The colonial era is also ever-present at this resort, with pastel-colored colonial-style buildings and walkways. The central lobby is in a lush tropical enclosure filled with plants and a central water fountain. The hotel has three à la carte restaurants, including a main buffet and an Italian and a criollo restaurant. There are sports facilities galore here, as well as activities from pool games and entertainment to aerobics and nonmotorized water-sports like windsurfing, snorkeling, volleyball, and sailing.
Cayo Coco, unknown, Ciego de Ávila, Cuba
Jul 15, 2011
I and my spouse went to the Blau Colonial between June 21-28, 2011 for a one week stay to celebrate minus the kids. After reading past reviews, I knew some of the negative comments could be completely unrealistic due to different expectations of the resort and what someone wants from there holidays. However, the resort and our stay at the Blau Colonial was simply fantastic! Better than expected and definitely value for money. Flights Flew from Toronto
with Sunwings. One of the worst organized flight we have been to. Couples were sitting separately and even kids were separate from at least one parent and people were moved around even after being given seats and boarding passes. Transfers Very well organized. A person was there to guide us to the bus as soon as we exited the airport. Once in the bus it took about 30 minutes before we departed as they were waiting for one person who took his sweet time exiting the airport. Please note do apply insect repellents before you exit the plane as you will be swarmed by the deadly neighbourhood mosquito gangs. LOL. Spouse was bitten on every exposed area- luckily had taken after bite with us in our hand bag. I quickly exchanged C$50 at the airport as I wanted to see what the exchange was. There are 2 places where you can do the exchange. First is just in between the departure door and the arrival doors while the second place is inside the departure area. I got 45.50 CUC. Arrival at Blau Colonial Just took 15 minutes to get to the resort. The person who was the official receiver in the bus spoke the whole way about Cayo Coco and the 15 minutes just flew by. As we were the first people in the bus our luggage came out last. Some resort staff were there to greet the regulars and it was nice to see this kind of welcome. While I was getting the bags out, my spouse went to the reception. I had requested an ocean view room on the third floor 2 weeks before we departed and our request was honoured. By the time I got there she already had the electronic keys to the room and the a-la-carte booking slips. I again exchanged another C$50 to see the difference between the airport and the resort and I got 45 CUC here. So there is not much difference. If you have time get the exchange done at the airport and if not get it done at the resort. They have a CADECA (bank) behind the reception area which I presume is open till 9 pm and once closed the resort reception does the transaction. Rooms The bell boy was ready near the reception to take our luggage to our room which was a distance from the reception. He put our luggage in an electric vehicle and we sat next to him. Within 7 minutes we were in our room. He carried our 2 bags for us to our room and that was the most tiring part. This is where I gave my first tip. He explained stuff related to our room to us and left us as there were other patrons to be tended to in the reception lobby. The room was beautiful with colonial styled bed and an up to date washroom. The bed consists of 2 double beds pushed together. The bed was neither too soft nor too firm. Perfect for a good night’s sleep. Also present was a bottle of rum with a generic letter from the general manager addressed to us with timings of all buffet and grills that were open. The bar fridge was filled with a can of beer & a cola plus a bottle of water. Also ready was a coffee maker with cups and all necessary ingredients. Many people say the bathrooms need work with them in their reviews but all I can say that ours was in great shape. Cuba is not a rich country and I wasn’t expecting a state of the art modern washrooms but what I saw was beyond my expectation. There was a shower, bath, toilet and biday, all very clean. Also there was a hair dryer and a phone in the washroom. Our hair dryer didn’t work but as we were never going to use it I didn’t care. Shower pressure was also good not weak as I had read in the reviews. The only tip I can give you here is that make sure you check the shower head is secured. It seems that the cleaning maid did a good job in cleaning the washroom but did not properly secure the shower head and while I was checking the hot/cold taps to set the temperature the shower head came hurling down to my head. That hurt so secure the shower head before you turn the water on. The shampoo and conditioner left in the washroom is not of the greatest quality so bring your own. Soap can be used to wash your hands but limit it to that. Moisturizing cream is too left for us. While taking a shower