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“Heaven on Earth”
Review of Melia Buenavista

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Melia Buenavista
Ranked #2 of 16 Hotels in Cayo Santa Maria
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed November 6, 2013

This was our first trip to Cuba and we will definitely be making another trip back to the Buenavista. The beach is why we came to Cuba and the snorkeling is why we chose this resort. We had never been snorkeling before and wanted to try it somewhere the snorkeling was good and the water was easy to navigate.

THE RESORT
All three beaches were beautiful and well equipped. There was usually someone at the beach who would walk with you to your bed, position it wherever you pleased and then would make it up for you.

We spent most of our time at the sunset beach, also known as the quiet beach, which lived up to its name. This is where I really felt like I was in heaven. Beautiful soft sand, a beautiful view and nothing to hear but the breeze and the waves lapping at the shore. It was not good for swimming here because it was too shallow and the bottom was a little mucky and a lot weedy. This, however, made for amazing snorkeling. The entire bay is fairly shallow and we saw many beautiful corals and fish. The avid snorkelers reported seeing barracudas, lobsters, octopus and sea turtles and you never had to go far from the shore or the reef.

When we wanted to just swim in the ocean we would head to the snorkeling beach which had a fantastic location a few steps from us at the quiet beach, and right behind the main pool with the pool bar and barbecue. The sand was soft and there was excellent snorkeling here as well, very close to the shore with lots of fish to see, even in the shallow water.

Both pools were beautiful and clean with perfect temperatures and a good supply of floaties. We enjoyed the walk through the grounds for breakfast and the pictures don't do the gardens justice.

The rooms we had were beautiful and clean with lots of space and comfortable furniture. We loved and made good use of both the big tub and the outdoor shower. There is a walk-in closet with lots of space for hanging clothes, three good sized drawers and a shoe rack. There are also small drawers in the night table and desk, and plenty of shelving in the main bedroom so there is lots of space for organizing your stuff. Robes, slippers, beach bag and other small amenities are supplied.

THE FOOD
The restaurants are all quite good and though it may seem limited having only two to choose from for dinner, we found there was plenty of choice to get through the week. If we had stayed longer, we may have tried some of the options at the sister resorts. We heard some wonderful things about these from other people at the resort but we were content where we were. For the most part, we ate off the menu and we always enjoyed our meals. The breakfast offered a good selection of buffet items and had a good, if simple, menu. The cappuccinos were awesome and since I saw many people enjoying them at all hours of the day and night, I know I am not the only one who thought so. Our favourite dishes were the omelet at breakfast along with the pastries and tropical fruit on the breakfast buffet, the buffet at lunch, the pumpkin soup (OMG!), tempura vegetables, the steak, the lobster, the perch and traditional dessert on Cuban night, the vegetarian couscous, the mousse (every flavor) and the ice cream. If you're a meat eater, the grill at the pool for lunch was excellent with beautifully roasted chickens, turkey, burgers, hot dogs, skewers of chicken, pork or beef with peppers and pineapple, and sausage. Also at the grill, there are fresh rolls and a big server with enough lettuce and other fresh vegetables to make a salad if you preferred and another big server with banana chips or fresh potato chips. We ordered breakfast via room service one morning and it was fast and the food was good. We enjoyed the pizza as well which could be ordered anywhere it seemed.

THE SERVICE
The resort itself is beautiful but the staff and the service are what made our trip special.

There is much discussion about the role of the butlers. While it is true that they will make your dinner reservations, they really do so much more. Our butlers, Joel and Chacon were excellent and I would feel extremely fortunate to have them again on our next trip. They were always around to catch us to or from breakfast for a quick check in to make sure the day before had gone well and then to make sure we were looked after for the day ahead. One morning Chacon brought our breakfast from room service and on another when we had skipped through breakfast quickly, Joel came to the beach to find us where he knew we spent most of our time. They would always discuss with us the menus for the evening to ensure we selected the best option for us. Chacon made special arrangements for my husband to have the steak he had enjoyed in Los Navigantes, served in Los Caribos where I could enjoy the music of Spanish Night. They arranged for a dinner in our room that was so beautifully detailed and thoughtful, complete with the live singers from the restaurant, it brought me to tears. They arranged for champagne and a plate of fresh fruit to be waiting for us in our room when we returned from the beach at the end of the day. This was a wonderful way to relax before we got ready for dinner.

