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Melia Las Dunas
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Reviewed December 1, 2013

Snorkeling at the resort beach ? No no. Beach is too perfect ! No rocks = nothing to see, no fish.

For Scuba Diving, prices are a bit cheaper than other spots I've been to in Cuba, get 4 dives or more for price drop. 2 dives per day. Bus pick-up at the hotel, on time, dive center at 10-15 minutes. Big boats, in perfect shape (although the diesel smell was a bit brutal). All rental equipment (wetsuits, regs, BCDs) are brand new. Free water on the boats. Organisation is perfect. At 60' deep, dive is 50 minutes. At 100', about 30 minutes. Actually busted my deco-time on my last dive... Cool divemasters.

The resort is impeccable. All restaurants 'à-la-carte' were good for my liking. Buffet was large but strangely without variety. Good, but not wow. Had some issues with my room (no electrical outlet, several lights out, no safe, etc.). Only the safe was fixed (changed) after 3 days. The inop shaver plug: found myself a friendly neighbor instead. Service was pristine everywhere.

I recomment this resort.

Room Tip: Adult section: VERY quiet Kids section: More alive, closer to activity
  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank Stephan M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DirectorMLD, Resident Manager at Melia Las Dunas, responded to this reviewResponded December 2, 2013

Thank you very much for writing your comments about our Resort
We will take notes about your comments to improve in all the suggestions
For us are very important have the opportunity to correct all the little problems for improving in our facilities and services
Thank you and we promise you we will working every day with a single purpose your satisfaction

