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NH Krystal Laguna Villa's & Resorts
Leesa and Marc 
Ottawa
December 2008
Transat Holidays

This was my second visit to the NH Krystal Laguna, and it will not be my last. I first visited this resort in 2006, and many improvements have taken place since then - cleaner public bathrooms, improved beach bar service to name a few. Leesa, my life-partner, and I stayed here recently for xmas week, and enjoyed every minute. I should add that we like a relaxing, spacious, well-landscaped resort setting, and the Krystal offers some of the best in Cayo Coco, at a reasonable price. Compared to the other hotels on the strip, which we visited - Blau, Tryp, Sol and the Melia - I would pick the Krystal hands down. If you are looking for non-stop activities, Cayo Coco might not be a good choice. If you are looking for a world class beach, emerald green ocean, good drinks, sunshine, swaying palm trees in a natural environment, the Krystal Laguna would be a good choice. You might want to try the Hotel Tryp, if you want a bit more action. If you want an even quieter resort, the Melia would be a good choice. The Krystal Laguna is a huge resort - it is two resorts actually - with two lobbies. As a result, there are more amenities - pools, restaurants, bars - and a network of walkways, many over water. Speaking of water, the lagoon section is huge - we stayed in a villa over the lagoon and loved it. Despite this glowing review, it still is Cuba, where the inconsistencies are part of the Cuban experience. You may want to keep this in mind when the toilet doesn't flush properly, or the tap water/ television/ lights/ door lock/ safe suddenly stops working, and so on. You may also want to keep in mind what you paid for the trip - Cuba is a bargain! And the Cubans do try hard to make our vacations a success. It should also be noted that Cuba is reasonably safe for travelers, compared to many other destinations. We feel very safe when we travel there, and have not had reason to feel otherwise. And after five trips to Cuba, Havana to Holguin, we plan on many more to come.

As for the current situation on the island regarding the three hurricanes, we did not see any evidence of hurricane damage in Cayo Coco - it was business as usual. As for the food - it's Cuba, what can you expect. There was evidence that the country was going through some food shortages - at the buffet, chicken was not available, and the seafood was being imported. Otherwise, there was more than enough to satisfy - we ate enjoyable meals at every seating, and still managed to put on a couple of pounds.

No review would be complete without mention of the Cuban Bebidas - the cappuccinos / spanish coffees / pina colladas, and so on, were terrific at the Emparador Lobby bar. The Mojitos were equally good at the adult pool bar. There is a lot of variety at the NH Krystal, and something for every taste. If long walks on the beach or relaxing by a quiet pool (adult pool) are your cup of tea, the NH Krystal will not disappoint. On the matter of tipping - I'm still on the learning curve myself - I have found that a pesos (Canadian coins are useless to them) for every second or third drink results in much improved service, most of the time. A pesos for every drink will result in even better service, most of the time. Including a smile and treating the Cuban staff with respect will increase it even further... If you are a scuba diver or a snorkeler, Cayo Coco is a good destination, as the reef is the second largest in the world. We did the catamaran excursion in order to snorkel, but because of strong winds, did not see much of the reef. What we did see was enough to make us want to go back and try again. As for the catamaran excursion, this is a one-size fits-all open-bar kind of a deal - some people were just interested in getting loaded, which I found a bit annoying. We may try and book a dive boat / snorkeling excursion next time, at the dive center, with people that are more interested in seeing the beautiful reef and less interested in throwing up over the side of a catamaran after too many free cervazas...

There are dive centers at the melia and the tryp, walking distance from the krystal.

On our limited snorkeling outing, we managed to see many different colored fish - snappers, angels, sergeant majors, trumpets, four starfish, and one Lionfish - Lionfish are native to the Pacific Ocean, it could only have landed in Cayo Coco through a ride in a ship's ballast tanks...we did see many ships on the horizon...
Hola from Leesa and Marc
NH Krystal Laguna Villa's & Resorts
Len 
Toronto
December 2008
Arrival: March 2008
Flight and arrival was on time and uneventful. The Jardines Del Rey airport is very clean and modern. Be sure to exchange your currency there, and get enough to last because the resort is notorious for running out of money. I always recommend taking a taxi to the resort because you beat the buses and get checked in without waiting in a long line. It's worth the $30.00. We've stayed there twice, and both times check in was easy mainly because of being ahead of the crowd. We've never had the experience of our room not being ready upon our arrival. This could be because both times we arrived at night.

Rooms:
Both times we stayed there we had the exact same room on the Emperador side. They are spacious and clean with ample furniture. One thing I'll never understand is why they don't provide an iron and ironing board. The second stay I brought a travel iron that converts to 220 volt. There is no balcony in these rooms, but the windows open wide giving the illusion of patio doors.

Restaurants and Bars:
Okay, this is where the hammer comes down. The buffet on the Emperador side was horribly inadequate in almost every way. This is definitely an area where things have gone dramatically downhill since the change of ownership. Long lineups for breakfast discouraged us from even bothering. We would go the lunch cafe when it opened at 11:00am and order extra food to have in our room in case we got hungry before dinner. I actually lost 10 lbs over the course of the week. We had a trick for getting into the Italian a la carte for the last 4 nights without reservations by tipping a waiter $10.00 the first time we went. The food there was pretty good, and because we knew what the other a la cartes were like from our last stay, we only bothered with the steakhouse in addition to the Italian. We've been to Cuba five times and are aware of the food situation there, however this time the buffet was particularly bad. I just don't beleive there should ever be a situation where vacationers are subjected to line up like cattle to feed themselves. I've never experienced this before, and don't want to again. Other than this, the bars were good although some of the staff really need to pay better attention to which guest's turn it was to be served. I tip generously, so this wasn't the problem. Too many times to count, I was waiting at the bar and someone would stroll up and order Spanish coffee, which is labour intensive, and get service right away (which is rude on their part by the way...you know who you are). I grew to really resent Spanish coffee drinkers by the end of the week. That aside, bar service was good everywhere and staffers are not shy to pour generously if you say "FUERTE".

