logo Old Reviews - Mercure Club Playa de Oro
Coralia Club Playa de Oro
Helen 
Wainfleet Ontario
November 2008
Arrival and Flight
Air Canada - only coffee and soft drinks served unless you want to pay for anything else

Rooms
Clean to start but service went down as the week went on, our room was flooded out twice from a rain storm and staff did not come to clean up after being told about it twice, and we had lots of non paying guest in our room COCKROACHES AND ANTS

Restaurants
MYSTERY FOOD - when you found something you knew --- ie. Chicken or fish it was always under cooked - raw at times stick with pasta bar and ice cream bar the bread was great if you are a picky eater, but do try other things either you liked it or you did not

Snacks are always hot dogs or hamburgs and fruit that may not be rip at times (according to our standards)

Bars
they don't make drinks consitantly from one bar to the next, all pop is flat,no gingerale or tonic water international brands are only at the lobby bar if you find them, bloody mary made with tomatoe puree, they do know how to pour shots, way to strong, "uno poco" is for small amounts if you don't plan to get hammered in an hour.

Beach and Pools
Beach nice, but if you are a smoker they have no ashtrays for you, only one person working the beach bar, bring your big timmy mug to keep filled up.

Pool always needs cleaning, grout in pool walls is loaded with algea and needs lots of repairs

Grounds
they are trying to fix them up but whole grounds needs lots of repairs

Activities and Entertainment
entertainment is mostly enjoyable, they try
Activities they try

Tours
very expensive and rushed, hire a staff member to take you on tours but be cautous of the there driving. Fast is better

Departure and Check Out
don't put your luggage in storage without tippping the bellhop first before you get it or you are going to have a hard time getting it back. They want tipped now

Conclusion
Don't stay there unless you are willing to freeze your luggage when you get home and spray for COCKROACHES… they have the variety pack of them large one and small in the rooms and all over…. The food is a mystery at first, try small amounts and find some thing you like.. It is an adventure to say the least. Even on the fourth floor our room was flooded by the rain we got and the staff never did clean it up, luggage was held hostage by Bellhop until you tipped him first. Staff in general is friendly, use you manners. You can flag down the tour buses to get you in town and paying the driver a couple of pesso to get you there. This resort needs a masses amount of cleaning and repairs, it is rated as a 4 star but compared to the Domnician it is a 2 star at its best. It was an adventure staying there, pictures and wording just doesn't discribe it clearly. I will go to Cuba again with cautions about where I stay. No map of property given so you are on your own finding things, room numbers don't mean anthing until you figure out the system on your own, Elevator works most of time but don't be fooled by the other two elevators in your building they never worked the whole time we were there. If you can undertand spanish some of the male staff say some pretty raw things about the female you are with.
Coralia Club Playa de Oro
Olga 

September 2008
Rooms........Standard.. you must push beds together for king size bed they promise. No coffee maker, safe doesn't work, MUST throw towels on floor to get new ones.

Grounds..... beatifull like usual in cuba.

Drinks.... if you're looking forward to having nice Strawberry Dackaries or PinaColadas...well don't hold your breath..rarely have slush frozen...it's more like water.

Food,..... Horrible...no variety, no taste. Fruits not even readyto eat...but have been served.

A la Carts.... it goes from bad to worse.. don't need to book, it is really not worth it..trust me.

Beach... beautiful...like usual.

Towels, good luck

Animators.....when around, there not around.

In short, this hotel is a 2 star and no more then that. There were thefts at the hotel from inside the rooms of 12 different guests and nothing was done. There is no security whatsoever. Staff not frindly, if omething is broken, it won't get fixed....trust me. I was tere during Huricane Gustav's arrival and thehotel did nothing to console us or make us aware of what was happening. All the outgoing guests wre told was to sit in the lobby and wait for there bus to go home till 9pm.... and then at that point they were told to go back to there rooms. The flights were canceled well in the day and they didn't bother to do anything about it.

In conclusion, this hotel is for those who just want to go to Cuba and have zero rules... This is the place to party and not get caught.... but if you need to feed the hangover..good luck to yeah because even the breakfast was bad....and i've already been to cuba three times and i know the difference by now. My rating of this hotel is a 4 out of 10... only becuse the grounds were nice and i did as i pleased.
Coralia Club Playa de Oro
Johm 
Toronto, Ontario
April 2008
Arrival and Flight
March 15, 2008. Sunwing

Rooms
Pretty clean, but the doors dont close unless you pull them tight. I realized it when I found the door slightly open and my camera was missing!

Restaurants
Only checked out the buffet. Wasnt bad if you got there within the first hour, after that the food was cold

Bars
Great service, considering how much of a nuisance some tourists can be

Beach and Pools
Clean, beautiful, no complaints there

Grounds
Landscaping was excellent, well taken care of

Activities and Entertainment
Didn't really go for the activities but the entertainment was fun. Nightly shows and the entertainment staff arranged for us to share taxis to get to the clubs.

Tours
Didn't go on any tours

Departure and Check Out
March 22, 2008. Check out was a breeze

Conclusion
Well the reason i'm writing this review is because I have no pictures! I gave my e-mail address to a few people I met but nobody sent me any pictures. I was really hoping to get some pictures of the hotel, the beach, and the entertainment team. I spent more time with them than I spent with the tourists. If anyone can help me out I would greatly appreciate it. My e-mail address is john_rigatti@hotmail.com. Thank you!!
Coralia Club Playa de Oro
Stephanie 
Edm, AB, Canada
February 2008
Arrival - We arrived late, but were still greeted with beer at the airport, 2- $5!! We had a large group of 11 and there was some confusion with the buses but they fit us on anyways. It was a bit of a drive to our hotel, but the guide on the bus told us alot of information and details on how to get on tours. They also gave us alot of information on the country and the island we were on. When we got to the hotel, we all got in quickly and efficiently

Rooms - The rooms were clean and simple. Everything works with a key card. I was there with my Fiance' so we pushed the 2 double beds together. They let us keep it that way until we left. Which was nice! Towels were only taken when left on the floor, which is fine because I'm always up for saving the environment. Our Maid came in around 11 everyday and left a cute note if we left her a tip or a gift.

Restaurants - The food was good, if you aren't used to eating forgien foods be careful with what you choose, it may upset your stomache, but for the most part the food was all good. All cooked, cute and on platters. The al la carte on the beach was our favorite.

Bars - All good, they all serve heavy drinks, so you have to be specific if you want "un Poco" (a little) but the bartenders were all nice and would talk to you if they were slow.

Beach and Pools - The beach was packed! Go early to get a spot. the water was beautiful! the carts with trinkets come around at about 12. You can rent towels from the hotel. Some of the beach chairs were broken (so many people mis-using them) so be choosy. The pool was very well maintained. The staff would tidy up the chairs and garbage, but we never saw them do it, so efficient! they cleaned the pool everyday or 2. They had the swim up bar closed though.

Grounds - Beautiful, we saw some kittens and lizards and some birds, but the grounds were always raked and pruned in the morning. They had "slippery" signs out when it rained.

Activities - There are a few activities, Dancing, aqua size, water polo, but other water sports are extra. The people that held the activities were fun.
We ventured out on Scooters, we went to Varadero, be careful, as you don't have a tour guides. You can take the bus for 5 peso's and it goes around in a big circle, it's a good way to tour the place.

Tours - We went on the Havanah tour and had a great time, we went to new and old havanah and had lunch, its a day trip and you get home quite late, but it was worth it.
The boys went golfing and loved it. But beware you can buy balls cheaper from the staff on the green.

Conclusion - The people are wonderful! All friendly and most speak 2 - 3 languages. English, Spanish and French. They are as courtious as you are to them. Bring gifts for them, as they can't get them there (lotions, aspirin, shampoo, deodarant) they like them better than tips. But if not, tip everywhere, they live off of the tips. I loved being in Cuba and would go back!
Coralia Club Playa de Oro
Anita 
UK
October 2007
what an awful place rooms dirty and uncomfortable
food uncooked and cold
maids light fingered
entertainment rubbish
to far out of town
staff unhelpful
would not go again as put me off going abroad for a long time went celebrate my birthday all I did was cry to come home total waste of our hard earned cash.
Coralia Club Playa de Oro
 
Canada
March 2007
My boyfriend and I just returned from Cuba staying at Coralia Playa De Oro for one week, during 24 Feb-3 Mar 07 flying direct from Halifax Nova Scotia, and we had a good time at this resort. I think that past reviewer's were a bit hard on this place, they seem to expect 5 star quality for little money. For this resort you get what you pay for and as long as you make the best of it it's worth every penny.

SERVICE:
If you're willing to tip a convertible peso or two then the service is excellent. The wait as with anything that is free can be a bit annoying but they will get to you. My one problem with the service is that sometimes the staff was more willing to socialize with their fellow co-workers than serve customers but from what I can tell all of Cuba is like this so be patient. You aren't taken to your room by a bell boy so ask when picking up your card and they will point you in the right direction.

ROOM/GROUNDS:
The complex has the rooms surrounding the pool bar/pool area, they have 5 floors and when using the elevator (nice touch for carrying luggage) keep in mind that if you're in room 2414 (which we were) it is on the right and on the 5th floor. The rooms were kept clean by the maids, sheets changed everyday, floors mopped and everything refilled and exchanged. Each room has a small fridge to keep drinks cool but it isn't stocked. The air conditioner barely kept the room cool so don't expect this to be your escape from the heat. The rooms are not fancy by any means but as everyone else said you're not on vacation to hang in your room.

BEACH/POOL:
We didn't hang out by the pool much because in our opinion you can go to a pool anywhere but you can't find a white sandy beach with beautiful green crystal clear water anytime. The pool was nice cleaned every morning, as expected not so much after people were drinking in or around it all day. The beach was usually crowded but there was always a spot available for your lounging pleasure.

FOOD/DRINKS:
If you are a fussy eater then you may find it difficult to satisfy yourself. There was plenty of fish, chicken, rice, fresh vegetable, fruit and desserts. They have a pasta bar in the evenings as well. You can make reservations (around 0930 each morning) at the two fancier restaurants and you get served with a 3 course meal of about 4-5 choices for each. The drinks were STRONG so when you order if you want to taste the fancier cocktails ask them to cut the alcohol in half, they make everything under the sun. The cups are plastic for anyone not drinking in the lobby bar and even then it was a juice tumbler style glass so as per previous recommendations bring a insulated mug and they will fill it instead. Also, bring some other plastic bottles of your own or buy a bottle from the gift shop and get them filled with water to keep in your fridge or while you're at the beach or on a day trip.

ENTERTAINMENT:
We didn't hit the evening entertainment at 2200 but from 1930-2030 there was a band playing local music in the lobby that everyone gathered to listen and dance to. There were games, Spanish lessons, Kid's club, general things to keep those people busy that wanted it. Plenty of non motorized water sports to choose from.

