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Reviewed January 25, 2010

My wife and I stayed at the MCSM from the week of January 7th to 14th 2010. It was our 14th trip to Caribbean (3rd time to Cuba) but our first time to CSM. We had a nice time. The resort is very clean and well kept. The room was freshly painted, immaculate and spacious. Our room was building 8 (0825) and located 2nd floor with a nice ocean view from a window. The layout of the room reminds me of our trip to the Playa Pesquero in Holguin. The beach was amazing. One of the most beautiful beach I have ever seen. Food was well presented and tasty, especially the pasta and the fried rice served from cooking tables at the Santa Maria buffet. The both a la carte restaurants, "Casa Da Vinci" and "El Portulano" were good with excellent service. The beach restaurant "El Almirante" served a good red snapper and a bowl of soup for our lunch. (These dishes were not listed on the menu at the restaurant. You have to ask a waiter for them directly.) The nightly entertainments had a professional touch. We watched the show twice. They were really good. My wife enjoyed a therapeutic massage at Spa. I was able to use their facilities (sauna, steam bath, indoor bath, outside jacuzzi and swimming pool) for free of charge since my wife was their guest. Good to know. This was the most relaxing, peaceful and pleasant vacation we have ever had. we enjoyed every single minute of our vacation. The resort is beautiful, the service is outstanding and the staff are very attentive and nice. We would definitely stay this hotel again.

  • Stayed: January 2010, traveled as a couple
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8  Thank Coconut61
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
YArjona, Quality Control and Guest Service Manager at Melia Cayo Santa Maria, responded to this reviewResponded February 22, 2010

Dear Coconut61 from St-Eustache:

I have had the pleasure to read your review regarding your stay at Meliá Cayo Santa María. I heartily appreciate all your compliments regarding our service and most particularly, our staff. I am able to acknowledge, thanks to your comments, that all the efforts we make in our daily routine are worth it since they do result in our guests’ satisfaction. It makes us feel very rewarded. I just hope your report may be a reliable source of information for our future guests.

I’d be very pleased to welcome you back in Cayo Santa Maria so you can enjoy another memorable stay among our big family.

Truly yours,

Antonio Montes.
General Manager
Cayo Santa María

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 25, 2010

Typical large resort. Set quite far back from beach (closest rooms probably about 200 metres from beach) – only sea views to be had is if you stay upstairs in a unit. Units are spacious, but has the typical ocean side damp smell going on.
There are plenty of restaurants, but you are unlikely to get to eat anywhere but the buffet (you need a coupon, which are allocated in the mornings, and you aren’t guaranteed a coupon). Food is really good for Cuba. Plenty of live entertainment at night. Bars stock premium brands of alcohol, though only the main foyer bar will have most drinks available. Definitely take an insulated mug with you – for lounging by the sea / pool - else you drink size is limited to soft small 200 ml plastic cups which don’t last very long. (The beach bar is not necesseraly close to your deck chair).
Checking in / out takes remarkably long, but in general service & food was really above average for Cuba. The beach is beautiful and there was actually enough deck chairs for all the guests (which is not always the case in Cuba). The lunch lobster trip we booked was cancelled (due to techinical difficulties), but we heard good things about it.
Hint: Take insect repellent & antihistamine – sand flies / miggies bite you on the beach / at night.

  • Stayed: December 2009, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank TheBiffs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
YArjona, Quality Control and Guest Service Manager at Melia Cayo Santa Maria, responded to this reviewResponded February 24, 2010

Dear friends from London:

I have really enjoyed receiving your comments regarding our service and facilities. I would like to thank you for providing our potential new guests with so much relevant and reliable information.

I have also noticed, thanks to your comments, that there are some details we may work on so we continue to improve the quality of our services.

It would be a great pleasure to welcome you once again in Cayo Santa Maria where you will always be considered like part of the family. I would feel honoured to provide you and your wife with another memorable stay.


