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“Melia Las Dunas - read this if you want a real review.”
Review of Melia Las Dunas

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Melia Las Dunas
Ranked #7 of 15 Hotels in Cayo Santa Maria
Waterloo, Canada
Level Contributor
37 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“Melia Las Dunas - read this if you want a real review.”
Reviewed March 17, 2013

Family of 4, 45, 42, 14, & 12 years old - March 9th to 15th - - First of all I would like to start by saying that anyone who gives this resort a very high rating has obviously never stayed at a high end resort before. Resort is medium large, (there are bigger resorts out there)... But also much smaller ones. I dont mind the larger resorts as walking in the sun and warmth is what I like to do. Airport is very small and its quick to get through. But when you are waiting to leave for 3 hours, there is very little there compared to Cancun airport for example where you can walk around and snoop or go on the internet.

Cuba is different than Mexico or Dominican... You dont have ketchup, no butter, no coke or pepsi on the resort (but oddly enough its available off the resort), this is just one small example of how I would say they cut their costs, but not offering good quality sodas, which then makes the drinks taste crappy. If you like beer, not problem, I would recommend the beer, its quite good.

They do not keep this resort as clean or up to the standards that I am used to. There were a couple of toilet seats missing on public washrooms, and when they run out of toilet paper, it takes a while before it is refilled. If they run out of paper towels from the dispenser, they simply put 2 rolls of toilet paper in, which as you can imagine is fun to peel off your hands after you wash and try to dry. Buffet plates are OFTEN not clean, they still have food on them from the previous user (yuck), and soft food, not like it is baked on from the dish washer, but rather just rinsed and placed back in the rack (yuck again).

The food was sub par. OFTEN, the lasagna was cold, the chicken was cold, and then the next day it would be warm, lack of consistency. Overall food was ok (3 out of 5), but with the consistency of cold/warm being low, I would rate the buffet as poor overall - it simply made the experience less enjoyable.... VERY LITTLE FRESH FRUIT. Apparently spending over $6000 on this resort for a family of 4 during March break gets you delmonte fruit salad in a bowl, canned pinneapple, and other canned fruit. It would have been easier to get fresh fruit at my local grocery store here in Waterloo Ontario in January than this tropical region... They have Mango trees and talk about them on the way too the resort and back, but try to find a mango on the resort... Good luck.

Buffet food was also very similar EVERY night, not really anything different, just some small changes. There is a long lineup at the omelete station and the pasta station. instead of having a person supply the station with fresh product and wash the pans etc, the chef is supplying the station and washing the pans, this means a 20 minute wait behind 15 people to get some pasta in a pan heated up. UNACCEPTABLE !!!!

Beach was absolutely beautiful, we had a blast at the beach. This was a super plus of the resort, and Cayo coco or Cayo Santa Maria island beaches are known to be some of the best around. Water was fairly warm, probably 80 or so... Windy at beach at time, and weather was a bit cool a couple days, but thats not the resorts fault.

Rooms, are fairly basic, face clothes are hard to come by, but if you bribe the maid you will get some daily. Overall we were ok with the rooms, even though you could feel the springs in the beds a bit, you can always put a blanket on top of the matt if you are uncomfortable, and the extra blankets kept us warm on one night that was a bit cool.

Staff were generally ok, I found them to be a bit stern, as in straight faced, not smiling very much. Some were more friendly than others, and I did tip a bit, but sometimes when I would wait at the buffet table in the morning for my orange juice for 4 of us, the waiter would just stand there and not even notice me until I started waving, then I would be reluctant to leave any tip.... I thought this was a bit rude as others would come to you right away and ask you if you would like any drinks, and I would leave a small tip for them.

A la Carte restaraunts are better than the buffet, would recommend them. Quite good actually.

Overall I would say the resort was just OK by my standards, but the fresh fruit situation there really threw me off, and just some of the other quality issues... It can be a bit crowded around the bar at night but overall this wasnt a concern. The shows at night I would give a 4 to 7 out of 10 depending on what they are putting on. The pathways at night are not that well lit, There are some chunks of stone missing around the pool that you can trip on if you are not looking.

Dolphin experience off resort if quite reasonable for $75, and my daughter found it awesome.

Get a top floor room if you can, and try to avoid the smog machine if you can when you are out walking.

You might find some of the smaller restaurants that are open over lunch to be better than the buffet, I would say the buffet was overall the worst food. But the convenience of it makes you want to go to it, so it impacts the quality of your experience. Other buffets I have been to have be very good compared to this one. The restaurant behind the pool bars have a decent burger.

