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“Excellent Vacation”
Review of Melia Buenavista

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Melia Buenavista
Ranked #2 of 15 Hotels in Cayo Santa Maria
Certificate of Excellence
saskatchewan
Level Contributor
20 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
“Excellent Vacation”
Reviewed January 25, 2014

Stayed at this resort for the first 2 weeks in January. Very happy with our choice. Topnotch service and staff, starting at the top with Jaume the GM right down through the entire staff.

David was one of our 2 butlers and although new in his position anticipated all of our needs and exceeded all of our expectations. We enjoyed all of his daily surprises and all interactions with him, we consider him a friend now. Joel was our 2nd butler, they work alternate days. He set us up with a beautiful lobster dinner in our room. He went on vacation the 2nd week but we were well looked after by David even on his days off.

Orestes and Otsamy best bartenders and servers around, always hustling, always smiling. They cover the pool area and small beach by pool. The fellow working the grill by pool bar also friendly and eager to please guests, sorry I forget his name. Yaiset at the towel counter always so upbeat and smiling. Navy, so much fun to play pool volleyball with. Also Monday afternoons the 2 dancers from the Monday night Michael Jackson show play volleyball, they are incredibly talented athletes and a lot of fun too. Luis and Nadruska, thank you for your service every morning at breakfast. Mario in lobby bar as well as Lizorios(spelling?) appreciated your professionalism. Yami at the front desk, always a pleasure to chat with on days you were working. Yunior and Lester at Los Caribes, enjoyed your service. Armando, the smiling gardener always a great way to start the day coming out of our room and having a morning chat. And of course Carlos, the amazing saxophone player at Sunset everyday and we were lucky enough to caught at several dinners. So many more staff who made the 2 weeks very special, sorry I can't name everyone. These staff work incredibly long days, anywhere from12-24 hrs straight. The commute for most of them is 2 hrs to work and 2 hrs home. Amazing that they still have the energy and positive attitudes everyday.

The resort itself is very well maintained and super clean. The beach unfortunately not great, weedy, rocky. Sunset beach especially muddy and smelly. But the Melia Santa Maria beach was amazing! Beautiful clear water and sand, lots of room. The lifeguards always around to help you move your chairs and dust of the sand. They have the kayaks, water bikes and hobiecats here. Nestor at the beach bar is awesome, Osvaldo at the beach restaurant went out of his way for us each time we saw him. Orlando from activities, had so much fun with you and David at the baseball game and enjoyed our lunches with you. The short shuttle ride to this resort is well worth it. The food at lunch was actually much better here as well, more options on the grill and open outdoor dining.

If you are a morning coffee drinker grab your cappuccino from lobby bar on your way to breakfast. Much better than the stuff they serve at breakfast restaurant. Avoid the Cuban menu at Los Caribes on Friday nights, ironically that was worst food we had. The menu rotates and it was very good on other nights though. The Japanese restaurant was very good, French Bistro was so so.. Romantic, not so Romantic and the food was disappointing but Carlos was playing the sax so that made up for it.Italian at Las Dunas was really good. Only ate at Navigantes once and food was good but it was weird there was no music playing, we preferred Los Caribes because they had live music with dinner.

Enjoyed the Buenavista very much for the quiet, the service, the staff. Loved having the option to go to the Santa Maria for the beach and a little more action but the same great service.

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank sask3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melia B, Manager at Melia Buenavista, responded to this review, January 26, 2014
Dear guests:
We really appreciate your having taken the time to post this review describing in details all our facilities, services and staff. We feel very proud to acknowledge you show so enthusiastic about vacationing at our premises and we heartily hope this will not be your last visit.
Buenavista has three beaches: two are more ‘relaxing” and one is the same one that the other resorts around (more than 5km of white sandy beach). However, after a cold front, beaches need time to recover its natural beauty. We hope that during your next visit, all will be perfect.
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.
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Paris, Canada
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed January 24, 2014

I could not pick a better resort. The service was nothing short of excellent. If quiet is what you are after, you'll find it here. Everything stands out as remarkable but I'll share one story. My husband advised staff of my serious food allergy when we arrived. The staff brought out the chef to meet us; we specified the details and i came to be amazed, over the week. Not only did the restaurant staff at Buenavista know about my allergy, but when we booked dinner at another Melia resort, that information was also shared and thoughtfully accomodated. The staff were more than efficient and accomodating; they were also kind and thoughtful. The rooms are perfect, the resort is gorgeous. Don't expect North American style buffets. The food was delighful, be open minded. Our butlers were wonderful - they made sure that we had the perfect romantic vacation that we asked for. Resort staff are very observant; things which my husband and liked were noted and accomodated, regularly. I will absolutely return. I plan to bring along a some different things to leave behind next time, like shoes and baby/children's clothing.

