only if you had failed to secure your towels will you have to pay the deposit.
    As mentioned before this was our second time to the island, and while we have had a great time at the Sol Cayo Coco, the Melia Guillermo is obviously of higher quality. In fact, as we have had the chance to visit most of the other resorts on the island, I would most definitely rate it the best one. The most important thing to keep in mind that this is Cuba, an island under embargo, and it is, after all, the people that make all the difference.
    We have had and incredible time, met wonderful people, and the weather was co operative. We are already in the planning phase to bring children here in two years time.

    Date of stay: February 2007
    • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
      • Value
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    21  Thank carpathian
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
    Reviewed March 5, 2007

    Well we went through [--] my family took another trip to cuba(last time we stayed at the hotel to the left of this one).
    Everything was great! a few complications with 2 different guys at the front dest, miekal was a tad rude(and im a patient person) Everything got cleared up but i STRESS to you to get a reciept for ANYthing at front dest that you pay for ie: laundry service, extended check out (10 pesos a hour) . Also get to the towel hut at 10 30 am everyday to exchange your towel cuz they run out quickly. the front bar staff are exceptional! most speak fluent english and even french.
    I stress that you bring gifts for the chaimber maids , barstaff and especially the garden men and grounds keepers and security guys on the beach.
    Gift ideas: we always go to costco and get lots for them!
    Toothpaste/brushes
    deoderant
    hair accesories(brushes bright elastics and clips)
    light tank tops( wall-mart in mens underwear department really cheap)
    Chocolate- they LOVE our chocolate!
    GUM! they all chew gum and cuban gum is bland in compareson
    coloring books and CRAYOLA crayons.
    nice paper( there crayons and paper are poorly made)
    kids pencil cases
    nail polish
    SOAP!(bars of soap is gold to them!)
    and when you leave give the gardners your sunglasses!
    we by in bulk at cost co and they appreciate it so so much when they get the gifts daily!
    this whole island of guillermo is beautiful!

    Date of stay: February 2007
    12  Thank nikkistar
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
    Reviewed March 5, 2007

    We got back from our trip to Cuba on the morning of March 4. We had a wonderful time.

    We were four young professional women looking for a week of sun, sand and relaxation, and this is what we got. We couldn’t have asked for more.

    The beach was wonderful with soft white sand and clear turquoise water. We snorkelled and kayaked, swam and played beach volleyball. We visited Pilar Beach a couple of times, and enjoyed its peacefulness and super soft sandy beaches. We brought bread and toast to feed the fish. Make sure you bring toilet paper with you if you visit Pilar beach - there is an outhouse, but no paper. We took a taxi to the beach, leaving after breakfast, staying about four hours, and then came back to the resort for sandwiches at the bar by the pool. The taxi was 5 pesos/ person (which you pay to the driver after he drops you back off at the hotel), and the chairs at Pilar are 1 peso/ person.

    The food at the hotel was great. We actually preferred the buffet to the a la carte restaurants. We had dinner two times at the Internationale restaurant, and once at Ranchon. We also had lunch once at the Italian restaurant and twice at Ranchon, and the rest of the time we went to the buffet. I never personally ate from the ‘buffet’ section of the buffet restaurant, but rather had eggs/ omelettes for breakfast, pasta or pizza at lunch, and pasta or meat at dinner, all freshly made with the ingredients I chose. The staff were wonderful, always smiling and helpful.

    The shows were fantastic! Our rooms were great… I had emailed ahead of time and got my roommate and I a room on the second floor; our friends got a room on the first floor in another area, but were moved next to us on the second night. I think they preferred to have the more humid, first floor room to the second floor room, which was right in front of the theatre. But the nights that we didn’t go to the show, I was able to sleep through the music no problem, but it did keep my friends awake. Our rooms were simple but clean.

    One of my friends and I ran along the beach early one morning, and a couple of times before sunset. If you like to run, we found the horseback riding trails a little easier to run on than the beach, especially if the tide was in (if you are facing the ocean, then turn left… the horseback riding trails start at the next resort).

    We didn’t participate in any of the excursions. We had considered doing the catamaran excursion, but then decided that we didn’t want to risk getting stuck for a whole day with a particularly rowdy group of people that were at the same resort as us (thankfully they were only rowdy on the first night and the night we left). Aside from this, the other vacationers were couples (there were several weddings throughout the week) and families, and other people just wanting to relax.

    I would highly recommend this resort to couples and young families. There isn’t much of a nightlife at the resort aside from the shows, so if you are looking to ‘party’, then this resort is not for you. The resort is 1.5 hours from the nearest town, so if you are looking to experience Cuban food and Cuban people in their own setting, then you will need to either rent a car or take the one-day excursion to Moron and Ciego de Avila.

