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Reviewed March 4, 2009

Eskimos in the Sun
Northern Ontario, Canada

We stayed at Melia Cayo Santa Maria from February 20-27, 2009. Received hotel information and room keys at airport, which was a bonus since you could go straight to your room upon arrival at the resort. 90 minute bus ride from airport to resort. Very nice tour of the area and towns. Long causeway with no guardrails on either side and currently being repaired in sections. Beach towels were in the room and can be exchanged at Activity Centre by the pool area. Resort is quiet and laid back and very relaxing. Very windy during our stay and cool at times. Lots of lounge chairs available at the beach and very difficult to find at the pool. Beach is beautiful and if you walk past the nude beach area beyond the sea weed and coral area to the next point you will discover a beautiful section of beach that is clean and pure with no garbage - worth the long walk.

Room Service: Room service not great - not kept clean during our stay. Ants in room. Bedding was never changed. Towels were changed each day (but not consistent on exchange) EXCEPT for last day prior to departure and we had to place two phone calls to request clean towels. We were out of the room at the time the towels were exchanged and when we returned to the room we discovered that our belongings which were laid out on the bed had been removed and placed elsewhere in the room and we also discovered that a few chocolate bars had been removed from our snack food bag. When we unpacked our luggage at home, we also discovered that a shirt was missing from the luggage bag and has not been located to date. We were quite aware of our personal belongings that afternoon prior to the incident since we prepared our luggage for departure the next morning. In the future, we will continue to lock all of our personal belongings in the luggage bags. We have forwarded an email to the resort, travel agent, and Sol Melia with this complaint. Although the items stolen had no great monetary value but is not an acceptable behaviour by any staff member/employee and the resort should deal with this forthwith.

Mini Bar: Mini bar was stocked everyday and if you talked to staff members you could get additional items. The timing seemed to vary from day to day on delivery. Coffee is also provided by the mini bar staff not the maid service for the coffee maker in the room. Ensure that you bring your thermal mugs since this resort will not allow any glass items outside the restaurants/bars for hot beverages, etc.

Staff: Some are very friendly and cooperative and willing to serve you and others could really care less. Most staff members would say Hola and others would ignore us along the walkways. Some staff members could speak fluent English and French. Most of the bartenders were great to deal with. If you decide to bring your own water jug/mug/thermos, the bartenders are more than happy to fill them for you with your choice of beverage. The cleaning staff appear to be very lax and never cleaned our bath tub during our stay. We also had a couple of baths during our stay and we got the idea that the staff were not pleased since a card appeared in the bathroom area indicating that all guests are encouraged to shower to conserve water since the water is scarce. The bath tub stopper which was on the tub earlier in the week had disappeared, so we had to improvise to keep the water in the tub.

Maintenance and Safety Concerns: We had maintenance issues with regards to our room and the resort. Room: Patio door was difficult to open and close, clothesline not functional in bathroom, window blind broken, front door deadbolt difficult to release, toilet lever would periodically stick and continually run water, and closet door in need of maintenance. Resort: Soffit, facia and pieces of siding were removed from the buildings, walkways to the beach are in dire need of maintenance since the boards are rotten and down to the ground in certain areas, lights need to be repaired or replaced, washrooms need to be repaired. The Lobby/Piano Bar could use a few more washrooms since there always seemed to be a long line up in the women's washroom. They had four stalls but only two were functional and in use. Some women went to the men's washroom due to the long line ups. One of the outside water taps from beach walkway is continually running water since the tap will not turn off completely. Poor lighting on walkways and in the theatre - BE CAREFUL. Be on the look out for golf carts and scooters along the walkways that seem to run day and night and some of the carts are without lights and they appear to drive them relatively fast.

Gym: Very primitive and very little selection of equipment and some equipment is in need of maintenance. Weights are limited and there should be more variety made available.

Food: Terrible. We both had difficulties determining what we could eat that we would like or agree with us. Calamari, pasta, pizza, fries, french toast, bread and ice cream were great. Not a large variety of fruits and vegetables made available. We ate the odd hamburger which seemed okay but on one occasion it was rare and had pieces of bone within the meat. We ate mainly at the buffet since we could pick the food items of choice easier and it seemed to be a lot faster than going to the Beach Restaurant and the Pool Restaurant. A few house flies in all the restaurants and we discovered one fly in a bowl of jello. House flies are constantly on the bread in the Beach Restaurant.

Waiters and Waitresses: Some were extremely great in providing us service and others were not very interested. On the last morning before departure, we ate breakfast and was totally ignored for the majority of our meal. We eventually received service once we obtained our own orange juice and ate a bowl of cereal and then we received a cup of coffee.

Clothing: Ensure to bring some warm clothing - cool days and evenings and very windy.

Conclusion: Overall, we had a good time at the resort and found it to be a more relaxing setting in comparison to other resorts that we have stayed at. I would definitely recommend this resort but be cautious of certain items and concerns as mentioned above. We were a little disappointed with the staff invading our luggage and stealing items which do not belong to them. It provided us with a sour taste regarding staff conduct at this resort and our overall stay at this resort. Management at this resort should evaluate the status quo and make some improvements which it would not take much to improve the resort atmosphere and provide better service for the future guests. This resort has the potential to be so much more with very little effort but it has to start at the top - MANAGEMENT.

