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“Good food, bar, entertainment & pools, but beach too windy & insufficient sunbeds.”

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Melia Cayo Santa Maria
Ranked #9 of 16 Hotels in Cayo Santa Maria
Reviewed April 18, 2009

Our impressions are mixed. All the Cubans we met were pleasant, friendly and helpful.

However the holiday got off to a bad start. The plane left Toronto an hour and a quarter late, and then after landing we had an hour and a half boring bus drive in the dark, some of it along narrow cyclist and pedestrian strewn roads, and much of it along the causeway, with with water on both sides, but nothing to see.

When we arrived it was cold and very windy, and it was difficult to find our room in the fairly dark grounds. We did not get the upper storey room overlooking the pool, as requested, but a ground floor room at the back of the lot. We made a half hearted attempt to change to what we had expected, but the hotel was apparently overbooked and we didn't push the issue as it wasn't that important to us. The room was clean and comfortable, however.

Because of the low temperature, and the very strong wind, the beach was red-flagged and unusable (except by brave young souls) for the first four days, and only warmed up enough for comfortable swimming, sailing, walking, or sunbathing on the fifth day. It actually rained one day.

Also as a consequence of the cold strong wind, and nobody but a few hardy souls using the beach, most of the guests congregated around the pools for whatever sun happened to be revealed that day. Unfortunately, since there were nowhere near enough sunbeds for everyone, this meant that the non-drinking Old Farts, who rose at sunrise for breakfast at the ungodly hour of 7AM, first occupied all the sunbeds with their towels. This felony was compounded, for the times that we were able to find a place to lie in the sun, by the fact that the people to whom we were then forced to lie in close proximity, were almost exclusively surly, Anglophobic, mostly older, Quebecois.

The bars were convenient and well staffed, and the drinks were fine, albeit the whisky tastes like rum and the vin is very ordinaire. The food was perfectly acceptable, except that some of the tastier or healthier items in the buffet restaurant would have been consumed by the early birds as soon as it opened.

We didn't think much of the a-la-carte restaurants that we used, and for which you have to book and wear long trousers. There wasn't enough light, and the cooking was no better, or even worse, than the buffet.

We found the evening entertainment - mostly colourful song and dance "espectaculares" - to be enjoyable and of a very high quality. The disco also was also a fun place to work off a few pounds.

Because it is an adults only resort, the guests were mostly a mixture of 20-30 year olds, and over 60s (like us). Since Cuba relies heavily on visitors from Canada, the staff at this, and probably at other resorts, provides service in English and French, as well as Spanish, hence is very popular with French speaking Canadians, who were in the overall majority. The younger guests were a mixture, mostly from Ontario and Quebec, but the older ones were mostly from Quebec.

The cool windy weather may just have been a freak occurrence - but overall, we wouldn't go back to this particular resort. This is partly a consequence of the isolation from the mainland, but mostly, frankly, because of the older unfriendly Quebecois.

  • Stayed: March 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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1  Thank Grumpatio
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

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Reviewed April 12, 2009

My husband and I stayed at the MCSM the week of March 7 - 14, 2009. A co-worker had recommended the resort and it sounded good to us. We prefer smaller, adult only resorts so this fit the bill. We did not go on any excursions - we just wanted to hang out at the resort and relax. This resort is a bit out of the way for people who want to go on a lot of trips.

This was our 3rd trip to a Cuban all-inclusive so we knew what to expect. The MCSM was tied for our favourite. The staff was very friendly and helpful. The food was decent - we could always find something to eat. We usually had breakfast at the buffet, lunch at the beach grill and dinner at the buffet. We liked the Mediterranian a la carte and the grill by the pool for dinner. We didn't really care for the Italian a la carte. We met another couple that really enjoyed their meal. I guess it depends what you order and on individual tastes. The coffee was consistently good and the cappucinos were excellent.

We were very pleased with the room. It had the best amenitites of any all-inclusive we have visited. It was also quite spacious and nicely decorated. It could use a bit of an update with some new paint.

