Sol Cayo Santa María Reviews

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Sol Cayo Santa María  

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

"Nice vacation"
Posted by: Leon  on Feb 18, 2016
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Sol Cayo Santa María Reviews
Sol Cayo Santa María Pictures and Information
Sol Cayo Santa María Cayo Santa Maria Cuba

#2
of 11 Hotels in Cayo Santa Maria

User rating 4.0

Based on 24 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 24 reviews
Excellent
  11
Very good
  9
Average
  2
Poor
  2
Terrible
  2
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Business (1)
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11 - 20 of 24

" “Still the best on the beach!” "

Sol Cayo Santa María
User Rating:  Sol Cayo Santa María Review: 5.00 of 5

Posted by:  eeeefarm  on Sep 30, 2011  >  12 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Sep, 2011 | Leisure | Solo
439 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 I noticed improvements on this trip, for example, the wooden railings, which had begun to rot, have been replaced by shiny new metal ones.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.

Photos: http://s11.photobucket.com/albums/a179/eeeefarm/SCSM%20September%202011/

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"If you are looking for a place to relax and unwind, then this is the place."

Sol Cayo Santa María
User Rating:  Sol Cayo Santa María Review: 5.00 of 5

Posted by:  Tracy  on Sep 25, 2011  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Sep, 2011 | Leisure | Solo
347 people found this review helpful


I love this place so much that this was my second time there in 3 months. I stayed from Sept 2 to 9th. This little piece of paradise was discovered by my sister in 2009 when we both needed a place to unwind.

Malvia at Guest Services is terrific. I advised her that the safe didn’t work in the room on my second day and 5 minutes later Raymond is there to fix it.
The weather was fantastic , very hot this time of year .Heat lightening every night but only 20 minutes of rain one night at dinner time. The mosquitos were out after dinner, but if you use Lavender oil instead of insect repellent it works better. Others were bitten while I wasn’t.
The beach is absolutely breath taking and is stretched out forever it seems with clear blue water and white sand. Walking early in the morning is perfect for locating shells and watching the crabs run around. I was always greeted with a Hola and a smile on my way back by various staff members. There is never a shortage of chairs to spend the day relaxing and listening to the sound of the ocean. Activities are offered on the beach if you wish to participate. Catamaran’s , paddle boats and kayaks are also available for use.
The grounds are maintained by the gardeners daily. If you happen to run into a smiling Eduardo ask him for a coconut. He will gladly get one right out of the tree for you to drink from. The flowers are spectacular and attract the bees and hummingbirds. The lizzard’s and crabs are a popular attraction with children and the adults around the resort.
The pool was clean and a great place to sit and read or take an afternoon nap.
The rooms were clean, fresh sheets and towels provided daily. The window in the shower makes you feel like you are outside if you have an ocean view. Towel and sheet art is also provided by the maids. I loved the swans. The A/C worked perfectly and so did the ceiling fan. I had to actually turn down the A/C a few times.
There was always a variety of fresh food, pasta’s with your choice of sauce, a variety of meats to be grilled to your liking in the Buffet Restaurant for dinner. I am a very picky eater and managed to gain 5 pounds on this trip. Try the ice cream, if I could bring it home I would. I have never had food poisoning or any other ailments while there.
I can’t say enough about the staff in the buffet restaurant who are always smiling and greet you with a Hola. If you sit in the same section for your meals and get to know and treat them with respect they will treat you the same way. Remember you might be on vacation from your job but they are working and do it well. I was always greeted with hugs and kisses. A lot of tears though on my last day.
The perfect place to meet new friends, meet up with old friends and make memories to last a life time.
A huge GRACIAS to staff – Malvia, Kader, Edy, Brito, Ariante, Eulalia, Raymond, Jorge, Yoel and Eduardo.
Miss you all and hope to return

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"Terriblemente pesima"

Sol Cayo Santa María
User Rating:  Sol Cayo Santa María Review: 1.00 of 5

Posted by:  LIZZANI  on Aug 27, 2011  >  1 contribution(s) United States of America
Visited on: Aug, 2011 | Business | Family and Kids
374 people found this review helpful

