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“Return To Playa CSM” 5 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
Whitby, Canada
1 review
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“Return To Playa CSM”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 16, 2014

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.

  • Stayed April 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jorge C, Director General at Hotel Playa Cayo Santa Maria, responded to this review, April 17, 2014
Dear guest, thank you very much for your excellent review. All of our staff wish you a very soon return, I´m sure you will discover a new affair to enjoy. Sincerely, Jorge Calderín, Director General
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2,230 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 (489)
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Ontario
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
40 helpful votes 40 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 15, 2014

We spent an amazing week at this resort and would recommend it to everyone! We are a family of 5 and traveled with 2 other families making us a group of 13. A big thanks to Mareya who put us all in the same building and pre-booked our a la cartes. From the rooms to the beach to the food it was a full 5 star in our opinion! Most of what people are writing sums up most but I will add just a few things. First the service at the time of check in was no problem- for those travelling, here is a tip that has worked for our family for years. When the bus arrives, have husband and kids get bags and I go and register! Always first in line and once again it was a huge time saver! As for the staff, that would be the one thing that didn't impress me as much, usually we find at least a few waiters etc that we connect with whereas this time there really was only one person who stood out- Hanoy at the pool bar!!! He was the absolute best bartender you can ask for! He even helped us to create our own drink, so if you go ask for the "ginger special"- you won't be sorry!
The food was what amazed me the most, we have traveled some very nice 5 star resorts and this food was incredible and in some cases right up there above 5 stars! For one, the seafood here is plentiful and so good! To get huge lobsters for dinner on top of fresh cooked shrimp, fish etc!!! you don't get that even at high end resorts, and here it is all included! There were loads of fresh cooking stations and the workers made sure that all food was properly cooked! My whole family loved the omelettes and I would recommend the waffles for breaky! You definitely won't starve and everyone one of us came home 5-10 lbs heavier!
The other very impressive part that we just couldn't get over is there is no towel game and there were always chairs available at the beach and pool! To not have to get up and race to get lounge chairs was an added bonus!
The beach here is gorgeous, in my opinion not quite as nice as some of the others in Cuba. The one thing about this resort is that they have left some of the natural habitat so there are lots of rocks and a bit of an incline to get down to the water, but lots of beach to walk and swimming was fantastic!
Last few tips, in building 15 we had gorgeous ocean views from our rooms and never upgraded! Also, if you want to do an excursion do the catamaran dolphin tour- definitely worth every penny and only $103 pp
So a great resort and a wonderful time was had by our whole group!

Room Tip: building 15 was perfect location to everything!
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  • Stayed April 2014, traveled with family
    • 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 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jorge C, Director General at Hotel Playa Cayo Santa Maria, responded to this review, April 17, 2014
Dear guest, thank you for your trust and for sharing your experience with other travelers in TripAdvisor. We will all be looking forward to having you back soon. Sincerely, Jorge Calderín, Director,
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ottawa, Canada
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 14, 2014

Overall, we enjoyed our week at Hotel Playa. The resort was clean, the beach was beautiful,water was clear and warm, there were lots of shaded sitting areas. Rooms were large and clean. There were many restaurants to choose from and we would encourage guests to book their a la carte restaurants early in their stay. Although we didn't use any of the several pools, they all looked clean and, again, had lots of lounge chairs. The food was better than expected. There were limitations in the variety of some foods (a previous reviewer mentioned lack of bananas, but we found out that bananas aren't in season in Cuba until later in the summer) but, in my opinion, that's just part of the experience of travelling in another country. The Lobby Bar had a great vibe and people of all ages would gather there throughout the day. This bar also made great cappuccinos and espressos. There were a few maintenance issues: a couple of the busier toilet areas were out of commission for a few days and many of the banos were constantly out of toilet paper, so consider carrying your own (also holds true for the excursions). We booked through Sunwing and were pleased with their service and the flights.

Room Tip: Ocean view rooms tend to face away from the noisier pool areas.
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  • Stayed April 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jorge C, Director General at Hotel Playa Cayo Santa Maria, responded to this review, April 17, 2014
Dear Guest, thank you for your review. We always work to provide better service to our clients. We hope you return soon. Best regards, Jorge Calderín, Director
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gatineau, Canada
2 reviews
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 14, 2014

The resort was wonderful and the staff very polite and amazing. The entertainment group were fantastic, they know what to do good or bad temperature activities are going on. The animation was great (Very, very, very good) for the beach exercises and the competitions, same thing at the general pool....the fun was there and ready to start, we made friends with different kind of the team, Lisdania, very energetic and always ready for a challenge. We also met the DJ Marco, he knew what people like and he made us having fun either at the beach, the general pool and at night at the cigar shop it was the dancing bar area. We cannot forget about Lazaro, always there to show us the move, very polite and fun. The Aquabar the bartender had a remarkable memories, of course I'm talking about Anoy. The food if you want to discover few thing, that is the place, various kind from one Country to the other. I could go on and on.... why don't you go and you'll see it is a place to GO.......I know I'm going back!!!

  • Stayed March 2014, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jorge C, Director General at Hotel Playa Cayo Santa Maria, responded to this review, April 17, 2014
Dear Guest, thank you very much for your comments. Best regards, Jorge Calderín, Director
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Easton
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 14, 2014

This was our first time in Cuba. As residents of the USA we didn't know what to expect. We were truly amazed by this hotel. The food at the regular restaurant was plentiful and well prepared. We watched as our chef made us fresh salmon and calamari. It was actually better than the speciality restaurant where we got surf and turf which was mediocre at best. Our room was very nice with a wonderful shower. One of our lights didn't work in the bathroom. We told the front desk and it was changed within minutes. The iron didn't work and it was replaced within minutes of reporting it. The entire staff, the pool, the coffee bar, regular bar and entertainment were all wonderful. This is a first class operation.

  • Stayed April 2014, 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 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jorge C, Director General at Hotel Playa Cayo Santa Maria, responded to this review, April 20, 2014
Dear Guest: thank you for your excellent review. We always work to provide better service to our clients, and read that they have felt pleased it keeps us improving. We hope to return soon. Best regards, Jorge Calderín, Director
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gatineau, Canada
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 14, 2014 via mobile

Best vacation of my life in Playa Cayo Santa Maria, Cuba
Special thanks to the entertaining staff at the pool and the beach for all activities!
No better place for a nice vacation, the sun, the beach, activities, rooms, personnel working there! I will be back Playa Cayo Santa Maria
Julie
from Gatineau, Qc,
Canada

  • Stayed April 2014
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
Jorge C, Director General at Hotel Playa Cayo Santa Maria, responded to this review, April 20, 2014
Dear Guest, thank you very much for your excellent review. We are very satisfied to know you have a positive opinion of our Hotel in Cayo Santa María destination. We hope you return soon, it will be a pleasure for us! Best regards, Jorge Calderín, Director
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Listowel, Canada
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 14, 2014

We went with a group of 5 couples. Overall experience was good. All the staff that I meet were wonderful, everyone was very nice and helpful. The animation team was great, especially Tisandia, Yuniel and Michel.

The food was really good if it was grilled or cooked in front of you. The prepared food was a hit and miss, sometimes it wasn't cooked throughly. For me it wasn't a big deal because I don't go to Cuba for the food.

Monica

  • Stayed April 2014, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
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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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