Cayo Coco, Jardines del Rey, Morón, Ciego de Avila, Cuba
(Jardines del Rey)
This All Inclusive beach resort has a delightful village feel to it, with colourful courtyards and "roads" leading to restaurants, sports facilities and guest rooms.
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Posted by: Michelle
on Feb 16, 2010 >
1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Feb, 2010 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
295 people found this review helpful
Overall, we enjoyed our stay very much but the keys have definitely lost their 'quaintness'. I'll cover all the sections below. We are 34/35 and found there were many couples our age. There were a lot of couples in their golden years. We were looking for a beach relaxation vacation which is exactly what we got. Never went to the disco and we never caught a show. We hung out in the main square drinking Cubadas or Cappuccinos or cervezas and at 7 pm the Churros restaurant opens.
We also booked the Chameleon Gold upgrade and suggest you do too. We got the bottle of rum which we finished in about 2 days... LOL. and enjoyed the 30 minute couples massage on the beach. We also appreciated the bathrobe and slippers. We didn't use the shampoo/soap so can't comment on quality there. We enjoyed being in the new section of the hotel.
We flew on Canjet. I can say, I'll definitely be skipping this airline next time. Surly attendants, uncomfy seats and when your luggage gets damaged, they refuse to fix it.
We were through security in under 30 minutes. We were on our bus within 45 minutes and a the resort about 15 or 20 minutes later.
The hotel check in was very quick and friendly.
Our luggage was delivered to our room in about the same amount of time it took us to find it. We landed in Cayo Coco at 8:30 pm.
We booked the Chameleon Gold section. Our rooms were newly renovated, very nice and comfortable.
We wanted a room on the main floor so we wouldn't run out of hot water. We didn't have any problems with hot water, but then again, we made sure to shower before 4 pm. The bathroom is huge and the vanity and closet area is separated by a frosted glass partition from the shower/toilet.
The beds were actually comfortable if you like it a little on the hard side like we do.
There is bad news... ALL the beds have bed bugs. It's a tropical country and it is a hotel so definitely inevitable. As a solution, I would suggest you bring long sleeved PJ's and pants. Trust me, you won't be too hot. Blast the A/C and this will help deal with cockroaches. There weren't a ton of them, but in our experience, if you blast the A/C and then put a towel under the door between the outside and inside of your room, you should be fine. We always do this and we've never had any unexpected friends.
If you forget your long PJ's, like I did, I used the in-room bathrobe to sleep on top of (I only figured that out about day 4 of our stay) and I stopped getting attacked by bugs! If you happen to be a Melaleuca customer, bring you Solumel spray bottle and spray the mattresses daily. Should help kill them all together.
Our maid was fantastic and always left the 2 bottles of water we requested.
Our room was 2 double beds squeezed together. i was fine with that. The room also comes with a safe, obviously (it was included, no additional fees). Our fridge was refilled daily with 2 large bottles of water and usually 1 pop and 1 beer. You could leave a note for the maid and modify accordingly like we did.
A note on the Chameleon Gold: They say you get a bottle of rum and some chaud-four... you do get a bottle of white rum.. and we got 2 suckers. The restaurants were closed by the time we arrived/left our room and found the buffet so we had to eat sandwiches.. more on that.