El peor hotel que he visitado en mi vida.el ma sucio,el mas pobre,el mas desscuidado,abandonado.las baneras tapadas,aires acondicionados danados,toallas sucias y manchadas.mucha falta d higiene.la piscina mas asquerosa del mundo.la comida mas mala,la poca k aparecia,nunca habia agua para tomar.el servicio era pesimo,empezando por los empleados y terminando por el manager del hotel.gregorio coca.el hombre mas perro,odioso,grosero e inhumano k pueda haber en el mundo.no trata bien,ni a los huespedes del hotel,pero menos a los empleados.es un animal vestido de gay...el hotel se esta cayendo a pedazos y el solo se preocupa en explotar el personal d trabajo,no los deja ni tomar agua.les cobra cada plato k se rompe,cada cuchara k se pierde.ese hotel es la peor porkeria k he visto en mi vida.no hay palabras exactas para describirlo.........nunca se atrevan a visitarlo.es una pesadilla.un daycare sin aire acondicionado,un gym cayendose a pedazos.el dinero mas mal gastado d mi vida. Al gerente para lo k esta bueno es para tirarselo al mar,pak se lo coman los tiburones.

Room Number:
2602

Arrival:
08/21/11

Restaurants and Bars:
4 REST. 3 EN USO.PESIMA LA COMIDA

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
LO MEJORCITO.LA PLAYA.PISCINA SUCIA

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"Would love to return!"

Sol Cayo Santa María
User Rating:  Sol Cayo Santa María Review: 4.00 of 5

Posted by:  gina  on Jul 21, 2011  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Jul, 2011 | Leisure | Family and Kids
379 people found this review helpful

Room Number:
4903/4904

Arrival:
Flight from SunWing was on time - upon arrival,busses were waiting out front for us. Yes, they are air conditionned! If you have time, there are 2 places to exchange money - a currency exchange inside the airport and a bank outside of the airport. Exchange rate was almost at par.

Rooms:
We had requested ocean view, connecting rooms. The rooms are spacious, with 2 balconies and big bathrooms. We received clean towels daily(be sure to put used towels in the bathtub so the staff know that you need fresh ones.)I would NOT pay for ocean view again. We had a lovely view of trees. The front desk offered a different bungalow but unless I stood on the bed, I still could not see the ocean. On a sour note, my son had left his sandals on the balconey one night and they were stolen. Another guest mentionned to me that he had a pair of shorts stolen from his balconey the night before. Both of us reported the incidents to the front desk. I hope that these were isolated incidents from some "prankster" guests.

Restaurants and Bars:
Food was great! We ate at the creole restaurant, the pizza place and the main buffet. Best bet for morning coffee is the lobby bar.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
The beach is postcard perfect, never felt crowded, lots of loungers. The kids preferred the busy pool with the bar - close to the pingpong tables too.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
We booked a catameran excursion for the day. Well worth the 82.00/adult, 49.00/child. The "town" is a 5 minute drive away. It has a few places to buy souveneirs, but it's not a busy market.

Other Comments:
The staff are friendly, smiling and really want to please you. Yes, we did tip, but we tipped because we wanted to. Bring bug spray and after bite.

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"Great experience for our first visit to Cuba! "

Sol Cayo Santa María
User Rating:  Sol Cayo Santa María Review: 4.00 of 5

Posted by:  Dwayne  on Jun 3, 2011  >  2 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Apr, 2011 | Leisure | Family and Kids
334 people found this review helpful

This being my first trip to Cuba I went with an open mind after reading all the reviews. We traveled Apr 22-29 and were pleased with the decision to visit the SCSM, it is a nice, quiet getaway at the right price. We flew with Air Transat, no issues, they provided full meals on the plane (going and coming) so there was no need to buy food at the airport and bring on board. 90mins bus ride to the hotel. Traveling to the hotel the bus rep provided commentary on the passing towns.

The people at the resort give A+ service, everyone we came in contact with (front desk, housekeeping, bartenders, waiters, cooks, tour guides, even groundskeepers) were genuinely helpful, courteous, and willing to please us. We brought items to give to the staff (school supplies, toiletries, clothes, etc) and everyone we gave was very grateful for it. Memorable people; Osvaldo was our waiter in the buffet, amazing service. Yoslan made us crepes every morning and a special pizza the day we left, amazing service. Arnaldo was our bus tour guide to Topes, provided a wealth of knowledge on Cuban history. Ceasar, bartender at the pool bar, makes great drinks and sandwiches. The staff at La Picua, Los Flamencos, the front-desk, and our nature hike guide made our Cuba trip unforgettable and longing to come back.

