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“A true gem” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Hotel Playa Cayo Santa Maria

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Hotel Playa Cayo Santa Maria
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5.0 of 5 Resort   |   Las Dunas 5 | Cayo Santa Maria, 50100, Cuba (Formerly Hotel Gaviota Cayo Santa Maria)   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #3 of 10 Hotels in Cayo Santa Maria
Certificate of Excellence 2014
London, Ontario, Canada
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
“A true gem”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 19, 2014

We booked Playa Cayo Santa Maria for March Break, as we had read and heard many good reviews about the hotel. We had also heard that it was a quieter location than the hotels in Varadero. Needless to say, we were very impressed: The shuttle from the airport, which was on-time, easy to find, and the staff made sure all passengers were aboard before taking off to the various hotels. Some may complain about the bus trip to the hotel. Yes, it is an hour and a half, but you get to see places you wouldn't get to see otherwise in Cuba. All in all, it is an interesting bus ride, which takes you through a few towns and part of the city, Santa Clara. Most of the trip provides beautiful scenery: houses painted every colour of the rainbow; murals depicting the benefits of the revolution; and the general reality of Cuba, outside of the resorts. It's amazing how a short three-hour flight places a person in a completely different style of life. Besides, just grab a few beers at the airport, and enjoy them on the trip!

Getting to the hotel around 10PM, the check-in was a breeze. There were snacks, pastries and fruit on a table right by the check-in area, along with a welcoming drink. The room was ready, clean and welcoming, with towel-art swans on the bed. There was a flat-screen TV with several channels to meet one's need, but why watch TV when you have the Carribean Sea at your toes?
A/C was more than suffice, and the fridge was stocked. There is a 24-hour bar that also serves food day and night. Being a large resort, you did not feel overwhelmed and things were spaced / planned so that it is not a far walk from anywhere on the resort to the restaurants.
The beach is gorgeous. It is a short walk on a board-walk to the beach, where there are tons of places to sit either in the sun or in the shade. There are plenty of beach chairs that you can lay out in, however, to get a space under the palapas (shade), you need to get up early! The water is crystal-clear and absolutely refreshing.
The restaurant on the beach serves good food, including pizza and pasta made-to-order. The pizza and pasta is very good, as there are many Italian travellers to this resort. The star of the beach has to be the little bodega shack that has grilled ham and cheese, toasted tuna or hotdogs. The guy running it is awesome and prepares the food as though you were a guest in his home.
Food-wise, you won't go hungry! The buffet has tons of choice for all meals of the day. The staff is very helpful and kind, as long as you are respectful to them. Our favourite servers were Ernesto (very tall, gracious man!) who was there for the evenings, and his younger partner. Also, Omar at his pizza stand was a riot. Gretl in the mornings, who pours out the best glass of fresh orange juice you will get anywhere! was such a kind-hearted, warm person. The gardens were amazing - flowers everywhere and meticulously maintained by a great group of gardeners, who work hard and often unseen.
Breakfasts were great, with many egg-stations - it was their busiest time of year, and we hardly waited to get our omelettes. For lunch, the grilled meats were excellent, and were made-to-order.
The list could go on as to the great things about this resort, and the only real way to understand and appreciate how wonderful this place is is by going there to experience it yourself!

  • Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 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.
Mareyi G, Public Relations Manager at Hotel Playa Cayo Santa Maria, responded to this review, July 24, 2014
Dear guest:
Greetings from Playa Cayo Santa Maria. Thank you for your true review.
Also, thank you for choosing our hotel for your recent stay in Cayo Santa Maria.
Thanks again, and we hope you'll choose Hotel Playa Cayo Santa Maria the next time you're in Cayo Santa Maria.
Best regards,


Ms. Mareyi Gómez Montano. Customer Service Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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2,923 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 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 (645)
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English first
Guelph, Canada
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 16, 2014

This was my second time at Playo Cayo Santa Maria and I had an amazing time. The beach was absolutely breath taking, the pools were very well maintained, the service was great and the rooms were very well cleaned. I was very pleased with the outstanding during the day and night time entertainment offered. The dancers preformed with great energy and enthusiasm during shows and the band played enjoyable music. Overall, I was most pleased with the staff. They are top notch! Everyone was so friendly, and helpful especially in offering suggestions for restaurants, during the day activities and places we could visit off the resort in Santa Clara. I particularly want to mention Adnier, Michel, Yuniel and the rest of the animation team. They are all hard working individuals who go above and beyond what they do. They are all friendly, funny and energetic individuals who are always positive in everything they do. I had an amazing and memorable trip!

