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Hotel Playa Cayo Santa Maria
Ranked #4 of 17 Hotels in Cayo Santa Maria
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed February 21, 2013

We went to Playa Cayo Santa Maria from Feb.11-18th. Gorgeous weather!! The hotel was VERY nice and VERY clean. All the workers were nice and helpful if they could understand your English. Service isn't fast by any means, you do spend times waiting around for someone to serve you. You are on vacation though, so this shouldn't bug you as you shouldn't be in a rush in the first place. Ride from aiport to hotel is long but they make it entertaining and there is a lot of interesting country to see. Pools are really nice, beach is GORGEOUS!! Pool towels can be hard to get switched so try to keep it as clean as possible. Only downfall would be the food....but you should know ahead of time that you are going to Cuba and food there is known to be not as good. Biggest tip for the food in Cuba is bring your own ketchup!! There ketchup tastes more like runny BBQ sauce, it's gross! I saw other people who had brought their own Heinz ketchup and we'll be doing that for sure next time. At the buffet you can find things to eat to fill you up, but its not like it's amazing food or anything. It's not that the food is horrible, it just has a different taste and different standard than that of North American food. Know this going in and you will survive with their food. A la Carte's are much better than the buffet so enjoy those while your there. The nightly entertaining is slightly boring...Most of the night all they did was nice, and it seemed to be the same dance but the dancers were just in a different costume every night. At least there is some entertainment, but to improve they could switch it up a lot more than they did. We went swimming with the dolpfins while we were there...AMAZING! You actually get to hold onto their fins while they swim around, definitely worth the money!! Overall, great vacation! Amazing hotel, beach, and great drinks! Would definitely recommend!! :)

Room Tip: Building 15!! Close to everything with ocean view!
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  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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9  Thank VacationLover0218
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed February 20, 2013

Our Family stayed at Playa Cayo Santa Matia from Feb 7 to 14. We travelled with our parents and our kids ( 5 & 2). It was our first time in Cuba but,we travel as a family every year to different place in south. We read enough reviews from Tripadvior so we kind of new what to expect -hour and half from airport, two tier beach and food etc.

Room- Bldg 5 adjoining rooms with our parents in 2nd floor with partial ocean view. Perfect for family with small kids.Very quite at night and close to beach, lobby and pool. Very modern room but, it felt a little small to fit family of 4. Loved rainfall shower. It was big enough to get the kids clean with me. Our maid cleaned the room every day around 4 ( left enough clean towels for all of us)and mini fridge was stocked around 6. Did not see any bugs but, there are mosquitos at night so bring Insect repeller and Afterbite.

Beach- Little disappointed at first but, once the weather got better it was beautiful. Water was blue and calm enough the kids to go in and swim. The kids absolutely loved soft white sand. They would play for hours building sand catsle. It was a breathtaking when the tide go out in the afternoon. We had no problems with finding beach chairs. There are always someone who brings chairs down and set them up wherever you want. However if you want one of those beach hut, I saw people reserving them before 7. We did not have to as the sun in Feb was not too strong and we would always go to the pool after lunch.

Pool- Very nice with lots of chairs. My kids played in the family pool everyday in the afternoon. It had a shallow area for my son to play in and got gradually deeper. Bartender was always friendly and there was a little sandwich bar and washroom on site.

Kids Club- It had an enclosed a small playground with few swings and very swallow pool. My son would play there but, my daughter got bored very quickly. I was hoping that there was a kids program during the day for my daughter to participate and make new friends but, they had nothing. The rooms were nice with some toys and TV but, spending half hour was enough for her. They had few cribs and even stollers in baby rooms but, again no babes or kids. She did enjoy mini disco every night at 8.

Food- We were prepared for the worst but, it wasn't all that bad once we figured out what was good to eat. Pretty much same food everyday for all the meals. Anything made fresh was good but, line up can be long if you want to try different things in one night. We would go to buffet at 6:30 when it opens so we can have same table everynight with same server. As we have two young kids, long wait for food didn't work well. We would always get salad ( yes. there were fresh vegetables-tomato, cucumber,beets, olives,hot peppers..) and one fresh made food- today pasta,tommorrow pizza and next day grilled meat or fish. I wished they had more fresh fruits instead of canned ones but, reallly we were only there for a week. It was okay to have orange, pineapple, papaya, guava and banana everyday. We ate at International and Seafood restaurants. Service at International was good but,the food at Seafood was better. My parents had lobsters at both restaurants and they've enjoyed them. lunch at the snack bar was good for the kids as they have chicken fingers, fries and pizza. Breakfast was good with omlet station, fresh bread and yogurts.