While they are wonderful at making sure your holiday is a memorable one and you have everything you want and need, the butlers are also your problem solvers. When we first arrived, I realized I hadn't brought the adapter I needed for my CPAP machine and Chacon brought in the mechanic who worked it all out very quickly. This was such a huge relief as I had envisioned having to spend days hunting around Cuba for something appropriate or simply not being able to sleep all week which would have ruined our holiday. Joel made a recommendation and then an appt. for a massage to help ease the residual aches and pains from the travel. The a/c broke in our room and we had to move. By the time this happened it didn't even faze us as we had complete trust in our butlers and they made it a completely painless experience. Chacon found us a room next door to where we were and arranged everything beautifully. Even if you don't need a lot, you can rest assured they are there keeping everything running smoothly and specifically for you.

The service in the restaurants was outstanding and we always felt well taken care of. Not always really fast but we never sat long at a table with nothing in front of us. The wait staff were excellent at making suggestions to accommodate so if something is not to your liking, all you have to do is say so and they will do their best to make sure you are satisfied. One night I decided after sitting down that I was really in the mood for the other restaurant and while I was feeling embarrassed, the waitress told me it was no problem and to just sit and wait. When she came back a few minutes later she had already made arrangements next door for a table in 10 minutes time and gave us the name of the girl who would look after us there. And all with a smile, of course. :-)

The service on the beach was the fastest I have experienced and they would run up and down the beach all day, even to the quiet beach which is at the far end of the resort from where they start. I had asked for some extra beer for our mini fridge since our room was beside the quiet beach and I didn't expect service there. I knew I could easily run in and grab a drink whenever we wanted one but I never got the chance. The boys were always there and would take our bubbas, fill them up with whatever we asked for and had them back to us quickly.

Our maid, Diamelys was a wonderful girl who worked hard, always with a smile, and helped us out above and beyond with anything we needed. We always had beautiful towel art and flowers on our bed along with lovely little notes from the maid and turndown service. The turndown service was always reliable and magically done while we were at dinner even though we ate at all different times and often came back to our room right after dinner, as all that relaxing and being spoiled seemed to really tire us out. The night we ate in our room, they knocked and we let them in to do their thing as we were just sitting on the balcony relaxing by then. They flew through quickly but were as efficient as ever.

The gardener, Armando, cut some aloe and brought it to the beach for my husband who ended up with a lot of bug bites.

I would leave notes for the mini-bar man and he always left exactly what I requested and always had a smile when I saw him.

The bartenders at the pool bar were excellent and we loved heading here for our lunch because they were fabulous at their jobs and made things a lot of fun. While we were there, a sugar cane press was installed by the pool bar and people were cranking sugar cane through it to make fresh cane juice. This was very tasty and a lot of fun as well.

I especially need to mention Horve who looks after the Quiet Beach and really made our holiday special. He took such good care of us day in and day out and worked incredibly hard to make sure our time there was perfect. From bringing more beds to the beach our first day there to helping us with our new snorkel gear, snorkeling techniques and the best places to go snorkeling. He answered a multitude of questions relating to the resort, the culture, the country, and everything he did, he did with a smile. He became a good friend and we miss him already.

The manager was around to chat briefly a few times, and encouraged us to make any special requests we might like, suggesting a special breakfast in our room before we left. I didn't find him to be hovering but he did always seem available and approachable.

There are so many other staff I would love to mention but I would be going on forever here.

ACTIVITIES AND ENTERTAINMENT
It is quiet but there are lots of things to do. People at the main pool were always having a lot of fun with dance lessons, pool volleyball, water aerobics and just hanging out at the bar. The people leading the activities don't have a loudspeaker or loud music blasting, it's just good fun.

The sunset with champagne and music at the pier was quite beautiful. This didn't happen every night, depending on weather conditions, but we thoroughly enjoyed it. Remember this is the end of the resort with the no-see-ums so be prepared.

I had the Serenity massage at the spa. It was wonderful and I would definitely do it again. It was also very reasonably priced. I spoke with others who had tried the spa as well and they were all quite happy with their services.

In the evening, we stretched out our dinners with many courses and bottles of wine, thoroughly enjoying the music at the restaurant. The musicians in the restaurants were really excellent and they also played at breakfast which was nice. After dinner, the lobby bar had piano music, sometimes a band outside for the patio, and always lots of great company and drinks. We only stayed up a couple of times for this. If you want a more exciting night life or to see a show, you can go to one of the other resorts just a few minutes away by bus for no charge.