Room Tip: Rooms are perfect. Outdoor shower is the most sensual experience, all rooms have these. The resort...
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Rooms
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    • Service
Review collected in partnership with this hotel

Helpful?
2 Thank Karen W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melia B, Manager at Melia Buenavista, responded to this review, January 26, 2014
Dear Karen:
We heartily appreciate your synthetic comment on our resort regarding to your “Amazing vacation”. It feels good to know you have enjoyed our services as much as our unique natural setting, two aspects we feel so proud of.
It would be a great pleasure to have you, once again as our guests to enjoy some really special vacations.
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Ottawa, Canada
Level Contributor
13 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed January 23, 2014

The Melia Buenavista is a well run resort with excellent service especially from the Butlers we had. Herve and Lucas were very attentive and included little surprises to make our stay special. When we were on an excursion and realized our room safe was open, Herve ensured the room was secured and cleaned only with security and himself present. Needless to say, nothing in the safe was touched. The restaurant staff try hard in the two main evening restaurants, but the food is mediocre even if it is good by Cuban standards. You have access to the other Melia resorts and their restaurants, but these are large, busy and noisy. In contrast, the Buenavista is a quiet getaway. The beaches (there are 3) are always quiet and you almost never have another couple right next to you. The evening sunset ceremony was wonderful with a complementary glass of Cava. All in all, we had a great week.

Room Tip: All rooms are essentially the same, but try to be away from the main pool as music and shows occur n...
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Review collected in partnership with this hotel

Helpful?
3 Thank chaphall
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melia B, Manager at Melia Buenavista, responded to this review, January 26, 2014
Dear Chaphall:
We feel very pleased to know you have found at our resort all the peace and tranquility you seem to have needed. We thank your kind comments regarding our services and personalized attention especially from your butlers Lucas and Herve.
Let me inform you too that we are working with our gastronomic team and new chef in order to improve this aspect you pointed.
It will always be a pleasure to welcome you back and provide you another memorable stay.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ontario, Canada
Level Contributor
12 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed January 22, 2014

We had a wonderful week at Melia Buenavista. Smaller hotel, very private, fabulous people, good food = amazing time! Adults only!

Our first time to Cuba so I was concerned about food and weather. We just got back Jan 21, 2014 and everything was great. Our room was spectacular - 0721 right next to sunset beach, worth the extra money for Prime oceanview. Our Butler David made everything including our anniversary very special. We will go back again next year. He went out of his way to insure we had everything and anything we needed all week.

The room was large and the view spectacular. 3 Private beaches to choose from, not overly crowded, no merchants selling anything or bothering you. Sand was like powder, water a beautiful colour, you could walk for miles. Every room has a Balinese outdoor shower, wish we could have one in Canada! Very relaxing trip. Snorkeling was great. There are a few excursions, but we opted to stay around the resort only leaving once to visit the Pueblo's just a quick bus ride away.

Restaurants were good, great atmosphere, food was very good for Cuba we were told. I don't have a complaint about any of the food at all. Premium liquors included. We did go a couple of nights to the other Meila's for dinner - Bistro - don't waste your time, Sakura - fun experience, food was good ask for Polo's table!

If i had to have a negative - the bed was a little harder than I prefer, but still had a good nights sleep. Bring your bug spray, a few sand flea bites by the end of the week, only noticed at night while walking on the beach!

We had a bonus this week, Robert Plant and his better half Deborah Rose were vacationing at the resort as well. Amazing couple, great stories and so kind to speak with everyone who recognized them.

We can't wait to go back next year!