Always at your service,

Antonio Montes.
General Manager
Cayo Santa María

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Reviewed January 22, 2010

This is my first review but not my first trip. Been to many places around the world and this one is of my top 10's. We are not picky people, and coming a third country myself I didn't expect paradise. We are also fluent in spanish, therefore gave us an edge and got us many perks. (to follow) First, you can't buy pesos in Canada, so buy at the airport or hotel. Count back the money again, just in case. Long bus ride to the resort but the scenery was an eye opener. Quick check-in, gave us our key and luggages came afterwards within minutes. Oceanview room, clean, spacious, a few tiny cockroaches, killed them.....done, no biggie. We were celebrating our anniversary so we didn't want anything small to dampen our celebration.
Weather was not great, locals said is was the coldest time of year in years. Some sunny days but the evenings are cool, bring warm clothes. (winter weather, gets better in Feb and March).
Food, not great but not the worst. I'm not a picky eater and I don't eat much. Med resto was the best. Shmoozed one of the waiters and got to go back a second time and ordered the steak. TO DIE FOR! Depends on the night, cuz it can vary. Italian....no good. It's not authentic so how good can it be? but edible. Plenty of Chilean wine all around. Why, why, why is there not an authentic Cuban restaurant on the grounds.????
Didn't do any excursions cuz it was cold. but i hear the catamaran trip is worth it. Like a party on a boat.
Entertainment was good. Very talented people. How do they move they're hips like that, I will never know. Disco, was good....danced the night away on a few occaions. Lots of young people, but i don't mind.
Beaches are stunning, one of the best in the world, better than Maui. Some jellyfish and fishes. Nude beach to the left, but are somewhat descreet. It's hard not to look! All shapes and sizes. Some topless sunbathers too. Europeans.
Pools and resort grounds are lovely. Pool is COLD!!! Forced myself to go in at least once.
Resort is isolated, you can visit the Sol Melia, but not Las Dunas. There is a security guard lurking in the bushes. :)
Small souvenir hut that sell interesting items.
The staff, OMG!! The staff. The most wonderful, kindest, warm people I have ever met. Perhaps it's because we speak the same language and we're originaly from South America. But once they knew we were celebrating our anniversary, they brought us champagne on several occasion, a reception for us at the spa one evening, perks like, extra dining at the a la cartes resto. They brought us a bottle of Chilean wine and Cuban wine to take back home, bottles of rum, came often to stock our fridge, extra towels, you name it. They were FABULOUS!!! We loved the staff! And yes, ofcourse we tipped! it's a damn shame if you don't, they certainly deserve it.
We made the most out of our trip because of the weather, we are a social couple and we met soooo many people. Partied with them, chatted, laughed and danced. It was super!
Seriously, this is a 5 star by Cuban standings, in my experience, a 4 star rating. The staff made it a 5++++.

  • Stayed: January 2010, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank bobbyOttawa_Canada
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
YArjona, Quality Control and Guest Service Manager at Melia Cayo Santa Maria, responded to this reviewResponded February 22, 2010

Dear BobbyOttawa:

We heartily thank your taking the time to write such nice comments on our resort. It feels very rewarding when we can acknowledge how guests show their appreciation for the efforts we make to achieve their full satisfaction. I just hope other travellers find your review a useful source of information when choosing their destination.

It will be a real honour to welcome you once again in Cayo Santa Maria. I am sure you will be able to enjoy another memorable vacation.

Best Regards,


Antonio Montes
General Manager
Cayo Santa María

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 20, 2010

I absolutely enjoyed our week stay at the Melia!

Location:
Be prepared for the 90 minute bus ride from the airport. It's on a new bus so it's comfortable, but long. We passed a few towns along the way which was interesting. Our advice would be to get a daytime flight so you can actually see the towns you pass along the way. Not to mention, it's sort of creepy driving around at night.

Food:
Don't go expecting gourmet and you'll be fine. It's pretty important to book your 3 a la carte reservations as soon as you can. They book pretty fast. As for the buffet, there's a bunch of stuff to choose from so you won't go hungry. Just make sure you keep track of the buffet hours. If you don't, you end up eating at the 24 snack bar, where at times, they ONLY serve pizza. Not bad pizza but you do get sick of it. Bring snacks!!! We missed the little things like chips, chocolates and candies. Also, don't forget your thermal cups. They'll come in handy.

