Summary: this resort is a solid 3 star for Cuba with standard Cuban food and drinks but the biggest selling point here ( and the reason we will return) is the weather !! In the high 30’s every day and no rain. For more info and some tips to make the most of your stay please read on…
We travelled to Los Corales Dec 27 – Jan 3 with a family of 12 (aged 12 yr to 78 yrs). We have travelled many times to Cuba including Manzanilla, Santa Lucia, Cayo Coco as well as other parts of the Carribean ( Mexico, Antigua, St. Thomas, San Juan, Costa Rica). I had researched this resort and we new what to expect. The resort was not even 1/4 full so we felt like we had it to ourselves. They just opened the week before we got there. The sister resort the Carisol also had low occupancy. We could go back and forth to both resorts but basically stated at the Corales. We were told that they are trying to make the Carisol the ‘party’ hotel for the younger crowd. NOTE: there was NO internet at either resort!!
Rooms: We stayed in 501, 502, 504 which is right near the Coffee bar and entertainment which was perfect for us. Others from group stayed in 106 and 108 which was perfect for them as it was further away from the music and early moring coffee goers. Rooms were cleaned daily and towels refreshed, no smell, no bugs, fresh sheets, great patio with chairs. We did not need convertors for electricity. There is a fridge but there is nothing in it. Safes for us were free but we needed to get someone to come and activate it for us. HINT #1 – the 500 block only has mirrors in the bathroom…bring a mirror if you will need to do hair and make up while the bathroom is occupied. HINT # 2 – Bring some extra toilet paper as they refill everyday but only one roll..so bring some in case of emgerencies HINT # 3 – If you want a quieter room ask for 100 or 200 as they are further away from the action. HINT # 4 -The beds are hard and the pillows are slim. If this is a problem for you bring an extra pillow or drink more before you go to bed.
HINT # 5 -There are no clocks in the rooms so make sure you bring an alarm clock or watch or you will be like me and wondering what time it is
Restaurants and Bars: There are 3 bars 1) Daiquiri Bar by entertainment 2) Swim Up bar 3) Lobby Bar. these bars are opened at different times during the day. they have cappachino and expressor but did not know how to make a spanish coffee. Some of the drinks available are Cuba Libre, Mojito, Pina Colada, Hemingway Special, Ron Punch, Planters Punch, Gin Fizz. They also have draft beer on tap. If they ran out of beer they replaced the keg ASAP however when they were out of vodka they would not go get more at another bar. Pool Bartenders ( Ovidio and Ivan were fantasitc) but others were sparatic in terms of there moods and service. HINT #6 – They do not have diet soda/pop. A nice drink for the calorie cautious is Sparkling water,lime and vodka or rum. Ask Ovidio at the pool bar to make you one!! HINT # 7 – Drinks will taste different at every bar depending on who makes it. HINT # 8 – Sparkling water is water with ‘gas’ so be sure to ask for gas or no gas water HINT # 9 – Bring a thermos mug as the cups are small and plastic HINT # 10 – If you like to drink out of a straw in a big mug, take some straws.They did have them at the end of the trip but they were short ones HINT # 11 – If you like Bailys Irish Cream…bring you own..I wish I had for my coffee HINT # 12 – They only have red wine, which was pretty good , so if you like white, bring your own. FOOD We always found something to eat. There was always a carving of beef , chicken and fish on the grill. Buffet offers soup, salade, great buns, a variety of potatoes which changed daily, beans, veggies etc. They had ketchup, mustard, HP sauce and hot sauce. You will need to know when the restuarant are open as there are periods of time when there is no food available. Breakfast at the buffet only ( 7:00 – 10:00) with typical breakfast options including an ommlette grill, real bacon, boiled eggs, meat , cheese and buns, pancakes, french toast etc… Lunch options are buffet ( 12:30 – 2:00) or Italian Grill at the Corisal or Grill at the beach. Grill had fries and burgers or hot dogs. Italian had pizza or pasta. Dinner options same as above but Grill turns into a Seafood resturant which needs reservations ( Lobster and Shrimp are extra) and Italian is the same menu and also needs reservations which need to be booked the same day at 10:00 am.
HINT # 13 – get to the lobby early if you want to book the Italian as it fills up fast
Beach/Pools/Grounds: POOL The pool was cleaned daily however they were very lax in the cleaning of the pool deck. The candy we dropped on the first day was still on the pool deck on the fifth day.The pool guy did not work too hard and sat drinking beer after the bar opened ( sorry..but we watched this every day!!) Pool chairs where fairly new and in good shape but very hard on the butt.. We pretty much had the pool to ourselves so there was no issue getting a spot. The towel lady appeared every day about 10:00 and was there until 4:30 so you can exchange your towel every day. You will be expected to turn in the # of towels that you signed up for or there is a charge.
HINT # 14 – Take a small air mattress to blow up as a cushion on the lounge chairs
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel: STAFF Bar staff – at pool were AWESOME!!! Ovidio and Ivan we miss you ..thanksfor taking care if us!! Maids – were very efficent and friendly but I have to admit I did not even see ours as we were not in our room much. Others in family talked to them daily and they called them by name. Gardeners and Security – lots of both of these around everywhere and they were friendly Activities staff – WHAT Activities staff??? really..did not see anyone in charge of activities for the first 3 days..when they did show up they announced Salsa lessons at 4:30 ..but never showed up..VBall at 4:00 and never showed up..and this went on every day. We actually made a joke of it until finally a water polo game did materialize. We were a group of adults and kids who would have participated and were disappointed at this aspect of the resort. Even the dive instructor was disinterested in drumming up participants and when we did go to get a lesson, he sat at the bar drinking beer while the bartender hooked us up with the tanks. Honestly, our take on the activities staff was they were lazy, but maybe there were at the other resort. HINT 15 – If you plan on doing alot of activities you may be disappointed as they were non- existent at this resort. Entertainment There was entertainment every night that started at 9:30. The dancing got repetative but they switched it up with some audience participation, a magician and water ballet. WEATHER – 3 words..HOT HOT HOT..mid 30`s every day ( I always take a themometer so I know the daily temps ) and at night went down to 25 or so..very few clouds and not a drop of rain!!! this is why we will come back…. HINT 16 – Bring a thermometer and tie it to your chair so you can tell your friends how HOT it was !! TIPS and GIFTING We tips the bartenders and wait staff but also brought tons of gifts like shoes and batteries and duct tape etc etc… HINT 17 – They realy need shoes especially running shoes so if you have good used ones bring them to give away. HINT 18 – Don`t forget about the gardeners and cooks. EXCURSIONS We did the 2 hr horse back riding which was fantastic. We took knapsacks full of goodies to give out along the way as we rode through the mountains. cost – $15.00 We did the snorkel excursion through Marlin on a catamaran where we were out on the water for 4 hrs, fished and snorkeled…saw great sea life and caught 5 fish. A very fun trip – cost $45 We also did the dolphins which was the highlight for some – took the bus and watched the show and swam with dolphins for $55.00 NEW YEARS EVE CELEBRATION This was a special night for them where they roasted a pig, decorated the dining room , had fancy desserts, served champagn, had nice appetizers. We took horns and glow stick and hats and were glad as they did not have any of this.
The entertainment was the same dancers as the other nights..and at NYs there was a count down and more champagne.
Other Comments: CLOSING SUMMARY
We would return to this hotel for the weather and the people. The food is basic but still good and no one went hungry or got sick. If you are looking for a no fuss resort with great weather then this is the resort for you. If you are looking for 5 star dining and fancy accommodation this is not the place for you.