Room Number:
4507

Rooms:
Stayed in room 4507, 2nd floor. Very spacious, tiled floor with the balcony facing the ocean (was able to wake up to the sunrise). Beds were comfortable and sheet design/art was left by the maid some days. Furnished with bed w/ side tables, a mini fridge (restocked daily w/ bottled water), a television, 2 rocking chairs w/ small table, a writing table, a bench, a self-programmable safe (not bolted down in this room, some rooms have bolted down safe), standing lamp, wall lamps, full size mirror. A/C worked perfectly, had to turn it down or off at times b/c it was too cold. Bathroom has bathtub w/ hand held shower (water pressure was a bit low but always had hot running water), hairdryer, complimentary bag of shampoo/conditioner/soap/show caps. Balcony has 2 chairs w/ small table (mostly used these to dry our wet clothes). 220V electrical plugs (bring adapter/converter). Ceiling fan did not work (wasn’t an issue). Towels were not changed daily (we had to ask the maid for clean ones), and no wash/face cloths are provided.

Restaurants and Bars:
The overall food at the resort was fine. You won’t go hungry and there is something for everyone. Main Buffet (B/fast: 7-10a, lunch: 1-3p, dinner: 7-10p). There is a crepes station, a juice station, and an egg/omelette station. Each morning we had freshly made crepes, omelettes and orange or mango juice. There are a couple of flat grill stations where they cook chicken/beef/pork/fish/seafood for lunch/dinner. They serve juice, beer, wine, and bottled water. Standard international foods in the main buffet. Negative observations about the buffet is the amount of files, they need to keep the doors closed. Also, in the main buffet you sometimes need to search for clean plates/cups as they are not always clean.

2 à la carte restaurant: Los Cocos (Creole rest.) and La Fontanella (Italian rest.). You need to make reservations sooner than later b/c they book up fast. Los Cocos is outdoor and located near the beach. We had the grill chicken and snapper served with rice/squash/cooked veggies. La Fontanella is indoors and has an elegant ambiance. Main courses include spaghetti /pasta with beef or shrimp, lasagne, chicken supreme w/ 3 sauces and mash potatoes, and beef loin. Desserts included ice cream and crepes w/ fruits. We preferred the Italian rest.

“Los Flamencos” (Pizza rest.) is opened for lunch and delicious pizza (plain/mushrooms/Hawaiian/vegetarian/seafood)...one of our fav places to eat. “La Picua” (Grill snack bar) is opened for lunch and is located right on the beach so you don’t have to go far for refills. Try the poutine..you won’t be disappointed. Great staff works at both these locations. Pool Bar has a sandwich station where the grill ham/cheese and tuna sandwich. Ham/cheese taste tasty.

DRINKS/BARS

There are many bars around the resort.. 24hr lobby bar, the pool bar, beach bar, Piano bar, La Picua bar, Pizza rest. bar. The Piano bar has live entertainment (singer & pianist), nice & quiet atmosphere with great drink selection. At any bar ask for the ‘Santa Maria’ and ‘Havana special’. Bring your travel mugs if you love to drink. One thing to note is the bartenders are extremely generous when pouring you alcohol..no skimping here

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
Absolutely, picture perfect, beautiful beach...soft white sand with stunning turquoise ocean. The beach is long and connects to the neighboring resort. The sun keeps the sand nice and hot, feels great to walk on. A lot of loungers and palm umbrellas to relax under. Bring goggles if you want to pick up shells from the ocean floor. There is a bar and a grill/snack bar on the beach. We were not able to take advantage of the Nautical center due to red flag while we were there. Shower area has good water pressure.

Main pool has a lot of loungers and umbrella, no need to get up early to reserve. Lots of shower areas. Pool has a volleyball and basketball net. There are shallow areas and a children’s section. No swim-up bar, but the pool bar is in the center of the main pool.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
There are daily activities from morning til night which are posted on the Activity Club’s wall. Activities include beach and pool volleyball, dance/salsa lessons, games & competition, Spanish lesson, and the nightly shows. We only attended 1 night show which included singing, dancing, and a magician..it was good and the crowd was entertained. There is a tourist town 3-5min drive from the resort (beside the Barcelo CSM), a bus comes by the resort every hour to bring you there (1peso/person). There is a spa, a bowling alley, restaurants and cafes, live entertainment, a tower (you can look over into the BCSM resort), and vendors that sell souvenirs/crafts. Great place to go for items to bring back home, great prices. This area is not included in your all-inclusive package.

We did the Catamaran excursion (7hrs). Perfect hot, sunny, day filled with fun and relaxation. Non-stop drinks from the onboard bar. First we did the interaction with the dolphins; you sit on a small pier with your legs in the water. The dolphins do tricks and you’re able to pet/play/kiss them. Next we did snorkeling for about an hour. We ate lunch which was either lobster or chicken w/ rice & cooked veggies. Final stop was a private beach where you were able to walk/swim the shallow ocean. We had a great time on this trip, a must do. The sun was really hot! Cost p/p: $82 adults/ $49 child.

