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“Playa Cayo was Great”

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Hotel Playa Cayo Santa Maria
Ranked #4 of 17 Hotels in Cayo Santa Maria
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed April 9, 2014

Where do I start? I started out by contacting the resort directly and was please to speak with Mareyi Gómez Montano,Customer Service Manager. She was fantastic and helped us organize the taxi from the airport to the resort for me (my wife and i like to do this so we can see some of the country with out the control of the bus ride) and we had nothing but a laugh with our non english speaking driver. He picked up his friend who was a great help, and even took us into a town so we could grab a couple of drinks and look around at a city that is real old in any country, 500 this may to be exact. so this was interesting. Upon arrival at the resort we were met by Mareyi personnally with a glass of champagne and our ala carte meals all booked. What a nice touch for us, because as you know, this can be difficult sometimes as you have to find your travel rep and well, you are on vacation, so it can interfere with your busy schedule of the week. :) . after we got into our beautiful ocean view room, got unpacked and headed to the beach to catch some sun, we were real happy at mid day to not have any problems with getting chairs, the place was busy, They are well prepared for this and plenty of chairs to go around. it isnt like most places where you have to be at the beach at 6 to get a spot, tons of room and lots of chairs,,,,,,,,, so this part was great. Just wish some of the more rude travelers would be more considerate to the rest by not taking up spots that are prime with no intent of using them at all that day.
With the ala carte restaurants that were all really good, we didnt end up at the buffet more than two nights. If you cant find anything to eat here,,,,, maybe Cuba isnt for you, your expectations will be just to high so i suggest that you go elsewhere. The staff is excellent and are not always on the "take" and do not expect tips and dont hint that they would like any at all, what a nice breath of fresh air. Our room as i said was great, our maid(s) took care of us as if we were family, nothing was to much, extra towels, no problem, extra beer in fridge no problem and our room always clean and fresh every day like clock work, the maid(s) are the same every day on the same floor, just a great part of the experience and how fun was it at the end of our stay to have to almost plead with her to take the 10.00 tip on top of what we did during the week. The Air Conditioner, well, turn the fan down,,, to damn cold at night,, Somethings we have not seen anywhere in Cuba.
The drinks were cold and plentiful everywhere on the resort, i will recomend to not drink any Coloda based drinks from main lobby bar, they seemed to be seperated all the time, im not sure if that cooler unit wasnt cold enough or what but just my only caution to be honest.
the excursions were fun,, but same ol same ol,,, so I wont get into the details.
The only thing I wish was that all of us Canadians would treat the staff and the guests around them with the respect they deserve. They are not our slaves and should be treated with respect as the staff is part of why you enjoy or dont enjoy your trip, but the same is to be said about how guests are treated by other guests,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, I must say, i have seen it all after this one, the rudness of some people is just sad, and i guarantee I dont stand for it! But that is my only vent as my wife will be mad if i go further, so use your imagination.
One of the best trips if not the best to Cuba, I highly recomend this resort and we will be returning next April with at least 2 other couples and i hope they continue the efforts there to keep their customers happy!
I felt hopeful that the only problem they had (loss of hydro) on the last day just before we left was fixed.
Thank You so much for a great time.

Jerry and Esther van Velden

Room Tip: Pack sunscreen and bubba kegs, they are as always needed in Cuba! Building 15, and I think 17 are...
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  • Stayed: April 2014, traveled as a couple
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10  Thank jerry v
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed April 9, 2014

This resort received high reviews from our travel agent and it didn't disappoint us. It was by far the nicest of several resorts we have stayed at in Cuba. It felt fresh, modern, and very clean. As usual, the staff were very friendly, and the service at the main buffet and al la cartes was top notch!
We really enjoyed the majority of our meals. Tip - There is repetition at the buffet so don’t rush to try every thing, save some variety for the rest of your stay. I love smoked salmon and was very impressed to see it at the salad bar on several occasions. I am a very healthy eater and my husband likes to indulge more often, and we found lots of options that suited us both. He said the only thing they really didn’t do well was French fries.
The beach is beautiful, and there are two bars on the beach. It took us a few days to realize a temporary on is set up to the right of the main beach entrance, past the hut that houses the catamarans etc. The area closest to the main bar becomes crowded and we usually walked further to the right of the beach entrance to find chairs. We are early risers and were surprised how many people are up by 730 to put towels on chairs. We never had a problem finding beach chairs, although sometimes it required searching. Later in the afternoon is was difficult to find chairs by the long pool in front of our room, but at the main pool around the kiddy pool, which is usually empty, there were free chairs, although not with shade.
If you like beach walking it is easiest to walk down the beach to the right. If you go left the sand gradually becomes much looser and more difficult to walk in. Most days there were lots of waves at the beach.
I used the gym several times and the equipment is new. There are free weights (in kgs not lbs) and a few machines, and several cardio pieces.
We really enjoyed every day here, and hope you do too!
This resort seemed ideal for young families. There were lots of babies and children.

