We were independently seeing a few places in Cuba starting in Havana (where we stayed at the wonderful Parque Centrale) moved on to Trinidad where we stayed at Casa Miriam for the experience and a good one it was. Then we arranged a long distance taxi to Santiago and stayed at the Melia. Oh dear!
In, what purports to be, a 1st class hotel we have never encountered such awful staff who ran the gamit of disinterested/lazy/rude. At Reception on checking in or when over the next day when we had queries we were met with irritation (they were not busy i.e. nobody else waiting) which on one occasion manifested as hostility. We didn't go near there again.
Breakfast is a buffet fairly varied and indifferent quality. Also, novelly, a person making omlettes to order who expected a gratuity for so doing. Another anoyance was that there was a grand piano in the place at thay time of the morning belting out iffy renditions of songs from the shows. But the worst thing was when arriving and claiming a table there are vacuum jugs that have coffee and milk. Thing is they are from the previous occupants and to get the staff to change half filled jugs with luke warm contents was something that required determination and the ability to ignore the looks and the huffiness.
Now anyone travelling in Cuba will have noted the middle age foreign men entertaining local young girls both in hotel bars and restaurants and out on the town. It is all fairly discrete. In this hotel not so. Particularly on the Saturday evening when we were sitting in the lobby bat before venturing out. The large expanse near the bar and the entance had a number of local young girls and a couple of young boys milling around waiting for their companions, so discretion had gone out the window, but the worst of it was 4 Irish lads in the area using the very worst of expletives continuously and one having 2 girls on his arm explaining to anyone who would listen that he had only had them for 15 minutes and didn't know their names. It was a seedy and fairly uncomfortable 30 minutes before we left for to go to a local restaurant.
Everything bad that we encountered in this hotel , there is more but I am trying to avoid a rant,
was to do with the culture of the establishment and so its management. So we thought about this place and our experience and wondered why it had, astonishingly, good reviews and it hit us. In our time at this place in the evening coaches would role up, disgorge, the people would come in be escorted up stairs to a buffet dinner and their Guide dealt with the booking in. Next day they would depart or go out on a trip and they would be gonefollowed by the next lot.
So the secret of being the Melia Santiago de Cuba is to be the only hotel in the area that can deal with the volumes and to have a guests who are either on a tour of cuba (it's Friday this must be Santiago) or middle age men. Independent travellrs like us are in the minority and as if to underline that in and around the pool during the day there were only locals (staff?) and groups of men. So on that basis the hotel doesn't need to up its game , why should it?
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- Also Known As:
- Melia Santiago De Cuba Hotel Santiago De Cuba
- Santiago De Cuba Melia