Sol Cayo Santa María Reviews

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Sol Cayo Santa María  

Cayo Santa Maria, Caiberien, 52610, Villa Clara
(Jardines del Rey)

Posted by: Monica on Jan 18, 2015
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Sol Cayo Santa María Reviews
Sol Cayo Santa María Pictures and Information
Sol Cayo Santa María Cayo Santa Maria Cuba

of 9 Hotels in Cayo Santa Maria

User rating 4.0

Based on 23 reviews

Sol Cayo Santa María Information

This All-Inclusive property overlooks a whiter than white sand beach and blue-green sea.

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Sol Cayo Santa María Reviews

Sol Cayo Santa María Review: 4.0 of 5 23 reviews
Very good
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Sol Cayo Santa María
User Rating:  Sol Cayo Santa María Review: 1.0 of 5

Posted by:  Monica  on Jan 18, 2015  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Jan, 2015 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
85 people found this review helpful

My husband and I spent a week at this resort from Jan 2 2015. We were excited after reading all the reviews that were happy about their stay. But when we got there we were very unhappy. We paid for ocean view V.I.P and got a room that was facing all the brush, the sliding door was not easy to open, the tub was disgusting and the toilet didn't work. The resort wasn't very clean, the staff weren't very friendly and didn't speak much English, the Wi-Fi almost never worked. We were very happy that we did the excursions and rented a scooter so that we didn't have to spend much time at this resort. The beach of this resort also wasn't very nice.

Room Number:

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"Five Star Service"

Sol Cayo Santa María
User Rating:  Sol Cayo Santa María Review: 5.0 of 5

Posted by:  eeeefarm  on Dec 19, 2014  >  12 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Dec, 2014 | Leisure | With friend
95 people found this review helpful

Room Number:

Our rooms were not ready when we arrived, but shortly thereafter. By the time we had walked around to check the location, we received our keys and the Bell Boy transported our bags to the rooms.

My room was exactly where I had hoped to be, in a 2 unit bungalow close to Los Flamencos bar and the westerly walkway to the beach. The maid kept the room in spotless condition. Everything worked, although the water pressure left something to be desired, but it was functional enough. The toilet didn't refill properly if you used the right side flush, as it didn't seal after emptying, but did fine with the left side. A minor detail. It was windy during my stay, and I enjoyed opening the patio door at night and listening to the ocean. The cooling breeze meant that I didn't make use of the A/C, so I can't comment on its effectiveness. (do not open the door too wide, or you will have feline company!)

Restaurants and Bars:
I am giving Sol a five star rating, even though there are certainly improvements to infrastructure that need to be made. What makes this resort stand out from the others is the level of service. This was my eighth visit to this resort since 2003, and I have always found the service to be excellent, but they excelled themselves this trip. An attendant at the public washroom cleaning up between visitors? Unprecedented! At the lobby bar I was invited to go and sit at a table to be served, rather than waiting at the bar. My drink arrived promptly. Buffet service was also excellent, as was that at the other bars and restaurants.

Both a la carte restaurants had good service and food, although one of my companions told me the beef was tough. (the chicken is recommended).

In front of Sol the beach is nice and wide. It becomes a bit washed out at the west side, where the clothing optional beach is located, but for the most part is in excellent shape. We noted that some of the other hotels are lacking much area for their chairs, which at high tide are pretty much in the ocean. This is of course something that can change from day to day according to conditions.

The grounds are attractive and well kept. I didn't use the pools, but they appeared to be clean and in good order.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
Sailing was great all week, with high winds affording an excellent ride. Too rough for snorkelling, which was disappointing, but perfect weather for walking the beach.

Other Comments:
There is a cadeca available for money exchange, very convenient. Wifi is available in the lobby area for 4.50 CUC/hour, and it works reasonably well.

I love the piano bar at night. There was alternately a pianist and a guitar/cello duo. Very relaxing to sit, sip a drink, and enjoy the music.