BEACH VENDORS:
Quite a few vendors on the beach and they would stay parked in an area for some time and you could browse without hassle, each had the typical tourist stuff.

POWER:
220Volts so bring an adapter. Also, the power went out quite a bit but be patient it only out for a few seconds.

NOTES:
Go with a relaxed attitude, be patient, tip when possible, remember you get what you pay for and you will love your vacation to this resort.
Coralia Club Playa de Oro
Katharine 
Canada
March 2007
We went to Cuba on Feb 3-10, 2007, We are a newly married couple and this was our “honeymoon getaway”. This is our first time that we travelled anywhere outside of Canada.

Our first thought when we arrived at Coralia Club Playa de Oro was wow! Overall we would go there again.

The Service
Overall the service was fair. When we first arrived there we were given our key card and pointed in which direction to go. We had no idea where we were going, luckily there was another couple who had been there before check in right before us and they showed up where we were going. When you exit the main building the 1000 series rooms are to your left and the 2000 series are to your right. We stayed in room 1315 on the 4th floor. Our maid was WONDERFUL! We left her little gifts everyday and she did something wonderful to our room.There were alot of French speaking and other languages at this resort, but don’t let this stop you from going, most of them understand English, you just have to be patient and speak slow. At the bar sometimes we waited sometimes we didn’t. We usually got a few drinks at atime so we did not have to keep getting up. That really works.

The Room/Grounds
The Room was really clean and was cleaned everyday. The grounds were really great there were always people working on them. The public bathrooms were the only thing that were unclean.

The Beach/Pool
It was beautiful and well taken care of. It seemed to go on forever! Sometimes it was hard to get a chair so be there early or late afternoon if you want one. Just a note to parents with younger children: there were topless sunbathers just keep this into consideration. The pool was huge and very clean. It was good for younger children to swim in it is shallow at one end. The big thing about the pool we disliked is the “animation” team (which promotes activities at the resort) would bother us to participate in activities although we said no.

You can pay 10 peso when you arrive for all the beach towels that you want throughout the week. I did not like this, as a couple people has theirs stolen. They will not give you another towel without the old one being returned. They were also out their money. We just took our own towels.

Food
Well were are not picky eaters but we did not really enjoy the food. It was so bland and just way different from ours! There was alot to pick form at the buffet though. I believe they cook with olive oil which may not agree with some bellies. I got sick around the 3&4th day. My husband was not sick at all. Advice not to be taken lightly: TAKE IMMOUDIUM with you, you will be thankful! We are coffee drinkers and really did not like the coffee at the buffet, go to the bar if you want better coffee. We always left a peso tip for our waiter/waitress.

The entertainment
It was okay, they try very hard, but we never really paid attention to it.

Handicap Access
The resort is very accessible for those who are physically challenged and those with children in strollers.

Beach Vendors
There were relatively few vendors on the beach, they walked along the beach

Power
If you need to take anything to plug in there take power converters for 220v.

Smokers:
You can smoke anywhere in Cuba and the resort and cigarettes are very cheap.

Notes:
If you have old clothes that you do not want bring them and give then to the workers they will be VERY thankful.

Bring, bug repellent, face cloths as there are none there, snacks for yourself like skittles, chips etc.

Overall we had a good time and would go back. Email me with any questions kjnauss@yahoo.ca. Please put "cuba" as the subject so i do not delete it!
Coralia Club Playa de Oro
My Travels 

January 2007
Great Weather, Great Beach

We are just back from Coralia Club Playa De Oro where we spent seven nice days (Jan 5th to the 12th 2007).

This is our 8th trip to the Caribbean (Cuba & Dominican Republic) and comments are relative to other resorts where we have stayed.

The Service
The hotel was almost at capacity while we were there and the maid service was good, grounds were clean and manicured, there were the usual lines at the bars, check-in and out were relatively painless but slow, and communication (English) was usually a problem when talking to the front desk.

On check-in you are given your key-card and a room number and pointed towards the door, no porters, no instructions as to which building, no map, you are left to fend for yourself. Room numbers are 4 digits, the first digit indicates the building number: number 1 is the building on the left and number 2 is the right building. Don’t be fooled by the next 3 digits … series 200 is the 3rd floor 300 is the 4th floor. So room 1209 is the building on the left on the 3rd floor.

Bartenders seem to ignore you until they felt you have waited long enough and then they would serve you, they seemed to feel it was more important to talk with their co-workers and show them pictures than serve the clientele.

Food
When it comes to food I am easily pleased and eat almost anything … but not at this resort. The food at the Playa de Oro is by far the worst we have ever experienced. Yes, you could always find something to eat but it was not always something you cared to eat. The food is generally not labeled, so often you were left guessing. Bread was always a safe bet. Both taste and variety was lacking.

The beach a-la-carte restaurant was probably the best meal we had at the resort. The lobby a-la-carte restaurant may as well not have had a menu as the main course nor the dessert we requested were available.

Dress code is not adhered to at the a-la-cart restaurants, cut-off blue jeans and sleeveless shirts were the attire chosen by about a quarter of the patrons.

The Beach
The beach was incredible … beautiful soft sand that stretches for ever. It was cleaned each morning and very little debris and ocean plant life could be found. You can walk for miles in each direction.

Mosquitoes
During the seven day stay we noticed some mosquitoes (10-20) mostly during the early morning hours and later in the day. It might be wise to ensure your shots are up to-date as I was bitten a few times.

Handicap Access
The resort is very accessible for those who are physically challenged and those with children in strollers. Ramp access is available to all buildings and elevators make getting around very easy.

Coffee
We brought a one-cup coffee maker which never got used, coffee is available from 7:30 AM at the buffet and you can get coffee at the bar anytime.

Note: Coffee in the buffet is made in a quasi vending machine. If you would like good coffee, before you go into the buffet (before breakfast, lunch or dinner) stop at the bar and have them make your coffee there and bring it in with you.

The Pool
There only one pool that was cleaned each morning. There was no quiet pool, which we are accustomed to, to get away from the loud music and activities. There is no swim-up bar.

Clientele
The guests there were predominantly Canadian (70%) about ½ English speaking and ½ French speaking with the balance consisting of overseas patrons representing Britain, Germany, Russia etc. For the 2nd week in January there were an unusual number of students at the resort. The demographic of 45 – 55 years was not as well represented as we have been accustomed to.

Nightly Entertainment
You have probably read it all before … but they do try hard.

Beach Vendors
There were relatively few vendors on the beach and rarely approached the sun worshipers, they walked through the people and if you show some interest they would show you their wares.

Cleanliness of Resort
I have to agree with so many before, the rooms and hallways were kept clean. Rooms were cleaned and mopped each day. The washroom in the public / common areas could have been far cleaner and better maintained (plugged sinks, no toilet seats, urinals and toilets with signs indicating they were out of service, which were there for days on end).

Lounges & Umbrellas – Lounges & Beach Huts
Remember the resort was at 100% capacity so in order to get a choice place for the day you had to be out there with your towel at 7:15 AM and even at that you will not be first to reserve your spot. By 10:00 AM patrons were searching the beach to find a chair to use. The pool area seemed less congested and chairs were more readily available.

The Rooms
The resort was built in 1999 and is very modern in design. Remember you don’t spend a lot of your time in your room. The room was dated, but everything was functional and in good working order. The beds were comfortable and there was a fridge but it was not stocked, bring plastic bottles for water or buy it at the store, you can get them refilled at any bar or the buffet. I found that there was sufficient closet space but it lacked in drawer space. They have king size beds. There was no musty smell at all and we were prepared, thanks to other reviews, with a candle that never got used.

Exercise Room
The exercise room was closed while we were there.

Diabetics
Should you be diabetic, bring your own sweetener as there are neither sweeteners nor sugar-free soft drinks to be found.

General Layout
I found the resort well planned out. Everything revolved around the pool in the center of the resort. Hotel lobby and buffet to the south, beach to the north and the rooms were east and west of the pool. It was very compact, with good open space and yet nothing was very far to walk to. We have been on resorts where it seems you spend a good part of the day walking.

Snacks
If you are one that likes chips (crisps Brit.) or chocolate bars I would suggest you bring them along with you.

Power
The electrical outlets are 220 volt power so if you have need for electricity (battery charges, computers, coffee machines) you will need an electrical converter and possibly an adapter. The official description, should you go shopping for the adapter is “CEE 7/16 Class II Europlug” sometimes referred to as “Type C round pin”.

Things You Might Consider Bringing  Large thermal mugs: cups and glasses are small and the mugs can be used for coffee in the morning, beer in the afternoon and drinks in the evening. My Tim Horton’s mug holds three of their cups and the bartenders think nothing of filling it with beer or Pina Coladas.
Cord for a clothes line: In the humidity you are always looking for somewhere to hang clothes to dry, a “Dollar Store” ¼ inch cotton line comes in handy
Umbrella: We brought it, didn’t use it but in the past it was nice to have.
If you are a person who likes your wash cloths bring them along as Cubans do not use them and there are none in the room.

Excursions

Catamaran
Cruise on a catamaran to an island where you go snorkeling.

Jungle Tour
Drive a jeep through the jungle.

Havana City Tour
A 2 hour bus ride gets you a day in Havana, well worth the time and money.

Dolphins Show
A 30 - 45 minute show and afterward you get to swim with the dolphins.

Summary
The beach was great and goes on for ever.

Would I stay there again? Not likely, I think you can get better value for your dollar at other resorts in Varadero.