The only challenge we had was getting our mini-bar refilled. It was forgotten on a couple of days. We just got more bottled water from the lobby bar. No big deal. When we were there and the guys came to refill it, they were very pleasant and helpful.

The beach is a lovely, long one -perfect for long walks. We enjoyed seeing the pelicans and shore birds further on past the Sol next door. It was a bit windy and rough for swimming. I knew about the wind so I just wrapped up in a towel when I got chilly.

We enjoyed the Water Journey (included) at the spa. I had a stone massage which was amazing too! We both visited the gym on a couple of occasions and we were pleased with that too. It was very clean and had decent equipment.

The grounds of the resort were very well kept. The pool area did get busy sometimes and we were always able to find a chair when we wanted to.

We were impressed with the evening entertainment shows. The dancers are really talented. The singers were also excellent. It was the first time I actually looked forward to the shows at an all-inclusive.

We wanted a pleasant, relaxing resort with decent food and that is exactly what we got. We enjoyed our week at the MCSM.

  • Stayed: March 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
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    • Service
5  Thank GreekHoneymoon
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 3, 2016

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 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.
Reviewed April 8, 2009

Where to start ? I travelled to Melia Cayo Santa Maria with my husband and another couple and met a group of people there....I read some of the reviews before we went and was honestly getting worried about going there....I don't know what people expect... We are so glad we didn't take the reviews to heart !
The rooms...they were great, clean comfortable, and nicely decorated....the bed wasn't my bed but I slept and didn't have to be drunk to do it! We had a gecko in our room one night but that wasn't a big deal I figure it happens alot there......The chambermaid - Arielys was a sweetheart, so appreciative of everything we gave her. She left towel art everyday - I have pics of them all :) and notes with them. Sometimes we had to call to have the fridge filled but no big deal....we didn't spend alot of time in our room anyway...
The grounds were well kept and there were friendly gardeners everywhere...always working.
We only had a day of rain and it wasn't enought to chase us away from the pool....
The staff at the front desk was very helpful, sometimes a little hard to understand but with patience we understood each other. Can't forget the girl at the telephono room...great help and very pleasant when we needed the phone or internet.....
We had three a la cartes...Seafood, Italian and the grill....all were good yes the food needed salt (so use the shakers on the tables). The buffet was good as well, a great variety and I don't think I got to try everything, but I tried :) Omelettes were awesome....encountered a few rude people at the buffet (french cdn's) but there were nice ones too....don't get me wrong....we just encountered more rude than nice :) Brady the dessert guy at the buffet was great he made tasty Bananas Foster....cooked right in front of you...
The staff at all of the restaurants were pleasant and very obliging....there to fill your glass with whatever you were drinking and remove dirty dishes. The pools were nice and clean...William at the bar by the pool and the two guys at the pool bar - Orestes and Osbiel, were awesome.....They made great drinks and even made up new ones ! The Yellowbird......it had another name but it is a secret :) The Miami Vice at the piano bar was real good, also the pina coladas.
Bathrooms were clean - someone told me to take my own TP - everytime I was in one there was lots, PT too...
We went to the SPA and had the couples relaxation massage, excellant - highly reccomended....could have gone to sleep :) 50 minutes of full body massage.....heaven....
There was entertainment nightly - Cuban's are some very talented people....only went to the Disco once so I can't really comment on it...but hear it was good.
Yoelkis....what can I say about this guy - sweet - he was the activities recruiter....he played v- ball in the pool with the bunch of guys with us....he also did Archery and Tai Chi & beach volleyball. Smart man and gave us alot of history on Cuba, could have brought him home with me !!!
The beach ! white sand, blue-green water, bathtub temps....beautiful....I am from Nova Scotia and we don't have that here ! Brown sand, brown water sometimes clear and freezing !
The excursion we went on was the Catamaran, eight hours of FUN ! Our group pretty much filled a boat and we had the best Captain ever ! We sailed out to see a shipwreck and stopped twice to snorkel and then to have a lobster or chicken dinner, your choice. It was beautiful out there.
Overall this resort is a 4 and 1/2 star for sure....anyone who has complaints must have been there on an off week, these people aren't your personal servants...if you need one hire one and bring them with you, they are more than happy to help all you have to do is ask and be pleasant....
I definately had a wonderful vacation and would go back tomorrow....5 star in my books....