Quibbles: I wish the piano bar was non smoking. It is unfortunate that one has to endure the smoke to enjoy the music. The cat population is becoming a problem, and I suspect a cull will be carried out soon. I notice that the signs forbidding feeding the animals have vanished from their places outside the restaurants. Cat lovers unwittingly encourage these animals to become nuisances. The lizard and bird population is noticeably decreased. A spay/neuter program and a cat cafe would be an excellent idea!

Kudos to the staff, who make a vacation at this resort such a positive experience. From the front desk to public relations to the maids, the bar staff, the restaurant staff, and everyone else I encountered they were all pleasant, helpful people to deal with. Special thanks to the nautical staff for many memorable sails!

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"extremely nice staff"

Sol Cayo Santa María
User Rating:  Sol Cayo Santa María Review: 5.0 of 5

Posted by:  mcdowell  on Aug 6, 2014  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Jun, 2014 | Leisure | Solo
113 people found this review helpful

Right from the airport, the staff that came to pick us was extremely nice and during the journey back to the resort, I and other guests in the bus were entertained with nice drinks and Cuban songs. When we arrived the resort, I could see other guests already having fun and walking around the compound, I went for check in and the process was rushed and I was sent to my room. The Pina Colada at the bar was so refreshing and sweet, that was the first thing that got me liking the place apart from the service in the bus that brought us to the resort. Most of the staff spoke French which was good because I don’t understand Spanish which would have been the best bet but I understood a little bit of French so communication was easy and some of them even spoke English. They offer lots of tour packages that kept me and others away from our rooms for the most part, my room was solid. It was clean, well designed and the bed was comfortable. I spent a lot of time on the beach so I was hardly in my room. I went on the jeep safari package and it was adventurous, there were so any other adventurous trips and activities they had for the entertainment of the guests. I joined the catamaran trip where we were allowed to play with dolphins. It was a really nice experience for me; I can’t wait to come back.

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"Only a 3 1/2 Star"

Sol Cayo Santa María
User Rating:  Sol Cayo Santa María Review: 3.0 of 5

Posted by:  David  on May 11, 2013  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Apr, 2013 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
210 people found this review helpful

This was our 8th trip to Cuba, but the first to CSM. We always go 4 Star and have always been delighted with the resort we chose.

I always use Debbie’s Carribean to choose my Cuban vacation. I usually dismiss the totally negative reports, as some people are never happy with anything. As regarding Sol, they were actually right. I’ll break down the resort into departments and give you my honest opinions on them.

Cuban Customs were much more investigative than I have experienced in the past. Agents seemed to be selecting people at random from the lines and questioning them before they entered the "booth". My wife was questioned quite extensively, even though this was our 8th trip to Cuba. They are also taking your photo on entry and exit.
Note: On departure, you are now not allowed any liquids, including alchohol on your carry-on baggage, as applies when leaving a North american airport. all liquids must be in checked baggage. Your duty free alchohol is now sealed in a security bag on purchase.

Rooms: Clean enough to start, but in bad repair. The safe was broken when we checked in, and we waited ages for a technician who simply pushed the broken parts together. The air con only had once speed, “blast” so we wanted to use the ceiling fan, which didn’t work. Customer Service told us “they are all broken, we don’t fix them anymore”!
After that we struggled with heavy closet doors which were jammed in their tracks and a TV which flickered on and off the whole time.
It must have been an architect with a sense of humor who designed all of the rooms with a picture window in the bathroom! I rather enjoyed showering looking out at the jungle, but it might have been a bit different in the suites where the windows face the public walkways. Gotta hope that blind doesn’t pop up, Girls!

Housekeeping: Despite the fact we tipped well, it was hit and miss whether the bathroom was cleaned or not. Finally had to leave a note on the mirror to Please Clean the Bathroom, which actually worked. Yes, the towel elephant and swans are cute, but I’d rather have a clean toilet than a towel heart; and why the hell would you use a soiled wet towel to make one in the first place? Yuk!

