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“5-Star for a Cuba Resort”

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Royalton Cayo Santa Maria
Ranked #1 of 16 Hotels in Cayo Santa Maria
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed February 10, 2013

We just got back on Thursday and had a fantastic trip. The bus ride to the resort was LONG (almost 2 hrs) and we had no washroom on the bus. Check that out before you drink too many beers! It was nice that we arrived at 10 a.m. at the airport so we were able to check out the countryside and the 44 mile causeway on the way to the Resort.

The Royalton was spectacular; clean and with gorgeous views. The rooms were clean and spacious but, we started to get some ants our second last day (pretty much all caribbean hotels have one bug or another so this was expected). The water was only luke warm the first couple of days in the room but, things got better as our week went on. Maid service was great as well. The pool looked inviting but, was a tad cold. It is their winter too after all :) We spent about 1/2 our time at the beach and the other 1/2 by the pool. The ocean wasn't cold and we went in often.

The poor butler tried to show us the highlights of the Resort upon our arrival but, it was a gorgeous day and we had heard the next day wouldn't be so nice, so we hurried him along so we could get to the beach! I think we saw him 2 times after that (you get two butlers who alternate their days off). We heard great things about some of the butlers who ran baths for their clients or set up a romantic dinner for them but, neither of ours treated us to anything special. We'd never had a butler before so it didn't bother us in the least, however, we didn't tip them when they came looking for a tip on our last day. We did tip the maids every day along with the bartenders and everyone else who provided us with their time and smiles (including the gardener who provided me with a beautiful flower each day he saw me).

How do I describe the beach? Look at my pictures. When we walked over the 'crest' by the beach bar and saw the amazing teals and blues of the crystal clear water I said 'the 2 hour drive was worth it'. You could see white beach sand for miles in each direction and brilliant coloured hobie cats dotted the waters just offshore. All of your worries melted away and I literally felt tears welling. We have beaches where we live in Nova Scotia and they are beautiful but, on this day the water was completely calm and there wasn't a cloud in the sky; heaven on earth to be sure. We parked ourselves on a sand bar just off shore and bathed in the sun with our rum punches and pina coladas for the next 4 hours of daylight we had left.

I was sick on Day 2 (from heat stroke not the food). I was able to enjoy a majority of the day by the pool and ended up in bed for the rest of that evening. We ordered room service when I started to come around and it was there within 1/2 hr. We also ordered up an extra pillow (which took awhile but, it got there).

We spent some time every evening in the Cafe Bar by the lobby which is open 24 hours. There was a pianist there each night and shows took place outside of the lobby (we missed all of them so I can't comment). The a la carte restaurants (Eggscellence and Senses) were okay; food in Cuba doesn't appear to be that great anywhere. We were never disappointed at breakfast however, and enjoyed our french fries and hamburger at Sunset Snack Bar late one evening. They also have sandwiches at the 'lower' pool bar each afternoon that you can grill yourself that we enjoyed as an afternoon snack/lunch. The Beach Bar also served some great marinated pork one day that we enjoyed along with some fresh fruit skewers.

The first few nights, we met great couples who were all heading out the following day so that was sad but, on the third night we started meeting couples who were going to be there longer than us so made some great friends.

The drinks were great and you just had to search the different bars to see who had the top shelf stuff and ask for it! The bartenders were friendly and open to anything you wanted them to attempt putting together for you.

Visit the 'Market' and pick up some trinkets and definitely visit the Japanese Restaurant in the Pueblo as well! Only 10 pesos each for the Japanese Restaurant and all reviews I heard were the same as ours; terrific food!! You just register at the front desk.

We did not do any excursions this year as we had done all we had wanted when we had visited Varadero some years before. We had enjoyed the Catamaran tour when we did it then and had great reports on it from others who had done it during this trip. We went over to the Pueblo to a Wednesday night 'Carnival' at a cost of 15 pesos each. This included a live band, open bar and food (although we had a hard time finding good food). We had a good time. The Carnival ran from 10:30 p.m. - 5 a.m. for all of you late night partiers.