Restaurants and Bars:
I was disappointed with the selection @ the buffet because in all past 5 trips to Cuba there was more local food and variety. I love Cuban food, but from what I understand.. the typical tourist wants what they can eat at home.. why? Not sure exactly.. which means the Cubans now present you with what they think you want. we always found something to eat - usually crepes and omelettes with bacon. Another disappointment was the juice... we used to always have fresh squeezed orange juice. They don't seem to have that anymore... instead you can expect Tang. There is fresh mango juice. There's also the toast station and hot chocolate&pastries at every meal. For lunch, we mainly ate at the grill bar or the beach bar. The grill bar is next to the pool. It's also the same restaurant that doubles as your 'Chameleon Gold' special dinner. We ate there the second night.. and were surprised that there was a fixed menu. Neither one of us can eat mushrooms or shrimp so I can't comment on the appetizer (shrimp cocktail) or the soup (cream of mushroom). The main course was very good. I had the white fish and my husband had the pork chops.The beach bar has BBQ lunch.We lucked out because we got 4 a la carte dinners instead of 3 & never ate dinner at the Buffet. all the bars are good.. but if you want excellent service without having to tip each and every time stay away from the lobby bar. They don't make very good drinks either - at La Placienta which is directly across from the lobby that's the place for excellent coffee,drinks and service.All the a la carte restaurants were good. I especially enjoyed the Cuban. We also bought some Kleen Kantean bottles (40 oz for water for the day and 20 oz insulated for beer or coffee - I highly recommend them!) At 7 pm there's a Churros kiosk. Have one.. they're fantastic. Directly across from the Churros is the sandwich guy. One is better than the other.. I never caught their names, but the evening guy makes sure the sandwiches are nicely golden and the cheese melted.
The pool, like the ocean is unheated. I don't know why this surprises people.... it's the Caribbean! Just jump in.. you'll ajust.
I swam in the salt water pool and the ocean only (not the freshwater)... even on chillier days and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The week we went (Feb 7-14) was pretty low on occupancy. Starting on the 13th, there was a huge influx of people so I'm guessing chairs MAY have been difficult to find but we were on tours so didn't notice.
On the beach there's a couple guys who'll help you with chairs and dust them off.
The hotel has the Internet Cafe and I never had trouble connecting to check my email. The Public Relations office is also in the main building, next to the internet cafe and that's where you have to present yourself and your a la carte tickets to make reservations. You can only do that before 5 pm. The main building also has a bank open until 11 pm (maybe 10 pm). They allow you to take cash advance on your credit card which was convenient. The prices have gone up significantly since I was last there (4 years ago) - but it's still cheap.
The grounds are absolutely beautiful. Very colonial and very established. The hotel was opened in 1993 so the gardens are very well established.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
We did 3 off resort activities. The first one we did was the Catamaran tour. I was surprised at how commercial Cuba has gotten. When I did the exact same tour a few years ago, we were 8 ppl on a small boat and the Captain's mate dove for our lobsters before we reached the reef. The Captain cooked the lobsters to perfection and it was a very nice intimate day.
This time around... we shared a 60' catamaran with about 80 ppl. Lunch was ok- lobster was overcooked. they served chicken which was good (but they ran out) and rice along with shrimp (allergic to shrimp so I can't comment on how it was done). A cold front moved in that afternoon and the water was too choppy to get to Pilar Beach, but I'd seen it a few times so I enjoyed just being on the ocean on the catamaran. I think it cost 80CUC per person.
The 2nd tour we did was the sunset horseback ride with dinner on the beach. It was 30 CUC for 2 hours and dinner per person. You do collect ppl from other resorts so if you and your friend are the only 2 waiting for the cowboy... don't worry, there'll be more ppl. LOL. If you select this, don't go for the lobster dinner.. it's over cooked. the fish was fantastic. You do eat dinner on the beach with some local musician serenading you. We were back at the hotel within 2 hours.
We also did the Jeep Jungle Safari. This was a new tour for us. It was good, although the description was misleading... I was thinking some back roads and sightseeing- NOPE- you pay about 70CUC per person and you get to drive your own Suzuki Jimmy which is smaller than a Vitara. You do have to have 4 ppl in the vehicle. You drive to the town of Moron and stop at a motel to shop for souvenirs. From there they take you on a tour through town to the lagoon. They give you a 10 min. boat ride on the lagoon.Then you sample some fish which was delicious (white tilapia). there's a band that plays for you too. From there they take you to the mountains to an observatory where you can have a snack of fruit. There's also a toilet you can use. after the observatory they take you to a farm for lunch. We had pork, plantain, rice and beans (the first and last time.. it was awesome and I thought the resort would at least have it.. but no), fruit, salad. it was very well cooked and was delicious. The farm is not a working farm.. just a tourist thing. They have some animals (mostly birds). You can visit the little witch woman who will explain Cuba's different religions and you can have your tarrot read. There's a guy with a baby boa you can hold, an ox you can ride (the tip jar is on his head), they can take you on horseback rides or carriage ride. You can also shop for souvenirs on site. After this you go to the Crocodile Farm. They have mainly American crocs, and there's one Cuban croc. You can also hold a crocodile. This time there was a 3 month old and a 3 year old. they're easy to hold and not gross.