Restaurants and Bars:
Food: This is where we start to go downhill. I know it is said Cuban food is bland, but in all of our other visits this was not the case. It seemed that any food that was pre-cooked was totally overcooked; vegetables were mushy and meats and fish were usually hard and dry. If you stay with the fresh grill, you will get properly cooked meat and fish. Pasta and Pizza is available freshly made, and fruits are plentiful when in season. We were always able to have a decent meal, but never saw shrimp or crab! Deserts were on the sweet side, with mostly icing and sugary items.
The best part was the Champagne on Ice for morning Mimosa’s and a lunchtime toast!
You may or may not get used to the plentiful Mockingbirds in the Buffet restaurant who freely share the salad and bread bar with the guests, with little apparent intervention from staff.

A La Carte: Sol advertises two of these, but one was closed and under renovations, which we were told by Customer Service would be completed by our second week. It seems Cuban renovations consist of a gutted building with workers sleeping in the shade during the day. Nothing changed in the two weeks. There were two other facilities which could have functioned well as a replacement, but these were not used.
We went to the Italian a La Carte twice, as we couldn’t believe it could be that bad more than once, but it was. Ambiance and service is fine, but the entrees were inedible. The fish we had the first time was so overcooked it was like compressed wood fibre, and the beef the second time was so tough it should have been put through a blender.

Beach: The beach is consistently beautiful in it’s entire length, so use this to pick your location, but not the resort itself. Sand drops quickly at the waterline, so you are very soon in deeper water; if you are not a swimmer you will be staying very close to shore.
There is a “reef” at the far western end, but it is flat and featureless with almost no fish or coral, as it receives the full force of the ocean waves. The only fish I found were a few small reef fish along the rocks at the western end of Sol’s beach. Definitely not a reef-diving destination. However, the Catamaran excursion takes you to an actual reef in more protected waters.
Pool: Large and warm. Cleaned frequently and the tiles didn’t feel slimy underfoot.

Safety: If this resort were in North America it would be and Injury Lawyer’s heaven. Numerous holes to trip in, a rotting plank on the walkway by the Piano bar that my wife (95LBs) almost went through. A heavier person will likely break through for a drop of 3 feet! Missing grids along the pool that someone will eventually fall through and suffer serious injury. Numerous small ledges and steps that are very easy to miss in the dark. You have to watch your feet all the time around this resort.

Grounds: I got the distinct feeling that Sol had been abandoned for about ten years, and had only recently re-opened. Some units are so overgrown with jungle they look like a newly discovered archaeology site. Much of the shrubbery is dead or dying and in very poor condition. The few gardeners I saw spent endless hours raking leaves from patches of grass and sand, while ignoring piles of palm fronds and garbage which sat for days in the public areas.
There are a number of water features and ponds in and around the front lobby; must have been nice in days past, but they are now fetid pools of murky algae and debris. Perhaps one of the gardeners could put on some boots and remove the accumulation of garbage in these ponds which has obviously been there for months if not years. How can management walk past this mess and not have someone assigned to cleaning them out?

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
Take the double decker bus to the Pueblo a la Estrella, where there is a large, clean tourist shopping area to buy the typical Cuban handicrafts and souvenirs. Walk up the "cathedral" tower for a nice view of the island. There are several restaurants and bars there and it it the place the party set go at night for the disco's and bars there.
There is a second Pueblo very close to Sol, the one with the Pirate Ship Bar. It can be reached with an easy walk through the Melia resort next door.

Animacion try and organize games and activities, but their success is dependent upon the number of guests who want to participate.

Staff / Management:
Hotel Staff: The reviews on the staff were very complementary and played a major factor in choosing this hotel. And yes they were great, and we made several very good friends among the servers. But this in itself was not enough.