Overall we enjoyed the Royalton. We love Cuba for its beaches and its people but, I think this will be the last visit for us. We try not to visit the same place twice.

Our next trip is to Costa Rica in March with our travel buddies and I am so looking forward to THAT trip report!

Try it out if you want to visit Cuba. The Beach will not disappoint but, you may wish to wait until March - May to give you a better chance of your weather being a little less windy and somewhat cool at times.

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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21  Thank Luvinitalways
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Omar D, Manager at Royalton Cayo Santa Maria, responded to this reviewResponded April 7, 2013

Dear guests:

Thank you for your wonderful comments. They are very important to us in order to continue giving the excellent service you deserve. We read every one of them and make sure to pass on your comments to all of our departments so that not only are they aware of what you think of them, but also of the whole hotel. This way, everybody can get a feel of what our clients really need and want.

We appreciate de fact that you took the time to give us your opinion. There are more and more people who prefer to travel around rather than to return to the same hotel.

We certainly hope that you will change your mind and com back and visit us very soon! Much has changed since you have come and visit us and we would love for you to see it!

We hope we can pamper you again at Royalton Cayo Santa Maria, your 5-star hotel!

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Reviewed February 10, 2013

Two hours of traveling between the airport and the Royalton, but ...
Time is short when going through Caibarian, Remedios, Camajuani and the 48 km on the sea.
Arrival, luggages and check-in are taken care by the hotel personnel.
The site is magnificent and clean because brand new.
Lounge music all day long at both pools. Really relax atmosphere.
Different orchestra and music each night at the lobby or lobby bar at 21:00.
Access to the Memories Theatre if you want Cuban music and show each night from 20:30
Royalton has 200 customers compare to the Memories hotel beside with 2000 customers.
The Memories hotels are a jungle compare to the Royalton.
Royalton customers can access the Memories, but the Memories cannot access the Royalton.
There are Security Guards at each Royalton entries to preserve the site soft atmosphere.
Royalton customers do not wear any wristlet to identify them compare to other hotel customers.
Royalton customers can eat free at any of the Memories hotel restaurants and buffets.
The Royalton food is the best I ever ate in Cuba in my eight trips in different hotels.
The food at the Memories is of poor quality and the wine is like vinegar compare to Royalton.
The restaurants à la carte are similar to noisy cafeterias at the Memories.
Royalton majordome Noelvis was really appreciated by everyone.
If you want to make him happy, bring him color felt pens, this is really rare & appreciate in Cuba.
The rooms are huges with a super king size bed, anda bath independant of the shower.
There are 22 large beddings around the two pools, along with confortable long chairs.
There are enough long chairs at the pools and beach for everyone at all time.
The Royalton is neighboring the Pueblo: stores, restaurants, bank, disco and bowling.
The Royalton is a real 5 stars, compare to the Las Dunas and Buenavista hotels which are nice 4 stars, while the Memorie Paraiso and Memorie Azul are simply 3 stars.
Royalton is more expensive, but it worth it. If you try it, you will become addict of 5 star hotels.
Luc and Sylvie from Quebec.

Room Tip: It worth pay more to get a King size bed, but view to the sea is not a must because the garden sides...
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  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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18  Thank Luclaf
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Omar D, Manager at Royalton Cayo Santa Maria, responded to this reviewResponded February 28, 2013

Dear guests:

OMG we love your sum it up paragraph! That is exactly what we should put in our advertisements! It is absolutely perfect! And we will repeat it here: 'The Royalton is a very low-key, relaxed, upper-scale adult resort, which is best suited for experienced and mature travellers who understand Cuba, don't want the party scene, and just want to de-stress in a quiet way. Might not be right for everyone ~ but it was perfect for us.' Wow, we are so happy to have been perfect for you! Thank you so much!

Your comment is so interesting to read as you know Cuba so well, it gives such an exact idea on how to travel to this wonderful country. Thank you for sharing your opinion with us and our future clients, your comment is incredibly helpful and informative. Amazing!