I only rate the location average due to the 2 hour drive from the airport, otherwise with the beach being very nice I would have rated it higher.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank John F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Alberto J, Director General at Melia Las Dunas, responded to this review, March 18, 2013
Dear Faber Family:

First of all I want to thanks you for let us know your opinion. I apologize because we could not fulfill all your expectations but I need to say that it is a reality that Cuba tourism is different than Mexico and Dominican Republic, so you alway will find diferences. It is true that we can face some unpredictable situations, and in general the economy does not have the same development than these others.

Also the price is different due to this situation. Dominican and Mexican hotels are more expensive than Cuban. Anyway, we are always fighting to increase all our services and I will take into account every single detail concerning to your helpful review.

I need to point out that these specific situations are not only in Melia Las Dunas, in fact we are some of the hotel with better operational conditions in this destiny. That is the reason why I will check all things that depend of our labor out of the lacks that we can face.

Do not hesitate to contact us if you decide to give us another chance to receive you. Will be a pleasure.

Best regards,

Alberto Jerez
General Manager
Melia Las Dunas Hotel
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Mississauga
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed March 16, 2013

On Feb.2-9/13 We were in a group of about 80 people that attended a wedding and had a vacation at Melia Las Dunas in Cayo Sta. Maria in Cuba. The place is enormous and everthing is in a huge circle so getting around takes a couple days to become a pro. Getting to Las Dunas is a long trip (90 mins.) if all goes well ,from the airport! because you have to travel along a 47kms. long causway!! views are great,but, for me it was too long. The resort itself is very well kept,and neat, the staff were very pleasant and you never felt that you had to tip anyone all the time,although, tips were allways welcome. The food at the buffet was mediocre at best,but, the A la Cartes more than made up for that....... They were excellent!, all 4 of them. The place to hang out after dinner was the Lobby Bar.....by far one of the most impressive I've been to, and the Premium drinks were there for the asking!!! although it was always very busy..there was very little wait to be served either at the bar or by the servers going around and always with a smile!!. As I mentioned we were there also for a wedding!! Which turned out marvelously well. The ceremony on the beach was beautiful and well laid out and very neat, and the reception afterward was fantastic! the food,the room,the music,and the staff were great...... and lets not forget the Bride who was absolutely gorgeous!! and was having a great time along with her new husband, and their families!! My room was very well put to-gether and allways very clean... never had an issue, we were facing the pool,but, had privacy due to the trees out in front of our room on the second floor so it was nice to sit there and have a drink without feeling we were being watched!!.So let me finish by stating that this was my first trip to Cuba, because, I was allways tentative regarding the food which like I stated wasn't the best, but , the a la cartes were!!. We also took a side trip called the Jeep Safari.....this was a great trip, and at a good price($70per person). You get to drive your own jeep through the interior of Cuba, getting to see a couple of farms and some protected enviormental sites, plus you get to mingle with Cubans, who I found very friendly,all around a great side trip.So all in all a very good vacation.

Room Tip: Try for a room facing the pool, because they face east(the one we had) and it's very comfortable...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
4 Thank mrtransit09
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ST.JOHN'S NL
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed March 16, 2013

.We arrived from Newfoundland 4 hrs late due to a snow storm in Toronto , we did not have the floor we requested but no problem waited five mins and got second floor as req. the mini bar was not stocked called front desk, water beer and cola was delivered in 5mins.We had a problem with te safe day 4 call front desk tec arrived in min took a fev mins to change battiers no problen fixed. The service was great.Lobby bar in the evening was my fav Karma with his cart was so friendly and easy to talk to he would have what even we wanted to drink when he notice we were in the lobby.Alfredo at the Buffett was so friendly we became friends right away Thanks for the gifts from your Kids. we have been to Cuba 4 times before this resort is hugh but had no problems. Food was typical for cuba would never go hungry lots to choose from . Rooms were nice, cleaned every day no problems with clean towels. The beach was the best I have even seen no problen to get sun hut or chairs any time off day. Pool was great also no problem to get chairs. My hubsand has a phobia off cats we almost cancelled when we read the reviews, there were cats but not as many as we thought. First day he was a bit weary but only seen four or five for the whole week (happy we did not cancel). Wish this resort was closer to the towns a long drive from the airport . I would diffently go back again had a great winter vacation. Hope to see Karma & Alfredo again somtime soon

Room Tip: Bring your own Butter did not see any for a week. we always request 2nd floor no bugs.
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank St_john_sNlCubanfan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Stewiacke, Canada
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed March 16, 2013

