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“Return trip with grandson November 29th-December 13th”
Review of Melia Las Dunas

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Melia Las Dunas
Ranked #8 of 15 Hotels in Cayo Santa Maria
victoria harbour
Level 6 Contributor
107 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 77 helpful votes
“Return trip with grandson November 29th-December 13th”
Reviewed January 7, 2014

Visited Melia Las Dunas with husband and grandson for another visit. The hotel is under new management, so there are several changes. The quantity of food was good, but the quality not as good as other visits. The evening meals lack presentation and quality in the buffet. The pool bar food was good. The pizzas do need more work. Enough about food now, we are in Cuba. The rooms were kept clean, although towels need to be changed more frequently. The entertainment staff were excellent. Leo, Wally( who would love to be a tour guide),Teo, And Simon were the best. They made my grandson, who was on his first trip ever, feel very welcomed and he enjoyed his time with them immensely. Gali and Wilfredo are the best at the family pool bar. The nightly entertainment at the centre square was excellent as usual. A lot of hard work put into all this. Also in the Lobby this year ,they had cotton candy and tattooes for the kids. A great idea our grandson loved. The shows were good especially with the clown and the magician. The staff in General appeared happier this time. Regina at reception was excellent as usual. Also we want to say thanks to all the reps who look after everyone once we arrive. They are amazing and without them our trips would be wasted. We travelled West Jet and Joel our rep did an excellent job with the delay of our plane for 1day. People often do not think about how a delayed plane effects others beside themselves. The porters also do an excellent job transporting us from one place to another. Every one at the resort was helpful and courteous. When my grandson lost his camera many departments were notified to help find , but however to no avail. We want to thank everyone for trying. The one main problem we found this year was the difficulty in getting a taxi Ride or a double decker bus. We waited 1 1/2 hours to try to get a cab in the afternoon and a friend ended up giving us a ride. Sad if you do not know anyone who can do this. And the busses seem to stay at the Estrella pueblo and many people there are standing around talking. This is sad because tourism is a major part of Cuban revenue and tourists are used to better service for touring. Also when we asked for a taxi to be called at the telephone area we were told that we would have to pay for the call. This is not good public relations. This service should be provided free of charge.
We did speak to the boss and as we were leaving to come home the service had improved some. Guillermo the resident manger has a big job ahead of him to make improvements to Melia Las Dunas, but I am sure he will try. It is a wonderful hotel with lovely beaches but most of all it is the Cubans with their beautiful personalities that make this hotel the best. Give everyone at the resort a high five for us. We will be returning again in April and then next November with the other grand child. Would recommend this resort.

Room Tip: Second floor and if worried about bugs pack a can raid with you.
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  • Stayed November 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
5 Thank poppadoug
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Alberto J, Director Comercial at Melia Las Dunas, responded to this review, January 11, 2014
Dear poppapdoug:

Many thanks for your comments and supports. All information you are giving us will be very important in order to improve some of our services.

Will be a pleasure to receive you by next April, do not hesitate to contact us...

Best regards,

Yudiel Manejias Torres
Sales Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Burlington, Canada
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed January 7, 2014

This was our 2nd visit to this resort (1st was in 2009) and we loved it as much as the first time.

We flew Canjet (great) and upon arrival (very fast through airport) you are given a package before getting on the bus with your room number and bracelets. There is a form to complete that you just hand in when you get off the bus and when you get there you are basically free to start enjoying your vacation. Your luggage is delivered directly to your room. Make sure you bring a change of clothes, as it can sometimes take a couple hours to get your luggage. I don't love the 1.5 hour drive to/from the airport but it is what it is. Also, as returning guests, they had made our a la carte reservations for us in advance (which was great).

We were in room 2426 this time (2226 last time) and we enjoy the 2nd floor room and being on the corner you have a "slight" oceanview. The room did smell a little musty upon arrival but it went away (or we got used to it). The room is generally kept very clean and I found the beds pretty comfortable (unusual for Cuba) and the pillows too. We always had hot water and good water pressure. My only complaint would be that they don't have fitted sheets on the bed so they tended to come loose and I would find myself laying on the mattress some time during the night (I am a very "restless" sleeper).