As for tipping is concerned, you have worried us a little there on the subject, as tipping, is done as the wish of the clients. Clients are not obligated to tip as they have paid an all-inclusive before leaving and nothing else need to be paid on site. Should clients want to contribute, it is of their own free will. Nevertheless we have addressed the issue as obivously and religiously, clients should receive the same service whether they tip or not. That is very important to us and thank you for bringing it to our attention.

Incredible review dear guests, thank you once again for such clarity and honesty.

We certainly hope to welcome you once again to Royalton Cayo Santa Maria, your total relaxation hotel!

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Reviewed February 10, 2013

This was our fourth trip to Cuba and we had an excellent time at the Royalton. Although the sun was not as cooperative as we would have liked ~ a cloudy day in Cuba beats a sunny day at the office any time.

The Royalton accommodations were superb. There was a mix-up upon arrival where we were put in a standard room and once we let them know there was a mistake, it took about 3 hours to get our suite. We were told not to use one of our washrooms due to a wall repair/wet paint from a flood from the upper washroom ~ so we got the feeling there was something amiss with this suite and it really wasn't supposed to have been used. There was a foul odour from the upstairs washroom all week, which they came and sprayed each day for us when we requested it. Apart from that hiccup, it was a great place and we loved it.

Our butlers, Jordy and Lionel were helpful in making our dinner reservations and with any of the initial accommodation concerns. They were attentive and pleasant toward us whenever we interacted.

The food was good and was well-presented, with a changing menu for dinner every night. We were pleased with the a-la-cart style dining and did not miss the buffets that are found at other all-inclusive resorts. I heard how others would become tired of the set menu during the day at the 24-hour snack bar; however, for us it was a nice break from witnessing shameless buffet gluttony, which is not what this more polished and refined resort is about.

The service was exceptional. Every single staff member is very professional and works hard to accommodate the needs of the guests.

Needless to say, the beach is outstanding ~ but on the high-wind/red-flagged days we were fine in the lovely daybeds and loungers by the pool. We utilized the peaceful Pueblo Estrella spa for massages and complimentary hydrotherapy sessions along with their hot tub and pool, and really enjoyed the relaxing environment the spa offered.

We took a break from the relaxation and did a catamaran/dolphin/snorkeling excursion one day and that was a blast. The Dolphinarium is all new from when we were there two years ago. It's well done with a good viewing arena, show and restaurant. The rain stopped and the sun broke out in time for the use of the catamaran, which was spotless and run very well by a great crew. As always, the snorkeling in Cuba was a lot of fun.

To sum it up: The Royalton is a very low-key, relaxed, upper-scale adult resort, which is best suited for experienced and mature travellers who understand Cuba, don't want the party scene, and just want to de-stress in a quiet way. Might not be right for everyone ~ but it was perfect for us.

A note to The Royalton and its guests about tipping. Apart from the obvious fact that Cuba is a poorer nation, and that any money received by its people is greatly needed and appreciated, I would like to address the concept of "fee for service" from a corporation such as Sunwing. In years past, tipping was forbidden at all-inclusives on the presumption that everything was taken into consideration in the price. We were surprised at the amount of tipping that was taking place in the resort and pondered how, in the realm of human nature, it would eventually affect the level of service that this resort is, at this point in time, becoming known for. We overheard someone commenting that they were giving one bartender $100 because his service was so good. Human nature being what it is, what happens to the service then, for the modest young couple sitting at the other end of the bar? This kind of tipping activity creates an uneven playing field in the service arena.

At dinner one evening, we were asked which flavour ice cream we would like. Would it be possible if we could have a scoop of two flavours, we asked. The waiter responded laughingly, that depends on the kind of tip you leave. And that is my point ~ it has begun at The Royalton. How long will it be before those who haven't tipped for every service will begin to not only receive less than stellar service, but (worse) be viewed with contempt? I would hate to think that this activity will create a self-made environment promoting a greater divide between the seemingly haves/have-nots and that the staff will begin to see guests only as varying degrees of walking dollar signs. Please don't misunderstand my message here; we do contribute generously to Cuba – that's not what this is about. We just do so quietly and respectfully ~ not in grand showy gestures that speak more about us than to the beautiful people of Cuba.