This was our first trip as a family, and our first time to Cuba. We went over March bread 2013. We were so impressed. People had warned us about the food, but we had no problem with the food. Sure it was a little different than home, but you have to expect that. The buffets had a huge variety and lots of it. We were never hungry. The a la carte restaurants didn't have very big meals or a large selection, but the buffets made up for what they lacked. Our rooms were very clean and well looked after. The beach was amazing and so were the pools. The grounds were very clean and always being worked on. The people were the best. They made you feel like you were part of a large family. If you were nice to them, they went out of their way to do whatever they could for you. You have to respect how hard they work and the long hours they put in to make everyone's vacation the best it can be. There was lots of entertainment every evening and they included the children in it all. The spa, though you paid extra, was well worth it. They give you the extra pampering. There was a nice little market at the end of the resort by the spa the had lots of things you could buy for gifts if you so wish, and they weren't pushy. A 10 min. bus ride took you to another market that was a little bigger. It had pretty much the same as our market. It is a long bus ride (1.5 hrs) from the airport to the resort, but you got to see a lot of culture on the way. All in all, we had no major complaints. We will be back for sure. A few tips: they don't have ketchup, mustard or butter. You may want to bring these. Also, they don't have washclothes, so bring these. If you have trouble walking, this may be hard for you. It is a very large resort though they do have carts that will take you where ever you need to go on the resort except to the beach. This does help a lot. We would highly recommend this resort.

Room Tip: Ask for a lower level if you have trouble going up stairs.
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank Shari C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Windsor, Canada
Level Contributor
46 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
Reviewed March 15, 2013

We had a wonderful week from March 3-10, 2013. Beautiful resort, very big (would not recommend for people who have problems walking), very clean, the staff works very hard and are always very friendly. The lobby is georgeous, nice bar and good entertaiment. It is busy but you don't feel crowded.
The beach is one of the most beautiful I have been to. Lots of room to walk and we were lucky enough to have one calm day where the swimming was incredible. We did a bit of snorkeling at the rocks around the Azul resort, saw a few fish, but it was not spectacular. It took 45 minutes to walk to that area.
The omelets were very good for breakfast with fresh fruit, the pizza was great at two of the lunch restaurants. Dinner at the buffet was not spectacular, but we did not go hungy. The restaurants were good. The 24 hour Beer Garden served Coronas and food around the clock.
Our room was very cleanwith comfortable beds. The delivery of daily bath towels was inconsistant, we often ended up with only 2 hand towells. Our toilet needed repair and it was done within hours. The air conditionning was loud, but covered background noise and allowed us to sleep quite well.
The adult pool is a quiet area, loud people( very few) were asked to go to the family pool.
Overall, we really enjoyed our vacation in this beautiful quiet resort and would return in a heatbeat.
We brought both Canadian and US money, the exchange on the Can $ is better than on the US $ but is still quite high. We got $17 Converted Pesos and some change for $20 US and $18 Pesos for $20 Can. The bank will not accept Loonies and Toonies. We used them for tips and had several staff ask us to exchange them back for paper money.

Room Tip: We were in the Adult section in room 6924.
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
5 Thank FranceandKen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nova Scotia's Bay of Fundy and Annapolis Valley, Canada
Level Contributor
11 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
Reviewed March 15, 2013

We travelled to Cuba for the first time as Mexico's prices were over-inflated this year during the time we wanted to travel. Glad we had the opportunity to go here. We travelled as a family, a couple with two teenage girls 15 and 13.

Airport/ Money Exchange:
The airport was nice and small with money exchange outside. No real advantage to do it here than at MLD as the wait at the hotel would have been no more than 15 minutes everyday. Either count your money before you leave the counter or be prepared to donate a 1 CUC "tip" to the banker.

Arrival/ Check-in:
Met Tour Rep outside who directed us to general area. We received our bracelets and keys with map of resort, used to get towels, before getting on the bus. We had emailed 10 days before arriving to ask for 2 rooms side by side, second floor, in Adult section and got what we asked for. The trip to resort was pleasant and interesting. We filled in the sign-in card during the trip without requested credit card info and no problems with that.

Once at resort we walked to room, agreeable a little confusing initially but we had the handheld map. Our bags arrived within 10 minutes and then we set off to explore.

Lobby:
Nice large lobby with lots of space and seating. Always servers around asking to take your order. The front desk staff were polite and always willing to change money from larger bills to smaller ones or 1 CUC coins. Lobby bar had good cappucinos or a do-it-yourself machine just beside it.

