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“AMAZING STAY!! - read the truth”

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Golden Tulip Aguas Claras
Ranked #6 of 16 Hotels in Cayo Santa Maria
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed April 28, 2014

Stayed at the BEAUTIFUL resort from April 19 - April 26, 2014. When we arrived at 11 PM, the staff was ready and waiting to get us to our room quickly and efficiently. They explained a few things and sent us on our way. This is where more could have been explained - your room key is also your "hydro" key. it goes into the slot above the light switch (right beside the door). This is the hotels way of making sure the lights are only on when you're in the room. Also, make sure to ask for exact directions if you walk to your "Bungalow" (what they call the buildings where the rooms are), or better yet - use the golf cart transport that goes around the resort (tip a 50c peso) :). the Rooms were clean and very nice. Only issue - not enough storage for your clothes. FYI - check your closet for the hotel issued umbrella - they are great at the pool and beach when the shaded chairs are taken :), if not in your closet just ask and they will provide. The shows were GREAT! The Michael Jackson is a MUST SEE!! the BEACH and POOLS (3 at the main building and 1 kids pool) were all SPECTACULAR! White sand and turquoise water! The bars around pools (yes, even kids pool had one - great for the kids to get their own "slushies" (virgin strawberry and lime daiquiris). My favorite drink was the MIAMI VICE!! The SERVICE - is AMAZING! just remember - ASK AND YOU SHALL RECEIVE! FOOD - this is where the real flaw is. be prepared for a lot of seafood and lack of seasoning. Take a shaker of your favorite seasoning with you. The buffet was good but food would get cool quickly. the omelettes were great! SHOPPING - only 1 store on resort but for a peso each you can take a 2 min bus ride (bus departs from the from steps every 45 - 60 mins from 10 AM - 2AM) to the shopping market. or be adventurous and take a cab - same price(ask driver before getting in, they will try for 4 pesos - just say no thanks i'll wait for bus and that's when they drop the price ;) but more exciting :) - FYI- vendors aren't big on haggling the price, but you wont need to the prices are fair. Also, they have a Disco and Carnivals at night. check with the lobby staff for that information.
You'll read in some reviews: that the sheets arent changed everyday - do you do that at home?
2. that the TV channels will cut out - is that why you went to Cuba? to watch TV??
3. gardens weren't "plush" enough - really? new hotel - takes time for plants and flowers to grow.
*If you are concerned with the above 3 things then no, dont go here, but for people living in the real world - GO STAY AT EUROSTARS!! - will definitely be back!

Room Tip: bungelows 5,6 and 7 are the farthest from the hotel but you can also take the golf cart bus :)
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  • Stayed: April 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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7  Thank Melissa S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sylvain L, Director General at Golden Tulip Aguas Claras, responded to this reviewResponded May 3, 2014

Dear customers.:
It is a pleasure to know that you enjoyed your holiday in our hotel.
It is also a pleasure to know that our facilities would and that the service offered by us has been to their liking.
We continue to work to improve on the big and small details to make the stay of our guests unforgettable. The satisfaction of our customers is our primary commitment.
Thank you very much for your comments.
Best regards.Teresa Jiménez

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978 - 984 of 2,422 reviews

Reviewed April 28, 2014

I spent 14 days at Eurostars from April 11 - 26 travelling as a couple along with two of our friends. I'm sure my partner will also leave a detailed review from her perspective on Eurostars so you will at least see two sides of our story.

Before I get into detail, here is brief idea of who we are, so some reviewers with similar tastes will know what to expect! We are a professional couple in our 20's and when vacationing, we look for these things in order of importance; beach, resort accommodation, food and drinks, staff.

We have exclusively stayed in adult’s resorts only so we arrived at Eurostars with an open mind expecting that some things will lack what we are accustomed too. To name few of the adult resorts we have stayed at: Royal Catalonia (Dominican Republic) & Royalton (Cuba).

Side note, it is our first time travelling to a family resort.

On to the details...

Beach - Santa Maria has a beautiful strip of beach and the best I've seen to date. During our stay we had 14 days of full blown hot sunny weather which made us appreciate the white silky sands. The ocean is clean, clear and picture perfect (shades of blue and turquoise) that even in the deepest parts where you take out the Kayaks, Paddle Boats, Catamarans and Wind Surf Boards, you can see to the bottom of the ocean. There is very little sea weed however when the tides are rough you will get some along the shores, but nothing crazy since the cleaners are out before sunrise cleaning.

If you are facing towards the ocean, furthest to the right where the beach ends, there is cliff/coral where you can see some beautiful ocean life just along the edge. Bring some banana or bread. There are various sorts of fishes around that will keep you entertained. Fair warning you may encounter Barracuda. My partner and I were feeding some fishes in shallow water and were attacked by a Barracuda (on two separate occasions). It's a little scary because it's unexpected. The security guard on the beach who saw the attack also told us that it was said creature and recommended not to feed the fish, however being stubborn tourists we still did it.

At the opposite end of the beach, there is some coral that you can walk through where it has various paths that lead to parts of the resort, one of them right to the pool area and a smaller beach that has been known as the second beach of Eurostars but isn’t big enough to actually be even considered a separate beach at all. If you continue passed the beach and pool and walk through the coral for about 15-20 minutes you will reach the other resorts like Memories and Royalton. We used that path on two occasions to reach the Pueblo which is connected to above mentioned resorts.