If you have any questions, due not hesitate to contact me at MyTravels@rogers.com and put “Playa de Oro” in the subject.
Coralia Club Playa de Oro
Jenni 
Canada
July 2006
We went to Coralia club playa de oro, cuba on april.23rd 2006 with my parents my in laws and my brother and sister in law. My boyfriend and I don't think we'll go back to Cuba. I mean the price is right but the poverty and the housing was enough to turn us off of the island. The food was not great, I mostly eat hard boiled eggs and some fish for protien, and bread the bread was hit or miss on freashness. The beer was good thats all I drank and my boyfriend enjoyed the dark rum, although now that we have our captain morgan again we couldn't switch back, our souvinier rum is just that, a souvinier, (no need to stock up).The accomadations we ok, having never been to cuba before, its hard to compare with other accomadations, hard bed, a few bugs, but mostly a clean place to lie your head. (Nothing like your own home) The restaraunt by the beach ala carte was not good, I left and ate up at the buffet halfway through. The other ala carte was ok (in by the lobby). Do not eat the hotdogs by the pool! They were the farthest thing from a hotdog there is! and my stomache felt that right away. None of us got sick at all, maybe a little indigestion from the hotdog and a little hung over but that was ok. The pool was greta the ocean was amazing, we walked for ever on the beach and realized we definatly had the best beach on our strip. Lots of fine white sand, no shells or rocks or seaweed. Just lots of beautiful blue crystal clear water and sand. Nice huts for some shade and plenty or lounge chairs. The shade is what you fight for, go down early and put your towel down its like a code there. We noticed there were a lot of french canadians and they were there for a good time, which is all good except if you weren't there to party or share your shade under a hut! they were a little in our personal space. over all the resort staff was not what we were used to they weren't too friendly and I can't blame them their country is very unfair to them. Some characters stood out Franco in the buffet hall, a young guy, and of course Neto at the lounge bar. Besides them most were not happy to be there. Not exactlt the best costumer service but our standards of things are much different then theirs. The trip from the airport to the resort was enough to make you realize where you were. We took the jeep safari and it was a good time, but our jeep broke, they switched us reluctantly and then our next jeep broke and some others broke too! But it was a fun day of snorkleing and a boat ride and visiting a ranch, that was a nice break from the routine of lying on the beach and eating. We took the padal boats out at the beach that was fun and free. As far as tipping goes, they expect it and I didn't know that ahead of time. So I relied on my parents for that, thanks guys! The nightly entertainment wasn't great except for the synchronized swimming, that was cool. So in conclusion, If you want to go for a cheap trip and just lay on the beach and you aren't a fussy eater, this is your spot. I had a great time, lots of laughs and memories, but that was mostly due to the company. We won't be going back to Cuba anytime soon anyway. I give the resort a 3/5 and I give Cuba a 1.5/5 not the country for my taste.
Coralia Club Playa de Oro
Sheri & Peter 
Canada
May 2006
We went to this resort as a group of 12 and everyone of us loved it.
We checked in late at night, everything went smooth and quick, they had a boxed lunch of 2 sandwiches, banana and a bottle of water waiting for us. Friendly staff.

Restaurants:
Always found lots to eat at every meal in the buffet. Never had a problem with service, everyone was polite to the workers and you got the same respect back. Every night had a different theme. Asian night was very good. They had loads of croissants every morning for breakfast - yummy. We had a couple of really picky eaters with us, including myself, and we were never hungry. I stayed at the Tryp Peninsula last year, which is a 5 star, and I found the food to be better at this resort. You do have to remember you are in Cuba.

A la carte by beach - can't remember the name.
They had lunch everyday at noon. Food wasn't bad. Always had fresh salad stuff available. We ate here one night and food was ok, but a couple of us got chewed up pretty bad from mosquitos, but I forgot to take bug spray with me down there.

Varadero a la carte restaurant in lobby:
This place was great. Food was good, we probably liked it in the buffet better, but the service was awesome. We sat in Yvone's (spelling ??) section and he was great. He sat us by the piano and there was a guy playing it so we would sing along. When they had the table available a couple of different nights they came out to the lobby and found us and invited us back in to eat - we got to eat there 3 times! When all the tables were empty the whole gang would come up and join us in singing and having a good time. I took them all a treat of chocolates one night and one guy gave me presents back as a thank you.
These people appreciate everything, even the smallest things we take for granted.

Rooms: Ours was kind of small, but clean. Who goes away to stay in their rooms all the time anyway? Maid was nice and did our beds up every day doing different things with towels.

Bar service: Nothing to complain about, if you just wait your turn patiently and don't be rude they willl get to you, they are not going to run out of booze before you get there. Some people act like they are going to run out before they get to them. I took little treats to them as well and was well looked after. You don't always have to give money, little gifts do the job.

The beach is beautiful - no rocks or grass, just beautiful sand and water. There are vendors that come down the beach everyday with goods to sell and they have just as good prices as the market.

We exchanged our money at the hotel, no problems. Some of our group opted to do it at the bank, like the Signature rep told them to - not a great idea - 45 minute wait and it was the same rate as the hotel!

Jeep Safari / speed boat tour: We did this and had a great time. You get to drive the jeeps, with 4 people to a jeep and go to a ranch where you have lunch - not bad food. You can go horseback riding or ride a bull. A couple came with a baby croc, snake and a rat you could have your picture taken with. Did that, you hold the croc, they put the snake around your neck and the rat on your head. You take your own pictures if you want, they just have a tip dish sitting there. You leave the ranch on the speed boats and go down the river to another place where you exchange into more jeeps and go off to the caves where you can rent snorkling gear and swim. It is fresh water and my boyfriend rented the snorkeling gear, but of course, didn't see any fish because if there are any there the tonnes of people would scare them away. Then you hop back into the jeeps and go to your starting point where a bus picks you up and takes you back to the hotel. We enjoyed this very much.

Scooters: We also did this and enjoyed it. Just have to use common sense and be alert and you shouldn't have any problems.

To wrap things up we all had a great time, enjoyed the food and service and none of us could understand the bad reviews we had read, but everyone has their own opinions. I would go back and stay here again.
Coralia Club Playa de Oro
GH 
Nova Scotia, Canada
April 2006
We went to The Coralia Club Playa de Oro for a week 16-23 April 2006. Enjoyed the stay and had a great time. We were three people in our group and had no issues with any of the staff.

Because I read some other reviews before my vacation, I was expecting to have some problems with the staff. The only problems I experienced at the resort were due to other guests.

For instance, while at the reception desk waiting to talk to our GoTravelDirect Rep on our first day, another guest walked up to the group and butted in line. This person proceeded to complain about their room, wanted to change their room to another upgraded room and demanded attention immediately. This put the Rep in a difficult situation in front of a lot of other people. On another occasion I was at the bar when a large group of guests (who were there together), came to the bar at the same time and overwhelmed the two bartenders. They wanted immediate service, were rude and impatient with the bar staff and didn't leave a tip for their efforts. At the pool bar restaurant, another large group of guests pushed past the line and swarmed the snack bar, overwhelming the staff. They were spoken to by some of the other guests and the situation was resolved. None of these problems were the fault of the staff.

Front Desk Staff - Very helpful. We had no problems, especially with the money exchange or room re-assignment.

Bar Staff - Great, No problems. Enjoyed the Lobby Bar mostly. Marie, Nito and Pipi were great.

Food - The fresh fruit was not as good as we had expected but the rest of the food was great and lots of it. We had a table server for our evening meals that would hold a table for us every night. Sometimes she would hang a shirt or jacket on the chair to make sure our table was clear when we arrived at 7:30. She was prompt and efficient and always had a nice cold bottle of wine on ice and a great smile waiting for us.

Rooms - We had a huge room, wicker couch, chair, table and chair set and King Size bed. Great view of the pool deck area, and a room safe that operates with the electronic room key card. Much better than having a metal key to deal with.

Disco, no comment, didn't go. Loud music and rude, drunk guests, not my thing.

Suggestions for others planning to visit this resort.
- Most of the staff are very busy, give them a break, treat them with a bit of respect, after all they make a fraction of your wages.
- Language "May" be an issue, you are going to be in a Spanish speaking country.
- A couple of pesos for a week of good service is a good deal. Most people spend $5.00 a day on coffee.
- Have a bit of patience, you should be on vacation to relax.

My bottom line - We got a SUPER deal on our vacation, had a great experience, and would go back again in a heartbeat. Since I am from Atlantic Canada, I know how much it would cost for me to spend a week on vacation anywhere in Canada. Air fare alone to Toronto is almost half what I spent for a week in Cuba. Considering that, I was very pleased with our choice. The weather was super and we had a great time.
Coralia Club Playa de Oro
Barbara 
Canada
April 2006
If your English speaking - don't go to this resort - pick any other resort in Varadero. I wish I had. If you don't speak French or Spanish, your out of luck at this resort.

Staff ( excluding housekeeping)
The bar staff and reception staff are the absolute worst I have ever come across in all my travels. I've been to Puerto Plata, Punta Cana, Mayan Riviera & Cuba in the past and have never experienced such rudeness in all my travels. I am absolutely stunned at how terrible the staff are at this resort. They are rude and get away with it. I spent my entire week being very frustrated and ticked off. I can't tell you how many times I had to walk away from a staff member who was rude to me. I can't stress enough - stay away from this resort. Because of the rudeness of this staff I came back from my vacation feeling exhausted from trying to get them to cooperate and they just would not accomodate any request I had. The answer was always a rude "no". It was the most frustrating vacation I have ever had. If I could get my money back I would but of course I know better. Again - stay as far away from this resort as you can.

Drinks - someone needs to show these yahoo's how to make a drink. If your a non drinker and don't care for fancy drinks you'll be ok. The drinks are the worst. I actually went up the beach to Beaches Varadero in hunt of a strawberry daquari and found it - I enjoyed my visit to that resort but unfortunately had to return to the Coralia.

Disco - rude, rude staff again and even worse drinks.

The good
This resort does have some good to offer such as a beautiful beach but hard, hard plastic lounge chairs that will kill your back.
The housekeeping staff were friendly and kept the room clean
The food was ok - to be expected in Cuba but it was better than I expected. You won't go hungry

This resort needs some up keep - it looks like whenever something broke they just didn't bother fixing it.

Bottom Line - stay away. We were a large group travelling together and everyone of us agreed - this resort was the worst ever!!!
Spend your hard earned money somewhere else were the staff are friendly and make your trip enjoyable.
The staff absolutely ruin this resort. I could get past all the other stuff but the staff.... no way - they need to learn how to treat customers.
Coralia Club Playa de Oro
Mike 

April 2006
I have been 2 times Playa De Oro in 2002 and 2005 with my wife.

Good things about this place: It is clean, Rooms are excellent and well kept, good food, decent entertainment. There are two very bad things at this hotel: Stuff and disco.

Stuff are not friendly at all. Even if you tip, they don't care. Sometimes they will just talk to each other and completely ignore you, while you are waiting 20 or more minutes for their attention at the bar.

Disco - you can forget about it. Just think as there is no disco n this hotel. It is dirty, DJ is very bad, and it closes at 1:00am, although it is supposed to close at 3am So both times I was there, disco was always empty.

Overall it is a good place to go if you can deal with those two problems. I would go there again if I would have a cheap offer. But if I would need to choose between this place and some other for the same price I would certainly avoid it. Because a four star hotel that has employees who do not possess any basic customer service skills is a very depressing place.
Coralia Club Playa de Oro
B&L 
Bedford, NS
April 2006
My husband and I traveled April 2 - 16, 2006

Positives:
The resort was teaming with new visitors upon arrival, but the staff were efficient at check-in.

The room was spotless, a little dated, but the maid services was top notch throughout our 2 week stay. We had a lovely view of the ocean.

The resort is compact and it takes little time to travel from your room to beach, pool or buffet area. Quiet at night.

The beach is gorgeous & Miguel makes a delicious banana punch. You can walk for hours along the beach, remember your flip flops for the areas with sharp rock at the points.

We always found something that we enjoyed eating at either the buffet or the beach restaurant. The a la carte's book quickly and were not as good as the buffet. There are always a few "mystery meat" concoctions, but the pasta bar was great.