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 1, 2013

Melia Las Dunas, Cayo Santa Maria, Cuba – November 15 – 22, 2013
Family with young children (10 & 6)
Arrival at Santa Clara airport: the airport is small and clean, clearing customs at midnight was quick, baggage carts are free, like in most good airports (hear that, Pearson International?). See note on flight with CanJet.
Drive from airport to hotel: It is approximately 1.5 hours, through three towns and then across the causeway, inbound we slept through most of it, we found it rather interesting on the outbound, Friday at 3PM could see a lot of the scenery and plenty of people on the streets going about their regular business.
Front desk: both check-in and check-out were quick and efficient; I found the staff professional and accommodating. I will add that the few requests we made by e-mail prior to our arrival – room at second floor, quiet area, additional bed in room – were all complied with before we arrived.
The Resort: it is huge (we stayed only in our half, the western one) and very beautiful. The grounds are well designed and maintained, and what we found particularly pleasant and would like to congratulate the administration on, all vehicles used inside the resort are electric, which helps keep the air clean and adds to the natural beauty of the gardens. In the evening, carrying a fast asleep child back to the room, I would have liked them to have more golf carts available, as it was quite a walk from the lobby. And we didn’t appreciate some tourists trying to snatch the vehicles before they reached the waiting area, where people were already lining up for their turn. The recommendation would be for the drivers to load those who were waiting first. A minor thing, but it was the situation we’ve seen annoying people to the point of loud and explicit frustration.
The Beach: it is splendid, with white sand and clear, warm and wavy water. The staff is trying to maintain it clean, but of course with so many people (some leaving their garbage on the sand instead of walking 5 meters to one of the many garbage bins on the side of the beach) it cannot be perfect. There were some dry algae left on the beach, but it didn’t bother us. Note for people with younger kids who want to play in the fantastic waves: there is a bit of a dip as you go into the water, so I had to hold my 6 years old daughter above water, but if you walk few meters, the bottom rises up to knee height so the little ones can play safely. The best approach we have found was close to the center boardwalk, where the dip is less pronounced. In days without big waves there were little transparent fish circling around our feet, the kids loved them and kept on diving after them. Don’t forget your goggles. Another feature we appreciated greatly was the absence of motorized boats, meaning clean water and no engine noises. The hobie cat rides were free, although the pilot expected to be tipped, but it was worth trying. For our family the beach was the place to be, we spent most of daylight time there. Finding shade and beach chairs was not a problem.
Staff: we found the vast majority to be hard-working, genuinely friendly, and speaking at least a rudiment of French or English. And come on, you go to a foreign country, shouldn’t you at least know how to say “please” and “thank you” in the language? They do their work without tips but accept them gratefully when given. At no point did we have the feeling that we were not served promptly because we didn’t tip first. Some of the “guides” – on the bus, the resort rep, catamaran captain, etc – talk too much about tips; they should tone it down. We only tipped in small amounts when we considered it was deserved.
The food: we were a bit concerned as we knew that Cuba had less to offer in this regard, but all was well. The buffet was large, clean and well manned, and neither kids nor adults had difficulties in finding something to eat, breakfast lunch or dinner. Special mentions go to the decorated pancakes and the omelets at breakfast, the grilled fish and the pumpkin and chickpeas dishes at lunch and dinner. They had fresh fruits, particularly guavas, papaya and pineapple all the time. They made fresh juices without sugar in front of you, but you could help yourself with the sugary stuff as well. As for the drinks, we liked their beers Crystal and Bucanero and we found that the Spanish red and white wine was an excellent complement to the food, light and pleasant. We didn’t bother with fancy imports and only tried the cocktails “con vitamina” a couple of times, the Cuban rum was as good as always. The one less impressive feature – the a la cart restaurants. The best was the Italian restaurant, but we had to stop at the buffet after each one, at least for the kids.
The Catamaran trip: it was very good; we enjoyed the snorkeling, the dolphins show and the walk on the fantastic beach, looking for starfish. The crew was professional, fun and friendly. We had a great time.
Entertainment: the dance was very good, there was a live band in front of the lobby every evening until 9PM, the dance crew did a great job in attracting people to join the dance, our 6 years old daughter danced with them almost every night. The 9:30 shows were what you would expect, and we didn’t have the energy to see any till the end, having to carry at least one kid asleep to the room.
Shopping: we wanted to bring some souvenirs and were considering taking a bus trip to the “fake village”, but found the Pueblo, a little plaza by the spa and tennis courts at the western end of the resort, where we found some nice things and good deals and there was also a tower from which we could see all around the Cayo and we took some good pictures
Note on flight with CanJet: first, we were pleasantly surprised by the warm meal included in the trip, good as airplane food goes. The crew was very friendly and professional and that counted very much when the plane could not land at Santa Clara due to heavy rain and low ceiling and after two failed attempts we were diverted to Varadero. All passengers were worried, of course, but the crew continued to take care of everyone while we were waiting in the plane for a decision. The captain walked from one end to the other of the plane answering all questions, although the information was scarce. To everyone’s delight, he was allowed to try Santa Clara again after 1.5 hours stop in Varadero, and managed to land safely. We would like to thank the captain and the cabin crew for a job very well done.
Conclusion: going with an open mind and with previous Cuban experience, we were very happy with the outcome of our trip. The resort, a bit aged, lived up to a Cuban 4.5 stars, the location is beautiful, with fantastic beach and water, the people were very friendly as always and the weather cooperated greatly to make this a memorable vacation. We are indebted to our Sears Travel agent Emanuela for suggesting this deal and this resort and we will consider returning to Melia Las Dunas.

  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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8  Thank VMSV C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DirectorMLD, Resident Manager at Melia Las Dunas, responded to this reviewResponded December 3, 2013

. Dear VMSV C;
First of all , I want express my sincere grateful for sharing your comments here in Trip-Advisor
We consider that your opinion is very important for us and we have observed that you have had a very good holidays in Las Dunas at company of your family
Is totally true that In Las Dunas you have the possibility enjoying of our marvelous beach with crystal water and white sand and combined with a very friendly Staff and a good service.
Thank you very much for recommending our Facilities to spend the holidays and we hope see you and your family again in Melia Las Dunas.
Best Regards

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Reviewed November 28, 2013

It was our first time at Melia Las Dunas and overall the experience was good. Loved the beach and pool area. Site had a family pool and adult pool which was great. Food was great, lots of variety and fresh. Staff was friendly and would go out of their way to accomodate ones request. The highlight for me were the daily exercise activities offered at the adult pool. ie. stretching, yoga, pilates, tia chi etc. Daniel, Fernandes, Randy and Martinez were excellent in delivering a great work out. The only thing that turned me off was the fact that the yoga mats were all torn and falling apart. I think for a hotel which has a 4 plus rating, the least they could do was provide new mats for the participants. Otherwise, I would return and recommend hotel.