Unfortunately the downside on the beach is the palapas, there aren’t enough to accommodate to the total occupants of Eurostars. You will end up playing the towel game and this is something I was never accustomed to. It wasn't a problem for me as I seem to be an early morning riser during vacation. So be forewarned that you need to will be up early to get a palapa, otherwise you'll be getting creative with the chairs and umbrellas to make your own shade.

Additionally if you are someone who enjoys drinking on the frequent, there is a bar on the beach but it's a walk to get there and not within a close distance if you are on the further part of the beach. They do have a waiter coming to the beach, but it seems they only have one runner so it’s quite a wait.

Pool Area - There are 3 main pool areas that are designed in a three level split with a strong aim on an infinity pool effect (more so the lower pool). The top pool area in front of the buffet offers the swim-up/pool bar and an outlook to the ocean. The second level below is where some of the activities the animation team holds but it's the quietest area of the pool if you arrive there in the late afternoon from the beach. The third level is where the infinity pool effect takes place as it looks right out onto the ocean, and there's also a little cove there for additional shade.

Aside from the primary pool area, there is a kiddie pool separated from everyone close to the beach buffet. We used this area time to time in the evening after leaving the beach to swim. It’s deep enough for a dip and to swim around, and is very quiet by comparison to the primary pool area. There is also a bar here for the adults and kids.

Drinks/Beverages - There are 6 bars all together on the resort: pool, kiddie pool, beach buffet, beach, snack bar (24 hr), lobby (24 hr). We found that the best drinks were made at the kiddie pool (by two very amazing ladies, we primarily dealt with Duni *spelling*) and the lobby (thank you, Yoel, Yoelke, Elvis and Carlos). The names mentioned above made drinks to our requests, and found they were never over powered by liquor if you asked properly. They have a drink menu but some of the ingredients are not available so they will use alternatives.

If you are a big baileys drinker who likes it on ice, the alternative you can ask for is Caribe. The bottle looks identical to baileys but is labeled Caribe Disco and is black/gold labeling, the bottle is black itself. It's not exactly baileys to taste, there version has a more café touch to it but it’s very tasteful and might curb your baileys craving.

Other drinks we saw they had available are also, Malibu, Kahlua and Crown Royale. The Vodka drink they carry is a Russian brand which was surprisingly tasty, and not to strong.

They primarily use two brands of rum at their resort, Havana Club and Mulata. Mulata is there cheaper rum and very bland in taste, so I recommend making your rum mixed drinks with Havana Club so mention it to the tender, prior to them mixing your drink as they'll immediately use Mulata, unless you’re indifferent.

I'm not sure the extent off knowledge the tenders have with drinks as we primarily stuck with three mixes; my partner really loved there Miami Vice and I preferred my Vodka Lemonade Slushy and Kahlua mixed with Malibu and Milk. Another drink that we saw was popular with occupants which we weren't fond off was Varadero Sunrise (mixture of Orange Juice, Curacao and Grenadine) and of course Mojitos.

Might I recommend having a drink list with you if you are unsure of what drinks to make (I downloaded a drink app on my phone just in case). The bar tenders are good listeners and will make the drink you like on request, if they don't know how to make it.

Once a week on your way to the beach via the primary entrance along the Beach Buffet, the resort offers fresh coconuts. I highly recommend this and asking them to add a dash off Coconut Liquor into the juice. This will sweeten the coconut juice after you let it sit there for a while. If you're not a big fan of natural coconut juice, adding some of the liquor might make you change your mind. I'm a huge fan of coconut juice, and I always had 4-6 coconuts to myself topped with Coconut Liquor. Afterwards, you can go back and ask them to break the coconut open so you can eat it. They only stay there between 9am till after lunch so roughly around 2-3pm. Thanks Santiogo!

Food - As mentioned above, my partner and I have only ever travelled to Adults Only resorts so this was our first time staying at a family. With that said, we were expecting the quality of food to be different from what we are used too, even in Cuba (having stayed at Royalton the previous year). So we did come in with lower expectations.

Moving forward, the food overall was satisfying and that you will always find something to eat. We are self-proclaimed foodies at heart, but we are also easy to please.

Breakfast was by far the best meals we enjoyed. There was plenty of bacon, eggs, hash browns, cold cuts, cheeses, fresh fruit and fresh juice(s) (that is made at the entrance of the buffet). Their is also plenty of bread. I was a fan of the sugar loaf bread. Please note though that the cheeses are slightly different from what we are accustomed to in North America, but enjoyable regardless. The omelettes chefs are amazing and are good listeners even if they seem like they are in a rush; you can also opt to have them just make a simple over easy egg, sunny side or scramble if you don't want an omelette. Thank you chefs, Jose and Yolena! You two were awesome and always fun to talk too when I saw you in the morning. Our servers, Yolede and Suzanne - thank you for being attentive, kind and taking the time to talk with us to start our mornings.

At lunch we primarily ate at the Beach Buffet and/or snack bar: we were told by our travel companions though that the lunch and dinner at the primary buffet (the one in front of the pool) is the same menu with slight adjustments at the grill.

The beach buffet offers some authentic and not so authentic Cuban dishes, they also have a BBQ going that always consisted of chicken and fish and once sometimes twice a week they also had pork. Yoanna, you were superb and thank you for going out of your way to keeping your promise and bringing us our Papas (French Fries) the following day after we missed out on them and also going above and beyond and making us a yummy drink when there wasn't any Pineapple Juice available.