The entertainment at the resort is good. The dancers are very talented. The band that plays at lunch & before dinner are excellent. The comedy show (in 4 languages believe it or not) was hilarious.

Takes small gifts instead of tip money - the staff really appreciate it.

The concierge staff that look after luggage on your last day are extremely organized and you can leave your bags and have access to them throughout the day.

We enjoyed the Catamaran & Havana with Tropicana tours.

Negatives:
95% of guests smoke - everywhere. Cigarette butts litter the beach. Ashes on everything, in every common area. Even on the pool deck is littered with butts by day's end. The pool deck is a little old & every hole was filled with cigarette butts.

Some staff are simply not hospitable. You can be friendly or not, you can tip or not - it made NO difference in the lobby bar. 25 minutes to get a coffee was not unusual in the morning. The staff would talk amongst themselves and ignore guests.

NO swim up bar... stools, counter, but no service.

If you do not speak French or Spanish, I would not recommend this resort. Most of the staff speak French & Spanish and little or no English.

The gym is a myth - closed most of our stay. Take your runners & a yoga mat if you want to workout.

The disco is disgusting. FILTHY, sticky tables, glasses from several days litter the background. Nasty.

The "Hospitality" suite offered to departing guests on the last day is disorganized - no list to book times you simply have to wait in the lobby area until a space becomes available. Keep a towel from your room... no towels... floor had in 8 or 10 soaked beach towels laid out to walk on (all soaked and dirty) ... no hairdryer... and we were only the 2nd group to use the room.

The bugs, "jiggers", seem to come from the pool area. These tiny bugs leave a huge welt with a blister like center - taking approximately 7 to 8 days to heal. Extremely itchy - not deterred by "DEET". I was covered in bites - my husband had only a few. No problem with sand fleas. Lots of mosquitoes - especially in the lobby area at night.

Overall a good vacation for the $ but it is unlikely that we would visit Playa de Oro resort again.
Coralia Club Playa de Oro
E. Z  
Nova Scotia, Canada
April 2006
FLIGHT : Myself and 2 other ladies booked our vacation through GoTravel Direct and travelled Zoom airlines. The flight was made quite pleasant, by the friendly attendants and there was an added pleasure of an onboard movie provided. Prepare for a 11/2 - 2 hr. wait at the Cuban airport.

ARRIVAL : Check-in at the resort was fast and before you knew it, you were already settling in at your room. The pictures online of the rooms are quite outdated. My room was actually missing the closet doors, but that was no big deal. There is a fridge, but empty. Bring a water bottle to fill with water at the "lobby" bar or purchase bottled water at the gift shop for 2 pesos.

FOOD : No need to comment on the food. Anyone who has even started to read the reviews, knows the food is questionable. One thing everyone will agree on and that is, you will never go hungry. The variety is plentiful. The drinks were strongly mixed, as they always seem to be at any Caribbean resort.

ENTERTAINMENT : The animation team were friendly and the shows were creative. The dancers were extremely talented. There were the usual dance lessons and exercise classes offeredas well.

SHOPPING : You can take a taxi into the town of Varadero, but the double decker bus is the best way to travel. For 5 pesos you get a ticket, which enables you to ride the bus all day as often as you like. The prices were amazing, for the quality of the goods.

BEACH : Hidden in the beauty of the light blue waters and the white sands, lay the only threat to an enjoyable vacation "SAND FLEAS". I can`t say it enough, bring bug spray ! Every second person you met on the resort had bites apon them. We`re not talking about a couple little ones, but averaging 50 bites on themselves. Some even had bad reactions and had swollen and blistered. I had used my bug spray and only got a couple bites, which caused me little concern.

EXCURSIONS : We booked early in the week for the Catamaran tour. At the end of the week we were informed they over booked. They gave us another option of a similar tour, also on a catamaran. The only disappointment was it didn`t include the "swim with the dolphins". They also offered a video tape for 20 pesos, which was recorded through-out the trip. I purchased a copy, but was somewhat let down. It wasn`t as long as they had told us it would be and the dolphn show that was suppose to be included, was non existent.

FELLOW TOURISTS : The resort was mainly made up of french speaking visitors. You always seem to find the odd ignorant person there, but you try and not let them effect your vacation. Some just need to learn the definition of respect. I did manage to find some people from near my home town and we shared a view memorable moments in the Caribbean atmosphere.

LEAVING CUBA : Don`t forget your 25 pesos to get out of the country. It took us about 11/2 hr. to leave the airport, partly due to a broken luggage belt. I may never return to Cuba because of the sand flea issue, but I would love to just for the shopping experience in itself.

I`d be more then happy to answer any additional concerns that someone might have about their stay at this resort
nancysarty@eastlink.ca
Coralia Club Playa de Oro
Karen & David  
Nova Scotia, Canada
April 2006
We booked our trip through Flight Centre, very helpful staff and would book through them again. Our flight was a charter provided by Sky Service. Departing Halifax, our flight was 4 hours late; this delay in departure time was not indicated on Sky Service's automated departures & arrivals 1-800#; we could have saved a few hours waiting at the airport if the information had been updated.

Playa De Oro was a great resort, we had a wonderful vacation. Staff was very friendly, lots of food to choose from, grounds were kept very clean, the pool was one of the cleanest pools that I have seen. This resort was large enough that you did not feel over crowded, there was lots of room for everyone and plenty of beach and pool chairs.
The rooms were cleaned every day and were spacious. My only suggestions would be to put a coat of paint on the walls to spruce it up a bit. The rooms have fridges and hairdryers, which came in handy.

We went on the Havana day tour and enjoyed it. It is a long day, leaving at 8am and arriving back at the resort at 7pm. We thought that the tour was worth it, we did a walking tour of old Havana, had lunch in modern Havana, went to the Capitol and Revolution Square, went to the market and did a tour of the graveyard. The architectural details in Havana are amazing, even in the graveyard!

We also went into the town of Varadero to the mall and the market. The mall is small and not a lot of stores there, but was nice to browse through. We also went into the market in Varadero: there are two markets (basically have the same things), one is small and one is large, they are within 2 blocks of each other. It is a great place to pick up some souvenirs and local artwork/crafts. All the vendors that we dealt with were willing to negotiate on their prices, so you can get some good deals. We felt very safe in Varadero, both in town and walking outside the resort. The taxis are fairly resonable(aprox. 12 pesos for 4 people to go into Varadero from our resort). We found that the exchange rate on the Canadian dollar a bit low, definitely cheaper to convert Canadian $s to US $s.

Overall we enjoyed our trip and would return to Coralia Club Playa De Oro.

One tip you may want to consider is that there is a VIP lounge in the Varadero airport and you can take advantage of the lounge for $23 pesos(must be paid to your representative at the hotel). Definitely worth it if you have a bit of a wait. The airport is very busy, you could easily stand in lines for at least and hour. With VIP we went in a separate VIP line to get our boarding passes, then an airport rep took our $25 departure tax and went to the front of that line and paid it for us, then sent us through customs and into the VIP lounge, all of this may have taken 10 minutes. There is a smoking and non-smoking lounge, both with couches and leather club chairs, it is air conditioned and has lots of room to stretch out and relax. There is also a washroom in there that is only used for the VIP lounge. You are served a snack and have unlimited drinks. It was a great way to pass the time at the airport. We went upstairs to the departure level to do a bit of shopping and were really glad to be able to come back down to the VIP lounge, considering that upstairs was smoky, crowded and hot. We would definitely pay to use the VIP lounge again.

Overall we had a wonderful trip and would return, although we may consider going to a country were you get a better exchange rate on our dollar.
Coralia Club Playa de Oro
Cory 
Nova Scotia
April 2006
The Good: The Playa de Oro is a beautiful resort with lush vegetation everywhere. The beach is beautiful and very comparable to the beaches in Punta Cana. The best part about Cuba was the shopping. You will find many things in the village of Varadero and the prices are very cheap. We found that we didn’t have to bargain for anything as the prices were good to start and the locals never hasseled you at all. The best market is the one on 15th street, its huge and you will find all you need there with any others just being repeat of that market. The food at this resort isn’t the best that I have had but its not bad. There is lots to choose from and we found that it was a bit repetitive each day but you will never go hungry and you don’t have to worry about getting sick at all which is a bonus. We traveled with Go Travel Direct and our rep, Joanne was awesome. She was always available and of great help with anything.

The Bad: I found that the tropical drinks weren’t up to par. There was never a menu with what was available and it was hard to find something I really liked. The locals that work there are not as friendly as the DR. They mainly keep to themselves and don’t interact at all with the tourists. Although, at the pool bar, one bartender, Santiago was always singing and very interactive with the tourists. He was by far the most popular of them all. The line-ups at the bars are usually quite long so be patient. If they like you you get faster service, so be nice. The rooms at the resort were in great need of some fixing up. You will find chipped paint, holes in some of the tile and broken stairs in some places. Nothing to affect your trip but could use some work. At the buffet, none of the food was ever named. We had no idea most of the time what we were eating. It would have been nice to know what some things were.

The Ugly: One thing and one thing only to beware of is the bugs here. The beach is loaded with sand fleas. If you sit and watch the sand you can see them moving under it. At night there is lots of misquitos around so take your bug spray. A lot of people at the resort had bites all over them. A few days into the trip I was bitten all over my feet and legs. Our rep said that it was sand fleas. A few days later, the bites turned to large hives that itched liked crazy and became very painful. By the end of the week, many of the hives turned into large blisters the size of a pop bottle top. The bites were so bad and my feet so swollen that at times it hurt very much to walk. By the time we got off the plane to come home I was unable to walk from the swelling and pain and ended up having to leave the plane in a wheel chair. I went straight to my doctor and she had no idea what had bitten me. She had never seen anything like it before and even called disease control and they had nothing to match the large blister like bites. So do not go without bug spray and antibiotics just in case. If this had happened earlier in the trip it would have ruined it for me. My friends that were with me were fine but upon arriving home, the few dot like bites that they had are now turning to the large, itchy hives.

Hints:
1) Take face clothes as none are provided in the rooms.
2) If you like ketchup, take some Hines with you as it’s runny and pretty aweful.
3) Take you own salt packets as you can never get any out of the salt shaker.
4) The beach chairs are very hard on the butt, take a small foam pad if you can.
5) A thermal mug is a must.
6) Do not take Mastercard, even if it is a Canadian bank, they do not work there, only Visa.
7) The air conditioning does not work unless your patio door is closed.

Overall, other than the bug bites, this was a really nice resort and I would go back. Cuba is very safe and a very beautiful country but overall, I do prefer the Dominican Republic.
Coralia Club Playa de Oro
Jean 
Canada
March 2006
We stayed at Coralia Playa de Ore march 5th to March 12th there was 16 of us all together.