Room Tip: Recommend choosing a second floor room, less bugs and other creapy crawlers. Also upper level rooms seem to be less humid.
  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
5  Thank jeri k
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DirectorMLD, Resident Manager at Melia Las Dunas, responded to this reviewResponded December 2, 2013
Google Translation

Estimada Maria Carolina;

Muchas gracias por contar su experiencia y compartirla en este foro , para nosotros es muy importante que clientes como usted exprese su opinión sobre su experiencia en nuestra instalación, que no le quepa duda que transmitiremos sus felicitaciones a todo el personal mencionado y esperamos verla pronto en Las Dunas para seguir disfrutando juntos de este entorno tan positivo y maravilloso que es este lugar.

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Reviewed November 27, 2013

We primarily went to Melia Las Dunas because it was very affordable comparing to other options available. We travel a lot and usually stay at 4 1/2 and 5 star resorts. Therefore, i assume, i base my review on my previous experience.
We stayed at Melia Las Dunas mid November. In comparison to Iberostar Ensenachos, where we stayed last May, the two resorts have many similarities, but Iberostar was an overall higher level experience.
Bad:
- the resort is huge, and even though we mostly enjoyed the walk, my complain is not related to the amount of walking, it is directed to inconvenience. for example, you basically had to have a routine, because once you walked all the way to the main buffet for breakfast, there is no way you want to go back to your room and get your beach stuff and head to the beach; therefore, you have to get ready for the beach and then lugging all your beach stuff and towels you go for breakfast and then to the beach..
- there are no washrooms on the beach or close to the beach. God forbid you had to go to the washroom while at the beach..
- although the rooms are basic, but fairly clean and in good shape (you don't really need anything more), the beds are very hard, and the pillows.... they are disgusting!!!! the linens are all clean, but the pillows, that are sticking out of the pillow cases are not yellow, but brown from dirt and someone else’s sweat! gorse!
- bug bites. I got eaten alive. I still have no idea whether it was mosquitoes, sand flies, bed bugs, or those little tiny ants that you can hardly see, that were attacking us by the pool, and I really didn’t want to determine what is was, because I was becoming paranoid. (by the way, I never ever had problems with bug bites on any of my down south trips)
Good:
- The beach is amazing! It is narrow, but we liked that because it gives you privacy. You don’t have rows and rows of loungers like on some other wider beaches such as Riviera Maya, or Varadero, or Punta Cana. The ocean was a bit rough when we were there (November), and a bit chilly for my taste
- Rooms are ok, as I said. We stayed at building #4 on the second floor. It is spacious and clean. We insisted on having a room on the second floor because of the insects and lizards, that apparently get in your room if on main floor
- Food was surprisingly good. It is Cuban food and Cuban tastes, but as I said to my children- when you are in a different country it takes a couple of days to get used to new tastes. When we went to France last year, the first 2 days everything was too greasy for us, but then we go used to it and started to appreciate the delicious cuisine. The same here…
Pizza is really good, there is a wide selection of various fish every day for lunch and dinner, beach grill is delicious, breakfast bacon is really yummy and white bread is fresh and amazing.
And, most importantly, in Cuba, everything is organic and free run; that is why the meat is a bit chewy.

All in all, it was a pleasant trip. Whether we will go back, I don’t know. I would probably rather go back to Iberostar Ensenachos, because even though it is also huge, it was an overall better experience.

  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
5  Thank isdToronto
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DirectorMLD, Resident Manager at Melia Las Dunas, responded to this reviewResponded December 4, 2013

Dear guest.
I really appreciate your honest opinion about the experience that you had in our Hotel.
For us , when we read this kind of constructive comments which help us to improve in our services and facilities we are very grateful
We take note about your comments regarding to the beds and pillows which we are replacing in some rooms nowadays
In reference the washrooms near to the Beach we have some projects and we going to built in near future . What can I say about the mosquito’s and some insects they are very frequent in the keys
I recommended to everybody bring a good protector and repellent .
Overall we observe that you had a good experience with us for that reason we hope you chosse again Las Dunas because we promise you we are working to improve every day

Greetings from Las Dunas

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Reviewed November 25, 2013

Stayed there from October 20-27. Was an OK vacation for the price. We wanted to go somewhere warm and with a nice beach and that's what we got. Everything else was just average...