Management: There Is??? Saw various white shirts walking between offices, but never once saw a manager interacting with the guests. This was totally different from the other resorts we have been at where the managers were very visible and accessible to us. I guess they are tired of complaints and it’s easier to just stay out of sight.

If you stayed with me this far, congratulations, but I really wanted to do a comprehensive report. We had a good time, and enjoyed ourselves; most of these deficiencies could be rectified with very little capital expenditure, simply by better management and allocation of resources. It might even deserve a Four Star rating.

If low cost is your only condition, then go to Sol. But I wish we had spent a bit more money and gone to either of the two Melia resorts right next door. Walk over to them and it is like a portal to another world or lush gardens, flowering shrubs and clean fountains.

We will return to CSM on a future trip, but no way will we go back to Sol!


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"Gorgeous Beach, but the room was lacking"

Sol Cayo Santa María
User Rating:  Sol Cayo Santa María Review: 2.0 of 5

Posted by:  lynn  on Apr 9, 2012  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Mar, 2012 | Leisure | Family and Kids
307 people found this review helpful

We love Cuba and will definitely be returning, but we will not be returning to Sol Cayo Santa Maria. If your sole reason for going to Cuba is for the beach then this is the place to stay, but be warned...the rooms are terrible. The grounds were lovely and the entertainment was lots of fun. The staff are very friendly for the most part...we did have the unfortunate experience of having a grumpy server one morning for breakfast, but aside from him everyone was great. Since we didn't spend a lot of time in the room it wasn't really that big a deal, but this is definitely not a 3 star resort...2 at best.

Room Block:

Good arrival...very efficient

The room was extremely shabby. The lamp shade was torn, the shower nozzle was broken, the bedskirt was filthy. The room needs a complete overhaul even a fresh coat of paint on the walls would be an improvement. The one thing it was though was very clean.

Restaurants and Bars:
It's Cuba...the food wasn't wonderful, but it wasn't awful either.

Absolutely gorgeous.

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"R & R vacation."

Sol Cayo Santa María
User Rating:  Sol Cayo Santa María Review: 5.0 of 5

Posted by:  T.  on Mar 7, 2012  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Feb, 2012 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
301 people found this review helpful

Wonderful although I twisted my foot when visiting the Pueblo; tourist market. Watch out those little steps all over the place. Robert the masseur at resort spotted me limping along and gave my foot treatment. Customer services got me crutches and we were picked up by the golf curt to get to the Italian restaurant that night (the food & service is excellent there & don't forget to tip if you go) All this extra service with no cost (we did tip)!

Room Number:

Good ride from Santa Clara to the resort. Early morning (sun was just rising)and the rooms were not ready of course. We are talking about before 9AM.
Check-in was fast & a waiter greeted us at the check-in desk with tray of drinks. WOW

We got the room before noon because we kept pestering them:) The room was spaces, 1st floor, no ocean view but the view is not a must since we really did not stay there that much. We watched the Academy awards there (Oscars)CTV from Edmonton!
Never met the maid but the room was always done by end of the day & we got new towels if we wanted them.
We saw one large cocroach running like crazy & escaping under the door to outside. These things are to be expected in tropics.

Restaurants and Bars:
No problems with food. We had buffet for breakfast, lovely lunches by the beach 'La Picua' resataurant. The ladies working there are wonderful. WE went to the Italian restaurant twice & loved it. Service and food was great. Don't forget to tip. Saw some people eating a lovely lobster meal & leave without tipping:(
Piano bas was fun addition & yes they did have a piano player every night.

Great, Great, Great. The beach was busy most mornings by 11 & the ocean had fantastic blue hue & often in the afternoon the wind picked up and the white caps were visible but still OK for a dip. Last two days of our stay the ocean was stormier and bigger waves and wind.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
Did a day trip to Santa Clara/Remedius. Good guide. The train ride was fun, the cigar factory something different, Che mausoleum etc. Nice lunch. This is only time you can meet Cubans since the resort is fairly remote not at all like Varadero where you can meet locals because of the town of Varadero.
Here only Cubans are the ones working on the resort.
The Pueblo is built for tourist and oinly Cubans there are the ones selling trinkets. The trip to the Pueblo was unfortunate with my twisted foot. We took a taxi there. It's only 3pesos and the taxies are by the entrance.
The double-decker bus is same price but we didn't feel like waiting for it.

