Image of Sol Rio de Luna & Mares Resort Hotel

Sol Rio de Luna & Mares Resort Hotel

4 of 8 hotels in Guardalavaca

4 out of 5 from 26 reviews
4 stars
Ctra. de Guardalavaca | Playa Esmeralda, Guardalavaca, Cuba
This impressive 24 hour All Inclusive hotel is set amid beautiful scenery and offers numerous activities, making it a superb choice for families and couples seeking a beach-based holiday in peaceful surroundings.

26 Reviews

Traveller Rating

  • Excellent
    2
  • Very Good
    15
  • Good
    5
  • Average
    2
  • Poor
    1

Review Overview

  • Cleanliness
  • Entertainment
  • Food
  • Service
  • Location
bad bad bad
5 years 8 months ago
Totally inept service - booked a holiday with them needing them to cater for many young people who were travelling with us - they got all the details wrong despite countless calls to have the information changed. When I got to the hotel, they had no knowledge of some of the members of our party being on the booking - after much trouble we got everyone rooms - when we checked out they said they still had no knowledge that some of our members were saying (still can't work that one out) then charged us £550 for the 'extra' rooms. When we got back to the UK, we complained - 6 months later, we are still hearing that it is 'under investigation' - basically they don't want to give us the money back so they are hoping that we give up...I would strongly advise against booking with them as I 'stupidly' thought that travel agents were supposed to take the hassle out of booking a holiday...
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Recommended
Michelle
Beautiful country, friendly staff at hotel
6 years 5 months ago
We stayed at this hotel for the second time in 2 years arriving on the 12th October until the 26th.

The flight and transfer went smoothly taking approximately an hour from Frank Pais airport. We were quickly and efficiently checked in and was given room 5023 on the Luna side, which is the quieter side of the hotel.

First impressions of the room were amazing as we had a gorgeous view of the ocean, however, on closer inspection we noticed the bathroom was very shabby with black grime around the bath and my son noticed a massive cockroach on the wall which was enough to make my hubby complain at reception.

We were given the choice of two other rooms, one a suite and one a single room with 3 beds in. As our son is 16 we chose the suite which had an interconnecting room so we could have our own privacy. However, we could not have this room, which was on the Mares side number 3040, again with a great ocean view immediately as other people were already in it and had to wait a few days before we could move into it so we moved into the other single room for the meantime. This was not a problem as the lady at reception was very helpful and kind and we were just thankful to be moving out of 5023.

The maid came in every day and changed the towels and sheets and each day we were left 2 bottles of water in the fridge. The room always looked spotless when the maid had finished and we particularly loved the towel art left on the bed resembling a different animal every day.

Now onto the restaurants. The buffet restaurant had plenty of choice and was never overly busy so finding a table was never a problem. The only problem we did find was the food was often cold and this was even after arriving at the restaurant as soon as it opened so you would expect the food to be at least hot. The 24 hour snack bar over at the Luna side also had a nice choice of food and my son preferred to eat there as he thought the food was better but he is a very fussy eater. We only went to two of the A la Carte restaurants, the Italian and the Romantica. The Romantica was my favourite if just for the setting on the beach although the food was very nice as well and I must just say neither of us were ill at any time during the holiday. All the waiting staff were very nice and friendly and you never had to wait long to be served no matter how busy it was.

During the day we sat by the pool a few times and never saw any evidence of the grime in the pool. It always looked clean and there was always someone sweeping around the area and picking up any rubbish left lying around.

The garden areas are beautiful and the gardeners work very hard keeping it that way. The beach has got to be the best beach I've ever seen, beautiful turquoise sea and pure white sand. There were always plenty of sun loungers so there was no need to be up at the crack of dawn to lay your towels down. We also went into Guardalavacca quite a few times, once hiring bicycles and once we walked which is around 3 miles from the hotel and took around an hour to get there on foot.

The beach there too is just as beautiful with a nice little market selling trinkets and clothes. We were never bothered once by anyone trying to sell us things and we could go about our business without any hassle at all. We felt very safe and the Cuban people are among the friendliest people we've ever met. We were even invited back to one of the local's houses where we met the whole family and had dinner cooked for us which was lovely.

We did one trip which was to Santiago and that was great but it was a very long day as it was a 3 hour drive there and 3 hours back. I did want to do the overnight stay but Thomas Cook no longer offer this any more due to the lack of interest which is a shame as Santiago is an amazing city.