I guess the food is what everyone asks about when it comes to Cuba. I've always said that I don't go to Cuba for the food, as long as I'm sustained, I'm happy. That being said, I find the food at this resort pretty much as good as most - not much better, not much worse. Every place has it's positive and negatives. For breakfast, we had omelets every day and they have several omelet stations so there's never a very long wait. Really, I didn't bother with much other than the omelet and maybe some toast as nothing else really held much appeal to me. I wish they had hash browns as a choice but I didn't see them the entire stay. For lunch, the guy at the beach grill makes AWESOME ham and cheese panini sandwiches (sometimes a long line) and then we went to the beach grill (Playa Ranchon) most days...there they have someone grilling chicken and also other options (we only had chicken but I think I saw fish, pork, etc.) and you can also order from a menu at lunch here (I had the Cuban Dish of the Day most days which was usually calamari (SO good) and shrimps (inconsistently cooked) with some fries and black beans & rice and my husband ordered the grilled sirloin on the menu which he thought was awesome. The steak does tend to be a bit tough so the butter knives weren't the best. Always a great selection at both lunch & dinner of cucumbers, tomatoes, shredded cabbage with oil & vinegar. French fries are good and always safe...the ham and cheese and the pool snack bars are yummy and so is the Cubano sandwich at the 24-hour beer garden. We ate at the Seafood, Romantico, Italian and Oriental restaurants (Mexican was closed). We remembered as we ate at the seafood restaurant that it wasn't our favourite last time either and same goes this time, everything was just a little too "fishy" (we do love seafood)...if that makes any sense. The lobster was good but a very small portion (they did bring us extra when we asked). The seafood cocktail & the beef at the Romantico was great, the alfredo and the beef were good at Italian and everything was good at the Oriental. Do yourself a favour and skip the carpaccio at the Italian...kind of like 3-day old deli roast beef on a plate - yuck. Yummy ice cream at the ice cream place every day too! Basically, if you go in with an open mind, you will always find something to eat and you certainly won't come away hungry (nor are you likely to overeat!). I will say (to put it in perspective) that we did an Alaskan cruise in July on Princess Cruises and I honestly feel we ate better in Cuba than we did on Princess Cruises.

The one thing that I really like about this place is the BEER GARDEN! You can get bottled Corona and Becks as well as either bottles or cans of Crystal or Bucanero. It's really nice to have "non-draft" beer as an option (still draft at beach bars, pool bars and lobby bars), plus they also put cans of beer in your room fridge. There is also a 24-hour snack bar at the beer garden if you get a craving off hours. Just burgers, hot dogs, fries, etc. at this place but pretty good.

The thing that makes me return is the staff. They are all truly wonderful, incredibly friendly, helpful and kind. I've read on here people complaining that unless you tip, you don't get good service and since we always tip I can't really comment on that HOWEVER, we don't tip until after we've been served and I cannot recall one single instance where we had an issue getting service. Lilliana in the lobby bar is WONDERFUL as is Yoandy (who remembered us from 2009).

The grounds are spectacular and I think if my husband heard me say "I love this place" one more time, he was going to gag me. The resort is huge and we enjoy walking the grounds and enjoying our surroundings (some people complain it's too big, they probably don't like to walk). I saw golf carts shuttling people around but I have no idea about their frequency or reliability as we had no interest. They have gardeners working all over the resort all the time taking care of the grounds and they are immaculate, with a wonderful tropical lushness that I really appreciate. The beach is the best I've been to (and I've been to A LOT of places) and again it is very clean and we NEVER had a problem getting a chair, either in the shade or otherwise. They have a good selection of windsurfers and catamarans for free use (we didn't go on the catamaran, I think the staff take you on that?).

As for activities, I can't really comment as we pretty much just parked our butts on the beach and kept to ourselves but we did glimpse various things happening as we walked around. I guess they could probably do more to encourage people to participate or advertise more but I didn't really notice. Keep in mind the resort is HUGE so it's probably tough to cover the whole area.

The credit card machine in the store seemed to not work much (my husband bought his daily cigars on his Mastercard every day) and wait until you get to the airport to buy your rum/cigars to bring home, it is cheaper there.

I can't comment on excursions because we opted for none (although we did the catamaran in 2009 and really enjoyed it).

Bottom line...we WILL be back, love it there and for the price, it can't be beat in my opinion.

Room Tip: There are 2 sides to the hotel - family side and adult side. We've stayed on the family side bot...
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
6 Thank flipperae71
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Alberto J, Director Comercial at Melia Las Dunas, responded to this review, January 12, 2014
Dear flipperae, etc:

Many thanks for your comments!!!!

This is a fantastic review that will help a lot to all our potential clients.

Will be a pleasure to receive you again.

Best regards,

Yudiel Manejias
Sales Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Edmundston
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 93 helpful votes
Reviewed January 7, 2014

I'm just back from a wonderful stay at Melia Las Dunas

The food was very good (everything but the local cheese they put in omelets and pizza).
The beach is amazing and the staff is excellent.
I was there with my wife and another couple for the New Year and we were pleased with almost everything.

