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“Good accommodation with horrible food and bad service” 2 of 5 stars
Review of Melia Buenavista

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Melia Buenavista
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5.0 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   Punta Madruguilla, 52500, Cuba   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #2 of 11 Hotels in Cayo Santa Maria
London
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
54 helpful votes 54 helpful votes
“Good accommodation with horrible food and bad service”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 10, 2011

Just returned from 7 nights stay at Melia Buena Vista Exclusive Royal Service and Spa resort in Cuba.
I really regret having gone there. It was actually one of the worst 5* resorts I’ve ever been to.
Food for an exclusive 5* hotel is horrible. And don’t tell me “it’s Cuba”. Before staying at the resort, we spent almost 2 weeks driving around and exploring Cuba staying at various hotels and casas particulares and eating in restaurants and paladars. I strongly believe that we can now be objective on what food one can expect to find in Cuba. Saying “no good food here but it’s Cuba” is so wrong! Of course, it depends on what exactly one understands as good food. For us it’s fresh and organic produce, freshly caught seafood, fresh meat, poultry, local fruit, fresh juices. And all of these we found and enjoyed in Cuba. In spite of my fear to get some stomach bug from Cuban food, I had no problems whatsoever before we actually came to MBV.
So, food..
Breakfast buffet was awful – plenty of pickles (who needs them in the morning and in such quantities?), cheese (the worst type, you know these processed melted sandwich-ready squares), cold meat cuts (with large chunks of fat - just looking at them made my cholesterol levels rise), only orange juice (while there’s abundance of fruit in Cuba), no pastries (as it turned out later, those you should particularly ask for and they will bring if available which is not every day), one type of jam (in a tiny bowl like one you’d use for soya sauce in a sushi restaurant), almost no fresh fruit (mostly canned and processed). You can order eggs a-la-carte and presumably other stuff but you should never count on them having whatever you choose - it’s typical for them not to have many things.

Lunch buffet – same pickles again, some canned fish, some salads (be ready for green, unripe tomatoes), emptied hot food trays not refilled – when it’s gone, it’s gone.. My first choice from the menu was not available (old news), the second choice was “chef’s recommended” soup which was uneatable due to too much salt in it.

Dinners – same “not available” thing. You order something just to hear that “this is not available today”. Whatever is available, is often of unacceptable quality (a lobster my husband ordered made him badly ill; I was ill too, not even sure from what; at one dinner we witnessed a party next table calling the chef and complaining about their food). Don’t make any expectations on what you’ll get. I don’t know how they name their dishes, probably just randomly and because it sounds fancy. I ordered a cheesecake and received just a cake with no resemblance to cheesecake with plenty of cream and jam. My husband’s pasta Bolognese was something with bacon and no tomato sauce. Their lasagne is actually a raviolo-sized portion with cubes of peas and carrots inside.

We have complained twice and another two times expressed our wish to see the manager but nothing was done. Waiters said it was a common thing for guests to complain and the management to ignore the complaints.

Luckily (probably, knowing their weak points), MBV gives you free pass to Melia Las Dunas hotel which is 3km away and we ended up having breakfasts and lunches there every day. They happened to have much wider selection and better quality of food though the level of this hotel is supposed to be a bit lower (5* too but mass-market, package tour property with price per day being half of that of MBV).

As far as dinners are concerned, besides food there is another problem. You need to book them in advance at reception otherwise you risk of being left without food. On our first night we were a bit overwhelmed with all these arrival-unpacking-moving room thing, so we failed to book our dinner. When my husband went to one of the restaurants to have a meal (I was too tired to go) they refused to serve him though the restaurant was half-empty. He spent 20 minutes reasoning with them, saying that we had pre-paid all meals and they just couldn’t refuse him food like that. Finally, they accepted him with the sign of doing him a big favour.

But the booking system is very imperfect too. Out of our 7 nights at the resort, twice our reservation was lost and we had to go back and forth from restaurant to reception and argue with them that we had booked. We saw other people doing so too. For one night we were not booked anywhere – they didn’t have availability. Can you believe it?

Now, as I’ve moved to describing service, let’s talk about their “Royal service”. If any royal were served like that, they would have executed some of the staff. I definitely would.

