21 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
the worst all inclusive hotel i have ever been too
"My family have just returned from this hotel only yesterday and i feel strongly that i have to put my point across ,THE FOOD WAS AWFULL ,very repitive for 14 days,the staff was just as bad but if you were prepared 2 tip them constantly than they couldnt do more for you and sometimes we as a family with 5 small children were turned away from areas of the resturant to make way for tippers which i was really angry about.Food poisoning and stommach upsets were amongst the ailments off my family, as for the kids club ,so awfull my chilren were very reluctant to go after just a few days,the staff were not nice at all and didnt like us cos we dont tip as i feel i pay alot for holidays, and to add insult to ingury i end up really ill with an allergic reaction to mosquito bites and had to seek urgent medical attension ."
- Travel date: 12th September 2010
Enjoyed the holiday but will not return......
"We have just returned from Sol Cayo Santa Maria Cuba it was the most relaxing holiday we ever had as sleeping & sunbathing was all there really was to do. Our room was lovely it overlooked one of the pools and it was cleaned every day with clean bedding and towels daily if we wanted them. Towels are provided for use around the pool and beach and can be changed as often as you like so no need to take any with you. Swimming pools were lovely and big, a great one for kids it only went knee high and was totally seperate to the other 2 pools. They would have benefitted from a clean now and again though! Evening entertainment was absolutely rubbish so night times were a bit boring we went to bed around 10 ish most nights. There is a lovely beach bar and pizza restaurant where you can get good freshly cooked food at lunch time and an Italian and Cuban restaurant at night (you can only go 1xwk to each and need to book) these are highly recommended as the food in the main restaurant is awful, the food is left out too long, it's cold and there are loads of flies I amongst several others was quite ill on more than one occasion be warned!!!! There is a 24 hour bar but they don't serve food. You can go to the Melia next door but may be asked to pay for drinks if they see your wristband. We went on 2 trips the catamaran was fantastic and reccomended, the Santa Clara 1 wasn't as good but still worth it for the experience we were disapointed with the Chez museum as everything was in Spanish. Overall it was a good holiday if you want to relax just be careful with the food. Also be aware that after a long flight you have an hour and a half transfer! If you want to visit the mainland it's at least 40 mins to cross the causeway."
- Travel date: 8th June 2010
My wife and I have just returned from th...
"My wife and I have just returned from the Sol cayo overall we were very pleased with our time there. The staff, from the manager to the gardeners and Toilet cleaners are amongst the happiest and friendly people we have ever come across anywhere (and it isn`t because of tipping) They are proud of their country and what it has to offer. We found the food was very good but on occasions some dishes were not as hot as we might have liked, but there was always plenty to choose from. The accommodation can vary, not in cleanliness etc. but on what you will see from your balcony. you are virtually in the middle of a jungle and most "Room Views" had trees and bushes right up to the balconies. The beach is superb, with plenty of shade if required and beds. Beach/Pool Towels are provided and can be changed as many times as you wish. There are four Restaurants. the main Buffet, for International dishes, A creole, A Cuban and an Italian, all but the Main Buffet needs to be booked through Customer services(tables go very quickly) The evening entertainment is overall very good, there is a show each night and for those who just want to relax, there is the Piano Bar with a couple of good resident pianists. Of the four Hotels in the area (for now) Sol cayo is the oldest and a little spot of paint is required here and there, but thats for those who like to dig deep. We went for a rest and we were not disappointed. It will not suite everyone thats for sure, nowhere ever does, no one pushes you to join in the activities, thats up to you, but I know you will come away feeling you are leaving friends. "
- Travel date: 31st March 2008
I would have been disappointed with this...
"I would have been disappointed with this holiday if it had not been for the staff, who were brilliant and made the holiday. The rooms were reasonably clean but no view because of the trees that blocked the windows. Bathrooms were very dirty and mouldy and the food was terrible. The only 2 places to eat were the pool bar for toasted sandwiches and the Cuban barbecue restaurant ,which cooked food fresh for you as ordered. Saying that I would go back because I know what to expect. Maybe I would take a mosquito net to walk round in though - they were a pain, everyone got bitten a lot more than usual. The complex next door sprayed twice a day to keep them at bay but the Santa Maria only did it twice in the 2 weeks we were there. "
- Travel date: 4th January 2008
This hotel is not a four star by any sta...