  • Stayed: February 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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5  Thank EskimosintheSun
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 17, 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 March 3, 2009

We stayed at this resort in the last week of February. It has all the amenities and a beautiful beach. Additionally, the gardens are beautiful and the "working level" staff are very courteous and friendly. Management seems to be the problem!! there are numerous broken pieces of infrastructure eg a 10 foot length of boardwalk leading to the beach is broken, and reportedly has been the same for over a month - it is dangerous!! while we were there a person fell through the "plastic" edge to the swimming pool - it too is in bad repair. In the Piano Bar only one of 7 ceiling fans works and when reported to "management" little concern was shown and definitely no action was taken. This place could be a real paradise if only it was managed well. There are no snorkelling opportunities at this resort as there is no coral and very, very few fish

  • Stayed: February 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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4  Thank GaetzBrookElephant
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 17, 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 March 2, 2009

There are not enough adjectives to describe the fantastic holiday that we had at this resort last week. It exceeded our expectations in every way. It is the perfect size resort with just enough walking to wear off the great food. Our favorite was the calamari at the beach restaurant. The people of Cuba are genuine, kind, wonderful examples of the human race. We would recommend this hotel and plan to return.

  • Stayed: February 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
8  Thank double_Deez
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 1, 2016

Dear customer,
Repeat guests are very important for us! 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 your second home, 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 March 1, 2009

We went to Santa Maria on February 12th to 19th/2009.

The bad thing that we can say is that it s the first time since we travel that there is a line up for the buffet restaurant, the buffet area is to small to accomodate the clients, the variety of food is not that hugh, there no sign to identify the differents presentation, the toaster was broke for 3 days.

The size of the room was good, not that clean, but the staff was very polite, it is one of the top 3 beach since we travel.

If you have time to take a excusion, please take the one regarding Che Guevara and the cigares fabric.

  • Stayed: February 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank poochee
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 17, 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 March 1, 2009

Resort: Melia Cayo Santa Maria, Cuba
Agency: Advantage Travel
Airline: Skyservice
Date: Feb 15th-22nd

This is the first time we’ve ever visited Cuba and we really enjoyed ourselves. The people were warm and friendly and the service was excellent. We want to thank Jorge, who we met on our arrival and sat with us on the bus, to continue again and again to might our stay enjoyable.

The rooms are spacious and comfortable. We spent the extra money for a second floor, ocean view and we definitely think it’s worth the money. Ground floor units either look at a wall of vegetation or onto the pathways (which means of course, people look in on you). Of course, considering the great weather we had, we didn’t use the room that much. Oh, we preferred to sleep with the patio door open as the a/c vents blew directly on the bed but I suspect if our room was closer the action, we wouldn’t have been able to. Our building was #20. We were told the rooms had 110 but that’s not true. All the sockets are 220 except for one plug built into the hairdryer wallmount but ours and our friends were broken.

Much is written about the quality of food, so I’ll try to keep it brief. The buffets are okay but the cooking lines can be a little long. I had to sit and listen to my travel companions orgasm over some burgers they had the patience to wait in line for one lunch. The special meals are definitely worth it: Mediterranean, Seafood, Grill and we even splurge on the meal for which we had to buy a bottle of wine, but at only 20 pesos it was more than worth it. I lost my wife for one day after having a bad reaction to the unpasteurized orange juice. She avoided it the rest of the trip and was fine.

The entertainment was good and just as we were getting a little tired of the dance troop, they brought in another troop to change things up. Very good. But try not to laugh at the magician, he spent a lot of money on those gadgets. The pool area is bright and inviting but with all the chairs claimed (towels and items placed on the loungers) so early, it’s hard to get a spot. The beach however is gorgeous and the sand somehow never got too hot to walk on. Bathrooms were a bit far if you ignored the tell-tale-signs too long.

There are great excersions offered but being so far off the mainland means you have to be prepared for a lot of travel. We didn’t come all the way to Cuba to spend more than 3 hours on a bus to take in an attraction. Instead, we opted for the catamaran/snorkeling adventure that was just down the road. Rolly and his mate were great guides and we loved the dives, especially the second one where we saw stingrays and lionfish. Take a walk along the beach- lots of treasures to find like hermitcrabs, starfish, and shells.

The Skyservice check-in at the Cuban airport was a disaster! We were in the original line that suddenly experienced technical problems. Instead of concentrating on getting us, the customers, spreadout evenly to the other lines, there were at times 3-4 employees pounding on the keys trying to get things to work. It took us 2 hours to get our passes and through the customs. Don’t forget the 25 peso fee at the airport – each.

I didn’t notice how poor the seats were on the way down, maybe a different type of plane. This one barely had any leg room and the tray would cut into my chest if the person ahead of me leaned their chair back.

I don’t know if our small gifts we gave our room service were used by themselves, or whether they will be sold in town. My wife chose everyday objects like aspirin, lotion, etc. Don’t bother with clever “Canadian” gadgets – just how many baseball caps can a waiter use? We didn’t tip every drink order but definitely the second round. We left at least a peso at every buffet but we made sure our special meals received more – their attention was first rate. Our room service was excellent and along with the items we brought down, we left them a little tip as well.

All and all, we’d go it again. Certainly, I’d like to see more of Cuba, maybe on the mainland but the resort was excellent and I promise you’ll have a good, relaxing time.

  • Stayed: February 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
9  Thank Wyliefamily
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 2, 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 your second home, 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.
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