  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank C H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 7, 2014

Relaxed and Refreshed!

We spent 2 weeks at Hotel Playa Cayo, Santa Maria, Cuba! We enjoyed everyday! The airport was quick and efficient. The hour and half drive from the airport was very pleasant. It was a mini tour of the Cuban country side with a guide that was very informative! Four groups were checking in and it took maybe 15-20 minutes and we were served drinks while we waited! The front desk staff could smile more as they are your first impression. After check in we were driven to our room. We were in building 5 on the bottom floor. We were hoping for the 3rd floor with a view but really enjoyed what we had, a room facing our own private garden area with no stairs to climb! The resort is very nice and easy to get around. None of the rooms are far away from anything, restaurants, bars, reception, pools or beach, after all you’re on holidays, what is the rush?!
Room: Our room was clean, we had a deep soaker tub, (this could be a problem for some). We did hear there are rooms with showers only, so this could be a request if there are mobility problems. Towels were changed as often as we needed them done. (towels for change were left on the floor, towels that were still cleaned we left hanging). Yes some of the towels were stained, but they had been washed. The stains came from the flowers that were left on the towel art, which our maid Mary did everyday, along with the drape art. It was great to come to our room after a day in the sun and feel that everything was clean and tidy. The AC worked, the sliding door worked and locked! The bar fridge was restocked everyday, the only problem here was it was done between 6 and 7pm usually when we were getting ready for dinner, but no big deal.
Restaurants; There were so many different places to eat! The main buffet, for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the beach buffet for lunch, 24 hour snack bar, another little sit down place next to the 24 hour snack bar, and the little bun shop on the beach! Then there are 4 specialty restaurants, we tried, all of them. The Asian, Romantico and San Juan were all very good and great service. The Italiano food was a disappointment but still had good service. The Sea Food Grill was nice as well. We weren’t expecting a lot from the food being our 2nd time in Cuba and from reading reviews. There was always lots of food, yes some of it was cold and not a lot of flavor but I don’t believe anyone went hungry! We had fresh squeezed OJ every morning and fresh cooked eggs to our liking! The toast line up was a bit long but there were muffins, buns and croissants to have. No there is no peanut butter, and we could not believe the grumpy look on a guys face complaining about that! Lunch was great, we tried all the restaurants and I liked having my pizza made fresh with my choice of toppings and my husband enjoyed his fresh cooked pasta with the sauce of his choice. Dinners were always good, either at the buffet or one of the restaurants, we always had fresh fish but there is also beef, pork, lamb chicken, squid, really no complaints! Try the crepes at the main buffet for desert, this poor guy does not stop ever!!
Bars; Everywhere you look! I think we counted about 9 bars! The service was good at all of them, of course the beach and lobby bar are busy but you always get served. Do take your own cup because they use small plastic ones, it saves on garbage and refills!
Grounds: Beautiful! Greenery and flowers everywhere! The gardeners are always smiling and do a wonderful job keeping it looking so good. There is also a tennis court.
Beach: Oh my gosh!! They are beautiful!!! Chrystal clear water, soft sand and waves! A beach that goes forever! Lots of beach chairs. We were down at the beach between 9-9:30 and always found a chair under the little huts. Walking along the beach in either direction was easy to see this was the busiest resort! The Hobbycats and kayaks are fun and included.
Pools; 4 pools with the main pool being the busiest of course with the swim up bar and the entertainment. We can’t say a lot about them as we only went to the main pool to swim once, preferring the ocean.
Animation Group; These people work hard all day everyday! They are out and about all day, starting in the morning with a yoga class and finishing with the nightly show. The shows were different every night and we enjoyed them all. The Michael Jackson show was good and very popular, the second week Mamma Mia was added to the schedule, and it was the first performance but still fun. The theatre holds quite a lot of people, if you prefer there is usually entertainment in the lobby and sometimes by the pool.
Tipping; Of course this goes along way. Everyone tips the bartenders and servers but please don’t forget the gardeners, the girls sweeping the floors, cleaning the many bathrooms (which were always clean) and the beach towel guy and the ice cream lady! We did take gifts and everyone was very appreciative of what we took. Bathroom essentials is a good choice, soap, shampoo toothpaste and brushes, Tylenol, any children medicine, batteries, t-shirts and footwear (don’t have to be new). Anything for kids.
Staff; The Cubans are hard working and eager to please. We enjoyed all of the people we met. We treated them the way we wanted to be treated, with respect and dignity. We have gone to their homeland and will try to speak their language. They are always happy to teach us a word or phrase in Spanish. We did not expect any of them to bend to us or demand that they speak English!
Complaints; Yes there is smoking, but it is not the Cubans! The litter on the grounds was not from the Cubans! Yes some of them only speak Spanish, that is their mother tongue and we are in their country! If you only want to speak English or French stay home!

