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“Thumb up To Melia Cayo... thumb down to Transat Holidays and CanJet”

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Melia Cayo Santa Maria
Ranked #9 of 15 Hotels in Cayo Santa Maria
Ottawa, Canada
Level Contributor
7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
“Thumb up To Melia Cayo... thumb down to Transat Holidays and CanJet”
Reviewed February 16, 2013

My first trip with my wife to Cuba Melia Cayo Santa Maria, we went there from Feb 1, to Feb 9, 2013.
I will not go into details, I guess a lot of visitors explained how beautiful it was, don't listen to people who complains, its a piece of heaven, staff are so warm and friendly, rooms are so clean and nicely decorated, just watch a YouTube, yes the hot water pressure is not the best, but you can still enjoy a hot shower, other than that everything was so amazing, the food and drinks were so good, the chief would cook your food and sometimes they were so nice to bring it to your table.
Want my advice, you paid more than $2000 for you double occupied package, what’s an extra $70 that you can throw as tips during your whole stay, $10 tips a day will make you a king there, everyone will serve you with a big smile, bring all your drinks to wherever you are, cook your food and bring it to your table, clean your room change your sheets and towels every day, with the towel animation and a big smile 
My advise…don’t be cheep even if you paid a $100 tips during your whole vacation its worth it, will make you happy and everybody else happy.
Big thanks to Daike and Denise (the entertainment girls) they both were so warm and friendly with us, and defiantly added a lot to our stay there.
Big complements to all the staff …you were so warm and friendly specially customer service manager Mr. Ronaldo
If any complains it would be to the guests who reserved their seats at the pool and at the beach by putting a towel on it without really using it, the management have two big signs stating that reservation of seats are not allowed but yet guests still do it 
Also guests, as you drink please try not to be loud and vulgar 

CanJet and Transat Holidays … you suck big time… our return flight was the worst experience in my whole life, but that will be dealt with later through media

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
11 Thank Kevin M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Francisco B, General Manager at Melia Cayo Santa Maria, responded to this review, February 23, 2013
Dear Kevin

Maybe your experience with Transat was not the best but they also work hard to please you, we all know how difficult is to make all happy, even if we try hard.
Also Transat has exclusivity with the hotel, I will tell about your dissapointing, for them also helps to know about your experiences and we all want you to be happy since you leave your house until you go back.

Best Regards
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
18 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed February 15, 2013

Stayed here in sept 2012, and wow, what a fantastic location. Having visited Cuba numerous times, I had been been to Cayo Las Brujas, which is near here, but never to Cayo Santa Maria, and It is just as good, if not better. So the hotel could not be in a better position.

Travelled here with some friends on a road trip, and we had only planned to stay 1 night but ended up booking an additional night because we were so pleased with the initial view of the resort. As for the hotel itself, it is very much a resort, specifically catered to that type of traveller, if you are looking for authentic Cuba, this is not it, but we were not looking for that at the time, rather a few days of relaxation, beach, sun and great fun, which is what you will get here.

The hotel is set out in individual apartment blocks, spread out throughout the grounds, we were right near the beach and it was very nice, food was excellent, service was very good.

Be warned that due to the location of the hotel, there is not much in the way of activities or sightseeing, and the in house entertainment is pretty standard fare and a bit typical cheesy resort stuff. So unless you want a holiday of just lazing by the pool or beach for 2 weeks, then only stay a few days as a great relaxing end to your holiday, as I can imagine it would get quite boring after a few days. Other than that, I would highly recommend the Melia Cayo Santa Maria!

Room Tip: Rooms nearer the beach are quieter
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
5 Thank paul s
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Francisco B, General Manager at Melia Cayo Santa Maria, responded to this review, February 23, 2013
Dear Paul

You are right, i use to say that Cuba is not Caribbean and Cayo Santa Maria is not Cuba.

We are just...a piece of Paradise in an island outside the Island, the beach is amazing as other friends use to write, sand is that small that you don't burn your feet when the weather is very hot.

Also the staff are something special, they live for and from tourism so they take really care of all of you.

Keep enjoying your next stay

Best Regards
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Keswick, Ontario, Canada
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
Reviewed February 11, 2013

We went down to the melia cayo santa maria on the 25th of Jan with 39 of our family and friends for my dream beach wedding. I love that we were checked in on the bus, so we could go straight to the room. We had room 1721 with a great view! Our room was bright and clean, and we had a welcome letter and bottle of champagne waiting for us.

