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Melia Cayo Santa Maria
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Reviewed July 19, 2012

My boyfriend & I have just returned from this hotel (16th July) and we had a really great time! The hotel was very nice and i've read previous comments stating the rooms were out-dated & needed redecorating but to be honest there was nothing wrong with them at all!! They were spacious and our room was cleaned everyday. Our cleaner Naisy always left us some unusual towel art but they were fun. If there was ever a problem, it was sorted within a hour. Apart from the pigeon that decided to commit suicide on our balcony by flying into the window. It did take a good few hours for someone to come & remove it.

Food - The food in the restaurant was reasonably good & food such as meat, fish & rice were always cooked in front of you - which is good for those who aren't too keen on eating buffet food which has been left out for a while. The hotel staff automatically made your resverations at the different restaurants but we only attended the Mediterranean which honestly wasn't worth going to! The dishes were mostly fish so not so good if you don't like it.
The snack bar was good and did some yummy milkshakes & the pizza's looked really good even though i never had one myself.

Beach - was really nice and we never had any problems getting sunbeds with shade. I think the pool was much busier but we never stayed around there.

Exursions - we went on the catamaran, dolphin excursion & deep sea fishing. The dolphins are amazing and we got to swim with them. There is a dolphinarium in Santa Maria but the Thomas Cook excursion takes you to Cinefuegos which is a 3 hour drive but if you really want to swim with them then it's definatley worth the long drive! Apparently, the dolphinarium at Santa Clara isn't recommended by Thomas Cook as the water isn't too deep so you're unable to be pushed by the dolphins. The deep sea fishing was also good and you pay to rent the boat. It's quite expensive (approx £200 for a full day) but it's worth it if you really want to do it. We did want to go to Havana overnight & we looked the costs before we travelled, but when we saw the price in Cuba it was a lot more expensive so beware if this is a trip you plan on doing.

Mosquitoes - Yes there were thousands of them! My boyfriend & I sat in the lobby for an hour one day and he must have killed about 15 in that time. We even got attacked on the plane on the way home!!

Entertainment - Hmmmm, this wasn't really worth watching :-/ Each night had a different theme but overall it was the same. They had activities on during the day such as water polo, tai chi on th beach and water aerobics. But there is also a gym (I think i went almost every day) and it's well equipped.

Overall, we had a great two weeks, however next time I visit Cuba I think i'd go somewhere that has a bit more to offer in terms on entertainment and somewhere which is closer to the excursions.

  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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3  Thank Laura B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melia S M, General Manager at Melia Cayo Santa Maria, responded to this reviewResponded April 27, 2016

Dear customer,
Thank you for your review, by the sound of it you had a great time!
We are happy to read that you enjoyed the resort and our service.
We hope to see you back soon, here at Melia Cayo Santa María!

Kind regards,
General Manager

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 18, 2012 via mobile

Just back from MCSM and had a good holiday. The Mozzies really weren't that bad and the food surpassed expectations (Cuba is not noted for the culinary experience). The Japanese restaurant was excellent as was the French. The Italian was good and the Mediterranean poor. The main buffet restaurant was ok and the snack bar good but limited. The beach restaurant was very acceptable.

I challenge the managers assertion that this hotel caters for all ages. There was a kid's club that covered 0 - 6 but for older kids there really wasn't much. My oldeat child was able to make friends with other guests and that group looked after themselves. There was nothing for the middle kids group (7 - 12) especially if they weren't particularly sporty. For adults, if you are looking for a beach resort MCSM is great but it is a long way to go if you want to see any of the 'real' Cuba: 40km each way on the causeway to start with!

That said - we all enjoyed our stay.

  • Stayed: July 2012
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
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5  Thank Provan4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melia S M, General Manager at Melia Cayo Santa Maria, responded to this reviewResponded April 27, 2016

Dear customer,
Thank you for your review, by the sound of it you had a great time!
We are happy to read that you enjoyed the resort and our service.
We hope to see you back soon, here at Melia Cayo Santa María!

Kind regards,
General Manager

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 17, 2012

Wow. Where do i start? Been to so many places & have never been so disappointed.
The only other low rating i every gave was at a hotel in dominican republic where it seems everyone in my family & numerous other guests were getting sick.

I apologize in advance this review is a detailed one.

Just came back a week ago from a 2 week stay at the MCSM. After 2 days there, i was honestly ready to come back home or thinking of transferring to the Iberostar Ensenachos. But it was too expensive to make a change & would have taken too much out of my holiday, esp. after changing rooms already once.

Been to Cuba numerous times, as well as many other destinations. We are so disappointed in Transat Holdays that rates this resort as a 4 1/2 star resort. When was this? When it first opened? We know with Cuba that realistically we should take out a 1/2 a star or a full star in order not to be disappointed. We knew this coming in. As mentioned, been all over cuba & have been to some 4 star resorts a lot better than this one.
Let me start.