Sorry I have gone on so much, but we really wanted to be as honest and share as much as we could. Please do not hesitate to ask us any questions. Go and enjoy this wonderful place, relax and come back refreshed!

Room Tip: We had a room on the lower level of building 5 and loved it. Building 6,7, 13 and 14 upper floors lo...
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  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled as a couple
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16  Thank Vic307
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 6, 2014

We recently stayed at Playa Cayo Santa Maria and were quite impressed with this resort. Very clean, well managed and up to date. The room we had (building 10) was excellent. Quiet location (make sure you get away from the disco if you plan on sleeping). The buffet food was fine with lots of choice and if you like coffee you can get excellent espresso or cappuccino in the lobby bar. There are several a-la-carte restaurants to choose from and they are all fine, but the best, by far is the SEAFOOD GRILL! Make sure you insist on a booking at this restaurant. There is another seafood restaurant but you need to ask for the GRILL. The chef, Frank, cooks all your fish and seafood on a charcoal grill right in front of you and the food is delicious. The manager, Boris, the chef, Frank, and all their staff are super friendly, professional and so very eager to provide a wonderful dinner. Boris takes so much pride in his restaurant and he works so hard at making sure everything is running perfectly. The restaurant is actually run as a small business within the resort and so he really depends on guests requesting to eat at the Seafood Grill when making a-la-carte reservations. Don't miss out on this wonderful dining experience! We would recommend this resort. The beaches along C.S.M. are incredible and the water is crystal clear. You can walk in either direction for a long way.

Room Tip: Building 10 is far from noisy disco. Building 15 has ocean views. Ask for upper floors so that you c...
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  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled as a couple
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10  Thank Ati900
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 5, 2014

We stayed at Playa Cayo Santa Maria from March 27 to April 3. From reading the excellent reviews and seeing the ratings, I was excited for our trip.

Room: We arrived late at night and I couldn't wait to get some rest. Unfortunately, even being with child, We were placed in a room directly in front of the disco. The whole room shook and the partygoers stayed up until 4:30 am having a good time...not such a good time for us. After several false promises for an alternate room, we were given one our second day in building 7. Much better location!

Beach/Pools: beach was very nice but just packed. Not the fault of the hotel of course. We enjoyed the beach more after lunchtime and were able to find seats easily at that time. There are plenty of pools, very clean, and you can always find a seat.

Food: Again, I was looking forward to the food after reading that the food is above average for Cuba. I have to disagree after being there myself. However, you can always find something that you enjoy and stick with it for the duration of your trip.

Service: I am not going to speak more about the service at the front desk, highly dissatisfied there, however the staff at the remainder of the resort was extremely nice and attentive, especially at the snack bar and the grill right next to the snack bar. The Buffett not as much, but understandably, they were very busy. One night after waiting for nearly half an hour, I stood up went behind the bar and served myself a glass of wine.