Overall, we had a good time.. we relaxed and enjoyed our first vacation in 4 years since the kids were born. I was disappointed that Cuba (the keys anyway) have lost their 'personal' touch.. it's more commercial now like DR is. Although no one harasses you to buy anything which is great. Food has certainly gone downhill..but like I said.. I hear it's because tourists weren't thrilled with the local food... no idea why.. I'd rather eat dirty rice, pork, all the fish I can get and Chorizo over what I can get in Canada and make better myself.
Drinks were delicious.. as long as you don't get them at the lobby bar... and the burgers are always good.
I really liked this hotel.. I would go back, but we won't... only because we like to try different resorts if we return to the same place.
Just a note.. when you go on excursions in Cuba.. always take toilet paper with you... there usually isn't any anywhere off resort....
If you have questions, email me firstname.lastname@example.org
I have the photos posted on Facebook for 'everyone' to see.. if you have trouble, let me know.
"Good vacation, if you emphasize the positive"
Ronald on Feb 3, 2010 >
1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Jan, 2010 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
306 people found this review helpful
Guests at The Blau Colonial were in a medium mood, praising the beach and complaining about the food. Here are some comments, mostly on things other people have not mentioned.
The beach is long and perfect. It attracts the majority of guests, at least to the loungers (there are enough). Some days were quite windy on the beach. No jelly fish or seaweed, and the water is warm enough. To the right you can walk for miles (cutting across a long narrow point in the Sol Melia) on great sand. To the left is rocky shore but you can go 1 km to the next resort at least. There is a hotel bus to Playa Pilar ($6, several times daily) if you want a beach that is possibly more perfect.
The land around the resort is boring flat shrubs and low trees. Basic bicycles are included (half had flat tires), so you can explore. Nothing on the island to visit (except the $ show at the state park). There are excursions to the town of Moron... one sees Cuban poverty amidst remains of the earlier eras.
Rooms vary a lot; building 29 is excellent, new marble bathroom, spacious, fine air-con, even an umbrella. Nolitours includes a kimono, slippers and nice bath supplies. Housekeeping was fine; a free safe is provided. The buildings all look good, with their attractive verandahs and tile roofs.
The pools are pleasant, medium size, very clean and usually enough loungers. Mercifully they do not have animation furor. The animated fun lovers can find that in a square at the central bar.
The grounds are pleasant enough in the east half, badly neglected if not desert in the west half. Total effect is not what it could be. There are 20 species of flowers, but it is a hunt to find those other than the basics. Gardeners seldom seen... except those offering coconuts for a tip. Landscape design seems ad-hoc, lack of strong focus spots, plants too close to narrow walkways, plants clipped too much, etc.. In any case, lots of room for walking. Even get views of a big backwater lake.
Restaurants and Bars:
Meals varied... third week of January was bad. That means maximum one cooked vegetable, repetitive meat and fish (but always enough), almost no dessert except fruit and the good ice cream. Then it improved: salad dressings, pickles, several vegetables (cold cauliflower, canned corn), different meats (turkey, salmon), liver pate, small cakes. The hotel probably cannot get better supplies... surely they do not intentionally feed us canned everything (fruit, mushrooms, sardines, beans, etc.) every day. They did have plenty of fresh papaya and other fruits, and excellent fresh fruit juices at breakfast. There were several kinds of sausage at breakfast, cheeses, a good pasta station, always ketchup. Food did not run out. The line-ups were due to poor design -- people waiting for grilled meat and blocking other foods. Service was friendly although sometimes forgetful.