Other Comments:
Our bus left to the airport 1:45AM. It was good to have our room until past mid-night and the checkout was no problem While waiting for the bus to the airport had our last refreshments from the cafe/bar by the entrance. Great service.

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"When you need to get away and unwind...."

Sol Cayo Santa María
User Rating:  Sol Cayo Santa María Review: 4.0 of 5

Posted by:  Barbara  on Nov 25, 2011  >  2 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Nov, 2011 | Leisure | With friend
460 people found this review helpful

Room Number:

Sunwing as always was great - customs was the easiest I've ever done - a nicely-narrated ride to the hotel. We were given our info on the bus, and check in was very quick. We were so glad to be there and have a drink that we missed the golf carts to take us to our room, but be sure to ask for a golf cart if you want to save your energy!

Biggest rooms I've ever been in 14 trips to Cuba, HUGE bathroom, and always kept very clean. Great maid service, although I never met the maid, and the Ancient Cuban Art of Towel Origami is alive and well at SCSM. The bathroom had a strange window placement - the shower wall is a giant glass window - but there is a pull-down blind.

Safe was no charge, TV had many channels in Spanish, English, Chinese, German and of course, CNN.

Restaurants and Bars:
We mostly stuck to the buffet which was quite good. You could have custom omelettes and crepes in the morning, custom cooked beef, pork, chicken, seafood at lunch and dinner, as well as a hot table featuring a roast pork, beef wellington or fish (just one of each per day). Always lots of fresh fruit, a selection of cold cuts, cheeses, olives, guava slices at both lunch and dinner. The staff were very friendly and on the ball - after a day or so, they knew our preferences and our glasses were always filled. We ate at the Italian La Fontanella one night, and it is very good. Another night was the Cuban dinner which is in an outdoor setting, so wear bugspray at night. We liked the lobby bar with its wide selection of drinks (Havana Club 7 Yr Old and Crema de Catalan were my favourites). The Piano bar is beautiful. For lunch, we enjoyed La Picua, the bar/grill at the beach. Great burgers, and grilled fish, and the staff are great. La Picua had the very best cafe con leche I've ever had

Pool even had bar service which was a real surprise - nothing nicer than being brought a Cubata while you lounge in the pool.

Beach is stunning, clean, long, and the colours of the water are breathtaking. Unfortunately, the week we were there it was very rough so we only got one day, and then spent the rest of our time in the round quiet pool. I found the pool to be clean and the water was unheated so it was great to cool down in. Towels are from the Animacion/ping pong area and you have to hand in your "letter" from check in, so they can tally the towels. There is a very shallow kiddie pool on the other side of the pool bar.

Grounds were spectacularly well kept and constantly being trimmed/mowed/improved upon. Elsewhere I had read a negative review about holes in walkways, and those were being repaired daily.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
Did not see much Animacion but would not have noticed anyways, I was there to vegetate and float. Nightly shows until 10:30 pm, and then the music is on until 11:00 (I was near the stage so I heard it), but afterward it is quite quiet. I did not find it to be a huge party resort although really that depends on the guests.

We booked a taxi and did a tour to Santa Clara to see the Che Monument and Mausoleum (which was CLOSED ON MONDAY so be aware of that), then we had a great lunch at Restaurant Buganvila, one block away from the central parque; HUGE meal for about 10 CUC pp, and we could not finish it all. Very clean place, clean bathroom and clean kitchen. They even threw in a free bottle of wine.