We also did the Topes Overnight excursion (2days). This trip allowed us to experience the real Cuba; the beautiful mountains, the vast countryside, and a lot of Cuban history. Day 1 involved a 5hr bus ride (with stops) to the town Trinidad. Here we climbed the historic 136 steps (149 feet tall) Iznaga Tower, lunch at El Cubano restaurant, toured downtown Trinidad, visited the Brunet Palace museum, climbed a 100step peak to view the Trinidad valley/mountains, and visited a coffee museum before retiring to our hotel (Los Helechos) in Topes. One negative observation about our hotel room in Topes is that the washroom windows have shutters with no mesh and they do not to shut completely. I had to stuff/jam a towel around it to keep it closed...this was necessary b/c there was a small frog in the washroom.

Day 2 starts with boarding a Russian truck and taking a bumpy ride into the mountains to “Guanayara”. This is the start of a 3hr hike thru the natural park (bring cross-country shoes). Many sights to see and our guide provided knowledgeable info along the way. We went into a large cave, saw the waterfall "El Rocío", took a swim in the river, saw the Cuban national bird, great view of the different mountains, and the hike ended with lunch at La Gallega (chicken/rice/potatoes/veggies). Great experience (at $95pes you won’t be disappointed). Cost p/p: $95 adults/ $72 child.

Other Comments:
Tips: The hotel offers late checkout til 4pm for $25pesos, this was useful b/c the bus to the airport left at 6pm and regular checkout is 12noon.

Take a walk along the beach to the Melia CSM, you can walk the resort and if you’re lucky get something to eat/drink (bring tip $).

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"We will be back next year "

Sol Cayo Santa María
User Rating:  Sol Cayo Santa María Review: 4.00 of 5

Posted by:  Tony and Janis  on May 4, 2011  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: May, 2011 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
232 people found this review helpful

Sol Cayo Santa Maria

April 15th to April 22nd 2011.

Just a short note to say that we thoroughly enjoyed our week at this hotel. My wife and I have been to Cuba on numerous occasions. We have stayed at different resorts including the Sandals in Varadero. And we must say that this resort is the best that we have visited. We will be returning later this year or early next year for a two week stay.
This review is blunt and to the point and as with many resorts not everything is to everyone’s liking. I must say that this place got a 9 out of 10. I have left the only negatives to the end of this review

Arrival:
Arrival : We arrived at the resort late at night after our evening flight from Toronto. We were told that we could get something to eat from the pool bar and also the lobby bar was open for a drink. We had fresh made sandwiches from the pool bar which were excellent.

Orientation meeting with the Nolitours rep: The orientation meeting did not start on time but not a big deal after all we were on vacation. A lot of information is thrown at you in a very short period and the excursions were really pushed by the travel rep. A booklet with all of this information would have been helpful and it’s a lot to digest in on quick session.

Rooms:
Room: The room was immaculate and very spacious. We were on the second floor with a balcony. The room was kept very clean and in a timely fashion everyday.

Restaurants and Bars:
Meals: Every single meal we had and all of the different restaurants were excellent and the servers were all top notch.

Al a cartes Very good, food and service were good. We arrived 10 minutes early for our dinner at the Italian restaurant and were turned away by Vladimir. When we asked if we could just get a drink while we were waiting we were told NO.
Bar areas: All of the staff at the bars were very friendly and professional
Staff The following staff really made an impression on us as being excellent ambassadors for this hotel and the management should be proud of them.
Beach Bar. All three of the female servers friendly and went out of their way
Lobby bar Jorge very professional and made a very good impression on us
Main restaurant Osvaldo very attentive and professional

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
Beach area: Beautiful beach, absolutely pristine, we couldn’t have wished for a better area

Pool area: Very nice lots of loungers available

Grounds: Very well kept by a crew of very hard working groundskeepers.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
We booked the Sunset Cruise on the Catamaran, this was a little disappointing as we were told we were going to cruise down the coastline and see the sunset. We only went around and around a shipwreck. The lobster meal was a little disappointing also but it was an experience. We really wouldn't recommend this excursion.

Other Comments:
Inconveniences
These could be corrected with a little thought and organization from the management.
No late check out available although we were told earlier in the week that we would be able to book this for an additional 25 pesos. So we had to be out of our room by 12 noon even though we weren’t leaving for the airport until 6pm.
No room to take a shower before leaving for our late flight home – So we showered at the side of the pool and got changed in the washroom. After such a great week it seemed as though people checking in were more of a priority than those of us that had just spent the week there and had dropped quite a lot of funds into the local economy.
Feel free to contact us if you'd like us to expand on this review
We would highly recommend this hotel for your next vacation.

