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“Amazing place!” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Hotel Playa Cayo Santa Maria

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Hotel Playa Cayo Santa Maria
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Las Dunas 5 | Cayo Santa Maria, 50100, Cuba (Formerly Hotel Gaviota Cayo Santa Maria)   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #3 of 11 Hotels in Cayo Santa Maria
Innisfil, Canada
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Amazing place!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 9, 2013 via mobile

Went to this resort with family, mostly couples and had a blast. The beach was amazing, drinks good and food even better. No complaints about the food whatsoever, but I waited patiently in the lines to get the fresh cooked to order food. Was it annoying to wait, yes, but to have good, fresh food it was worth it. The buffet, a la cartes and the buffet by the beach was amazing too, best seafood I have ever had!
Most of the time if you were in a rush, waiting for your drinks, food or service would get annoying, but you are on vacation, whats the rush? Relax and enjoy. Some got annoyed but you have got to remember, the staff work from sun up to sun down, everyday, and they arent used to our busy world.
The tours were amazing. We went on the Catamaran and the Jeep Safari, recommend both! Our Hola Sun representative was a little rude sometimes, but Im not sure if it was out of poor humour or she really was moody alot.
The resort was beautifully maintained and the room was clean. Found a couple of bugs being on the main floor but nothing I wouldnt find in my home in the summer. The only complaint I had was the towels. If you wernt there by 9 am they would be out for the day, but shouldnt they have enough for every person anyways? How can they run out? Anyways only complaint I had!
Would definitely recommend this resort to anyone!

  • Stayed February 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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2,214 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (484)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
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English first
Cambridge, Canada
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 7, 2013

My husband and I travelled to Playa Cayo Hotel from Feb. 17-24th. The resort is beautiful, well-kept, rooms are very clean, staff is very friendly and helpful, beach is a bit too narrow but the white sand and clear water makes up for it. The pools are great, lots of chairs for lounging. We preferred the 2 smaller pools, always lucked out with finding perfect sun/shaded chairs. Some days later in the week, we did reserve spots with towels and beach bags before 9am, just to be sure. We both enjoyed the a la carte restaurants (san salvador and japanese). The snack bar food is tasty as well as the food stations in the buffet. Be prepared to wait for the 'hot' food. It was a hit/miss to have 'hot/warm' food from the buffet. That would be my only complaint. Bring a bubba or a travel mug for your drinks, it comes in handy. We went for relaxation and that's exactly what we did. Enjoy it!!

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gatineau, Canada
1 review
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 7, 2013

I've travelled to many countries and hotels in the caribbean and Hotel Playa Cayo Santa Maria is one of the best I've seen. The hotel was built in 2011 I think so everything is very clean and looks pretty much brand new. The beach is amazing and so are the pools. The food is great and there are a lot of choices at the buffet. We also ate at the Seadfood and Italian à la carte restaurants and they were very good. There's a nice cigar lounge where you can chill out in the evenings and entertainment at the theatre.

I basically have nothing bad to say about this place. We stayed there from Feb 19th to the 26th and the whole week was incredible. Thank you Playa for memories I will never forget!

Room Tip: Ask your travel agent for a room on the second or third floor to get a better view.
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ontario
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
44 helpful votes 44 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 6, 2013