The evening entertainment was OK, nothing spectacular but the staff did their best to put on good shows and the water ballet was very impressive as were the singers in the Mares bar during the early part of the evening.

Overall we had a brilliant holiday and Cuba is an amazing country. I was very sad to leave and will miss all the lovely people we met. I will definitely go back to Cuba again but just not sure if we'll go back to this hotel again as we may decide to visit a different part of the country next time.
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Recommended
Not Specified
Great hotel with spacious rooms
6 years 8 months ago
Myself and daughters (18, 15) had a very enjoyable holiday here in July. Uneventful flight which was ahead of time.

The room wasn't ready but after speaking to staff it was sorted in minutes. The room was on the top floor and had the most fabulous view (so much so that my 18 year old who hasn't been in the sea for 4 years immediately changed and rushed down into it. Room was spacious. Many of the complaints about this hotel is that the rooms are dated, and yes they are but unless you are confined to your room for whatever reason they are perfectly serviceable. You will see bad paintwork, a bit of rust on the fittings, BUT the rooms are very clean and comfortable.

Public areas are clean but they could do with more bins/ashtrays around the pools and on the beach. Sunbeds are old especially around the pool.
Needs modernising but a great hotel
6 years 10 months ago
What gives this hotel a 4 star is the beach, in fact I would go as fair as saying that it's 5 star plus. Amazing.
This is what would make me want to stay here again . Yes it is in desperate need of modernising. The mares plus was disgusting and my son ended up with a nasty ear infection.

I would probably go back when they have updated it.
Staff mainly great. Odd few need to smile more.
Customer service at this hotel is the best I have come across. They want to make sure your stay is a good one.

Make sure you let them know if its a special occasion while your there. It was my 40th and they booked me a extra A la Carte and made a huge birthday cake, did a turn-down service for me with a bottle of champagne and petals and a nice letter for me on the bed on our return from the restaurant all free.
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Recommended
Had a wonderful time and would certainly visit again
7 years 7 months ago
Check in was fast and efficient. The rooms are dated but they are kept very clean. We had a few little problems with the room, broken drawer and bed. These were reported and someone came to fix them while we went out to eat. Very impressed with how quick they came. Air conditioning very good, had to turn it down of a night as would wake up too cold!

Beach is absolutely gorgeous. This is where we spent all of our time. There are two swimming pools and the teenagers in the party would go up in the afternoon and have a game of water polo.

As part of the all inclusive there are pedalos, kayaks, windsurfing and the excellent hobie cats. These can be booked at the club house in the morning. Horse riding is also free and lasts about 40 minutes. You have to ask for a riding hat and there doesn't seem that many available.

Food in the buffet was very good with plenty of choice. There was a problem with flies at times. There are two beach snack bars at either end of the beach and these turn into a la carte restaurants in the evening. The a la carte restaurants are all booked for you on arrival and it is very easy to change them if the days do not suit. They are all very good especially the French restaurant which is excellent. We managed to book an extra meal there. I found the service in the restaurants to be excellent.

The hotel runs a few free bike trips and a trip to a fishing village and Guardalavaca market on Tuesday morning for 6 CUC. This can be booked at the club house on the beach. Saw a couple of shows - the water ballet is extremely good and the dance show in the theatre but it was very hot in there.

Had a wonderful time and would certainly visit again. I saw many repeat visitors and they were treated like old friends. The staff, and Cubans in general, are the friendliest people I have come across.
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7 years 7 months ago
Arrived during the evening after a very good Thomas cook flight .

A Lovely welcome from staff out the front of the hotel dressed up and singing in colourful Caribbean style .

Despite only booking 2 standard rooms I had emailed ahead requesting ocean view rooms in luna block 5 and after a smooth and quick checkin I was delighted to fnd that is exactly what we had been given . (5303/5304)

Initial reaction on the rooms were huge beds . ( 2 doubles pushed together and another double for our son ) . Same in the other room . On inspecting the bathroom I was a little disappointed at it’s appearance and overall condition but it was clean and big with decent towels so the fact that the shower leaked, there were huge chips in the bath and the door didn’t shut didn’t worry us too much . We eventually leant that if you slam the door hard with the catch out that did the trick .The rooms had everything you needed including iron/ironing board , coffee maker and hairdryer .

When we awoke in the morning I just couldn’t believe the view from our balcony that greeted us .superb .