THINGS TO KNOW AHEAD OF TIME
You may want to bring something to convert the power in the rooms as it is 220 except for a plug for a shaver in the bathroom but that one is meant for small things and wouldn't power my flat iron.

The shop on site is very limited with a good selection of rums, sodas, cigars and cookies, a few souvenirs and nothing in the way of toiletries or medicines, so don't forget anything. Apparently you can go to one of the other Melia resorts close by where the shop is better equipped but I was having a great time and didn't want to leave the resort. We did go to the market at Las Dunas one day where there were a couple of places to have lunch, some shops, a more varied selection of souvenirs and some local art and wood crafts. Still no toiletries to speak of or medicines. It cost us 3 CUCs each way for a taxi and he waited for us. It was only 5 minutes approx. from the resort and since it is fairly small and I'm not one for long shopping trips on holidays, we were there and back within half an hour or so.

Bring a good insect repellent, something we forgot, because the conditions for great snorkeling also make for great numbers of no-see-ums. I didn't get any bites until close to the end of the week but they loved my husband. (he is a smoker who spent more time on the balcony at night so perhaps quit before you come ;) ) We used a Benadryl spray when we got home and it helped immensely. Next time we will take some with us. The aloe vera did help with the itching. The time of year and our location at the resort contributed to the number of bites, no doubt. The bug bites will not deter us, but will have us packing a little smarter next time.

You get one beach towel for the week, which you will be charged for if it is not in the room when you leave. This you can change for a clean one at the hut by the main pool (where you can also get books). I think I will bring an extra beach towel with me next time but we did manage just fine.

I strongly suggest that you bring your bubbas or other insulated cups. We didn't always use them in other resorts but here they were incredibly helpful as the cups they use for their drinks are small flimsy plastic. I left mine with the maid as the people here have long bus rides to and from work.

There is no wifi but two computers in the lobby which I used a few times. Though slower than I am used to at home, I was able to check my email and Facebook without any problems. You get a card from the desk with a login and password that will give you 30 minutes but there didn't seem to be any problems getting as many cards as you needed.

OVERALL

There were all ages of visitors from university age to retirees and everyone we spoke with was having a fabulous time.

It was simply inspiring to see so many people loving life and each other.

It really did feel like heaven on earth. We found the peace and quiet and rejuvenation we were looking for but whenever we needed something, someone was there with a smile ready to help.

I will be keeping a close eye on this resort and when I see a price that fits at a time we can get away, we will be back there in a flash.

  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled as a couple
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13  Thank SusanandFrank453
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melia B, Quality Control Representative at Melia Buenavista, responded to this reviewResponded November 9, 2013

Dear SusanandF. From Ancaster:
We heartily thank your taking the time to post such a detailed review on your recent experience at our premises. You have been honest, matter of fact, sensitive and also a great writer. Our potential travelers will certainly benefit from all your comments and recommendations and we very much appreciate the good advertisement you are so spontaneously making for us.
We have been touched by the way you refer to all our employees and your praising their professionalism and human warmth. We will extent your compliments to them what will certainly make them happy and motivated to keep up the good work.
Needless to say, we will be honored to welcome you back.