The bar drinks were not weak, although they were variable in quality (e.g. pina colada made from milk). Service was fine without tipping. Others complain more about pressure for tips; they were maybe susceptible to it. Only the tough waitress at the outside tables at the lunch buffet appeared to be embarrassing people into tipping. But the atmosphere is always there, servers hang wishfully; and guests seemed to be tipping often, maybe out of sympathy. This is a problematic subject: the serving staff can earn over 10 times as much from tips as from their pitiful government salary. So they naturally are dominated by the hunt for tips. One can only wonder about the effects of having two very different classes of hotel workers (the tip-receivers are required to "donate" monthly to a fund for the non-tip-receiving staff), about the corruption in getting these golden-tips jobs in which you can earn more than a teacher, and about the feelings of having to hang upon the dropped change of the capitalist foreigners. Generous tipping guests fuel this system; and probably do not realize that they already give $100 a week in their vacation price (in extra labour fees charged by the government to the hotel), supposedly for the people's benefit.
Overall, a very good holiday for us, as we just skated over the problems and enjoyed nature.
"The food is ample and varied and ranged from tasty to gross"
Neil II on Jan 7, 2010 >
1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Nov, 2009 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
226 people found this review helpful
Arrive at Pearson 1:45 hours before departure. Was glad that I had booked with westjet as travellers could print boarding passes and therefore eliminate getting to airport 3 hrs in advance.
I printed boarding pass in advance but was surprised to see as long a line for those with boarding pass as for those without prebooked boarding pass.
Also surprised that only 5 agents working on side for those with boarding pass and unfortunately one of those agents was preoccupied with one traveller the entire time I was in line which was about one hour. Our flight was delayed about 20 minutes. Westjet said it was due to a runway change but I think it was because they didn't have sufficient staff at check in booths. Note re seats: comfy with good leg room Oh and Westjet....single ply tp in the lavatory! How much more would it cost them for two ply?
Arrived at Jardines del Rey airport and processed smoothly and quickly through immigration. Take note that all arrivees were scanned by thermal scanner. I watched the display on the scanner and there was a temperature reading within a bubble (think of the dialogue in a comic strip) that pointed at anyone whose temp exceeded 37 C. There were a couple of readings I saw at 37.9 degrees but no one from our plane was pulled aside (as far as I could tell anyway). Masks worn by many Cuban staff at airport.
Waiting coach transportation had us at our resort within 15 Minutes. Check in quickly processed. Bellman carried bags to room.
room in renovated section nice. Note: central A/C which is blessedly efficient and equally important: QUIET Third floor room with 16 ft cathedral ceiling. Canopy over bed. King bed kind of hard, not pillow top, but very firm. Nice king sized pillows too. Very impressed!
Bathroom divided in two. One half for sink and closet other half was toilet, bidet, and tub. Petty complaint is that hand held shower head not securely attached to bracket. Did I mention that there was always lots of hot water and I was on third floor! Doors opened with card pass key. Fridge stocked with beer (Bucanero) water and cola and Refilled daily!
Quickly found beach and bar. Gets dark early so no beach time on day 1.
Disappointed that there was not fresh orange juice at breakfast. Otherwise pretty standard. Asked for omelet with eggwhites only and while cook rolled her eyes at my request she made it all the same.
Straight to beach after breakfast. Bar served basic drinks. No mojitos. Washroom clean and had soap. Beach staff cleaned off lounger (plastic, not fabric loungers).
No towel war issues. All loungers stacked nightly, and when you arrive in morning staff place lounger where you want it and sweep off the sand.
BBQ lunch served. I had ribs...delicious. Also serve hamburgers and grilled chicken. I didn't see a French fry all week. I don't mean that I didn't eat a fry. If they're served anywhere on resort I didn't notice it. Buffet supper: good. Had pasta and grilled meat stations. Veggie and fruit salads available
booked a la carte dinners
Guy at beach liked my sun glasses. Offered to trade for some peso cigars. You'd think I asked for weed by his reaction. Said he cannot do that for me, then said maybe.