The beach was beautiful! There is quite a hill in the sand, I believe from hurricane sandy washing out the beach, but still amazing!

Now everyone says you don't go to Cuba for the food, but honestly the food was great! Steaks and lobster tails on the dinner buffet, done how you like it, omelets in the morning, fresh barbecue for lunch, burgers and pizza at the snack bar...we went with some picky rafters and no one went hungry.

Bar's were clean and service was quick. Our large group would take over the lobby bar every night and had excellent service.

Now for the most important part, our wedding! Our coordinator Ania, was AMAZING! She delt with my mom who was more bridezilla than I was. She organized everything, the flowers were beautiful, the photographer did a great job, and the packages were very well priced.

Even the weather worked out for us as we had the best weather on Jan 30 out of the whole week! We had our ceremony on the beach, and dinner at the beach grill. Ania made everything look amazing, even put out our disposable cameras and table favours out for us. One of our guests got hurt just after our ceremony (because she is a klutz, not any fault of the hotel) and Ania went with her to the clinic, and came back and forth to give us updates. (the guest is ok now)

We had surf and turf for our wedding dinner and everything was AMAZING! The shimp cocktail was to die for (i ate 3) steak was juicey and the lobster melted in your mouth. Even the wedding cake was awesome, and when they set it on fire...well I can't even put it into words.

So I would highly recommend the hotel, whether you are planning a wedding or looking for a relaxing vacation. My husband and I don't usually go back to resorts once we have stayed, as we like to try new places, but we are already talking about going back for our first anniversary!

  • Stayed January 2013
    • Value
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Helpful?
25 Thank Amy L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Francisco B, General Manager at Melia Cayo Santa Maria, responded to this review, February 24, 2013
Dear Amy

We love to be part of a so important date in everyone's life and it is true that our Coordinator knows too, she is very client oriented and she knows how important is for you and your family.

When you come back next time, you will become repeating clients and you will have some extra benefits.

Hope to see you next year at the hote

Best Regards
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kitchener, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
Reviewed February 9, 2013

Just got back this morning and we haven't fully recovered from the long trip home. BUT - we can't wait to go back! This was our second time to Melia Cayo Santa Maria, which, I think. speaks for itself. We loved it last year, so figured "if it ain't broke - don't fix it". Both times we travel with the same friends, with whom we have traveled many places, many times. All four of us are of the same opinion - that if you are looking for a relaxing, clean and friendly environment with good amenities - this is it! We are already planning to go back next year. We found the grounds had been cleaned up even more than last year, and the gardeners were working at planting even more. The gardens, trees and foliage are great, although it appeared some of the floral plants weren't in bloom so much at this time of year. The gardeners are happy to pluck a coconut from a tree, cut it open for you with their machetes, which is interesting, then give it to you - the milk is so fresh and delicious. It is well worth a tip of a peso or so!
We enjoyed our rooms both years, but when we arrived this year some rooms lacked hot water and some experienced low water pressure. We were affected one day, but it turned out that was the day the system was shut down and repaired. After that - no problem and I heard no more complaints. Hey - it happens! you roll with it. Some things are out of everyone's control. The important thing is it was fixed promptly!
Staff at Melia Cayo Santa Maria are the friendliest I have met. Many remember your names, and Daniel the cook who fries the eggs in the morning and speaks at least three languages, is fantastic. We called each other "brothers" last year and he remembered me this year. How flattering is that? We are still trying to figure out how many eggs he has fried over the ten years he has worked there! Everyone, from the kitchen staff to the bartenders, groundskeepers, and management was helpful and friendly.
Both years our arrival was late at night, but you complete your registration forms on the bus prior to arrival and your rooms are already assigned. You are given an envelope on the bus containing your room keys, which we found very efficient. Last year we had fun trying to find our rooms in the dark - signage was dim and the layout unfamiliar. This year, lighting was much better and we knew our way around so finding our rooms was much easier. We were able to help some of the other first time guests, which is an excellent ice-breaker to meet other vacationers! No need to get frustrated by this - use it to your advantage and have a little fun!