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"Beautiful Beach, Great Place for R&R"

Sol Cayo Santa María
User Rating:  Sol Cayo Santa María Review: 4.00 of 5

Posted by:  Joe and Karen  on Dec 3, 2010  >  6 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Nov, 2010 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
278 people found this review helpful

Having been to all other major and quite a few minor tourist areas in Cuba, Cayo Santa Maria was the last but not least on our "Cuban Places to See" bucket list. Looking back on our week, we have to say we came away from our stay at Sol Cayo Santa Maria, very very pleased. It is a small, 300 room, 3-3 1/2 star, well treed, well landscaped, beachfront property, it was initially opened in 2001. All of the rooms are housed in one and two-story buildings, some with ocean view, some not. Because of the heavy vegetation, even if you were in the one-story oceanfront, you wouldn't get a particularly good view of the ocean from most of those, although, some of the two-story buildings may afford that view. Our particular room, number 5805, was on the top floor of a two story four-plex, the building was cocooned in a leafy heavily treed area on the southeast side of the property, close by the Melia. As we were on the second floor we were at tree top level and could if we wanted, enjoy from the comfort of our covered balcony, the warm early morning sunshine, then again, could on occasion, enjoy the hot late afternoon sun from a covered shared area balcony just outside our front door. For us this was, although a little timeworn, an ideal, good-sized, reasonably furnished, comfortable, well maintained room.
We would say the hotel food was, for us, much better than the usual 3-3 1/2 star Cuban food that we have come to know in our travels in Cuba. We enjoyed, our nicely prepared, nicely presented meals, at the buffet, where i have to say we had lots of choice at all meals, however we did enjoy having lunch on a couple of occasions at the rustic "La Picua" beachfront Ranchon. The service at this hotel from housekeeping to bars to meals, was for us, very very good. Only on one occasion were we very disappointed by a buffet servers attitude. The property has an unbelievably good beach with lots of Palapas for shade and a good amount of lounges. We also enjoyed a very nice quiet after lunch snooze on lounges at the shallow pool close by the buffet. With the exception of the à la carte, we took full advantage of all the perks that this property had to offer. I have to say, for our whole week, we weren't wanting for any services in the line of food or drink, all of the staff were very caring, pleasant in manner, and very attentive to our needs. As far as bugs and other critters are concerned, neither one of us had either a mosquito bite or a noseeum bite, that was a first for us on our many travels in Cuba. For the bugs, the property edges were heavily fogged both early morning and late evening, and on one day, several workmen very carefully hand sprayed the undergrowth throughout the property with some type of insecticide, it seemed very effective. We would certainly come back to this hotel again as it was top value for the money we spent. Below, for those who are interested, is a more detailed description of the property.

Arrival:
Arrival And Check-in:. We flew with Air Canada from Toronto to Santa Clara, on a late afternoon, on time, 3 1/2 hour, completely booked flight. Arriving after dark in the small but very efficient Santa Clara Airport, we were quickly hustled to our bus through, friendly and efficient, customs and emigration and security officials. Our luggage was waiting for us and we quickly boarded the bus to the hotel. As it was after dark, the bus trip was really a two-hour nonevent journey, before we knew it we were checking in to the hotel along with a couple of other people, SCSM was the last drop off point for the bus. Checking in was easy and painless and having studied a map of the hotel before we came, we were quickly to our room stowing our luggage.

Rooms:
Our Room: A very nice, simple spacious room, furnished with, a comfortable king bed, two bedside tables with drawers, two rocking chairs, a fridge, a television, writing table with drawers, closet with chest of drawers and quite a few clothes hangers, the closet housed a programmable good-sized safe (security box). We liked the safe as you could program it with your own code, you could house a lot of valuables in the safe. The bathroom was quite large with a very nice vanity with sink, a hair dryer and 110 V/220 V electrical shaver plugs, full bath tub and shower, clear picture window by the bathtub, this window overlooked the surrounding forest, thank goodness for the roll down blinds or, on having my shower, everyone on the pathway would have been entertained every morning, a horror show before breakfast you dont need. LOL. The electric plug receptacles were all 220 V, you may need an adapter and or converter. Our room was a large nicely tiled living space, from the room you could access, through secure sliding doors, a good-sized balcony furnished with two wicker chairs and a table. Reclining on the balcony, on our rocking chairs, catching the very early morning sun, we felt we had gone to heaven.
When you had the balcony doors and your front door open, there was a beautiful cross breeze, this, along with a very quiet efficient ceiling fan, helped to cool the room down as we didn't use our air-conditioning during the day. We only used the air-conditioning when we left to go to dinner and on returning to the room turned it off and used the ceiling fan, our room was comfortable the whole night through. Good housekeeping all week, no shortage of towels, soap, shampoo etc., room meticulously cleaned everyday, including the windows.