The snack bar was never disappointed me! They serve Pizza! It's not North American standard pizza, but it is enough to keep you satisfied and always coming back for more. They changed their recipe the second week which was a big improvement from our first week so I recommend going to the snack bar at lunch for Pizza. No point comparing the difference in Pizza since the new recipe was a big improvement. Thank you Carlos and Leon for remembering the pizzas we like every time we went there! You guys were hilarious to talk too.

The snack bar also serves Calamari which is very yummy. They also have French fries available, Banana Chips and Casava Chips. However, the resort did run out of Calamari and French Fries the last few days of our stay that wasn't a big deal for us. However, it seemed that people were getting very angry when there weren't any fries available. So if you are a crazy French fry lover and can’t live without it, you may encounter a few days when there isn’t any available. I recommend trying there Cuban rice dishes. Very yummy.

Side note! Ketchup! Yes, they have real ketchup available. We only had two days when the resort was making their own version of ketchup, but throughout our whole stay, they had real Heinz Ketchup - so if you're someone who loves this condiment and can't live without it, you may be in for a good surprise. Bring your own PB though.

Additionally they serve Burgers, Hotdogs and Grilled Ham and Cheese Sandwich. To keep things short on these three menu: (Burgers) the meat they use is primarily pork with little beef, (hotdogs) is more of luncheon style or pam style meat shaped into a dog, (grilled ham and cheese sandwich) is well a grilled ham and cheese sandwich, haha lol. Thank you to Vladimir and Brady at the Snack bar, though the drinks you made were a little bit heavy on the liquor side - you always went out of your way to make sure we were happy and satisfied.

Dinner was pretty good and I always found something to eat. I primarily used the grill during our stay and always had there grilled beef (which were thin cuts of either flank or tenderloin beef), chicken (which were breast or boneless chicken thighs). Never had an issue with either or, and also ate the beef cooked at medium rare and never got sick once. Sometimes beside the grill, they also have a cutting table where they serve some very yummy pork and/or roasted lamb.

The other grills they have available (there are three in total) aside from the meats, is fish and pasta. Never tried the fish grill, but I did try the pasta once. They serve the pasta al dente, and they use two sauces a creamy sauce they were told was roux which it isn't, it's really there variation of a fettuccini, the other sauce a tomato marinara. Nothing impressive but it's something anyone can enjoy. The fettuccini lacks in flavor and is too liquid. The marinara, has taste but it's because there tomatoes have taste too them, lol. While not something to wow about, the pasta is a nice change for anyone who doesn't like repetition.

Now onto the buffet portion for the dinner, like the beach buffet, they also contain authentic Cuban dishes and not so authentic Cuban dishes. There rice dishes are yummy along with some of the meats they cook. Vegetables are something to desire, but I give them effort for trying and using what they have on hand. The cabbage dishes were always yummy, but sometimes over salted so that was a hit and miss.

Overall the food is okay. Not great but not bad. Like I said, you'll always find something to eat. I would like to add that the buffet at the Memories (Royalton has access to both Memories resorts, and we visited them during our stay) is the exact same as the food at Eurostar. Additionally we met a couple who also said that the food is similar if not identical at Iberostar. So for anyone who has stayed at the resorts mentioned, expect the food to be the same at Eurostar, but I can only assume that's how Family Resorts work since they are feeding mass quantities of people.

Desserts, Ice Cream was yummy and always surprising because of the unique flavors they had. But we always enjoyed the ice cream when we ate them. The fruits were good. When it came to the pastries and cake, like the vegetables they needed improvement. While they looked great in presentation, the tastes were all the same. The only cake we enjoyed were these small squares that had cinnamon and sugar icing at the top and they were always moist, I think these were the most popular as they were the first ones to go. Another dessert that goes out quick is there Cream Puffs which is really a puff filled pudding, but still pretty yummy.

Additionally to end the food topic, I want people (primarily the ones who complained about the food) to understand that you cannot expect North American standard food in a foreign country. These chefs do not have the same ingredients or recipes available to them and they are not accustomed to cooking North American dishes.

So yes, it is hard for them to cook something we like because (1) they have no idea what it's supposed to taste like, ie a Hamburger, a Fetucinni Alfredo, a grilled cheese. Since they don't eat what we eat. (2) they don't have the same resources available.

But when it came to the Cuban dishes, they were fantastic. So to the whiners and complainers about food, please be more open minded and cultured.

You get what you pay for. I'm sorry if this will offend some people, but don't expect to get amazing treatment when you pay way below 1500 dollars/week to stay at a resort in a developing country. That's fact. On a good note, I never got sick from there foods.

A La Cartes are nothing special and truthfully they use the same foods they normally serve at the buffets and just put them on fancier dishes and make slight alterations to a certain meat or vegetable at aiming to make it different.

The A La Cartes at Eurostars are really used for just a change of scenery from the usual buffet set up and it's lineups (which aren't that long, so I don't understand why people complain when they are in a lineup that lasts for like 5 minutes... where else do you need to go? Perhaps you’re just in a rush to only sit back down to eat so you can get up and stuff your face again? Like really?)

Would I recommend the A La Cartes? Not really... you can skip out on it if you don't mind the buffet set-up. However, I would probably recommend at least booking at the Mediterranean if you like Lobster. Just make sure to let the server know that you don't want the lobster over cooked.

