Pros

  • A colossal, family-friendly addition to Cayo Coco’s all-inclusive lineup
  • Bordered by pristine white sand and aqua beachfront
  • Choice of spacious rooms and tasteful suites with private balconies
  • Two huge pool zones with swim-up bars -- one for relaxation, the other for fun
  • Nine all-inclusive restaurants, some with a la carte menus, plus six bars
  • Relaxing spa with a pool and treatments made with Cuban ingredients
  • Top-notch nightly entertainment
  • Modern fitness center with in-house trainer
  • Caters to kids of all ages with Children and Baby Clubs
  • A range of water sports, plus scuba diving (for a fee)
  • Plenty of outdoor leisure activities, including tennis and archery
  • Golf carts on hand to shuttle guests around the property
See More Pros

Cons

  • Sprawling grounds can require a lot of walking
  • Classic Rooms beginning to show wear
  • Most of the a la carte restaurants are just open for dinner
  • Mosquitoes can be an annoyance
  • Wi-Fi requires purchase of internet cards (common in Cuba)
See More Cons

Bottom Line

Following new U.S. State Department regulations issued November 9, 2017, American travelers are prohibited from staying at this hotel. Read the full list of restricted businesses here. Melia Jardines Del Rey is a family-friendly, upper-middle-range whopper of an all-inclusive resort that's spread out across sprawling beachfront grounds like a private island compound. Its 1176 rooms are spacious, with balconies and stocked mini-fridges. Classic Rooms are pleasant, although they show some wear. Suites up the style ante, with beachy wicker furniture and perks like hydromassage bathtubs. The white-sand beach with a cute thatch-roof bar, is without a doubt the property's best feature. The outdoor pools with swim-up bars are also a hit. While there are nine dining options and six bars, food reviews are mixed and many of the a la carte restaurants are open only for dinner. For couples seeking a quieter vacation, the adult-only Melia Cayo Coco offers many of the same all-inclusive features and similar rooms.

See More Bottom Line

Oyster Hotel Review

Melia Jardines del Rey

Scene

A sprawling chain resort with tons of on-site activities for families and couples 

Melia Jardines del Rey is the chain's largest property in the world, and opened in 2015 with a fresh aesthetic that sets it apart from other much older properties on the island. The resort's massive scale is apparent at first sight, with a huge reception desk in the pavilion-like open-air lobby for a breezy check-in under cathedral ceilings. The space is a hub for guests, who take a seat on wicker sofas with assorted devices in hand. Blue-tiled reflection pools add a touch of ocean ambience to the area. 

A wide, central walkway winds past multiple restaurants and bars, and divides the resort into distinct east and west zones before leading to the beach. Both zones have three-story buildings that contain guest rooms, and several rectangular pools assembled like big, blue Tetris puzzle-pieces. The east pool is typically calm, while the west pool has scores of activities, and becomes a party scene as the afternoon rolls on, with loud music blasting from huge speakers.  

The beach has white plastic sunbeds set in rows under shade palapas, though some guests drag their sunbeds into direct sun. A colorful lineup of pedal boats and sailboats are lined up at one end of the sand, and most guests move between the lake-calm aqua water, the beach bar, and their deck chairs during the day. In the evening, the pools and beach clear out, and people crowd the lobby bar, which spills into an open-air space near the entertainment area, where fun continues into the night. 

See More Scene

Location

On the beach, close to restaurants and the airport, and 30-minute drive to Playa Pilar

Melia Jardines del Rey is located in the Ciego de Ávila Province of Cayo Coco, which is part of the Jardines del Rey archipelago off central Cuba. The tropical island is known for its stunning white-sand aqua coastline, which is a magnet for all-inclusive resorts that dot its northern edge. Many guests remain within hotel confines, but island explorers can take the double decker “hop-on hop-off” bus for five dollars per day. 

Popular Lenny's Bar and Grill -- famous for its fresh lobster -- is a 13-minute drive from the hotel. Playa Pilar, arguably the region’s most beautiful beach, and home to North America’s possible largest colony of pink flamingos, is roughly a 30-minute drive. 