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
Cayo Coco's beach is outstanding. Very beautiful, with interesting topography and powdery white sand. The colour of the water is breathtaking, and is almost surreal to look at. We've been there three times in total. The pools are nice and we particularly frequented the adults only one for its tranquility. The grounds are very nice, and generally well kept. There is noticeable deterioration since the change of ownership however, and the new owners need to be very careful not to let this get out of control.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
There are excellent snorkling tours to the coral reef not too far out. There's a glass bottom boat, or speedboat tours dragging an inflatable banana both of which are 20 pesos and well worth it. I recommend you go when it's very sunny because this shows off the most colour.

Other Comments:
Overall our latest trip to NH Krystal was a great experience most noteably because we met a couple from Ottawa who we've been in touch with ever since, and are amazing new friends of ours now. Had it not been for that, I might have had more criticisms. I found it astonishing that the ownership changed because back in 2005 when Serge Savard was one of the investors, we coincidentally spent an evening there with one of the other owners, his lawyer and their wives. During the many conversations we had, none of them leaned towards a proposed sale in the least. Quite the opposite. They were very proud of their creation and were looking forward to years of prosperity. Perhaps attempting to do a joint business venture in a Communist country proved to be too difficult.
NH Krystal Laguna Villa's & Resorts
TK & WH 

November 2008
This was our first visit to Cayo Coco and we were rather pleased with what we got for the price we paid. We booked the “Emperador Suites” through Air Transat tours and although we were 1 hour late leaving Toronto, it wasn’t too bad as we still got to the resort in time to get dinner that evening. Don’t let the “separate check in” think you’re getting anything special, as every one on our bus had the same package, so it was one big crowd to check in but all went fairly quickly.

Our room was nicely located, (Bldg #36) only a minute walk over the boardwalk to the beach, and a minute of so to the pool. The room was a good size with extra living area with love seat, chair, coffee table, not that it got used much, but made the room seem larger. The room was typical with 2 double beds, dresser with TV, fridge etc….. The fridge was restocked with juice, beer, pops and we always had plenty of bottled water left. The sink area had large closet area with shelves, safe etc, then a separate room for tub/shower, toilet, bidet. We always had hot water and good pressure. The towels were always laundered but some had seen better days (stains) and on occasion an extra roll of toilet paper was not left and had to stop by customer service and ask. The room could have used a more “thorough” cleaning before our arrival, cobwebs/dust in lamps, sometime the floors weren’t swept too well, but at least we had little mats beside the beds to keep sand in the bed to a minimum. Otherwise the rooms were fine.

The staff, the were AWESOME, best part of the resort!!! I had the “A” Team for bar tenders. The lobby bar had Abel, Alain and pool bar had Axel & Alexander. Abel & Alain were amazing, I taught them to make my “mud slide” (vodka, coffee liquor & irish crème, lots of ice in the blender) or “mi bibidos especial” and that was all I had to ask for after the first time. They were incredibly apologetic if they were out of one of the ingredients, but we always made do. Also at the lobby bar were Derik, Rueben, Jose and then there was Adolfo who manned the snack station for grilled sandwiches or pastries which came in handy after one too many “mi bebidos especials”. Axel at the pool bar was also great, practically had a drink ready by the time you swam up to the bar, and then Alexander who started pool side service, you only had to “think” you wanted a drink and he would show up with one (could get a little scary some days). Salvatore at the beach grill always had a great smile for you. The wait staff in the buffett were also great, wine would just show up at our table without us ordering once we’d been there a couple of times, they really looked after you.

The food was ok, but I knew what to expect as having been in Cuba before. There just wasn’t quite the variety you get elsewhere like the DR, but we sure didn’t starve. Breakfasts were fine, plently of eggs, bacon, sausage, breads, crepes, waffles etc, and they had wonderful breads (bagels, english muffins) and the best patries. They had these little apple strudel type pastries and they were AWESOME. The things I found lacking and missed were a variety of fresh fruits like pinapple, mango etc, they had the occassionl pineapple but were not ripe enough and quite often had canned fruit cocktail. Also, salads never contained lettuce, mostly cabbage, carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes etc. At the buffet for dinner there was a grill for seafood (prawns, squid, fish), and grill for meats (hamburgs, chicken, beef strips etc) but they were all fried. There was also a station that always had a roasted something (beef, fish, turkey) and a wok of paella. I don’t eat much meat when I travel so I found the hot buffett a little lacking in variety, however there was always a rice, potatoe, veggie, pasta. Then there was also the pasta station made to order, or I did see a number of people getting fried rice made (just bring your own veggies etc) and they would make it up for you. The beach grill was very nice, had a great view of each, lovely breeze and you could order “a-la-carte” they had burgers, hot dogs, chicken, fries and a few other items to order from, but also could help yourself to fruits, desserts, and they ususally had chaffing dishes of rice, pasta etc. We only ate at the Italian a-la-carte and it was OK, not great. The restuarnt itself was lovely, the décor was very rustic, vineyard looking, and our waiter was a cutie so that helped. The little garlic buns were awesome as they were still warm, the soup was really good, but my veal parmigna wasn’t the best, it wasn’t breaded (not a big deal) but was tough and only luke warm, as was the pasta. So we left there and hit the buffet for a little extra and dessert.

The one complaint I seem to have anywhere I go, is why do the entertainment staff feel the need to play the music etc so loud at night, do they think we all have hearing problems? I hate having to hear the BOOM BOOM of the disco throughout the resort (no room seems to be able to escape it) until the wee hours of the morning.

The beach was BEAUTIFUL, I was really impressed with it. The sand was soft and white and the water was warm, shallow and the colours were amazing. The weather was great, only had a few minor showers (~15 min) one day and always had a lovely breeze at the pool, so it never felt humid.

We had a great time here meeting the staff and fellow travellers, the few minor deficiencies in no way affected our vacation, they were simply observations to pass along. The staff certainly made the resort, as many of the return guests had metioned .