We went with Go Travel Direct and flew Zoom Airlines. I recommend Go Travel I dealt with Natalie for about 3 months on & off has it was my sister’s 35th Wedding anniversary and wanted to make sure they had a nice room with a bottle of rum and food basket and also she helped reserve 16 seats at the A la Carte restaurant.

We left at 7:00am and got there at 11:00 am Cuba time, the flight was ok nothing special but friendly staff. The line up to go thru security took 2 hrs found it long but hey you’re starting your holidays so no big problem. If you need to go to the bathroom do it right before leaving the plane or have some change to give the people working the bathrooms.

Once your thru security everything went fine, we changed money at the airport but at the hotel it was the same rate. Once at the hotel it was fast to check in there was a huge line up has 3 buses arrived at the same time but the staff was fast and friendly. The room was nice and clean and one huge bed. Always had hot water except for one day around 6:00pm, guess everyone was showering before diner.

The food was ok but for supper get there has soon has it opens; we went later in the evening and found the food not that good. For lunch we always ate at the pool bar they made pizza, burgers and hotdogs oh also ham & cheese sandwiches.

The drinks were good but they didn’t make the drinks I loved in Dominican like banana mamas or real rum punch.

We went into Varadero a few times and took the horse & buggy ride 10 pesos per person but it was worth it. We also went to Havana and did the Catamaran both of the excursions I recommend.

The beach was just awesome, god I wish I was still there.

Overall I would recommend this place has the hotel and the staff make your holidays even that better.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact me at younggun_66@sympatico.ca and I would be happy to answer any questions.

Also a special thank you to the people in the Cuba forums on debbiescaribbeanresortreviews for answering questions I had before going.
Coralia Club Playa de Oro
Shannon, Keith, Ruth, Pete 
Ontario, Canada
February 2006
Jan 29-Feb 5 2006, GoTravelDirect & Zoom Airlines.

“Playa de Oro” = “Beach of Gold”

We are two married couples in our 40’s, and the review below is pretty much how we all felt.

Airport: Over an hour in line at the airport while passports & itineraries were checked. May have had something to do with Venezuelan President arriving that week? Pack a bottle of water and a snack. No toilet seat covers in any public washrooms, and sometimes no toilet paper! Pick up both from the dollar store before you leave!

Resort: Beautiful pool, grounds, and clean rooms. Bar by the pool is open, but the swim up bar was closed and the Jacuzzi was not operational. The resort is spacious with plenty of walking paths to walk off that huge meal! There are many colorful and interesting plants when you stop to take a closer look.

Beach: Awesome! Lots of beach area. Our favorite spot was under the tree in front of the building where the water craft supplies are stored. The water is very clear and colorful, and the sand is very fine. Best parts of our vacation were walking down the beach. And make sure you catch a sunset around 7:00pm, and stick around a few minutes after the sun is gone to see the colorful sky! Amazing!

Service: Here’s my view on what I would rate as an “average” service. Most workers are friendly enough, but not as outgoing as they should be for a service industry. Don’t get turned off by your first trip to the bars, when you might be ignored or someone may get served ahead of you. It pays to be a little aggressive – smile, speak up, say hello, how are you, shake their hand. Should this be necessary? No, but don’t let it ruin your experience either, there is far too much to enjoy!
You can sit wherever you want each night, but try to get to know the waiters/waitresses and stay in their area each evening. We did that for the last half of our week and had great service (tipped 2 dollars each evening).

Food: Mostly average, some very good, some disappointing. A good variety of meat, pasta, salad, veggies, bread, deserts, but some lacking in that extra taste you may be used to. BRING packets of vinegar, soya sauce, peanut butter, dipping sauces, and a couple of your favourite spices to enhance the flavors.
BRING your own thermal mugs for your drinks, the cups they give you are small.

Wildlife: Around the resort you’ll see birds similar to black birds and swallows. There are many geckos or salamanders around the resort, by the rocks. They like the sun! On the beach we saw a few seagulls, a pelican, and another big black bird with a nice wing span (don’t know what it’s called). We also saw a “Portuguese Man o War” – often mistaken for a jellyfish – wash up on shore on a very windy day. These have a blue sack with a bit of a fin on top, and long stringy tentacles, which can sting and can be very painful. To be safe, make sure you know the difference between this and a jellyfish, the treatment of the stings are a little different. I have read that vinegar is good for jellyfish stings but not for “Mon O War” stings. Along the way to the Varadero village we saw goats, horses, & cattle, and in the village there are quite a few dogs running around but appear very friendly, although we did not bother petting them just to be safe.

Excursions: If you don’t go to Havana, or at least leave Varadero, than you haven’t really seen Cuba. The Cubans call Varadero “Little Miami”, and don’t consider it part of the “real” Cuba, and I completely agree. You can see a small part of Cuban life in Varadero village, but the trip to Havana will complete your experience. Havana is full of tourists like you and I, but the sites of the buildings, people, and streets are incredible! If you like to take a lot of photos try to sit up front on the bus. You’ll get a lot of opportunities to shoot the street life through the front window without being intrusive. And finally, don’t forget to prepare for those public washrooms!

We also took a snorkeling excursion offered by the people that run the watercraft on the resort beach. For only 15 pesos each they will take you down the beach about 30 minutes away where you can snorkel for about an hour. Bring a disposable waterproof camera and ask your guide to take a couple of photos. Our guide Raulph was great, and even took time to help our friend that could not swim. He floated around with the lifejacket and saw lots of fish come to the surface to eat bread.

Travel to the village: We took a “Coco” taxi – the yellow 3-wheeled vehicles – from the village back to our resort for $8.00. The white cabs were on a meter and cost about $8.50. The bus you can use all day at $5.00 each. Ask for flat rates with the regular cabs. The village of Varadero is a nice place to explore. There are many markets, restaurants, a beachfront, and the beautiful “Josone Park”. Walk down a block away from the main street and see how some of the people live. The entire village is about 60 blocks long but only about 4 blocks wide so you’re never far from main street.

Summary: We all had a great time in spite of some bland food and average bar service. We would probably not visit the Varadero area again because we personally have seen everything we wanted to see, and want to try Mexico, Jamaica, and other areas. If you haven’t been to Cuba, go to Varadero and take the trip to Havana, you won’t regret it!

 

View photos of resort and beach at Webshots: http://community.webshots.com/user/tainohares
Coralia Club Playa de Oro
Calidou 
Canada
January 2006
We came back last Friday (January 27) of our voyage in Varadero at Coralia Playa De Oro. We realy liked our voyage !! We made deal with Go Travel Direct and we travelled with Zoom Airlines. Very good service! The seats in regular class are not very broad but for a 3h30 flight, we was correct. No delay for the flights. We ate the breakfast for the alley and with the return, it was a sandwich.

Hotel: Our room: 2330 to the 4 ième floor and balcony with sight on the sea (as asked), in the complex of right side (there are two of them). Great bed king! Very clean. The chambermaid passed almost every day . If you leave her a good tip the first day, that appears. She makes you also very beautiful arrangements of towels. To note that there is no kleenex, clock and débarbouillettes in the rooms. Safe in garde-robe of entry. Television with satelite.

Meal: There is a buffet where we can lunch, dine and supper. A different topic each evening (Chinese, Mexican, internationnal....). Great choice of food and especially of desserts!! Two restaurants à la carte ( we got a pass to have a supper in each one of them). The first, Varadero: very good. Beautiful romantic environment with the candles and a pianist. The other, Ranchon; outside the hotelnear the pool . Good cuban musicians. Small snack bar to dine close to the swimming pool (do not miss the good cuban pizza tomatoe/cheese on the spot prepared.... to say that I never eat any here!! My boyfriend tasted several things but me, I limited myself but not for the desserts which are delicious. We drink seven-up (without bubble...), pineapple ( only at the bar ) and orange juice . I always asked without ice but my boyfriend took some. Ironically, the juice is made of water of the tap.

The beach: Realy nice ! Very soft white sand . We can walk all along the beach. There are only tourists on this beach which skirts few tens of hotels of Varadero. Many chairs available on the beach. With a deposit of 10 CUC, we can lend a beach towel that you can change it for a clean one each morning. At the end of the stay, you give back your towel and you have your deposit. At 22h each evening, there is a spectacle close to the swimming pool. It is different each evening. Enough impressionant that syncronized stroke.

For the excursions, much of choice but it is very expensive! From 50$ to 175$ Canadian approximately. We preferred to play at the beach, rent a scooter 3 times and to make a mini excursion on a small catamaran to go see fish not very far from the beach of hotel (15 CUC). We once take a pedelo (free); the same day that the diving (it is the only one where the winds and the waves were not too strong during the week).

Our voyage was really fun. We woud get back tomorrow .

If you want more infos, do not hesitate. I took several photographs that I can show you by email.
calidou@sympatico.ca
Coralia Club Playa de Oro
J&W 
Ontario, Canada
January 2006
The following is my opinion on the resort and on Cuba in general.

The Good:
This was a very clean resort and gave good value for the money.

The food was decent and there was always a variety. Waiters were for the most part very friendly and courteous. The drinks are small and you need to get refills often, but they are by no means watered down.

The resort and our room was well maintained and clean. The maid was very appreciative of the tips and material goods (school supplies, clothing, common medicine such as Advil, etc) we left her. The shower always had hot water but the water pressure was very low.

There was a nightly show at the resort that was good, and the animation team kept things lively during the day; there were always activities available to keep you busy (dancing lessons, water polo, aqua gym, etc.).

For most of the week, the beach was fantastic. As we were there during the holiday week, it was not very busy – chairs were easy to find and the beach was clean. We noticed the beach was a lot more crowded and littered during our last day.

We went on tours to Havana ($67), Tropicana Varadero ($49), and snorkeling ($30). All these are great, although the costs add up quickly when paying for a family of four. The guide for our Havana tour gave us a lot of insight with regard to "life in Cuba". More expensive tours to Havana are available: for $85 your tour will include a visit to a cigar factory; for $159, the tour will include a visit to the Havana Tropicana. We went with the Varadero Tropicana as they will allow minors (<18) into the venue . Other tours were available but we did not go on these. They include: Boat Adventure ($39); Discover Jeep Tour ($73); and Seafari Cayo Blanco catamaran tour ($75); Golf ($60 +cart rental); Rambo Tour ($125).

The Not So Good.
Staff at the reception desk tend to ignore you. I found it annoying when waiting in line to exchange currency or ask questions, that staff behind the counter would ignore you while either talking to each other, talking on the phone, or fiddling around. They should at least acknowledge your existence (e.g. make eye contact and say “Un momento por favor - one moment please” when you approach the front desk. Bar staff were a little better – really good if you tipped them.

