Hotel Melia San Carlos
Melia San Carlos is a refurbished hotel right in the centre of Cienfuegos, Cuba's Pearl of the South.
Just a few minutes' stroll from the central square in Cienfuegos, the totally refurbished Melia San Carlos, which was originally established in 1925, opened its doors in the summer of 2018 with spanking new contemporary furnishings. The hotel has a brilliant location in an elegant city whose eclectic style refers back to its French origins – step outside and discover art deco façades of a city justifiably known as the Pearl of the South.
Unusually for this Caribbean island full of colour, the décor is mostly white, silver, chocolate and black, but some features from the original building remain, such as the ornate façade and layout of the lobby to which a restaurant, bar and two inner courtyards have been added. The bright-white air-conditioned guest rooms are similarly innovative, with up-to-date bathrooms. They have views over the city as does the celebrated roof garden with its friendly bar and restaurant overlooking the bay
What our clients say
97% of our clients rated their experience with us as Excellent or Good.
Most Memorable Moment?: Horse riding to the waterfall in TrinidadCJC,
Loads of music. Watching sax player at sunset, Hotel Melia Buenavista, Cayo Santa Maria Buenavista, Cafe Taberna, Christmas Day.JP, Bedford
Most memorable: "The driving around seeing all the towns and villages and their inhabitants. Seeing and understanding how life has progressed since the revolution. We also found the scenery amazing in many parts. Hard to pick out one memorable part as there was so much we enjoyed."GG, Chepstow
Highlight?: Our stay in TrinidadPD, Woking
The live music in all the bars, restaurants and on street corners everywhere. We loved the variety of Havana , vinales, Trinidad and the flop on the beach at the end at Cayo Santa Maria.LD, Beaconsfield
Most memorable experiences: Trinidad, the town and evenings full of local music were fantasticSS, Newcastle upon tyne
The food was better than we had feared (but they routinely overcook seafood, so stick with chicken) and there was more English spoken than we had expected. Weather was great. The state of the buildings generally was better than we had been led to expect - although there is a lot of work outstanding in the southern parts of the Old Town in Havana. People are helpful. The country is clearly at an interesting stage of its development - which is why we wanted to go - and might go in many directions from here; not all of them favourable. Roads, particularly outside towns, were empty.PR, Edinburgh
The visit to Vinales - we loved the scenery and the remoteness - and the Escambray mountains.LJ, Wokingham
Havana..colourful and crumbling...a prince inside paupers clothes, colonial architecture Trinidad..marvellous and whilst it is built on tourism, within 2 blocks of the historic centre you are in another world. Music, music, music..the talent is extraordinary. Food getting better all the time.DS, Cambridge
Most memorable experience: “the vibe and architecture of Havana; driving on the roads of Cuba - empty motorways, gigantic potholes, no signs, picking up random people who flagged us down; cigar rolling and smoking on a tobacco farm in Vinales; daily daiquiris and mojitos, especially those in Hotel Nacional garden; gorgeous peaceful countryside; noisy people and music everywhere; but also extreme poverty and areas that had barely moved from early 20th century; every Cuban we spoke with said how hard living was and that no one could survive on one job. We had such an interesting and wonderful time and will definitely return.”SB, Lewisham
Although I loved the history, architecture, parks, animals wandering about and music everywhere etc, I'm afraid I fell hopelessly in love with the people most of all. I felt more at home here than anywhere else I can think of.PP, Sawbridgeworth
Most memorable experience: "Sunday morning Masses in Cathedral in Havana and Iglesia Parroquial in Trinidad. Going on the ferry from Havana to Casablanca and walking round the area of the Cabana fort."PC, Wallington
Highlights: “Freewheeling through Cuba and exploring Old Havana brilliant – as were Maria La Gorda – beautiful spot, unspoilt, simple but perfectly adequate hotel. Also the people – lovely”.ES, Buntingford
Most memorable experience: "It had to be La Guarida paladar in Havana, travelling in the vintage cars and also the Casa de la Musica in Trinidad, just sitting outside in the evening."ZEW, London
Driving was fascinating & not too stressful due to lack of traffic . We felt we saw bits of CUBA not seen by many tourists.DM, Falmouth
Highlights: Our lovely hosts in all the homestays and especially being looked after by Mirtha in Trinidad.BG, Bristol
We really liked Cuba overall. There is not just one thing but the best included: Private tour in Havana was excellent as the guide was first rate. The town of Trinidad which we just loved. We thought it was really good to stay at a Casa and would recommend that experience for at least one section of a holiday.PD, Dublin
Highlight?: The walk through the 3 valleys in Vinales.MK, Brentford
Most memorable experiences: "a fantastic thunderstorm while dining in La Habana on Friday night, the waiters bending over backwards to please. Conversations with drivers and guides in Spanish (my mother tongue) about the country and being Cuban. Arriving at Viñales and visiting the tobacco farm. The cobbled streets of Trinidad and music at La Trova. The extra walk we organised at Tope de Collantes and the special cocktail provided for my birthday. Staying in the Village at Ensenachos. Visiting the Che museum and mausoleum. Hearing local musicians jamming in a bar in Havana. The warmth and welcome of everybody we met. Wildlife. Cocktails. Trinidad in general. Music. The stunning beach at Ensenachos."CB, Swindon
Highlights: “We thoroughly enjoyed our time in Havana, and also the road trips which allowed us some glimpses of rural life.”ER
The Car Tour was brilliant, Bright pink car around the city of Havana, such a beautiful place.TDB, Swadlincote
Highlight: The music & atmosphere in Havana. Seeing the countryside. Experiencing the quite different locations.AKD, Malmesbury
Baracoa was very special.CA, Newark
Highlights: Meeting the local guides and owners of casas particolares, who were unfailingly helpful, friendly and genuinely keen to welcome us to their country. On of the highlights of the trip was probably the transfer in a wonderful red and cream American classic car with a skilful driver (you have to be on Cuban roads!)RP, London
Highlight: Santiago City tour helped us understand the history of the revolution, coupled with the excursion to Comandacia de la Plata.EM, Bristol
Highlights included dancing and watching dancing in Guantanamo, Santiago and Trinidad. There's music everywhere - it gets inside your head and is wonderful. Also the road trip from Guadalavaca to Baracoa (6.5 hours) was amazing. Beautiful views driving through the mountains.SZ, Bungay
The fact that Cuba is so far removed from 21st century life - Cubans seem to have an indestructible soul! Music is their Prozac.Ck, London
Most memorable aspect: “The ballet; the coast; bird watching at Las Terrazas and Zapata, La Moka; our stay in a Casa Particular in Trinidad. The whole holiday was very good. Driving in Cuba and life on the roads!!”JA, Street
Most memorable experiences: "The self drive itinerary and experience gave us a window into the real Cuba, off the beaten track but never too scary. We were sad to hand the car over in Santiago! We had an amazing trip to Cuba; a lifetime experience. thank you all for making it happen."NC, Reading
Cuba is a fascinating, beguiling, enchanting, confusing and sometimes challenging country caught in a 60 year timewarp. It is almost as though the clock stopped in 1960. If you can't live without creature comforts you'll find plenty to complain about; if you like a challenge and adventure, thrive on the unexpected, then go quick before it's too late! The only way out of their economic and social chasm is private sector capitalism and it's waiting less than 100 miles away...SM, Madrid
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