Room Tip: All great rooms with great views, we chose Sunset Beach side, very private and amazing views at the...
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank CareBear37
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melia B, Manager at Melia Buenavista, responded to this review, January 26, 2014
Dear guest:
Thank you so much for reviewing your experience at Meliá Buenavista. It feels really good to receive such nice comments regarding our services and facilities. We are glad your stay at our resort has helped you to relax and enjoy. Thank you for choosing us for such special event as you anniversary.
We certainly hope you will give us, once again, the great honor to serve you.
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Orleans, ON
Level Contributor
8 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed January 22, 2014

It's a little difficult to do a comprehensive review of a resort; there are so many aspects to consider and any one of these can be a make it or break it for potential tourists. We have been to Cuba 5 times so far and have learned what to expect from Cuba. We stayed at the Melia Buenavista from January 10 to 17 and we had a quiet and relaxing time. That is exactly what my wife and I were looking for, and we found it in spades.
Our flight was delayed three hours from Ottawa, but even though we arrived somewhat punch-drunk at 3:00AM, the front desk staff was welcoming and efficient. Yandri, one of the bell hops, was extremely helpful that night (as well as throughout our stay), and quickly took care of our bags in the room, giving us a quick overview of the resort on the walk to our suite. It wasn't difficult, really: the whole resort has 27 villas of four suites each. Since each room is for two adults (no kids allowed), the maximum number of guests at any one time is only 216. The Buenavista is small in capacity, but that mean it skimps on the service.
The rooms are not rooms, they are suites. You enter in the sitting area which has either a small patio or a balcony on one side, and a few steps up on the other side to the sleeping area. This area has a king-sized bed, night stands, lots of storage for clithers and a flat-screen TV. If you’re a TV junky, you will find Canadian channels (CTV, RDI, etc.) and US channels (ESPN, Fox, etc). Past the bedroom is a small area that has a vanity and sink on one side and a closet with a safe on the other. Past that is the bathroom which has the commode behind a door on one side and a jacuzzi tub on the other. Past that is a door that leads to your personal outdoor shower. The shower area is walled off by a privacy screen, and it is a little strange at first to be showering outdoors. But it doesn’t take long before you realize that it's pretty glorious to shower in the Cuban sunshine. In case of inclement weather, the jacuzzi bath inside has a hand-held shower head.
On your first morning, you will be introduced to one of your two butlers (they alternate days). Basically, these guys provide you with access to any service you would like during your stay. One couple had their butler secure them with tickets to a baseball game (it was the playoffs in Cuba at the time) and went to the game with their butler and the entertainment director from another Melia resort. One of our butlers, Alien, managed to secure us some reservations at Sakura restaurant (see below) even though the reservation scheduled was packed solid. If you want something, ask the butler first. For example, some of the excursions on the menu with Cuba's Gaviota Tours can be done more cheaply with the aid of your butler, and you may see sites that are not on the regular tours.
For food, there are two à la carte restaurants (Los Caribes and Los Navigantes) as well as a buffet hall for breakfast and lunch if that's your thing. Los Caribes also serves lunch, and you can also grab some lunch at the BBQ at the pool where the menu changes daily. Being at the Buenavista also means having access to the amenities of the two sister Melia resorts on the key: Melia Cayo Santa Maria and Melia Las Dunas. This opens up a lot of dining opportunities as each of these resorts has its own selection of restaurants and buffets. The Sakura Japanese restaurant at Melia Cayo Santa Maria is especially recommended for its preparation of the food at the table and the artistry and presentation of the prep.
The breakfast buffet had a standard selection of fruits, yogurts, cereal, eggs, breakfast meats, breads and pastries, and also had a menu for omelets and other breakfast dishes. The lunch buffet changed every day, but the lunch menu included scrumptious grilled shrimp that we had a few times because they were so good and fresh. The lunch BBQ at the pool offered burgers, hot dogs, BBQ chicken, BBQ pork, etc. depending on the day. They also made a great show of extracting sugar cane syrup just before lunch to make that afternoon's Mojitos with fresh cane syrup.
For dinner, Los Navigantes has a fixed menu and the food is better and more plentiful than at Los Caribes. My wife and I could not finish our plates at Los Navigantes. Still we preferred Los Caribes for its ambience, and for the impeccable service we got from Lester. Lester could easily work in any restaurant anywhere; he is that attentive, polite and responsive, with just the right amount of interchange to feel welcome without being overbearing. After experiencing his service, we booked every meal we took at Los Caribes with him. The menu at Los Caribes is based on theme nights, and by far the best food is to be had on (natch) Cuban night. The dishes on those nights are simple but delicious.
We also experienced the food at Le Bistro, the continental cuisine restaurant at the Melia Cayo Santa Maria. The food was excellent and the service very good as well. The guitarist who provided the background music was also excellent and interacted with the patrons just enough to enliven the atmosphere without being overbearing.