Food:
Food:. Through the week we mostly dined at the buffet, the exception being, two occasions at lunch when we dined at the beachfront Ranchon. For us the food at the buffet was a cut above the usual three star Cuban fare, all food in the buffet was nicely prepared and nicely presented. We were very pleased with the variety and the amount of food offered at every meal.
FOR BREAKFAST in the mornings you could get a very delicious cup of Cuban coffee with a beautiful creamy top, this was served to us by our wonderful lady server, who always adorned the creamy top with a chocolate powder happy face, a lovely touch. There was a short order cook who did your eggs any style, he did this in a quick and professional manner. There was, from the different hot tables, lots of other goodies to choose from--- bacon, pancakes, scrambled eggs, sausages, beans, potatoes. In addition there was toast, cheeses, cold meats, some pastries, fruit, yogurt, fruit smoothies, lots of cereal and many other choices. A good breakfast table. Lunch at the buffet, where there were two short order cooks, one of the cooks doing a variety of fresh fish fillets, cooked to your liking, wine was used in the cooking of the fish if you so desired, a nice touch. The other cook looked after, chicken, pork, beef, liver, a good variety. Lots of variety of vegetables and other meat dishes (black bean chili, breaded chicken cutlets, lamb, ham, and breads and a variety of other dishes, differing on a daily basis. There was always a good selection of salads and cold meats, lots of bread, soup was also served. There was also a pasta station, pasta cooked to your specification. For dessert you can have fresh fruit and ice cream available along with lots of different pastries. .
DINNER. The menu for dinner was a mirror image of the lunch menu with an addition of a roast turkey or pork joint carved for you. They served a good quality wine with both lunch and dinner, beer was also available.
RANCHON: The two occasions we had the pleasure of dining at the rustic thatched "La Picua" beachfront Ranchon, we found the food to be quite good. On those occasions we had BBQ chicken brochettes, accompanied with salad and we opted for the poutine style french fries as a side,our lunch was washed down with a nice cold Cervesa, we certainly enjoyed those meals in such a wonderful location with a panoramic view of that white fringed turquoise ocean.

Bars:
Bars:. They had five bars that were operating during our week. The "Patio Bar" by the lobby which we frequented in the late afternoon and evening is a 24-hour bar. The piano bar usually opened around 6 p.m. and closed around 10 p.m. or maybe a little later. There was no music or piano playing at this bar during our stay, it was quite a lovely indoor bar with lots of seating. The pool bar operated from about 09:00 - 18:00. Nice bar serving simple cocktails and beer, they also served toasted sandwiches as snacks. The Cuban Bar "Los Flamencos" down close to the beach was open from about 10 a.m. until 5 p.m., they served pizza from 12:30 p.m. until 3 p.m.. The beachfront "La Picua" Ranchon served simple rum cocktails and beer from about 10 a.m. until 5 p.m., a simple lunch of burgers, hot dogs and chicken brochettes was served here also. We encountered very good service at all bars.

Beach:
The Beach:. Sol Cayo Santa Maria beach is quite beautiful, we were pleasantly surprised about how wide and how long it was. The powdery white soft sand fringing that beautiful turquoise ocean was a stunning sight, looking at this we were sorry that we hadn't visited this beautiful place before. We have been to quite a few beaches in Cuba and this beach would compare with any that we have seen. Maybe we were saving the best for last. Lots of shade, lots of lounges, a nice beach bar, catamarans, paddle boats, sea kayaks. Everything you would want on a beach.

Pool and Grounds:
Pool And Grounds:. What a lovely pool, this pool was sectioned off into four sections. Lots of shower areas. Lots of lounges at all times while we were there, we only seen the odd lounge saved with a towel. We had no problems at any time getting a lounger for to lay in the sun, this we did at some point every day. The pool bar was centered in the pool area but with no swim up bar, access to the bar from the pool area was by a bridge or stairs. Overall a very nice pool set up,also a beautifully maintained and landscaped pool area. The hotel grounds were very well kept with lots of treed walkways, small park bench rest areas, a smattering of tropicals throughout the property, the property is also heavily treed as the hotel is in a natural preserve. A very pretty place,so easy to get around as well.