We ended up going to the Pueblo 3 times for dinner, to change from the usual dinners we ate at the resort. There's no special discount like you get at the Royalton, but if you don't mind coughing up some money to eat better food… I'd suggest going to the Pueblo and trying there Pizza and Shogun. The Shogun you’re looking roughly at 45-70 CUCs for two people. That includes tip as they automatically add 10% to the bill. The Pizza you're looking at 30 bucks (again that’s 10% added to the bill) for 6 medium sized Pizzas that are amazing. Our in-laws who came to stay at the resort during our last week, even said that the Pizza matches up to some of the Pizza places here in Ontario (my Father in-law is a Pizza addict so I respect his critique on the Pizza lol)

Bedroom - My partner and I stayed in Bungalow 12, third floor, ocean view, king bed. Like the resort, the bedroom is aimed to be modern. The room is nothing fancy. However, we rarely stayed in our rooms so we didn't complain about it either. Upon arrival, the bedroom was clean and bug free.

The only hiccup we had was the cabinet space that hid the bar fridge underneath the TV. The door was broken but was fixed a day after, without us even saying anything about it (kudos to the maintenance staff for being attentive). The bathroom was modern. We didn't have a bathtub like our travel companions; instead we had the walk in stand up shower. Unlike some of the reviewers who complained about the flooding and/or pooling issues because of the open concept, we never encountered this. The only time we had pooling/flooding issues was when we brought in sand to exfoliate our body. But other than that, no problems - we even had showers that lasted 45 minutes and never pooled.

The view we had was spectacular. We were able to enjoy watching the sunrise/sundown and we had a fantastic view of beach. When I got up early in the morning to get us palapas, I would return to the room and crack the sliding doors to the balcony, so we can hear the ocean rock up against the shore.

The air conditioning has a sensor, so whenever you open the slides to get on the balcony it shuts off and you will have to turn it back on once you close it again. Never had problems with the air conditioning. If you drop the temperature below 20 degrees, the air conditioning unit gets pretty loud so unless you like your room to be an ice box, I recommend keeping the A/C at 20-21 overnight so you won’t be disturbed in your sleep by the unit.

The only thing I would note is if you are a light sleeper and you go to bed while the night show is going on in the theater, like Michael Jackson - the acoustics in the theater echo throughout the resort and you'll be able to hear the music and crowd from the bungalow... it's not loud to the point it's disturbing... you'll just be able to hear it. As if you were watching TV on low volume.

We only watched about an hours’ worth of TV every evening as a way to kind of end our night... and that's if we even made it to watching a full hour, we were normally asleep by 9-10pm. Depending on the cable, you may to have to fiddle with it so you can get clear picture. Not a big deal. Channels start from 7-48 and there's no real particular order to it. There was CTV, BBC, MTV, TBS, HBO, TNT, and Discovery to identify some notable networks... then some children's network and foreign networks. So there's something to watch.

The bed itself is very hard which is perfect for me because I'm someone who sleeps on their back but for my partner who is a side sleeper, it wasn't very comfortable so she got creative and used the blankets in the closet as extra cushioning. We also asked for extra pillows, so aside from the decorative pieces we had 6 pillows total. You will initially have 2 pillows, 2 tube pillows, 4 decorative pillows (if you call it that? They were colorful squares...). We asked for 4 additional pillows which were actually more comfortable then the initial pillows you start off with, so I would recommend asking for additional pillows... and they act as added support for side sleepers, spinal alignment or feet elevation - (random 411 to share).

We were initially offered the Honeymoon suite as a bonus but we declined the free upgrade since the only difference was that you had a separate living space from the bed... which wasn't a big deal. It was a nice gesture on behalf of the resort, but we don't spend any time in the room unless it's to sleep and change so it wouldn't have made any difference.

Staff - My partner and I are very fortunate that we know enough Spanish to carry on a level of conversation with the staff and to also have our requests made. With that said, please take our review on the staff on fact that we have knowledge in Spanish.

The staff like many have said are hard workers, amazing and intelligent people (some once being Doctors but chose the resort job as it pays better in Cuba) and are always looking to serve. They always try to serve you to the best of there abilities. At times depending on who you get, they will go above and beyond and give that extra service that will make you say 'Wow' - ie Yoanna, Yoelke, Yoel, Elvis, Carlos, Yolena, and Dennis! We only came across 1 bad apple and she was the female responsible for booking the A La Cartes.. we dealt with her as a group and she was very rude. Perhaps she was frustrated or having a bad day, but she had poor Customer Service etiquette. We did not see her for the remainder of our stay and actually dealt with a polite gentleman who booked our last A La Carte. Teresa who is the manager of the resort, is very polite though she looks very stern, especially when you see her roaming the resort. She is originally from Spain so her English is poor but she will do her past to try and understand you.

I believe that when going to a country that is not your own, it is important to at least know a level of their dialect because then you can truly enjoy the service the resort offers. You can communicate our problems easier and have our requests made. Just because we paid to be in that resort, never should we feel entitled that they should all know how to speak our language. It's unfair, and to be frank ignorant on peoples behalf if they feel that way. A little Spanish goes a long way, and taking the time to talk to the staff goes a lot further.

Being able to communicate can make 3.5 experience still enjoyable! And that's what we had. Even though the resort at this point in time is 3-3.5 star, we still enjoyed it because we were able to communicate with staff and management and have our requests met without problems. Again the staff are there to please and strive to make your stay enjoyable and that's what they did for us!