Rooms:
We stayed in the 27 block which was the perfect location. It was really close to the centre of the resort (restaurants, lobby and pools) and still a few steps away from the beach. Try to avoid Block 6. We stayed there our first 2 nights but could not ignore the musky, moldy smell anymore and asked to be moved. It wasn't a problem at all. We were moved instantly.

Beach:
AMAZING..
Take advantage of the free windsurfing, kayaking and paddle boats.
Did not see a single jellyfish at the beach (although did see ONE while snorkeling)

Excursions:
We only had the chance to do one excursion....the Catamaran. It was the highlight of our entire trip. Sailing all day, stop for some snorkeling with tons of tropical fish and a small shipwreck, visit Peechu the dolphin, and finally lobster or chicken lunch on the boat. It was the best 70 pesos spent.

Pools:
Really pretty. They're not heated and we found the beach a lot warmer. The swim up bar is really neat.

Staff:
Never during the entire trip did we feel like we had to tip. We did tip those who we felt we extremely friendly. Our advice is to give presents as opposed to tipping. I think they have to split their tips so gifts would be better since they could keep it for themselves. My husband gave our room service guy a Nike golf shirt and he treated us like royalty the entire trip. I also gave our maid a few pieces of clothing and she left us towel art everyday as well as extra towels everyday.

Weather:
We went the week of Jan 11th to the 18th. The first 2 days were nice but got chilly at night. A light sweater or long sleeved shirt is fine. The rest of the trip was hot all around.

Spa:
Do it! Spend the extra money and get a few things done. It's worth it.

Shopping:
There's a little hut on the resort that has new vendors everyday. They sell really neat things for good prices. There was also a free train that came by the resort a few times a day to take you to a small town about 5km away. we didn't go but imagine that there would be shopping there too.

Overall, the resort was great and we really enjoyed our trip. I am looking forward to going back.

  • Stayed: January 2010, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank JennahGrace
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
YArjona, Quality Control and Guest Service Manager at Melia Cayo Santa Maria, responded to this reviewResponded February 22, 2010

Dear JeenahGrace from Toronto:

I have had the great pleasure to read your review regarding your stay at Meliá Cayo Santa María last January. You cannot picture how much I appreciate all your compliments regarding our service and most particularly, our staff. I realise we work as a big team whose efforts result in our guests’ satisfaction. That feels very rewarding. I just hope our guests-to-be take into consideration this first-hand source of information for their next vacation.

I’d be honoured to welcome you back in Cayo Santa Maria so you can enjoy another memorable stay.

Truly yours,

Antonio Montes.
General Manager
Cayo Santa María

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 17, 2010

I travelled to the Melia Cayo Santa Maria with some concern based upon reviews I had read. Those reviews noted the iffy food, the up keep of the rooms and the ongoing construction.
Well, don't be concerned. We had a great time.

The food - It wasn't always to our liking but we never had too much trouble finding something good to eat. The fresh cooked food in the Buffet was always good, the Mediterranean restaurant was great, the Italian was fine and the 3rd 'A la carte' was OK.

The Room - Our room was nicely decorated and clean.

Construction - They are building in a couple of places around the perimeter of the resort. Other then you can see the building under construction, we never heard any disturbing noise. The construction is a non-issue.

The beach is fantastic. The pools are beautiful but are not heated. The water at the beach was much warmer then the pools.

The staff where friendly. No one ever asked for a tip but all of them readily accepted one. If good service is provided, then tip. If not, then don't. Simple.

The resort is isolated, so you don't go there for the shopping as the closest town is about 60km away.

I'd go back.

  • Stayed: January 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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8  Thank GTA905
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
YArjona, Quality Control and Guest Service Manager at Melia Cayo Santa Maria, responded to this reviewResponded February 22, 2010

Dear GTA905 from Toronto:

We heartily thank your publishing this nice comment regarding our resort. It feels indeed very rewarding for all us to acknowledge how guests are able to appreciate our efforts to achieve their full satisfaction.

I will be very pleased to welcome you once again in Cayo Santa Maria. I can assure all the renovations still being executed at the moment will contribute to grant all our guests some unforgettable vacations.

Best Regards,

Antonio Montes
General Manager

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