During our group information session, the Sunwing agent encouraged tipping. We would like to think she meant for those in service positions outside the resort, but she never made that clear.

My suggestion? (and one that I think Sunwing/The Royalton should adopt) ~ if you want to tip and if your heart is in the right place, you will do so anonymously.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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19  Thank GreenRiverJo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Omar D, Manager at Royalton Cayo Santa Maria, responded to this reviewResponded April 6, 2013

Dear guests:

Thank you so much for your wonderful comments! We will quote part of them if you don't mind as we feel that you describe us perfectly:

'The Royalton is a very low-key, relaxed, upper-scale adult resort, which is best suited for experienced and mature travellers who understand Cuba, don't want the party scene, and just want to de-stress in a quiet way. Might not be right for everyone'.

Absolutely superb! Thank you for taking the time to describe us so peacefully. Your comment was very interesting to us!

We would just like to point out that your room was ready for use! We were caught by surprise as we were doing some maintenance work in it and was supposed to be occupied for the next day! The reason we told you not to use the bathroom upstairs was for the reparation to take time to dry as we didn't think it would be occupied. There seems to have been a mix up in the reservations as you room was reseved in the wrong category in our sistem so we apologize for that! We were happy to give you what you had paid for upon arrival!

Thank you once again for your beautiful comments. We remember you well!

We hope to welcome you again at Royalton Cayo Santa Maria, your relaxing and wonderful hotel!

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Reviewed February 9, 2013

My girlfriend and I as well as some friends of ours just returned from our vacation to the Royalton (January 29 – February 5, 2013). Wow – what a trip! We could not have asked for more from our time in Cuba. It was memorable, entertaining, and relaxing; it was exactly what we were looking for!

With that being said, I’m going to spend some time focusing on some of the less appealing areas with some tips for those who are headed to this resort or for those still on the fence about whether or not to head to Cuba. Maybe some of this will help with your decision…

I’d like to make it completely clear from the outset though that we enjoyed our stay 100%. I would highly recommend this hotel to anyone who is considering it, and I will be recommending it to my friends and family.

BUS TRIP
The trip to the hotel was on modern, comfortable and air conditioned tour buses. The two hour trip definitely did get boring though, especially when we stopped at two other resorts before we got to the Royalton. The scenery is nice and there is a tour guide on the bus who was happy and helpful. In the end we had no issues with the transportation. They serve cold beers (Crystal) but nothing else unfortunately. One of our companions was pregnant so she had to go 2 hours waiting for a drink once we got to the resort. If you're looking for juice, water or pop you should pack some in your carry-on.

CHECK-IN
The check in was fast and easy – no complaints here. They took our bags straight to our rooms (within 10 minutes) and our butler, Alex, quickly showed us where to find everything in the resort.

HOTEL
The Royalton caters to approximately 200 guests I believe, and the grounds are perfectly suited to this number. We never had to wait in line for drinks or restaurants and the pools barely ever had people in them. The cabanas around the pool get scooped up pretty early every morning (a problem that all hotels seem to face), but if you were to compare this resort to the two neighbouring resorts (Memories Azul Beach Resort and Memories Paraiso Beach Resort) you will be overwhelmingly satisfied that you chose the Royalton!

The pools are not heated. In the winter months (November through March ish) this can make for some pretty cold swimming. We noticed that some of the other hotel guests brought toys for the pool (tubes and other stuff you could lay on). This was an excellent idea and one that we wish we all would have thought of before we had come.