They don’t provide any toiletteries but a small bottle of shampoo and shower gel which are not replaced if used.
Every day they forgot to do/replace/refill something. Every day we were missing towels, water, rubbish bin bags...
Everything is sooo slow. If you order room service, you’ll never get it faster than in one hour be it food, towels or something else. We usually called them again in about 30 minutes to remind that we were waiting.
However, they were very fast to remove stuff which should not have been removed. We brought much fruit with us and needed plates and cutlery to eat it. So every day we had to ask them to bring plates and knives and not to remove them but nevertheless every day they disappeared. We even wrote a note asking not to remove plates but they were removing them anyway. To bring them back it was taking them not less than one hour.
If you order food, make sure you don’t change your mind about something later on because it will not be honoured anyway. After we ordered some food and called back 10 mins later asking to add some bread and drinks, we never received those.
Some waiters have very informal attitude to guests and though I’m not a snob and enjoy chatting with staff, but when in a French restaurant with silver service, waiters in uniforms and bowties and guests in eveningwear your waiter constantly addresses you as “my friend” and but only pats you on the shoulder, that’s a bit too much I’d think.
They managed to confuse our laundry we gave them to do with someone else’s. When we found strange clothes delivered to us instead of ours, we called them to report on that and they started arguing with us if we were sure it was not ours (ridiculous!) and that these were the clothes they had previously collected from our room (!!). By the end of the day they managed to find our stuff.
They provide beach towels but they do not replace them for you which would be a normal thing to do – instead you should go to the pool-side kiosk, bring your used towel and get a new one. But this kiosk has some weird working hours and as we were spending all the time in Las Dunas we could never catch them open. When we finally did, they had no clean towels, so they took our used ones and we had to come back in 30 mins; when we came, the lady had forgotten that she had taken the towels from us and gave us hard time with all explanations to do.
Our magnifying mirror on the wall fell apart and it was never fixed.
Check-out takes about 20 minutes if you are the first in line and unlimited time if there’s someone in front of you. They use dated equipment for credit cards (when they slide this machine across the card to get the print of the card number), interrupt for answering calls and questions of other guests and are in no hurry at all. This delay at check-out almost cost us a missed flight.
Upon departure we didn’t get even a goodbye.

I would also like to comment on the hotel layout, design and amenities.
The rooms are beautifully done (this is the main reason why we chose this hotel in the first place) but apart from these I had the impression that in the middle of the process the developers suddenly ran out of money and finished off with whatever was left from construction. I’ll attach some photos illustrating what I mean. All these rocks thrown around, these rusty metal centrepieces, fountain, these underwater lights on long cables as if forgotten to be fixed in their places... Who was their designer? Some beginner who heard something about the concept but didn’t quite get it? What was this supposed to mean? Barefoot luxury? It’s not it. Even Las Dunas being a mass-market hotel looks much more lush, cosy and attractive than this exclusive property.
Not enough umbrellas around the main swimming pool.
No entertainment at all. Sometimes they have a band performing live at dinner in one of the restaurants but that’s it. For entertainment go to Las Dunas.

And to finish up a few words about the beach. The best beaches on the cayo are taken up by Las Dunas and, as we heard, by Royal Hideaway Ensenachos. Beach at MBV is not very attractive-looking as there are lava rock formations stretching into the water like wave breakers. When the sea is rough and water brings seaweed, it gets collected around these rocks. However, when the water is clean you can snorkel there with a chance of spotting barracudas, parrot fish and even an octopus (but please note that they have only five snorkelling sets in the hotel to borrow, so first come first served).

Trust me, we were by no means prejudiced and so much looking forward to our stay at MBV. But we were so deeply disappointed that we almost moved to Melia Las Dunas altogether! And this is us, people who do not do package tours and prefer more quite, refined places. What stopped us was beautiful accommodation at MBV (their only advantage) and the fact that we had a car, so we travelled to Las Dunas as many times during the day as we wanted.
Well, some of you guys may see such an experience as staying at two hotels for the price of one, but others may think of it as overpaying for something you can get for half-price.
By the way, a small hint – if you come to cayo Santa Maria without a hotel booked, at Las Dunas side counter you can get both hotels (and maybe more) at discounted rates.

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melia B, Director General at Melia Buenavista, responded to this review, October 20, 2014
Dear guest;

Thank you very much for all your comments, as always we are taking all the feedback in a very positive way and we are using as a tool to improve our resort and the service that we offer.