    Overall, the resort was clean and relaxing, and we were very impressed and happy with our vacation.

    Date of stay: March 2007
    • Trip type: Travelled with friends
      • Value
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    14  Thank PorschaIs
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
    Reviewed February 28, 2007

    Well where to start. This resort is by far the best thing past paradise. It has everything you will want plus more.

    I should start off by saying that by being a springbreaker myself, this would not have been my first choice for spring break partying, but it sure did surprise me. If you are looking for a nice relaxing atmosphere, with no hurry on anything, that this is the one for you. There is still lots of opprutunities to do anything and everything you would like, but it very much a relaxing place.

    The rooms were nice. All you really need for the amount of time you will spend in them. Our room had 2 beds pushed together, but was fine with us. The bathroom was clean, and for me, the first time I got to see a beday.. however it is spelt. The balcony was nice, except our view was covered by palms, but nice none the less. We were in room 3207. It is just off to the side, kind of behind the italian restaurant, but still close to everything. I heard of some people being placed in far off rooms, and ours was not that.

    The pool was awesome. Cool and refreashing, just what you need after laying out in the sun for a couple hours. The jacuzzi is warm, not hot like the ones at home, but who needs a hot one, when you can just lay out in the sun to get warm. Didn't use the swim up bar, but did use the main ground part of that bar, and they make very good Banana Mamma's!!

    The beach was breath taking and I could not get enough. White sands, and crystal blue waters, the best you could ever ask for. In the morning the tide is in but by lunch time the tide is almost all out and you can drag your beach chair right down into the water, or you can do as I did, and lay right on the cool sand where there is just a little water left over from when the tide went out. Beautiful!

    The food was awesome. I would definatly suggest the shrimp done at the buffet at lunch time, by this really cute, young guy. He puts them in a frying pan with some butter and veggies if you want and they are soooo good. The pasta bar was great, though serves very big portions, well for me anyways. But good as always. There is a wide variety of things to eat, and for those fussy eaters, I'm sure you will find something to eat. They have a grill where you can get chicken or steak or pork done, and they have stirfry at supper.
    The Italian restaurant is amazing. Supper was super good. The pizza at lunch and later in the evening is to die for. You can also get take away pizza almost all day after lunch lol until the wee hours in the morning.
    The cuban restaurant is ok, we only went there once, for supper and it was not the best, though maybe it might turn some people's heads. It was nothing I would have written home about.

    The entertainment was awesome. Quite a talented team. Yoel and lesslie are aweosme together. If anyone is talking to him, please say hi for us, from 'Ronaldo' with the 5 feet of snow lol.

    I didn't take part in the disco but i was told by gali, that it is not that hip happening. Maybe if more people would go, it would be better. I hope this is true.

    Me and my friend did the Media Luna snorkling excursion and it was an awesome time. Make sure to BOOK EARLY!!! We almost didn't get on as is was full and we had to get uo and ready incase there was a cancelation. Thank god there was. The half day jeep safari was great too. Our guide was awesome, and you will recognise him with his new Halifax Mooseheads ball cap. Very cute too!

    All in all I would return in a hurry. I had a super time there and would not hesitate to recomend it to anybody. Old or young it is an awesome place.

      • Value
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    18  Thank hstenason31
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
    Reviewed February 23, 2007

    We just returned from a wonderful week at the Melia Cayo Guillermo from Feb.10 to Feb.17 2007 with a departure from Ottawa, Canada. We flew with First Air.

    First Air

    When I booked the trip I was surprised to see that First Air was the aviation company as they usually fly to the Great Canadian North. But apparently they also offer charter flights to the south. I must say that I was not really impressed by that company as they have old planes with hard like rock seats, no movies during flight and poor service. The food was a half meat sandwich with pasta salad, a cookie, piece of cheese and chocolate mint. But the worst part is that we left Ottawa 3 hours late on our scheduled time and arrived at Cayo Coco airport at 12:30 am. I changed some money at the airport and I got 73CUC for $100 Canadian. At the hotel the rate was 74CUC.

    Cuban Customs

    It was quick as we were the only plane at 1:00 am but I was asked a few unusual questions though and to put the icing on the cake they looked into my luggage. So we were the last to get into the bus. The bus trip was about 45 minutes.

    Check-in

    We arrived at the hotel at around 2:15 am and the bus for the Melia was full so we were about 40 persons to check-in for only ONE person. So it took quite a time and we got our room around 3:00 am. We put our luggage in the room and went to the Italian restaurant for a pizza as we were starving. The restaurant was still open as well as the lobby bar. We finally got in bed at around 4:00 am! What a long day!

