My husband and I travelled to Melia Buenavista March 29-April 5. It was our ten year anniversary and we hadn't been on an all-inclusive trip before so we didn't quite know what to expect but knew what we wanted and after reading the reviews figured this was the perfect place for us.
We arrived after midnight which was definitely to our disadvantage as we didn't get the full welcome that I believe people receive if they come in daylight hours. I had requested a second floor room but didn't receive that BUT I was glad we had a first floor room because the outdoor showers on the first floor are MUCH MORE private than the ones on the second floor. We were concerned about privacy with the wooden slats by the shower so we took our bath curtain that was around the tub and hung it on the wooden slats. They seemed to be making permanent changes to this privacy issue for shower while we were there. But in all honesty, when you can walk about 2 kilometres down the beach and see all-out naked people, why would you peer through tiny wooden slats to get a glimpse of some nakedness.
ROOMS: The rooms are impeccable!! So clean and new and very spacious. With the shower patio and then the sitting patio on the opposite end of the room, you can open both doors and get a wonderful breeze going through. The toilet room had a strange odour (like body odour) and one suggestion that I would make is changing the energy saver lightbulbs beside the beds to a warm light lightbulb. The lights are so bright and white, it felt very clinical and like fluorescent lighting, not super romantic. The pot lights are a nice warm light.
INTERNET: Extremely slow. Painfully slow. But who wants to be connected to the outside world twhen you're in paradise :)
BUTLER SERVICE: Gerardo was amazing! Some workers had trouble with english and it was hard communicating. With Gerardo, not so. He was always easy to find and available to us. We found out later, his wife had been cleaning our room. She was super sweet too!! Wonderful wonderful people.
BEACHES: There are three. The main beach, the middle beach (smaller) and then a third with no seats/loungers. The main and middle has sand that is a little rough because of all the coral that is right there. But who cares about the shells in the sand when you have such AMAZING snorkeling like you get at Buenavista. The third beach sand is a little softer. This is where the "naked ones" tended to go. You had to be up by no later than 6:45 AM to get a covered spot on the main beach. But getting up that early, you could see incredible sunsets. The middle beach had places that were covered but the coverings were a bit transluscent. You could generally get a spot here at any point throughout the day.
FOOD: You go to the same place for breakfast and lunch everyday. You can either order off of the menu or eat from the small buffet which in the morning always had scrambled eggs, a sausage and potato dish, lots of bread/buns, cold meats, cheeses, and tons of fruit. Their cappuccinos are AMAZING! For lunch, the buffet usually included turkey or pork with a vegetable and rice, cheeses galore, cold meats again, fruit and bread. Service was so-so. Most of the people in the restaurant weren't the best with english. Sitting out on the wrap-around patio was so nice but we often found the service wasn't as great out there. It was a bit slower whenever we sat outside. And in the mornings sometimes, if there wasn't any wind, sitting outside meant dealing with these tiny flee like bugs that nip you. They don't leave a mark, just bite and are gone.
The place that serves breakfast and lunch is an a la carte restaurant on Saturdays and Wednesdays. We were able to go there on the Saturday which was Cuban and I loved it! Although, our server was sooooo slow and although we were literally the first ones in there, we were getting served our food at a painfully slow pace as opposed to people around us who lucked out with a different server. But it didn't matter, we were on holidays.
We also went to another a la carte on the premises and it was really good. Javier was our server there and he was so amazing! We didn't get a chance to go to the other a la carte which alternates each day between Italian and Seafood. We booked a bunch of evenings out to Melia Santa Maria for meals. We went to their buffet twice, Japanese and the French Bistro. I wish we had booked the Japanese more than once. The BEST food I have had in a long time!
We checked out Melia Las Dunas and couldn't wait to leave. Their buffet felt like a highschool cafeteria but with babies and toddlers too. It was soooooo loud and crowded. The resort itself is massive and loud with entertainment and such. Melia Santa Maria is a happy medium between the two.
They ran out of ketchup after our first day and the food in general at the beginning of the week seemed to be better than the end.
ENTERTAINMENT: There isn't any which was perfect for us. You could take advantage of the other Melias' entertainment if you wanted to but we liked the peace and serenity of Buenavista. The only entertainment they had was a small band in the lobby bar each night. And the pool guy trying to get people to learn Salsa dancing during the day.
POOLS: So nice, never too crowded. Great temperature, great floaty things. And the bar guys are so nice and attentive. Especially Ortestes who we called Mario because of his resemblance to Lemieux. They were building more covered areas while we were there.
SPA: We got a complimentary massage which was so incredible. The spa was very nice in general too. We used the workout room a couple times too.
GENERAL: The place was so quiet and peaceful. Yes, the vegetation isn't super mature but it's new and clean! Armando is one of the gardeners we saw everyday who was so happy and friendly. He taught us so much about life and joy just from the few moments we spent with him. Liorves from the lobby bar was the best!!! His cappuccinos trumped everyone else's. We missed him when he had a couple days off and couldn't wait till he came back.
It rained one morning for about an hour and rained as we were leaving the island. One day was so windy I had to hold tight to the book in my hand or it would be long gone. Other than that, the weather was perfect. 35 degrees most days.
In short, Melia Buenavista exceeded our expectations and made our 10th anniversary trip beyond our dreams. I would go back in a heartbeat . . .
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located west of Cayo Santa Maria in a privileged ecological environment, and surrounded by beaches and coves. All-Inclusive Five-Star Resort with 105 Junior Suites and Suites, and the Villa "Zaida del Rio". Designed for adults over 18 years. An entire hotel featuring Royal Service. Recommended for couples, weddings, honeymoons and wellness/spa. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Melia Buenavista Hotel Cayo Santa Maria