My niece and I have just returned from our very first trip to Cuba August 13- 20, 2010.
After a tremendous amount of research, I chose to stay at the Melia Las Dunas All-Inclusive Resort in Cuba for several reasons:
1. I stayed at a Melia Resort (in Cabo San Lucas Mexico) in the past and loved it
2. The latest review I read in TripAdvisor were mostly favourable and I dismissed the naysayers
3. The price-quality ratio for an all-inclusive ****1/2 star resort was almost unbelievable
4. It seemed to have a lot of facilities and activities which could be used in case of rain
We were absolutely enchanted by our vacation!!! It is a wonderful resort with two large pools, a free gym and indeed lots of activities for people of all ages and best of all, I think there are more than 12 different places to eat, including 5 restaurants.
Flights & Arrival:
The flight with CanJet was on-time and even ahead of schedule both when we departed and returned home and the bus ride from the Santa Clara airport (yes it is indeed a 90-minute ride), was quite enjoyable both ways. When we arrived at the resort, we received our envelope almost right away (somewhat of a wait as they didn't seem to be able to find our reservation), but I think it's because I had requested a room in a particular block (46 or 76) and even though it wasn't guaranteed my request would be fulfilled, we did get what we asked for!
Room & Room Service:
Our air-conditioned room was on the second floor in block 76 (less than a 5-minute walk to the Lobby and Beach) and was surprisingly quite spacious and comfortable. It was comfortable, quiet and offers a free safe where we can leave our valuables. There is a mini-fridge with local beer, soft-drinks and large water bottles supplied free of charge every day. The best feature was our chambermaid Aray. We met her on the first day and she immediately resolved two minor issues we had right away. She thoroughly cleaned our room every day and responded to all the written requests we left her (I speak and write a little Spanish so we managed to communicate). We also very much enjoyed the original towel art that she created for us each day.
Food and Restaurants:
One of the reasons I always stayed away from Cuba was based on the comments I had read and heard about the food, so I was a little apprehensive, as I we are both somewhat selective eaters and my niece is allergic to nuts. Here is what I wish to say to all the complainers and whiners : the food is NOT BAD, it is simply DIFFERENT. If one expects to eat the same as one eats at home every day, where is the adventure and discovery? There are THREE buffets with a selection that is varied enough not to have to eat the same thing every day. We always tried to sit in the same area each day so we could be served by a wonderful waiter named YANSY. Although he seemed to work all day and most evenings, he always had a smile on his face, and was totally attentive and met all our needs right away. He is one of the best representations I had experienced of someone who was all about providing EXCELLENT SERVICE.
Of the three restaurants we reserved, our favourite one was ISABEL & FERDINAND. The food was exquisite (oh my goodness that Cream of Tomato & Pumpkin was divine). Our waiter RAMSAY was courteous, attentive and he spoke French and English, as well as Spanish.
We dealt with many other waiters and we would like to thank all of them for making our stay so pleasant (by the way, although they of course appreciate tips, they do not EXPECT them and their friendliness does not depend on that... they are simply doing their jobs, so don't feel forced to pull out your money, especially if you do so with resentment).
We had a small problem with our safe and it was resolved to our satisfaction, although I did have to call twice and wait for someone to come, as we had to stay in the room.
GYM and POOL
I very much appreciated the fact that there was a gym on the premises. It is not elaborate, but has two stairmasters, two treadmills, one rowing machine and four stationary bikes and a weight room. Although it was extremely hot outside, it is air-conditioned and quite efficient. The pools are a fairly large size with towel service. These are however my two areas of complaint. The pool and gym hours are too restrictive, closing at 6 and 7 PM respectively and the Adult Pool Only restriction was not enforced. There were small children everytime we went.
Absolutely breath-taking!!! Soft, white sand, blue ocean for miles and miles. Towels, chairs and palapas were in sufficient supply every day. I never realized how magnificent the Cuban beaches are, even if I had been told so in the past. I repeat: an absolute gem. I walked on both sides and the Melia Las Dunas beachfront is simply the best.
I could go on and on and on. I was not familiar with the Cuban star-rating system, so do I think it is a four and a half star... I don't know as I have nothing else to compare it to. However it usually takes a lot to please me and I was very, very pleased.
Although the forecasts called mostly for Thunder showers, it was TOTAL SUNSHINE for 7 straight days!!!
Thank you so much for a wonderful vacation. I would totally go back, but maybe not in August as the heat can be overwhelming and there are a lot of mosquitoes.
- Also Known As:
- Melia Las Dunas Hotel Cayo Santa Maria
- Melia Cayo Santa Maria
- Melia Hotel Las Dunas
- Melia Las Dunas Cuba