We are a married couple who love to travel and have been to Cuba over 15 times, and to other Caribbean destinations 10 more times. This is our first Trip Advisor Report.
We visited PCSM the week of April 6th to 13th and find the resort itself to be a good size and well laid out.
The beach is even better this time than when we were there in 2012. Wider stretches of sand in front of the hotel, easier to do a long walk in either direction … water crystal clear … definitely one of the top beaches we have ever been to … and that is saying a lot!
The lobby area is very nice, but gets very busy – this is one hotel where the guests really use it all day long. Drink service is great – a shout out to our good friend Lisandra – she is amazing and a great asset to the lobby bar … now that was service with a genuine big smile.
At the clean, lovely pools there are enough chairs, shade, and bars to make sure you‘re never thirsty. Due to glass being a hazard outdoors, they do serve them in the (tiny!) plastic cups, so bring a (reasonably) sized Bubba or your favorite To Go cup and everything will be great!
The rooms, we find, have everything possible you need. The king size bed is comfortable, extra blanket and pillow in closet if needed, plenty of drawer/cupboard space, nice balcony on our second floor room, in-room (free) safe, an umbrella, iron & board, and the bar was stocked daily with a bottle of water, 2 beer and 2 pop. We leave a peso in the fridge each day in appreciation. The bathroom is nicely appointed, and the hair dryer has a 110 v receptacle. The maids are male and female, and do a good job.
The buffet was great – we could always get something to eat. We enjoy good food, and find the quality and quantity to be above average for Cuba.
The A-la-carte restaurants were very good. We were hoping for the deep fried bits of goodness at Panda Rojo to start our meal, and my craving was satisfied. The staff are very friendly and efficient.
At San Juan – the Ranchon near the beach – we again enjoyed the lobster for dinner, at no extra charge. We first met the chef, Abel, at another resort in 2005, and were so pleased to find him at PCSM. He is a great ambassador for the resort and greets people in the restaurant when time permits.
The Italian Restaurant provides good food and excellent service. Katia and her co-workers are gems. We hope to see Sailey and Paulino on our next visit as they were off this time.
The Ranchon for lunch has good pizza and pasta. Beware the line ups though. The 24 hour snack bar also provided a decent lunch and cold Cristal … you couldn’t ask for more!
Because this was our second trip to PCSM, we were invited to a Managers Dinner. Our friends Lisandra and Yenny were excellent servers. We had the best steak we’ve ever had in Cuba … don’t know where they hide them, but fab. All of the managers were there, and what a fun group of people. Jorge, the manager welcomed all the repeat guests. They dined, entertained, and karaoke’d with the guests. It turned out to be a party. They are a group of people who work very well together. These managers are well liked by hotel employees and this comes through in a very positive way with excellent staff attitudes. Jorge and his team are always visible to ensure that all the guests enjoy their vacation. We noticed that some of the exceptional staff had been promoted since our last visit.
The cigar bar, which is never overcrowded, is air conditioned and very well ventilated, so the smoke is barely noticeable. Eliser, who we also met on our first visit, makes a perfect Spanish coffee. He is very personable, respectful and efficient. His knowledge of cigars is very helpful to the guests who went into the humidor room and purchased cigars. After 11:00 p.m., it turns into a small disco – another great enhancement since 2012. The DJ does a great job with mixing the music and getting people to dance. Unlike some other nearby resorts, you don’t have to go to the Pueblo ($$) to get your dance on.
We felt the nightly entertainment shows have improved and were well worth our time. We were very pleased to see our friend Mayli has joined the team at PCSM. We first met her at Melia Las Dunas 5 years ago, and were happy to see her dancing as Donna at the most excellent Mamma Mia show. She introduced us to many of the dancers, and they are a great group of people, with an ability to make a show worth watching. Loved the Michael Jackson Tribute show …. Michael and his entourage were very convincing.
Now, not everything is perfect, so we’d like to make a few suggestions:
Can we please, please have an adult only pool? Love kiddies, but would like to see 1 of the 5 beautiful pools turned into an adults only.
Note to guests – Cleaning up after yourselves shows respect for the staff and other guests as well.
We went to the Italian a – la – carte – and it turned into Chucky Cheese … oh the children … That is to say … NOT the staffs fault. We believe “families” SHOULD be able to enjoy an a-la-carte experience … it is one of the priviledges appreciated by guests – A suggestion would be to change the format of one or more of the a la cartes to a family a la carte with a child friendly menu added. The rest could be designated as formal – adults only – a la cartes, to enable couples to enjoy the romantic and intimate dining experience that to us, is an integral part of going on a vacation.
It would add to this experience if all people were to adhere to the dress code requirements. It is not fair to the staff to expect them to enforce stated rules as they do not want to upset any guests.
At the breakfast buffet – real bread, as opposed to cut up buns, would be most appreciated … also another toaster would stop what I called “toaster wars”. LOL. Another waffle maker – much needed … the line up was always long …
This was a most enjoyable vacation. It is great to see the improvements that were made since 2012. We would like to complement the staff for their genuine friendliness and attentiveness. It is well worth the time and effort to get to know these lovely Cuban people – it is always a highlight of our trip to revisit old friends and establish relationships with new friends. This is one of the main reasons we love going to Cuba.
We would not hesitate to recommend Playa Cayo Santa Maria, and we will be returning soon.