Cayo Coco Trip Reports: Emperador Laguna Villas & Resort (formerly NH Krystal)

NH Krystal Laguna, Cayo Coco, Cuba, Beach

Emperador Laguna Villas & Resort, Cayo Coco

Emperador Laguna Villas & Resort Official Site

March 2008
Oshawa Family (baby 19mos)

Firstly, I’ll start off by saying that we got what we considered a great deal for this resort – $2375 CAD for 2 adults and a child (4)and toddler (19 months), so from that perspective we thought we got really good value for the price.

After reading a lot of reviews on this resort, the rating on this site (3.5 stars) is probably correct. We had a good experience compared to some people. We arrived late morning and did have to wait for a room as check-in isn’t until four. We ended up getting a room mid-afternoon and had no problems checking in. We had emailed ahead of time requesting a terrace (noting we had small children, so we were really hoping to get one as we have naps etc.). We got a terrace and a really great location (block 20). We requested a crib and had to ask again once we were in our room but got a nice new crib. The room itself was basic but spacious enough. Lots of people have noted that this resort is so large but we didn’t find this to be the case, even with carting around two kids, a stroller and all the gear.

Probably our only complaint with this resort was that they were understaffed, which likely means that the overall management of the resort isn’t that great. This of course led to lots of line-ups. We’re pretty relaxed people and didn’t get too uptight about it but it was a little annoying to line up for the buffet, towels, booking a la cartes etc. This isn’t a reflection on the staff themselves who are just trying to do the best they can but are overwhelmed (i.e. one day the grill at the Laguna pool had about 80 people in it with two waiters and one bartender!).

As everyone says, you don’t go to Cuba for the food and this is true. Sometimes the selection was a little on the slim side but there was always a few nice fresh things to choose from – you just need to be creative sometimes. A note for those with kids, a lot of the restaurants only have a few older highchairs that don’t have straps – so if you have an escape artist then bring a belt!

Didn’t use the kids club, checked it out and the facilities are fairly basic but they do have a nice little pool and covered area for the kids to play. The rest of the pools at the resort are nice also. There isn’t any shade right by the pool (the cabanas are set farther back) so when you want to be right by your kids at the pool it is hard to get out of the sun. The beach is of course as beautiful as everyone says and perfect for little kids – seemed to be lots of chairs and cabanas there. Also, there are bathrooms along the bridge over the lagoon that aren’t that far.

Overall, the amenities and facilities are all there and the resort itself is quite nice and it could easily be much better with a little more attention. Hey, it is what it is and if your there for sun, sand and fun with your family like us then you’ll have a great time – just bring a cerveza for the lines:)

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September 2006
Tova & Family (baby 9mos)
We just got back from a great family vacation with our 9-month-old baby. This review might help those of you who are looking for a place to go with your little ones. Accommodations: Our room, on the Laguna side, was fine. We stayed in building 20, which was close to the pool, buffet, and close to the other side of the resort (where the games room and nightly entertainment are located). A few ants but no other beasties. There were actually quite a few babies at the resort. We didn’t bring a crib/playpen, but wish we did. Despite ordering a crib ahead of time and calling ahead of time to confirm, we went without a crib for the first night. I didn’t sleep a wink! Fortunately, we had a crib by the second night, which worked out well. Another Canadian couple brought their playpen from home, which I would recommend. We flew with Air Canada, which allowed a lot of luggage weight. Food/drinks: We don’t go to Cuba for the food! I am a really picky eater and am vegetarian, but I didn’t starve. The drinks were OUTSTANDING! The bartenders at the lobby bar are really good (Freddy, Felix). Cool tricks with ice & bottles flying through the air. We brought our own baby food and bottled water. I’m sure you can use the bottled water from the room for the baby, but I didn’t know that when I packed for our vacation. Once you pass through security at Toronto airport, you can buy a few bottles of water for the trip. At the end of your trip, give your extra diapers, baby food and toys away. Felix the bartender at the Laguna lobby bar has a 9-month-old baby girl and a 8-year-old boy and really appreciated what we gave him for his kids. The staff at the hotel was sooooo nice to our daughter. We spent a lot of time walking early in the morning (my daughter woke up at 6 am every day). I drank many cafe con leches at the lobby bar every morning! Beach: It was super windy the first couple of days we were there, resulting in a red flag. Those were the most fun days, as we were able to body surf and jump in the waves. By the end of the week, the ocean had calmed down and was good for snorkelling. The beach is so nice and is not crowded, like in Varadero. Our daughter enjoyed the beach more than the pool because it was warmer. Day trips: We went horseback riding (only 10 pesos each) and snorkeling at Pilar Beach (49 pesos each). Both are worth it. The horse back riding was not that exciting- you go down an old road for 20 minutes, along the beach for 15 minutes (just beautiful) and back on the road for 20 minutes. However, the price was so cheap that it made it worth it. The snorkeling was amazing, according to my husband. He went with my 11-year-old brother, my 15-year-old sister, and my mom. They saw amazing fish, starfish, etc. and the beach was beautiful. Make sure you bring your own snorkeling equipment. This resort was great for our family. It is so close to the airport and the flight from Toronto was quite short. Plus, the price was unbeatable! We had a great time and will be back.
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