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Reviewed October 31, 2013

My wife and I have just returned from a lovely week here from Oct.18-25 2013. The room was spectacular! We loved the outdoor shower as it was large enough for the two of us and you could see out through the boards as if you were outside. But outside looking in my husband could see me but with no great clarity. Our room 1222 had a great view from the balcony, we could see the ocean, the coral breakwall and the middle beach where we fed the fish. The snorkling there was beautiful. Also from our balcony we had a great pool view and from a distance you could see the second pool which looked like a lazy river. We were located closely to all the the amentities. Even though we were close we felt like we had a private balcony. The room was great and we especially like the shoe rack and walk in closet. The lower area by the balcony was set up for eating in the room. We weren't much for room service as we like to be outside and on the go. Sunset beach was good for snorkling at high tide. It had birds and shells but low tide was too shallow for snorkling. Snorkling was always good at the main beach which gets deep quick. Big schools of colourful fish. Some days you have to watch out for the jelly fish as they can sting you as one lady got a bad sting on her chest. A twenty minute walk from the main beach is the clothing optional beach right beside the Sol Cayo Santa Maria. On average there were about twelve couples there and there was no sign stating it was a c/o beach. Different from Cayo Largo c/o beach with a sign on each end. But Cayo Largo is noted from these beaches and is a lot bigger. We enjoyed the French, Japanese and the buffet at the Melia Cayo Santa Maria which were superior to the a la cartes at the Buenavista. We were allowed to eat at all the other three Melia properties booked by our Butler. We walked to these other resorts by day and took the free shuttle at night. My wife especially enjoyed lunch at the Ranchon at the Melia Cayo Santa Maria which had a barbeque and a variety of other foods such as rice and fruits. We also enjoyed an afternoon in the deeper pool at the Melia Cayo Santa Maria. We also Spent some time at the Melia La Dunas with its bamboo swings, ice cream parlour and beer gardens. Speaking of beer, Buenavista never had Corona beer all week and only Crysal near the end,but we had read before we booked that this resort had all the premium and international beers. They were only at sixty per cent capacity and we were without clean beach towels for days and even the ones in the room had not been changed all week. The exchange rate was higher here but the internet usage was included. We would go back but only in high season when we assume that everything such as towel service, mini buffet variety and international beer would be available. All in all it is a great adult resort!

Room Tip: Second story ocean view are best!
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  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Tom502
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melia B, Quality Control Representative at Melia Buenavista, responded to this reviewResponded November 9, 2013

Tom502 from London, Canada:
We heartily appreciate your honest review setting clear all the good and also the not-so-good things you found out throughout your stay. Melia Buenavista is not exactly a typical kind of resort in Cuba and we still need to make a few adjustments to have certain things run smoothly. Quality service takes very hard day-by-day work and we have oriented all our efforts towards achieving the highest level of guest- satisfaction possible.
It will always be a great pleasure to welcome you back at MBV and serve as one of our loyal guests.

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Reviewed October 29, 2013

My wife and I were at the Melia B. from Oct 19th-26th, 2013. We have been to Cuba many times in the past 10 years and found this to be the best of the lot. The property is small and very easy to get from place to place in the resort. The beach is nice for swimming and snorkelling. The food was the best that we have experienced in Cuba. The menu is somewhat limited but all the meals were good. Service is excellent.The only issue is the bugs. The resort does spray morning and night to try and control them but when it is dark out, you cannot sit outside without being savaged by the little no see um bugs. We did not sit out at night and were still bitten a fair bit.
Other than that the resort is very good. Best for couples ( 40 and up) as it is extremley quiet.

Room Tip: We liked the first floor rooms surrounding the small pool. Building 16, 17, 21,25 I think. You are o...
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  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank CourticeBeach_lovers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melia B, Quality Control Representative at Melia Buenavista, responded to this reviewResponded November 9, 2013

Dear Beach-lovers from Courtice:
It has been a pleasure indeed to receive such a nice comment. It feels very rewarding to acknowledge you have been satisfied with our service up to the point of ranking us as the best hotel visited in Cuba. We will definitively keep on working with the same spirit hoping that many other guests may get your same impression.
It would be very nice to have you back in MBV so you may enjoy all the privileges of our Royal Service.
Thank you for your contribution.

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Reviewed October 28, 2013

My husband and I recently returned from our first trip to the Melia Buenavista. We went to this beautiful hotel to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. We were definitely not disappointed this place is amazing. We have been to Cuba 30 times but this by far was the best hotel we have been to. Our butlers Javier and Lucas were fantastic they made sure that our 25th anniversary was beyond and it was over and beyond, they made my dreams come true along with some ideas from my husband. It started the night before our anniversary a table for two set up along the small beach that is best for sunsets. We had wine, cheese and fruit as well as two musicians playing watching the sunset. The morning of our anniversary our table had been set up with flower petals of every color scattered on the table where we had breakfast brought to us. Later in the day flower petals on every step leading up to our beautiful oceanview room. The room had been decorated with sheers draped back with flowers, heart on the bed with flowers, big bouquet of flowers as well as the jaquzzi filled with flowers and scents. Later in the evening we had a beautiful lobster dinner in our room when again two band players sang to us. We could not have had an anniversary like this if it wasn't for our butlers. They were fantastic guys who would do anything for you, they were unbelievable.

