Travellers: couple,late 30's. Travel 2-3 times per year. Been to Dominican (3), Cuba(3), Jamaica(1), Mayan Riviera(3), Bahamas(1), Curacao(1), Florida(4).
Flight: Sun Wing. On time, Friendly, Hot meals, snacks, Free headphones, hot moist cloth, chocolate mints. Definitely our favorite and second time using Sunwing this year!
Santa Clara Airport: Open air, small and easy to navigate. Easy to locate your agent as they are in uniform and holding signs. There is a man selling beers for the ride. Buccanero is $1 peso. Heineken is $2 peso. They take Canadian dollars if you have no CUC.
There is a bank in this airport if you have time to exchange your money but no necessary.
Exchange rage when there was 1.168 CDN to CUC( Cuban convertible peso) You can exchange at hotel with reception desk.
Airport has a VIP lounge. You pay bartender 20 CUC when you enter and this gets you AC, comfy seats with food, snacks and drinks unlimited while waiting for flight. We took advantage of this as our flight was delayed 3 hours and was well worth it!
Small souvenir shop here and duty free for last minute shopping.
Comfortable with AC. The 1.5hr drive was fine. The agent is informing you of protocol once you arrive at your destination and different cultural sites along the way.
the shuttle stops at 3-4 resorts in Santa Clara to drop off passengers. It is quick and maybe time for a pee break if necessary
Grounds clean and beautiful. Not as GRANDE as larger resorts we have been to but still pretty. Entrance is clean with marble flooring and dark wood accents. Bags were unloaded efficiently and we were greeted promptly with smiles instructed to have a seat and someone would be with us shortly. We were given a welcome morning mimosa drink and waited no more than 2 minutes. Our assigned butler was busy but YUNNY introduced herself to us. She gave us our room keys, resort map and indicated restaurants open at the present time while rooms were being made up. Then we met one(of two) of our butlers, LUCAS. He took us to our room, pointing out interests along the way. Very friendly and great English. Showed us our room and its different offerings. Pointed out contact information that is available 24 hrs should we ever need anything!
Mini fridge : Stocked with pop and beer and water. LAZARO filled it daily. I left a note asking for additional Cristol beer and it was fulfilled no problems. He even asked us one day if we required anything more! Excellent service ( not sure how he knew who we were?)
Stayed in 1122. Close to everything. Bed was super comfy. Jetted tub, outdoor shower
(heavenly). Balcony with a moderate ocean view. Two level suite with sitting area. TV, hair dryer, shampoo, soap, shower gel, moisturizer. NO CODITIONER ladies so bring your own! As well NO ALARM CLOCK.
The hair dryer had an outlet we were able to plug our phone chargers and camera chargers into.
BUTLERS: We had excellent butlers JAVIER and LUCAS. They rotate two days on , two days off. JAVIERr was like a ninja and popped up everywhere!!!! Always asking if our stay was good and if we needed anything. LUCAS was excellent as well but a little more shy! Daily at 7AM Javier was at the bottom of our walkway to greet us and ask how we were. Never had to look for him. I am pretty sure they would do anything you asked! I was spoiled with daily Chilean wine with a cheese plate in my room for evenings. One night I was welcomed with flower petals leading to a bubble bath in my room. Very romantic. THANK YOU JAVIER! Our friends had JOEL as their butler. Even he would ask how our stay was and if we needed anything!!!!
Room was cleaned daily by ALINA - excellent , efficient and neat. She even "tidied" my suitcase folding closes and arranging my shoes. Something I have never experienced at any 5 star resort. Normally they would clean around my heap of clothes on the floor and messy opened suitcase.
T The same with night time turn down service. Two mints left on pillow with a note wishing you sweet dreams and my mess tidied AGAIN!!!! I was falling in love with this resort! :)
I will admit the food is not as good as I have had at other resorts but still suffice. I didn't starve!! Menu's are a la carte, with exception of small breakfast buffet - eggs scrambled or hardboiled, poached, hash brown patties, bacon and sausage, beans daily. plus an assortment of fresh fruit, dried cereal, yogurts and milk with juices. A small selection of fresh baked bread with toaster and small desert morning croissants. Plus a table of deli meats and cheeses with tomato and lettuce. HOW CANT YO FIND SOMETHING TO EAT HERE? They had ketchup, mustard and A1 sauce if you asked. IF you did not like the cooking methods of the buffet at breakfast you then order off the menu to have made to order omelettes. MARY was fast and efficient. Sat us and remembered out morning ritual of mimosas and cafe' con leche Americana. No complaints here!