Italian a la carte: Wow! Entree was outstanding. I had mozarella and seafood dip and ceaser salad (first time ever had ceaser with cabbage) but good dressing. Good lasagna too! Smooth dry Spanish red wine. Bottle left at table.
Breakfast: Still no fresh OJ. Consistently offered fresh pineapple grapefruit papaya and guava. Omlette lady continues to have attitude. Now in addition to rolled eyes there's a definite grimace that says she's making my eggwhite omlette under duress. Not that she's busy. No lineup as resort occupancy still low.
Love capucino every morning before breakfast on patio. Despise the coffee served in the buffet restaurant. This is common in every resort I've been to in Cuba. Why and how can the totally ruin coffee the way they do for anything that is not espresso or capucino? Speaking of coffee. There's a coffee maker and ground coffee in my room. Guess where the ground coffee came from?......Mississauga, and I checked the bag carefully to make sure it wasn't some town called Mississauga in Cuba!
Morning bartender says he's cold. Temp about 20 C. At 7:30am.
One of those days on the beach. Definitely cooler and the on-shore winds made it chilly in the shade.Warm sun is nice out in the open but I burn easily so cannot spend too much time in direct sunlight. So with T-shirt on I am comfortable in shade.
Having seafood at Dorado as I write. Different from my Italian a la carte, bottle of wine not left at table. Service is quick as restaurant no busy. Not fast enough to speed up the family with baby. Like babies, just not their noise when eating out.
Dorado is just metres from Atlantic and it would be nice to enjoy the ocean breezes but at night the mozzies would have a feast. Speaking of those little blood suckers I haven't seen one or been bitten yet.
Meal: creamed seafood soup, seafood bruscetta (dry), and seafood casserole. The casserole is yummy almost like seafood jambalaya but hands up if you agree that unpeeled shrimps including heads and their stringy hair like attachments is gross. I love seafood but much preferred the Italian meal. Sure others will have reversed opinions. Seafood resto also loses marks for not serving coffee. Not even the stuff they pass off as coffee in the buffet resto.
Must mention that room is spotless. I've seen exactly one fly in room. No ants, crabs or crawlies of any description anywhere near the room.
Music: Haven't heard even one rendition of Guantanamera all week. Yeah!! Sitting in piano bar beside Fontanella resto and just heard a really nice version of Don't cry For Me Argentina. He's playing Nat King Cole's Unforgetable and just segued into As Tears Go By. As most musicians here the piano player is very talented.
Just told bartender how to make a Barbados Sunrise. He renamed it Cuban sunrise. Ingredients by the way include OJ, Malibu (really impressed they has Malibu),&grenadine. Yummy! So ask for a Cuban sunrise when you're here.
Tryp's beach is groomed and generally looks better than Blau's beach.
Parasailing available @ $40
Glass bottom boat cruise $40 I think
Flying boat rides @ $30 I think
Cell phone service; good signal, clear air too
iPhone: no problem at immigration with new 3Gs phone. Didn't even look at it.
GPS: in spite of Apple's contention that their GPS works with satelites, as well as with cell towers, There is no GPS service in Cayo Coco and probably not in Cuba at all. The Maps ap will not work.
The compass works as a compass but the lat. & long. Coordinates at bottom of screen show that I'm apparently still in Toronto.
I tried opening these aps with data roaming turned both on and then off. GPS doesn't work. That's why immigration doesn't bat an eye at smartphones.
So up to this point my review has been positive for the most part. Truly the only negative revolves around the buffet restaurant. There are three factors that would make or break a restaurant: Food, hygiene & service.
The food is ample and varied and ranged from tasty to gross. This would aptly describe all but a handful of Cuban resorts.
Hygienic practices need some work here. Table cloths need to be replaced with clean ones when they're soiled or at a minimum use place mats and replace when soiled. I shouldn't have to ask the wait staff that the table cloth is soiled. They bus the tables and unless blind, they ignore it consistently.