Would I go back, sure would!!!!
NH Krystal Laguna Villa's & Resorts
Patricia 
Lindsay Ontario
November 2008
FLIGHT
we flew with Air Transat - Nolitours after booking with Tripcentral.ca Flight there and back was uneventful and they are experimenting with new foods which was a nice change indeed.

ARRIVAL
We took a taxi from the airport to the resort at the cost of $30 Canadian and arrived at the resort was checked in had our luggage in our rooms and was back in the lobby to watch the long line up checking in.Taxi is defiantly worth it.We received a free bottle of rum and a bag of coffee from Air transat ROOMS We stayed in the Emperador Suites which consist of a sitting room with a table couch and chair, a bedroom with two queen size beds ,a changing room with closets and free safe , and a large bathroom with tub and shower did notice a musty smell ( like all Caribbean Countries)when we first got there , we lit a candle which we brought with us and the smell went away.(or we got used to it ).We were traveling with another couple and our requests were met with ground floor room and rooms beside each other.Nice clean rooms it takes awhile for the air conditioner to cool down your room but they do work.these rooms do not have a balcony and that would have been nice to sit outside on and to dry your towels.there is shampoo and soap supplied in your room but you will need conditioner.there is also hair dryers in your rooms.and you can rent a hydro converter or bring your own they are the two post kind. there is not any washcloths in your room so bring your own.

RESTAURANTS
there is the main buffet and 5 ala carte restaurants , the steakhouse,the cuban,the Italian,the seafood and the VIP.All were inclusive for us as we booked with Nolitours and had blue arm bands.Our neighbour booked with sunwing and the ala cartes were not included along with the mini bar in there room , they even had to pay for water in their room at $4 a bottle.The food was good not bland like I have read in other reviews.The resort was half closed while we were there but is scheduled to open on Nov.6 comepletly.There was some damage still visible from Hurricane IKE i.e.: roof and structural damage and they are working very hard to get things ready for the reopening.Our favorite buffet was the beach restaurant for lunch.
we had no problem with getting sick or dare here and we ate everything and drank more than everything!

BARS
Each bar has a special drink they do The Cuban bar was the mojitoes.The beach bar was lemonade and Malibu rum , the lobby bar was the Spanish coffee,and the pool bar was the Havana special.salvatorie at the beach bar is the one to go to if you are having a hard time adjusting to the heat change he makes a drink with lemonade that will stop you from dehydrating .this would work well for vomiting and diarea as well......there was ice in abundance when we were there but if you want a Caesar I would recommend taking your own clamato juice as they charge 2.50 CUC pesos for each of these.

BEACH AND POOLS
we are beach lovers so we spent most of our time at the beach but did enjoy the pool which is cleaned daily and has a swim up bar.
The beach is the best I have seen yet and we have traveled quite a lot thru Cuba and the Dominican republic.beautiful powdery white sand in the ocean and on shore. we did not have to use our water shoes at all and the water is crystal clear and shallow.The tide does come in the morning but there is still beach left and it is going out by 10 am.

GROUNDS
The grounds are kept clean with the flowers just starting to bloom again after the storms they have had this summer.It will be beautiful again soon.This is a very large resort with around 700 rooms and the workers are working very hard to keep it clean.The walk way to the beach does smell at times but this walkway is built over a lagoon and the smell was not that bad while we were there.there is a lack of toilet paper in the public washrooms so we always kept an extra roll in our beach bags for such emergencies.

TOURS

we won a tour to a 3 hour spa treatment thru air transat which consisted of a massage a salt water heated pool ,a mud bath,a shower and then a hot pool again with a cup of mint tea.very nice and relaxing.We also did the snorkeling tour on the glass bottom boat.Amazing to see the fish great photo opportunities.These were the only tours we did.But heard great reviews of lots of other tours.

CHECK OUT
Yes it is inevitable your vacation is going to end we had a check out for 12 noon but didn't leave the resort till 3 PM and our neighbors let us use there room to put our bags in and to change in till we left.

EMERGENCY PHONE CALLS
While we were there we received an emergency phone call from home with news of a death in the family.The resort did everything possible for us and we received the news promptly.But it would be very expensive to leave the island to come home early.The front desk fixed us up with a direct call home thru there line.you still have to pay for it but much faster and good reception.THANKS AGAIN YOU GUYS WERE WONDERFUL.you can buy Internet for $5CUC for an hour but the comp. are very slow. and you can buy calling cards for $10 for 10 min.

MONEY EXCHANGE
our Canadian dollar took a dive while we were there so for every Canadian dollar we received .699 CUC pesos .but it should be better now.and the duty free shops do take Canadian dollars.if you but your rum at duty free it is cheaper and does not count toward your weight.

GIFTS TO BRING
please don't tip with Canadian coin as they cant change this at the bank it is useless for them.
darts,shoes Adrian in the animation team is in dire need of a pair of running shoes size 9 as he organizes and plays hockey with the tourists. YES HOCKEY you thought you sweating before LOL.
old clothes baseball mitts are a big hit.pool cue chalk ,rubber gloves for maids.ankle socks, razors ,sunglasses and pens.

CONCLUSION
I would go back to this resort tomorrow if I could.The biggest downfall of this holiday was the money exchange it cuts down on your spending.and the fact that we had to come home.ENJOY YOUR HOLIDAY DON"T FRET THE SMALL STUFF!!!!
NH Krystal Laguna Villa's & Resorts
Bobby 
Montreal
October 2008
This was the trip from hell.
Arrived Monday July 7th 2008 and back Monday 14th 2008.
After 2 days everyone in my group was sick, could not get out of the rooms.
Everyone got the runs. This was unbelievable; there was only 1 toilet paper roll per room.
This was not acceptable, complained and finally they started putting 2 rolls.
We tried on the third day to leave the resort by catching the next flight back, but were told by our transat rep and I quote “it will cost each person about I think $250 to $400 but I think $400.” Trapped.
Met a lot of people that complained about getting stuck in their rooms on the toilet seat, with cramps.
The place is filthy, from the bugs in the room crawling all over the bathroom counter and floors, they are very small little - ant like bugs that move very fast, to big bugs that look like roaches or giant spiders that move fast. Saw 1 running across the floor straight to the bathroom but could not find it.
Whoever has small children, or a pregnant wife, if you love them, DO NOT STAY AT THIS RESORT, this is not a 4 star, more like a 2.
I will be posting a link back here in a few days so that you can see for your self’s pictures and a video of what I am talking about on YOUTUBE.