Rooms: Resort is old. In fact one of the oldest i've been to. Rooms are rundown & old. Talking to some other guests there & we all agreed. Many things are broken. Most previous reviews mentioned rooms were old but clean. Don't be fooled. Patio doors & screen doors did not slide easily. A lot of the rooms were old & dirty, if you look carefully. Curtains did not open or close easily. Had to get on top of chair & hope not to fall or kill myself to open or close the curtains. A real pain in the b***. Pulled a muscle or two trying to open or close the patio doors. Broken drain handle (cut my finger). Broken shower holder. We called for these things to be fixed but things never really got replaced or fixed so we just lived with it. Did not want to spend our whole vacation arguing or wasting so much energy on these things. There is a reason why we chose a 4 1/2 star resort, was to avoid such things. Dirty closets & drawers. Loose & dirty closet doors. Black marks & god knows what else on those doors & drawers. You would think that the maids would clean the rooms well, in-between guests. Ants all over the place. 3rd night pulled back bedsheets only to find an ant festival in my bed.
The very next day, expressed my concerns & they offered me a choice of three other rooms.
Guess what? The other rooms were not any better. Broken curtains, same problem with patio doors, full of calcium & rust in bathrooms, broken bidets & shower holder. (see pictures) Curtains did not slide again. After seeing the same problems over & over again (after looking at 4 other rooms) I just chose the cleanest room & hoped for the best. Still had ant problems, so much so that i requested a can of raid be kept in my room at all times.

Pillows were too high. If i had known i would have brought my own pillow. Mattresses were not the most comfortable either, don't know what it was. Was in a lot of pain, while there. Was very surprised b/c i usually sleep like a baby when i go on vacation.

Most towels looked like they had fresh blood marks on them. Was never really sure if these were towels that were not washed. Sometimes we got towels that had marks on them & were still a bit wet that i had to wonder if they were really clean or not. Yuck.

Lots of blood stains on bedsheets. Ask to be changed & still more blood stains. Been to many places & never seen such stained bedsheets or towels.

Food: One of the poorest selection ever in Cuba. Been to some 4 star resorts that had much better selection. At some points i did not even want to have breakfast b/c i knew what exactly i would find. On most days, no toast. We complained once. it got better for a few days then went back to no toast. No pancakes. We had to go to the grill station & wait in line for what they call pancakes (they were really crepes) while only one guy working & always a line up b/c all there were on the trays were scrambled eggs & if you were lucky some hash-browns & cold sausage ( some mornings we had to ask staff to fill up trays & yes it wasn't too late in the morning either). You can always count on cold meats & cheese though. By the end of day 3 i thought i was going to die.
If you like seafood, then this is not the place for you. I thought that as a 4 1/2 star i would get a little bit more selection than a regular 4 star or 3 1/2 star, but no such thing. I confirmed this by visiting the buffet at both resorts on both sides of the MCSM (Las Dunas & Sol Cayo Santa Maria) & ours was not much better. Even shrimps were hard to come by esp. at supper. The staff would hide the shrimps behind the counter & they would expect to be tipped if you wanted to have some shrimp with some cooked rice. You get the drift....
Lunch was the best part of the day, b/c you had the 24 hr snack bar which served decent pizza's & some not so bad sandwiches. Once again no seafood, even if you see calamari on the menu & ask for it, they just nod their heads & laugh at you.

To be fair & for the most part of course with some exceptions, the food that was available was edible & when hungry not so bad.

A La Cartes: I say shut down the italian restaurant. The place is dark, dingy, dirty curtains (request table away from windows & curtains). Old stained menus & dirty painting on wall.
Imagine what a disappointment, it being my birthday & all. Not even a bottle of wine or some other acknowledgment, even though general manager was e-mailed about it the week before.
We both had stomach issues the day after.
Other restaurants seemed better compared to our first experience at the Italian restaurants.
At least the other 3 restaurants were newer & seemed cleaner. Just watch out for those utensils ( they may be dirty).

Bathroom near pool had no locks & were not the cleanest. There were no changing rooms anywhere & closest bathroom to beach was near pool, which was a good little walk from beach. I tried to avoid bathroom at lobby bar as much as possible.

Husband e-mailed general manager about my birthday & he replied saying that he would arrange at least 3 a la carte reservations for us. When we got to resort, we had to take care of our own bookings & nothing in the room on day of birthday to acknowledge the day. Very disappointing to say the least. Husband e-mailed manager about getting an ocean view dependant on availability of course but manager replied that there was a cost to ocean view & was not an option for us unless we paid. We were very surprised by this reply, knowing most resorts try accomodate guests as best they can esp. for special occasions. The least he could have done was just reply that they would do the best they could, but depending on what would be available could not promise anything & leave it at that. I think that would have been the professional approach to take. That left a sour taste in my mouth.


Service: Most service was friendly & efficient. I honestly cannot remember waiting too long for anything. For the most part very nice people & was very impressed by their service. The only place where good service falls short would be the main dining buffet area. As the previous review stated they tend to ignore you & just like to chat away. Finding a clean table at breakfast was also very hard to come by.


Entertainment: Same routine week after week. Don't be fooled by manager's reply saying it is not so. I was there 2 weeks & i can attest that the shows were the same week after week.
Maybe with the exception of one night.