Food was great at this resort, you also have access to two other hotels for dinner and entertainment as well.

This resort is perfect for relaxing. This is an adults only resort with relaxing music around one of the pools.

Our room was amazing room 1021 ocean view with no obstruction of view. The outdoor rain shower was great never been in an outdoor shower before. Room is very modern and beautiful.

The staff are great everywhere. Cannot complain they are always smiling and friendly and service is great.

We will definitely be returning next year. This was a vacation of my dreams.

  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Nancy U
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melia B, Quality Control Representative at Melia Buenavista, responded to this reviewResponded November 9, 2013

Nancy U from Stoney Creek:
We feel very proud to have inspired this review you have recently posted! It is really a pleasure to be recognized for our personalized service and professionalism and those are precisely the aspects of our staff performance we work the hardest at. Our resort is very frequently visited for the celebration of romantic events and we are glad yours was a whole success.
Thank you so much for having shared your experience with the rest of the traveler community. Your feed back is always useful for future travelers and for us.
We hope to welcome you at MBV once again and provide you another memorable vacation.

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Reviewed October 27, 2013

I visited the Melia Buenavista from Oct. 11 to Oct. 18th with my sister.

The resort itself is lovely, I love the fact that it was small and everything was a short walk.

Upon arrival after private check in at the small lobby we were taken to our room. The room was beautiful with a view of the smallest, quietest beach however there was only one bed. The gentleman made arrangements right away to change rooms the next day. We were given the option to view our new room before making the switch. The new room was beautiful prime Oceanview room, 1822 on the second floor. The room was beautiful, modern and very comfortable. We loved the outdoor shower, jacuzzi tub and walk in closet.

The resort has 3 beaches, the large beach that is close to the restaurant and butler service on the beach. There was a very quiet beach where there was no bar or beach service. The main beach was where we spent all of our time, the butler service was amazing. There were padded beach chairs and umbrellas that allowed a comfortable and relaxing day.

The restaurants were all a la carte which was nice however I found the selection quite limited. There are two restaurants which are both nice, service was great however I would have enjoyed a small buffet for salad, cheeses and a few other options for those times that the menu items don't grab your fancy.

The service throughout the entire resort was outstanding. The butler service was really nice although I don't think we took full advantage of it. There was 1 night that we decided to stay on the beach until dark and missed our dinner reservation, the butler knocked on the door to make sure we were ok and offered to get us room service, a very nice touch.

The resort is extremely quiet which we loved. There are no shows, no night life, no grand lobby for people watching in the evening which is important to know. If you are looking for ultimate relaxation, this is the perfect place.

As always the Cuban people were amazing. The beaches in Cayo Santa Maria are beautiful and I really enjoyed the experience. The food is better in Mexico but you can't beat the beaches and service in Cuba.

Stayed: October 2013
3  Thank freebrin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melia B, Quality Control Representative at Melia Buenavista, responded to this reviewResponded November 6, 2013

Dear Freebrin from Belleville:
We heartily thank your detailed review regarding your recent experience at Meliá Buenavista. Peace and serenity are words that define very well the spirit of our hotel even though there are moments when we do have some joyful entertainment. It feels very rewarding to acknowledge, through our customers’ own words, that their vacations in our premises have been a success.
Thank you so much for your contribution and please, give us the honor to serve you once again as our guest.

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Reviewed October 27, 2013

We visited the Melia Buenavista back in March 2013 and as we are getting ready to plan another vacations this year it got me thinking of that beautiful place again. As this is Cuba, you get everything you expect from that resort: it's a warm, open and friendly environment with wonderful and caring people that are always happy and smiling. The best things about this resort is its size, how remote and calm it is: no kids, plenty of space on the beach (you do not need to wake up at 7 to put your towel on a chair to reserve it). You could go there at 9 or 10 and still have plenty of space to pick and choose to set you up. If you like to walk around, there is plenty of places to explore, just make sure you have wet shoes in neoprene as the beaches have beautiful sand but as you go further from the hotel you will have some rocks and corral that can hurt you if you are not careful. The room we had was humongous: king size bed with a big bath and an outside shower (wonderful after a day at the beach). The food was not memorable (as most places in Cuba) but there was lot of choices available and you never fell hungry. The Buenavista buffet is not as big and varied as the other Melia hotel (which is understandable as it is for a smaller crowd). You have access to all Melia restaurants and they are all a short drive in the free hotel bus. The best meal by far was on our last night where we had a typical Cuban supper at the local restaurant in Buenavista. The coffee there is outstanding! Espressos, Lattes, Cappuccinos are extraordinary! One last recommendation, if you can afford it, the one day visit to Havana by plane has great review. However, make sure you book it on the first day as it fills out extremely rapidly!