This is the list that was done by my group:
- Cows outside the entrance of resort – not a good sign.

The room:
- Smelled mouldy
- Bugs – small tiny little ones, like ants all over.
Spoke with my rep from transat about the bugs, and her response was is it really bad—I will see to get your rooms fumigated.
- Beds hard as rock, not comfortable at all.
- Bed sheets were never changed.
- Stinky pillows (sponge).
- Dirty, smelly, some times color stained dry towels.
- Toilet paper only 1 small roll per room, not enough if you get diarrhea.
- Ugly showers (degrading).
- No clocks anywhere in rooms or resort.
- Noisy air-condition unit in one room, not working in another room, had to call Guest Services every 15 minutes for about 2 hours until someone showed up to verify that it was not working. Was repaired 5 hours later.

The food:
- No snack bars.
- NO UNLIMITED a la carte dining as it was part of our package. Their response at the resort was, sorry sir that promotion was good a long time ago, now you have to pay.
- No ice in soft drinks please, drinks all hot, they had coolers with ice to keep the beers cold at the beach but refused to put the soft drinks in the coolers, makes sense right.
- Everything cooked on the same flat metal plate grill from fish to chicken, hotdogs to some kind of meat. At the Grill Lasdunas.
- All food all out in the open with birds nibbling on the ham and cheese sandwiches, and bird droppings all over the food counter. Don’t even get me started there, the french fries were good up until you saw the birds helping them selves to servings. At the Grill Lasdunas.
- At the buffet, morning, lunch, and supper, raw meat, bacon, chicken, beef, fish left on counter plate at room temperature, waiting for the tourists to make their choice of what food they wanted…HEELLLLLLOOOOOOOOO there is no such thing as covering any of the food to avoid having flies on them. Bacteria just waiting to happen.

Pool:
- There is no such thing as having some shade at the pool, if you want some shade you need to go to the beach. Pool was only good in the morning.
- The pool was also good to all the tourist that had gotten sick and could not risk going all the way to the beach with the fear of getting an attack to go the bathroom and not making it on time, rooms were a lot closer to the pool. Beach:
- The bridge over the laguna heading to the beach was over sticky water, smelled like sewage waste, did not want to know where that came from.

Entertainment:
- None, the so called shows are locals dancing
There is also a big barbeque meal that they do once a week outside around the pool which looks nice, but again not health with food left out in the open with bugs around.
There is a term that they do not seem to understand no matter how many times you say it. The term is well done-charcoal-burnt, we must have said it about 10 times on each order –well done, cook it a lot..,but that did not happen all our orders came back raw.
We did get a bonus on 1 of the plates, it was not beacon bits on the white rice but 2 dead flies.
So we all survive the remaining 5 days on toast (sometimes stale) or bread depending on the time of day with butter that was imported from Germany and bottled water.
NH Krystal Laguna Villa's & Resorts
Salim 

July 2008
I know this review is a bit late, but this site has helped me soo much in determining my recent vacation that I couldn't leave without contributing.

Some of you may or may not know, Cayo Coco is an island off of Cuba. This island is uninhabited, there are about less than 10 resorts on this island and thats it. Everything else on the island is untouched.

In short, it's beautiful!

I stayed at the NH Krystal Laguna. My wife and I went on the 2nd week of June. There were very little people there (which was perfect!), so people staying there all got to know each other. The majority of people at the resort were from Ontario, Quebec, or England. The resort has about 900 rooms (laguna and Emperador section) and I would be suprised if there was more than 100 at the resort during our stay. Please note, the staff did say that they get busy in July - August.

Before I begin my review, there's a couple of things one should know before going to cuba or the carribbean.
1. Cuba is heavily sanctioned, so don't expect the same amenities as you would find in Canada, Europe, or the US.
2. These are poor countries, so put that in perspective. A 4 star there is not a 4 star here. But, you will not be displeased (for the most part) with a 4star or higher rating.
3. Cuban food is not the greatest - so if you are going to Cuba for culinary delicacies... Well, you might be dissapointed.

Resort
As for my time there, well... It was great! The resort is huge and is clean and well maintained. The Laguna side of the resort is closed for repairs (they're adding new hot water lines, etc..) and won't be opend until September/October. Don't worry, the Laguna section is on the other side of the property so you won't be bothered by construction noises or anything like that. There is a big pool that is clean and lots of chairs for you to choose from. However, there isn't alot of shade (no palapas or umbrellas) around the pool. The grounds are in very good condition with lots of manicured bushes, trees, flowers and gardens.

There are two types of rooms you can get; the Emperador section which are traditional hotel units, or the Villa section which are 4 unit villas that are on the natural lagoon situated on the property. The rooms are the same size and have the same layout. The only difference is that if you have a villa - you will be close to the beach but a 2 minute walk from the resort buildings and vice versa for the hotel units.

Beach
Beautiful but not wide. Which in hindsight is good because the beach doesn't get that crowded going towards the beach. In fact, we find people from the neighbouring Resort crossing over to our side. The water is great! If you snorkel and swim to the right of the beach near the large rocks formation - you'll find plenty of fish to watch. There was some nudity, surprisingly, on this beach. I thought it was strange because this was a family resort. However, this was mainly due to Europeans visiting (where toplessness is more common).

Food
What can I say, they tried! There was always something different to eat at the buffets but the a la cartes are definately the better choice. The VIP is worth it! There was some reusing of food (it looks like they get replenished once or twice a week - probably due to the islands remoteness from the main land). The drinks are fine and so was the water - surprisingly - but don't take any chances. The cappuccinos are off the heezy (which is good)! Get them at the main bar..