I would like you to consider to comeback in the future and check the improvements done based in your comments.

Best regards;

The direction
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  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
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English first
Kingston, Canada
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 7, 2011

My partner and I stayed at Buenavista July 23-30.

The good: nice grounds, good beach (though it depends who you ask, we liked it, other guests were not too happy about the beach), the rooms are modern and spacious. The resort is very small and quiet - that's what we were looking for.
The staff are mostly fantastic, especially the pool bar (Orestes) and main bar staff (Yulier, Elvis). They really try to make your stay enjoyable.

We had to change rooms midway as the A/C broke. That wasn't the issue. We realize that something like that can happen anywhere. By the way, the first room was infested with ants. We saw a cockroach in the second room - about 2 inches (5 cm) long.

And now the bad :)
I think one of the worst things is inconsistency. Absolutely everything seemed to be a hit and miss. For a 5 star resort that's unacceptable. For example, the second room had robes, when the first one didn't. We spoke with other guests and it seemed that half of them had robes and half didn't. Again, not a huge deal and definitely not a deal breaker, however if it's included it should be included and not on a lottery basis!

Now the hot topic (or rather a cold topic) - food. We've been to Cuba twice before. Once at a 4.5star and once at a 5 star resort. This was by far the worst food. The food itself was again a hit and miss, however the biggest issue was lack of selection and variety.
The resort has 3 restaurants but in fact it's only two restaurants as two of them have the same menu so you're basically eating the same food - just in a different room. They are constantly out of something.
We understand that it's Cuba and we adjust our expectations accordingly. We don't expect great food but we do expect decent food as we always had that in our previous trips to Cuba. It was actually shocking to us!
The breakfast and lunch mini buffet was awful. The food was just sitting out in room temperature - for hours. Sometimes they would have the same cold cuts for breakfast and then for lunch so just imagine the amount of time that all these perishable items are being served without any refrigeration.

I guess their argument is that you can go to the other Melia resort/s (when we were there only Las Dunas was open) for selection and variety. And that's great - as an option. However, we believe that if we are paying to stay at a 5 star resort we should not have to go to the BUFFET of a 4 star resort to get decent food!

Now I'll get to the worst part of all. It's the management! One night we got booked for dinner at a restaurant. We got there and it was closed! They had booked us for a dinner that did not exist. This is a resort of only about 100 rooms. How can they not keep track of so few couples?! We had to get a cab to go to the buffet at Las Dunas. No apology from front desk or the manager.
Now the manager, Patrick. The guy is in denial about everything. He is obviously arrogant and after all those great reviews thinks he's running a wonderful resort. He gets defensive after each and every comment from his guests. How will the resort ever improve if the manager does not want to hear any comments and will not acknowledge mistakes? He blatantly told us that we should not expect a 5 start resort in Cuba! His answer to comments about food: "it's Cuba". In fact, his answer to all comments is always "it's Cuba". So Patrick, we know, we've been to Cuba before.
We still had a good time. We are not hard to please people and after all, we're on vacation and we are not going to complain about every brown spot on towels and linens and holes in beach towels. However, all of those things combined with a manager who doesn't care make you wonder - how the heck does this resort have a 5 star rating?!

This resort has a lot of potential but we will never return unless it's under different management and some major improvements (mostly food related) have been made.

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 15
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melia B, Director General at Melia Buenavista, responded to this review, October 20, 2014
Dear guest;

Thank you very much for all your comments, as always we are taking all the feedback in a very positive way and we are using as a tool to improve our resort and the service that we offer.

I would like you to consider to comeback in the future and check the improvements done based in your comments.

Best regards;

The direction
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mississauga, Canada
1 review
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 4, 2011

My boyfriend and I stayed at the Melia Buenavista resort recently (July 22-29) and were very disappointed in our experience. We have both been to various parts of Cuba before but never had so many problems and such poor service. I don't know how this resort has such a high rating and from our experience and that of the other people we met at this resort we are shocked at the number of positive reviews. I know this review is lengthy but I hope people interested in visiting this resort take the time to read this as we were misled by all the positive reviews and were immeadiatly disappointed when we arrived there.

Here is the good and bad aspects of our experience at this resort:

Good:
The resort was nice looking with well maintained pools, and a nice beach. The size of the resort is small so it is quiet and you never have to look far for a spot on the beach or feel crowded in the pool. The rooms are nice looking and spacious.