Beach : Fantastic . words just cannot describe it . Plenty of sunbeds available .It’s hard going trying to drag them through the sand yourself so let the sunbed man do it for you on the trolly . Things got busy in our 2nd week as school holiday time cranked up a gear. It was getting very busy down there and and I was getting down for 7-7.30 to secure a nice spot under umbrellas and having to drag sunbeds across the sand myself as it was too early for the sunbed man . believe me that is hard work in that early morning humidity. The week before you could easily have gone after breakfast or any time of day and had no problem.
Every morning started very calm and hot and around 11am each morning you suddenly felt the wind pick up. It was a huge relief from the humidity but the sea would then become fairly rough and unpredictable so beware when you are taking out pedeloes, canoes etc. Lot’s of Cubans on the beach of a weekend . Some people were very wary but I enjoyed watching them and didn’t feel any need at all to watch my belongings.

Food. & drink: Was suberb .No complaints there. A vast choice in the buffet including live cooking for meat & fish , pasta . The Flambayed Bananas were delicious. Plenty of fruit . loved the fresh smoothies at breakfast .
Again the buffet restaurant got very busy in our 2nd week and people were wandering aimlessly around searching for tables , added to the fact the tables could not be cleared or relaid fast enough gave an air of chaos. . tables for more than 4 were virtually non existent and as a family of 6 we normally had to eat separately of an evening . I did request tables to be moved together a couple of times but was refused. They seemed to have grasped things better in our last couple of days and you were asked to wait at the door for a table to become available or for one to be prepared and then you were shown to a table . Some people wernt happy but I thought it worked much more smoothly and a table for 6 was prepared for us .

There are 2 places for drink and food on the beach ,the best I think being the tented one at the luna end which doubles as the Romantica of an evening . There is also an excellent 24hour snack bar next to the luna pool (Italian in the evening) and a disco (essential for the teens) on the beach 11pm-2am .



We had reservations at the French, international, Italian and Romantica. We also went to the evening chillout dinner at mares Pool.

We enjoyed them all but Our favourite was the French Restaurant which I booked for my husbands birthday . They brought out a cake after dinner and kept us stocked up with champagne during our meal.

Drinks available as part of the A/I package are really good . Rum is free flowing and I have never seen so many concoctions go into a blender at a bar . Coffee was always good and Champagne was available at some bars and A la cartes is you asked. Beer was hit and miss only because half of the time it was served Flat . Not really sure of the reason for that.

On our 2nd week we discovered the spa building. It’s great for a chill around 6pm after you come off the beach or before getting ready for dinner.
It’s a lovely outdoor space with a fabulous raised but underover jaccuzi, a small plunge pool with sunbeds around , a sauna and gym .(No charge for any of this) We became addicted to a jacuzzi around 6pm . lovely and relaxing . My son and his girlfriend enjoyed a whole day there one day with a a couples massage (50 cuc), followed by a day lazing about in the sun there and using the facilities . The plunge pool they said was lovely and cool.

Diving :.My husband and 3 sons used Sea lovers on the beach who do 2 dives each day accept a Sunday when they are closed . The first goes at 9am which is the deeper of the 2 and another around 11.30 that is shallower . My family did 2 dives the first morning but they found it too much in such a short space of time and were very tired and pushed on the 2nd one with the extra current to battle on resurfacing . They then just used to do the early morning one which was normally in calmer /clearer sea and not as busy . Padi is not recognised in cuba so you need to be clear and careful with the diving depths you are comfortable with and qualifified to do . They didn’t make any checks on qualifications or experience so it really is down to you to keep a clear head with regards your own safety and insurance . They all enjoyed the diving there and the staff & guides were very good . Prices were very reasonable and included equipment if needed.

To sum up we had a lovely holiday at Luna & mares , made very special by the warm and friendly Cuban people, the fantastic beach and location and relaxed and happy feel . We did get a little bored half way through but relaxed again and by the time we had to go home we could of done with a few more days.Only thing I missed was some English/American Music . Probably would of used the mares pool more if there was a little of that to tap my feet too.
There is no advertising or capitalism in cuba but there was plenty to do if you wanted, with the hotel proving lot’s of trips out to local locations , horseriding , tennis etc but you had to seek this all out . Nobody would pester you to do anything or come looking for you launching into a sales pitch. It’s not often you get that now and it was very refreshing .
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Travel operator: Direct holidays

Recommended
7 years 8 months ago
Arrived during the evening after a very good Thomas cook flight.

