Sol Cayo Guillermo, Cuba

Sol Cayo Guillermo is a beautiful hotel on the Carribean island of Cuba. The hotel is situated in Cayo Guillermo, just up the road from Cayo Coco, however is quite a way from the mainland (although there are day trips over to Havana).The flight to Cuba is 9 hours 15 mins and Sol Cayo Guillermo is approximately a 45 minute transfer from the airport depending on the stops before, but as you pull up to the hotel you realise it was worth all the travelling!

Currency is CUC (Cuban Convertible Pesos) and you can change this at reception or at the airport. However you’re unable to change your currency once back in the UK so remember to do this before leaving the country. Also remember that all tourists have to pay a departure tax of 25CUC per person so don’t leave yourself short for the way home!

If you’re like me you won’t find much to complain about when you have the hot sun, beautiful beaches and breathtaking views of the carribean, and this hotel really made our stay all the more relaxing.

The Hotel

The front of the resort is brightly coloured and looks inviting. Stepping into the reception area is no different and the walls and ceilings are full of bright oranges, reds and blues. There are three small shops on the right and these provide essentials such as sun cream lotion, insect repellent, drinks and food (such as crisps and chocolate), and also cigars, alcohol and souvenirs. As you walk through the reception area the view is fantastic. In front of you is a large pool surrounded by palm trees and you’ll be able to see the sea in the distance. There are plenty of sun loungers around the pool, not once was there no room for us. The beach seems to be more popular and with the white sand and clear blue sea its hardly surprising!

The size of the resort itself is deceptive. After taking a casual walk around there were a lot more rooms than expected. The resort is almost surrounded by water, which obviously adds to the problem of the mosquitoes. None of the apartments were higher than two levels, so the resort was not overtaken by tall buildings. There is a massage parlour and jacuzzi next to the pool for some pampering and loads of hammocks placed around the resort to really relax in. There are toilets next to the main bar and in the international restaurant, although the ones next to the bar have tiny doors and when you’re standing up you can see into the next cubicle (a bit like toilets in an infants school!)

The Room

The room is quite large with a patio to walk out onto. There is a lot of greenery outside though and this seemed to be the place where the mosquitoes attacked! The room itself is unusual, with wooden ceilings (almost like a big barn!) but is pleasant enough. It has air conditioning, which is a must for this type of apartment. There is a large wardrobe but the room does lack storage space. There are only a few drawers, all about 15cm deep – this makes it hard to store much away. A TV is provided with quite a large selection of channels, although most are in Spanish! The bathroom has a toilet, bidet, sink and shower but is not large enough to include a bath. A safe is included in the room for free and only opens when the room key is inserted into the front. Be careful about locking everything away as we knew of two people who had items stolen from their room while we were there.

A phone is included in the room and is free between rooms but expensive otherwise – a call back to the UK was about 5CUC (£3) a minute and you couldn’t buy a phone card anywhere.

The Beach

The beach is beautiful, with white sand and clear water. The sea is shallow for approximately 100 meters which means the sun warms it up each day but it’s lovely to cool off in. You can walk right along the beach up to the next resort (Melia Cayo Guillermo) and there are a variety of water sports available, which are all reasonably priced. From the beach you are able to see other Cuban islands on the horizon. The sea is full off tiny fish that surround you if you move the sand around so take your goggles and snorkel if you want a better look!

The beach is usually quite full so it’s best to get there quite early if you want to sit close to the restaurant, however there are loads of sun beds available and plenty of shade. There are also showers all along the beach where you can wash off the sand before lunch. There is a bar by the side of the beach, although it only has a limited variety of drinks (rum being the main one!) but soft drinks are available throughout the day. This is the coolest place to sit in the evening, however the mosquitoes tend to be worse!

The Restaurants

The buffet restaurant is satisfactory, although becomes tedious after two weeks (like most buffet restaurants). There is a large variety of foods, including salad, soup, meat, pasta, fish, potatoes, pizza and a choice of deserts. Some nights the food is better than others, for example a whole pig would be on display one night but then pork would be offered as part of different dishes for the next three nights! As well as the buffet restaurant there is also an a la carte restaurant and an International restaurant, both of which can only be booked once a week. The a la carte restaurant is definitely worth a visit; a three course meal is served with candles, wine and a relaxing atmosphere.