Resort Grounds - Like what people have said, the resort is modern and up to date by comparison to the other resorts; ie. Memories Paraiso, Memories Azul, Iberostar. The concept at the lobby aims at being open, so there is a breeze that passes throughout the lobby and theater which are all connected. No need to worry about being in an enclosed humid sweat box.

The grounds overall are well maintained but nothing eye catching or extravagant. The set-up is simple. Though large it is not big by comparison to Memories or Iberostar. The décor is simple and it seems to aim at trying to give a more peaceful atmosphere, though with Family Resorts I doubt it will accomplish it.

Connected to the Lobby which is the main hub of all social gatherings in the evening, is also the Disco which opens after the theater show is finished. We went to check it out, and it's like any other disco to be honest; dance floor, seats/tables along the sides, perverts ally along the edges of the dance floor and a bar. We didn't spend time there except for one evening, but our travel companions mentioned that some nights they were busy and fun while others were lack luster.

The gym much to my surprise is very good and will say it's actually better than the fitness centre at Fairmont Royal York in Toronto which we stayed at 2 weeks prior to leaving for Vacation. So if you are a health buff, or someone who prefers doing cardio on a machine then outside, you will be glad to know that the equipment is up to date and not old. The primary equipment they carry is the 'Techno Gym' brand, and I've seen some of their equipment here at the gyms in Ontario.

They also have a convenient store (again connected to the Lobby, and beside the Disco) which is slightly expensive then the Pueblo convenient stores. The price difference is not monumental... you’re looking at a couple cents to a buck or two more. So if you're someone who doesn't want to spend 1.00 CUC/Person to take a Taxi, Bus to the Pueblo or walk the 20 minute route from the beach. The convenient store will have some of the stuff you’re looking for like Cigars and Liquors.

To elaborate on the title of my review, when I say 'some visitors, ruined the resorts full potential' is a true statement. The resort had a lot of potential to be a 4-4.5 star resort, but Eurostar kicked there selves on the rear end for selling their tickets at such a dirt cheap price. The dollar value attracted particular visitors that ruined the resort grounds. I apologize ahead of time if I offend anyone, but truth be told if it wasn't for the cheap prices they sold... the resort itself would be in a better condition than it is now as it would of attracted a better crowd.

While the grounds are well kept, you can tell that it is slowly falling apart and that it will eventually become another Memories or Iberostar resort within the year.

Cigarettes aren't thrown away properly; beer cans could be spotted at random along the resort and especially on the beach grounds along the Palapas. Mentioned earlier, the door that concealed the bar fridge in our room was broken because it looked like some drunken fool broke it. Walls had signs of water damage in the bathroom, scratches, in-dents along the bedroom walls. I can only imagine the condition of other rooms.

At times we'd be walking towards the beach and you'll smell the aroma of someone's puke from last nights’ binge drinking coming from a nearby bush.

I literally saw an individual urinating in a bush off the beach, while his partner stood a distance. The embarrassing part is, he was an older fellow so I would have been expecting a better sense of class. But nope.

Like I said, the price of the tickets attracted a crowd that lacked a level of class one would not see at a higher end resort. And this is me being honest when comparing to the adults resorts I've stayed at. So there is damage that Eurostars is taking and it will eventually lose its appeal because off it.

Overall, this will be our last time staying at a family resort. The beach was amazing and made up for what the resort lacked. The food was okay; not great, not terrible - there was enough variety that you will find something. Again, as the saying goes ‘you get what you pay for’, so set your standards sub-par.

The staff works super hard and are amazing people, once you give them the time of day and get to know them; Yoelke, Yoel, Carlos, Elvis, Jose, Duni, Yoana, Suzanne, Yolede, Yolena, Carlos, Leon, Vladimir, Brady, Dennis, Adrian, Yarisbel, Santiago and Teresa (the Manager) - thank you for making all the efforts and kind gestures, so that our visit was enjoyable.

We wish you nothing more but the best in your future endeavours and that Eurostar will improve!

Fellow travellers, if you are someone who is on a dollar budget, but who is also open minded, doesn't suffer from tunnel vision with their food and don't mind trying something out of the ordinary. I recommend Eurostar for you. The beach is amazing, and it will not disappoint. Our travel companions agreed that this is a beautiful strip of beach, by comparison to Varadero. Yes, you do have to play the towel game, but from what I've been told that's how it goes with family resorts.

However, if you are someone who prefers a quiet, relaxing smaller resorts with VIP access to bigger resorts, away from rowdy crowds, and are accustomed to adults only where there are no kids, with better quality food and no buffets - I will not recommend this resort as it will be something you are not accustomed too.

If you have any particular questions about this resort, whatever it may be. Please don't hesitate to inbox.

Room Tip: Bungalow 9 and 12 offer the best views of the Beach and appears to be in the best locations in terms...
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  • Stayed: April 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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11  Thank Ozzie A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sylvain L, Director de Relaciones con Clientes at Golden Tulip Aguas Claras, responded to this reviewResponded May 6, 2014

Dear Customer.:
We greatly appreciate your comments (extensives) on this website.
We are happy to know you enjoyed your vacation fully.
The satisfaction of our customers is our primary commitment.
Your comments help us to keep on working day by day improving our services and achieve the Eurostars standards of quality. We note things we need to improve
We hope to see you soon for our Eurostars Cayo Santa Maria.
Thanks again for your help.
José Ángel Rodríguez.
Director Alojamiento

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 28, 2014

Travelled April 13-20 with our 19 and 24 yr old sons. This was our 9th time to Cuba but first to Santa Maria. As you sift through the reviews, the common thread is the food. We found meals very hit and miss - the one consistent thing is it's pretty much the same day after day. Everything else was good but the resort runs parallel to the ocean with beach access at one end so if you are at the other end and want to go to the beach it's over a kilometer walk....we spent most of our time at the pools. Only professional towel game players need apply - I had to be out by 6:30am at the latest to get a palapa at the pool.