  • Stayed May 2014, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mareyi G, Public Relations Manager at Hotel Playa Cayo Santa Maria, responded to this review, July 18, 2014
Dear guest:
Greetings from Playa Cayo Santa Maria.
I would like to thank you for choosing our resort for your recent stay in Cayo Santa Maria.
Thanks again, and we hope you'll choose Hotel Playa Cayo Santa Maria the next time you're in Cayo Santa Maria.
Best regards,


Ms. Mareyi Gómez Montano. Customer Service Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Quebec City, Canada
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 15, 2014

We were a group of 9 people, youngest being 15 years old and each of us had an amazing time at Playa Cayo Santa Maria! For starters, the beach is breath taking, the white sand and Crystal clear water is absolutely amazing. The pools are also a great place to stay throughout the days, there are always chairs available both in the shade and in the sun. The grounds of the hotel are well maintained. Throughout my two week stay I did not see anything dirty or in bad condition. The rooms were in great shape and always well kept. We stayed in bungalow 7, which was close to the beach and pool. The food was great, they had many choices at the buffet as well as the restaurants. The staff of the hotel were very polite, friendly and always willing to help however they can. What made this trip that much more enjoyable were the amazing entertainers, Capy, Ruben, Michael and Richard. Throughout the day they would plan games, gave dancing lessons, aqua fitness..etc. These activities were done both at the beach and at the pool. Overall a great experience that we are planning to do again!

Room Tip: Bungalow 7 and 15 are closest to everyhting
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  • Stayed July 2014, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mareyi G, Public Relations Manager at Hotel Playa Cayo Santa Maria, responded to this review, July 16, 2014
Dear guest:
Thank you for your great review after an amazing time at Playa Cayo Santa Maria.
If it was overall a great experience and you are planning to do it again, please, just let us know about your next stay and we are going to take care of you.
Sincerely,

Ms. Mareyi Gómez Montano. Customer Service Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 14, 2014

The four of us, including an eight and ten year-old, had a great time at HPCSM the first week of July, 2014. The resort bills itself as 5-star, and easily could be, with some improvement in the food.

First off, the beach is as awesome as it is made out to be. Probably the best we have ever seen, and definitely the most pristine. In our 4-5 visits over seven days, the water ranged from completely still, to moderately wavy (which the kids and I tend to prefer), and water temperatures from hot (yes, hot) to pleasantly cool.

Pools were plentiful, and very nice as well. We stayed primarily at the pool servicing our building (#5), and one other, but also spent some good time in the main pool as well. Very nice, clean and spacious pools both, but pretty shallow, for the most part. Being July, this meant for some warm (not very refreshing), swims.

24-hour snack bar had the best food on the resort, and we were more than happy with the options, and service, that kept us coming back daily for lunch. The ice cream hut was also a hit with both kids and parents alike, and was also a daily destination, without fail.

Entertainment was very good, and changed up each day. In addition to the main shows, which start each evening at 9:30, they also have a "mini-disco" for the little ones beforehand. Like many other posters have noted, make sure to check out the Michael Jackson tribute show. It's the best of the bunch.

Overall, the resort is beautiful. Fantastic, well-kept grounds, with a very nice layout great for walking (while minimizing the *need* to walk, to get places). Everyone is pleasant and welcoming, from the lobby bar to the beach, especially the cats that live on the resort (they all had names by the time we left).

The room was a good size, and clean, but we did have a couple of small issues (bathroom door didn't lock, and the bath didn't drain). We called about the bath and a pleasant caretaker showed up, tool kit in hand, and sort of fixed the drain. It drained, yes, but slowly, so we ended up removing the stopper entirely when it wasn't in use. No biggie. We also showed him the door when he was there, and, after an animated English-Spanish pantomime, he noted our problem in his notebook, said he'd be back tomorrow, and bid us "beunos dias". Never saw him again. Again, no biggie. We also found a glass, broken by the cleaning staff, left in the bathroom one day, which we found a little odd. None of these small issues are big deals. More quirky, if anything. Definitely not what you would expect in a true "5-star resort" though.

Which brings us to the food, the one reason I couldn't give the fifth star. Apart from the snack bar, as I mentioned, and the a la cartes that we dined at (the Italian, "Romantic" and Seafood), we tired pretty quickly of the other food (primarily the buffet). Yes, "it's Cuba", and no, we never "went hungry", to borrow some common quotes from posts, but, after only seven days at the buffet (six breakfasts and three dinners) we were being pretty selective by the end (fried rice, bread, maybe soup), and looking forward to some home cooking. The omelette station was a solid go to each day, as was the selection of buns, breads and desserts. Service was very good too.

In retrospect, we could have spread out our a la carte reservations over the course of the seven days, to minimize the "buffet fatigue" somewhat, so do consider that. The dinners we had at the Italian, Romantic and Seafood restaurants were all reasonably good.

Overall, we had a great time, at a great, four-star resort. Thanks for the stay, HPCSM.