Bad: Hang in there because there was a lot of bad on our experience of this resort.

Check In:
While checking in we were told that the key machine was broken and there was no key for our room. We were told this problem would be corrected by the next day. This meant we had to return to the lobby to get someone to open our door each and every time we needed to enter our room. By the second day we were told that some keys to rooms had been made at the sister resort Melia Las Dunas however no keys had been made for our room. We offered to go to Los Dunas ourselves and pick up our own key if they could call and get one made. We were told they would check on this however no one got back to us. By the third day we still had no key to our room and staff were quite rude to us when we inquired about our key. Everyone else we had arrived with had received their keys the previous day except us! We complained to the Sunwing representative as soon as we saw him and it was only after doing so that we received a room key. When we got our key we only got one for the duration of our stay, which made it difficult because we always had to be together to enter the room. Everyone else we spoke to was given two keys.

Room:
We also experienced problems with our room from the first day we arrived. The room we were given was very dirty upon our entrance – hair and dirt all over the floor, glasses for drinking were filthy with remnants of coffee still in them. The room was infested with ants as well. They were everywhere!! We had ants in our towels, the bathtub, all over the floors, in the drinking glasses, in our bed, and even inside our bar fridge! When I spoke to our butler about this he didn’t seem to care and waved it off. When the population of ants continued to accumulate we complained again and it was only after my boyfriend spoke up that the butler listened. He didn’t like the idea of us changing rooms and told us if we changed rooms we would most likely not get another second floor room and that a ground floor room might have bugs too. He suggested that a maid clean the room and spray for ants. We insisted on changing rooms, as the infestation of ants was so bad that they would have to spray all week to combat them. When we finally did change rooms it was to a ground floor room and all seemed to be ok in our new room. Upon returning to our room in the evening of our second night at the resort we were shocked to find cockroaches in our room. It took my boyfriend over 30 minutes to find them and kill them. I was terrified to sleep at night. We hoped this would be an isolated incident but as the week went on we continued to deal with cockroaches.

Food:
The food at this resort was the worst I have ever had in Cuba! I understand that Cuba is not known for great food but we have both been to other resorts some less then 5 star where the food was much better. There was no buffet and in the dining area at breakfast and lunch there were small tables with antipasto and side dishes. There were perishable items such as meats, cheese, yogurt, and milk left out for hours on end with nothing to keep them cool. The milk for cereal had curdled chunks floating in it. Everything to eat had to be ordered and most of the time it was undercooked, the wrong order, or had things missing from the meal that were supposed to be included. This went on all week and everyday it was the exact same food! Since there was no 24-hour snack bar we were told there was 24-hour room service. We ordered room service on 2 occasions during our stay. Each time it took 2 hours to receive our order and both times it was cold and the wrong order. No one cared to correct the orders. We were told that someone would come around to collect the dishes. On both occasions the food dishes sat in our room for hours and we had to call several times to have our dishes picked up. The final time we had to return our own dishes to reception as no one came and they said nothing about this. Each time we returned to dirty dishes that had not been removed we had to deal with cockroaches all around them. I was horrified when I picked up a can of pop to discard it and a cockroach climbed up my arm! My boyfriend also had to leave 2 pairs of expensive sandals at the resort out of fear of bringing cockroaches home as we had used them to kill the cockroaches.

Room Cleaning:
Despite tipping heavily on a daily basis in hopes of receiving good service our rooms were not cleaned on a consistent basis. Some days it had been cleaned and other days it had not. There were brown stains on all the bed sheets and towels and our bed linen was not changed once while we were there. We were supposed to receive robes in our room and we never received them nor did anyone else we spoke with. On a daily basis we had no Kleenex or face towels. We were supposed to have a turn down service every night and occurred once our entire stay. When we have stayed in Cuba in the past we had clean rooms daily, fresh fully stocked towels and linens, and even towel art on the bed! Our bar fridge was also inconsistently filled despite tipping everyday. When we called reception we were told someone would come and still by the end of the night no one had come – not even with water!