ROOMS
The rooms themselves were pretty basic. The resort just recently opened, so all of the fixtures and furniture are brand new. There were one or two mornings we woke up without any hot water, but these issues were quickly remedied as soon as they were identified to the staff. The “Gardenview” is barely a view at all, so if you’re planning on staying in one of the basic rooms you shouldn’t expect too much. I’ve included a picture of what you can expect to see.

STAFF
The servers, butlers and animation teams are absolutely top-notch. I’ve never seen so many people bend over backwards just to make sure your every whim and desire were met. Our group had 6 members and all of our reservations were modified once the last two people had arrived to ensure that we could all be seated together at restaurants. The 24 hour room service and the butlers are not limited to any specific menu or grouping of services – if the staff members can accommodate you in any way, they will! We had bottles of wine delivered to our rooms, we ordered bacon sandwiches at 3:00 am in the morning and they came freshly delivered within 15 minutes. The service was truly the best I have ever experienced while travelling!

FOOD
As I’m sure you’ve read or been told, the food in Cuba was par at best. Our two biggest complaints were:

- The lack of condiments, though there was plenty of salt and pepper, contrary to what I had heard from other Cuban travellers
- The lack of any snack type foods. Things like nachos, cookies, etc. The only real food you could order was a full meal off the menu, and sometimes all you really wanted was a snack. The only way to get finger foods was to buy them in El Pueblo

These two issues can be easily remedied if you come prepared. Friends of ours brought bottles of ketchup (they do have ketchup, but the flavour is a little off) and a bottle of Sriracha sauce. I had never tasted Sriracha sauce before but it really helped give some of the more bland dishes the kick that they needed. Any hot sauce would do though so I would highly recommend bringing any sauces that you’re used to at home.

Other than the few bland dishes and a few menu items that were unavailable, the food wasn’t as bad as we were expecting. There was also a live band at each of the restaurants for pretty much every meal – for such small restaurants and so few guests, you really feel like royalty as they play popular tunes and theme music throughout your meal.

Make sure you try the cappuccinos – I think I had at least 10 of them over our 1 week stay!

BEACH
Similar to the service, the Royalton’s beach is the best beach I have ever seen. Perfect sand and the water wasn’t too cold. The one downside of the beach was that because the Royalton neighbours two much bigger resorts (the two Memories resorts) which, at maximum capacity, house nearly 3,000 guests, you get a lot of spill over as people stroll down the beach to get away from the crowds. Because of this, the beach will not be as modestly populated as the hotel grounds. That being said, we had no problems with the amount of people on the beach – even with the spill over it was still less populated that some of the other beaches I have been to in other countries.

FACILITIES
Royalton guests get full access to all of the facilities and services that are available at Memories Azul and Memories Paraiso. We made use of their tennis courts, the buffet for one of our lunches (which I would not recommend), as well as several of the themed restaurants which required reservations.

And trust me, taking a stroll through the two Memories resorts will make you very glad that you chose the Royalton!

EL PUEBLO
Next to all three of the resorts is a small town called El Pueblo (though it is owned and operated by the resort). There are quite a few smaller restaurants and vendors if you’d like to buy souvenirs for back home. There’s also a bowling alley and a few spas for those interested.
The prices are all marked and, thankfully, the people selling the arts and crafts are not pushy. We rarely felt pressured into buying anything. Make sure you take the trek up the bell tower to get a few of the resorts and the ocean from the top! Well worth it.

My girlfriend and I as well as two of our friends took the $170.00 excursion (which included a bus trip and a short flight) to Havana. Definitely a great tour, but just be prepared – the tour doesn’t stop at nearly enough locations to get a true feel for the culture of Havana. You could spend a week or two there and still not see everything. We all definitely enjoyed the trip though. Little bit pricy – but definitely worth it.

TIP: Don’t tip with loonies or toonies. They are useless to Cuban’s because exchange bureaus don’t except coinage. We were approached by a couple of resort workers on our way out who were looking to exchange their Canadian coin change for Cuban pesos. Tip with Cuban pesos and save your hosts the hassle.

