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.
Share your experiences with others. Don't forget to send your review to Debbie by using an easy form.
"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
152 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
158 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
164 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.
"The staff were very friendly and not pushy at all."
MichelleStrathroy on Jan 1, 2009 >
Visited on: Jan, 2009 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
159 people found this review helpful
We left from Toronto Air Canada on Jan 16th returning to Jan 23rd. The flight though we had to change planes was very nice. We found the seats very roomy compared to West Jet (my husband is 6'2). Each person had their own tv making the flight feel very quick
We stayed at the Blau Colonial in Cuba, check in went very quickly, our rooms were also ready early which was very nice. The rooms were large and clean other then our room had a leak in the bathroom. Once we told the front desk they came to fix that day, however by the time they left the one leak was fixed and we had two others. We found this kind of funny and really didn't worry about it as they were not bad. Having said that the rooms were clean, there were several of us after a couple of days, we were all dealing with bites on our legs from the beds. They were extremely itchy and none of us seem to know what they were. Some of the kids had bites on their faces etc. The other couple that went with us had to go to the front desk to ensure their room was cleaned as it was missed 2 days in a row
The staff were very friendly and not pushy at all. We rented a car and went into Moron which was fun. We travelled around the main streets and then went into more of where the people lived. At no time did we feel uncomfortable, we actually would have people on a bike ask us where we were from, once we said Canada they would say follow me and take us to where we were looking for. Never asking for money etc, though we would pay them. We also rented scooters which was a lot of fun as well.
As this was our first trip to Cuba we did not know that mosquitoes can be bad around 6:00pm. There were several of us sitting outside in the bar area when the staff brought out what looked like a large fan. All of a sudden without any warning they shot a fog into the air of what seemed like 100 bottles of bug killer. People went running as they were either eating or drinking. If I had a small child there I can say I would have lost it on the hotel.
I have also called ITravel2000 as we were not told (actually told the opposite) that the large pool was closed so no swim up bar. The pool is not heated and it was cold, not even kids were in it. They are working on a large part of the hotel so the gym was also closed. It was nice just disappointing that this stuff was not as it was sold to us. We will see what ITravel2000 has to say.
The beach was nice and big, and fairly clean. The grounds themselves were also very clean.
The drinks were not great. Each bar tender made the drinks there own way. Only the bar in the hotel had a blender so if you ordered a mixed drink with ice i.e. pina colda outside of that bar you got a watered down drink. As I don't drink beer I found this disappointing.
Having said all that we will defiantly be going back to Cuba, however I can't say I would be rushing back to the Blau Colonial Hotel. I also will be very careful booking through ITravel2000.
"We were treated like long lost friends"
ClarkTrixieBellevilleOntario on Nov 1, 2008 >
1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Nov, 2008 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
151 people found this review helpful
We arrived home at 3:30 this morning from our 5th trip and another great week at the Blau Colonial in Cayo Coco. My wife's sister and her husband joined us again this time. We were treated like long lost friends, with hugs and kisses (where appropriate) from everyone.
A cold front moved in on Monday which meant the winds and waves picked up for the week. It wasn't much different than last November according to the review I posted here on Debbie's. Of course everyone had a blast in the waves and if it was windy on the beach, there was always lots of chairs at the pool, where it was sunny and calm.
There were only about 200 people at the resort so it wasn't very busy. I'm guessing it's the state of the global economy thanks to big oil.
There is lots of painting and general maintenance taking place at the resort. It also looks like the west side will open in 2009 after extensive renovations during the past few years. A beautiful new beach bar, restaurant and aquatics centre has also opened at the west end of the beach property at the Blau.
Hurricane Ike did considerable damage to Cuba and the resorts in Cayo Coco weren't spared. Workers were putting a new thatched roof on the beach restaurant next door at the Tryp and new cabanas were being built on the beach at the NH Crystal.
I'm not sure if we'll get back to Cuba in March like we normally do, as Trixie is packing her medical bag and heading to Uganda to help out at an orphanage for three weeks in February. That trip will put a major dent in the wallet and like the rest of you, the markets are trashing our investments and cash flow too. However, imagine working in Cuba. I was speaking with one of the foremen supervising the crew of painters. He was being paid 20 pesos a week. It was the first time he had seen the ocean and he was extremely up beat and happy to be working!