"This hotel is not a four star by any standard, you arrive at a gate old like you see in a field. Then a pond which should have had flamingos in it, it did have old plastic ons with paint falling off. No marble reception just wood and cement. The rooms was terribel smelly, no light in windows bloked by trees nerly all rooms are like this. Mold on walls, bath rusty and blinds dirty. Got moved to other rooms a bit beter still dark, turnd bed to find blood on sheets, windows didnt lock, ants every day in bath room had to put towels under doar to stop spiders bugs ect; got in one night to find a big toad on toilet rim, must have come up toilet, cocroches coming out of plug overflows! Babys cot left in trees out side room three days, matraes on balcony in damp rain also another bed matreas left out side four nights with cats on it. Not enough lights at night some broken. Air conditioning brok three times. Safe broke had to stay in room till 1 waiting for it mending. Pool lovely but dirty all ended up with ear infections. Beach lovley but no parm trees only scrub land. Beach party not on beach good but no room. Mossis all over every one, was bit over fifty times still got them now, took tabelets and every different sprays there is but all no good. Bar roof is filthy and seating area top was ripped and mouldy. Sat in reteption area one night and a big rat was running round inside top. They wanted 300 to move us to anther hotel but we found out later they had moved someone else for free with blood on sheets again. This was told from a nother lot of peopel that had paid to be moved. The staf were not that nice unless you tiped them all the time. Leon the childrens entertainer was briliant he made the resort, he is too good for that place. We will all six of us never be going back there again. Go to Sol Reo de Mares at Guardalavaca, beautifull palm tree beach. beautifull hotel, it is only a three star and we had not one complaint there. "
- Travel date: 12th September 2007
Me and my fiancÃ©e have just returned fr...
"Me and my fiancÃ©e have just returned from a 2 week all inclusive holiday at the Sol Cayo St Maria Hotel. We had a fantastic time and would like to share our comments with anyone thinking of going. Room Large apartment, very clean with a massive bed, tv, large bathroom, wardrobe, balcony, air conditioning and a safety deposit box (which is free of charge). Cleaners come in everyday and make the bed and mop the floor. I think they change the towels and bedding every 4 days. I would advise that anyone going, takes one of the towels from the bathroom and rolls it up so it fits against the door and this stops anything coming in under the door - ie mosquitoes, cockroaches and anything else that crawls!!! Beach Oh my god, what can I say about the beach. Absolutely fantastic, the most amazing thing I have ever seen. White sands, clear blue waters, abundance of sun-loungers and hut type umbrellas. Fantastic snorkelling along the reef, the tropical fish and barracuda's are out of this world. If your going on holiday to mainly snorkel I would take your own as the ones you can hire aren't amazing quality and when the hotel is full they've normally run out of them. Make sure you plaster yourself in at least factor 30 sun cream as the sun is extremely powerful and deceiving and you will get burnt very quickly. Restaurants The main restaurant in the hotel was great, there was always a good choice of food whether it was breakfast or dinner time. The ice cream and cakes were amazing and if you get to try the cookies with lemon icing on them - aren't they great! The only bad thing was the flies that were always in there and this is something that does need sorting. The pizzeria by the beach was great and did brilliant spaghetti bolognese and home-made pizzas with pretty much whatever topping you like. You can book for the a la carte restaurants but we didn't go in them, but from speaking to friends who did go in them, they said they are fantastic. But book in advance as they do get full quickly. Excursions We personally did the Catamaran and Remedios Trips. The Catamaran trip was outstanding and worth every penny. The 2 crew members look after you all the way, supplying you with drinks and a lobster or chicken dinner - which were both brilliant. You stop twice to snorkel and the second time is at a shipwreck which is phenomenal and a once in a life time opportunity. I would recommend this trip to anyone, truly a brilliant day out. The Remedios trip wasn't so good. It's an evening trip which takes you to a local town for a meal and then onto a club for a show. The meal which is at a random place with plenty of cats and skinny dogs wasn't really up to standard. The food was quite poor and most people didn't eat it. You get one free drink and other drinks are quite expensive. You then go onto the club where they perform a show for you which is good and then you can get up and be shown how to salsa with some of the dancers. By the time you get home it is around 1.30. The trip would be a lot better if you just went to the club and had something to eat in the hotel before you left. Mosquitoes/Insects We went to Cuba in rainy season which is the worst time to go if you don't like mosquitoes. They are everywhere and there is no escaping them. Two weeks before your holiday you need to take vitamin B12 and garlic capsules and keep taking them on holiday, also take 100 % Deet repellent spray, which is the only thing that will keep them away- but be careful with it as it is very strong stuff. Please don't go to a tropical island if you are expecting to not be bitten by mosquitoes - you will be!!! It certainly doesn't ruin your holiday, you just have to get used to them. You will also find large land crabs, cockroaches, flies, spiders, lizards, cats and a few other random bugs! Dont foget this is a tropical island - you are going to get lots of insects!!!! Lets face it in England we get cockroaches, flies, cats and crabs anyway! Overall if your looking for a romantic get away and two weeks of not doing a lot, then this is the place for you. The weather is fantastic and although it does rain almost everyday, its only for about 15 mins and then it dries up and is sunny again. You'll never be so glad to see rain after going to Cuba! The staff are very friendly and very appreciative of any tip you give them as they do not earn hardly anything. I would advise that you take thermos flasks with you and have one each as you can go up to the bar and get them filled up with whatever you like and it is then kept cool. There is a small shop in the hotel which sells crisps, sweets, biscuits, water, coke, sprite and alcohol, along with you souvenirs. Please make sure you drink at least one bottle of water each a day (1.5 litres) if not more, as you can get sunstroke very easily and it ruins your holiday. I would recommend this hotel and destination to anyone and had a fantastic holiday. Definately a destination to remember!"