make sure the curtain edges are put inside the tub and press them. This will prevent water from flowing outside. First evening As the buffet would have closed in the next 35 mts we made our way to the buffet. The map was a little difficult to read so we just followed other patrons until we hit the pool and didn’t know which way to turn. A quick question to a person enjoying her walk and we were then in the buffet at 9.35 pm. Even at that time the staff were ready to make a pasta sauce according to my taste but all we wanted was to eat some light food. Had some red guava, pineapple and some rice and we were done. We stopped by at the Salsa Cafe to see some entertainment and spent about 10 mts there before we decided to explore. We took the same path as we were driven to our room and figured out at least one route. We headed straight to the beach but it was too dark to see anything. With lightening in the distance and nothing much to do we decided to have an early night. Pool area The salt area pool was neatly kept and was cleaned for any crabs that might have fallen in the pool every morning. Life guards were everywhere. Showers are there to clean yourself and plenty of lounge chairs and umbrellas to protect you. Everyone is ready to assist you and talk to you. Kid’s pool is in a separate area close to the buffet and the salt water pool has an area which is meant for kids and is quite shallow. The fresh water pool was still under renovation. Beach Could see staff cleaning the beach from our balcony but the weeds would keep coming in. There was too much garbage left behind by tourists who litter the beach and the staff try to keep up with cleaning it. They were always patching the huts with fresh palm leaves and would appreciate it if you can get them a drink from the beach bar. There are people who sell coconut water with rum for 3 CUC on the beach. On a busy day like weekends make sure you reserve the chairs in the morning otherwise you will have the chair but not under a shade. Grounds Gardeners make sure the place is well maintained with beautiful plants everywhere. There is a pond which houses 2 ducks, a few turtles and lots of koi and goldfishes. Every evening insecticide is sprayed to keep the grounds free of mosquitoes. Staff Blau has some wonderful staff that touches your heart. One of the best bar man I have ever met is Liber who works in the main lobby. Kathy who works with him is a jewel of a person and Saily who is a student makes the best ‘mojito’ you can drink. Then there is Edulida and Yunia at the buffet. Edulida always kept the table clean and was always there if we needed something. Yunia knew that we didn’t eat pork and made sure that no pork came close to our omelette. Then there is Ricardo who always helped no matter where he was as a server. One of the gardeners’ Yemini would always help you get the coconuts from the tree and cut it for you. A lot of people never tipped him but he would still never say no to anyone. Also Dayami, Tito and Michel in Public relations were always there to assist you or to give you company. Jackie at the main reception is always helpful. Kelly and her entertainment team were great. Just as all fingers are not same there are some staff that would be obnoxious and rude. Just look beyond them. A lot of staff especially life guards and gardeners would hit on girls and woman. My spouse was hit on so many times that she laughed it out. They all wanted to marry any girls they could lay their eyes on! lol. Ariel the Sunwing rep is a wonderful man and will help you with tips on where you can save money and what can be done. The maid kept the room nice and clean and if we wrote a note for her there would be a thank you note written for you. Food Food is not the best but every attempt is made at the buffet to please your taste. A-la-carts are not all the same. We hated the food at the sea food place but loved the Caribbean and Italian place. It’s just a hit and miss at the restaurants. Sometimes there was no fish or sometimes no beef. As it was off season all the dinners were at the Italian restaurant. We took all our Popeye, KFC and Taco Bell sauces with us. We are fussy eaters but hey this is CUBA, who goes there for food. Just take your condiments. Staff there love our BBQ sauces and Heinz ketchup. Leave that behind and they will love it. Cuban Ketchup doesn’t taste the same as what we get here in the Western world. I left behind all the hot sauces and had to ration them out as everyone wanted them. The grill at the pool side makes wonderful veggie pizza and cheeseburgers. The only problem is getting the server to take your order and get the food takes eternity. The 24 hour grill makes the best toasted cheeseburgers. Drinks Never did they run out of anything. Liber would surprise us with his special fruit drinks. They even have a coffee machine in the bar in case you want to drink their amazing Spanish Coffee. Entertainment There is entertainment every night for kids and adults. One show was related to the Titanic and the guy dressed like Celine Dion. I laughed