They just don't get service. No one takes you to a table upon entry. They don't hustle to initially fill water glasses and offer coffee. Re-fills happen but when it's not busy, conversation amongst co-workers takes priority over doing their job. Buffet staff could learn a thing or two about hustle by observing the hustle that takes place during lunch at the beach resto.
Would I go again?: Sure. Mostly good things about the Blau. I've learned to live with the food. I've never gone home hungry or weighing less than when I arrived.
"Great bartenders who were always pleasant"
Rick from Sarnia on Jan 7, 2010 >
Visited on: Nov, 2009 | Leisure
214 people found this review helpful
The arrival was fairly organized with "Entertainment staff" prepared to carry the luggage for you. I would have preferred to have a package that included my key given at the airport but since there weren't many of us arriving, it was done fairly quickly. When I went to tip the staff for handling my luggage, he politely declined the tip as he said it was part of his job!!
Rooms were clean and a good size with a large, bright washroom. There was a problem with our toilet seat which was repaired within an hour of us reporting it to the customer relations staff.
Restaurants and Bars:
Great bartenders who were always pleasant and wanted to please. I would prefer fresh squeezed OJ in the morning. Coffee was great and I enjoyed the fact that they would leave a full carafe on your table so it was available without waiting for a waiter/waitress or having to get up to get it. Food was fine. I always ate too much, especially at lunch at the beach bar.
The grounds were expansive and immaculate. One could immediately tell there was a lot of work done. The beach was great as was the pool (saltwater). There were always lots of chairs available.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
I am not one for entertainment in the evening at resorts but the quality at this resort was much higher than other resorts I have attended. Hopefully however, the evening show will soon move from its close proximity to the piano bar as at times, the music of one competed with the music of the other. I did not go on any tours as I was not impressed with the rep from Sunwing.
I found that the general mgr. was always visible throughout the day and was interested in any suggestion you had or any concerns which he handled right away. Awesome!! Based on my visaits to other resorts in Cuba, I would rate it at a 3.5 star facility as opposed to a 4 star facility but I think they are on the right track to improve it quickly.
"Don't plan to take a shower for the week"
Alexandre on May 1, 2009 >
1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: May, 2009 | Leisure | Family and Kids
159 people found this review helpful
Traveled to Blau Colonial with my husband and 7 year old daughter last week in March 2007. In sum, it is a pretty looking hotel - Colonial style buildings. As for the room - don't plan to take a shower for the week because honestly there is no water pressure at all and the water is cold..
There is a mini club - but no activities planned so not sure why it is there.
The most annoying thing about the hotel is the way the BUFFET IS SET UP. No matter what time we went there was a very long line up in order to get food. Everyone had to wait in this line up in order to reach the tray food and the 2 tiny grill areas. Even if you did not want something from the grill area you still had to wait in the line-up in order to reach the tray food - so no seconds - unless you wanted to wait again. The reason for line-up was that they only began to grill food when you asked for it which in theory is nice but did nothing to help the line up move faster. Not fun waiting and watching for someone else's food to be grilled....
If you tip at the Buffet the waiters will remember you and you will get INSTANCE service. If you didn't tip you were practically invisible and would have to try very hard to make eye contact with any waiter for a drink or coffee.
CAYO COCO is windy pretty much all the time - so always red or yellow flag. So if you do not like waves and wind you will not like the beach.
So I would rate this hotel a 2 star only and not a 4.
"The International Spa is lovely and very modern"
JayBeckyNovaScotia on Apr 1, 2009 >
Visited on: Apr, 2009 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
165 people found this review helpful
Late night , 1 guy on reception, he tried to be efficient but with clients not staying in line , it made it difficult for him.
We were in a standard room, it was very spacious ,clean and well maintained. Mini fridge re-stocked daily, swinging doors between wash area and toilet bathtub area, but vision privacy was there just no sound privacy. We knew there would not be facecloths, but very nice soft towels. Balcony had comfy chairs and a small table. Some areas could be noisy though as rooms were right beside Disco and others were in building with reception and with late night arrivals and early departures I expect noise would be an issue.