Free Internet Access:
We were told we would have free internet access at our hotel. We received free 30-minute cards for the internet however we could not access one e-mail the entire week to let our families know we were ok. It took the entire 30 minutes on several occasions to open the internet and even then we could not access anything. I have been to other places in Cuba and had no problem with the internet – it may have been slower then home but at least it worked. I had to finally call home so I could stop worrying about stressing my family out back home over our safety and it cost me 10 pesos! I complained to the Sunwing representative and he said he would speak to someone but nothing was done.

Customer Service:
Throughout our entire week whenever we approached staff for help with our problems we were treated unkindly and got the impression that no one cared about us. We also got the impression that at this resort in order to receive proper service you had to speak Spanish. We are Canadian and so were the friends we met and we all felt like we were treated poorly. Some friends we met were with us at the piano bar one evening when Patrick the hotel manager came in a began handing out cigars to guests. We noticed all the people who received cigars spoke Spanish however we were given nothing. On another occasion when we hadn’t had our bar fridge filled and were told there was a shortage in supplies so we would have none for that day we saw Spanish speaking tourists being given bar fridge beverages. A couple we met at the resort had no umbrella provided in their room and were told by reception there were none left however minutes later while we were waiting in the rain for a bus to go to Melia Las Dunas a Spanish speaking person asked for an umbrella and were given one. We saw the manager Patrick on a daily basis greeting travelers and going to their tables introducing himself. Not once did he approach us or any of the Canadians we met while we were there. My boyfriend approached him one morning at breakfast to speak to him about our problems and he didn’t even make eye contact with him; instead he carried on what he was doing and said we could call the front desk later and speak to him. When we went to the front desk to speak with him he was either unavailable or in a meeting. This shocked us because as a manager it is your job to listen to your guests and provide proper customer service.

Busses to Other Resorts:
Our Sunwing representative told us that we had access to the other Melia resorts and a free bus would come every hour until 3 a.m. We saw this free bus once the entire week and spent hours waiting for buses that did not come frequently. The bus schedule at the front desk even indicated they didn’t come every hour. When a bus did come it was never free and we had to pay each time to go to Melia Las Dunas. We either had to pay for a bus or a taxi when there were no buses. The Sunwing representative said we should never have to pay – but we did everyday!

Nearby Resort:
We paid a lot of money to come to the Melia Buenavista. We were very surprised to see when we went to the 4 star Melia Las Dunas that it was so much better. It had way more people staying there (2000) then our resort however every time we went there we were greeted, the bar staff made an effort to remember our drinks and were very appreciative of tips. At the Melia Buenavista we were rarely thanked for tips. At Melia Las Dunas there was a delicious buffet with different options each time we went there, far better restaurants, water sports, and nightly entertainment – this was all missing from Melia Buenavista. We are still astounded that we paid more money at Melia Buenavista and got so much less then at a lower rated hotel. How is this possible!

Final Thoughts:
This was the first vacation where we could not wait to go home. We only have the opportunity to go away once a year and this vacation was ruined. We saved up for a 5 star resort and experienced that of a 2 star resort. What a disappointment! We are so upset and disappointed in the service we received at this Melia resort. We will never return to this resort again.

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 26
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
PatricLoeser, General Manager at Melia Buenavista, responded to this review, August 6, 2011
Dear Guest, Thanks for your words, definitely we will inform to our staff, these comments only encourage us to keep working and improve our services everyday. The time you mentioned was a critical time for the hotel but now everything is working as before or much better.Thanks once again and we hope to get a new opportunity see you again please contact me in the facebook.
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Toronto, Canada
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 2, 2011

We decided to give Melia Buenavista a try because of the change at the Royal Hideaway. I'm really glad we did. There were a few issues, the power went out every day for a few minutes at the time, the food was below expectations and the outdoor shower was far from private. But the staff and accomedations made up for it. Especially Orestes at the pool bar, he was amazing and truly made our trip. The Cubans at Melia Buenavista were very friendly and most spoke good english. Please note this resort is still new and needs to get some kinks out, like needin a buffet badly, but despite all that I will go back here in a heartbeat. I love Cuba and will go back every year if we can.
We had a great time, thank you Melia Buenavista!