Rooms:
The rooms were clean and more than adequate. They were made up every day with fresh towels if we requested. We did not run out of anything. Minibar service was good and could get bottles of wine if asked.

Pool/ Beach:
The beach is beautiful and relaxing and swam in it a couple of times a day. However, as we are from Nova Scotia and have lots of beaches we spent most of our time at the Adult pool which we really enjoyed. It was quiet and relaxing with lots of places for sun or shade. The water was cool but refreshing. We walked around the activities pool, if you like young kids, noise and busy, this will be the place for you. The pool bar had little wait and variable at beach bars. They had good drink service we did not use as we like to get up and move every now and then.

Food:
Overall, very good. We enjoyed the various options including poolside snackbar, Seaside Grill, Beer Garden or beach paninis. We were a little surprised at the à la carte aspect, apart from the Seaside Grill, as we were used to buffet style but it helped to limit overeating, if you only ordered once. For supper, as is our usual, we only stuck to the buffet so we could try various things. There was some rotation of food. The breakfast at Cuban buffet was quieter and had everything. We ate there for supper on occasion and if they did not have something we wanted i.e. blue cheese we walked through to the other and then brought it back. We could not always get our morning mimosa for some reason but hey, we could live with it.

Resort:
Yes, it is large but not unreasonably so unless one has mobility issues. If you stick to your side this cuts out half of the resort anyway. We visited Pueblo, in between MLD and MCSM but not really worth it in my opinion, but my wife found some nice jewelery at a good price.

Despite a lot of people being here it absorbs them very nicely so that we never felt over crowded, except for one evening at the buffet.

Overall:
We had a great time and would absolutely return without hesitation.

However, if it was between Mexico and Cuba for the same price for the equivalent level of resort we would probably go to Mexico. No disrespect to the resort or country but supply issues limit things here that Mexico just do not have to deal with which allow for better attention to minor details. Having said that, if this place was cheaper, like this year by $300 to half the Mexico price per person, then Cuba, here we come! We can live with any minor issues.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank AV1965
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed March 14, 2013 via mobile

Well first time writing a review and also this was my first winter warm weather trip. I was here end of February 2013 - beginning of march 2013.

Previously before booking this trip I did a lot of research into the location and resort. i would like to thank everyone who wrote an insightful review on trip advisor, I'll try to provide one myself.

I loved this trip from the moment I stepped off the plane in Santa Clara, the bus ride was insightful and I enjoyed the brief history lesson along the way.

Food: was very good and plenty of options, you will not go hungry. My highlights where the Italian a la carte, pizza at the place by the family pool, ice cream parlour, paninis on the beach, the international buffet. Also enjoyed going to the beer gardens mid afternoon for a couple cold bottled beer(becks, corona and cristal) I preferred the cuban cristal.

Beach: stunning!! as for my first time at a warm destination the beach and water where everything like I imagined.

Service: Room was cleaned daily and towels where changed when we requested them. Bartenders at the lobby bar made some of the best drinks around and after supper it. was the place to be for a cuban coffee and to listen to some music and entertainment later on.

Some minor glitches upon arrival, our room wasn't ready when we arrived and had a mix up with the bell boys over the luggage. No big as deal as I had change of clothes in my carry on so we went down and had a drink and some lunch, when we where done all was sorted out.

In closing I would definitely go back to melia las Dunas as im now hooked on making a point on taking a vacation mid winter. I Just don't know when I'll be back in that part of Caribbean, so many places in the Caribbean to see! However I wish I was there at melia las Dunas listening to that salsa lesson song!!! Haha

Thanks for giving me a tremendous trip at a very good value!

  • Stayed February 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
9 Thank Macdm55
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Melia Las Dunas

Property: Melia Las Dunas
Address: Cayo Santa Maria, Caibarien, Villa Clara | Jardines del Rey, Villa Clara, Cuba
Location: Caribbean > Cuba > Villa Clara Province > Cayo Santa Maria
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#2 Spa Hotel in Cayo Santa Maria
#4 Romantic Hotel in Cayo Santa Maria
#5 On the Beach Hotel in Cayo Santa Maria
#6 Luxury Hotel in Cayo Santa Maria
#6 Top resorts Hotel in Cayo Santa Maria
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:5 star — Melia Las Dunas 5*
Number of rooms: 925
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 
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Also Known As:
Melia Las Dunas Hotel Cayo Santa Maria
Melia Cayo Santa Maria
Melia Hotel Las Dunas
Melia Las Dunas Cuba

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