Service
FANTASTICALLY OUTSTANDING!!! The friendliness, customer focuses, happy go lucky staff covers any short comings of the resort. They were so friendly and ready to serve. From the front desk, to the waiters, to the staff fixing your rooms, to the gardeners wishing you a good morning as you pass buy - Cuban hospitality is second to none! I challenge to find any western equivalent.

Leave gifts to the staff, they really appreciate it! Stuff like toothpaste, deodorant, makeup, etc.. are really well received. Make sure you remember the gardeners as well - they are usually left out. Our maid left us a written note on our last day in her broken english thanking us for our gifts - it was very touching.

All in all. Great resort! Food is okay. Digs are a 3.5star - by western standards. Beach is beautiful. Service is 5-diamond!
NH Krystal Laguna Villa's & Resorts
Kayla 
Barrie, Ontario, Canada
May 2008
Arrival and Flight
We flew with Sunwing on May 13, the 6:20am flight. It was on-time and we arrived in Cayo Coco an hour early. There was champagne on the plane, free headphones, a movie, hot towels, a meal and snacks. It was fantastic. The flight attendants were courteous and very helpful.

Rooms
Since the Laguna side of the resort was closed (which was no problem AT ALL), we were upgraded to the Emperador side. The room was very very spacious. There was a sitting room with a chair and pull out couch. A bedroom with 2 twin beds. A separate room with sink, counter, mirror, closet with large mirrored doors and a safe. Then a bathroom on top of that. We were in room 3520, which was in a great location (though I think any room would have been). We were near the outdoor amphitheatre, which was a little loud when we tried to sleep early, but really handy when we made it to the shows. Our room was always clean and there weren't any problems at all.

Restaurants
The buffet was fabulous. There was a lot of food. It wasn't always perfect, but there was so much selection that I always found something to eat. I never ever went hungry. The bread is especially delicious. We visited all of the a la carte restaurants, except the VIP. We made reservations the first day and there wasn't a line-up at all. In fact, I never once saw more than 1 person there. The Italian is probably the worst. I had lasagna and it was more like shepherd's pie between pasta. The Cuban was wonderful. Steak at the Steakhouse was a little overcooked, but that was my own fault considering I prefer it less done. Seafood was great (although I don't like seafood, I got the chicken). The food isn't very flavourful with spices and such, but it definitely did the job. The grill by the beach was by far the best.

Bars
I had read reviews of people complaining about the lack of bars during the off-season, but trust me, no one I was with ever felt there was a lack of drinking done. The lobby bar was fabulous. Most people spent the nighttime there and I never felt like I wasn't served if I didn't tip. The bartenders were very friendly and provided quick service. The pool bar was nice too, except we spent most of our time at the beach.

There was also a bar at the beach. I found the drinks to be very strong, but the Bahama Mama is *delicious* and those kept me pretty happy the whole week.

Beach and Pools
The beach is absolutely gorgeous. I don't know if I've ever seen anything more beautiful. Pools were very well-maintained and never too crowded. There was only 1 deep pool open, but again, I prefer the beach so the pool was more than enough.

Grounds
The grounds were gorgeous. There were always gardeners working, who always always said hello and gave a smile. There are a few cats who live on the resort. I wouldn't recommend petting them, but as a huge cat lover, I found it to be nice and reminded me of home. They sometimes wandered around looking for scraps, but never seemed to bother anyone too much.

Activities and Entertainment
There weren't many activities during the day, but I think that's b/c there were so few people to participate in them. The nighttime entertainment was really great. The dancers are so talented. There was a different theme each night so it didn't get to be too much. For those who wanted to just relax, the lobby bar was perfect. The lobby itself is gorgeous. It's really big with lots of seating and created a really nice atmosphere.

Tours
I didn't go on many tours. We did do the horseback riding along the beach, which I loved. We also drove mopeds around the island and I haven't had that much fun in a long time. My boyfriend and I didn't have much money to spend on excursions, but still had a wonderful time.

Departure and Check Out
Our check-out time was quite early, but we were still able to check out and have time for breakfast before the bus came. It took the lady behind the counter about 1 minute to check us out so it was great. Our departure was great. The plane arriving was early so we left an hour early and arrived in Toronto much sooner than expected.

Conclusion
I booked this resort because friends our ours raved about it last year. After we booked I read many negative reviews of this resort and I don't know how anyone could complain. It was everything we wanted and much more. It wasn't perfect, but it still provided an incredible vacation that has left us with tons of new memories. Come with an open mind and you will not be at all disappointed.
NH Krystal Laguna Villa's & Resorts
Patricia 
Alberta
May 2008
Room - 2220

Restaurants - la carte, buffet was great

Bars - was great

Beach and Pools - was great

Grounds - beautiful

Activities and Entertainment - not so great

Tours - sugar cane, jeep saffari

Departure and Check - Out April 26 2008 at 8:30 am

Conclusion - All in all the first week was great, the second week everything was closing down on the Krystal side and we where not informed of this. The la carte where booked for the second week and some where cancelled without us knowing. The Emperador side was so full of people at night we never had a place to sit. They had no bank to take Credit Cards and where told to go to the next resort to get money. When we talked to our Air Canada rep was told he was not interested. Beautiful resort and Beautiful beach, but will Never go this resort again.
NH Krystal Laguna Villa's & Resorts
Brenda 
Halifax
May 2008
Four of us were at the El Senador side of the resort from March 27 to April 10/08. Reading some of these reviews. These negative people need to get a life. They must be hell to live with.

Our stay was great at this resort, and would recommend it to anyone. The rooms were great, and we had some complaints On the washrooms not being stocked with toilet paper. But we were told this, and brought our own. We travelled with WestJet, which was a pleasure through Transit Vacations, and their staff was very helpful. Most of the staff on the resort were very helpful and all enjoyed the treats we brought for them

Recommend to anyone.
NH Krystal Laguna Villa's & Resorts
Paul 

April 2008
Emperador
Arrived at night - a little difficult to find room in dark when tired (wandered 15 minutes to find room was very close to front area)

Very nice resort. Very friendly staff (mostly). Plenty to do (skipped night "life" so I cannot comment on it). My wife, who studied horticulture, enjoyed walking around looking at the plants. I enjoyed the birds...saw an American Kestrel that lived by the tennis courts catch and eat a lizard...cool.