The pools are large, sparkling clean and safe for adults and kids, although this time of year there aren't to many school age kids. Waiters around the pool and on the beach are friendly and prompt. I have know idea how they keep everyone's drink order straight, but they do very well. We learned to take our own plastic glasses as the ones they use are flimsy and small. No problem with filing our large glasses, and, as usual, tips go a long way. I'm never sure why so many guests comment on the waiters expectations of a tip. We tipped them for pretty much everything, even when we went to the bar ourselves. We do it here at home, and trust me, the service in Cuba is head and shoulders above most of the service here! And how many times have you been somewhere where the tips are added on automatically (which I find offensive). Not so in Cuba - we got great service in exchange for our small tips and felt like we made a whole lot of new friends. Many times the waiters would sit with us for a minute, tell us about their families, and we appreciated that kind of interaction! We even had gardeners that greeted us by name after meeting us once, and they enjoyed teasing us as much as we teased them! Drivers with multi- seated electric vehicles cruise the grounds and provide rides if you wish, and one driver - Yunel - gave us a tour of the property, told us many things about various trees, plants and some of there uses. He would drop us off somewhere, ask how long we would be, then show up after that time to take us somewhere else. Yes, we tipped him, but we got exceptional service that was well worth it!.

For the most part we enjoyed the a-la-carte restaurants. We went to the Japanese (Most fun, entertaining and good food) Italian(least favourite of those we visited, and the Mediteranean, which was also good. The buffet has a wonderful variety of food, and the Cuban cheese is fabulous! But for the first couple of days we found some of the vegetables cold. I'm sure we were not alone, but like the water problem, that improved and after that we really enjoyed the food. They were a bit lean on staff early in the week, but again, after a couple days, that too improved. And once again - so friendly and helpful.

We have been to other resorts and visited other countries, but this one, for us, stands out. When I read other reviews with negative comments, I relate in the sense I can envision the people, or the place they are speaking of. But as we have never experienced an issue that wasn't resolved promptly, I have a hard time comprehending that.

Oh! and I forgot to mention the beach! miles of thick white sand - so soft and deep it is hard to
walk. Staff that will find you a lounge and clean the chair for you before you sit down! And water that is so clear and blue it is almost hard to imagine. I am very familiar with many of our local Ontario beaches, but this one stands out. If you are talking to a newcomer at the resort one of the first things they ask is "have you seen the beach yet?" Spectacular!

If I had one complaint it would be this. All guests are asked to NOT "hog" or save lounges for themselves by laying a towel on them, then not using the chair for hours. Some guesst do this early in the morning, then don't show up till mid afternoon. My issue is not with the hotel. My issue is with those guest that seem to have a sense of entitlement because - as one told me this week - "I paid for it!" Well so did the rest of us - but we want to use them for ourselves, not as a resting place for our towels while you are off doing who knows what. This has happened both times we have been there, to the point where we we sworn at talked down to. The resort has made a very good and fair rule. Guests should respect it! And please guests, respect this and don't give the rest of us Canadians a bad reputation!

Many thanks to all of the staff at Melia Cayo Santa Maria! Keep up the good work - we will be back!

Room Tip: second floor, ocean view is nice for a small additional fee, but all rooms are similar and well main...
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
30 Thank David P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Francisco B, General Manager at Melia Cayo Santa Maria, responded to this review, February 24, 2013
Dear David

First of all thank you for giving us the possibility showing you our improvements, you are right, we are working really hard in gardens, for us it is becoming part of the Melia Cayo Santa Maria experience, this is a quiet place so we want our gardens a place to see and enjoy with.

About your complaint about chairs, we know some people try to reserve them, our security department has instructions to leave free chairs not used but sometimes they are really busy, I apologize for it.

Hope to see you during your third visit at the hotel.

Best Regards
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rockland ON
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed February 9, 2013

I have vacationed at the Melia Cayo Santa Maria 4 years in a row and can't wait until March when I will return for the 5th time. I have travelled to other resorts and none of them can compare to this Melia. This resort has a wonderful staff who make you feel like you are at your home away from home. The people are friendly and helpful everywhere, from the lobby bar to the restaurants, to the maids and everywhere in between. Don't be shy! There are many friends to be made. I have always experienced wonderful, friendly service from everyone. Special mention to Madelaine, Ruby, Nestor, Danny, Gallo, and Noemi. Very excited to see you all again very soon!

The Beach: breathtaking view, clean, powerful waves to play in some days, great hobbie cat rides. You can walk an hour each direction. Not as crowded as the resorts next door. Lots of room to sundial your chair as the day goes by!

Pool: very clean, well-maintained, fun activities in the afternoons, great swim up bar with friendly & entertaining staff. Sometimes hard to find a chair in the late afternoon.