A personal shout-out to Alex and Ramon, and definitely to our late night conversations with Real. Without each of you our trip wouldn’t have been half as good as it was!

The Royalton is by and large the best hotel in Cayo Santa Maria. A quick stroll through the two neighbouring Memories resorts confirmed that for us for sure. Pick the Royalton and enjoy your stay in Cuba – we can’t wait to go back.

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled with friends
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30  Thank Darren M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Omar D, Manager at Royalton Cayo Santa Maria, responded to this reviewResponded February 10, 2013

Dear guests:

Unbelievable!!! You are our biggest reviewer so far, and by far!!! 90 reviews! And we get top stars, we are speechless!!!!

You review is incredibly interesting and we have reviewed every word of it. Coming from such an expert traveler, only good can come out of putting your ideas to the test! Thank you so much for sharing with us!

We would like to comment that Cuban food and cooking is not very spicy, like Mexican food for example. With that said, we try to cook to everyone's taste and we do have Tabasco sauce and other condiments to spice things up a little! As for the snacks, we have just started our barbeque at the beach bar and it is quite a success! Lobster, filet mignon and shrimp brochette while lounging on the beach, who could ask for more! We also offer a variety of sandwiches at the pool bar and go around with apetizers from morning until the end of the afternoon. We well see what else we can spike up for you dear snack lovers!

Thank you for taking the time to write such an informative review dear clients, we are all so proud of our team work and that is what makes us strong!

We certainly hope to welcome you again to Royalton Cayo Santa Maria, your oustanding brand new hotel!

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Reviewed February 9, 2013

"WOW" is the word I will start with to describe our stay at the Royalton. Omar, congratulations to you and your wonderful staff for making our romantic vacation one to remember!! The grounds are just breathtaking, the staff (and guests) are the most pleasant we have ever met and our one week stay felt like we were part of one big happy family.
Special thanks to our wonderful butlers Alex and Ramon, who went out of their way, each and every day, to make sure that we experienced the true Royalton spirit.
We had an absolutely beautiful second floor oceanfront corner unit (Room 0707) which greated us with its beauty each and every morning. Our maid, Jany, was always pleasant and tended to our every need in a professional and loving manner.
Liandry, the lower pool bartender, greeted us each and every day with a sincere greeting and handsome smile and made hanging out at the pool bar a daily routine for us as there was always laughter and fun times when Liandry was around. Great job kiddo!!
We booked our travels to the Royalton two days after its official opening on December 1st with no reviews or pictures to help us chose this destination over others. We took a chance on this resort and Omar, you and your incredible Royalton family made our choice of resorts one which we are grateful we made!!! The excellent reviews keep pouring in and a pat on the back for a job well done. Keep up the great work and the excellent reviews will continue to come in for years to come!!

Room Tip: Oceanfront Rooms is the only way to go. Laying in a bathtub or showering under the rainfall showerh...
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  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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11  Thank NancyJo419
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Omar D, Manager at Royalton Cayo Santa Maria, responded to this reviewResponded February 10, 2013

Dear guests:

What wonderful compliments, you are making me blush! I am so very proud of my team and everyday we strive on making your holiday the most magical moment it can be.

Everybody loved reading your comments including me! We are so happy that you took a chance on us even if we were just opening up and even happier to see that we have exceded your expectations.

Here at Royalton, we are a big family and it always includes our dear clients. We wannt to make your stay as comfortable as possible and make you feel right at home away from home!

Thank you so much for the wonderful compliments dear guests, I am without words to express all the gratitude I feel for your generous comment.

Please come back and visit us again very soon at Royalton Cayo Santa Maria, your romantic getaway!