The international restaurant is also worth a visit as you can almost sit on the edge of the beach – the view’s great. It’s also open at lunchtime and it’s best to rotate between this and the buffet restaurant if you become bored with the same food quickly! Again, the mosquitoes are pretty bad in the International Restaurant. Toasties are served in the main bar throughout the day, however it would be better if there was a larger variety of food, e.g. burgers, ice cream etc.

The Entertainment

The evening entertainment is obviously well rehearsed and a lot of effort is put into it. However after the first week it does become tedious. There are a few really good nights, for example ‘Macho Man’ where volunteers from the audience are entered into a competition, but mostly it’s the entertainment team dressing up and dancing. It also only lasts for about 1 ½ hours so when it comes to 11pm there’s not much else to do apart from the night club – which is great if you want to have a good dance but not so good if you want to keep cool and mosquito free! As the resort is literally in the middle of nowhere, there’s no point going out of it in the evening as there’ll be nowhere to go and nothing to do! A few other bars with some music playing would have been great.

The Positives

This is the perfect holiday to go on if you want to chill out. All day by the beach or pool, a nice evening meal, some light entertainment and back to the room to admire the tan! However there is also loads to do in the day if you’re more active. There are daily volleyball games, football, tennis, archery etc and loads of excursions to choose from, including a catamaran trip, swimming with dolphins, a plane over to Havana (the Capital) and Salsa nights at another hotel (plus much more). The trip to Havana will cost you approximately £200 each but is great if you want to see some of the culture of the country.

The Negatives

Mosquitoes are probably the worst thing about the resort, although should be expected in countries such as Cuba. Each day a man will walk round with a smoke machine to try and keep them away but almost every person in the resort is likely to be bitten!

As with other similar locations, tipping is a custom in Cuba and is relied upon by many of the people you’ll meet. When arriving at the airport, the coach is approximately a 5 second walk from the entrance however the workers will insist on taking your luggage to the coach and then expect a tip! Everyone both inside and outside the resort will expect to be tipped, from the bus driver and the rep on the coach to the locals who provide any excursions. Tipping if a good service has been provided (e.g. if someone has gone out of their way for you) seems to be how most tourists approach this after getting used to the culture. Many of the workers in the resort will try their best to please you if they have been tipped well e.g. waiters/waitresses will often pay you more attention throughout your entire stay than other guests if they have been tipped, coconuts will be offered by those maintaining the grounds and maids will ensure your room is different every day (making the towels into swans or leaving rose petals on the bedroom floor etc). Although this is an all inclusive resort, you should expect to spend a bit of money if you require the extra service. However it is possible to stay for two weeks and hardly spend a penny – it depends on the holiday you want!

Other Info

– Bottled water must be used to brush teeth as the water is not clean.
– There are three computers in reception where you can access the Internet – this costs 3CUC for 30 minutes.
– Beach towels are available from the shop next to the pool for a $15 deposit.
– 220v round plug adapters are required for UK appliances.
– Tipping is a custom in Cuba – the average tip is between 1 and 5CUC.
– Mosquitos are everywhere – take repellant!

Gallery

BeachBeachBeachBeachBeachBeachBeachBarFront Of HotelInternational RestaurantInternational RestaurantJacuzzi And SpaRoomsRoomsBack Of RoomsRoomsPoolPoolPoolPoolReceptionReceptionRestaurantLove SeatsOther BarOther BarTennis CourtsView To The BeachTo The BeachVolleyballWatersports

4 Responses to “Sol Cayo Guillermo, Cuba”

  1. lovely Says:

    oh my god! BEAUTIFUL!

  2. enryco Says:

    I went to a beautiful beach into Cuba : Guardalavaca ; if you’d like to see this article please visit http://www.el-blog.com/blogs/e/enryco/2007/07/64785.html

  3. Lee Says:

    thanks for the comprehensive review.

    We went up to the Pilar beach which is near your hotel and it was fantastic. We actually stayed at the Melia Cayo Coco but took a trip up there.

    Maybe we’ll stay at the Sol Cayo Guillermo next time.

  4. Cayo Coco Says:

    I visited both Cayo Coco and Cayo Guillermo and loved it. The Iberostar is the hotel I would recommend. The Melia is also a good pick. Jay

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