Room: the pictures look very nice, but we got unlucky with our rooms. The bathroom flooded within 5 minutes of being in the shower ( ladies shaving your legs, you might have to do this with no water running in the cold). Our bed smelled like extreme body odour, and I am not exaggerating when I say extreme. Even after being changed, the unpleasant scent remained. We sprayed my husband's cologne on the pillows for the duration of our trip to make the smell bearable.

Overall, this hotel may meet the standards for other luckier travellers, however, unfortunately for us, I don't believe we will be returning to Playa Cayo Santa Maria.

Stayed: April 2014, traveled with family
7  Thank Anna G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 5, 2014

My Wife an I went Back to Playa after visiting there 2x before. I cant Say enough about the Staff an the Management they all want to make your trip the best it can be from Arrival to departure.First an For most i want to Thank all the Staff for making our third trip there even better then our first and our second.The Staff really make you feel like your Family. Oscar from the Snack bar an Sergeguy * know i spelt his name wrong * from the Beer Bar really Made our stay once again. We took time to Go visit them at there Home an they showed us around an made us welcome in there home as they did at the resort * hell of a Group these guys an gals are * Momma at the Lobby an her Poppie at the New alacart beside the Snack bar as always welcomed us with Open Arms and showed us just how much they Missed us in our 5 months away from the resort. Jorge the Director and General Manager of the resort was very Happy to see all the returning Guest and the hold a Very good Galla Dinner every Wed. night where they Thank you an really show you how Important an how you make them Feel about returning to the resort. Cant say enough about that team he has from all the workers to his Management Team. We had Emailed the resort like i always do to let them know our date of arrival and had only 1 request to be Booked in Building 7 or 15 and as always they not only Gave us a room in building 15 but Gave us third floor Ocean view. I only Had one minor problem this time out at one Ala cart we booked Service was Very slow to start but became Much better as the meal went on as they were Very Busy an a little short staffed due to 2 sick calls from my Understanding * i cant fault them for that cause the young lady in charge took great Care of us when she seen we had not received our first course 30 min into the dinner she looked very upset that no one had gotten to us in that amount of time. They just keep improving the resort every time we go there seems to be something New to go too or see. For anyone that has been to Cuba But maybe not this resort Its a Must Food is Awesome the Staff are a Class act and as i found out when we were there last Jorge has made the list of Top Resorts in all of Cuba to # 11. That is in it self a great Deal an just goes to Show you that the Staff really Care an that they have been Trained to not only show you a great Time but Great Food an Drink. I only have one more thing to add * these Folks are like Family to my Wife an Myself please treat them when you go as such and you will not be disappointed its all about respect to our fellow man/women and trust me these people have earned My Respect .......Thanks again to everyone at this Resort an my wife an i will see u Soon cant wait to go back Love ya Guys an Gals

Room Tip: Be Open and you will Have a great time Building 15 an 7 are best but i've been in 5 as well very...
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  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank Scott M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jorge C, Director General at Hotel Playa Cayo Santa Maria, responded to this reviewResponded April 8, 2014

Dear Guest, it´s been pleased once more time you have spent an enjoyable stay with us and you are also thinking of returning. On behalf of management and staff, thank you very much for this positive review and we are very satisfied to give you our best service. Best regards, Jorge Calderín, Director

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Reviewed April 4, 2014

I've been to Varadero, Cayo Guilermo, Holguin. This by far does not even compare to any of the others in Cuba.
The room was not musty, the air condition worked so well, we needed to shut it off a few nights.
Thank you to Claudia, Valdemir our servers everyday, Andy our bar guy at the Cuban Cigar bar was great, quiet and shy...but a very gentle soul. Always had our drinks ready and remembered what we ordered from the time before. Yaro, which is short for a long name, she worked at the snack bar, we took a fancy to her with her winning smile and awesome attitude. I can't say enough for this resort. The best service I've received in all my travels.
The beach is spectacular, take the opportunity to do a sail with the little catamaran, it was so much fun.
So many pools and lots of seats. I have never said that I would go back to a resort we've previously been, but for this resort....for the service alone...we will be back. Hopefully sooner than later.

Room Tip: We had Building 1, and found it very good. Close to everything.
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  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank loulou1104
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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