Small Gripes:
Small Gripes:. In the buildings where we stayed and at many other buildings, the wooden railings on the stairs desperately needs to be replaced, they are unsafe. Please, have some piano music at the piano bar or don't call it the piano bar, the piano bar is one of the facilities that attracted us to book the Sol. Lack of toilet paper in some of the public washrooms, no excuse for that.

Enjoyments:
Enjoyments:. They were many. The service with a smile in all areas of this hotel, good bar service at all open bars, the beautiful walkways, which we strolled every day, all throughout the property. One of the best beaches in Cuba, one of the best vistas of the turquoise ocean and beach from a beachfront Ranchon, lots of beach lounges and shade, good food at the buffet, a lovely pool to relax at, good public relations, our lovely room and balcony. The myriads of trees that cover the property, the landscaping and the many sculptures and potted plants throughout the property, the wonderful quietness of our room area and of course, sunshine, sunshine, sunshine.

Santa Clara Airport:
Santa Clara Airport: It was daylight making our way back to Santa Clara and home to Toronto. Our Air Canada rep on the bus to the airport gave us a running commentary of all of the landmarks and interesting sites that we passed, this was most interesting and he certainly kept us well-informed about the history and flora and fauna of the area. It was like having a tour that was included in your fare. Santa Clara Airport is quite compact but very nice indeed. No problems through customs and with a couple of hours to go before our flight we had a couple of nice Cristal Cervesa at 1.80 CUC each and some sandwiches made at the hotel and before you knew it we were winging our way back, on time, to Toronto. We will definitely be back to Santa Clara and SCSM.

Photos: http://joeandkarentravelphotos.ca/solcayosantamaria/index.html

Videos: http://joeandkarentravelphotos.ca/solcayosantamaria/web11/index.html

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"Upkeep Severely Lacking!"

Sol Cayo Santa María
User Rating:  Sol Cayo Santa María Review: 2.00 of 5

Posted by:  P & C  on Mar 24, 2010  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Mar, 2010 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
278 people found this review helpful

We just returned from a week’s stay at the Sol Cayo Santa Maria & feel compelled to write this review. We also stayed at the Sol in 2006. We highly recommended it to others for its impeccable cleanliness, intimate quaintness, beautiful beach & excellent service. Unfortunately, we can no longer do so. Now, we would be hard pressed to give this resort 3 stars. We were very disappointed to see how much it has declined in 4 years.

Pros::
• Great beach! Soft white sand, not crowded. Very soft sand - makes walking tricky, but can walk for hours
• Small setting – never feel crowded
• Still some great staff who are friendly, polite, & attentive – one particular manager took extra attention to see that things were rectified – she was not able make a significant difference despite her efforts
• Nice piano bar to spend time in evenings – a variety of entertainment
• Great nautical staff! Very friendly. Excellent free catamaran rides.
• Very good Italian restaurant
• Rm 5705 was very private with great view
• Wonderful catamaran day excursion – great snorkelling, very relaxing, friendly & attentive crew, good lunch, interaction with dolphins

Cons::
• Arrived to room where the A/C didn’t work, nor the TV, & there was no water. To give credit to staff, these were dealt with quickly & efficiently. However, extra towels we asked for were not delivered until the next day after another phone call & speaking to the chamber maid personally.
• The water that was supposed to be put in the room daily only arrived without us asking for it 3 out of 7 days.
• A/C broke down a 2nd time.
• Cleanliness of resort a big problem. Rooms had dirty floors, patio doors & window. Actually the windows & floors throughout the resort needed a good cleaning.
• Some towels were very thin, having seen better days.
• The bath mat was never replaced, even when thrown on the floor.
• The counter was only washed after we asked for it to be done.
• The bathtub had rust stains & very old hardware.
• The shower curtain had mould & mildew starting in the hem.
• Painted items (pergolas, railings, lattices, etc.) needed refreshing in a bad way.
• Pool dirty around the edges
• The public washroom areas were disgraceful – no toilet seats, broken door locks, no soap, dirty floors, toilet paper in place of paper towel. A bar employee was observed using the toilet, squeezing a pimple, not washing his hands and walking away.
• Sandwiches made on filthy grills in pool bar.
• Service was hit and miss. While some staff are still excellent, others blatantly ignored us or served us initially & then never checked again. One day, the person who delivered the water to our room helped himself to the 2 pesos left for the chambermaid.
• Food was often lukewarm or cold. Limited selection of food. Certain utensils seemed to be in short supply.