Drinks-Awesome! Not waterdown like most of all inclusive. They actually make a real strong drink. I had to ask few times not to make mine too strong. Please don't forget to bring your own insulated mug. We did forget and it was pain to go back and line up. There is only one beach bar and line up can be pretty long with people filling up their giant mugs. Pool bar was alot better and hardly no wait for any drinks. Lobby bar and Snack bar have great cappucinos and lattes. Our family would always have a spanish coffee from lobby bar after dinner while watching kids mini disco. My husand enjoyed cigar bar as you can smoke cuban cigar and drink top shlef scotch/wiskey (extra$$-but, reasonable price)

Excursion- Didn't do any but, took my daughter to see dolphin show nearby. It was only once a day at 3pm. About half hour show that is great for young kids. Cost $18 for adult and $5 for kid including transportation.

Recommendation- 1.seperate beer bar in beach area. only two bartenders in one beach bar.
2. nightly entertainment after 10. it was okay for first two nights but, sitting at lobby drinking got bored pretty quickly. it would been nice to have a piano player later rather than after dinner. 3.kids program- it it okay for young kids to go to the beach and pool all day with parents but, I am not sure how much fun it is for older ones. Organized program for even one hour a day would be nice. Better for parents too!

Overall we had a great first vacation to Cuba. We loved the beautful beach and fell in love with hard working people. Service we experienced was par with 5 star hotels we stayed. We emailed the hotel prior to our trip to plan our 15th wedding anivesary and they were prompt in responding and confirming the details. They surprised us every day with either welcome letter, rose or bottle of wine. We had a babysitting for two nights and our kids were well taken care of. We did tip every day however did not feel that we had to get a better service. Many times i didn't have money on me. I just tip them later when i had chance.

We would definitly come back to Playa cayo santa maria and Cuba. Thank you for the great memories!

Room Tip: Building 5 or 7 is best for location. 2nd and 3 floor is better
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  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled with family
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2  Thank Huliagulia22
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 20, 2013

From beginning to end I could not have imagined a more enjoyable vacation. We landed in Santa Clara and within 20 min were outside with our luggage and greeted by our bus driver who had a great sense of humor. The drive to the hotel did not seem long as the route is very scenic only about 1.5 hrs. Arriving at the hotel they had everything prepared we were immediately handed an envelope with our room key and off we went on our own. The rooms, restuarants, grounds, pools, fountains, lobby, everything is very clean and well kept. I cannot describe how wonderful, helpful and joyful the staff all was. There was great entertainment every night, the buffet was incredible and ran almost all the time (7-1030, 12-330, 6-10 or something close to that), the 24 hr snack bar was another good stop for food, spoke to people about the al le cartes that we didnt get to try and they said there's were just as great. We went on a catamaran excursion which took a day but there was full bar and snacks aboard, snorkelling with exotic fish at the reefs, dolphin show which includes a 15 min interaction, lobster/chicken supper, and stop and explore at a private island (all for 103 CUC!). We also visited Puebolo le Estrella, there is a bus that comes and goes all day for 1 CUC which takes you there, but one day we discovered its also only a 10 min walk down the beach. The days there are filled with tables of souveniours up and down the streets and little restuarants, at night there is a Disco, and on Wednesdays they have Cuban days which is filled with fireworks, dancers and even more food. There were people of all ages young to old and the hotel has everything to suite anyones needs. We had a wonderful time I would go back at the blink of an eye.