My husband and I traveled to this resort with another couple. We had been to another resort on the island last year so we knew what to expect in regards to the transfer time. We encountered a few problems at the resort, namely wait times for food and someone stealing our towels.
My husband placed our towels on a lounger on his way to breakfast one morning. Breakfast at the 24hr bar would usually take an hour to receive, and on his way back noticed his towel was gone. Another morning we placed our towels on a lounger and went to the buffet for breakfast. We took longer than usual as they had surveys that morning the staff wanted filled out, and again we had a towel stolen. The worst incident was was after 6pm when we left our towels on a lounger behind us at the 24hr bar and someone stole two towels, a blue resort one and one of our own personal ones, a Canadian Flag towel.
The buffet issue really needs to be dealt with. Having the cooking stations in the same place as the prepared food did not work well and caused more congestion and confusion. I hope this is the first issue the resort deals with to help alleviate the lineups and thus peoples anger. I can say the food choices were fantastic and varied for lunch and dinner, from pizza to pasta to fish, beef, pork and chicken. All very tasty. We only had breakfast once at the buffet, and it was the bacon and eggs. Service can be spotty at the buffets and horrendous at the 24 hr bar, and we saw many people get up and leave in disgust. We did spend way to long waiting for a bacon and egg breakfast almost every morning, darn frustrating especially when you want to go enjoy the resort.
The a la carts are the complete opposite! If you get the chance, book as many as you can. Food, service and staff were fantastic! It's almost like you are at two different resorts, one with indifferent 2 star service and one with 5 star service!
Tipping made no difference at all to the type of service you received. Our friends had the same maids as we did, we both tipped well but their room was always cleaned perfectly, where our floor didn't get washed or swept the whole week we were there.
On the bus in we were warned not to drink the tap water, only to not receive bottled water in our room for two days, no matter how many times we called. We always got the same answer when we did call, "No worry madam, I will tell the boy". When the "water boy" finally did show up we ended up tipping way more than normal so he wouldn't forget us the next day! The next night we just asked for enough water bottles for the rest of the week and gave a fat tip.
My husband and I tried the couples massage at the spa. Very nice place, polite staff and the spa area was included in the price. The spa is small, but it had an awesome steam room, sauna, and a "shower room" where you could lay on the bench and have warm water stream over you. Soap, shampoo and towels are also included.
Another nice surprise was the cigar lounge. It was a nice little oasis, especially on a cold rainy day. I had some fantastic hot chocolate there while my husband enjoyed a Spanish coffee.
We enjoyed a couple coronas at the beer garden a few times while we were at the resort. Just be aware that you will pay for the premium drinks, while the domestics bottles are free.
The resort was clean at the start of our week, but by the end of our vacation there were dirty dishes in all the hallways in our building, outside by the quiet pool and on the beach.
Yes, this is a beautiful resort with a few problems, which is mainly the overworked staff. The waitress serving you breakfast at 8am will also be serving you a beer at the beer garden at 8pm. The smashing of dishes was a common sound our week there, as the staff rushed around trying to wait on everyone during prime time. I would love to go back when it was not as crazy busy, as it is a lovely spot.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
Hamilton, Canada
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed March 5, 2013

We stayed from Feb 24 to March 3rd. This was our one week of the year away from our stresses as a couple, to escape 5 kids, jobs, etc. Our week to relax and be taken care of and pampered without needing to concern or worry about the simple day to day things like clean towels.

Upon arrival, there was a large group of us arriving off the bus to check-in and one attendant at the front desk. It was well over an hour wait to check in. Realize, that it was 2 a.m. and we were exhausted.

When we checked into our room (remember, we are here as a couple for a romantic getaway) and there were two single beds and a shower when we had specifically requested a king bed and a bath tub. We reported our request for a king bed room immediately, and were told to come by in the morning and they would take care of us.

The next morning, they took our request by putting our names and room numbers on a log sheet and telling us that they would see what they can do. Both of us got the impression there would not be any attempt made from the staff to honor our request which neither of us felt was out of line given the amount of $ we paid to visit this resort.

The next day, as my boyfriend got talking to a bunch of young Quebec guys at the bar, he realized that two men who were not gay were sharing a king sized bed and had requested two singles that same day! The resort staff hadn't even bothered to check their logs and see what they can do. We took it upon ourselves as a group to go down to the front desk and make the request for a room swap which was only followed by more grief having to pack our bags and wait for the maids to clean the rooms leaving us 6 hours without a room.

Finally, we got the room we had requested - day #3 - after spending a significant amount of time trying to achieve this - all done by us and not by the staff - more or less we are doing their jobs for them.

As for the food - expect extremely long lines for omelets, grilled fish or chicken, etc. The food was mediocre at best. Nothing special, but the long lines was just the tip of the iceberg. In most of the buffet stations, the food was very cold, and the service in the dining area was terrible - we witnessed utenils being dropped by staff members and being picked up and put back on the table as well as using dirty linens, tableclothes, napkins, wash cloths, etc. in the dining area. It made us really question the cleanliness of the place - the dining area nonetheless!