Varadero has really changed since the last time I visited in 1983. In ’83, there were only small cottage-type resorts along the beach, and no one really pestered you. Now, the beach is filled with US style mega resorts, and everyone tries to sell you black market cigars (which are filled with God-knows-what). People in Havana have also changed; everyone tries to sell you something (e.g. cartoon sketches of you, B-M Cigars, pictures with them, etc). I think the reason for this is that tourism is the only real source of income for some people, and people are trying to make money anyway they can (almost sounds like capitalism). The government itself depends on tourists and they make a lot of cash via the currency exchange rate. I was told the Convertible Peso was set to match the $US dollar. When converting cash we received 0.73 Pesos per $Cdn dollar at the hotel. However when converting the pesos back into $Cdn at the airport we only received a little over par. Also, if you use a credit card for purchasing goods/tours, they tack on an additional 10-11%.

TIP: Only convert cash you know you will use, as you will lose a lot during the currency exchange (both ways). The best exchange rate, I’m told, is at the bank (2hr wait) or the airport; the resorts take an additional 1-2%.

TIP 2: If you are planning to bring back cigars and rum, purchase these using left over pesos at the duty free shop in the airport . There is a duty free shop just past the ticket counter (before you go through customs). Items at the duty free are about 33% cheaper then in the resorts/town shops. Once you have the items, exchange your left over peso’s and then line up in the ticket line. Once you get through customs, there is another duty free shop. This one accepts $Cdn dollars but you’ll only get 60 cents on the dollar.

The Ugly.
Tourists are allowed to get away with anything at these resorts. For example, a few guests were very drunk at 10 in the morning while hanging out at the pool bar. They were very loud and rude, and were making the other visitors quite un-easy. While they should have been cut-off from the booze and asked to behave themselves, the bar tenders opted to keep serving these idiots drinks. Eventually one fool, who kept spilling his drink into the pool, dared another fool to run around the pool naked – which of course he did. As the resort staff did nothing, a very muscular/large British tourist intervened and told this idiot, in a loud confrontational voice, to stop exposing himself to his wife and young children who were in the pool. The fool eventually put his pants back on and quieted down. These antics made several visitors quite upset and they left the pool area. This situation could have been avoided had the resort staff taken a more pro-active approach {PS on the topic of nudity - there are a lot of topless women with G-Strings on the beach, and women in the shows are quite exposed. This may/may not make some visitors uncomfortable}
Coralia Club Playa de Oro
Francois den Ouden 
Antwerp, Belgium
December 2005
We were in this hotel from 10 to 17 december and were quite satisfied.

About the food, do not expect exquisite cuisine in Cuba. The hotel has 3 restaurants, 2 where reservations are required and 1 with buffet. We never bothered with the reservations, ate all the time in the general restaurant and found in the selection always something to our liking. We always ate well.

We had a pool view room. The rooms are good and clean, airco works perfectly. The main building with the lobby, lobby bar and restaurant is big and looks a bit like the inside of a railway station, not very cosy but certainly cool.

About the staff, most are friendly, some are merely polite, a few are neither. Our policy is to reward good and friendly service and disregard the others. A tip and a smile works wonders.

The only negative thing was in the morning for breakfast, there are machines for hot beverages, coffee, chocolate, milk and hot water for tea. Unfortunately, they are not always working properly and very often result in long lines of people waiting.

Tours are expensive, but the one that offers swimming with the dolphins are really worth it.

The beach is fine and the animation team really does its best and the diving is great.
Coralia Club Playa de Oro
Grace 
Canada
December 2005
We stayed at Coralia Playa de Oro in Varadero from Dec 11th - 18th, 2005.
We got a great deal through GoTravelDirect for 799$ for a week.
At this price, I would recommend this hotel and GoTravelDirect to anyone.
We were four families travelling with infants and pre-schoolers as well as a senior couple.
The flight with Zoom was great, although I would recommend getting there early or else end up being split up from your party. They almost made my four year old sit by herself until I begged them to find us two seats together.

Reception: The reception we received at this hotel was great. Check-In went really quick and we were by the pool in less than half an hour.

Service: I can not say anything bad about the service. We were always greated warmly by everyone that we met, and everyone went out of their way to help us.

Cleanliness: This hotel was extremely clean and well maintained. There was always someone mopping the floors and when we walked into our room, it actually smelled clean instead of the musty smell that you get sometimes near the ocean. I would recommend not taking a room on the ground floor. My parents room seemed to have gotten some water damage at some point because the walls had some moldy spots on them and smelled a little weird. They requested a room change, and it was much better.

Food: This is my only experience in Cuba, so I don't have much to compare it to. All I can say is that I now understand the other reviews that I have read about the food at these resorts. The food actually was very presentable and clean, but everything seemed to have a "funky" smell. I think it has to do with the fat products that are used. The oil and butter are not the same as at home, and give everything a strange taste. In my opinion, I don't think that this has to do with the hotel, but the availability of certain foods in Cuba. Vegetables were a little scarce here. I don't know if they are hard to come by, or just not in their culture to eat, but I was so happy to see brocoli one night (as strange as that might sound).

I would suggest tipping a peso or two in the dining room. By doing so, you are treated great by the servers. I am not saying that you are not treated good in any case, but they will go that extra mile for you. I just considered it my duty to give them a tip, as I would do so if I was dining at home.

I left some of my baby's clothes to some of the workers that I knew had children and they were extremely grateful. We don't realize how much we have here, and anything that you can leave behind will make you feel good.

All in all, if the price was right, I would go back to this hotel.
Coralia Club Playa de Oro
Marie-Hélène 
Montréal
October 2005
General comment: We got the best deal of all. 598 $ for seven nights !!! Second time in Cuba, first in Varadero. Wow ! We were not disappointed even if this hotel is maybe not a 4 star.

Reception: Quite long to get the key, but other times we had to deal with them, they were nice. I don't understand people complaining...

Rooms: Very nice, very clean, nice balcony, nothing to complain about. No extras (kleenex, bottle of water) but that's not such a big deal.

Beach: Wow ! Except for one day, we always had green flags ! The water is wonderful, blue, transparent... Little white fish always swimming near my legs, but it was more funny than annoying. Some jellyfish for one or two days.

Pool: Beautiful, big, fun and clean. Only disappointment, there used to be a bar where you could sit in the pool, but it doesn't seem to open anymore...

Restaurants: Buffet is ok... You can find something. It's not as good as what I've seen at the Sol Cayo Santa Maria, but ok. The buffet at the Ranchon, near the beach was actually the best, better than the one for the night... !!! More choice ! The two restaurants were excellent, both of them !

Bars: That is not the best... 4 days we could not get mojitos, they had no mint... No daiquiri because no ice machine, no bear at the beach. Service is ok, but way better if you tip (try, you'll see the difference !!! Amazing what a peso can do !).

Shows and animation: Didn't do much activities, but seemed ok, the shows also. The best was the music... The band is simply amazing, and it seems like they are everywhere: beach, lobby, restaurant ! wow !

Excursions: This time, we did the stuff by ourself, first we rented a scooter. We did Matanzas, and we went to see a bridge, the highest in Cuba, really nice. We also went in la Cueva de Bellamare, really great ! Second, we went to Havana with another couple by renting a car. If you go to Varadero, you HAVE to go to Havana, this is simply an amazing city, even better if you do it by yourself not always following a group.

Overall: Would recommend it for the value.
Coralia Club Playa de Oro
Alain 
Gatineau, Canada
July 2005
I just came back from Cuba and thought that you might be interested in receiving customer feedback on the hotel Coralia Playa de Oro. Stay there July 16 to 23. Booked package with Go TRavel Direct.

Flight: Firstair was OK. Very basic meal.

Airport transfer: no problems

Reception at hotel: Long lines ups and did not get requested room. Next morning , was able to change room, great view. Front desk staff not very quick and helpful.

Rooms: Very clean. No issues, however, very basic for a 4 star (i.e.: no Kleenex/tissue, no bottled water, empty fridge, no conditioner or moisturizer, glasses not wrapped, no clock, etc..)

Facilities: good location, nice size hotel, well laid out. Entertainment and animation was good. Discothèque however was not busy, very bad smell (musty) and played same music mix every night. Bar choice also very limited there.

beach: Excellent, although lots of broken chairs and difficult to get an sun umbrella/papalpa

Bars: staff not friendly, had to wait numerous minutes before being server, while they tended to other things like cleaning counters, filling ice buckets...They are not client oriented at all. beach bar has no beer/wines, but other bars do.

Restaurant: this is the worst part of this hotel. Definitely not 4 star. Same items for breakfast, repetitious buffet, the grill at the Rancho only has chicken thighs (no white meat) meats are not tender, overall food very bland. The pool snack bar serves cold hot dogs, with ketchup, mustard, mayo diluted with water. Toasters in the morning was either burning bread or not toasting at all. Whenever they were good items (such as tortellini one night) it would be gone within minutes as word went around that that item was good. Prosciuto was cut by an attendant, not thinly as it should be but in 1/4 slices...try to chew that !...Overall, food was not appealing, not tasty, lacked variety...I'm not a difficult person and usually can eat everywhere/almost anything, but with some elementary food preparation...

Last thing..noticed that if you tipped, you get attention. (bar attendant, waiter, etc..) which I believe should not be necessary to be served normaly in an all inclusive resort.

I'd like to deal with Go travel again as my experience was enjoyable, but would not return to this Hotel. Met people who were there 3 years ago, and they saw a decline in food quality and service. Most people I spoke with were of the same opinion as I.
Coralia Club Playa de Oro
Anthony 
Canada
June 2005
I wish to add a review to your site for Coralia Club Playa de Oro – Varadero, Cuba. I also wish to thank you for your site as it was a great help in choosing a resort. The site is well constructed and much appreciated!

Review
: We stayed at this resort from June 19 to June 26, 2005 and it was the first time to the Caribbean. I recommend going to Cuba around this period as it is just before hurricane season, the weather is just amazing and the price is lower. June is supposed to be rainy season and despite the weather forecasting thunderstorms everyday during the trip, it only rained once in the evening.

BOOKING
We booked from Montreal using Go Travel Direct. Very easy to use website with great prices. We booked the trip only several days prior to leaving. Prices were low at that time however availability was an issue as some of the resorts were sold out. Everything regarding the booking of the trip and check-in with Go Travel was effortless. There was even a representative from Go Travel in Cuba available to us for booking of excursions and for any problems we may encounter. I will definitely book with them again!

RESORT
This is a 4 star resort although you may think it is closer to a 3 star by our standards. Generally, the resort was clean and tidy. The staff was friendly and accommodating. The pool was a lot of fun. The beach was a very short walk away. The layout was beautiful and the grounds were quite lush and mature. The stretch of beach at this resort has to be the best in Varadero. The beach was clean and spacious. Lots of room for activities, sunbathing, etc. Also, it did not seem as crowded as I had expected. There were couples, families and single people but it was not as busy as perhaps other months would be.