  • Stayed: March 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
7  Thank catsdogs5
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

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 6, 2009

We just returned from a two weeks stay at Malia Cayo Santa Maria, it was our 9th trip to Cuba in 5 different resorts. The pools ,beach and most staff were excellent. The food and food services were the worst that we have ever came across. We been to most Islands in the Caribbean over the last 30 years and I know that you don't go to Cuba for the food. The whole complex is in need of a good upgrade and very little is being done. In our opinion they should be rated a 3 or 3 1/2 stars at best. We stayed in many 5 star resorts before but there is no comparison with this place.
I will not return to this resort or will not recomend it unless major renovation take place.
Andre Desrochers

1  Thank AndyMarie73
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 7, 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 April 6, 2009

My wife and I just returned from the Melia (Mar. 25-Apr.1) and found it awesome. This was our first All Inclusive as we've been cruisers in the past and decided to try an AI as cruising is getting on the pricey side. I'm not going to attempt to compare this AI to crusiing as they are each quite a different experience, instead I will focus on our Melia experience. What can I say ... IT WAS GREAT. Most of what has been said in previous posts holds true so I won't go into the airport/trip from the airport/check-in ... it was all as smooth as mentioned earlier.
Our room was great ... very roomy and clean. Only a few ants here and there but hey, you're in a country where the climate lends itself to those creatures, but we never saw any creepy crawlys in our room. Maid service was very good ... mini-bar service on the other hand was less than stellar. It's the mini-bar service that also restocks your coffee which we had to constantly ask for ... FYI, they don't leave little sugar or whitener packets so you may want to bring that from home or grab sugar at the buffet. As for milk for your coffee you'll need to either buy the boxed stuff in the gift shop or do without ... OR just get a Bailey's as my wife did :-)
I won't go on about the food ... it is not fine dining but you are in Cuba, not known for fine cuisine ... but it is plentiful. Pizzas at the Pool grill are the best ... Service throughout the resort is very good ... better in some ares than others, some of the staff seem very laid back and are not in a rush to serve you but for the most part the staff are great. BUT our 3 star selection has to be the three amigos of Elvis, Mario Lemieux aka.Orestes and Osbiel at the swim up bar ... these guys are FANTASTIC ... treat them right and boy you won't regret it. I have to admit my wife and I spent pretty much all our days parked in our reserved seating at the swim up bar ... ok, now all of you who were there during our stay know who's writng this ... we totally enjoyed chatting with them and getting an education on life in Cuba. FYI, Orestes is a trainee and trainees work for 2 years with NO SALARY before they become staff ... you'll recognize the trainees by the different name badges they wear ... it will say Estudiante(sp) ... so be kind to those that you see, they live off tips only.
Although we planned to, we didn't take any of the excursions but we did hear the Catamaran was awesome as was the day trip to Santa Clara ... but we did book the couples massage which was well worth the pesos but glad we did it early in our stay before we got too sunburned to enjoy it LOL. Be sure to take advantage of the Hot/Cold experience at the SPA which is included in your stay.
The poolside entertainment during the day was great, evening entertainment is so-so ... 2 shows out of our 7 were duds with people actually walking out ... but as reviewed in other posts, the Michael Jackson show was awesome.
As for the buffet, it has pretty much what you'd expect ... pasta bar line up can be long but worth the wait. We did the Seafood and Mediteranean a-la-carte ... I'd have to say they were ok but not great ... Lobster at the Seafood restiurant was plentiful but dry and they don't serve it with garlic butter ... Steak at the Med was a little chewey ... my wife had the chicken which she said was good.
Just a final note on bringing goodies from home to hand out ... hot items are pantyhose, toothpaste and shaving cream and any clothing you can afford to bring and leave. If you'd like specifics or any oither info you may want feel free to email me at ba47@hotmail.com and provide some suggestions.
All in all we had a great time, very relaxing, laid back type of resort with very little in the way of nightlife. We'll be back.
Cheers,
Bruce & Noreen aka swimup bar stools 1 and 2 from the left