Restaurants and Bars
We had 3 guaranteed A la Carte's one at each of the 3 restaurants, they were all nice with a couple choices for entre's not necessarily to the theme of the restaurant though,ex:Italian-one choice was steak. The buffett was good also, lots of choices. Coldest beer was in lobby bar and you could get glass glasses there not the small plastic cups!
Well maintained, lots of chairs and palapas available. We had several days were it was quite windy and overcast, staff still there to assist with chairs.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
Did the Pilar plus jet boat tour, it was the highlight for everyone on the tour. Loved it!
This property has a great atmosphere and wonderful architechture, very nice feel for the guests. Train ride was just OK if young kids it is good. Horse and carriage ride I heard similar comments but did not actually do myself. The International Spa is lovely and very modern, great prices for the services.
"The beach and rooms were good."
AnneLondon on Mar 1, 2009 >
Visited on: Mar, 2009 | Leisure | Family and Kids
103 people found this review helpful
My husband, 2 year old son and I spent March Break at the Blau. The weather was perfect the week we went, but they had just had a terrible storm the week earlier. Take your chances with Cuba. The food was what we expected. The beach and rooms were good. Our big problem was the students. This hotel is the main hotspot for the S-trip organization in Cayo Coco. Student (high school) "organized" March Break trip. There were a ton of them. They would sleep all day, emerging from their rooms around 4pm and coming back to their rooms at 4am. They were typical under-age students. VERY drunk, not supervised and not made to be respectful of people sleeping. The hotel staff would do nothing about them. We never complained, but many did. We never slept well b/c of all the door banging and yelling in the middle of the night. You also could never get to a bar because it was 6 students deep. I would stay at the Blau again, but never during March Break!
"We will not be going back to CUBA"
JamesPortColborneOntario on Feb 1, 2009 >
1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Feb, 2009 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
90 people found this review helpful
Conquest with Air Canada was great, lots of room on the plane and the trip to the resort was very fast. 20 min.
Rooms: The room was very nice and clean. It was very quiet around the area and not very many people were out and about. Most of the 1 week we were at the resort did we see more then 10 people walking around. The one thing we did miss was the water. We had no hot water to shower with six of the seven days we were there. Many other people we talked to had the same problem. When they moved they still had no water. We had enough cold water to wash with from the sink, but that was it. We have traveled some and are not very hard to please, but it was bad.
Restaurants and Bars:
The one Buffet was clean but not much of a choice of food. Breakfast was cold and the coffee was not the best. No one offered coffee at the table for three days, we had to get own. The bars were not opened until they were ready. Some days at 10:30, other days at 11:30am but they closed around 4:30pm. Only one 24hr. bar at the far end of the resort.
We spent one afternoon at the beach. The water was 72F but it was very windy. The rest of the week the wind was 40km and the water was to rough to swim in. The one pool was very cold and not many people used it. The beach towels you had to pay 15 Pesos each. The grounds were not keep up well. They did not seem to think that was very important to us.
We will not be going back to CUBA
"Food quality went down since 2006"
Nabil09 on Feb 1, 2009 >
1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Feb, 2009 | Leisure | Family and Kids
90 people found this review helpful
My 4-year old son and I were at Blau Colonial from Feb 10 to 17, 2009. The reasons I chose this resort over others in the Caribbean are mostly to accommodate my son’s needs, plus I prefer to be in Cuba than say Dominican Republic or Mexico (safety, culture, music, friendly people, no peddlers' nuisance).
I speak fluent Spanish and so I had the opportunity to talk to staff and have conversations beyond the ‘hola’ and ‘buenos dias’.
I felt disappointed:
We were there in Feb 2006 the first time, and I remembered some of the good things about the resort, such as supervised daycare, availability of babysitting, great beach, and generally good food and service.