Bank at Resort: When exchanging money always ask for receipt. My husband was almost short-changed until he decided to ask for receipt & low & behold the amount they owed him ended up being more than what they had originally told him it would be.....

Spa: What a joke! You have to book in advance which i've seen b/f, so that's ok. But at least clean it before your guests come by. There was a lot of poop everywhere. Lady tells us to start with cold shower & then go in the sauna. There is hardly any water coming out of the shower & it is very warm.. Okay so we go try out the hot-tubs instead. Poop everywhere, tub barely fits 2 people, water barely cover up to the waist & water is lukewarm. (see pictures)

And now for some good points:

-Huts on the beach were not too hard to find (always around 9am-10:30am)
-Sun Loungers were in good shape
-Beach is beautiful when there are no jellyfish
-Service for the most part was very good
-Smaller resort meant having an easier time meeting people
-Pools were nice

In conclusion, i was not expecting a 4 1/2 star but i would rate this resort as a solid 3 star & that is only b/c staff made this trip a bearable one. Maybe you will get lucky with a better room than me & that can make a big difference. Knowing you are there for only a week can also help too, but i honestly think that if they want to keep the place opened & compete with other newer resorts in that area than the melia will have to put in a lot of money to refresh the place.
I have been to numerous Iberostar resorts & most recent was Riu. I can honestly say that it would take a lot for me to go back to a Melia once again. I am pretty disappointed, knowing that it is a big chain with hotels all over the world. Oh well, i guess i missed the mark on that one.

Good luck and happy travels!

  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
4  Thank rosiebmontreal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melia S M, General Manager at Melia Cayo Santa Maria, responded to this reviewResponded May 14, 2016

Dear customer,
Thanks for choosing our hotel for your vacations and for posting your review on TripAdvisor. First of all we would like to apologize for the dissatisfactions you encountered during your stay, we are going to pay close attention to all the negative remarks you have written in order to prevent similar events in the future.
We hope to welcome you and your family in the future to offer you an amazing holiday as expected.

Kind regards,
General Manager

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 17, 2012

Just got back from MCSM 16/07/12 had a great 2 weeks stay at this location.Overall very good food/service/and staff only down fall was the mosquitoes you just cant get away from getting bitten even with the best insect repellent you can buy .I would like to take this oppertunity to thank the bus transfer company for there honesty as on arriving at the hotel i realised i had left my expensive jacket on the bus i contacted our hotel rep Jorge who tracked it down and retrieved it later in the week for me a big thanks to you all it just highlites how trustworthy the Cuban people are.Get rid of the mosquitoes and i would return to the Melia Cayo Santa Maria again.Trips to Havana and Santa clara highly recomended we did both .You then get to see the real side of Cuba.

Room Tip: Get the best insact repellent to take with you if not a full body suit to go out in.Last bit just a joke
  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
7  Thank Eric T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melia S M, General Manager at Melia Cayo Santa Maria, responded to this reviewResponded April 27, 2016

Dear customer,
Thank you for your review, by the sound of it you had a great time!
We are happy to read that you enjoyed the resort and our service.
We hope to see you back soon, here at Melia Cayo Santa María!

Kind regards,
General Manager

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 17, 2012

Went to Melia from 1st - 14th July.

In all honesty it was a good holiday, I don't usually write reviews but thought this hotel had such mixed reviews I would leave my opinion.

This hotel is not the best I have stayed in, although again it was not the most expensive either. I guess the saying you get what you pay for rings true.

There is quite a few things I could winge about, but I don't see the point. I was on holiday and I went there to enjoy myself and I did.

For instance, some waiting staff are better than other, they work in zones/areas. If you get one that isn't that good simply sit somewhere else next time. We did and found a great one who made sure we always had drink at our table and dirty plate were moved as soon as we finished.

Some of the food looked quesitonable, we avoided that and went for the freshly cooked option that is done as you wait - I thought the fried rice was excellent, and the breakfast omlettes are worth a mention too. The best choice for lunch had to be the beach restaurant that had a bbq.

We found the hotel to be clean, the staff to be pleasant, the pool very nice and the beach fantastic. People have gone on about the mosquitos but if you visit somewhere like Cuba during the rainy season it's seems like a dead cert to me.... to give the hotel a bad review because of nature seems a tad harsh. They did smoke/fumigate the grounds twice a day.

Would I recommend this hotel to my friends...? Yes I would. It's not 5 star luxury but then again it's certainly not 5 star prices. If you go there wanting to have a good holiday there's no reason why you shouldn't.

  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank Colin L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melia S M, Director General at Melia Cayo Santa Maria, responded to this reviewResponded October 3, 2015

Dear Client,
Greetings from Melia Cayo Santa Maria!
Thank you for choosing our hotel for your vacations. We are pleased to know that overall you have enjoyed our services. We will take your suggestions into consideration to keep improving day by day. We hope you can visit us again soon.
Our best regards from sunny island of Cayo Santa Maria,

General Manager

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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