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Hotel Playa Cayo Santa Maria
Ranked #4 of 16 Hotels in Cayo Santa Maria
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed December 30, 2012

I have just retuned from playa cayo santa maria. Here are an overview of the positive and negatives aspects:

Positives:

Resort: Nice clean place. The Bungalows, the pools and the gardens look amazing and very clean.
Room: The rooms are spacious, clean and well decorated.
Food: The food in the resort is Ok. There is a buffet for breakfast, lunch and supper. A snack bar and a la carte restaurants. My favorite were the buffet for breakfast, the playa restaurants for luch and the the Italian and seafood a la carte restaurants for supper. The fresh juice station in the morning buffet was amazing...
Beach: The beach is just amazing... I can go on and on describing the beautiful beach of cayo santa maria
Staff: The staff are great and work hard.

Negatives:
Rooms: The bed in the rooms are not that comfortable.
Mosquitoes: They are spraying for mosquitoes but still you need to bring your own spray. I had mosquito bites all over, on my legs and arms and are very uncomfortable and itchy.
Entertainment : The Entertainment team works hard but the the entertainment activities need improvement: Especially the day physical activities.
Safety on the beach: The safeguards schedule should be organized better. One day there is like 5 safeguards on the beach and other day there is none..

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
17  Thank Beachlover B
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 reviewResponded December 31, 2012

Dear Sir, thank you very much for your comment. We are confident that during your next visit your hotel's discretion will be totally different. We are noted for being a landmark hotel in the region and will work to maintain the level of excellence. His observation helps us to reflect and realize our mistakes. Jorge <calderin, Director

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Reviewed December 28, 2012

Just returned from a trip to Playa Cayo Santa Maria on December 2nd 2012. It was a beautiful property that is still very new and fresh. Here is the rundown:

ROOMS
The rooms are very well decorated...modern...CLEAN. The bathroom had a 2 person soaker tub and shower...amazing. (the staff surprised us by running a nice bubble bath and put hibiscus petals in to the tub one evening upon our return from an excursion!) Had a nice flatscreen tv with av adaptors so you could plug in a dvd player/laptop/game system. Beds were new and firm. No bugs. Lamps had regular 120v adaptors on them so you could charge your cell phone or use a hairdryer. Each room also had a desk with a TALL mirror in front for the ladies to get ready. Room safe was complimentary. We were in building 7 on the 3rd floor. Best choice of buildings. It is next to the beach, and overlooks one of the quiet pools. It is near the 24 hr restaurant and is far enough away from the nightly entertainment that you can't hear all the noise should you want to go to bed early or sit and enjoy a movie on the movie channels. Other good option would be building 15 or building 6.

BEACH
It's located on a gorgeous powder white sand beach with crisp blue water. The season was windy so it made for rougher water but it was still nice. The beach goes on forever. You can walk all afternoon and cruise past a number of other great resorts.

POOLS
Everywhere. All infinity style pools. There is a main louder pool where the entertainment staff hangout and where the swim up bar is. There is another quieter pool close to the beach. Then there are 2 more VERY long quiet pools where you could do lengths if you like to swim. Music here is quiet and most people are just laying on the comfy pool chairs soaking up the sun. Every pool has a bar beside it too.

FOOD
Morning buffet was great. Of course there was much of the typical resort fried food, however we visited the fresh to order counters every morning and were never disappointed. There is an egg station for eggs any way you like them (including omelettes). There is a pancake station where you can get pancakes or crepes made fresh to order and topped how you like with chocolate, berries, bananas and a number of sauces including local honey. There is a belgian waffle station where you can get berries, sauces, cream etc on your waffle. There is a juice bar where you can bring fruit/veggies to get fresh juices. Also a smoothie bar where you can bring fruit/veggies and yogurt for some mean smoothies! Lots of yogurts, cereals, salad...yes even salad at breakfast.

Lunch buffet by the beach...we passed. Nothing available made fresh to order. Ok if you are looking for something quick...hotdog, burger, pizza, fries, coldcuts and buns, salad.

24h restaurant (beside main pool). Fantastic. We went here daily. You could order off the menu of burgers, AMAZING pizza, freshly made chicken strips, fish strips, battered shrimp skewers, grilled sandwiches and a number of other great options. While the items on the menu were good, we mainly ordered custom orders once the staff knew us and knew that we tipped well. We ordered a HUGE salad loaded with fresh chicken strips on top daily. We'd often order pizza custom with bacon, tomatoes, peppers, and mushrooms. They were always accommodating once they knew what we wanted. We even stopped here for breakfast the day of our departure and ordered bacon eggs and toast to which they complied happily.

Dinner buffet - typical dinner buffet. Custom pasta bar with white or red sauce. Custom fish grill where you could enjoy a wide selection of fish...salmon, tilapia, shrimp, swordfish, and more. Custom meat grill - steak wrapped in bacon, chicken wrapped in bacon, marinated steaks, chicken, pork chops. All great. Nice desert selection as well with a lady frying bananas in liquor and serving with ice-cream.