Room Tip: All the rooms are pretty much the same, I couldn't even hear our A/C running which ran the entir...
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  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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12  Thank Amy S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 20, 2013

My boyfriend and I visited from Feb 10 to 16/2013. We had a great time at Playa Cayo Santa Maria. The resort layout was great with easy access to nice pools, great food and the beautiful beach. There was plenty to do from water activities, meals, drinks, snacks or entertainment but quiet time at the pool or the beach was easy to find also. The resort staff were very helpful and friendly and there were plenty of choices of delicious foods available in ths buffet, snack bar, sandwich stands and 4 à la carte restaurants. There were a few lines at the grills or stations at the buffet but they moved quickly. There were many bars available and we never had to wait for drinks. The beach was incredible with soft white sand and turquoise water. The only issue I had was with my shellfish allergy on lobster night at the buffet and at an à la carte. I was able to eat outside at the buffet, but I had to leave one dinner early. Check the menu when booking dinners if you have an allergy, the seafood aroma was too much for me to handle, but everyone else seemed to really enjoy it. I really recommend this resort for couples and families.

Room Tip: Not many rooms had an ocean view but the resort was very easy to get around on. A pool or thw beach...
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  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank Alanna D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 20, 2013

Went to Play Cayo with my husband February 7-14! Had an absolutely awesome time!

Positives - beautiful crystal clear water with complete sand and you could walk out quite far before it got deep, food was really good from what I have heard about cuba - but if you like ketchup - bring your own - theirs tasted weird! There were two "towns" close by - just a glorified place where you could buy souveniers and a bus would pick you up for 1 peso each way.
very modern newly done resort!
We stayed in building 7 - i would recommend staying in either building 7 or 5 - they are right by the big pools and snack bar as well as some of the rooms have complete ocean views (we were in room 773 and had a side view of the ocean and was on the opposite side of the pool)
If you want to get a gazebo or something covered at the pool - go put your towel on early in the morning - they get taken pretty quickly!

The only negative i found was the language barrier...it was a little bit hard but the people there were absolutely awesome! nobody was begging for tips they were just so awesome you always wanted to tip :)

things that we brought to give to people there (maids, gardeners) nail polish, gum, coloured pens, candies, tooth brushes, individiual flavoured beauty face masks....

*** the banana crepes were to die for! my husband really liked the crystal beer and i loved the miami vice! (slushy red and white drink

there is a banker there everyday starting normally around 10 to exchange money as well as there is a little souvenier store

it is a bit of a bus ride (an hour and a half) but the way there it was dark so i slept and on the way back it was light out and nice to go through the towns and see all the culture and their way of life.

already thinking of going back there next year :)

Room Tip: we like building 5 and 7 the best (close to everything and some rooms have a full ocean view)
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  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank Talya_25
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 20, 2013

My fiance and I went to this resort Feb 9-16 2013. We had a great trip. The resort was clean with lots of places to sit at the pool - never had to fight for a chair. The beach is a bit small, but the ocean was amazing and clear. All of the staff are very friendly and very eager to help you with any problems you have. Pasquel and Juan Miguel at the swim-up bar were both amazing. Very friendly and entertaining - both were always happy and easy to talk to - they made our days fun and both made great drinks :) The resort does not have a ton of night-life and is not a "party" resort. There were mostly couples there, which was perfect for us. The weather was perfect - 30C every day with no clouds or rain. It was a little cooler at night, had to wear a little cover-up sweater, but was still comfortable in a skirt and flip-flops. The food was okay... there was never a shortage and they do their best, but it is cuba. There is definitely enough to get by on for a week. Our room was nice and big and clean. I e-mailed the resort a week in advance to ask for a 2nd or 3rd floor room and to ensure we had a king size bed - we got both of those. There is sometimes a language barrier as I do not speak spanish, but if you are patient the staff will try to figure out what you need and please try to remember that you are in their country - not vice versa. Overall we had a great stay. Next year I would like to go try another country, but I would definitely return to this resort.

Room Tip: We stayed in bungalow 12 and it was great. Quiet at night and close to everything. E-mail the reso...
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  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank nuttjes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 20, 2013

AMAZING!!!!!!
Resort was beatiful ! The staff were great! Gorgeous beach !! THis is definitely 5 star Resort!! HIghly recommend this resort to anyone! Many pool choices !! Many bar choices and food!

There is a great flea market to go shopping ! Offer alot of great choices . Cigars are cheaper at Santa Clara Airport.

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank travelerlover1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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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 17 Hotels in Cayo Santa Maria
Price Range: $99 - $291 (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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