We arrived at night, and I was taking pictures in the lobby, note to others: don't walk and take pictures at the same time with all the water in the lobby, I fell into the pool with the sculpture doing this!! Luckily my camera and iPhone didn't get ruined!!

The hotel room was nice, very clean and the staff was very helpful and friendly. Very quiet room and good curtains to block out the light. No problems with bugs or snakes, like others had. We had a lizard in our room every night, but they didn't bother us. The hotel grounds are gorgeous, a very big resort, but poorly lit at night, a flashlight would have been nice as some of the lights weren't even working.

The pool was nice, except when you're out of it and sitting on the lounge chairs. Both my husband and I got bit by sand fleas or something that looks like little red ants. It stung so much! Same with if you sit anywhere on the concrete benches they bite you again! I had to run back to the room to shower to ease the pain/burning feeling. And the pool could be open later, it closes at 6. But it would be nice if there were lights and music to have fun at night in the pool!

The beach was the best part, had the most beautiful sand and clear, clean water. Didn't have to worry about stepping on anything when swimming. There was jellyfish but only in the mornings, by the afternoon they were gone. Could have used more shade and the chairs could be a bit better, they seemed old and half were broken. Bring an insulated cup or travel mug for the drinks on the beach, unless you want to make too many trips with the plastic cups that hold about two sips. We enjoyed the side of the beach by the wedding gazebo, it was nice and quiet. We did walk over to the busier part of the beach for the paninis for lunch, those were awesome! Jorge at the beach bar (by the wedding gazebo) was a great bartender, makes the best Pina Coladas! And his gorgeous green eyes are a bonus. :-)

The buffet was ok. Quite a bit of selection, but could use more salad and vegetables. The meat was good, and the grill cooks were great. Breakfast was the best part, except for the cheese, it's too pungent for me. Hubby liked it though, the pizza station at the dinner buffet was his favourite. There was quite a bit of fish and other seafood to choose from at the dinner buffet, but no crab or lobster which I found strange being at a tropical location. The shrimp still had the head and legs/feet on it, a bit too fresh (and messy) for me! I would skip the a la carte restaurants if I were you, not much selection and small portions. My hubby is a big guy (muscular) and we had to go to the buffet AFTER the a la cartes cuz he was still hungry! The Mexican one was the worst, we just left in the middle of dinner it was so bad. The tortilla chips were stale, not much selection and of course it had the cheese on it that I didn't like. Half of the a la cartes weren't open because it wasn't busy enough, but they could have maybe rotated instead of just having the same 3 open. Was really disappointed not to get any crab or lobster.

The beer gardens/snack bar was good. The burgers and hot dogs were pretty good actually! The drinks could be a bit better as the daiquiris are made with syrup and the pina coladas are made with powder. Strange with the palm trees and coconuts right there! We were eating at the snack bar in the evening and the foggers drove past, not the best thing while you're eating. It could wait until most people are sleeping.

The animation was ok, it was mostly lip syncing to American music and girls in thongs. The Michael Jackson impersonation was excellent. But I expected there to be at least one night with the traditional songs and costumes with Cuban dancers. I can see lip syncing and listen to American music at home! Other than that there's not much to do there but sit in the lounge and drink.

All in all I don't think I'd come back, would try somewhere else in Cuba or Mexico first.

  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
5  Thank shawna74
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DirectorMLD, Resident Manager at Melia Las Dunas, responded to this reviewResponded December 2, 2013

Dear Shawna 74:
First of all thank you very much for expressing your comments in Trip Advisor Web side. For us are very important all the suggestions and advices which you have mentioned in your opinion. We are conscience that we need to do some improvements, for example the lights at night, the shade on the beach besides improving in some facilities which help us to offer better service than Nowadays. In reference to the time for using the pools, the main reason is that we need to clean the water for the next day during the night with some products which need to disolve in a period of time .We want to remember you that in our Buffet we have a good selection of food but we are doing more improvements in our gastronomic offer every day, thank you very much for your help and we hope you choose again Melia Las Dunas to spend your next Holidays.
Best Regards

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