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Hotel Playa Cayo Santa Maria
Ranked #3 of 15 Hotels in Cayo Santa Maria
montreal
Level Contributor
26 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 101 helpful votes
“I am hesitant to post this because I do not want people to know how incredible this place it.”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 23, 2012

Let me begin by saying that we are season travellers as this was our +-25th time visiting Cuba and the rest of the Caribbean. We have always loved Cuba but were not always satisfied with the food and up-keep of the various properties that we visited in the past that were categorized between 3 & 4 1/2 stars.
We just returned Dec 22, the weather was amazing as we had sun and heat for 8 straight days. This definitely helps enjoy all the facilities this property has to offer! The hotel was at very low capacity (250 guests) instead of full capacity (1700 guests).

The property itself: 5*
This is as close to a 5* property you will find in Cuba. There were at least 4 pools that were always kept spotless with plenty of sunshades for all the guests. At least 3 of the pools were infinity pools with palm trees and very luxurious chaise and 4 person sun-beds that were shaded by material awnings surrounded by palm trees. We would forget we were in Cuba and imagined being in Dubai. The grounds were meticulously groomed daily. There was a brand-new tennis court, handball/ mini soccer court and a 1/2 size basketball court that we used often as we travelled with our 2 boys ages 9-12. All buildings were kept clean and maintained perfectly.
The room:5*
It was smaller room than most resorts but was very modern in its design with a large bathroom with a great relaxing rain shower head. Hot water with great pressure throughout our stay. Free minibar that was stocked daily and free access to the in-room safe. The room was cleaned daily by men(instead of women) they had a funny sence of humour as we would be surprised by daily towel and blanket origami that left us in stitches.
The food:5*
The buffet was awesome!
Breakfast was to die for as they offered many various cooking stations to please every guest. There was an omelette/egg section, waffle section, pancake/French-toast section, fresh smoothie prepared on the spot and a fruit person cutting you fresh fruit continuously. Also they had the rest of the staples you would find in any other buffet, including many cheeses(Brie, blue, camembert and many other)yogurts, cold cuts and at least 3-4 different meats(bacon and different sausages) it was the kids most favourite meal. The coffee was also outstanding. My wife must of drank at least the cost of her part of the vacation in lattes and cappuccinos!
Lunch.
There were a few options for lunch, a few days we ate the buffet overlooking the beach. We would either grab something quick or order off the menu, both options left us very satisfied. There was also a small grill-press directly on the beach that made quick sandwiches, ham/cheese, tuna and what ever else they had. It was simple and quick so we would be able to enjoy the beach longer.
Supper.
We ate at the buffet 4 times and we were very satisfied. Again many different serving stations, meat (chicken, beef, pork all very well marinated and cooked to your liking); fish station (seafood, different types of fish); pasta bar; fried rice station (over 10 varieties of toppings such as chicken, pork, vegetables and dressings); cheese and cold cut station; cooked meals ranging from stews to rabbit, lasagna, sushi, turkey, steak, and anything you can imagine. They also had great desserts, our favourite was the flambe section serving crepe suzette banana, pineapple, topped off with exceptional vanilla ice cream.
The service from the waiting and cooking staff was always prompt and with a smile and a kind word.

We also ate at 3 a-la carte restaurants, we were very happy with the seafood (lobster) and the romantic place but the asian place was a hit and miss. Some plates were good, others were off.

Also, there was a 24 hour snack bar that served the best chicken fingers ever!

Beach: 10*
We have travelled extensively to the Caribbean and Europe and have not found a better (easily accessible) beach than this one. The water is absolutely incredible, and you have 7 km of it. It took us 2 hours to walk from one end to the next. We had 4 days of pool like conditions (not one wave) and the other 4 with small waves. On a couple of days we did see some jelly fish, however the lifeguard explained that they are just babies and they do not sting and he went on to demonstrate by picking one up. As long as they do not have long tentacles (we did not see any of these), they do not sting. There were sun shades available and we never had a problem, however we went during low season and if the hotel reaches higher capacities, there will be a concern and I would see people getting up very early to reserve the few shades that are available.

Negatives:
The only issue that has nothing to do with the hotel is the 1h45min drive to get to the airport.

We have never repeated a hotel in Cuba but we have found our sun destination spot from now on.