However, this time I felt disappointed, and this is not a reaction to one detail but my conclusion when I think of the shortcomings of the place. Here are real examples of what was wrong with the resort:
was moved from the big thatched room beside the pool (under renovation) to a smaller room, which did not have much in terms of toys and things to do. The sandy playground at the back of the room had very little shade, so a parent would have to ensure the child is not spending all the time in the sun, one way or another. Staff did not totally stick to the printed schedule.
no hot water for 2 days. The staff did not know when the repair can be made to the hot water broken equipment. The courtesy rooms offered at the main building, where the lobby is, were all taken when I actually went to give my son a shower. The staff did not know when one will be available.
Food and Food Queues:
the overall food quality went down since 2006, and this was confirmed by some of the Buffet staff. There were line ups taking more than 10 minutes to get some food items such as pasta, seafood, and waiting for orange juice and milk in the morning, while my son is sitting alone and waiting for me. At one time he panicked and started crying and was walking around looking for me. The grill by the beach had a line up with 30 to 40 minute waiting. I got tired of all that waiting. Other than the morning watered-down orange juice there was no juice of any kind anywhere or any other time. I was surprised to find Cubans think it is OK to give pop to a 4-year old. There was one type of white wine and one red, both are not better than “cooking wine”.
kids show started at 8:30 pm. This is too late for most kids coming from outside Cuba, and my son would be getting ready to sleep by then. The music was very loud to the point he was scared of the noise (heavy base). Once I cajoled him to watch and plugged his ears with rolled tissue to reduce the sound level.
poor and not interesting. I have been to at least few other resorts where shows and night programs are much more interesting and engaging.
kids eat snacks at different times that those when the Buffet is open. What was available at the 24-café did not come close to a fair choice for such a resort (this is a 5 star resort after all). Sometime only ham and cheese sandwiches were available, and on one occasion I had to wait 15 minutes for it.
Room and Bed:
the room was fine. The twin beds were not comfortable at all. They caved in and I am only 160 lbs. I have slept on much better beds at almost any other place including B&Bs, motels, hotels, other resorts. I would say the beds needed to be replaced, period.
In conclusion, would I go there again, the answer is NO. Would I recommend this resort to others, even qualified recommendation, the answer is NO.
Is this place suitable for some tourists? Perhaps, if they mainly care about the beach and the proximity to the airport and the relatively short flight time from major Canadian cities, and the general architecture of the resort, and not food, activities within the resort, bed comfort, kids' program, and showers.
"We liked are hotel style very Spanish"
KenCanada on Jan 1, 2009 >
1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Jan, 2009 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
92 people found this review helpful
Hi Debbie , we would like to tell people traveling to Caya Coco Cuba & staying at the Blau Colonial Hotel some inside info We just arrived back on Jan 03 /09 after 1 wk at the Blau .The flight was good there & back Air Canada very small seats .
First the room we got the first nite was 2 double beds & really hard to slep on . They let us switch to a nicer room with a queen bed the next day only 2 complaints are the shower & ac only worked at full volume.As for the food , the buffet was ok at nite & lunch menu but the mornings not much selection & the same every day ( no jams or peanut butter). Some of the el a cart rest. we thought where ok food.Darcy & I are not picky eaters at all. The hotel advertised 2 pools , one adult & one family , the adult pool ( the nicer pool) was closed also some of the hotel was also. Conquest / itravel2000 told me that the whole hotel was open , not the case , we where pissed off no swim up bar. The beach was excellent and the ocean was clear & warm temp.The hotel could use a tractor to remove the morning mess left from the ocean ( Trypp hotel did this each moring ).
We liked are hotel style very Spanish also lots of lush tropical flowers surrounding the area I would like to say Blua colonial has the very worst coffee we have tasted .,stay with the cappuccinos .As for the hotel guest we would say 80% french Canadian ,10% English and the rest a mix of Canadians .One thing we both found that the French are very demanding & loud people ( poor Cubans) .I visited the NL Krystal 2004 and think that the food is better prepared ,and more selection In concuslion we would rate this hotel a 3.5 star , not a 5star hotel.