I know I'm well behind in writing my review since many months have passed, BUT, with another trip since, I can put this Melia resort in better perspective; you see we stayed March break at Ensanachos a neighboring resort, and we are very seasoned Cuba resort vacationers. Melia at the new year was thoroughly enjoyable and and our second stay at this resort. We usually prefer to keep trying new experiences and it was the frist time returning to a resort. There is no question that Melia Cayo is quite well run and at a 4-4.5 star calibre for Cuba. Food had improved over the past trip in variety and preparation care.We have tried again and again at resorts testing the value of A la carte dining verus the buffet. Sadley we continue to find the restaurants trumped up and showey but falling short in dining pleasure. Ensenachos has Melia beat in this department but not by a huge margin. If you are expecting and capable of recognising food quality and quality dining experience, I continue to suggest a pass on the a la carte and simply use the buffett dining room for most evening meals. Melia does hoever have Ensenachos beat with Melias great beachside lunch spot and daily BBQ. Its a great lunch option with lovely setting, at the beach , with good selection and great service. Ensenachos is building such a facility but it wont be ready at this pace until next fall. The beach is very lovely with ample miles to walk, the rooms were clean and well decorated, the service typical of Cuba, warm and friendly with most staff offering a smile and waive to all guests. Where the resort fell short, was in management of space around the pool, which was pretty much committed by guests towels and bags reserving lounges first thing in the AM and never giving up the space despite hours of vacancy. A shame and resolvable with some staff overview so unoccupied space can be reappointed and personal stuff set aside. The Ensenachos resort has such staff management and at first it seems imposing and you will feel obliged to tip for this service; however despite the pool area there being extrememly popular, additional space was always available. Now we certainly don't go to resorts anywhere expecting fine evening entertainment ( I guess we should but years of experience has taught us otherwise). Santa Maria evening entertainment was typical and mediocre. Encenachos was a shocking delight with the hotel performers having hammered out thoroughly entertaining and well above average performances. A couple of evenings included off site performers that really ramped up the entertainment value. Fortunately so; for Ensenachos is otherwise very sleepy with few in sight after 10PM. Santa Maria offers however the adjacent disco and commercial shopping boutique plaza which will allow younger quests and older children much after hour activity.
Melia staff were very energetic and worked hard to generate guest participation, however the level of guest interest was minimal and the creativity of staff in offering such activities was poor. Same old mambo and salsa at poolside with same old music and monotonous repetition. The loud musical entertainment was blasted at the beach and poolside with little regard for guests acceptance. Most we talked to just grinned and beared it while few actually enjoyed it or complained. DJ is so far behind the times with music and appropriatness of choices that this is one disturabnce we could do without for sure. Ensenachos was far more laid back about such matters and tried to generate interest in Beach volleyball, fitness contests, yes and dancing, but in a more delicate and sophisiticated manner. The big difference is Melia staff simply run their show with little awareness of guest response while Enseanachos paid attention and changed tack where required.
My suggestion is Shop pricing differences as cost is relevant to juging differences, then look at Melia as more youth oriented (for an adult resort) and Ensenachos as more suitable to romantic couples and seniors who prefer a quiter more relaxed luxury atmosphere.Melia is one of the best of several resorts on Santa Maria and in the top 10 for all Cuba. Ensenachos is more luxurious overall, and has a very unique private island without other resorts nearby, and more protection from North East winds.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- In an island paradise off the northern coast of Cuba stands the 5- star All-Inclusive Meliá Cayo Santa María hotel, especially designed for families, surrounded by beautiful beaches and lush tropical vegetation. This property (358 rooms) offers facilities for incentives groups and a special wedding and honeymoon program. A perfect complement for an unforgettable holiday. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Melia Cayo Santa Maria Hotel Cayo Santa Maria
- Cayo Santa Maria Melia
- Cayo Santa Maria Cuba
- Santa Maria Cuba
- Melia Cayo Santa Maria Cuba