Room Tip: Bungalow 6 is by the ocean and very quiet, but you need to walk further to access the beach. Bungal...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
37 Thank pspc2009
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jorge C, Gerente at Hotel Playa Cayo Santa Maria, responded to this review, December 25, 2012
Dear Sir, thank you very much for your comment. We are striving to be a landmark hotel in the area and will work to maintain the level of excellence. Best regards, Jorge Calderin, Director
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  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
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    4 of 5 bubbles
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    4.5 of 5 bubbles
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    4.5 of 5 bubbles
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  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
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English first
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 22, 2012

Just got back from Hotel Playa Cayo Santa Maria ( Dec 21 ) This was our second trip to Cuba. We loved the facilities and the grounds. Pools are lovely however we are beach bums and spent most of out time there. The beach is excellent. I can't imagine how you would be able to find a better one anywhere. The food was typical for Cuba not great but acceptable( we managed to gain several pounds during our stay ) The service was great. The Cuban people are very friendly and helpful. We flew west jet and found Joel (rep ) very helpful. I would highly recommend this resort to anyone.
K & L ( stayed from Dec 14-21)

  • Stayed December 2012
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
10 Thank Kman2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jorge C, Gerente at Hotel Playa Cayo Santa Maria, responded to this review, December 23, 2012
Thank you for your comments, compliments and recommendations. Our team is proud that you had a pleasant stay at our hotel. Best regards, Jorge Calderín, Director
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Montreal, Canada
Level Contributor
112 reviews
75 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 104 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 20, 2012

Very friendly and trying staff making the resort truly hospitable and inviting.
Fantastic buffet with great variety of meals prepared just for you, and to your taste, at various stations plus four proper (but not necessarily outstanding) a-la-carte restaurants.
Nice bars with great mixed drinks using international brand name liquors plus Becks beer and 3 popular cuban beers available at all times (24 hours a day) at the Snack Bar.
Accommodation is more than acceptable as I got a very clean and large room with balcony and a large bathroom with all the amenities, on the top floor. The small flat screen TV therein has many international channels, a welcome add-on on stormy days.
Onsight nightlife is limited to a piano player at the Lobby Bar (after 6:30pm or so) and rather average nightly shows; no disco onsight but there is one in the Pueblo (5 minutes away by super nice double decker bus costing only 1 peso each way).
Several outstanding swimming pools for all ages, some fitted with various nets types for playing water games.
The beach is white sand, safe with clear water weather permitting; the damage caused by hurricanes still shows. Snorkeling is doable in front of the resorts Sol Cayo Santa Maria and Melia Buena Vista but one has to get there first (quite a long walk, especially for the latter, but you probably can manage to hire a Hobbie Cat....probably....).
Finally it should be said that the area of Cayo Santa Maria, just like that of Cayo Coco, is secluded, away from 'Cuban Life' and is meant more for quiet restful holidays than, say, 'Adventure Travel', but suits families very well, in my humble opinion.

Room Tip: I had the great fortune of getting a room on the top floor (two floors up from the ground floor).
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled solo
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Helpful?
12 Thank Madjid A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jorge C, Gerente at Hotel Playa Cayo Santa Maria, responded to this review, December 21, 2012
Dear Sir, thank you very much for your comment. We are pleased to know that having a positive approach of our installation and service. Thank you very much and best regards. Jorge Calderin, Director
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 18, 2012

We chose this resort for our honeymoon and spent one week (Dec 9-Dec 16) there. It was definitely the best choice for honeymoon trips. The resort is new, nice and clean; right on the beautiful beach; neither too big or too small; comfy room with modern design; wonderful buffet and restaurants (especially the Romantic and San Juan); great cocktails from lobby bar. The best part is the people: they are all very hardworking, friendly and truly appreciate any gratuity. We as honeymooners got special arrangement like flowers, champagne, room upgrade, romantic breakfast&dinner...; and special attention from customer service manager, Hany. She took great care of us during our stay and made our honeymoon so fabulous and memorable.
We just came back but already miss the place. Will come back for our anniversary for sure!!!