Room Tip: All the rooms are good but if you are looking for absolute calm, try to have a room next to the 2nd...
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  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Champeno
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melia B, Quality Control Representative at Melia Buenavista, responded to this reviewResponded November 6, 2013

Dear Champeno fromMontréal:
We have really loved your review. Everything about your recent experience at our premises has been described in a synthetic, matter-of-fact and honest way. We are sure our potential customers will benefit from it, and especially, from your simple and wise recommendations to make their stay more pleasant. Thank you so much!
This is not the first time we are called « oasis of peace » , and it makes us we feel really proud. That is exactly one of our main features and most our guests really appreciate it.
It will always be a pleasure to be your hosts once again and assist you during another memorable holiday.
Thanks again!

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Reviewed October 25, 2013

Having travelled extensively in Cuba over the past decade, one comes to expect many things from the resorts throughout. Nothing ever is done in a timely manner; everything runs exclusively on the mysterious “Cuban Time”. This Resort is no different. You also expect, a Warm, Open, Friendly environment and people, again totally to the norm. Food is varied from resort to resort but I always tell people, no matter how picky you are, you won’t starve. Given the situation in Cuba it may not be gourmet, but there are usually burgers, fries and pizza. We are not complainers by any stretch of the imagination, we have our wants, adults or couples only, NO KIDS and 5 Star so that being said, let me tell you a little more about Melia Buena Vista Resort and Spa.

This pint sized resort is beautiful, the grounds are well kept, and the three beaches are without a doubt some of the best. Everything is clean and well kept.

The Room: We were upgraded to the Suite Romance room. It was more than comfortable for 2 people having a small entry way off of which is a ½ bath. A dining area and sunken living room with flat panel TV (which we never turned on) there is a mini bar and fridge – stocked with cold drinks, beer and juice. Wine is available upon request. I stopped the barman each day and requested a bottle of white wine. You can access the patio, with ocean view from the living room and bedroom.

Off of the living room is the bedroom, with king sized, a second flat panel, ample storage, desk, and patio access. You then have access to the Sink and walk in closet, further along is the Large jetted and in a separate closeted toilet and bidet. A little further along, the highlight as far as I am concerned the Private outdoor shower. I only wish in Eastern Canada we had the climate to allow for such a luxury.

In front of the room, off the patio, is an open air gazebo with dining table and 4 chairs; just A lovely spot to sip wine or champagne after an OH SO HARD day or sunning, swimming, feeding the fish.

We had no complaints what so ever about the room, the cleanliness, the size, lay out etc.

The Food: There are 3 restaurants on site.

Los Navegantes Bistro Restaurant: has a set menu and is open each night nightly. We ate here once, food was OK the choice limited; Two or three Appetizers, two or three choices for entree and dessert. From what I recall the food was good, though not overly memorable.

Los Caribes International Restaurant: The menu here rotates nightly. We ate here during the Romantic night, the Cuban Night and the Spanish Night and one other I can’t recall. Spanish night, by far, was the favorite. The Baroquen Egg – appetizer was excellent and would have made a perfectly passable and enjoyable breakfast had it been offered. Fried potato wedges, with a perfectly fried egg on top, with a garnish of slivers of crispy bacon.

Los Marinos Beach Grill Restaurant: Open for both breakfast and lunch offering a small variety of A La Carte menu items and a small varied Buffett. We had breakfast each morning on the patio, served by a sweet lady- Nediuska. We had lunch here twice. Once was disappointing, but at no fault of anyone other than ourselves. We ordered something which sounded lovely, and was not to our taste. The second time was disastrous; I ordered the grilled chicken, which came garnished with a long black hair. As i said earlier, i am not a picky eater, nor we are complainers, however, there is ONE thing which triggers my gag reflex, its someone else’s hair in my food. Needless to say, the black cat who was mooching food (we called him George) ate very well that day. Anyway, these are issues which can happen anywhere, and are hardly the fault of the resort, and should in no way dissuade you from going there.

