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“Beautiful property!!”

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Hotel Playa Cayo Santa Maria
Ranked #4 of 16 Hotels in Cayo Santa Maria
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed January 22, 2012

Just got back from this resort on Jan. 20th from Transat Holidays. First impression of the resort was amazing something unexpected for cuba. Very modern and updated look from what I have been used to travelling to Cuba. This was my 3rd time to Cuba and my boyfriends 4th time.
Flight- The flight through transat was great we even got to cuba a little earlier than expected and then half an hour early on our flight home.
Check-in - Check in was very fast as once you get off the bus they take you to a room near the recption desk and they hand out envilopes with your name and room number on it and welcome drinks. In the envelope there is a map of a resort and your wristbands for the week.

Rooms- The rooms are very clean and modern. From what I noticed the rooms are a little bit dfferent from each other mainly the bathrooms. some people had tubs and showers and some just showers. Also the mirrors in the bathroom are supposed to light up to give you more lighthing for getting ready but none of them worked. We were given a room with 2 twin beds and we tried a few times to get moved to a room with a king size and each day we were told to come the next morning and there will be one available but there was not. So we eventually took the nightstand out of the way and pushed the beds together. We were however given an oceanview room that was absolutely beautiful to wake up to every morning. Also they need to work on the maid service a little better. The first day the maid came late in the afernoon after we got back from the beach and having our afternoon siesta and kept coming back till we told her to come back in the morning and then after that they came around 10am and if we werent out of the room the would keep coming back and knocking till you get out or they will call your room to see if you are still there and hang up on you if you answer (not impressed with that part) At around 5pm every night there is a couple of guys with water, pop, and beer going down the halls banging on doors to see if you need your fridge stocked up. I think they need to find a better way of doing that as well. Oh and bring facecloths with you as they dont give you any and the pillows in your room are very stiff (I wish I brought my own)

Beach- The beach was absolutely beautiful white sand and clear blue water. When you get down to the water you just have to wave over one of the guys and the beach and they bring you lounge chairs to where you want it and then dust all the sand off for you. The last step onto the beach however is quite a step off so becareful not to fall. Also we did see a few jellyfish come in on the last couple of days once the water was really calm. There is very little shade there as well. They have a few things put up on the upper level before you come down the steps to the beach but not many so I would suggest that you get there early if you would like one.

Pools- Right now only half the resort is open so they only had 3 of the 4 pools opened but they were beautiful. Off to the sides where the rooms are is a longer pool with a bar and a server that goes around and the pool goes from really shallow to about 5 feet deep. It was also more of a quiet pool and no shade. Then in the cenre of the resort there is 2 pools one on either side of the snack bar area. The one has a swim up bar and a centre island where there are loung chairs but no shade yet till the palm trees get a little bigger. They also have some dance classes and water arobics there as well and volleyball net and basketball. On the other side of the snack bar there is another big pool looks like it gets around 5 feet deep as well I did not go in this pool at all but there is some shade by this pool. But it was nice and all of them were nice and warm so no big cold shock.

Food- The food was good but not much variety. It was the same thing everyday and in the buffets not much choice for children. No fries or chicken fingers was the parents complaints there. But they did have an omlete area in the morning with very long lines. At dinner they had a pizza area (pizza as better at the snack bar) and a meat and pasta spot where they cook in front of you. My tip for that is if you want pasta as well as everything else go to the pasta line first since it is the longest or the rest of your food will be cold. At lunch time the main buffet was closed and you had a choice of the snack bar or the buffet by the beach. At the beginning of the week they had the food in the beach buffet in the centre and it was always cold because of the wind but then they moved it in doors and people said it was a little bit better. But still not much to choose from. They also have a small menu there as well if you dont like the buffet. Then the snack bar which was our main choice most of the week. They had menus there but if they had the ingredients they would make you anything. We had our omlets there quite a few times as we missed the buffet in the morning since it closes at 10am for breakfast. They have really good pizza there and ham and cheese sandwhiches but some people got inventive and would have them make all sorts of different sandwhiches. They would occationally have french fries and hot dogs there but ran out quite often and wouldnt have more for a couple of days. The a la cartes do need a little bit of work though. The first one we went to was the creole and we waited forever in there and the server ignored us most of the time. We waited an hour and a half just to get out main course and other people that were there an half an hour after us were onto there dessert. The food there was not very good either and we left before dessert and went to the buffet as we were starving. The itallian was our next choice and it was good but small portions of food and we asked for more and our server gladly brought us some. The 3rd one we went to was the Japanese and there were a lot of mixed reviews from people there for us our server was fast we were done our meal in 45 mins while others there before us were waiting over an hour and a half. We really enjoyed our food but others said there food was cold and over cooked. Also we noticed that the food for most of the a la carts was coming from the buffett. Our food at any of the a la cartes did not look anything like the food that people were posting on pictures from the first week they opened.