Room 4404 - was not that clean on first night (sandy floor), no drinks in fridge as we were tired it was not appreciated but after turning on the air conditioner, having a nice shower and walk around the resort it turned out to be a very nice room...excellent location

The lagoon does have a sulphur smell in places but we chalked that up to a normal swamp smell...it was not overwhelming nor ubiquitous. We spent a lot of time on the boardwalk looking at all the fish, birds, etc. It was enjoyable. Some people thought the lagoon was meant to be their ashtray and garbage pail but the staff were quite good at keeping it relatively clean

Food - We were not expecting great things but actually found it to be quite good (though not consistent). Our favourite was the Gallo and the very nice waitress (Omera) there made it a very enjoyable place. Excellent service and very kind people was our general impression. Try to stay out of the lunch line between 11:30 and 1:30 unless you like standing in line. I loved a fruit they called Wawa...I'm addicted now so I need to find what it is called here and see if I can find it

Beach - very nice for first 4 days but got windy so we could not do water sports after that...disappointing but nobody's fault
- I very much enjoyed snorkeling off the Point that is to the right of the beach (Emperador section) - I saw many different kinds of fish. At one point I was in a cove and I was surrounded by at least 100 colourful fish of every variety...like swimming in an aquarium

Excursions
- trip to Moron - okay but tiring trying to communicate and difficult to "relax" with every one approaching you being "friendly"
- deep sea fishing - caught a dolphin fish and a barracuda - fun
- catamaran trip - should have been canceled because of rough water but we went on it and I would say we didn't see much...I saw much more at the beach (see above)
We brought down gifts (soap, deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrushes, combs, pencils, etc.) instead of monetary tips and it seems that some really appreciate that and other not so much. We felt a little awkward at first handing them out but we got used to it after a while.

Negatives
- we left a gift on our pillow every day for our cleaning lady...on the final day she almost kicked us out 2 hours early and asked if we were not happy with her cleaning as we did not leave anything for her - either someone was taking the gifts before she came to clean or she was trying to "shake us down for more" it left us with a very negative impression on our last day

- some public washrooms were rough at best (not clean often missing seats) - we were warned and we brought small packages of tissue paper as toilet paper was scarce in them too

I really think the comment that "if you go to enjoy yourself you will, if you go not to enjoy yourself you won't" is a very appropriate comment. Remember a 4.5 star rating there means nothing...go, be sure to want to have fun and you will.

We enjoyed our time together.
NH Krystal Laguna Villa's & Resorts
Joan 

April 2008
We have just returned from a week vacation at NH Krystal Emperador site.It was a fantastic experience and we have no qualms about going there again.

The reception desk is friendly and fast.

The bank was always open and never closed because of funds being depleted.

The rooms were clean and tidy although I did take a can of spray lysol and did the beds, pillow cases, and couch and chair.There was never a problem with the shower or the water..ours was always hot no matter when we used it.The toilet was working well too.

The bars were great and if sometimes we didn't tip we were never slow on the next drink.If you notice, the money is all put in a cup and divided at the end of the shift.

I didn't swim in the pool but did notice there were always lounges available.My husband said it was actually warm. The beach was beautiful and we spent out mornings there.No problem getting a beach hut and the men were helpful in carrying the lounges for us.

Our a la carte reservations were made for us on out arrival and we had 4 given to us.The steak house was very good but found the Pizzeria to be low on our list.The lasagna sauce was dry hamburg and the pasta was very doughy, and my husband found there was not enough sauce on the pizza, but if you read about Cuba, they eat their food very bland.The buffet was good and where else can you watch them cook your eggs and bacon right in front of you.Lunches and dinners were also good with a very good variety..the chicken and fish grilled in front of you.Coffee is really good in the morning.

Our Nolitour guide was at the station all but for his day off on Wednesday and he was very helpful. Remember for the price we pay the trip is worth it and I feel we should not be complaining, we are there for a good time not a long time.

We will most deffinately return to the Emperador Suites next year.
NH Krystal Laguna Villa's & Resorts
Kelly & David  
Oshawa, Ontario
April 2008
Rooms Villa

Restaurants 5 a la carta restaurants: El CruceroVIP, El Pincho,Moonlite,El Malecon and El Gallo The food was great. There were a few people complaining of the food. To us, the food was great. If you are going to complain, then stay at home. There is always someone complaining about something.

Bars All of them were great especially the bartender, Ernesto. He was a great guy. We became good friends while we were there. We will be keeping in touch with our new friend from Cayo Coco,Cuba.

Beach and Pools Beach was awesome and the pools were amazing. Very clean.

Grounds They were kept clean. The groundkeepers were very helpful and friendly.

Activities and Entertainment Live performance every night was great. We enjoyed this tremendously.

Tours We went horseback riding on the beach. this was great. We did the 3 1/2 hr boat tour which was awesome. We recommend this for sure.

Departure and Check Out We had no problems with departure or check out.