There are four bars at Melia Buenavista: at the buffet, at the East beach, at the main pool, and in the lobby. While most will zoom in on the alcoholic beverages, the staff at the lobby bar and are proficient baristas and can make some pretty delicious coffees. My wife and I don't drink much alcohol, but boy, did we enjoy the coffee. Cuban coffee is excellent and nearly on a par with Jamaican coffee. Mario and Darisbey at the lobby bar are especially good at making “café con leche” and cappuccinos. There is also a tennis court, a gym, and a spa, none of which we used.
There are three beaches. The West beach is where weddings are held on a covered platform on stilts about 100 feet from the shore; a beautiful setting. This beach is mostly used for the daily sunset ceremony where waiters will serve champagne to guests while they watch the glorious sunset to the sounds of a saxophone player. It truly is a magical and well thought out experience. This beach is not the best for swimming. In the water, the bottom is soft and you sink ankle deep, releasing a potent smell. There are thousands and thousands of minnows and I saw the occasional 3-foot barracuda, stock still, waiting for something to get close enough to eat. This beach was also rife with sand flies so bring DEET or suffer the itch for the rest of your stay.
The North beach is a cove created by an ancient corral reef. It is a beautiful locale and ideal for photography. The birds hunt frequently here (pelicans, cormorants, terns, etc.) and it is the best spot for snorkeling. One only has to walk out to about mid-thigh depth before encountering fish. The entrance to the cove (and just beyond) are the best spots for snorkeling close in.
The East beach is actually the western end of 12 kilometers of beach that line the North coast of Cayo Santa Maria. It's the best for swimming, although there's a good reef about 200m off shore for snorkeling.
As far as activities go, there were the standard excursions to Trinidad, Havana, Santa Clara and Remedios, as well as a jeep excursions, swimming with dolphins at the nearby Delfinaria, catamaran excursions, and a quick afternoon excursions on speed boats to go snorkeling. While we would have loved to do some of these (especially Havana by air), we brought the wrong credit cards with us. Ensure that your credit cards are from a Canadian institution and not a US banks. No matter that your credit card says MBNA Canada, MBNA is still a US bank. These cards will get declined. Speaking of banking and exchange, you will get a better exchange rate at the bank at the Melia Las Dunas than at the front desk at the Melia Buenavista (about 3% more).
For shopping, there are two "villages" nearby that host a daily vendors market. Pueblo Las Dunas is located between the Melia Cayo Santa Maria and the Melia Las Dunas. The hourly shuttle from the Buenavista stops at these other Melia resorts, and it's an easy walk from there to the Pueblo. At the Pueblos, you will find more dining options, the usual array of Cuban souvenirs and offerings, as well as a bowling alley. The Pueblos also offer some great photo opps. The other "village" is called Pueblo La Estrella and can only be reached via the two-tiered "tourist" bus. This bus has a loose schedule and stops at all the resorts and Pueblos and at the Delfinaria as well. It will cost 1 CUC peso each way. I say "loose" because it is sometimes frustrating to consult the schedule and wait an additional 40 minutes before the bus shows up. Be prepared to wait for an hour. You can also take a taxi from the resort to the Pueblo for 4 CUC pesos.
There are shows every day at various locations. The Los Caribes welcomes a clarinet player, a Cuban trio playing soft latin music, a Cuban sextet playing upbeat latin music, etc. There is usually a show at the pool at around 9:00 PM and this goes from music to dancing to a water ballet show featuring various Broadway hits. Thankfully, the music is never loud enough to bother you if you decide to turn in early. One show that surprised us was a show by a talented trick cyclist who actually jumped over one, and then two guests with his bicycle (without the aid of a ramp); a very talented cyclist indeed and a fun show.
What really makes it for this resort is the constant effort the staff makes to make you feel welcome. Our butlers never stopped asking if there was something they could do for us. One particular groundskeeper would interrupt his work to come over and wish a good day to residents who walked past. The gentleman responsible for stocking the mini-bar in the room kept asking exactly what we wanted in our mini-bar and ensured our exact selection was met. Speaking of which, our mini-bar broke at one time (we never noticed) and was fixed within a few hours (also without our noticing). It was only when our butler mentioned it that we found out. The manager and his lovely wife are constantly mingling with the guests, getting feedback and ensuring that everything is to their satisfaction. I have rarely encountered such attentive service.
The appointments overall were "Cuban excellent", which is different from excellent elsewhere. Any vacation in a resort in Cuba will underscore their fine service but also their difficulty in obtaining the necessary resources. It is a strange dichotomy at times to see a beautifully appointed room which boasts a menu for pillows (yes, a pillow menu... I never realized there were so many options), such as the one at Melia Buenavista, only to find a beat up, damaged and dog-eared “Do not disturb” card. Or to go to a restaurant that has a gorgeous place setting with large plate, two forks, two knives, three wine glasses, bread plate with butter knife but a paper napkin because they've run out of cloth ones. Don’t get me wrong; this bothers me in no way. As frequent travelers to Cuba, my wife and I have adjusted our expectations accordingly, But for the sake of this review, you need to understand this normal state of affair and adjust your own expectations: you will not be in Canada (which is the point after all), therefore don’t expect what you would have in Canada. That being said, the Melia Buenavista is truly is the top tier of resorts in Cuba for its service and amenities.
One additional note that could cement your decision: one of the icons of rock and roll music and his lady friend were staying at the Melia Buenavista during our visit. This more than anything else will underscore the privacy and quality of service of the resort.