The resort is a 25-minute car ride from Jardines del Rey International Airport for flights from Canada and Havana. Direct flights to the U.S. are offered from Ignacio Agramonte Airport in Camaguey, about a three-hour drive from Cayo Coco. Pricey cab rides can exceed $150. 

See More Location

Rooms

Cheerful rooms and beachy Suites, with stocked mini-fridges and furnished patios

Units are distributed throughout the resort in three-story buildings. Classic Rooms are cheerful, with subdued hues of green and pink, white-tiled floors, and taupe furniture, though some are starting to show wear. Beds come in king or twin configurations, and rooms open through glass sliding doors to patios furnished with white plastic chairs and small tables. Views (and price points) are divided into garden, pool, or sea options.

All rooms feature mini-fridges that are (usually) restocked daily with water, soft drinks, and beer. Amenities include air-conditioning, satellite flat-screen TVs, safes, irons and ironing boards, and umbrellas. Standard bathrooms have huge in-room vanities with basins sinks, wide mirrors, shower/tub combos, hairdryers, and toiletries.

Suites are more beachy and attractive with soft neutrals, crisp whites, wicker furniture, and eye-catching aqua-blue accents and red abstract art. The large layouts offer separate living and dining areas; master bedrooms; walk-in closets; and huge ensuite bathrooms with hydromassage bathtubs. Extra amenities include robes, slippers, and coffeemakers, and patios have sunbeds. Suites can overlook the pool and gardens, or the ocean, and are priced accordingly. 

Guests with limited mobility and those averse to walking too far should request rooms close to the lobby. 

See More Rooms

Features

Two pool zones, beachfront access, a spa and gym, plus all-inclusive restaurants, bars, and activities

Jardines del Rey packs in as many features as you’d expect for a resort of this size. Five freshwater pools are divided into two separate clusters. Both have pool areas with a kids’ pool, swim-up bar, and plenty of day beds for two, plus deck chairs with shade umbrellas. The west zone is where all the fun and activities take place, while the east zone is known as the quiet pool, and has a laid-back vibe. 

The all-inclusive restaurants get mixed reviews. They're scattered across the resort, and include: Bana (Asian); Hidro Grill (light lunches); Aquas (buffet and light lunches by day, seafood by night); Don Pepperone (Mediterranean dinner); Flamencos (buffet); Fuego (Cuban Creole dinner), and the Sunset Grill (light lunches). Bars include the lobby's La Notte, open 24/7; El Chiringuito, right on the beach; and Carambola (bar and table service until late). 

For wellness, the modern fitness center has a variety of dated (but in good condition) Technogym cardio and strength-training machines. There's an in-house trainer who’s available for workout assistance daily. The spa features its own pool, and offers a range of treatments with Cuban scents and ingredients. 

Outdoor activities include tennis, archery, table tennis, and lawn bowling, in addition to Spanish dance and scuba diving lessons. There's nightly entertainment, which guests really seem to enjoy. Free water sports include catamarans, snorkeling, pedal boats, and kayaks. Scuba diving and motorized water sports cost extra. 

Kids of all ages are well catered to with a Children’s Club and Baby Club, plus a daily activities program for kids and teens. There’s also an outdoor playground, and restaurants have kid-friendly menus. 

Other amenities include an indoor/outdoor convention room with audiovisual equipment for corporate events. Weddings can also be arranged through the Meetings and Events department. Golf carts are on hand to transport guests around the property. Also, coach buses shuttle guests to and from the resort, and taxi service can be arranged at reception.

Several past guests have complained about mosquitos on the property, and Wi-Fi requires purchase of internet cards. Both of these minor annoyances are common occurrences throughout Cuba.

See More Features

Best Rates

Amenities

  • Balcony / Terrace / Patio

  • Basic Television

  • Beach

  • Cabanas

  • Cable

  • Children's Pool

  • Concierge

  • Cribs

  • Fitness Center

  • Internet

  • Kids Allowed

  • Kids Club

  • Meeting / Conference Rooms

  • Pool

  • Poolside Drink Service

  • Separate Bedroom / Living Room Space

  • Spa

  • Supervised Kids Activities

  • Swim-Up Bar

  • Tennis Court

Disclaimer: This content was accurate at the time the hotel was reviewed. Please check our partner sites when booking to verify that details are still correct.