Bars- The bars were great! the servers were amazing we spent many nights hanging out in the lobby bar with our favourite bartenders. If you happen to see Pascual or Barbaro they were the best ones there! and we got to celebrate Pascuals 30th birthday with him as he was on a 16 hour shift over night.

Shows- When the shows start they all come dancing and playing music through the lobby and start a parade down to the show. However we found that the shows were the same thing everynight so really had no interest. We would have preffered crowd involvement shows instead of them just dancing in a different costume each night.

If you want to go to a disco there is a bus that comes around and takes you there for 1cuc and it opens at 11pm and its 3 cuc to get in and then you still have to pay for drinks as its a disco for all of the resorts not just yours.

Also while we were there two people fell into the fountains over the pathway as there was no railing so after the second person and 2 remembersed trips later they finally put something there so people couldnt fall in and hurt themselve.

We did have an amazing trip and it was very beautful there but it still has some growing pains. They do need more staff in the buffet and reataurants. But rather than get upset over the small things we did not let it get to us and we had a blast. Also when giving gifts to staff please make sure you give them a note with it so that security doesnt think they are stealing it. One of our bartenders got into some trouble when people gave him a gift and they left without giving him a note so we offered to sign one for him. Also for the confusion with the name of the resort since sirenis did pull out. Right now it is being run by Gaviota which is the government who owns all of the resorts while they are waiting for a company to come and manage it. So if going there please keep an open mind it still needs some work and a company to manage it but will be a great resort in time.

Room Tip: Building 6 faces the ocean
  • Stayed: January 2012, traveled as a couple
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26  Thank jenner1653
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed January 22, 2012

I'm not sure if I should write a review here because while we were there the hotel changed managment and I think is now called Playa Cayo Santa Maria. I have no clue who is running it now.

This review is bassed on my experience, a first timer in cuba. I have travelled many times to Jamaica and Mexico and once to Dominican Republic. We were a large group of nine people, 6 aduts and my 3 kids. 8 of us booked with nolitours and 1 of us who booked late went with Transat.

CHECK-IN: Check in was a bit rough for us. Our plane was delayed 3 hours so when we arrived at the resort it was around 1 am. They were a little unorganized and there were different check-in spots depending on who you booked with. I wont get into all the details but the kids were all staying in different rooms with adults. We wanted to all be in the same building. They told us that Transat reserved certain buildings and that my Mother in-law would have to downgrade to be with us. So we decided to let her stay there in building 6 and split up the group. But then when figuring out where we all were staying we noticed that my husband cousin was upgrated to building 6. I went back spoke to the clerk and he said that only a few could be upgraded cause there was limited space. Kinda made me feel like a second class guest but anyway I spoke with the manager and he finally gave us 2 more rooms in 6. This ofcourse was a really long process and by that time all the bell boys had gone. They said they'd come back for us but didn't. After waiting 45 min with a 2-4 and 8 year old my mother lost it and made the front desk clerk drive us to our room.

ROOMS: The rooms were quite nice by Cuban standards. I haven't been there but I have seen many pictures. Our rooms were all a little different but kinda the same. Some had a shower and some a bath. The decor was nice but you could tell that it was built very quickly, I think it will seem rundown pretty quickly. The beds were extremely uncomfortable and we didn't really get any pillows except decorative ones. We didn't have any problems with bugs. They didn't change the sheets or the towels the whole time we were there.

POOLS AND GROUNDS: They were very nice. They did a really good job of keeping the place clean. We could never seem to find a garbage so we would leave our drink cups lying around but they were always picked up. The pools were cold but I guess it's the time of year. No complaints here. Just real nice.

BEACH: Being my first time in cuba, I rather enjoyed the beach. It was bit narrow but still very nice. I know a few of us were a bit disapointed but still enjoyed it very much. The water is beautiful. No beach volleyball but catamarans and winsurfing. There were two attendants there to place chairs wherever you want them, tips are apreciated. There are no waiters on the beach but the bar is close by and we would borrow thays to carry all of it.

BUFFET: The food is not good mostly. I think they do the best they can with what they have. You can usually find something for everyone but it is the exact same thing everyday and the best things like the omelets and pancakes in the morning and the pasta bar at night have really long lines. Sometimes we waited 40 minutes to get some. I do want to point out that everyday they were working on things, the lines would get shorter and everytime we made a suggestion they listened. There were also lots of flies but I guess that must be hard to control.
The lunch buffet by the beach has an A La Carte Menu if you ask for it. There are never french fries in the buffet but if you ask for them they can usually get you some.

A LA CARTE. In our group we did the Japanese, Italian and the Creole. The Japanese was the best but still just OK. The service was very slow and often your table wasn't ready for the time you reserved.

Even with the few negatives we experienced we really enjoyed ourselves. Mostly everyone was so nice and gave amazing service. It was very difficult to get change and the front desk so we tipped when we could. The service was the same weather we did or didn't. The drinks were strong and the coffey was great.

We payed about 850 each for this trip. It was well worth the price. I think that they have a bit of fine tuning to do to make this place really great. Go and have fun.