Safe travels and don't wait until you're too old to stroll the beach hand in hand or play in the waves.
"I'm not sure if I would recommend this resort."
GaryDartmouthNS on May 1, 2008 >
Visited on: May, 2008 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
163 people found this review helpful
I just returned from 2 weeks at the Blau Colonial in Cayo Coco, Cuba.
I'm not sure if I would recommend this resort.
ACCOMODATIONS:- My first room, 2005, is accurately described as a dump. There were too many things wrong to list here. I don't understand why they would put anyone in such a room.
I was moved to another room, 1163, and it was mostly perfect, except for the large red stain on the bedspread. I had to ask them to replace it. They don't replace the soaps or clean the glasses or counter top. But they do replace the towels every day. The toilet paper is like newspaper and there is no privacy in the bathroom. Just a half swinging door separates it from the sleeping area.
GROUNDS:- The grounds very well kept. Free from litter and dead leaves. Lots of flowers and well trimmed.
TIPS:- Important----- CUBAN BANKS DO NOT ACCEPT FOREIGN COINS. So don't take Loonies and Twoonies for tips. You can't even change them at the resort's bank. You can trade foreign paper currency, so take your fives's and ten's to exchange or I could just charge Pesos to my credit card.
Also, it is good to take soaps, nail polish, lip stick, sun glasses, hats, pens, razors, crayons, colouring books,etc. to use as tips. These things are not easily available in Cuba.
FOOD:- I went to each on the A La Carte restaurants once. They don't serve coffee there but they do at the buffet. Strange. Some items on the menu were not available, especially desserts. The food was a little better than the buffet, but the steak was like leather.
The buffet was acceptable. Lots of food and lots of variety but the quality was hit and miss. The beef would be too tough to chew one night and great the next. No peanut butter or jam. The bread was excellent. Red wine excellent. Fresh squeezed orange juice for breakfast.
SIDE TRIPS:- I went on the Spectacular Sugar Express. A tour of Moron and Ciego De Avilla. Well worth the 75 Pesos. An 8 hour tour that takes in an Alligator form, sugar factory, cigar factory, museum and lunch. I had free time in each city and I was not hassled as I walked around.
BEACH:- Great!!! Lots of sand and lounge chairs
SWIMMING POOL:- Very large, excellent but I thought it was a little too warm.
All the workers at the resort seemed genuinely friendly. Perhaps I expected too much from a place that rates itself as 5 star, but it need paint and more attention to detail.
"Never go on holidays during March break!"
ClarkTrixieBellevilleON on Mar 1, 2008 >
1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Mar, 2008 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
144 people found this review helpful
I wrote a review immediately upon returning from our fourth trip to the Blau, 15 – 22 March, but my computer glitched when I went to send it and it disappeared into cyber space. So here I am on a rainy afternoon in July planning our fifth trip to the Blau for November and reading the reviews on Debbie's has prompted me to send my review.
Everyone on our flight was staying at the Blau and we were on the last of the five buses to arrive at the resort. Although there was complaining from some of the guests about the line up, the majority took it in stride, grabbed a drink and made friends in line as we moved along rather nicely. The week prior was March break and of the 700 plus students registered on the Cayo Coco hotel strip, 140 stayed at the Blau. It wouldn’t have mattered if there was no line up when we checked in because the resort staff was swept off their feet trying to clean up the carnage left behind by Canada’s future university grads and subsequently the rooms weren’t ready yet. Jose’ Luise, one of the management staff, thought our room was ready and took us there personally once we’d finished checking in. When we opened the door, there was broken glass everywhere and a trail of blood from the room into the washroom area were the towels had obviously been used for first aid treatment. Jose’ was upset and embarrassed but so was I at the thought of my fellow countrymen obviously too drunk to care. I spoke with a Metropolitan London Police Officer (Bobby) the next day who had spent the first of his two weeks at the resort during the March break. He related a week reminiscent of soccer hooliganism. It commenced when the first bus arrived from the airport and one of the male student was trying to retrieve his luggage but was so intoxicated, he wiped out, hit his head on the curb and had to be medivaced to the hospital in Moron.
Note to self…never go on holidays during March break!
So…room not ready…change into bathing suit in lobby washroom, grab a drink and hit the beach! Yes, we’re on vacation.