The snack bar (beer garden) had corona, beck, cristal, bucareno in bottle and the food there was good. A la carte restaurants really exceeded my expectations (It’s my 6th time in Cuba) and the night shows (expect Disney (good for kids, but should be at 7 not 9:30) were excellent. The lobby is huge and very well managed (clean, fast service, etc) and the buffet and a large quality selection.

The only improvements I would suggest is to get rid of the local cheese have the staff clean the washroom close to pool and snack bar more often.

I summary, I really like that location and I wish I had been there last year instead of cayo coco. The bus trip from the airport to the resort is a bit long and the airport is not very big, but all is worth it once you get to this resort.

A good tip is also to ask the server at restaurants which selection they would take before ordering (they know which meal is good and which is so so).

Room Tip: ask for quiet spot on the adult side. also ask for second floor.
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Marc0P75
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Alberto J, Director Comercial at Melia Las Dunas, responded to this review, January 12, 2014
Dear MarcoP75:

Thanks a lot for your comments; it is a pleasure to read your review...

We will take into account your suggestion, so many thanks for give us the chance to improve some of our services.

Best regards,

Yudiel Manejias
Sales Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ottawa, Canada
Level 2 Contributor
9 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed January 7, 2014

First time in Cuba, we chose Melia Las Dunas after doing some research on resorts in the area. The resort was well kept, people were friendly. The beach was somewhat narrow but fantastic nevertheless. Staff spent several days putting up frames for shade, nicely done. The ocean was great. The buffets were fine, food was a bit bland and overcooked at times but overall - no problems. Breakfasts were great, lunches were fine, the 24 hr place was quite good. The specialty restaurants are so-so, not quite sure what the attraction is there, other than a break from the buffet places. The pool was a tad cool but still a welcome relief after being in the sun. I did not enjoy the somewhat loud announcements by pool staff and got tired of the same loud music over and over. Personally, I would prefer a quiet pool with no activities....but as we spent most of our time at the beach, it really was not a concern. Our room was fine, spacious, clean, no little critters anywhere. Evening entertainment is loud and gets very monotonous very quickly, we avoided it after a while. Staff are friendly and smiling and a small tip here and there to servers and maid resulted in better service. To sum up, a great time was had by our family and overall, a great trip and we would return again......

Room Tip: We stayed in Building 21, which was well located between the pool, path to the beach and center of t...
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  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank Peter B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DirectorMLD, Director Comercial at Melia Las Dunas, responded to this review, January 12, 2014
Dear Peter B:

Many thanks for your comments and support...

Will be a pleasure to receive you again in Melia Las Dunas.

Best regards,

Yudiel Manejias
Sales Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed January 6, 2014

iwe where at this place last year the resort its very big and big beach you can walk for long time..the room are clean and the people working on the resort are very firiendly.. the food was amazing.. fresh fish everyday on the gril was my favorite...even this year when i was staying at melia buoenavista nite time we where taking the bus and going to eat al las dunas .. overall was good vacation from now on when i go on caio santamaria i will go stay las dunas

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank eros2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DirectorMLD, Director Comercial at Melia Las Dunas, responded to this review, January 12, 2014
Dear eros2013:

Many thanks for your comments...

We will wait for you in Melia Las Dunas!!!

Best regards,

Yudiel Manejias
Sales Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Winnipeg, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed January 5, 2014

I was there from the 20 to 28 Dec.in 2013.
-No hot water for two days
-Air conditioning was broken
-Coffee machine was broken
-Room was so dirty (I had so much red spots after the vacation, I don't know where they are from)
-No medical service in the hotel. I was sick with cold but I couldn't get any medicine in the hotel. The hotel said that they don't have any medical service, so we called a cab(paid $30) and went to a clinic near hotel and they charged me $200.

I went to Mexico, Jamaica and Dominica Republic, but it was the worst experience ever!

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Jessica L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Alberto J, Director Comercial at Melia Las Dunas, responded to this review, January 11, 2014
Dear Jessica L:

First of all many thanks for give us your comments.

We sorry so much if finally it was impossible to fulfill your expectations, but at the same time I need to point out some aspects of your review concerning to our medical services.

In our destination all the hotels receive the 24 hrs service of our international clinic; there we can find a big variety of medical services, including intensive therapy, radiography, dentist, etc... This place is maximum 5 minutes by car of our hotel and the taxi rates never are over 10 CUC maximum.

Otherwise, there is also a pharmacy where you can buy some medication, but never with the rate are you referring us.