  • Stayed: March 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
6  Thank HABFAN4EVR
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 3, 2016

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 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.
Reviewed April 6, 2009

My wife and I travelled with another couple, we hadnt been to Cuba before and the other couple had.
The trip to the malia from the airport was long and boring since it was dark, once at the hotel the service was a bit poor ( no bell boys and no help from the front desk as to where our rooms were) As we were roaming in the dark dragging our luggage looking lost a person staying there directed us to our room.
We unpacked and went looking for food ( we were starved by then) we went back to lobbie area and found out restaraunts were pretty much closed, so we wondered around and found the snack bar ( finally food) ordered a hamburge thinking no one could screw that up unless it was a burrow burger, but we didnt care.
So ....as you could see it wasnt a good first night......and cant wait to get back haha.
The next morning we got up early and cased the area out, found breakfast it was great, found our information session, found out if you dont save chairs around pool you loose.We went to beach same thing down there and got sand blasted from the wind, people were using extra chairs to protect themselves from the wind.
We got chairs around the pool and from that moment on the trip turned into the best we have ever been on. The staff was great the other guess were great the shows were good and food and booze fantastic, its amazing how booze can change your opinion.
Went into town on bus trip and seen how the Cubans live, how cigars are wrapped. It was an eye opener and next time we will bring lots of gifts for the kids and people there.
Even though we had a pretty lousy first night there ....we didnt give up and stay angry all week , we ended up having one of the best trips of our lives and for sure we are going back next year hopefully for 2 weeks.

  • Stayed: March 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
7  Thank caddy2
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 3, 2016

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 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.
Reviewed March 29, 2009

My wife and I stayed at the Melia Cayo Santa Maria from March 20th-27th. We also travelled with 2 other couples. I will start from arrival at the airport . The Santa Clara airport is quite small and is pretty well organized. Exchanged money there and also at the resort (both rates were comparable). Bus ride to the resort (1.5 hours at night) went reasonably fast. Arriving at the resort we were in and out of the lobby and to our rooms in about 20 minutes. The following is a rating (out of 5) of the resort itself. Lobby(4), Rooms(4.5-Very roomy,great decor,great maids), Pool(5-Very big with swim-up bar and outstanding bartenders), Beach(4-Very picturesque but board walk needs to be worked on), Grounds(4.5-Beautifully landscaped and maintained by a gazillion gardeners), Buffet Restaurant(3.5-Could have a little more variety for each meal in the day. Omelletes were good and the DREADED TOASTER was really not that bad. Mediterranean Restaurant(3.5-Food was good,time between courses was a bit long. Could easily be a 4.5 rating). Seafood Restaurant(4-Great meal and service). Staff(5- What can you say about the Cuban people? They really are second to none. Every want or need was met with outstanding service and a smiling face the whole time. I would not hesitate to visit this resort again in the future. FYI.... Lobster is available in the Seafood Restaurant. Most drinks (including red wine) are available throughout the day. Chair saving is a definite problem that needs to be addressed(Simply removing towels until 8 or 9 in the morning should do the trick!!!!) Construction on 2 new restaurants is currently happening-This did NOT interfere with our vacation at all though. Like I said, this resort is great with greater potential.

  • Stayed: March 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
8  Thank GICSHUGY
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 3, 2016

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 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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Additional Information about 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
#7 Luxury Hotel in Cayo Santa Maria
#8 Top resorts Hotel in Cayo Santa Maria
Price Range: $185 - $245 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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 
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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