Room Tip: Try to avoid the buildings closer to the show, if you are planning on sleeping, rather than attendin...
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  • Stayed July 2014, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 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.
Mareyi G, Public Relations Manager at Hotel Playa Cayo Santa Maria, responded to this review, July 16, 2014
Dear guest:
Greetings from Playa Cayo Santa Maria.
I would like to thank you for choosing our resort for your recent stay in Cayo Santa Maria.
We're always eager to hear what you liked and how we can improve.
Thanks again, and we hope you'll choose Hotel Playa Cayo Santa Maria the next time you're in Cayo Santa Maria.
Best Regards,

Ms. Mareyi Gómez Montano. Customer Service Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 14, 2014

This was our first time at Playa Cayo Santa Maria and I had an amazing time. For starters, the beach is like no other. The white sand and the clear water is absolutely breath taking. The pools are all well maintained and clean. There were also always available chairs both at the pool and beach no matter the time of day. The food at Playa exceeded my expectations. The restaurants, buffets, and snack bar were all so tasty. No one in my group got sick from the food and everyone much preferred the food here compared to other resorts in Cuba. I did like the pizza and pasta at the beach buffet better than the pizza and pasta at the main buffet. However, what made this trip that much more enjoyable were the amazing entertainers. A big thank you to Capy, Ruben, Michael, Richard, and the rest for making the days so fun. They are missed and I can not wait to return!

Stayed July 2014, traveled with family
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mareyi G, Public Relations Manager at Hotel Playa Cayo Santa Maria, responded to this review, July 16, 2014
Dear guest:
After an amazing time at Playa Cayo Santa Maria where your expectations was exceeded, it is time to plan your next trip for coming back. Our Management Team & staff are waiting for you from now.
Hoping to see you soon,

Ms. Mareyi Gómez Montano. Customer Service Manager.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Montreal, Canada
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 13, 2014

We traveled in the week of July 5th 2014, it was our second time at this resort. We really enjoyed our trip the first time, but this time, they surpassed our expectations!

Check in was quick and easy, even though we arrived after midnight. We visited the 24 hour snack bar for those "dedos de pollo" that we were looking forward to have again. Room was clean, bed was comfortable, air conditioning was working well.

Staff members remembered us, and we felt like we were part of the family. Ivon, the spa representative lady, gave us a warm welcome and was incredibly helpful throughout our stay. My wife and I got massages at the spa. "Massages con ron" are really interesting, very different from what we got here in Montreal. For 55 CUC, you absolutely have to try it :)

Dayana and her partner at the buffet were also a pleasure to see everyday. The service at the buffet was something special. They were so efficient, it felt like we had our own private waiters; our glasses were never empty, finished plates were taken away from the table in a matter of seconds. Again, flawless service! All the staff at the snack bar was also devoted and very welcoming.

Everybody that works at this resort is great with children. Gardeners, waiters, barmen, musicians, and especially the magician at the lobby, all took a few seconds of their day to high five our son.

The beach is beautiful, the pools are clean and there are always available chairs and palapas. One suggestion, would be nice to have a waiter devoted to "patrol" the pools for drinks. We noticed that this service was only available when it was a bit quieter at the snack bar.

And now the food. Buffet was great, but a bit repetitive. Food was fresh, quick service at the stations (eggs, meat, pizza, pastas). Food at the snack bar, you could just eat those pizzas and chicken fingers every day since they are so good. A la carte restaurants were great. If you like langostas, you'll be happy! Onion soup at the Romantico restaurant was out of this world!

The managers of this resort are really involved in the everyday routine, and really close to clients. If you're lucky, they might even sing for you ;)

There seems to be a great team spirit within the employees, and it felt like the implication of the managers is part of that spirit.

This was our 9th trip to an all inclusive resort, 4th time in Cuba and 2nd at the Playa Cayo Santa Maria, and this was the best one. We celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary, and we got a few special attentions that were very much appreciated.

Looking forward to another stay at the Playa Cayo Santa Maria!!

Room Tip: Buildings 7 and 15 are really close to everything. Some rooms have a bath tub, some have a shower. W...
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  • Stayed July 2014, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 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.
Mareyi G, Public Relations Manager at Hotel Playa Cayo Santa Maria, responded to this review, July 14, 2014
Dear guest:
Thank you for choosing Hotel Playa Cayo Santa Maria for your 2nd stay.
We are pleased to know that you found here the best service in the Caribbean and that we surpassed your expectations.
You are right, our repeat guests are part of our big family.
Looking forward to see you again,

Ms. Mareyi Gomez Montano. Customer Service Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Canada
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 13, 2014

the beach was amazing, small waves and the 8 pools around the complex are amazing.
They have pool bar, snack bar, beach restaurant, buffets and also restaurant à la carte. the food was quite poor except home made pizzas and pasta.Nice ice cream treat for kids.
Not much to do out side the complex, an hour and an half to get to Santa Clara.
Evenings shows were ok. Service and general attitude was not up to par…must be the cubain way!

  • Stayed June 2014, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mareyi G, Public Relations Manager at Hotel Playa Cayo Santa Maria, responded to this review, July 14, 2014
Dear guest:
Greetings from Playa Cayo Santa Maria.
Thank you for your review. Your opinion matters a lot to us.
We're always eager to hear what you liked and how we can improve.
Best Regards,

Ms. Mareyi Gómez Montano. Customer Service Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative 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 10 Hotels in Cayo Santa Maria
Hotel Class:5 star — Hotel Playa Cayo Santa Maria 5*
Number of rooms: 769

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