We just returned from a week at Melia Las Dunas in Cayo Santa Maria….What an amazing trip. My husband and I spent a week there for our 10th anniversary and we were amazed by this resort. First of all, it boggles my mind that anyone could complain about this resort. It’s Cuba . The country is beautiful and the people are beautiful. The food is wonderful.
This hotel is an hour and 45 min drive from Santa Clara airport. A note about the airport…make sure you read the full list of things you AREN’T allowed to bring into the country. My husband and I were detained for over an hour because we had a handheld GPS. A smile goes a long way. Their customs is different than other airports but they are just doing their jobs so have patience and it will go quickly. Make SURE you have 25 CUC (Cuban Convertible Pesos) with you when you are leaving the country so you can pay the airport tax.
The bus we took to the hotel was so comfortable and our tour guide Luis and Ana (HolaSun) were so nice. The give you a tour on the way to the island as you pass each community. The ride went so quickly because you felt like you were getting a free excursion on the way there! Look out the window…when you see the conditions and the small towns the workers at the hotels live in, maybe you will think twice about complaining about your room if it isn’t perfect when you get to the resort.
Our room (superior) was beautiful. Despite the constant company of lizards and a few little things we might change we thoroughly enjoyed it. The maids are very nice and appreciate “tips”. We brought Canadian chocolates, Tylenol, Advil and first aid kits. Nothing dries here! Our towels and bathing suits did not dry even though we hung them up – so keep that in mind when travelling home with wet items – your suitcase will weigh more!
This hotel is huge. There is a family side, where it’s loud and fun and there is a quiet adult side. The hotel is built like a mirror image of the two sides. It’s very large but you can take the little trams they drive around and it won’t seem so big. We walked everywhere and nothing seemed too far.
The FOOD: it’s amazing. There are so many choices including A la cartes. The buffet is full of meal choices and has set hours. Find out what they are during your stay so you can plan your day accordingly. In the buffet we experienced amazing omelets and crepe stations in the mornings….line up if you have to it’s worth the wait. Our morning waitress Analbiss was so lovely we hope to cross her path again someday. Their morning baked goods are so yummy and they have a lot of choices that will keep you full until lunchtime. In the evening our favourite was the chef making fresh sushi. We stopped by the 24-hour Beer garden for “pub” food several times. It was delicious. We had fried calamari, hotdogs, fish and chips and shrimp skewers. We ate at three a la cartes. The Romatico (Isabel y Fernando) was incredible and indeed very romantic. We dressed nice (make sure you read the dress code) and had a wonderful evening – our waitress was amazing too. We tried the Italian and the Seafood and they were equally good….the Seafood restaurant had a trio band from table to table and they set a very nice mood. We had an early check-out the day we left and the hotel set out a special early buffet just for our group. They are so considerate. Our favourite lunch was the panini’s cooked right on the beach. They were so amazing – each day we counted the minutes until the Panini stand opened.
The POOL: Both pools are great. We spent time at both pools depending on how social we felt. The pool swim up bars are great…we preferred the one on the family area because they had better drinks and weren’t limited on how much alcohol they put in them! The bar in the adult pool seemed a little more stingy with their alcohol unless we coaxed them on.
The BEACH: the beach is gorgeous. It IS littered with seaweed but let’s face it…it’s the sea! The workers on the beach work tirelessly in the hot weather to remove (by hand) the seaweed. But seriously, just step over it it’s not that big of a deal. In fact, we picked through it in the mornings to find the best sea treasures! The first day we were there I was stung by a jelly fish while enjoying the waves. Yes it hurt! There is no vinegar at the bar on the beach (and there really should be) but a quick run to the nearest restaurant, where a lovely woman took care of me, was all I needed. If you walk far left beware of the nudie beach! There are sharp rocks down there so wear water shoes. It’s a lovely walk filled with crabs and seashells.
When we were there it was VERY windy. The Red Flags were up daily but even though the waves were very large we still had a lot of fun in the ocean.
The hotel itself has every element we hoped for and more. We were looking for a quiet hotel where we could sleep by the pool during the day and have a little fun at night. The two pools gave us the option to have fun during the day and be relaxed as well. The animation team is amazing. Their spirit during the day makes you so glad to be near them it’s hard to want to be away from it all and venture to the quiet pool! We STILL have the Rakka rakka in our heads! The evening shows are a treat…but make sure you wear bug spray because the mosquitoes are out at night. The hotel is set-up beautiful and the lobby area is simply gorgeous. It’s wide and open with beautiful sitting spaces. There is a lobby bar, cigar shop, cyber café ($6 for 30 min of internet use), tour desk etc. etc. Make sure you try the cappuccinos and the evening liquor coffee.
All in all we loved this hotel and despite a few bumps it was an otherwise perfect vacation. Try to remember you are in a poor country and try to remember you are on vacation…little things shouldn’t ruin your trip so try not to let them. TRY to speak the language and be grateful while you are there. I was particularly disgusted in watching many people from my own country not using their manners or saying thank you when their servers were giving exceptional service. Melia Las Dunas is a wonderful resort and we cannot wait to bring the family back for a visit.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Magic and Legend unveils an ancient story that goes back in time to 1492, with the discovery of America. Melia Las Dunas, a 5 star resort, All Inclusive, ideal for your vacation with your Family, Reunion & Incentives, Weddings, Honeymoon Distinguished by the variety of services, the inviting atmosphere and the confort of its facilities, Melia Las Dunas offers the vacations of your dreams. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Hotels.com, Booking.com, Prodigios Interactivos SA, Prestigia, TripOnline SA, Cancelon, Evoline ltd and HotelsClick so you can book your Melia Las Dunas reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Melia Las Dunas Hotel Cayo Santa Maria
- Melia Cayo Santa Maria
- Melia Hotel Las Dunas
- Melia Las Dunas Cuba