my head off. They will also involve patrons to participate in a friendly competition to crown Ms Blau Colonial for a week and it also ends with a group dance. A trip to the bat cave is also organized for 15-25 CUC twice a week. While we were there, there was a fashion show at the pool and also at the Salsa Cafe. You also get to take the peddle boat out for an hour or can take a catamaran trip for half an hour or take the canoes out. Also there is salsa dancing, tennis, volley ball etc. Trips Took a hop on hop off bus to Pilar beach. Reminded me of all the wonderful beaches in Australia. Review will be put up for Pilar beach soon. Another excursion we did was to Ceigo De Avila. Cost us about 75 CUC per person. Drove through a 17 km causeway where you can see a lot of pink flamingos and through the streets of Moron, with a tricycle ride in the Ciego De Avila plus lunch and a stopover to a local cigar making factory, Cuban music and a workshop that makes jewellery and artefacts from silver. The lunch time wasted a lot of our time which could have better been utilized by taking our orders first and having them ready when we arrived there. We sat there for an hour and a half to have food served with pork. As we do not eat pork they took pork out but did not replace the same amount of pork with any other meat i.e. we got less meat then what other got. We did some souvenir shopping and money exchange at a bank which is housed in the Royal Bank of Canada building. Exchange out there was 98.5 CUC to C$100. Didn’t have enough time to explore the beautiful city. On the way back they stop for a steam train ride through a sugar cane field and another speed boat ride. Both well worth the money you have paid for the trip. Another trip we did was the glass bottom boat. Were lucky to go on this trip as one day the boat was broken while for 3 days the water was very rough. Other patrons who were putting this off to the last 3 days did not get a chance to take this wonderful trip. A tip - take your own snorkelling gear and some banana or bread to see and feed the fishes. Snorkelling gear is provided but leaks and is unhygienic. My Dollar store gear was of better quality then provided by the boat. Fishes come to you if you have food around you. Is worth the trip. $20 for adults and $10 for kids. If you pay at the beach kids can be squeezed in for free. Washroom is not meant for females. If you need to sit just avoid it. Too cramped up and dirty. Horseback riding was so much fun. For 10 CUC they take you for a 1 hour ride. Pick up is outside the resort. Make sure that you put a lot of insect repellents on yourself. We were bitten so many times while riding close to the lagoon that all we were doing during the ride was scratching our self. At one point I saw about 30-50 mosquitoes on my wife’s leg. Wearing full pants is recommended. Cayo Coco airport. We found Cuban honey to be 10 cents cheaper at the airport as compared to the resort. Souvenirs were more expensive at the airport. At the resort they say they take credit cards but then the line will be down when you go to pay them. The stands close to the buffet at the resort take US$, C$ or CUC if you buy from them. Ricardo one of the sales guy is a very honest person. Tip - do some bargaining as they will always drop a dollar or 2. Alcoholic drink is about 1 CUC cheaper or 3 CUC expensive then the resorts. It’s just a hit and miss with the drinks. If you have space in the your luggage buy it at the resort or just wait till you check in your luggage and then buy from the duty free stores. Because we bought some drinks and souvenirs for the kids at the resort and during our trips our bag was about 5 kgs more but the person checking our luggage let it go. I paid her 2 CUC tip and she was more than happy. There is a small area to smoke at the airport. If you have not paid more or are not in the elite class Sunwings make you go in last. Same goes with the food offered in the plane. If you are not close to the elite seats you might not get your first choice of food. One our way back we were not served any snacks or pop. You only had a choice of water and wine. Summary Loved Blau Colonial and will definitely go there when I get a chance again. Remember for patrons going back there is a courtesy lunch visit to a farm in a toy train. The couple who were on a second visit to the Blau went on this trip and loved it. They had pictures of them holding crocodile and a boa constrictor. Looking forward to going on this courtesy tour next time I visit Blau. Tip- go there with an open mind and do not let the negative reviews upset you. When I booked my trip Blau was number 5 in the list of resorts in Cayo Coco but now was 7. Seems that negative reviews were put up by people who wanted 5 star treatment or were loyal patrons of other resorts or simply Blau’s competitors. One couple who was a regular from NH Krystal who were moved here simply kept on complaining the whole time. If you want to enjoy don’t compare and you will have a blast. If you have any questions do not hesitate to ask.