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Reviewed February 8, 2013

Our family just returned from this great resort and we will be back!! Our adult son, who is in a wheelchair, really enjoyed the fact that he had butlers at his disposal. To both Orestes and Ariel, you went over and beyond great service to our family!!. They always made a point of finding us 3-4 times a day to make sure we had everything we needed. They set up all the dinners. The food is great and no, I will not say "for Cuba". It was always available and freshly made for us. For anyone that says, there wasn't enough...order 2 entrees. If I wanted a salad with grilled chicken or lobster...all I did was ask and it was provided. We loved the fact that it is a small resort with wonderful low key entertainment.They constantly work the pool and beach offering drinks and food. The beach was wonderful and no need to "mark" chairs as lots were available. I noticed when we got back that this resort is not available until May and that should tell you something. It looks like I will have to book soon for Jan 2014...and we can't wait to see the staff again..especially Orestes and Ariel...Again THANK YOU !!! and who needs the internet ?? We took a quick walk to "memories" and turned right around...don't bother trying to get meal reservations there...everyone we spoke to ended up coming back to Royalton for their meals.

Room Tip: loved the oceanview...but all locations are great because everything is so close
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  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled with family
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21  Thank Baileyrbc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Omar D, Manager at Royalton Cayo Santa Maria, responded to this reviewResponded February 10, 2013

Dear guests:

First of all we would like to say that we are very proud that you chose us for your trip. We are extremely happy that your son could move around so well with his wheelchair. It was such a pleasure to have you with us, you were wonderful clients!

We would like to emphasize on a comment that you made about asking and you shall receive. Many people comment that some things were not available when in fact, we just didn't know that they wanted them because we were not told! We encourage you to tell us what you like to eat as it makes it easier for us to please you, even though there is a wide variety from your menus! Thank you for mentioning this. Whatever you need or want, your butlers, waiters, maids and the management are there to provide it for you!

We have made sure to give the message to Ariel and Orestes, your words are very generous, thank you for sharing your enthusiasm as we are so excited now reading that you will be coming back to visit us next year!

We very much look forward to welcome you and your family again at Royalton Cayo Santa Maria, you best ever hotel!

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Reviewed February 7, 2013

Our stay at the Royalton is by far the best experience we have had at an all inclusive resort! The food was good, the beach and hotel itself are absolutely stunning, but it is the staff and their impeccible service that make this a true 5 star resort. Everyone from bellboy to resort manager, go above and beyond to make your stay as memorable as possible. Allmost all the employees speak English and French very well. Get here while it is still new, because I'm sure the prices will skyrocket soon!

The restaurants are all a la carte (no buffets). Although, at breakfast they also have a little area that you can help youself to toast, pastries, fruit, yogurt and meats and cheeses if you don't wish to order from the breakfast menu...(or you can have a bit of both if you prefer!) The Sunset Grill is open 24 hours, and although it would be nice to have a little more variety in the menu, even the pickiest eater can find enough to have something different during their stay. There are always panini's availble at the lower pool bar and sometimes they bring around skewers of meat or fruit or occasionally ice cream bars! They had a pig roast on Wednesday and it was phenomenal!

With regards to entertainment, you can be as active or as relaxed as you like! Mario was like our personal entertaiment host. He took us to play tennis and table tennis, bocce on the beach and beach volleyball. He took us to the disco at night and played dominos with us too. He truly went above and beyond! We love you Super Mario!

We called the bottom pool the quiet pool and the upper pool, the quieter pool (LOL). The evening entertainment was great (pool show a must see!), and I LOVED the fact that they had some type of live music at every meal with professional musicians.

The beach is amazing and you can walk for miles and miles if you like. They have someone to get your chairs for you and wipe them off and there is always a waiter who will run up to the bar to get you whatever you like. There is a hobbie cat that comes around and will take you out for a sail in the beautiful clear water. Pack bug spray because of the sand fleas!

Your butlers (everyone gets two because they work 16 hours a day, every other day) will basically assist you with whatever you need. Ramon and Alex always seemed to be there whenever we had a question...if you don't see them around, just call reception and they will find them and send them to you immediately! Ramon arranged a special Super Bowl party for us and a birthday bash!

We tipped because we wanted to and we never felt pressured! I'm sure we would have got the same impeccible service if we didn't, but a few pesos go a long way for these employees. If you are looking for things to bring instead of giving money...we were told they love our gum and chocolate, the ladies like stockings.

