Jardines del Rey, Ciego de Avila—. Set in a prime location, against the backdrop of Las Coloradas beach, the Pullman Cayo Coco Hotel, whose staff is arguably its best attribute, charms visitors.
ON THE EDGE OF THE OLD BAHAMA CHANNEL
It comes as no surprise that French hotel chain, Accor, one of the ten largest in the world, with over 20 years experience in Cuba, decided to invest in an area known to many as the ultimate paradise, in the Jardines del Rey archipelago, off Cuba’s northern coast.
The five-star all inclusive Pullman Hotel is located in exotic tropical surroundings, between a natural coastal lagoon and long stretch of white-sand beaches.
This luxury resort was the latest to open its doors in the attractive tourist destination, in December 2015. The complex is divided into two sections: the main hotel with 566 luxury rooms, and a series of suits exclusively for adults known as The Collection. The hotel offers a wide range of recreational and relaxation facilities and services.
Just like others of its kind, the Pullman offers top-quality accommodation, characterized by luxury, comfort, a 24-hour personalized service, a gym, childcare services, and restaurants serving national and international cuisine. It also has comfortable and spacious rooms, is well-located, offers entertainment and live music performances, and is equipped to host large-scale events such as congresses and business and political conferences.
Those who visit this paradise will find six different swimming pools, where guests can cool off at any time, enjoy delicious drinks served at the pool bars, or participate in sports activities in the wide and well-maintained recreational areas.
The hotel also features a Spa with a jacuzzi and sauna for those recovering from jet lag; in addition to a gym - where guests can keep fit using the latest equipment - a tennis court, multi-purpose spaces and activities such as scuba diving, wind and kite surfing, as well as kayaking.
However, the majority of guests simply enjoy taking a stroll along the white-sand beaches and relaxing in the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean Sea.
To all this must be added excellent food and drink options, with eight different restaurants, including one serving Japanese dishes, with Tepanyaki tables and an open grill; a gourmet restaurant offering international cuisine; one which serves French food and another which offers traditional Cuban dishes, as well as a buffet.
What is more, the hotel features three different kids’ clubs for children up to 12 years of age, with a specially designed food menu and childcare service on request.
“A JOURNEY” BETWEEN THE WEB AND REALITY
Given that a few hours at the hotel barely constitutes a drop in the ocean, I figured that the most sensible thing before writing this article was to take a look at Tripadvisor, the world’s largest travel site.
According to María Cintia 1982 (Barcelona, Spain): “The complex is enormous and the facilities are all completely new. Lots of activities and recreational options, you won’t get bored. The bar tenders Miry, Omelio and Imo were great, super attentive, they were the best.”
356 Marcelo (Buenos Aires, Argentina) noted that: “Both the hotel and staff are marvelous, the beaches are the best in Cuba, first-class service, all very new and modern. Mr. Eridian was always attentive to our requests…”
While user SBFK (Uruguay) wrote that: “I was at the Pullman with my husband and family last week, it was a genuinely fantastic experience. We really enjoyed the pool activities and evening shows. We loved the food, both the buffet and the specialized restaurants. The room was very clean and spacious with a lovely view.”
These are just some of the opinions posted online by the thousands of vacationers who have visited the hotel since it opened, proving to clients that its five-star plus rating, a demanding category which places it among the most popular establishments, is well-deserved.
Hotel guests Melissa Gabos and Roasanne Allen, from Montreal and Hamilton respectively, two of Canada’s top emissary cities of tourists to Jardines del Rey, spoke to Granma International about their experience at one of Cuba’s top holiday destinations.
According to Melissa, of the ten times she has visited Cuba, nine have been to Jardines del Rey, and although she has traveled to other places around the world, she always makes time to visit this “beautiful island of lovely kind people. The Pullman is no exception,” she states.
Meanwhile, Cuba is Rosanne’s preferred destination. Although she has visited Santiago de Cuba, Holguín, Camagüey, Trinidad, Varadero, and Havana; ever since crossing the threshold, years ago, of the Tryp Cayo Coco Hotel, one of Jardines del Rey’s longest-standing establishments, Rosanne has stayed in hotels located on Ciego de Ávila’s northern keys, during more than half of the over 18 visits she has made to the island.
In addition to its stunning white-sand beaches, Rosanne also highlighted the warmth and charm of Cubans among her reasons for returning, describing Jardines del Rey as a “beautiful destination” where the “magic of the people is its best attribute.”
PERFECTION DOESN’T EXIST, BUT EXCELLENCE DOES
Although he never became a famous musician, or had the voice of Frank Sinatra, as founder of the artistic group Maraguán, from Camagüey’s Ignacio Agramonte University, and singing in provincial bands Jácara and Swing la Tinta in the 1990s in Ciego de Ávila, Luis Armando González Fraser has learnt to modulate his voice, so much so that you have to lean close to hear what he’s saying.
Sitting in the hotel lobby, with a keen eye on everything that goes on in this world of comings and goings, Luis, deputy director general of the hotel, speaks with a sense of belonging and offers singular details about the establishment which, he proudly notes, only exists in Cuba.
“Our hotel is Accor’s first all inclusive in the world. It’s the only one of its kind, because almost all the rest are located in big cities. The Pullman Cayo Coco breaks with this tradition a little and the results have been excellent.
“We believe that this is down to the professionalism of our staff, the majority of whom are trained in the province, and joint efforts between Cuban and international partners. For example, we have a reservation rate of 95%, and on various occasions during peak season we reach maximum capacity and have been overbooked. Perfection doesn’t exist but excellence does, and this is one of our hotel’s strengths.”