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"Excelllent Value"

Sol Cayo Santa María
User Rating:  Sol Cayo Santa María Review: 4.00 of 5

Posted by:  Marina  on Mar 18, 2010  >  2 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Mar, 2010 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
264 people found this review helpful

Great flight,clear weather the whole flight, seats a little tight, we flew with Skyservice, no complaints, it's only a 3 1/2 hour flight. Everything went smooth and arrival was on time. We were on the busses on our way to Santa Maria in less then an hour.

Your Arrival:
There were only 6 of us going to the Sol Club, check in was quick, we found our rooms got changed and were at the pool bar within 1/2 hour of arriving.

Rooms:
We had a nice room in one of the single buildings close to the beach restaurant walkway, very private balcony surrounded by shrubs, could hear the ocean but not see it from our room.
Room was spacious and clean, as was bathroom, loved the big picture window in the shower. Room safe was included no extra cost. Missed having a coffee maker in the room, but we knew there was none when we booked.

Restaurants and Bars:
Had dinner at the Italian restaurant, we really enjoyed it the food was good. Also ate at the Cuban restaurant, found it excellent, service and food.
Buffet was also very good, lots of choices, one really never has to go hungry.
The lobby bar was the best for drinks, as in being consistant with them, at the pool bar they changed as they changed bartenders, everyone seemed to have a different version and some we not very good. Drinks at the piano bar were also good.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
Pool was very clean but a bit on the fresh side, felt good once you got in. Beach was beautiful, the week before we were there, they must have had a good storm, because the walk way from the beach restaurant to the beach was washed away as was most of the sand on that side, one had to walk more towards the Melia to find the wide beach sand for sitting on loungers.Never had a problem getting a lounge at either the pool or the beach, always lots available.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
Went on the Catamaran tour, was alot of fun, had a beautiful day lots of sun and hot hot hot, which made being on a boat really enjoyable. Fun group of people and nice tour guides made for 6 hours of enjoyment:-)

Other Comments:
All in all we had a great week at the Sol Club Santa Maria, would definitly return, the staff was very friendly, the service was great, very enjoyable week!

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"Comfortable second home!"

Sol Cayo Santa María
User Rating:  Sol Cayo Santa María Review: 4.00 of 5

Posted by:  eeeefarm  on Jan 23, 2010  >  12 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Jan, 2010 | Leisure | Solo
270 people found this review helpful

Female, solo travel, my fifth visit to this resort.

Your Arrival:
I travelled with Air Canada Vacations. Routine evening arrival. Transfer to resort went smoothly. Quick check in and bellboy conveyed my checked luggage to my room almost immediately.

Rooms:
I stayed in 1702, which is in the area I had requested. My fifth visit to this resort, so it really is a "second home" to me. The room was clean and comfortable. My only complaint was that the shower is difficult to adjust to my liking, but I just used it as a hand shower and that was fine.

Restaurants and Bars:
The buffet restaurant had lots of variety and the staff were efficient and helpful. I ate three times at the Italian restaurant and once at the Cuban. Food varied from excellent to adequate, depending on what I ordered. The Italian restaurant overcooked the fish. At the Cuban, it was perfect.

The Piano Bar remains my favourite. Service is always good and I enjoy the entertainment very much. I had Spanish coffee here quite a few times.

Los Flamencos bar was my choice for lunch most days. Great pizza! The service was also very good.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
The beach as always was fabulous. At the moment Sol has the best area of beach....nice and wide, even at high tide. I don't swim in the pools, but they are kept in pristine condition and I like to sit and read beside the quiet, shady pool. The grounds are well kept and they are busy cutting back some of the more exuberant foliage around the habitations. Gives a better view, but less privacy.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
I spent my days beach walking, sailing, and snorkelling. I didn't bother with excursions off the resort. Had a great week with several memorable sails and a couple of very good snorkelling sessions at the west end of the beach in front of the small island

Internet is available during the day. Not fast, but adequate to send a few emails.

Other Comments:
Sol was the first resort I visited in Cuba, and remains my favourite. I return to either Sol or Melia next door every year, and I am never disappointed. The staff are excellent and make me feel welcome. This place is just so comfortable and relaxing, which keeps me coming back. That, and the wonderful beach! I'll be returning next December.

Photos: http://s11.photobucket.com/albums/a179/eeeefarm/Sol%20Cayo%20Santa%20Maria%20December%202009/

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