The Drink:

La Duna Beach Bar: Felix and Luis, the two beach barmen, I cannot speak highly enough of. They truly made the week special. These boys MOTOR, they traipse that beach from end to end all day every day, always with a smile and a friendly chat. We had lunch most days brought by one or the other, Pizza, or fresh fish, Burgers always something special and always a full drink. Cheers Boys, hope you are catching lots of fish with the supplies I gave you.

La Notte Lobby/Piano Bar: Open 24 hours a day, and trust me well manned at all hours. The three rotating barmen working 24 hours at a stretch, and their helpers were amazing. Even at the busiest, you never wait that long for a drink. The entertainment is very good, be it piano, or a 4 piece band.

The only downfall of the week was the bugs, which we know are indigenous and are everywhere. We get bitten on occasion on our deck at home. My other half, however, is allergic, and swells from these TINY little biters. They are hardly as big as the head of a small pin, with hypodermic needles for teeth, come out around dusk or deep shade. I got bitten and am still itchy, but not swollen. She on the other hand looks like she spent 39 days competing on Survivor with welts as large as Canadian dimes and itchy as heck. Both Bug sprays we carried, seemed only to enhance our flavour, a marinade of sorts for the little vampires.

We did eat at the Melia Cayo Santa Maria at SAKURA the Japanese Restaurant. It was a late seating, and we found the meal hurried. The Tappenyaki table was OK, the show limited. I think our cook was tired. The food was OK, edible! We met a lovely couple there and wished they had of been at our resort - Hi Simon and Claire!

The BUS situation between the resorts was chaotic at best, with neither resort seeming to know what times the shuttle came and went. We were told last shuttle at 10:30 and then told last shuttle at 11:00. It was 10:30, and thank goodness he came to drop people off at 11:00, and we tipped handsomely, or we would not have gotten back to Buenavista. Apparently the front desk staff at Cayo Santa Maria “cannot call outside of the resort”????? Anyway, it all worked out in the end.

So to review, the food although limited is edible, the service without exception is excellent, the resort is beautiful and clean. The Sand is perfectly Sandy, the Sun is Perfectly Sunny, and the Beer is perfectly chilled. I always read reviews and I always want to ask the writer one question at that end. Would you go back? That to me is the quintessential question, complainand moan on a website, but when all is said and done, would you go back? In this situation, maybe but probably NOT right away, and not because of anything to do with the resort but to do with the bugs. 5 days taking a heavy dose of Antihistamine kind of turns you off of a place.

So before I close, a few staff shout outs:

Yaneila, Noe, Felix, Luis (beach), Nediuska, Luis (breakfast), Yaikel, Mario, Leorvis. You guy’s all rock and thank you for everything.

And a few nods to some new friends: Crawford, Danka, Hilary, Kevin, George and your lovely wife, whose name I cannot remember for the life of me! It was a pleasure to have met you all!

  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
4  Thank caperdave
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melia B, Quality Control Representative at Melia Buenavista, responded to this reviewResponded October 31, 2013

Dear Caperdave:
We really appreciate your having taken the time to post this review describing in details how it felt to stay at our resort. We heartily thank your honesty and we feel very proud to acknowledge you sound so glad about having spent your holiday at our premises.
As we understand, your experience was not exactly perfect. Unfortunately, insects are part of any beach-side environment, being so close to the mangroves and under very humid weather conditions. On the other hand our being located in a natural reserve, protected area, makes it hard to find an eco-friendly and at the same time effective product to spray. Regarding the shuttle, we are already dealing with the situation and we have been promised the set schedules will be respected in a disciplined way.
We will extent your compliments to our employees, definitely our strongest point, so they keep motivated to provide their usual friendly and professional service.
Thank you for all your kind words and the good promotion we may get from them.
We hope to receive you again for another memorable vacation.

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 Melia Buenavista

Address: Punta Madruguilla, 52610, Cuba
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Cuba > Villa Clara Province > Cayo Santa Maria
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Romantic Hotel in Cayo Santa Maria
#1 Luxury Hotel in Cayo Santa Maria
#2 Top resorts Hotel in Cayo Santa Maria
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Cayo Santa Maria
Price Range: $264 - $805 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Melia Buenavista 5*
Number of rooms: 105
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 
Also Known As:
Melia Buenavista Hotel Cayo Santa Maria

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