Best regards,

Yudiel Manejias Torres
Sales Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Niagara Falls, Canada
Level 2 Contributor
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed January 5, 2014

Just returned from a wonderful Christmas vacation at the Melia Las Dunas resort (Dec 21-28, 2013). Santa Clara airport is very organized and you get through security fairly quickly. The buses to transfer you to resort are all waiting for you outside the airport. They are very modern and air conditioned, and there is a bathroom on board. The drive to Cayo Santa Maria is 1.5 hrs long and if you are lucky to arrive in daylight, it is worth the trip. The first half is through the local towns and the second half is all on the causeway. It’s a wonderful adventure in itself. Be sure to have your camera ready.

We did not bother converting our Canadian money to Cuban Convertible Pesos at the Airport, although the bank was located close to the exit. We converted it at the Resort. Make sure you set aside $25 Conv. Pesos for exiting Cuba (if you forget, you can exchange it on your return at the airport). You can exchange your money in the Lobby at the front desk at the Melia any time of day or night. The resort also has a Bank opposite the front desk but we didn’t bother with it. It’s all the same. Convert money as you need it rather than one big amount all at once. For CAD $20.00, we got $17.50 Convertible Pesos.

When we arrived at the resort, we were directed to one large room where we were given our room keys and map of the resort with our name and room number on it. Do not lose the map because you will need it to sign out your towels and for making reservations at the ‘a la carte’ restaurants. The resort is huge. Be prepared to do a lot of walking. We loved it because we made it our exercise for the day. Our room was very comfortable (Bldg. 43, main level, which was raised off the ground). No matter where you are located on the property, you will have to walk quite a ways to get to the pools and to the beach. Period. So wear comfortable sandals/shoes.

Not a bad idea to bring a small flash light for the evenings. The walkways between buildings are not completely lit. Bring your own washcloths and Kleenex as these are not supplied. And believe me, you will need the tissues. Toilet paper is at a premium here. Also bring your own shampoo and soap bars.

The food was fantastic. I just cannot understand anybody having issues with it. It’s not North American cuisine, but it is delicious. Very tasty and lots to choose from. The staff behind the buffets and grills prepare your food with love, from omelets, pancakes, eggs, steaks, chicken, stir fries, lobsters, fish, and fresh juices. They are very friendly, quick and serve you with a smile. There are two large buffet restaurants. During the day, the Seafood building also turns into another Buffet area with an outdoor grill. It’s right next to the Beer Garden. The Beer Garden makes amazing steak sandwiches, burgers and tempura shrimp and they are open 24 hrs a day. The beer is served in bottles. Don’t forget to check out the Pizzeria. They make very good pizza. For those of you who need your daily dose of French fries, they got them too and they are great. Yes, they have ketchup too. Make sure you have an ice cream cone from Yamilet at the Ice Cream Bar next to the Beer Garden. It's to die for. Lots of flavors to choose from.

Christmas Eve dinner was an amazing experience, and fresh grilled Cuban lobster (as much as you could eat ) was the main feature of the dinner buffet. They put out an amazing spread including live gorgeous painted human models.

Make sure you check out the local vendors which are set up on the far right side of the resort next to the Spa every day from 9 to 5 pm. They sell all sorts of beautiful stuff at really great prices and they leave you alone to look and browse and don’t harass you. They change vendors every 2 days.

The beach is spectacular, beautiful and turquoise blue. The sand is so soft and feels like flour under your feet. It is a bit windy by the ocean, however, the wind creates beautiful fun waves to swim in and bounce around in. You will get the best exercise of your life in the ocean water. Not much fun if water is completely calm. There’s a snack bar right on the beach at the end of the walkway and they serve fantastic hot grilled panini’s with all the fixings. You’ve got to have one.

Yes I would recommend this resort for sure. You will have a great time.

Room Tip: All rooms no matter where you end up are okay. We got what we got and it was perfectly fine.
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  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
13 Thank Begonia8100
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DirectorMLD, Director Comercial at Melia Las Dunas, responded to this review, January 13, 2014
Dear Begonia81 :

Many thanks for let us know your experience, we are very happy to see that you enjoyed our Christmas Dinner, we worked a lot to provide a good memory to our clients.

I also believe that your review can help a lot to all our potential clients.

Will be a pleasure to receive you again.

Best regards,

Yudiel Manejias
Sales Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative 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
Phone Number:
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:
#3 Spa Hotel in Cayo Santa Maria
#4 Romantic Hotel in Cayo Santa Maria
#6 On the Beach Hotel in Cayo Santa Maria
#6 Luxury Hotel in Cayo Santa Maria
#7 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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