|Villa Cojimar||lunagirl||Ontario Canada|
We were at the Villa Cojimar over Christmas arriving on December 20th and staying until December 27th. All in all we had the most relaxing, stress free Christmas either of us can ever remember.
First off, we flew with Sunwing on their own plane out of Terminal 1 in Toronto. The check in went very quickly and we did not have a long wait to board. The seats were more spacious than usual. Once in the air we were brought hot towels to freshen up followed by champagne, as promised in the brochure. A very nice way to start a vacation. After that we were served hot breakfast. I did not watch the movie but used the free headsets to listen to some music. There was a very good selection. It was a relaxing flight and it seemed like no time at all before we were landing in Cayo Coco. The trip through customs went fine. I was able to change money easily and by that time DH had collected our bags. All went very smoothly and shortly after we were checking in. The flight home was just a painless and uneventful.
Since our room was not quite ready we were sent to the buffet for lunch. Immediately we were impressed. The food was great, lots of fresh fruit and veggies, different selections each day at lunch and dinner. Good meat and fish (we don't eat beef, so cannot comment, but the lamb, pork, chicken and turkey were just fine) and wonderfully friendly staff in the buffet restaurant. There was always plently of good Spanish wine available and beers (Cristal and Mayabe (?) on tap and in cans). Beakfasts were the usual thing with an omelette station, other eggs, bacon, sausage, juices and fruit, breads and pastries and so on.
Our room: We asked for - and got - a quiet room. It was, however, in the older section which did not bother us at all. We were also not on the ocean but did have a nice view of the sea through the trees. The main thing for us was that the room was quiet and clean. (The only critter we saw was a really cute white frog - no more than an inch long - in our bathroom the first day. DH moved him out to the terrace and he was never seen again). We did request for a reading lamp for beside the bed and one appeared the next morning. We don't spend a whole lot of time there - except to sleep. All rooms have a nice terrace with 2 chairs and we found that a good place to sit. The newer rooms are lower numbers. We were in the low 100's. There are some 2 story villas with balconies and terraces. I was told the balconies were nice too but I would go for the bungalows as I climb enough stairs the rest of the year. To be honest, it is not a noisy resort. though I would just not want to be near the disco. That is at the far end of the resort near the highest numbers.
I am a very fair skinned redhead and was always able to find enough shade either at the beach or in the gardens. Pool chairs in the shade were sometimes full, but since that was where the children tended to be we were not really concerned. It was quieter on the beach. If you walk up the beach towards the Iberostar hotel (past the water sports hut) you will find some palapas have been built behind the small dunes. We put chairs back there one day for shade when it was a little windy off the ocean. Very peaceful, all we could hear were the waves.
The beach is wonderful. Definitely one for the walkers. DH (an avid walker) thought he would walk to the point we could see beyond the Sol CG, and it defeated him. I relaxed on a lounger at the Sol until he came back! The water is clear and shallow at the Cojimar. We enjoyed walking out to the sandbars and poking around for shells (lots of sand dollars). Then we could walk a little further a be deep enough to swim and snorkel. The reef is further out and there are boat trips, but even off the beach we saw lots of fish, beautiful shells, some jelly fish and interesting sea plants and what looked like baby coral. Some folks took kayaks out further to snorkel and reported lots to see. The guys at the watersports hut will take you out to reef on the larger catamaran for 15 CUC (min 4 persons). We just weren't feeling too energetic (or brave) to do this - maybe next time.
There are two adjoining pools. A large shallow pool with easy entry at each end for kids, and a smaller round pool with a hot tub in the centre. Both were surrounded by plenty of lounge chairs and palapas.
There is a bar by the pool which also serves grilled food at lunch time. The other bar is in the lobby. Both bars also stock sandwiches and pastries all day and both have coffee/cappuccino machines. An important note here: both bars were also well stocked at all times with mint (yay!) - so no problema with the mojito supply ;)
The grounds are extensive and full of beautiful flowers. They are also home to a family of chickens. Once we got over the initial surprise, we enjoyed watching them, especially the little chicks. There are always gardeners working away keeping the place up. Like the rest of the staff they are all very friendly. Over the course of the week I was given flowers, coconuts and a lovely grasshopper made of palm leaves.
When we arrived we noticed that the place was decorated for Christmas. The staff had made a beautiful job with what they had available. The day before Christmas Eve we received menus in our room to whet our appetites for the next day. On Christmas Eve there was a special buffet dinner featuring a roasted whole pig, lobsters, turkey, roast legs of lamb, smoked salmon, proscuitto, a huge selection of salads and vegetables (including yucca), canapes and a fabulous array of cakes and pastries - and lots more. The tables had all been allocated by room number and the staff went all out to make it a party. Lots of staff wearing santa hats, reindeer antlers, flashing lights and so on. It was a great evening with a very good show after dinner. (As that was the only show we saw I cannot comment further - but we were told that the shows were excellent and we should stay up and watch them. Maybe next time)
On Christmas morning the animation staff were at breakfast in elf suits visiting all the children. During the morning "Santa" had little gifts for them all too. So, the staff did their very best to make Christmas an occasion for guests who wanted it (we got a very nice Christmas note from our maid. But for those of us who had gone to get away from the hoopla, or do not celebrate Christmas, it was not too overt. They struck a very nice balance.
We met many people who were regular visitors to the Villa Cojimar and we took this to be as good a recommendation as you could get. We understand that it may not suit everyone - there's no spa, no swim-up bar, no cigar lounge etc., etc. But for a quiet, relaxing, clean, friendly resort that it easy on the budget it is the best we have found. (and we have been to fancy 5 stars, so we do know the difference).
We went with low expectations given the price we paid for the time of year and were very pleasantly surprised. I would not hesitate to recommend this resort to anyone looking for a stress free break.
All being well we plan to spend next Christmas at the Villa Cojimar.