- Travel date: 9th July 2007
We've just returned from Cuba (Sat, 26th...
"We've just returned from Cuba (Sat, 26th May 2007) and I thought I would just update people on a few things. The resort is wonderful and the sea and beaches are amazing. The Hotel is what you would expect from the Caribbean although not exactly 4-star standard. However, was very clean and the maid service was "second to none.â The people are amazing, I've never met people who are so genuinely friendly and will do literally anything for you. I don't usually like to moan but thought I should warn people about the mosquitoes - there are hundreds of them and you will, no doubt, get bit. However, if you take the Vitamin B1 Yeast tablets, garlic tablets, use 100% deet (which you can order from the internet), use scent free shower gel and deodorant - this all helps. Also, if you want to book the A-La-Carte Restaurants - get in early - we tried to book on our second week and they were fully booked from the Sunday for the remaining 6 nights for both the Mediterranean and the Italian Restaurants. We did have a fab holiday and if big Terry from Swinton is reading this - hello!! We would prefer not to go back to Cuba but only because of the mosquitoes. I hope this information is of some help to future visitors to the Santa Maria Sol Hotel in the Cayos. Forgot to mention - the sand and seas are amazing - beautiful colour mint green sea which is clearer than your bath water! Happy Holidays!! Regards, J and S from Rotherham, South Yorkshire."
- Travel date: 29th May 2007
I have just returned from the Sol Cayo S...
"I have just returned from the Sol Cayo Santa Maria (19th April - 5th May) and have been bitterly disappointed with the place. I will keep this brief... Rooms. Great on first entering, large beds, and spacious room... after a few days however the insects made an appearance - mainly cockroaches, ants, spiders and the occasional lizard. Also seen on site during our stay was enormous crabs, frogs by the coach load, grass snakes and apparently a baby scorpion although I never saw it personally. The place is infested with mosquitoes (not really the hotels fault I know) but nonetheless, made for a miserable vacation having been bit several times a day, every day. Complex. Reasonably attractive, well maintained although childrenâs pool was filthy. There is NOTHING outside of the hotel, not a single shop, cafe, bar...nothing and boredom was perhaps the worst part of the trip. That and the food. Food. Italian = fantastic, pizzeria = great food but no variety, beach snack bar = reasonable if you have the appetite of a nine year old, buffet= abysmal. Barely changed in 16 nights, I never want to see a chicken leg or fried rice again as long as I live!! Everything is fried and covered in fat, most of its cold and meat (what little you get) is often raw in the middle. Soups were lovely, as were the cakes and bread. Service. Great if you were prepared to spend Â£50 on your first day tipping every Tom, Dick and Harry a few peso's to ensure adequate service, otherwise prepare to wait a long time whilst the staff serve those who have spent a fortune tipping. Entertainment. Evening shows of good quality of not, like everything else, a bit repetitive. Animation team were there for their own entertainment not ours. They were normally sat chatting and mucking around, and putting on competitions and games seemed to infringe on their social life. That said, one or two were friendly and not too bad. Kids Club - virtually nonexistent. Okay, itâs open and available for use but unless you want your kids sat inside all day, alone, watching TV with a Spanish speaking woman then itâs not the best of facilities. Overall. I'm glad I only booked it 10 days before departure for Â£499 per adult, or I would be pretty furious now. As it happens, I paid well below the going rate and not too bothered however this is definitely not a 4* hotel (I donât think itâs been assessed since opening) and certainly not a 4*plus as Thomas Cook advertise. In my opinion, only go here if: a) you're getting a really cheap deal and b) you just want to sunbathe day in day out and c) donât have very high expectations for food."
- Travel date: 7th May 2007
My boyfriend and I went to this resort i...