The a la cartes were also mediocre, at best.

Service - if you don't have a peso in your hand expect to be waiting for your drinks, coffees, water, whatever. We are happy to give and to tip when the service is good, and it is earned, but here it is expected to receive ANY service at all. You need to be very aggressive to get your drink and don't wait for them to look at you and ask what you want because you will be waiting awhile.

Our best part of the trip was the time spent on the beautiful beaches and our day trip to Remedios for the day where we stayed at La Paloma, a beautiful hostel, where we were treated like king & queen for the day - good food, clean accomodations, gracious people who wanted to make our stay comfortable and pleasant!

PS: Watch out on those phone calls - two attempts to call home, both calls did not connect, and still got charged 5 pesos

Please don't get us wrong and assume that we are one of those complainers that want to hear ourselves speak. Nothing could be further from the truth. We saved for a year for this trip and very extremely disappointed in many many aspects of it. We just want to forewarn you of this. If you think you are booking a 5 star resort, you are sorely mistaken. If you are okay with that, then go for it.

I do not feel our expectations of cleanliness, good food, and good service were unrealistic. We left Playa Cayo Santa Maria with a very sour taste in our mouth and no plans to re-visit Cuba anytime in the near future.

Good luck!

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 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.
Niagara Falls, Canada
1 review
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 5, 2013

Let me start of by saying this resort far exceeded any expectations we could ever have. We stayed at playa from Feb 22 to March 2. Our stay at playa started off with a bang as the hotel granted our request with our request for accomodations being granted as we were travelling with other family memebers and we were all placed in the same building next to the beach as we requested. The weather was unbelievable seven days of sunshine with temperatures in the mid to high 80's every day.

We can honestly say the resort itself is absolutely beautiful, the people of the resort are extremely hard working and make your stay extremely fullfilling.

I cant think of a single thing that disappointed me during my stay and even if I could I would not complain about it because it would like nit picking.

I would recommend this resort to absolutely any one. The pools are outstanding the beach, the water are the most beautiful I have ever seen, the food is great the people are simply beautiful.

I could go on and on. Just go and see for yourself. We will definitely be back hopefully very soon.

Room Tip: building 15 upper floor next to the beach
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
Hensall, Ontario, Canada
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 5, 2013

My friend and I have travelled to various destinations, but this was our first trip to Cuba. From start to finish, our stay at Playa Cayo Santa Maria far exceeded our expectations. The grounds are immaculate. The rooms are very spacious, clean and modern and I can't forget to mention had plenty of hot water!! Sure there may be a few language barriers, but that should be expected when travelling to another country. We were always greeted with a pleasant Hola by every staff member we crossed paths with. The dedication shown by Victor and the other Entertainment staff was nothing short of exemplary. They took time to visit on a one on one basis which was very nice. The staff truly seemed to appreciate the little gifts given to them. The shows in the theatre were very good - costumes some of the best I've seen. Note to people travelling with small children - although the shows were top notch they may be a bit riske for some small eyes. Excellent choreography though! We were amazed just sitting at the bars, especially the lobby bar and watching how busy they keep just making all those specialty drinks and delicious spanish coffees! Those amazing bartenders do deserve a tip each and every time. Also the pianist and singers in the lobby was a nice touch too. Some may think PCSM is too quiet, but if you want to do some dancing head to the Disco, only a short bus ride away. An entertainment staff member would always accompany guests to/from the disco and we felt very safe leaving the resort and going there. We were lucky enough to be able to attend Carnivale while on our vacation. If you get this chance, be sure to go as it was the perfect way to experience the Cuban flare. I highly recommend this resort and cannot wait to return someday. Beautiful resort, beautiful beaches, beautiful turquoise waters, beautiful people..."Paradise found ~ Muchas Gracias!"

Room Tip: Building 15 was ideal!
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel Playa Cayo Santa Maria

Address: Las Dunas 5 | Cayo Santa Maria, 50100, Cuba (Formerly Hotel Gaviota Cayo Santa Maria)
Location: Caribbean > Cuba > Villa Clara Province > Cayo Santa Maria
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 11 Hotels in Cayo Santa Maria
Number of rooms: 769

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