A Lovely welcome from staff out the front of the hotel dressed up and singing in colourful Caribbean style.

Despite only booking 2 standard rooms I had emailed ahead requesting ocean view rooms in Luna block 5 and after a smooth and quick check-in I was delighted to find that is exactly what we had been given. (5303/5304)

Initial reaction on the rooms were huge beds. (2 doubles pushed together and another double for our son). Same in the other room. On inspecting the bathroom I was a little disappointed at its appearance and overall condition but it was clean and big with decent towels so the fact that the shower leaked, there were huge chips in the bath and the door didn’t shut didn’t worry us too much. We eventually leant that if you slam the door hard with the catch out that did the trick .The rooms had everything you needed including iron/ironing board, coffee maker and hairdryer.

When we awoke in the morning I just couldn’t believe the view from our balcony that greeted us .superb.

Beach: Fantastic. Words just cannot describe it. Plenty of sunbeds available .It’s hard going trying to drag them through the sand yourself so let the sunbed man do it for you on the trolley. Things got busy in our 2nd week as school holiday time cranked up a gear. It was getting very busy down there and I was getting down for 7-7.30 to secure a nice spot under umbrellas and having to drag sunbeds across the sand myself as it was too early for the sunbed man. Believe me that is hard work in that early morning humidity. The week before you could easily have gone after breakfast or any time of day and had no problem.
Every morning started very calm and hot and around 11am each morning you suddenly felt the wind pick up. It was a huge relief from the humidity but the sea would then become fairly rough and unpredictable so beware when you are taking out pedalos, canoes etc. Lots of Cubans on the beach of a weekend. Some people were very wary but I enjoyed watching them and didn’t feel any need at all to watch my belongings.

Food. & drink: Was superb .No complaints there. A vast choice in the buffet including live cooking for meat & fish, pasta. The Flambéed Bananas were delicious. Plenty of fruit. Loved the fresh smoothies at breakfast.
Again the buffet restaurant got very busy in our 2nd week and people were wandering aimlessly around searching for tables , added to the fact the tables could not be cleared or re-laid fast enough gave an air of chaos. . Tables for more than 4 were virtually non-existent and as a family of 6 we normally had to eat separately of an evening. I did request tables to be moved together a couple of times but was refused. They seemed to have grasped things better in our last couple of days and you were asked to wait at the door for a table to become available or for one to be prepared and then you were shown to a table. Some people weren’t happy but I thought it worked much more smoothly and a table for 6 was prepared for us.

There are 2 places for drink and food on the beach, the best I think being the tented one at the Luna end which doubles as the Romantica of an evening. There is also an excellent 24hour snack bar next to the Luna pool (Italian in the evening) and a disco (essential for the teens) on the beach 11pm-2am .



We had reservations at the French, international, Italian and Romantica. We also went to the evening chill out dinner at mares Pool.

We enjoyed them all but our favourite was the French Restaurant which I booked for my husband’s birthday. They brought out a cake after dinner and kept us stocked up with champagne during our meal.

Drinks available as part of the A/I package are really good. Rum is free flowing and I have never seen so many concoctions go into a blender at a bar. Coffee was always good and Champagne was available at some bars and A la cartes is you asked. Beer was hit and misses only because half of the time it was served flat. Not really sure of the reason for that.

On our 2nd week we discovered the spa building. It’s great for a chill around 6pm after you come off the beach or before getting ready for dinner.
It’s a lovely outdoor space with a fabulous raised but undercover Jacuzzi, a small plunge pool with sunbeds around, a sauna and gym. (No charge for any of this) We became addicted to a Jacuzzi around 6pm. Lovely and relaxing. My son and his girlfriend enjoyed a whole day there one day with a couples massage (50 cuc), followed by a day lazing about in the sun there and using the facilities. The plunge pool they said was lovely and cool.

Diving: .My husband and 3 sons used Sea lovers on the beach who do 2 dives each day accept a Sunday when they are closed. The first goes at 9am which is the deeper of the 2 and another around 11.30 that is shallower. My family did 2 dives the first morning but they found it too much in such a short space of time and were very tired and pushed on the 2nd one with the extra current to battle on resurfacing. They then just used to do the early morning one which was normally in calmer /clearer sea and not as busy. Padi is not recognised in Cuba so you need to be clear and careful with the diving depths you are comfortable with and qualified to do. They didn’t make any checks on qualifications or experience so it really is down to you to keep a clear head with regards your own safety and insurance. They all enjoyed the diving there and the staff & guides were very good. Prices were very reasonable and included equipment if needed.