"My boyfriend and I went to this resort in June and found it to be everything we thought it would, if not more. The staff were incredibly friendly and helpful. The room was large and airy with a fabulous view out to the sea! Bedding and towels were changed regularly and everything was clean. he only living thing that entered our room was mosquitoes (although very few) and a lizard, who we called John! The food was lovely. I have never seen so much choice, pasta, meat, veg, salad, chips, local specialties. The Italian restaurant on the resort is great food, if you can book more than once definitely do it. The pools are lovely. If you want sports, activities and music I would sit near the bar, if you are not a fan of children and would rather read and fall asleep I would go to the pool on the other side of this (opposite end of the restaurant). The resort is about a 5min walk to the beach (once you have found your way!) and its definitely as pretty as the pictures. We could never figure out where everyone was, no matter what time of day there was always plenty of space and privacy...it really did live up to my idea of a perfect beach. The one day we ventured out of the resort was to go on the Catamaran trip. This was excellent, a full day on the boat with a fresh lobster lunch and bar. We were lucky for 2 reasons (1) the day we went was an England world cup match so only about 15 of us on the boat (2) it was slightly overcast so no one got sun burnt. All in all a relaxing way to try snorkeling and break up lying around! The only issue with this holiday was the mosquitoes, but it was rainy season so probably did not help. Take some protective spray and relief spray with you (I would say lots of)! Overall a great place, definitely one to see, perhaps just avoid rainy season."
- Travel date: 27th October 2006
We recently returned to Cuba 3 times, ha...
"We recently returned to Cuba 3 times, having stayed in Varadero and Havana previously. We choose Cayo Coco from the brochure and having seen it on Thomas Cook TV being described as a Tropical Paradise and the best hotel in the Cayo's. Unfortunately it did not live up to the descriptions. The accommodation was poor, room was damp, had giant cockroaches and biting ants. The bed linen left a lot to be desired and was only changed once, the night before we left. The food was absolutely dire, repetitive, cold and bland. The cold starters, meats cheese etc was not covered and constantly covered in flies. What wasn't eaten the night before was served up for breakfast. There was no fresh produce only tinned fruit and frozen vegetables. The service was very poor, staff were dismissive of requests and on times rude. You had to tip first to receive any kind of quality service instead of tipping for good service. The hygiene of the swimming pool left a lot to be desired. Did not use it once. The resort was absolutely infested with mosquitoes. We took 3 repellents and had to buy another 7 bottles. You couldn't sit out in the day or evenings to socialise at all as you would be bitten to death. You had to be completed covered in clothing from head to foot all day. The only place you were safe was on the beach. This is not a four star all inclusive resort. We would not recommend this place to anyone. We have stayed in other 4 star and 5 star resorts in Cuba which were absolutely amazing. This one is absolutely appalling. Everyone complained. The flights were just as bad delayed over 9 hours outward bound and on return journey, Monarch air gave us a free pair of headphones which we had to return as an apology! Please think twice before you visit this resort, you will be bitterly disappointed. Other parts of Cuba have much, much more to offer and the standard elsewhere is much better as are the staff. You have been warned!"
- Travel date: 15th July 2006
My partner and myself thoroughly enjoyed...
"My partner and myself thoroughly enjoyed our trip to sol Santa Maria on 03-09-05. I agree with the idea of taking a bigger glass as its quite a walk from the beach to get a cold drink i found the beach very clean but the water was quite deep when we were there was a dolphin swimming very near the beach which was very exciting to see. The pools were very clean and the food was very good if you go early but donât leave it too late or all you will get is vegetables. If you like good coffee then this is the place to go as the coffee was to die for. A la carte restaurants also very good . We r going back in April and we are taking our daughter for her 21st birthday. "
- Travel date: 13th December 2005
Some people are just too picky
"This January (2005) will be my third time that I go to Sol Cayo Santa Maria. The food is good, the place is great and the atmosphere is fantastic. I have been to other places and I cannot wait to go back to the Sol Cayo Santa Maria each time. Do not expect to be served quickly because it is not in their values to be rushed and to rush. You are on Holidays, just relax... No you cannot expect bacon and you know what, it's fine. The most important thing is the Human Resources. The staff is very very friendly and nice and they try very hard. So, yes it is a 4-Star. Please enjoy your Holidays in another country as it should be : a change of scenery and a change in your way of life !!!"
- Travel date: 17th January 2005
Top traveller tips for Sol Cayo Santa Maria
"stay away from this location and hotel santa maria"
"take anti diaorreah tablets and lots of books/ games."
Sol Cayo Santa Maria is also called
- Sol Cayo Santa Maria Hotel
- sol hotel cayo santa maria
- cayo maria santa sol