  • Stayed: April 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank KruserL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sylvain L, Director General at Golden Tulip Aguas Claras, responded to this reviewResponded May 3, 2014

Dear Customer.:
We would love to welcome you again in our hotel.
We continue to make changes that we hope will improve our services and facilities.
We note things we need to improve.
Thanks for your feedback.
Best regards.Teresa Jiménez

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 27, 2014

We were group of 9 including 3 kids (5, 6 & 8 years old) staying April 13-20, 2014 at Eurostars Cayo Santa Maria. We booked in November 2013 and like many other reviewers were worried by mid January 2014 that we should back off this resort. Thank God we did not because even though this hotel is a bit rough around the edges when it comes to some minor things like food (but who goes to Cuba for food anyways?) it was 1 week of pure pleasure for all of us.

THE BEACH: SPECTACULAR!! White powder sand and transparent turquoise water. Nothing more to say.

POOLS: AWSOME. Beautiful architectural designer work throughout the 3-level main pool area. Kids pool is also very convenient, and smartly designed so it does not seem overly crowded.

LOBBY: spacious, friendly, a bit slow on service, but all the drinks are totally worth it. Could not get enough of Pina Coladas ( my personal 5* rating to it!). By the way - the best virgin Pina Colada is served in kids pool bar, yes they have a BAR in kiddy pool))

ENTERTAINMENT: previous reviewers are correct - the BEST Michael Jackson show I have ever seen! Two thumbs up to professionals that made this show, what a work!

SERVICE: Cuban people are very friendly; we had no issues with service.

We stayed in Bungalow 12 – close to everything.

  • Stayed: April 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
5  Thank Val B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sylvain L, Director General at Golden Tulip Aguas Claras, responded to this reviewResponded May 3, 2014

Dear Customer.:
We greatly appreciate your comments.
We are happy to know you enjoyed your vacation fully.
The satisfaction of our customers is our primary commitment.
We hope to see you soon for our Eurostars Cayo Santa Maria.
Thanks again for your help.Teresa Jiménez

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 27, 2014

This is our first time to this part of a fantastic country, as we usually go to Cayo Coco.

The entire resort is great, we were in bldg. 10, top floor with a amazing view of the ocean, I recommend booking a ocean suite.
Room was clean no complaints there, the in room fridge always was stocked, same time everyday, very reliable.
My wife and I chose to actually stay the majority of time by the pool, I would say to fully relax, the middle pool is the place to go. The swim up bar was more of a drunken party scene, which for the relaxation side is not possible. The bottom pool was for the aquacise and animation.
I would go poolside everyday at 640am to save us a few pool seats, as we actually used them all day unlike others.

The 24hr bar by the pool was awesome, I was always there and Miguel was a great man, polite and always smiling. Also Didi and Vladimir were great too.(I say tip 90-100% they really appreciate) Pizza was awesome too

As for the food, It was well MEh!! nothing great nothing awful.
Breakfasts we always sat by the window and the young lady was great, My coffee was always full. Omlettes were awesome, I would always put bacon in with it

as for other meals, It was all cooked with too much oil and a lot was re heated. after 2 days I got tired of cold rice and potatos. Stick to the pasta and Chicken/steak. Oily but good.

My real complaint was when people hold pool chairs they should actually use them, My wife and I would stay from 8am to 430 everyday, we watched so many towels just stay on chairs and no one show up till 1-2 or not at all, That's not a cool way to do it.
My other one was a family of 10, They took up 12 chairs and went to the "ocean" most of the day, Then I seen them in the bottom pool(Good for us)taking up the entire cave part of the pool. But you can't do anything about that type of traveller

and last for the resort, Please work on better preparation and cooking methods for the food, less butter and oil.

All in all, Great Resort, Great Time Ok food

Room Tip: Book Ocean Suites
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  • Stayed: April 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank shawng78
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sylvain L, Director General at Golden Tulip Aguas Claras, responded to this reviewResponded May 3, 2014

Dear customer:
We want to first thank you would have chosen for your holidays in Cayo Santa Maria.
Your comments help us to keep on working day by day improving our services and achieve the Eurostars standards of quality.
We note things we need to improve.
We hope to see you among us in the future.
Best regards. Teresa Jiménez

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 27, 2014

We stayed at Eurostars from April 13-20/14. Traveled via Hola Sun on Canjet Airlines. No complaints about Canjet ...flight was good and food provided both ways including complimentary champagne and wine! We had very little interaction with our travel rep other than to say Hola Sun had great prices, low taxes and the resort intro was less than 15 minutes!

Bus ride to the resort was uneventful other than Cuba is no longer selling beer for the bus ride to the resort... much to my hubby's disappointment. However small rum and cokes could be purchased prior to heading to the resort and you can really see how the Cuban people live during the ride. I so appreciate how lucky we are here in Canada every time we travel!