As usual our week was fantastic. We were treated like royalty by the many friends we’ve made on our previous trips. I have never seen the ocean anywhere without a wave but that is exactly how it looked at 8:30 a.m. the following morning. The weather all week was unbelievable, the best ever. Although we ate at the specialty restaurnts most nights, we did eat at the buffet two nights and I was very impressed by the layout and the selection which was the best I’ve seen yet.
They’ve upgraded the furniture at the outdoor patio and we enjoyed a special coffee there each evening after dinner, chatting with other guests.
We went to Moron one day to visit a friend’s apartment and toured the city with him, his wife and daughter as well as our taxi driver. We also went to his brother in law’s parent’s farm and had lunch at a popular spot in the countryside.
By the reviews I’ve seen, there are obviously people who have different opinions and/or have hit the resort on an off week. Or maybe I just have a different outlook on life. I’ve spent time in the Middle East, Somalia, and Yugoslavia and have seen the slums of Mexico City and Rio de Janeiro. I work fourteen hour days with a 425 km round trip commute. Although I wouldn’t want to have to walk a mile in a Cuban’s shoes; I appreciate that they walk a mile every day for me and my door is always open for them when they are allowed to travel like free human beings do. Maybe we’ll see you at the Blau in November!
"Good friends with several of the staff."
Jonni08 on Mar 1, 2008 >
Visited on: Mar, 2008 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
155 people found this review helpful
This was our second visit to this resort and this is my second review, the first one being March 2006.
We went back to the Blau because we had such a great time on the first trip and made some really good friends with several of the staff.
Our room was in one of the blocks with an ocean view and as usual it was clean, tidy and served it's purpose. There was some minor chips to the bath and the sealant around the bath could do with replacing, but nothing that spoiled our holiday.
The location of the room meant that we didn't get any sun on the balcony in the afternoon which was disappointing.
A number of people, particularly those staying in the blcok where reception is located, were complaining of having no hot water in our first week. This never effected us and we always had loads of hot water and good pressure.
The food was generally pretty good, there have been some improvements in the buffet since our previous visit. There was a carvery most nights with really good roast meats. Some nights it was just one type other nights it was a selection of different meats, lamb, beef. pork, chicken. The cooked veg selection was also better.
Yes, sometimes there was a shortage of plates and some people got really wound up about it. Just ask the staff and fresh plates will be brought out, it may take 5 or ten minutes before they appear but so what. Chill out, relax and stop stressing, that's what this place is all about and remember you are on Cuban time!!!!
Just one disappointing note for those who have been before. The seafood restaurant is no longer located alongside the lagoon, it is now at the rear of the buffet building. Unfortunately, the atmosphere is not so good and Liber's bar is no more !!!! ;-(. He now works in the lobby bar.
As I have already said Liber's bar is no more and he is now lcoated in the lobby bar. I personally don't think this bar is the greatest idea any one ever had. Too many of the staff use it through the day and this can mean waiting to get served. Although, it is management policy that they DO NOT use this bar, they ignore that rule.
It wasn't 24 hour when we there, only La Placita was open 24 hours. This is the small outside bar located adjacent to the buffet building.
The piano bar was quite good some nights and other nights it was completely dead.
The beach was great as usual. The majority of days it was windy but the breeze stops you from over heating and can create some great waves which are fun for messing around in. Note - this is not a great beach for young children, there can be a bit of an undertow in the water and the waves can get quite rough.
There were jelly fish but we never got stung by them and they weren't really an issue for us.
We didn't really spend anytime around the pool. It was being repainted while we were there and one half was closed for one week and the other half closed the week after.
In the 2nd week of our stay there were less than 150 people at the hotel and in the 3rd week this dropped to just over 100.
The service in the buffet wasn't always as good as it could be and several people did get quite angry and annoyed by slow service, lack of plates, waiting for things to be cooked. Also, the food in some of the restaurants was not up to par on some of the nights we went.
As the hotel was so quiet a lot of the main staff took their 2 week holiday during this time, meaning that a lot of the staff were students and trainees. As we had been before we were able to see past this sort of thing but for those coming for the first time it didn't give the best impression.
We will definitely go again but I don't think we would go at the same time of year. The weather wasn't so predictable, we did have rain and it was overcast on a few days although the coolest day was still 27 in the shade.