ROOM
The room was spacious and was clean for the most part with the exception of the floor. Only a few times was the floor mopped. Our sheets were not changed either – perhaps this is only upon request. Our room was on ground floor and we had some unwanted guests on a few nights. Luckily the ants stayed on the floor!!! Some people complained about cockroaches and the air conditioning not working. We saw not one cockroach during our trip and luckily our a/c worked non-stop during our stay. All in all, the room was fine even with the ants!

FOOD
My favorite part! At first I did not care too much for the food. I soon got quite used to it as eating was an integral part of the trip! The buffet has a different theme each day so it is not so redundant. The food at the buffet was quite good serving a wide variety of food and desserts. I particularly enjoyed the ranchon, one of the a-la-carte restaurants. It serves a lunch buffet during the day and was a lot of fun as there was live music. It’s an outdoorsy restaurant so it was a perfect setting for lunchtime. I also enjoyed the Varadero restaurant although some people I spoke with did not. It was difficult at first to discern whether or not it was the food at the resort that was different or whether it was just the Cuban food. I can now say that it’s just the Cuban food in general that is different. The food at this resort was pretty good.

MONEY
Do not bring American money or credit cards from American instituitions as these are not accepted. No MBNA, no AMEX, etc. The currency used is the Convertible Peso and you can do the exchange at the airport in Varadero, at the resort for a small commission, or at a bank in Varadero. Regarding tipping, I would say that it is customary to tip the staff. We tipped the chambermaid every day as it may not be the same person cleaning the room. We also left some souvenirs and clothing for them. At the end of the week, we tipped our hostess/waitress at the buffet and also gave her some souvenirs (i.e. coloring book, crayons, pens, etc.). This was much appreciated. Regarding the staff at the bar, it was easiest to leave a few pesos at the start of the day as they work very long hours.

GENERAL COMMENTS
I definitely recommend Varadero, Cuba and Coralia Playa de Oro to anyone looking for some r&r under the sun. I really have no complaints, surprisingly as I have such picky taste! It was a great trip. I would go for the beach and the sun, not for the nightlife and the food! Go for the right reasons and you’ll have plenty of fun. It’s a safe, hospitable place.

PHOTOS
Here are some of my photos from the trip. Enjoy!
http://members.fotki.com/tonycop/
Coralia Club Playa de Oro
Lynsey 
UK
June 2005
We stayed at the Coralia club playa de oro from 16th to 30th May. This trip was our honeymoon and we saved hard for it, so we spent a lot of time reading reviews on here before deciding to book. So i know these reviews can make or break a decision!

And we're glad we went for it. I think the main thing that needs to be stated in any review is that your review is based on the amount you paid for the holiday - ie, did you get value for money. We feel we got a good deal for this hotel and formed our opinions of it accordingly - had we paid a lot more, we might have felt differently.

So - the hotel itself - a huge open air lobby-reception with a wooden roof over it - really unusual looking and a lovely warm breeze in there in the evenings to keep it fresh. The bar here was great(except the pineapple juice which wasnt sweet ...it was gorgeous from the pool bar and in the buffet!?) , the band were on at 7 every night and they were FANTASTIC, can't praise them e! nough. Reception staff... i think the main thing here is that people in cuba don't seem to have much of an incentive to work harder than they need to to do their job. I guess that's political, the fact is they do their job, they may seem off with you, but they work long shifts... they also have to process not only what language you're speaking but also your regional accent as well! so they sometimes might seem to look at you funny but are probably just quickly getting their head round what you're saying! I certainly didn't let it spoil my holiday :)
you can exchange money here, get tickets for pool towels,get internet time, etc. dotted round the lobby are tables with people selling tours and car hire. Your holiday rep meets you here as well.

Our room - was spacious, spotlessly clean, simply decorated with colourful curtains and bedspread. The air conditioning was really good, and there was a little fridge (unstocked :( ) we got a king sized bed, bath and show! er, loo and bidet, and a balcony with a little table and chairs. there was also a table and chairs in the room and a small couch, and dressing table. So adequately furnished and comfortable. We found the dressing table unit needed some repair but didnt make a fuss - just the drawer was loose and the cupboard covering the fridge wouldnt stay closed. Again - why let it bother you.. you're on holiday!

we just asked for a 2nd key so we could leave the air con on - no problems. (shut the balcony door or air con wont work - save the embarrassment of having a repair man sent up ... (blush))

Every morning the maid made the bed in a different way, fanning the covers, towel models of swans, hearts, swirly things... even one day she made a huge swan of the blanket! (the blanket smelled musty so we only used it once...should've asked for a clean one but were too busy chilling out!) and every day she tidied up our things, mopped the floor and changed our towels if we left them in! the bath (theres a sign up asking you to do that if you want clean towels) My only small bugbear was we didnt get clean sheets. I've just read a review recommending you to pop these in the bath, which we hadn't thought of!

Food- this always seems to be such an issue with reviews about cuban hotels! Put it this way - there is no way you will go hungry! Especially good were the very very fresh bread and butter available at every meal, the freshly made ommelettes and fried eggs at breakfast, also the french toast and pancakes, although some days there was no syrup :( at lunchtime you could go to the buffet or the beach bar b q. The buffet tended to have meat and chicken casseroley type things all of the time,every meal, sometimes creamy, sometimes like gravy, sometimes tomatoey. Also there was always roast meat and fish, the pork and turkey were especially good. I had bread with every meal - yum. but there was potatoes, rice, pasta, pizza every meal too. The cakes are good to! o, and the ice cream. My husband had lots of fresh melon and oranges. The bbq was different every day too, mostly chicken, pork, fish, sometimes burgers (nice) pasta, rice, fish dishes.

Evening meal was either in the buffet (similar to lunch, more choice, bigger cold section of salad and cooked meats) or you could book each of the 2 a la carte restaurants once a week. We only went to each one once in the fortnight. The ranchon (where they have the bbq at lunch) wasn't too great. we preferred to go the buffet for the same food... more of it! only difference was waiter service, and the band. (great!)

the varadero restaurant... i beg to differ with some reviews, we loved it! the steak with peppers was great, and my husband had the fish with mustard and leeks, again, lovely. we couldnt get another booking :( service was fine, wine was topped up, the piano guy was great, nice atmosphere, very romantic :)

All afternoon the pool bar serves toasties (bad.... processed ch! eese, and they didnt toast them for long enough so the ham and cheese were cold and not melted!) and hot dogs - not too bad at all. The fries were hit and miss :)

entertainment - the animacion team were tireless and friendly. It took us a while cos we're a bit embarrassed about things like that! but my hubby loved the water polo, and one day we did a dancing lesson. They also did aquagym, stretching class, spanish lessons, stuff on the beach. You don't have to join in but do give some of the things a go, you'll have a laugh! to be honest we only went to one 'showtime' at night and it really wasnt our thing... lots of singing and dancing etc. wear mozzy repellent, it's outdoors:) and we never went near the club after hearing it was empty lol.

The pool was great, very clean, warm, and big. There were scuba lessons in the deep part. The shallow part was ideal for kids as it started off at 0 gradient.

the gardens were gorgeous, the gardeners work very hard. ! little lizards scuttle about everywhere and the gardeners love to say hola or have a little chat, one gave tony a big pink flower for him to give to me ;) and no, these people aren't just nice to you for tips. We tipped our waiter a few times, the maid a few times, and the barstaff a few times. Probably spent all of about £15 on tips the whole 2 weeks including the bands we saw etc. and were treated very nicely tip or no tip.

The beach is lovely BUT ... i don't think it's quite as fab as it's cracked up to be, there's more shingle than you'd expect and it's really busy. But the pedaloes etc are fun, and free, so have a go :) we tended to chill out by the pool a lot. At the time we went the hotel wasnt all that busy so no problems getting parasols and loungers.

We went on 2 excursions, the catamaran trip, which was my holiday highlight, absolutely great day, sailing, sunbathing, dancing, music, laughs, snorkelling, a beautiful paradise island... and lunch :) wha! t more could you want... oh, a dolphin show at the marina! great value trip. remember sunscreen though, i got badly burnt :( we also went on the varadero swimming with dolphins trip. Again this was great, nice photos to be bought afterwards, much cheaper than friends have done this for in jamaica and usa. Importantly for me, the dolphins were well cared for - at rest a lot of the time, they 'work' on rotation. They are in lovely condition, the water is natural sea water and it's a natural lagoon they live in.

Email me if you want any more questions answering, while it's still fresh in my mind!

To sum up, we both agree we had a great holiday here, lots of fun, very relaxing... the only thing to spoil the relaxing atmosphere was a group of teens who stayed a week (they didnt do anything wrong really just were very noisy lol)

don't go expecting top notch gourmet food - they do amazing food with the limited ingredients they have and you won't go hungry... t! ake some 'real' chocolate with you because cuban is the pits lol

lynzmk@yahoo.co.uk
Coralia Club Playa de Oro
Hillary 
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
April 2005
My spouse and I and two other couples just spent the week at the Coralia Club Playa De Oro in Veradero, Cuba. We travelled from Halifax, Nova Scotia. We have all travelled South many times between the groups of us there is a combined total of 8 trips to Cuba. We're experienced travellers, so you can trust the following comments about this resort to be accurate. We've been to Veradero, Holguin and Cayo Coco and stayed at Melia resorts, Tryp, Breezes, Brisas, etc.

THE GOOD
The check-in was fine. A bit slow but we experienced no problems. Be sure to have $20 pesos in order to put your deposit down on your beach towels. You will get this back at the end of your vacation, once you return the towels.

The weather was awesome!! Sun, sun, and more sun. We only had one cloudy day and 1/2 hour of rain one night at supper time.

The resort is a little old but the beach really is fabulous. Truly. You will not be disappointed in the beach. Very wide, long beach with plenty of huts for shade. If the wind isn't too high there are the usual paddle boats, Hobie Cats, windsurfing, etc. for free. The banana boat comes by as well. The cost for this is $5 pesos.

This resort is only 375 rooms I believe, so it is a nice size. Not too much walking involved. We were close to everything.

The pool is lovely. It is really two pools joined together under a little bridge. There are plenty of lawn chairs and huts for shade around the pool.

The pool bar offered hot dogs, fries and something they called a hamburger all day until 6pm, so you could grab a quick bite there.

The best place to have lunch was at the beach grill. There are huge outside bbq's with chicken, paella, fried rice, pork, seafood, etc. The homemade ice cream is to die for, as are the breads - you will find these at the beach grill, and the buffet each day at lunch and supper !!! DELICIOUS.

The resort is conveniently located in Veradero. At this end of Veradero beach, you are closer to the town, the Dolphinarium, the area for the deep sea fishing and the catamaran tours. Plus, this end of the beach is said to be better than the end with all the newer resorts.

None of our group was ill with the food. The food is not great, but we really had no real complaints.

THE BAD
This should not be rated a 4 star resort. We've been to 4 stars in Cuba and they were nothing like the Playa De Oro !!