    Rooms

    The rooms are kept clean but they would need some refurbishment. We got a King size bed on the second floor of Building 1 which is far away from the shows and disco so it was quiet except some mornings where we were woke up by the maids that were yelling at each other from different floors. We never missed hot water and the mini bar was restocked every night with a bottle of water, 2 beers, 1 Tuk cola and 1 lemon kind of Sprite. But you can ask to substitute some products by other.

    Food

    The food was excellent at the buffet and at the A la carte restaurants. I'm a very picky eater and I never complaint once during the week It is repetitive at the buffet but you always find something good. You are allowed two A la carte restaurants during a week and we ate at the International restaurant and at the Rancheon which is something new in complement of the Italian. The reservations go from Monday to Monday and the reservation desk opens at 9:00 am so the Monday morning you will see at long line-up in the lobby for reservations, just keep that in mind. The lunches at the Italian and Rancheon are very good and you can choose from a nice variety. The Italian also offers pizza to take out between 14:30 and 16:00.

    Pool

    The water temperature was good and it was refreshing after a long day ay the beach. It was also nice to play volley ball in the designated section. The pool bar is also fun with the water falls just above you.

    Beach

    The beach there is breathtaking and the sand is like powder and very soft. But we always walked to the Sol beach to be able to swim in deeper water as at the Melia it's not that deep. We also did some snorkelling under the pier as there are lots of fish including some scary Barracudas. I got bitten by a crab hidden in the sand in the water and had to go see the doctor as I was bleeding badly. But the water is clear and you can see where you walk. There are lot of chairs and we never had to reserve one early, if you arrive before 9:30 you'll be fine.

    Hotel ground

    There is vegetation everywhere with lot of palm trees and flowers and the gardeners work very hard to keep it clean. There are also hammocks everywhere which is good to take a little nap. There is a bar near the beach with pool tables, tennis table and babyfoot. This was the quitter bar of all… The bank is open from 8:00am to 10:00 pm. There are merchants coming every day and they are located near the bar with pool tables. The shows were okay as the staff works hard.

    Excursions

    We didn't take any with the Transat Holidays representative as it is a real rip off. As you stay at a Melia hotel you can ask at the front desk for a voucher to visit the other solmelia hotels and that's what we did. We rent a scooter and went to Cayo Coco to see the Tryp Cayo Coco and Melia Cayo Coco. We then ate at the Melia Cayo Coco buffet and went and the beach there, wow the water is very beautiful! The roads are very bad and dangerous because of holes everywhere so be careful but it worth it because you see lot of birds along the road. The scooter was 15CUC for the first hour and then 5CUC for each additional hour.

    We also went to Playa Pilar with a taxi and the cost was 10 CUC for 2 persons. It takes about 10-15 minutes to get there and the taxi driver comes pick you up at the time you want and you pay on the way back. Pilar is the most beautiful beach I ever saw in my life, it's gorgeous. The water is crystal clear as far as you can see and the sand is also soft. You need to pay 1 CUC per chair. If you like snorkelling, go to the far left of the beach as there is a coral reef with lot of different fish just a few feet from the beach. I suggest to go in the morning as in the afternoon all catamaran tours come to this beach and it becomes very crowed and loud. You can't go to Cayo Guillermo without going to this beach.

    You can also go see the man who's in charge of the water sports on the beach and he will bring you to the coral reef for an hour for around 15CUC per person. This is great snorkelling and worth any penny.

    We also went to Moron, the closest city, by our own. We reserved a taxi for the day and the cost was 95CUC for four persons compare to the 75CUC per person from Transat!!!! So went in town and walked the commercial avenue not rushed by a tour at the taxi driver was waiting for us as long as we needed. Moron is not the most beautiful city but its nice to se how Cuban people live and it was great for that. I also suggest a tour of "calèche" as it costs 5CUC for four persons for about 45 minutes. This way you can see the city differently. Martin and Sue, if you read that review I would like to thank you for that wonderful day it was nice meeting you!

    Conclusion

    Overall I must say that we had great time at the Melia Cayo Guillermo. The beach was awsome, the food was good and the Cubans are very welcoming. I would rate the hotel a nice 4 stars more than the 4.5 they give in travel books. Would I go there again? Sure I would go again and would recommend it to anyone.

    I hope the review will be helpful for you!

    Date of stay: February 2007
      • Value
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      • Check-in / front desk
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    24  Thank Martin T
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
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