There is a "town" right next door (literally beside the front restaurant) that has a spa and gym, cigar store, restaurants (the resorts get a special price of 10 pesos per person for a set menu and all you can drink wine and beer...I know you've already paid for all inclusive, but the Japanese Tepanyaki restaurant is really worth it...have your butler book it) The vendors don't barter, but the prices for their wares is really low to begin with. The town is basically staged and is a common area that all the hotels share. There is a disco (again 10 pesos to get in, but all you can drink) and every week they have a Carnival night with local food and bands and fireworks...it is 15 pesos, but worth it if you like to party!!

There is EVERY type of liquor available ( I saw Corona beer, Canadian Club Whisky, Glenfiddich, Jose Cuervo tequila...every name brand Vodka) and the bartenders can make you anything you like. It is all made to order in a blender...no giant generic slushie machine drinks here!

There is NEVER waiting in line for anything....check in and out is taken care of by your butlers and bellboys...no having to make restaurant reservations...you could park your behind in a deck chair for the entire week and not have to lift one finger if you choose to do so! The place was fully booked when we were there, but it never seemed crowded.

There are excursions available to book...I heard the power boat one was excellent...again, let your butler do it! The tv's have many Canadian channels to choose from and oddly American ones as well! I was quite surprised at that. I'm not sure if there is internet available, but we did call home and it was around $1 per minute. For golf fans...Cuba only has 2 courses and the closest one is 4 hours away....

There is a panoramic double decker bus that you can take for 1 peso and it goes around the island to the other resorts and other "towns". You can also rent cars and mopeds next door at the Memories resort.

The rooms are HUGE and the maids make you nice little towel animals. The rainforest shower head is a delight and the bathstubs are deep! They have a nightly turn down service and leave chocolates on your pillow. In my personal opinion, bungalows 5 and 6 are the best....closest to the pool and beach...get a 2nd floor room and you have an ocean view. But, if you really think about it...how much time do you spend in your room anyway?? Every room is a good room!

If you're not sure how good you have it here, just zip next door to Memories for a while and you'll quickly realize what an extraordinary place this is!!

Here are some employees who went above and beyond for us and deserve special recognition....Belkis in the Sunset Grill, Raxon on the beach, Daniel the bellboy, Felix in the Sunset bar...Julie and Omar the managers who were ALWAYS visible and willing to talk and assist you, Dimey at the upper pool bar and Ramon and Alex, our butlers.....oh and of course, Super Mario!!

Room Tip: Bungalows 5 and 6 are close to the beach and lower pool
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  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
25  Thank SherriStocks
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Omar D, Manager at Royalton Cayo Santa Maria, responded to this reviewResponded February 10, 2013

Dear guests:

My God we don't know what to say! What an amazing comment! We are at a loss for words! So full of energy, so full of life and beautiful details! You made smile from the beginning to the end! It was such a blast to have you at our hotel during your vacation.

Ha! We love it! The quiet pool and the quieter pool! Perfectly said! It describe exactly our hotel, peaceful and quiet! It is great that you mention that you were able to get active anyways though, as we always repeat the same comment: ask and you shall receive! We want to access to your every want and need and will do whatever we can to do so! All you need to do is mention it to anyone at all. As you say, from bellboys to management we only have one goal only: to make you happy!

Just to make the information clear though, calling Canada from Cuba is NOT 1 peso a minute but 2.05 PESOS A MINUTE. Unfortunately reverse charge calls and 1-800 numbers cannot be used.

It was an absolute delight to read you dear guests just as it was to have you with us. We certainly hope you will give us the inmense pleasure to welcome you again at Royalton Cayo Santa Maria, your perfect hotel!

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Royalton Cayo Santa Maria

Address: 05200, Cuba
Location: Caribbean > Cuba > Villa Clara Province > Cayo Santa Maria
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 16 Hotels in Cayo Santa Maria
Price Range: $246 - $520 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 122

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