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
PatricLoeser, General Manager at Melia Buenavista, responded to this review, August 3, 2011
On behalf of Melia Buenavista Hotel, we would like to thank you for taking the time to write to us and letting us know about your experience during your vacation.All issues you mentioned we are hardly working on it to resolve it. We hope be valuable for the readers. We are looking forward for your return in the near future
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Mississauga, Ontario
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
51 helpful votes 51 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 2, 2011

Beach – Superb! The first reason my husband and I come to Santa Clara Beaches. The beach is wide. For all the beach walkers, you will enjoy the expansive walk along the seashores. For snorkeling lovers, you will be mystified by the coral reefs where schools of fish thrive. I suggest for people coming here to bring your own snorkeling gears. We know some resorts in the Caribbean may have some gears for rent for their guests, but not here. Besides, the gear needs to fit properly. This is the only way you could see and experience a variety of fish, corals and sea life.

Food – The ration of food for this resort is not sufficient. We were craving for hash browns, bananas, sausages in all 5 days of the 7 days we were there, but they did not have these supplies. Breakfast and lunches in the buffet restaurant close to the beach have mainstays of cold cuts, cheeses and vegetables from the can (corn kernels, green beans, mushrooms). They have menu options as well from the menu: eggs, pancakes, crepes for breakfast; burgers, fish, calamari, pasta for lunch. Since, this is a 5-star resort in Santa Clara; we could also go to other Melia-owned resorts in the vicinity. We went to Melia Las Dunas for evening buffets, and they have all kinds of foods – an abundance of supplies. At the Melia Buenavista, there was no buffet in the evenings, so we had to settle for ala carte restaurants. It was a hit and miss. I was hungry some mornings because the food was not sufficient from the ala carte and so I ordered food from the kitchen (room service). See the problem with ala carte, when you do not like the taste, or something is odd, you could ask for a replacement (but you will wait for a long time). For buffet restaurants, you are able to pick and choose from a wide variety. My husband and I eat everything. We have no allergies. We are not picky. We can survive anywhere, because we are experienced travelers. Food in this resort needs a lot of improvement. This is my 5th time in Cuba, so I know a lot about the conditions of the rationing, but for a 5-star resort, I think the provision of excellent goods is essential.

Entertainment: No Disco, No shows, - this resort is not a high energy resort. If you are looking for activities during the day or night, you have to take the bus to other Melias in the vicinity. However, the band called Trio Passion was excellent everyday, during the day at the buffet breakfast and lunch. Great talent! There are also some singers and trios playing in the ala carte restaurants. The lobby bar also has entertainment every night with Cuban artists from piano players to saxophones.

Rooms – I noticed some Japanese flares and motifs in the designs in the rooms or even in the lobby bars and all over. It was comfortable. We used the drawers at the bottom of the TV for drawers. Some of the hooks (small mirror, or the tissue roll in the washroom by the wall hanging) needed to be fastened securely in our room. It was not place properly and they both fell at almost the end of our stay. We experienced lots of mosquitoes in the room at one point so we asked to spray our room. June-August is the season for mosquitoes so bring repellants. We got murdered. We got bitten so much. The good thing about it is that the sea water remedies the itchiness and the sting.

The place is not huge as you could circle around the area for maybe 5 to 10 minutes depending on the pace.

Pools and Pool Bars – Orestes served the guests there with enthusiasm and a happy character. There are 2 swimming pools in the area, one with a bar and music overlooking the beach and the other, a quiet one.

People – the second reason we come to Cuba. Know a little bit of Spanish so you can converse with them. My husband and I found the Cuban people happy and content, and not worried. They are happy people who are also conscious of saving the environment, most especially their beautiful beaches.

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melia B, Director General at Melia Buenavista, responded to this review, October 20, 2014
Dear guest;

Thank you very much for all your comments, as always we are taking all the feedback in a very positive way and we are using as a tool to improve our resort and the service that we offer.

I would like you to consider to comeback in the future and check the improvements done based in your comments.

Best regards;

The direction
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brampton, Canada
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
101 helpful votes 101 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed July 31, 2011

