As promised ,here is is my review arrival Dec 13,2011.
I did quite a bit of research to eventually make the decision to choose this resort out of all
of Cuba. Its easy to start. I knew my priorities... no kids, a decent beach having beachfront
rooms with a view, good food, smaller in size 100-300 rooms maximum. I began looking at Veradero , knowing its famous for its beach and numerous decent hotels on the strip.
There were only a few to consider, but they were still too big, and no guarantee of "room with a view"
Then I read a few reviews on Melia Buenavista which got me really interested. The resort is only about one year old now, and the initial reviews were not very good as is common with
many "new" resorts simply because they are "new" . New staff, new plumbing ,new kitchen
equipment,etc which all have to stand the test of time....working out the "bugs"
I have travelled extensively all my life and been to dozens and dozens of "all inclusive resorts
new and old, small and big. When you book a brand new resort ,it always comes with the risk of uncompleted areas ie,pool,rooms,kitchen,spa, missing watersport apparatus,etc....
BUT, if that does happen to you(not here) you should get a free visit if you persist your complaint regarding "complete satisfaction" as stated in the tour companie's fineprint literature.
Melia Buenavista is still new. Still needs to mature. But it is very, very good value as I write this review. Let me explain.... I paid only $1,200 per person all taxes included . Thats only about $170 per day to cover your airfare, hotel, food and drink. Not bad. Actually , for a 5 star Cuban resort designed for couples, I would say its a bargain. I have stayed at Sandals,
Riu, Iberostars, etc, and yes they are very good at various Islands, but they all come with a
price. In most cases you do "get what you pay for" ( you will find whiners and complainers in
this domain , who probably have not travelled much and cannot do a valid comparision to any
other resort or Island.....U.K. travellers....Im sorry...but they seem to be disgusted the most.)
Expectations are set way too high and as soon as they find out they cant get their roast beef
,gravey, mashed,yorkshire pudding,etc, ,.. everything becomes "bloody dreadful" lol.
If having the best culinary experience is a priority for you then do not come here. Do not
come to Cuba period. Do your research. You are far better off going to St Vincent, Antigua,
Bermuda, Jamaica or Anguilla. Or book your private Island with private chef! Just dont forget
your black Amex Card! Think Im kidding? Go to www.guana.com check out the prices
and then be thankful you can come to a place like this for the fraction of the cost !
As I stated I like a smaller resort simply because you usually get better service,less noise,
and you dont have to wander across hells half acres to get anywhere. You can walk this resort within 4 minutes end to end. There are only 104 rooms which means only 208 people
at maximum capacity. The resort has a bohemian/zen "feel" to it with no raz-a-ma-taz.
No blaring music, soft neutral tones, all unique Initimate, quiet. Perfect rest and relaxation zone. I would recommend to spend the extra dollars for a beachfront room with view. Its worth every penny. The beachfront rooms come in lower and upper levels.The second level is considered a "premium" it should be more "panoramic". I had room 1012 lower level and had a good view of the ocean with about 50ft of vegetation in front , then beach. then rocks.
Most rooms will come with a similar view ..shrubbery, vegetation, lava/coral black rocks
and water. Block 12 and 14 are next to the pool and would probably be the "noisiest" of
this quiet resort. Reason being there is the pool bar right next to block 14. But it has a great view. Block 11 has a second level view only. Block 10. all good. Block 9 no view at all, just trees.. Block 8 good view...better on second level 0821. 0811 is the lower.
Block 7 is the best in my opinion for a few reasons. It overlooks the most western beach and
you can sit and watch the sunset everynight right from your balcony.Nice. 0711 is lower and it is really the only room to which you can walk right out onto the beach. and 30 paces to the water. Block 5 and 6 not bad.. but looking over what seems to be an unfinished part of the
resort and a disguised holding tank (covered in sand forming a hill) 3 and 4 are the same...
and closest to the tennis courts. Block 15 and 18 good views lots of shrubs and water view.
Block 19 are the largest suites. they come with a living room 2 flat screen tvs and a dining area. They also have an outside gazebo to sit and enjoy the view. Comes at a premium special price and not worth the money for me. These units were empty at my time.
Block 20 and 22 shrubs and view. both levels. Blocks 23 and 24 take the top level only for best view. Block 24 is good because it is next to the walkway for the main eastern beach and
breakfast and lunch restaurant. Blocks 16,17,21,25,26,27 all surround the second pool and they are great if you like being close to the pool. It is very quiet. Repeat...quiet.
Strike block 1 and 2 off your list as they have no view, no pool, no nothing.
If you choose to have a second level, keep in mind there are exactly 21 steps to climb.
Not for me. Main level view was acceptable.