We had earlier gone to Las Estrellas, a Disney-fied version of Old Cuba, and I had bought cigars at the LCDH. When in Santa CLara, the LCDH had things for half the price. Punch Minis in a tin were 11.60 at Estrellas and were 4.70 in Santa Clara.

Other Comments:
Be sure to visit Remedios which has a church started in 1555 - very beautiful church and a lovely little town to wander about in. Caibarien is the closet town to CSM, across the 50 km causeway, and that is where most of the staff come from, although some come from Santa Clara as well. Having made the journey in an air-conditioned car, we could only imagine the commute in a worker's bus. Even though it is an all-inclusive, hopefully guests will be motivated to tip for good service (which we had in spades), as they do work long shifts.

Many thanks to Carlos the Sunwing Rep who was very helpful with information about the area, and to all the great staff who always had a friendly Hola!

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"it was great"

Sol Cayo Santa María
User Rating:  Sol Cayo Santa María Review: 4.0 of 5

Posted by:  neil  on Oct 30, 2011  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Oct, 2011 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
317 people found this review helpful

Sunwing flight was on time. Check in through customs in cuba was no problem. The bus ride was great and the road there are really good.Check in at the hotel was fast. The rooms are very clean and the staff totally helpful. We did not do the special dinners because the buffet had everything we wanted.The hotel is a little old but they are cleaning everything up verry nicely. It was a great holiday for my wife and I. We would go back tomorrow.

Room Number:

Room Block:

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"Could be the start of something special!"

Sol Cayo Santa María
User Rating:  Sol Cayo Santa María Review: 3.0 of 5

Posted by:  Bob  on Oct 13, 2011  >  2 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Apr, 2011 | Leisure | Family and Kids
344 people found this review helpful

We enjoyed our selves very much at this resort. Found it to be the right size . Not too big ,not too small.
Food was as good as could be expected The service, as per all the resorts we've stayed at in Cuba, Very good! , A good variety of liquor.
No complaints other than the lack of Palapas on the beach.
We will return!

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" “Still the best on the beach!” "

Sol Cayo Santa María
User Rating:  Sol Cayo Santa María Review: 5.0 of 5

Posted by:  eeeefarm  on Sep 30, 2011  >  12 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Sep, 2011 | Leisure | Solo
363 people found this review helpful

I've been visiting the Sol since 2003, when it was the only hotel on this beach. It is still my favourite, and feels like a home away from home. Over the years the things that bring me back here are the size and "feel" of the hotel......I like smaller resorts, and the layout here makes for an uncrowded, private place. The buildings blend into their surroundings and I love the way they are laid out. The landscape is mature, and everything fits well together. I noticed improvements on this trip, for example, the wooden railings, which had begun to rot, have been replaced by shiny new metal ones. The foliage is being trimmed where necessary. Staff are busy keeping everything neat and tidy.

The staff, as always, were wonderful. I find the service at this hotel is excellent. Everyone is pleasant, welcoming, and attentive. Yes, I know some people from previous visits, but even the staff who were new to me were immediately friendly and helpful. After the first couple of days, I found it difficult to get to my table at the buffet before the server had placed my orange juice and coffee on it for me. At supper if I chose ice cream for dessert, a server had a small spoon at my table before I sat down. This is the kind of service I have come to expect at this hotel, and I was not disappointed on this visit. The food was well presented, plentiful, and offered lots of variety. If you don't feel like the buffet at lunch, you have the options of the beach Ranchon or Los Flamencos bar, where the pizza is great!

Sol is a perfect place to relax and enjoy the fabulous beach. I spend much of my time snorkelling, which is very good going west from Sol right to the end of the beach. I also love to walk and sail. In the evening, the piano bar is a great place to relax with an after dinner drink.

In summary, if you are looking for a relaxing beach vacation, Sol is the perfect spot. I realize this is a rave review, and you may wonder if there is anything I didn't like. Well, yes. The beds are a bit too firm for my taste. I would also prefer a softer pillow.


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