Asian restaurant. Our favourite. sushi was better than expected. Good fried rice. Amazing pork in sweet and sour sauce! Amazing. Beef teriyaki was also great. Both dessert options were great too...banana tempura and rice pudding. We ordered seconds...of the main...and dessert!!

Romantic restaurant. I had steak...very tender and grilled the way I like it. My wife ordered chicken stuffed with cream cheese and thought it was well done...a little dry but still tasted good. We had the caesar salad which was beautifully presented.

Italian restaurant. Great minestrone soup. Pizza wasn't half as good here as it was at the 24h restaurant. We tried the farfale pasta in oil with herbs and the seafood rigatoni. Both were good. The seafood dish was hearty and the farfale in oil was light and tasty.

Seafood restaurant. We both ordered lobster tail...BIG. Tasty. loaded with garlic butter! MMMM.

STAFF
The staff were great! we learned so much about Cuba just from talking to them about their lives, government, families, school etc. Just loved them. Yeah there are always a few that aren't as friendly, but if you are friendly to just about anyone they will stop and chat with you. Never felt like they expected tips either. We received the same service either way.

EXCUSIONS
there are a number of trips that you can go on. Trips into town near or far. Overnight day trips to Havana very reasonable...around $140 including your flight, food and transfers. Offroad Jeep tours, scuba diving (ALTHOUGH this resort does not offer practice pool dives) $40 per dive including bus and equipment. We did the tour called Topez Overnight. It was a tour to the old colonial town of Trinidad. Beautiful. Lots of shopping to do in the market there as well as tours of old homes. Excellent lunch here. Then you drive up a mountain 800ft above sea level for some epic views! You check into a hotel in the mountain. Ok. Very basic. Later that night we went for a tour of a coffee house then for dinner at a local restaurant. We had traditional cuban food there...SO GOOD. After there was opportunity to go to the disco or go back to your room. The next morning you go to a National park...THE HIGHLIGHT OF THE TRIP. A few hour hike into the mountain. You see some amazing sights, some cuban birds, then up to a waterfall and swimming hole. We did some cliff diving into the waterfall! Just beautiful...diving into crystal blue water off a cliff into a waterfall! So refreshing after a long hike. You can swim down below and go in behind the waterfall into a bat cave as well...which of course we did! After all this fun we hiked back down the mountain to enjoy the best meal of the trip back at the entrance to the park. Again, traditional cuban food.

OTHER NOTES
-Forget the internet...brutal.
-Can't take out cash here in the resort...can exchange $$ for cuban pesos, but can't take it out of your bank/credit card. This requires a trip into town.
-the store here is small so if you want snacks...bring them...its a long trip into town. No chips here, just $5 pringles
-if you want an extra bottle of water, you must try hiding the one from the fridge, they restock nightly and only refill whats missing...ie you still have 1/2 bottle of water=No refill
-nice gym if you want to work out
-find the agenda for daily events at the front lobby. It isn't posted anywhere
-coffee in the lobby is AMAZING. Just saying.

This place was worth it!
Enjoy!

Room Tip: We were in building 7 3rd floor. Best if you want a view.
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  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
26  Thank 345dalec
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 reviewResponded December 30, 2012

Thank you for your review on this site. We always work to provide better service to our clients. We hope to return soon. Best regards, Jorge Calderin, Director

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Reviewed December 26, 2012

I can't say one bad thing about my vacation at Playa Cayo, Santa Maria. The staff are absolutely amazing and I felt more like I've been there before. It was my first time. The food is quite different from what us Canadians are used to. It's not bad by any means, just takes an acquired taste. There's a snack bar by the middle pool where you can get some great food. The property is breathtaking, the pools fabulous, the rooms are clean, modern and beautiful. 220v plugins on the lamps and under the desk area which is great :). ALL staff deserve to be treated with the utmost respect. And dare I say it, they should be tipped well, they work long hours and not only cater to us but have families at home they barely see. Yet, they always have an honest smile on their face :) I can't wait to go back, already looking in to my next visit :) The price is more than worth it, I highly recommend a visit ;)

Room Tip: I was there with others and there were 3 rooms between us. All building 3. Request either pool or sl...
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  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
10  Thank Cubababy2012
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 reviewResponded December 28, 2012

Dear Sir, thank you for your review on this site. We always work to provide better service to our clients, and read that they have felt pleased us to keep improving. We hope to return soon. Best regards, Jorge Calderin, Director

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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
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
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 reviewResponded 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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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
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 reviewResponded 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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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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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 reviewResponded 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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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
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
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 reviewResponded 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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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
Hotel Class:4 star — Hotel Playa Cayo Santa Maria 4*
Number of rooms: 769

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