The other half of the complex was undergoing major works and it looks likely that this half will reopen in 2008. I suspect that when it does they will close the other half for renovation. I just hope it doesn't take as long, 7 years !!!!
Anyone going to Cuba needs to bear in mind that in world terms this is a Third World country and they have an attitude to life that is a mixture of Carribean and Spanish, very laid back and everything tomorrow !! ;-)
Just go there to relax and unwind and don't expect European or North American - rush rush rush and you will love it.
Brunel on Feb 28, 2008 >
1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Feb, 2008
819 people found this review helpful
I am French and my friend is from Quebec. We spent Valentines Day at this hotel. The biggest surprise was that we were met with champagne. Michel is a very good worker, always around and always attentive. The Italian restaurant and El Dorado (seafoods) are the best. The bartenders are great. In general, the atmosphere is really good. Don’t hesitate to go to this hotel. The excursions to Morón are well worth it. Also worthwhile are trips to Cayo Guillermo and Playa Pilar (buses leave from the hotel) ... sublime. In conclusion: a marvelous stay.
"We decided to go with the VIP package"
RosemaryGeorgetownOntario on Feb 1, 2008 >
1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Feb, 2008
142 people found this review helpful
We have just resturned from a week at the Blau. Flew Skyservice. Very cramped on plane, but friendly staff and a reasonably short flight. No spare seats and many people on the plane were staying at the Blau. No problems at airport and a short ride to the hotel. We decided to go with the VIP package which we would highly recommend. As many people were arriving at the same time, there were long line ups at reception, but plenty of staff and line moved quickly. The VIP line up was not much quicker, but we did get a complimentary drink and nice leather chairs to sit in. (Not obvious where VIP check in is so ask as soon as you get there).
We had a very nice spacious room with a good sized balcony facing the ocean. Could only just see the ocean as a lot of vegation between resort and beach as a wind breaker - which worked amazingly effectively. If you are sharing a room with someone else be prepared for a very open concept bathroom. There were no doors on the bathroom, except for saloon type doors separating the shower and toilet from the vanity area. Also beware of the shower head.
Ours sprayed everywhere and we ended up flooding the bathroom the first time we used it. The room was very clean and the air conditioner worked very well. It was extremely humid and we found nothing dried completely and clothes always felt a little damp.
... and more:
The beach was wonderful. Narrow especially when tide in, but you could walk for miles in either direction.
Water warm and clear and we swam every day in the ocean, and no sign of jelly fish. There was seaweed on the beach but this was cleared, slowly, most days. No lack of shade or chaise lounges and no need to rush down to the beach before day break to secure a chair. The weather was wonderful.
Windy most days on the beach but with the humidity it was very welcome. We only sat around the pool once as we found it too hot, but again there is shade if you need it. The pool is great for young families, but quite noisy and music always playing. Again no lack of chaise lounges at any time of the day. We found the staff very friendly and helpful and everyone spoke enough English that communication no problem. As this is an island there were no hassles on beach from vendors, although some staff will try and give you a hard luck story to try to persuade you to part with a little extra money. The resort was pretty full whle we were there and as such the buffet dining room was definitely not large enough. Quite often not enough plates, ready food or tables, but you learnt to grab a plate and sit at a table before lining up for food. The food in the buffet was very predictable, always the same choice for breakfast and lunch, and you will never go hungry, although we did find most meats overcooked and lacking in flavour.
But we never once suffered with an upset stomach. We had dinner in the Cuban restaurant (twice), italian restaurant and fish restaurant (3 times).
Italian was a bit of a disappointment but Cuban and fish were good.
Overall we felt we had a good deal for the money. The grounds of the hotel were very well kept and we loved hearing the birds singing away first thing in the morning. The bar near the beach was great for a BBQ lunch with a choice of fish (whole), chicken, hamburgers or hotdogs with a choice of salad, potatoes or rice. And all bartenders very generous with the rum, whatever you are drinking.
It was a very relaxing holiday. Not much night life but there were shows put on nightly. Our only real complaint was lack of information as to where everything was and what was available and a very, very slow internet. There are trips available but if you are looking for an exciting adventure filled holiday, then the Blau is not for you. If you want sun, sand, sea and relaxation, the Blau is for you.