We flew Air Canda from Toronto and no issues with the flight or airports.
It all started at check in at the resort. There was approximately 15 of us and arrived at around 9:00 pm.
One person working at the front desk, and she was so over whelmed and didnt know how to proceed.. We did not receive a welcome drink or a cold cloth to wipe out face until after we all were checked in.. I thought then here we go...
Bellboy took us to our room-- didnt explain anything- of the room..
Kepp in mind this is surposed to be a five star resort-with Royal Service.
The room was very nice- and big.. It had no soap in the room- no room service menu- the towels were all stained (I wish I would have taken pictures of this to post)- the bedding was stains on them as well.. Every towel had stains the whole week- I could handle the odd one - but everyone.. terrible and felt really dirty. Our phone didnt work- we were suprosed to get a welcome gift- and robes-- never received these. The room was large in space and the airconditioning worked well.. But from talking to fellow guests from our bus- we were lucky some had to change rooms 3 times.. for many reasons-.
The resort pools are very nice and quiet-- if you want this it would be a place to go-- there is absolutely nothing to do except lay in the sun... You can go to the sister resorts by taking the bus for $1.00-- you will appreciate this as this is the place you will most likely go to eat as the food on this resort is terrible.. The breakfast is disgusting.. and they are always out of simple things such as peanut butter- you will never get hash browns either-.
The other two restaurants for lucnh/dinner are ok-- but portions are so small and tasteless.. the only thing I enjoyed the whole week was a little lobster tail.
This is why you will have to go to the sister resorts - Las Dunas..
The beach is not good here- you will need to walk down to the other resorts as well- there you will find beautiful beach- about 1/2 walk.
The front staff cannot communicate very well with people- you can have a better conversation with the gardiner and the bar tenders.. Danny from the Sol was so good to everyone and went out of his way- and the others bar tenders at the mail pool bar are the best...
I honestly was to afraid to eat here as didnt want to get sick- there is a definte sanitation issue here.
Many of us were so disapointed as travelling to 5 star resorts in DR and Mexico we knew that Cuba would be not the same- but never did I imagine that it would be as low as a 2 or 3 at most.. We cannot understand why so many reviews were so good- and why the bad ones are not getting on here?
My husband and I have travelled extensively-and know the difference between 5 star and 3.
This resort can be so nice, but it needs alot of work and better management especially the food manager-- as paying for 5 star service you shouldnt have to travel down the road to get half decent food..
Should you have any questions, please ask I will give you the honest answer-- I feel like I should as I reley on tripadvisor and therefore want others to know.
Meet some nice people from Quebec,Germany,Milton (Darlene and Marc)-- and our entertainment for the day was comparing horror stories of our stay.
BTW- This is not a 18 years and older resort either-- I meet some people who were travelling with their kids 16 and even 14 ...
Also there is not internet service or WIFI-- The internet they give you a 30 min card- in which takes you the complete 30 min to sign on to yahoo and send one message- But I bet the managers have better internet service

Room Tip: Tell them to change your bedding everyday-- as they will not unless you ask
See more room tips
  • Stayed July 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
PatricLoeser, General Manager at Melia Buenavista, responded to this review, August 1, 2011
Dear Guest, Thanks for your words, definitely we will inform to our staff, these comments only encourage us to keep working and improve our services everyday. Thanks once again and we hope to see you again shortly that you will see the difference like all the other guests.
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Montreal, Canada
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 30, 2011

Before leaving for the Melia Buenavista, I went on TripAdvisor and read its reviews. What a great site. Learned things such as, despite advertising, there's no wi-fi.

Just got back home from a 1-week stay and the hotel property and the people running it are great. Excellent rooms, friendly staff. I'm not going to write a long review because the previous reviews say it all. Definitely a location for relaxing. My only down during the stay was the food: we took the bus to Las Dunas and ate there instead.

With some training, this could become a five-star hotel. I suggested to one of the managers that they consider hiring a consultant to come in and troubleshoot some of the services.

Room Tip: Get to know a member of the staff and offer them a gift.
See more room tips
  • Stayed July 2011, traveled with friends
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
PatricLoeser, General Manager at Melia Buenavista, responded to this review, August 1, 2011
We would like to thank you for taking the time to write and let the world know about your experience during your vacation in our hotel. We look forward to have the opportunity of your future visit, we will be waiting for you with the open arms.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Melia Buenavista

Address: Punta Madruguilla, 52500, Cuba
Location: Caribbean > Cuba > Villa Clara Province > Cayo Santa Maria
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Best Value Hotel in Cayo Santa Maria
#1 Luxury Hotel in Cayo Santa Maria
#1 Romantic Hotel in Cayo Santa Maria
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Cayo Santa Maria
#2 Top resorts Hotel in Cayo Santa Maria
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:5 star — Melia Buenavista 5*
Number of rooms: 105
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

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