The service at this resort is downright TERRIBLE. I have never seen the likes, nor have any of the people I travelled with. All of the guests we talked to at the resort felt the same way as we did. Most of the staff are older and are nearing the end of their tourism careers and you can tell, believe me. Every time I've been to Cuba, the staff have been my most favourite part of my vacation. Not this time. You were hard-pressed to even get service out of them, let alone a smile to go along with it. At the pool bar, the staff would serve other staff before they would serve actual guests. You could be the only person at the bar, and they would completely ignore you. One of the people in my party waited over 25 minutes for a coffee in the lobby bar one morning and there was only one other patron there !! Just completely unbelievable. We were a pretty laid back group, however we experienced this problem at pretty much all levels of this resort.

There are no blenders on site, therefore you cannot get a frozen drink anywhere. No daiquiris, no banana mommas, no frozen pina coladas, etc. The bar tenders are not what we were used to - there was no tossing liquors bottles, ice cubes in the air, laughing, joking, while making your drinks. The staff just do not look like they are having fun (other than the animators).

This resort advertises "international" drinks but good luck finding any !!!

The swim up bar does not open, ever. I asked a bar tender at the pool bar when it opened and I was told NEVER….he was not joking.

The mini fridges in the rooms are not stocked, EVER. You have to buy your own water, beer, etc. from the gift shop and put your items in yourself. We did discover that you can fill your water bottles at any of the bars, so you need not buy water all the time.

Sand flees… yup I said sand flees. They really only bit 2 of us, but all of us had a few bites. Bring your bug spray. I still have hives 3 days after my return home.

GENERAL COMMENTS
All in all we all had a wonderful vacation. Between the 6 of us, some of us did the Havana tour, the Jungle Tour (with jet skis), the Jeep Tour and swam with the dolphins. We kept busy as the resort was not all that it was advertised to be.

The rooms were average and not overly clean. We left $ tips for our maid each day, along with soaps, shampoos, gum, toothpaste, etc.

Zoom airlines and Go Travel Direct were both fine. I would use both again, even though Go Travel Direct did highly recommend this resort and promoted as a 4 star which it is definitely is not. I would say it is more like a 3 star.

If you are English speaking you may not enjoy this resort. We only found out after we arrived that this resort is sold as a francophone resort. There were plenty of French speaking people from the Province of Quebec there, as well as some people from France. Most of the staff speak French as their second language as opposed to English. You will appreciate knowing this tidbit whether you speak French or English as your first language.

I would not recommend this resort unless you are a first time traveller and don't have any expectations…. If you are a seasoned traveller you will not enjoy the Playa De Oro if you expect it to be a 4 star resort.
Coralia Club Playa de Oro
 

April 2005
I will start by saying I have been to Cuba 3 times, Barcelo SolyMar 4.5 star, Superclub Breezes Varadero 4.5 star and now Play de Oro 4 star. I love Cuba.

Play de Oro was very nice. The resort was well kept with great flowers/plants/landscape. Rooms were clean, no musty smells, the maids were so sweet. The pool area was nice and big and offered alot of great "people watching" and entertainment.

There were two restaurants that you were able to make reservations for, once only each (line up at 8:30 to reserve at 9am). One of the restaurants opened up for lunch as well, no reservations required, but the buffet was open for all three meals. As for the quality of the food, I always found something to eat but I would say that this resort, being a 0.5 star lower then the previous resorts I've been to makes a difference in food quality.

The "animation" people at the resort were great. They always tried to get you to participate in dancing, games, volleyball, what ever they we're doing and they all spoke various languages.

The beach, any resort in Varadero has a great beach, white sand, blue water.

The only comment I would have is that this resort is very French.
Coralia Club Playa de Oro
 

March 2005
Just got back from Coralia Club Playa de Oro yesterday… 4 of us (gals) flew to Cuba on March 2nd for one week. We had a great time in the sun! This was my first trip to the Caribbean and I will definitely be going back.

We booked with LeGrows Travel and flew with Air Transat… We decided to upgrade to 1st class and it was definitely worth the extra $$$. We were treated to sparkling wine the minute the plane leveled off and from then until we landed in Cuba the food and drink just kept coming… We were first off the plane and went through customs very quickly ahead of the rest of the 200+ that were flying with us. That is definitely a bonus.

The Signature rep was waiting for us at the airport and the bus took us to the resort. By the time we arrived it was 1:30 A. M. and since only the 4 of us were staying at the Coralia, check in time was very quick. The bellboys took us to our rooms on the 4th floor… We had problems with the safes in both our rooms but when we went to the front desk they sent someone to help us immediately and things were worked out.

One problem we had was the lack of bottled water in our rooms. We thought that would be provided but found out it was not and we could not purchase any until the next morning at the gift shop so if you are arriving after 8 P. M. be certain to bring at least one bottle with you. We were told that we could safely use the tap water for brushing our teeth and even to drink if you could tolerate the chlorine but we were not comfortable doing it so we purchased bottled water the next day. Eventually, some of us did use it to brush our teeth but not to drink. Many people did and they did not get sick from it.

The rooms were clean and comfortable and the maid did a great job of keeping it that way… lots of clean towels every day. We left her gifts and pesos everyday. I have not visited resorts of this type before but a couple of the other girls with us has been to several in Cuba and the Dominican and they said they would class it as a 3.5 rather than a 4 star but I heard some of the other visitors at the airport talk about the 3.5 they stayed at and ours was much better.

The resort is beautiful with an awesome swimming pool that we did not use a lot because we spent most of our time on the amazing beach! We had sunshine for 7 days… it rained a couple of times in the night but as long as the sun was shining in the day that was not a problem. We had strong winds and tides (Only two days with the green flags out) that did not make for good ocean swimming but playing in the huge waves was totally fun!

The beach is beyond description… you have to experience it to truly understand how awesome it is. The sun shining off the sugary white sand and reflecting back in the water which was an amazing aquamarine color was mind boggling! You could walk barefoot for miles on the hard packed sand near the water’s edge and barely see your footprints in the sand! There were lots of lounge chairs to use and we would get up early in the morning and go to the beach and place our towels on 4 chairs and put them under the huts so we would have some shade for later in the day. As long as the towel is on the chair no one will take them even if you are not there. We would leave all our gear under the hut with our chairs and go to lunch… there was never a problem with things being left on the beach.

The best part of our trip was meeting a great group of people from Ottawa (Actually, they are from the Atlantic Canada but are all living and working in Ottawa) I want to say ola and a great big Newfoundland THANK YOU to Sam (Newfoundland), Trevor (Nova Scotia), Ricky, Ralph, Stephen, Cory, and Dave (P. E. I.). Who loves you Ricky??? for making our vacation so much fun. Sam kept us entertained with his guitar and great songs on the beach and everyone kept us in stitches laughing at their antics and jokes, especially Ricky!

We met friendly and interesting people from other parts of the world as well… some fun loving gals from Ottawa… 3 Scottish lasses who were in the room next to us… we “hung out” with them on the balcony a few times and saw them at the beach. Hi to Neil and Sue from Essex, England… and Neil there really are Iceberg Cowboys in Newfoundland! Visit http://www.thediscoverytrail.org/hikediscovery/icebergs.html to see an article that tells you a little about it… I am still looking for the article that was published in Downhomer magazine about Iceberg Cowboys and how it is used in making Iceberg vodka.

The food… what can I say… there were lots of it but definitely not what we are used to. A lot of fried foods (even the bacon is deep fried) but you can find something to eat and with the heat our appetites were not that big. The ice cream is delicious and there is lots of fresh fruits but be careful with fruit… I ate a little too much of it the first few days I was there and it caused me to lose one day of my vacation… I spent all one day in bed not feeling too well but the other 3 girls were fine and the only thing we did different was the fruit. The breads/rolls are superb! Try the rolls toasted in the morning with a boiled egg or two… that was the best breakfast that we found there plus the fresh omelets that are made while you wait. We had reservations for the a la carte (International 1887) restaurant on Saturday night and the food/service there was good. If you order from the entrée don’t order the salmon unless you like it raw… the shrimp entrée is good if you like shrimp… the chicken from the main menu was very tasty. We did not go to the other a la carte restaurant available… it had Cuban food on the menu and was not to our taste. There are hotdogs, fries, sandwiches available all day at the pool bar and most days that is where we ate lunch… you can also get lunch at the beach restaurant… they serve barbecued pork, chicken, and fish as well as salads, pastas, deserts and other dishes that we did not recognize.

The main drinks served at the bars are rum based but you can also get vodka, beer, red/white wine, sprite and cola. They have a lobby bar that is open 24 hours a day, a pool bar that is open until 11, and a beach bar that is open until 7 (I think). The lobby bar (say hi to Carlos if you are there…) is the place to hang out at night if you are not planning to go to any of the local clubs in Varadeo… the International Club in Varadeo is a great place to dance but I did not go outside the resort at night… some of our new friends did and enjoyed it… We went to the disco on the resort one night but there were not a lot of people there but we returned with a large group another night and had a lot of fun dancing to the music… I suggest that if you want to take in the disco to be sure you have a large group with you and make your own fun!

Dress code: Anything goes… mainly bathing suits, wraps and shorts. If you reserve the a la carte restaurants you are expected to dress a little more formal… we usually dressed up a little (skorts, skirts, sun dresses) after we got back from the beach but lots of people wore shorts and t-shirts… the nights were a little cooler than normal and you may need to take a sweater and long pants if you find it chilly… we all over packed and when I go again I will not take as much clothes… just more bikinis so I get a great tan.

We found out at the last minute before we left for Cuba that US $$$ are no longer accepted… take Canadian money and exchange it for Cuban Pesos either at the airport in Cuba or at the resort … you can exchange it back to Canadian again before you leave if you did not spend all of it. The exchange rate is better at the airport than at the resort.

Our Signature Rep (Ossie) was very helpful and made suggestions in regard to trips (we booked for the catarman trip but had to cancel because that was the day I spent in bed). We did not have any problems getting our money back even though we cancelled at the last minute. He also had tips on visiting Varadeo and the outdoor flea market which we did. We took a taxi to Varadeo (for 10 pesos) and spent a couple of hours exploring the many booths at the market… we bought some great items and spent a little while walking around the main part of town… don’t go off the main street and you should not have any problems.

Our flight back to St. John’s, Newfoundland got cancelled due to fog in Newfoundland the last night we were there. Instead of leaving the hotel at 7:30 P. M. we left at 6

A. M. but we enjoyed an additional few hours having dinner at the buffet restaurant and sitting around the lobby bar with our new friends. We had not experienced the torrential rainfall that can happen in Cuba but due to our extended stay we witnessed a thunder and lightening storm that lit up the sky. Everything happens for a reason, right Tracy??? (e-nuckles)

Overall it was a fantastic 7 days in the sun and we came home with lots of great memories, a super suntan and plans to return again!