There are 3 restaurants in total. All a-la carte. No line ups at the trough.
I give the food 4 out of 5. The fish is very good. The lobsters slightly overcooked and the beef is bland. But overall good. No gastronomic nightmares here. The Italian chef just came
back after a one month leave ,so things should continue to improve with the quality and flavour of the food.. Breakfast was exceptional. Drinks are good. No high end name brands
and the bartenders work very hard to please everybody. The overall service is one of th best
Ive seen in a long time. From the concierge/butler to the maid, bartenders, room service
they all were friendly and helpful. They have 24 hour room service. Dont let anybody tell
you otherwise. If you get sidetracked by any other bogus explanation from whoever answers the phone...then demand to speak to the manager.Period.
BEACH> ok...3 areas of beach....most western and sunset beach at block 7 spans about
250 paces like a crescent. Didnt see anybody swimming there all week.
CENTRAL COVE beach has 2 crescents and small. about 150 paces each.They are shallow
and good for moderate snorkeling or just waddling in for a cool down..NO serious swimming here.
EASTERN BEACH comes with a beach bar this is where the beach begins onward to the
other resorts Sol cayo santa maria, melia santa maria, las dunas. . Beaches comes in all shapes and sizes and differents status. Some come as wide as footbal fields....NOT here.
Beaches are sorted by type of sand including (grain size and colour) then syle of formation( dune,flat, sandbank, crescent) and level of urbanization(wild ,developed or somewhere in between) This beach is made of white coral and shells being crushed over length of time to form white sand. It is more wild here. It is NOT silky white sand.....yet. I walked to the next resort on the beach and it was like walking through quicksand. Very tiring and difficult.
Probably due to the time of year and tides as well...not sure. But in no way could you go
for a jog on the beach at this resort. The snorkelling however is rated the best there is out here ,but it was too windy to do any.
I took a risk booking this trip in December. It was windy and cool.Had about 4 sunny days.
Optimum months would be April -October. Book now through March and you take the risk of
inclement weather. Remember, you are very close to Florida and it gets cold in Florida too.
Regardless of the weather, we stll had a very good time. It is what you make it.
You almost feel like a celebrity at this resort with all the pampering, good spa, and at many times being the only person in the pool area or on the beach. No vendors bugging you,
no wild parties, no oom pah pah etc.....everybody respected each others space. Lots
of loungers. No mad early morning dash needed to reserve one. Here are some extra tips:
Exchange your dollars at the resort( no need to line up at the airport)
For Cubans, tipping is survival for many bring enough pesos to cover bartenders, maids
and your concierge/butler. Javier was excellent.
Hint> 1 peso for drinks 2 for lunch, 5 for dinner, and whatever you want plus gifts.
We tipped about $300 for the week in total to give you an idea.
Order room service at least twice. Give feedback to manager.
If you did not like your meal at the restaurant, order room service later to compensate.
Try the Lobster in Rum sauce.....specifly rum sauce and not to overcook it.
The fish, chicken and pork are best in that order. I did not care for the beef.
We did not get one single bite from any flea or bug. Some people just attract them.
so bug spray was not needed even though I brought some.
If you dont like your room,let the manager know asap. Winter months are not at full
capacity so you might get a free upgrade.
Email the manager in advance for any special needs. I noticed a few handicapped people
in wheelchairs, crutches, and blind.
Email the manager to confirm your room requirements, so that check in is a breeze.
Take the shuttle bus to the other resorts to do a comparison. Have a lunch at the other
Melia resorts as you can do this for free. The beaches are nice at the other Melias as well.
You can go in the evening to see the shows at the other resorts to switch it up a bit.
By staying at the Melia Buenavista you can get the best of both worlds Quiet retreat......
and the big, loud, city resorts with animation etc if thats what you want. I was content to stay
right where I was. I did take the bus to visit the new Iberostar Ensanachos( formerly royal hideaway) what a fabulous beach! silky white, hard,shallow, blue water, ....but HUGE
resort..... It is now a family resort.
You can take excursions to Havanna by plane for $150 each. Good deal for the day.
I did none. Just rest and relaxation and pampering. Thats what this place is all about.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located west of Cayo Santa Maria in a privileged ecological environment, and surrounded by beaches and coves. All-Inclusive five-star resort with 105 junior suites and suites, and the Villa "Zaida del Rio." Designed for adults over 18 years. An entire hotel featuring Royal Service. Recommended for couples, weddings, honeymoons and wellness/spa. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Hotels.com, Prodigios Interactivos SA, Cancelon and TripOnline SA so you can book your Melia Buenavista reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Melia Buenavista Hotel Cayo Santa Maria