  • Stayed: January 2012, traveled with family
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17  Thank Amy946
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 21, 2012

When we got to the hotel there were only 68 guest. This place was really awesome the staff was great and we met a lot of the staff and had a chance to talk with them since there were so little guest.

The 1st beach bar near the Ranchon is Berto's bar Rey de la Playa (King of the Beach) he makes one awesome dacquari.

The snack bar had many guys working there but our favorite 2 guys were Alex & Brady they took good care of us.

Lionel at the East pool make a good Miami Vice. We found the east pool to be the best for us because there was less wind (it was really windy while we were there).

The main pool had the entertainment the entertainment staff was great even with so little people they were out there everyday entertaining guest.

There was entertainment every night even with so little people the show went on. The entertainment was pretty good, we went a few nights since it was late the show starts at 9:45pm and we have one child that is 9 years old so didn't work out everynight. We got treated to a dance number & a water ballet show.

The food was average but got better as time went on. We found the snack bar to be the best place to eat (for the kids) since the a la carte restaurant didn't have a kids menu.

Our Transate rep Raoul was wonderful he was so helpful when I wanted to learn how to order something in Spanish I would go ask Raoul and he would help me out with my Spanish.

We had a wonderful week and lots of fun. I would recommend this place to anyone.

Room Tip: We were in bugalow 1 and we had a view of the ocean & the main pool.
  • Stayed: January 2012, traveled with family
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17  Thank CubaChristine
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 20, 2012

This is not Sirenis. Sirenis left Cuba; the hotel is temporary managed by Gaviola, waiting for somebody else o take over.
Now think Cuba standards. The hotel is Brand new, only 50% opened. Very clean therefore, and all efforts are made to keep it like that. Modern amenities, see pictures. No moskitos, however flies fly around...
Food: nothing new, like anywhere in Cuba not a lot of variety; not a lot of fruits, NO LEMONS!;
The buffet is ~good keeping that in mind, better for dinner than breakfast. I like seafood, excellent cooked (tuna, white tuna, shrimps)
A la carte restaurants (italian, sea food, Cuban) are OK. although the Air Transat advertised 4 guaranteed reservations for Mirage Packages you get only 3. Not all a la carte restaurants are open every night
Lunch restaurant on the beach is good but you have to order a la carte.
Drinks: very good, 24 Hour lobby bar has all international drinks.
Entertainment: the shows try to be original, will become very good soon. Live misic only on main lobby, liked the piano, but no Cuban style night life
Beach: the excellent we know already there.
Service: very good; friendly staff; they like to be tipped, however the good service does not depend on that.
Conclusion: very good brand new hotel which builds up; has everything to become excellent, but will take some time.

Room Tip: Top floors give nice view; I stayed in bungalow 5, even numbers have ocean view; Bungalows 7, 15 ar...
  • Stayed: January 2012, traveled with family
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6  Thank AdictedTraveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 18, 2012

My boyfriend and i spent 2 weeks at this resort (Dec 31st - Jan 14th)... First week and second week were very different for us but both great none the less. During our stay everything was still a work in progress and therefore we saw this progress throughout our two weeks and I must say they are doing a great job.

In my opinion the food was very good for a resort in cuba, especially the a la cartes, which we ate at almost every night (buffet only opened for supper during our second week). I thought the buffet was lacking in selection but i believe this will improve as the resort grows.

The beach was very narrow the first few days due to weather conditions but became much nicer as the weather improved. The water is beautiful but there were quite a lot of jelly fish on most days.

The staff was great! All around, from reception, to bars, to restos!

The resort it self is beautiful, extremely modern! It is not complete and therefore still needs work but all in all amazing. The pools are amazing... we spent most of our time at the quiet pool and we loved it (bartenders there are awsome)

The rooms are very pretty, the washroom super nice, however I found the beds and the pillows rather uncomfortable. One other negative was an alarm that would constantly go off at all hours... still not sure exactly what it was but it was annoying.

All in all we had a great time and would definetely return to this resort in the future!! It is the nicest resort we have been to in cuba!!

  • Stayed: January 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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3  Thank DiDi16
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 3 days ago
Google Translation

Room Tip: Todas están muy agradables.
  • Stayed: September 2017, traveled with family
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Thank Jose G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 5 days ago
Google Translation

  • Stayed: August 2017, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Review collected in partnership with Muchoviaje
Thank felipebergara
This review is the subjective opinion of an individual traveler and not of TripAdvisor LLC nor of its partners.
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Additional Information about Hotel Playa Cayo Santa Maria

Address: Las Dunas 5 | Cayo Santa Maria, 50100, Cuba (Formerly Hotel Gaviota Cayo Santa Maria)
Location: Caribbean > Cuba > Villa Clara Province > Cayo Santa Maria
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 16 Hotels in Cayo Santa Maria
Price Range: $136 - $295 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Hotel Playa Cayo Santa Maria 5*
Number of rooms: 769
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