Conclusion Overall, both myself and my husband were very impress with the staff and resort. We will be returning to this resort soon. This was our first time to Cuba. We were upgraded to the Villas. Never expected this to happen. We were very impress with the Villa and location.
NH Krystal Laguna Villa's & Resorts
Dave  
Atlantic Canada
April 2008
This was my 10 th trip south and if it had been my 1 st , it would have been my last. Several friends recommended this resort but the resort has changed hands and has changed for the worst. The resort is very beautiful, rooms were very nice and the staff (except aircanada vacations staff) were great. The problem is there are not enough staff . At arrival, our rooms were not ready for 5 hrs and then did not have towels ( for 2 days). We got our beach towels right away but were only able to exchange them once all week, as the towel hut was either closed or out of towels every day we tried. We did have hot water, but it only dripped as pressure was lost when you went from cold to hot. Food was good in the reservation resturants however it took two hours to make the reservations and then you stood in line at the door each night. One night it took 1 hr to get in and when we did the place was only being half used. The food at the buffet was not as good, with many people having frenchfries and bread as their staples ontil day 3 when they ran out of frenchfries. The bank at the resort was closed ( said they ran out of money) from Monday at lunch time ontil Friday morning. The excursion we booked through the aircanada rep was cancelled . The problem was no one informed us or the large group waiting for the bus for almost an hour and a half. We did not get our money back for two days as it was hard to track down the rep (due to his day off). When we complained about our treatment and how we were not satisfied with air canada vacations he said "that’s to bad, and that they really do not care". This was the first time we travelled with aircanada vacations and I had expected it to be our best trip (as it was the most expensive).. We did get much better treatment with the charter companies and plan on giong back to them for future trips. I would recommend Air Canada start treating their owners (us tax payers) better and they should not stay tied in with resorts that do not keep up their end of the deal.
NH Krystal Laguna Villa's & Resorts
Amy 

April 2008
Arrival – We flew with Sun Wing out of Toronto. The flight was quick and really great – good breakfast and champagne, which was a nice way to start off the vacation.

We had no problems with the immigrations but were the last ones to get our luggage. We were put on a second bus to NH Krystal as the first bus was full. When we finally got to NH Krystal, we were close to the end of the line up to the reception. Everyone ahead of us got nice cold drinks and the line was extremely slow. Note: There is a bar right next to the reception desk – we ended up going to that bar before check in and got some drinks (it makes your wait time much better). Our rooms were not ready yet but they gave us our All-Inclusive bracelets and told us that we can leave our luggage in the reception area. Everyone left their luggage there.

Resort
This resort is made up of two different resorts – Laguna side and Emperador side and is HUGH. Make sure to take the map that they give you when you check in as you will get lost in the beginning without it.

Rooms:
Our room was on the Laguna side (1403) was not ready until 4pm (check in time) but it was not cleaned up by the maid yet. We went back to reception and they changed our rooms to 1515 which was much better. The room was really spacious but had a musty smell in the room – on advice from another reviewer we brought with us a scented candle and didn't have a problem. One of the lampshades were broken but was replaced during the course of our stay.

Bathrooms - Toilets – the toilets are different from the ones that we have in Canada – they do not flush toilet paper properly. There is a bin next to the toilets in your room and public washrooms – we are supposed to put the toilet paper in there after use. Soap was not always available in the public bathrooms on the Laguna side. Either take your own or bring Purell just in case. (The bathrooms on the Emperador side were way better and always stocked properly).

The maid was good and gave us water almost every day of the week – missing only one day. She also brought us two rugs for the side of our beds but we did tip her $2 each day plus little gifts that I brought with us. Note: You are suppose to get a "sign off" on your room from your maid but our check out time was 7am and didn't require this "sign off" paper from the maid.

Entertainment
There is entertainment at the resort but because it's quite spread out you will need to look around for it. Check out the daily activities board for more details – located outside the buffet restaurants.

Restaurants
Buffet – There are two buffets – one on the Laguna side and one on the Emperador side. The Emperador was stated by most guests and ourselves to be better but we stayed mainly on the Laguna side. The stir fry was excellent at both lunch and dinner time. The food was definitely tasty but some foods were bland. Not much of a variety if we had to eat there every day. They did have theme nights for dinner but we didn't eat there much as we had a la carte restaurants for 4 nights.

Side notes: Ketchup tastes different – so if you love normal Ketchup bring your own. The pepper they have is white pepper which was fine for us as we cook some times with white pepper.

Cuban – the resort was renovating the Cuban restaurant and turned the La Sierna (24 hour snack bar) into the Cuban restaurant but nobody told us. We actually went to the Cuban restaurant and found others that were just as surprised as us that there were no waiters there – not even a sign telling us where the restaurant was moved. We finally found it after asking a maid and rushing back but were 10 minutes late. We found out later that at least 2 or 3 others didn't make it to the restaurant. The food was very tasty and highly recommended to give it a try.

Italian – La Pizzia – My husband like the food here but I didn't like it that much. The food was a bit tasteless to me.

VIP – It cost an extra $29.99 and was worth the money as the food was the best that we tasted all week.

Internet service
- You an buy 1 hour of usage for $5 cuban at the receptionist desk – it's super slow.

Pool/Beach
- There are plenty of lounge chairs and the beach is absolutely beautiful. You can use kayaks and peddle boats. We were only able to get the kayaks out twice – try to go to the right and past the cliff – there are a bunch of other resorts and some islands.

Bars
- There are at least 5 bars at this resort and they are all really great. If you want to bring a thermo to keep your drinks cold that would be great as the cups they give are very tiny.

Overall: The resort grounds are really big and beautiful. We had a great time despite a few negatives – having our towels stolen our last day, not having our room right away, etc. It's all about the attitude – if you are there to relax and enjoy yourself – you will have fun. Tipping is never expected but if you do, you honestly get better service. Hubby and I would recommend this resort but would probably not go back as we like to try new places.
NH Krystal Laguna Villa's & Resorts
Bryan 
Caledonia
April 2008
We just returned on the 30th from our fourth visit to NH Krystal. The first two visits were outstanding but the third wasn't to good and this last one was terrible. The food was lousy and so was the service. The lagoon smelled of raw sewage, there was never any toilet paper in the washrooms and at least half of the seats were missing. Our travelling companions took almost four days to get hot water. The beach is still beautiful and some of the staff were great but others were totally indifferent to our concerns. The hotel was almost full and the staff was unable to cope with the number of people. The bank was closed most of our visit so we were only able to exchange our dollars for pesos twice. It's obvious that the new owners are cutting back on staff, food and supplies. We will never return to this resort.
NH Krystal Laguna Villa's & Resorts
Gerald 

March 2008
cannot believe what people complain about. this resort is very well maintained and the staff are very friendly and helpful. Sure there are lineups for food but where in the world don't you lineup? checked with the staff working at the resort about the changeover from the previous owners, they gave me the impression that the new owners are trying to introduce cutbacks in staff, food, and beverages. this seems to be obvious from the reviews of the resort when it was owned by the canadians. there are nicer places to stay in the caribbean, but you will pay a lot more, go give it a try and relax you are suppose to be on vacation. we will return to this lovely resort.
NH Krystal Laguna Villa's & Resorts
Alex S. (22 years old) 

March 2008
We, a family of 5, stayed at the Laguna side of Krystal. But everybody can use all the facilities/restaurants of the entire resort.