Food: I do not go to Cuba to eat like I do going out in Canada. Different country, different ingredients, different food! I don't understand how people can complain so much about food. I have enjoyed the experience of trying new things and not fussing about the small stuff. A la cartes are all different, almost always found something I liked and if not, a visit to the 24 hour snack bar or buffet later. Atmosphere lovely in all, Japanese very entertaining & LOTS to eat. Beach restaurant for lunch has great bar-b-q with lots of variety, cold drinks, nice breezy shade after a morning in the sun. 24 hr snack has great pizza, fries & burgers. Again, the staff in all restaurants, wonderful!

Lobby Bar: A great place to get delicious coffees and any kind of drink at any time of day. I especially enjoy my cafe leche in the morning. During the early evening, I have enjoyed listening to live music in the lobby bar. It can get rather busy later towards show time. Lots of nice seats outside the bar on the patio.

Rooms: I find the rooms spacious and pretty clean. I don't understand the hype about dated decor, etc. I only go to my room to shower and sleep so it really doesn't bother me if could use a little paint! I do enjoy the big balcony to relax at the end of the day. The rooms have plenty of closet space and large bathrooms. The bar fridge is re-stocked every day with pop, beer and water.

Tip: Bring a roll of tp with you in your beach bag for the day. Yes, they do run out in the bathrooms sometimes! I also bring a little pump soap with me for have washing because that runs out too. As with any hotel, they are at the mercy of their suppliers, so if something is missing, it is because they are waiting for it to arrive, not because they are neglectful.

Tip 2: I have never felt obligated to tip anyone at this resort. Of course, I do it anyway. I also bring gifts such as toiletries, clothes, shoes, children's toys, school supplies, etc. These things are very expensive in Cuba and their salaries are very low so the gifts are very much appreciated.

Looking forward to my next wonderful getaway to my home away from home!

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
20 Thank Keeper13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Francisco B, General Manager at Melia Cayo Santa Maria, responded to this review, February 24, 2013
Dear Keepeer

We all will be waiting for you in March, I hope your 5th visit will be even better than the others.

You are already part of our family.

Best Regards
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toronto
Level Contributor
11 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
Reviewed February 8, 2013

That was our January anniversary trip - 4th time in Cuba -1st time in Cayo Santa Maria
Couldn't go wrong. The resort so far the best but also we paid the most .
It's the people who make the resort, nicest service ever , but also the grounds are well maintained.
The food -lots of seafood , love cubian cheeses & fruits ,especially papaya and guava
Love the resort ,beautiful beach - usually not going to the same resort twice but this one i'll consider in future

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
10 Thank jolantar5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Francisco B, General Manager at Melia Cayo Santa Maria, responded to this review, February 24, 2013
Dear Jolantar

I am glad that you prefer our resort among others in cuba, we know we have to improve everyday but as you say, our resort is our staff and they work really hard in order to please you.

It would be great if you decide to repeat your stay with us, and you break your rules!!!!

Best Regards
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Level Contributor
11 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
Reviewed February 7, 2013 via mobile

Nice to be back after 4 years! The resort has matured in a good way, the gardens are even more lush and the staff has found ways to improve an already great stay. I love the cayos for the pristine nature, peacefullness and the stunning beaches, but always leave amazed with the cuban people who work at the resorts. Friendly, witty, beautiful, and perfect hosts. I look forward to a road trip off resort next time to experience more of the cities, countryside and people, but I think we will end it with a few days at Melia! Go there and enjoy!

  • Stayed January 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Danielriley
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Francisco B, General Manager at Melia Cayo Santa Maria, responded to this review, February 24, 2013
Dear Danielriley

I recommend you too, to discover more from Cuba. It is a very interesting country and you could find different ways of life depending where you go.

And when you are tired from the trip...then you come to your resort and you can relax and enjoy the people here, we will be pleased to recieve you again.

Best Regards
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Additional Information about Melia Cayo Santa Maria

Property: Melia Cayo Santa Maria
Address: Jardines del Rey, Cuba
Location: Caribbean > Cuba > Villa Clara Province > Cayo Santa Maria
Amenities:
Beach Beverage Selection Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 Romantic Hotel in Cayo Santa Maria
#4 Spa Hotel in Cayo Santa Maria
#7 On the Beach Hotel in Cayo Santa Maria
#8 Luxury Hotel in Cayo Santa Maria
#8 Top resorts Hotel in Cayo Santa Maria
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:5 star — Melia Cayo Santa Maria 5*
Number of rooms: 360
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 
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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

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