This was our 7th trip to Cuba (second to CSM at Melia Las Dunas) as well as we have travelled to Dominican Republic and Mexico several times. We have stayed at 3, 4 and 5 star resorts over the years. We booked this resort to celebrate our wedding anniversary prior to all the concerning reviews in January and we went with an open mind that improvements were being made after all the bad reviews over the winter.

Eurostars claims to be a 5 star rating but overall it was lacking in some regards compared to all the other resorts we have stayed at including very basic 3 star resorts. Yes the resort itself is stunning, beach awesome, has fantastic pools systems, and great drinks including Cristal in the mini fridge every day but the food and some service need big improvements .

Check in was very quick and organized for a bus full of travellers. Our room was ready on arrival in the early afternoon. Room was decent and we got everything we asked for ( I had emailed ahead approx 2 weeks prior with a few requests) but as the week went on the cleaning was bare bones at best. The bed cover already had a notable stain on it on arrival and the carpets looked pretty grungy by the end of our stay. Maybe a broom and dust pan should be left in every room so the guest can tidy up especially after a long day at the beach. Towels were changed daily but they really do have a lot of stains on them for a relatively new resort. A couple of our beach towels were also quite frayed and ripped and they had weird rust stains on them. I have never experienced this before even at a budget hotel. I also question if the bed spreads get changed regularly because I always saw laundry going out such as towels and sheets but never the purple covers that adorn each bed. The decorative throw pillows are also likely well used and I doubt they are ever cleaned so bringing extra pillow cases might be a good idea for future travellers. Also just as an FYI, we had put out the please make room sign up and when we returned later in the day it had been flipped to do not disturb so the room went unmade and we had no fresh towels. We suspect some kids who had just arrived in our building that day might have been the culprits because we made sure the sign said please make up the room before we headed out and they had been goofing around the building earlier in the day. I also noted that the hallways and stairwells were really dirty and there was an increasing collection of human hair on the staircases as the week went on.

At the beginning of our week the food was stone cold including anything in a buffet warmer. Things did get a bit better by mid week but the food is very recycled from meal to meal and the mystery meats, poultry and fish often smelled strange. We stuck mainly with fruit, omelettes (best meal of the day), salads and items freshly made to order like grilled fish, chicken, steak and pizzas. The bread was also very disappointing and the worst we have ever had in Cuba.

Service at the buffet and snack bar was mixed at best. For most meals we either got our own drinks or we never got a top up of water, coffee or wine. Larger groups seemed to get better service even though we tend to be big tippers. The staff seemed more concerned to clear your plate than serve you. We found the best service was at the back of the buffet as an FYI.

We did 2 al a cartes at the beginning of the week then just stuck to the buffet thereafter. The Mediterranean was awful! No one to greet on arrival and the entrance was tough to find because there was no sign. Menu indicated a welcome drink but never saw one. Once seated we waited a while to order and a table of 4 that came in after us already had their wine and bread. The restaurant was very disorganized with zero ambiance. The walls were bare and they were playing WHAM and Bryan Adams...how Mediterranean is that??? Our server eventually and delicately served our paper napkin to us with tongs then disappeared for a while. The appetizer was the worst I have ever had....bland and stone cold. We both ordered the lobster which was chewy and way overcooked. Our poor waiter was so upset and we felt so bad for him so we left him a good tip for trying. He didn't make the lobster and quite honestly the restaurant needs good leadership to get it together to provide the service they claim to have. I was also a bit annoyed that during our meal two very drunk guys arrived in shorts and were given cloth napkins! At time of reserving the al a cartes we were told no shorts which my husband hates but abides by; however if the staff don't enforce the rules then that is annoying at best for all the guys who wish they were in shorts

We tried the Cuban restaurant the following night for our anniversary and it was a big improvement. Service and ambiance were great and the food was decent. Unfortunately there was nothing special for our anniversary offered by the resort which I don't expect but even a small basket in the room or towel art might have been a nice gesture. We travel every year for our anniversary and this was the first time that we were completely dismissed.

Snack bar was OK but no menus and staff spoke limited anything! A Menu Chalk board posted with options at the front might be helpful and easy to update day to day. You can get the basics-fries, burgers and hotdogs 24 hrs and freshly made pizzas with a small buffet is offered from noon to 4pm. There is also fresh grilled chicken and fish by the beach everyday but arrive early because the line ups started about noon. They also do a pig roast weekly and ours was on the Tuesday which was very popular. And FYI...if you are a ketchup lover you may need to bring some from home as it was hard to come by all week. But on the last night of our vacation the Heinz shipped rolled in so anyone travelling the next week with a ketchup addiction was all set!

Service in the lobby bar was great during the day but crazy busy at night. One little tip would be to get your drinks at the snack bar then head to the show after. The lobby had no organization at night and it was every man or woman for themselves to try to get a drink!!! The Brazilian coffees are great and I miss them so much! We must give a hug thank to Denis, Dayana and Lauren at the Lobby bar...You are all fantastic. The young man at the pool bar all week was also exceptional but I forgot to write out his name...but it started with a V. The entertainment staff were also great and work hard all day and night to keep us busy and entertained. There is also a small beach bar past building 9 so be sure to visit those folks because they see little traffic so probably get few tips. The staff work long long hours and I can see why some seemed disinterested and even grumpy at times which the management really needs to rethink if they want to be a 5 star resort. Happy staff makes for a successful business! Just saying!