Room Tip: Choose the rooms facing North for a gorgeous ocean view and a nice ocean breeze through your room. B...
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
10 Thank thorswolf
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melia B, Manager at Melia Buenavista, responded to this review, January 26, 2014
Dear guest,
We have very much enjoyed reading your review about your 6th visit to Cuba. We heartily appreciate your taking the time to describe your whole experience at Melia Buenavista in details and also, your having praised our staff and facilities in such a touching way. Thank you so much.
You can be sure we will extend your praising words to all our staff, especially your butlers, so they feel even more motivated to provide some really personalized and professional services. We hope you honor us with another opportunity to serve you and offer you another memorable holiday.
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Saint Bruno, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed January 20, 2014

This was our second time in melia buenavista and we were just as pleased as the first time. It is a very quiet hotel where all the staff is devoted to your "bien être" The 3 beaches are fabulous and great for snorkeling. Food is really good and restos are nice. That was the best time of my life.

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Review collected in partnership with this hotel

Helpful?
1 Thank Line L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melia B, Manager at Melia Buenavista, responded to this review, January 26, 2014
Dear Line,
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 time in your life. 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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Burlington, ON
Level Contributor
51 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 106 helpful votes
Reviewed January 19, 2014

Thanks again to all of the amazing staff at the Melia Buenavista!!

This being our 5th visit to the Melia Buenavista we found the service to be consistently good in comparison to our other stays.

Our only gripe is that the food at Los Caribes and Los Navigantes seems to be on the decline.

When we first visited, we found that Los Navigantes was the better of the two dinner options. We had dinners that were comparable to restaurants here in Burlington, which was quite a surprise considering what we've found to be the case throughout resorts in the rest of Cuba.

We were very disappointed in the quality of the food (and wine) coming out at dinner for the first time in our history with this resort. Too bad.

That being said, we'll be back. The beaches are spectacular. The rooms are comfortable, clean, and modern. The staff are friendly and make a sincere effort to ensure you have a good experience. And I couldn't do without my daily plate of Calamari and a couple of cold beers at the lunch restaurant by the beach...what an amazing spot with amazing staff.

Room Tip: Block 7 and 8 have amazing views of the sunset beach, but there really aren't any "bad"...
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  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Habanero1976
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 review, February 1, 2014
Dear Habanero from Burlington:
It has been a pleasure to have you back at Meliá Buenavista. We heartily appreciate your posting a positive review with some nice comments even when this, your 5th experience at our premises, has not been exactly perfect.
We understand there are aspects which will always require systematic and special attention. Such is the case of the food. We have been working on improving this sensitive service so we make our guests feel happier and more satisfied.
Be sure that it will always be a pleasure to host you at Meliá Buenavista as part of our loyal customer family. Your feed back is crucial to orient our efforts towards our guests´ full satisfaction.
Thank you so much and see you soon.
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Additional Information about Melia Buenavista

Property: Melia Buenavista
Address: Punta Madruguilla, 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
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Cayo Santa Maria
#2 Top resorts Hotel in Cayo Santa Maria
#2 Luxury Hotel in Cayo Santa Maria
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Melia Buenavista 4*
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 
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Also Known As:
Melia Buenavista Hotel Cayo Santa Maria

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