To sum up we had a lovely holiday at Luna & mares, made very special by the warm and friendly Cuban people, the fantastic beach and location and relaxed and happy feel. We did get a little bored half way through but relaxed again and by the time we had to go home we could have done with a few more days. Only thing I missed was some English/American Music. Probably would of used the mares pool more if there was a little of that to tap my feet too.
There is no advertising or capitalism in Cuba but there was plenty to do if you wanted, with the hotel proving lots of trips out to local locations, horse-riding, tennis etc. but you had to seek this all out. Nobody would pester you to do anything or come looking for you launching into a sales pitch. It’s not often you get that now and it was very refreshing.
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Recommended
8 years 3 months ago
10 of us arrived on the 6th November 2009 staying for 7 days to celebrate my parents 40th wedding anniversary.

We stayed on the Mares side of the complex which was busier than the Luna side and we had a family room with a breath taking view of the beach from our balcony. I've read some bad reviews of this hotel but I cannot fault it at all and I would definitely go back. The staff were very friendly and couldn't do enough for you whether you tipped or not. I never once found people were being served at the bar first because of generous tipping even though we did tip a peso for every few drinks we ordered. There was plenty of choice of food and something for everyone even if you had picky eaters in the family like we did. The entertainment was good and we had lots of fun joining in the action. The beach is the best I've ever seen with powdery white sand and turquoise sea which didn't seem packed so we always managed to find a good spot to sunbathe. I would recommend this hotel to anyone and I'm looking forward to going back hopefully next year.
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Travel operator: Thomas Cook

Recommended
8 years 7 months ago
We arrived in July to celebrate our honeymoon. What a nightmare!

We were given a room on the Mares side which was very basic but it was clean. There were chips in the bathroom floor tiles and the decor was guady and from the 70's.

We stayed on an all inclusive basis and the choice of food was vast but luke warm if that.

On the fourth day I got severe food poisioning. This resulted in two weeks of constant diarrhoea and vomiting. A Few days after contracting this I wokeup one day and could not even get Out of bed. My husband then had to get the local doctor and had to administer a rather large jab into my behind and a some awful hydration sachets then had to be consumed over the next few days, all for the pricey sum of about
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Travel operator: First Choice

Graham & Sally
10 years 1 month ago
We stayed in the Mares side of this hotel,we learnt after being here a few days that the mares had a refurb last year,reception and bar areas very clean.

On arrival speedy check in,went to our room and within 10/15 minutes the porter arrived with our luggage.

Room was very clean and tidy,although the bathroom looked a bit tired,could have done with a refurb in here,but as we are only in the room to sleep/shower and dress it was more than ample for what we wanted.

Maid cleaned the room daily,clean towels daily,also fresh bottles of water left in the room each day.also the maid would do towel sculptures each day and leave on the bed,which we thought was a nice touch.

All staff in hotel were realy friendly,although the one thing that did annoy us was when we were waiting to be served at the bar in the evening,if it was the male bar staff on,they would always serve the Canadians first,the reason being they would stand there flashing a tip in their hand. Now dont get me wrong,we dont mind tipping,and did alot of this while we were here,but I refuse to stand and wave a tip about just to be able to get a drink.we found the best option was to find a seat and table in the bar area and a waitress would come and take our order and bring us our drinks to the table,and we would tip her every time,as she was not looking for it.

Two of the best girls in the bar area were praxide and orphelena,nothing was to much trouble for them,they will charm you with thier friendliness,look out for them !

Another one of our favourite members of staff was Ronald,he was one of the waiters in the buffett restaurant,what a charmer,but watch out he likes to play tricks on you,he is a practical joker,I cant wait to go back next year to see all three of them,they were truly lovely.

We visited each of the other restaurants while here,the mexican,cuban and italian were o k and worth a visit but our best meal was in the romantica,this is the restaurant on the beach,it is a snack/drinks bar by day,but in the evening they do it all up and make it look special,and the food was great.

As for the beach,it is stunning,such white sand and the water was different shades of turqouise,the sea was like a magnet,draws you in. We always got a sun bed and a parasol on the beach,obviously the earlier you go on the beach the more choice you have on where you want to be,we got on there each day about 10 and always had a bed/parasol,we only spent one day round the pool,as the sea was so inviting.
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Travel operator: first choice

Recommended

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