The only reason we booked this resort was because we got a last minute deal and were looking to get away somewhere 3 hours away by air. We booked this trip because we got an amazing deal for 5 people. We are experienced travellers from all over the Caribbean so I can tell you an honest opinion.

Basically the entire time I was in this resort, I kept on saying “I cant wait to write a review”. Because I kept on laughing at the poor service. This resort is a 3 start. With a 5 star beach. THAT’s it in a nutshell. We read many reviews prior to booking this resort…the reviews seemed mixed, and I found that people are quite strange in their outlooks.

I will tell you CONCRETE, SOLID information about this resort. Firstly, unless you are getting a really good deal, do NOT go to this resort, you will be very disappointed. We heard some people paid 1500 CND per person, and were SHOCKED. If you are paying about 700 CND taxes included I could consider this resort.

THE BEACH on this resort, despite what everybody has said, is GORGEOUS. Perfect for swimming, for adults, children, everybody! There is NOTHING anybody can say about the beach. Its perfect. Yes, to get some shade, you will NEED to wake up early. OR, bring an UMBRELLA. It is very hot, and if you have no shade, you will burn.

THE FOOD, in every single restaurant, buffet and a la cartes is NOT GOOD. The buffet food is HARDLY edible. COLD, STALE, LEFT-OVERS. We are not picky people..the entire time we kept saying “They should just make a couple of good dishes instead of dozens of HORRIBLY, LAZILY prepared dishes!..that nobody eats.” So much food was thrown out. Here is a fact: The entire week, they NEVER bothered to properly cook potatoes or rice to soft consumable texture. Simple staple foods were made improperly!! They continuously wasted product. I won’t convince you, its your choice, but your entire week, or (hopefully not two weeks), will be spent PICKING AND CHOOSING what to eat 3x/day. NOT FUN.

Our family survived on, FRESH BREAD (baked every day) with butter and cheese. Good tasting burgers at lunchtime. Fresh omelets (with huge lineups to one) at breakfast, and fresh fruit at most meals. We usually tried many dishes, and ended up eating a lot of bread to fulfil the hunger…EVERY SINGLE MEAL!
The hotel is understaffed as others have mentioned.
The front desk/reception was the most useless I have ever encountered in my travels. We are positive, outgoing people, and couldn’t believe the workers we met. We arrived in the morning and were told we would have to LEAVE OUR LUGGAGE and belongings in the lobby until 4pm to CHECK into our room. (it is their RULE). They didn’t care one bit, so I asked what room numbers we would be given, and I found my rooms that were assigned. TO my SURPRISE, the rooms were CLEAN and ready to check in. I spoke to the maids, and they said SURE you can check in. So instead of waiting a good 6 hours to check in..I told the reception that our room was READY. I guess when you come to vacation, you have to go on a hunt to figure out what is really going on.


THEY NEVER KNEW WHAT WAS GOING ON the entire week we were at this resort. We really don’t know how anything got done. The front desk does not even have a CLOCK, neither do any of the rooms.

Also, very important for families of 3 and up…the resort does not contain ANY rooms with more than 2 beds. It took them 2 days to bring up a portable tiny bed for our younger family member. For this, we had to go back and forth to the lobby 4 times..to explain that “No, we have NOT received a third bed yet.” The rooms have no balconies and nowhere to hang your wet towels. Between 5-7, there is barely any hot water in the showers because everybody is showering at the same time getting ready for dinner. The toilets constantly got plugged, and you had to add water inside to help flush. This was a daily ritual.

The bars are great, with fast workers, but they will not serve you if you do not tip them. They know who tips them, and if you don’t tip, you will have to wait.

I will not talk about entertainment and other things, because when the service is so terrible, and the food is a huge disappointment…..it won’t matter how good the entertainment is.

Again, just for the beach, I would come to this resort. I would not return because I know the management doesn’t care to change their attitudes about buffets, etc. There are many other beautiful resorts and beaches in the Caribbean, and I would not return to this resort, nor would I recommend it to anybody, because they would come back home and 100% tell me, the beach was BEAUTIFUL, the grounds were nice, but the service and food was so bad…that I wanted to come home!!

Cayo Coco itself is so gorgeous, it’s a shame that the resort doesn’t care to improve itself. Frankly, I don’t think it ever will.

Oh yes, the washrooms around the resort NEVER have any toilet paper, were dirty and the villas on the LAGOONs are smelly, and dirty, and serve no purpose to the resort. Im not sure what the point of them building villas on a really disgusting lagoon was. It was quite funny.

Important: If you end up going anywhere in Cuba, be sure to bring essentials to your maids/waiters/gardeners etc. They really appreciate clothing you don’t wear, children/adult, Tylenol, toothbrushes, choclate, hats, anything we in America take for granted they will really appreciate because they make very little money, and it’s very expensive for them to buy those kinds of things.

Resort is 3 star.
Beach is 5.

Please find somewhere else to go. It’s not worth it. You will be disappointed. And when you do have a complaint there is just nobody to speak to. They DON’T CARE. Not only that, but you are on vacation! You won't want to complain even once..you're there to relax...not to demand proper care. If they can't provide the proper services..it's their problem. Don't go there. If you don’t care what you eat..and you’re a beach/pool person…go ahead and take the plunge, but don’t say I didn’t tell warn you!