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
9 Thank YLi_415
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jorge C, Gerente at Hotel Playa Cayo Santa Maria, responded to this review, December 20, 2012
It was an honor for our team to have made your honeymoon memorable and can be sure that your anniversary will be much better. Thank you very much for the compliment. Best regards, Jorge Calderin, Director
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brampton
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 17, 2012

I just returned from a one week stay at the Hotel Playa Cayo Santa Maria and it was amazing! I was there to attend a very good friends wedding and I must say they put on a fantastic day for her, they didn't spare one detail. I work in the industry and have seen many hotels all over the south and I must say this one stands out. Very clean, excellent staff, beautiful grounds and great food. I know Cuba isn't always known for it's food but this resort was great, they had a fantastic variety and always very good! I would go back tomorrow and definitely recommend it to older and younger couples, families, honeymooners, anyone really. My parents were a part of the wedding group and they raved about the hotel. Even though I've done a fair amount of travelling this was the first time I've travelled as part of a group, there were 44 of us, older couples, younger couples, singles and lots of kids, everyone had a great time. My son who is 7 years old thought the place was fantastic. The resort isn't huge but big enough, everything is well located and not far to walk. No need to golf cart transportation. 4 pools, swim up bar, spa (that was a nice afternoon spent!) gym, sports club, very large theater.HIGHLY HIGHLY recommended!!!!! Can't wait to go back!

Room Tip: We were in building 15 facing the quiet pool, from one side we saw the ocean, straight ahead was the...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
6 Thank susan D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jorge C, Gerente at Hotel Playa Cayo Santa Maria, responded to this review, December 20, 2012
Dear Susan, thank you very much for your feedback so touching. It was a pleasure to have you and your group to our hotel. Thank you with all my heart. Best regards, Jorge Calderin, Director
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Ottawa, Canada
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 11, 2012

I am a Travel Agent and have visited Cuba many times and I must say this was one of my favourite resorts. The beach is amazing albiet sometimes a little steep getting down the incline but hey that did not matter.
The resort is an easy walking property - not too big! The rooms were spotless and the bathrooms were new.
The lobby bar served good drinks and service was always wonderful. The seafood a la carte was excellent (ate there three times). The buffet was typical - I only had breakfast there.
All in all a very good property would recommend to anyone...and I will certainly go back...

Room Tip: building one is close to main lobby and restaurants.
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
19 Thank molly s
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jorge C, Gerente at Hotel Playa Cayo Santa Maria, responded to this review, December 18, 2012
Thank you very much for your good opinion. Our team is pleased to know that your stay at our hotel was pleasant. Thanks for recommending. Best regards, Jorge Calderin, Director
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
21 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 50 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 9, 2012

We spent the week of Nov 30 - Dec 6 at Hotel Playa and had a great time. We have been to Cuba many times, but never to the Cayo Santa Maria area. This area is very quiet and there isn't much to see or do in the area. However, if you are looking for a nice, relaxing vacation in a beautiful setting, this resort fits the bill. We found the resort to be clean, the service excellent, and simply felt that every effort was made to ensure the guests really enjoyed their vacation. Staff never gave you the feeling that they expected tips .. they were very warm and professional. The food was very good in my opinion, especially in the seafood and asian restaurants .. again, my opinion. The grilled sandwiches on the beach, right beside the bar were AMAZING .. especially the tuna. Drinks .. very good selection .. if you want something, ask, because there is no printed drink menu. For anyone who loves mojitos .. the guy at the beach bar makes the best ones! The beach itself was nice .. not the endless gorgeous expanse of Varadero, and running about fourth in my rating of Cuban beaches, but still really nice .. hey, it's CUBA, lol ! The room was very nice .. absolutely spotless, with a mini bar stocked with water, pop and beer. Maids were towel art experts! Showers were the hand held kind, but there was always plenty of hot water. Building 1 was very convenient to the lobby, buffet and one of the large quiet pools .. we thought it was perfect. Entertainment in my opinion was a weak spot .. we usually enjoy the shows, but they were pretty mediocre here .. possibly because it was off season.
In summary, we really enjoyed this resort .. met many nice fellow Canadians and would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a quiet vacation experience in a really nice, relaxing setting. We would definitely return. It is well deserving of its 4 star rating.

Room Tip: Third floor rooms have great views
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
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    • Rooms
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Helpful?
20 Thank Lainer123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jorge C, Gerente at Hotel Playa Cayo Santa Maria, responded to this review, December 11, 2012
¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬Dear Sir, thank you very much for your commentary. We are satisfied to know that having a positive approach of our Hotel and service, best regards. Jorge Calderín, Director
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel Playa Cayo Santa Maria

Property: 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 #3 of 15 Hotels in Cayo Santa Maria
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:5 star — Hotel Playa Cayo Santa Maria 5*
Number of rooms: 769
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