I would highly recommend the VIP lounge at the airport since you have to head to the airport about 5 hours prior to your departure. We had express check-in which in itself was so worth the 25 pesos each, as well as you relax in an air conditioned lounge with comfy chairs, TVs, unlimited snacks and beverages both alcoholic and non. We also were able to board the plan directly from the lounge rather than line up with the masses.

Overall our week was nice, the weather was fantastic and we enjoyed making new friends. I would definitely return to CSM but unfortunately not to Eurostars nor will I recommend to friends because of the food and ongoing service issues. This resort has potential but for the 5 star claim they really need to up their game. This is my first review of all my travels because I just felt this time around folks need to know what they might encounter and hopefully they won't run into the problems we encountered and the 5 star claim will be reality someday.

Best of luck Eursostars. Adios!

  • Stayed: April 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank MicknDen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sylvain L, Director General at Golden Tulip Aguas Claras, responded to this reviewResponded May 3, 2014

Dear Customer.
We want to first thank you would have chosen for your holidays in Cayo Santa Maria.
We regret any inconvenience you may have encountered during your stay.
We are working to correct errors and meet the standards of our chain Eurostars.
We would like to have you here again, and so to show our improvements.
Thank you very much for your feedback which will help us improve.
Yours sincerely. Teresa Jiménez

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 26, 2014

This was my third trip in Cayo Santa Maria and I was looking forward to try this newly built resort. I was not disappointed. The resort is beautiful and well built. Here are a couple of pros and cons that are similar to those of other travellers.

Positives
-the best beach I have ever seen. The water is so transparent and turquoise and the sand so soft. The water is hot and there are just enough waves to have some fun. Really a big plus!
-very nice pools, one overseeing the ocean
-big comfortable and mostly clean rooms. We requested a king size bed at the upper level and our request was granted. If you can, the ocean view room had an amazing view. We stayed in building 14 which is the best since it is so close to the beach and the lobby. Some other buildings are very far from the nice portion of the beach and amenities
-enough animation for those who wanted to play but not too much. And the animation does not go throughout the day to get to a point where it could be annoying
-mini fridge restored daily even though we preferred to buy a bottle of rum for like $6 and mix our own drinks

Negatives
-as most people indicated, the towel game is just insane. The fact that they let people reserve chairs by just putting towels creates so much frustration in between guests. We witnessed a couple of huge fights between guests that claimed their chairs were stollen. The most frustrating part is that some families with young children couldn't get a palapa cause they could not save a chair before 5:30 am. You seriously can't get one if you don't reserve yours by then. Plus the 3/4 of people who reserve chairs don't show up before 10:30 or will show up and not even spend 2 hours on the beach total while they keep their chair reserved all day
-inconsiderable guests. A lot of guests are selfish and loud and won't take into consideration the well being of others. From the bus ride to the beach, some people just talk so loudly or will take stars from the water to take pictures therefore killing it.
-food: the food at the grill by the beach was good especially the BBQ chicken. However, that was it. The food at the buffet and a la carte restaurants was far from meeting our expectations and was repetitive. I wonder why they don't try to cook their traditional food or have a Canadian chef teach them basic techniques if the goal is to recreate our food. I am sure lots of people would be happy with fried, burgers and paninis.

Tips
- please tip the people that are helping you. They walk long shifts in the head and it must get so frustrating sometimes to have to serve some unruly and demanding customers
-ask for building 14 or one closeby as they are the best
-bring an alarm clock for the room if you like to know what time it is
-bring some straps to attach the umbrellas to the chair if you can't get a palapas
-bring meds for the stomach as it can save your life (I don't need to explain)
-bring mugs for your drinks
-bring paper towel Kleenex ketchup etc if you like your comfort
-if there is enough room in your luggage, bring some sort of fleece covert. The sheets are a bit rough on the skin especially if you have a sunburn
-weight your luggage to make sure it is not over the limit, we bought a 10$ scale for that and it's a great investment for travellers
-if you can book with westjet, do it! It is by far the best carrier I traveled with. They were always on time, the staff was amazing and the food was surprisingly good even if you have to pay for it
-if you have to wait for more than 3 hours for a transfer, use the VIP lounge. For 40$ you'll get comfortable chairs, papers and magazines, tvs, internet, yummy food and booze. If you spend 3 hours at the restaurant you will most likely spend more than 40$ with lot less comfort. Plus the lounge is two steps away from the main gates.

Overall I would return but would have to work on my patience: the palapa situation.

Room Tip: Building 14-16 Oceanview third floor
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  • Stayed: April 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank OttawaJewels
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sylvain L, Director de Relaciones con Clientes at Golden Tulip Aguas Claras, responded to this reviewResponded April 27, 2014

Dear customers.:
It is a pleasure to know that you enjoyed your holiday in our hotel.
It is also a pleasure to know that our facilities would and that the service offered by us has been to their liking.
Your comments help us to keep on working day by day improving our services and achieve the Eurostars standards of quality.
We continue to work to improve on the big and small details to make the stay of our guests unforgettable.
Thank you very much for your comments, help us to improve.
Best regards.
José Ángel Rodríguez.
Director Alojamiento

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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 Golden Tulip Aguas Claras

Address: 50100, Cuba
Location: Caribbean > Cuba > Villa Clara Province > Cayo Santa Maria
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #6 of 16 Hotels in Cayo Santa Maria
Price Range: $179 - $317 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Golden Tulip Aguas Claras 5*
Number of rooms: 846

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