One day for lunch we went to MELIA LAS DUNAS to experience the buffet( I stayed at this resort two years ago). It was a quick reminder of why we didn't choose to go back. Noisy, people rude and pushing you out of the way to get that last piece of chicken and massive! Food under heat lamps for who knows how long with people sweating and sneezing over it. No thanks... and back to MBV we went will full appreciation of the smallness and intimate setting we were getting used to!
The evening restaurants, Los Caribes, Navigantes were good. The lovely DIANA is a gem and has an infectious laugh you can hear anywhere! Again, the menu is limited and you don't have 20 selections like you do in Canada. So that being said, IF you don't like the fish offered ( I am not a fish lover) then order TWO appetizers and vice versa. Which I did and staff have no problems doing that. And if all else fails go back to your room and order room service!
It is a small resort with only 105 rooms so their menu is small. You want big then go to a bigger resort with bigger mouths to feed. You will get it! The wine was good... one night I was offered a CAB andidnt like it so they brought another red much better... no problems!!!
LESTER is a fabulous water and goes out of his way to make your dinner memorable!
The staff arranged a surprise birthday cake for our friends 40th bday. It was super! All staff from both restaurants took part! The cake was excellent. Combined with a band marching in and singing!
We decorated our lounge area as I took down balloons and streamers for a friends 40th bday celebration - he had no idea. Grounds helper YASMANNY even helped me at 5AM. and all staff took part in this daily celebration making it one to remember! Such great people!
LOBBY BAR: open 24 hours. DELVIS and MARIO make a mean Cappucino with Crème Catalina ( Canadian baileys) and a yummy Café Frio ( Iced Cap). These two gentleman are super friendly and aim to please. Some light appies are there around 3-4PM and plantain chips to take off the hunger edge prior to supper plans. There is a piano here with entertainment pre supper around 7-8PM. Great meeting place. We even arranged for breakfast here at 5AM as we waited for our shuttle to leave. It over looks the pool and is location to most of the evening entertainment. No huge Anamacion team in theatres you see at larger resorts. A smaller venue much more enjoyable- flamenco dancers, water ballet in the pool one night, Cuban singers. etc Loved it.
two pools- a quiet one and main one where aerobics were daily, NAVI was the instructor, and volleyball at 3PM, and the pool bar. The COORS LIGHT BOYS - ORESTES and OSMANNY were definitely a high light! So much fun.. and hard workers. Never forget a face and always had your drink ready! The pool grill is manned by YASMANNY - super yummy food and always greeted with a smile. White fish, pork chicken sausage vegetables . Starts at 4PM but I admit you have to get there fast as it goes quick. If you wish something else Orestes or Osmanny will order you a pizza or burger and fries to have it delivered to your pool lounger no problem. Just ask! This is where you met most of the people while sitting at the bar! You never had to save a lounger with towel. Cabana beds were also there for your liking. Pool floaties available as well.
BEACH: the sand is not as ``powdery fine`` as Dominican but white and beautiful. I would bring water shoes for long distance walking if I returned as it was uncomfortable on my feet. You can walk for 20 minutes to the next resort( Melia Las Dunas) or just to beach comb. Stunning!!! Loungers were always free with palapas. There is a man who will get your lounger for you and one beach bar butler who comes by. He has a bit of a distance to walk so to avoid long delays between drinks just order TWO. Problem solved right? Great snorkelling here lots to see. Don't waste money on paying for snorkel excursion when it is right at our fingertips!
TIPS: not a tip hungry resort with staff hovering over you waiting. We did tip for great service!
The gardener ARMANDO works hard daily and greeted us with a smile daily. He made us coconut drinks on days fresh cut! What a sweet man! We had leather work gloves we gave to him. He never forgot us!!!!
I will admit my first 1-2 days I was a little hesitant as per what I was used to. But this resort grew on us fast. The staff are fabulous. Making your stay very personal and intimate. you get to know them well (if you ask) as they get to know you. You meet many fabulous people and make friends during your stay who you see again and again(unlike bigger resorts where you don't see the same person twice.) I was told resort was full yet didn't seem crowded. Loved this resort, looking at returning soon. Only downfall was we had a catamaran booked via Sun Wing and they did not show up to get us :( However we were refunded with no problems and just made our way to the pool that day!!!! Thanks for LB and JY for making this a fabulous vacation xxoo!
- 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