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    Breath taking beach and ocean, gorgeous hotel, will come back!

    Would recommend

    Reviewed by Jen on Nov 14, 2014

    Date of stay: October 2014

    Trip type: Couple

    Amazing hotel, great staff. So friendly. The rooms were very modern, and very clean. No complaints about anything, except for jelly fish. Which the hotel of course can't help. But there were lots, at any time of day. My husband ...

    Amazing hotel, great staff. So friendly. The rooms were very modern, and very clean. No complaints about anything, except for jelly fish. Which the hotel of course can't help. But there were lots, at any time of day. My husband received a sting the second day. There are a variety of beautiful pools to swim in instead however, and the beach is incredible for lounging on.

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    Can't wait to return with more friends

    Would recommend

    Reviewed by Pauline on Oct 31, 2014

    Date of stay: November 2013

    Trip type: Family

    My first trip to Cuba , Hotel beautiful clean rooms good service . Beach had lovely sand long walks when tide was out other than difficult to get down to se level no steps . Food good especially the speciality ...

    My first trip to Cuba , Hotel beautiful clean rooms good service . Beach had lovely sand long walks when tide was out other than difficult to get down to se level no steps . Food good especially the speciality restaurants . Not so good Entertainment in the evening . I am planning to go back this year , the most thing I was impressed with it was so safe you had a god feeling walking to the next village very courteous gentle people loved it

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    Amazing resort/amazing staff/ Spectacular time had by all !!!!!

    Would recommend

    Reviewed by Dorothy B on Jun 17, 2013

    Date of stay: June 2013

    Trip type: Couple

    Just back(June 8-15/2013)Great hotel/great location/great beach/great food/amazing staff-soo kind and accommodating/would definetly recommend this hotel and will definetly be going back ...

    Just back(June 8-15/2013)Great hotel/great location/great beach/great food/amazing staff-soo kind and accommodating/would definetly recommend this hotel and will definetly be going back again.

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    Wonderful beach, nice hotel

    Would recommend

    Reviewed by Julie on Apr 07, 2013

    Date of stay: April 2013

    Trip type: Friends

    Overall, this was a good hotel. It had a good value for the price. There were 4 different pools, and the sand and water at the beach were beautiful. Water was clear, but the beach was quite narrow. To get ...

    Overall, this was a good hotel. It had a good value for the price. There were 4 different pools, and the sand and water at the beach were beautiful. Water was clear, but the beach was quite narrow. To get to the beach, you had to climb down a steep slope, so if you have mobility issues, this is not the place for you (event the Melia has a boardwalk and stairs to the beach). Cayo Santa Maria is quite isolated, and I think the biggest downside was that it was a long time in transit (no direct flight from Calgary, and then a 2 hour transfer from the airport). Food in the a la carte restaurants were good (asian and romantic), and the buffet was decent, but we were limited to only 2 a la cartes during our stay. The crepe lady at supper (buffet) was amazing! If you have any allergies to seafood/fish, beware that you will have a lot less options for tasty food. Some things were not labelled very well, but people were friendly. Overall a good relaxing vacation. If you go, order a Santa Maria from the bar. Very tasty!

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    Great place for a relaxing vacation!

    Would recommend

    Reviewed by Georgina on Apr 07, 2013

    Date of stay: April 2013

    Trip type: Family

    This hotel was a little larger than we had thought it was going to be, however it was laid out nicely. Everything was within walking distance and there was a lot of options for bars, pools and places to eat. ...

    This hotel was a little larger than we had thought it was going to be, however it was laid out nicely. Everything was within walking distance and there was a lot of options for bars, pools and places to eat.

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    Service dᅢᄅplorable, beaucoup de moustiques, manque de propretᅢᄅ, 24 hres sans ᅢᄅlectricitᅢᄅ. Pas de papier, pas de savon dans toilettes publiq

    Not recommended

    Reviewed by Michelyne on Feb 24, 2013

    Date of stay: February 2013

    Trip type: Family

    Bonjour, Plus jamais Cuba, c'est la 6ᅢᄄme et derniᅢᄄre fois que j'y suis allᅢᄅe. ᅢタ l'hᅢᄡtel Playa Cayo Santa Maria, 1h30 de bus, pour s'y rendre de l'aᅢᄅroport de Santa Clara. Il y a des moustiques et je suis piquᅢᄅe ...

    Bonjour, Plus jamais Cuba, c'est la 6ᅢᄄme et derniᅢᄄre fois que j'y suis allᅢᄅe. ᅢタ l'hᅢᄡtel Playa Cayo Santa Maria, 1h30 de bus, pour s'y rendre de l'aᅢᄅroport de Santa Clara. Il y a des moustiques et je suis piquᅢᄅe comme un ᅢᄅdredon. ᅢタ 7 heure le matin, il faisait le fumisage, on respirait ᅢᄃa et il y avait tellement de boucane, que ᅢᄃa crᅢᄅait un brouillard... un conseil, que je donne ᅢᅠ l'hᅢᄡtel, ᅢᄃa devrait ᅢᆰtre fait durant la nuit, de sorte que nous en ressentions pas les consᅢᄅquences, il y avait des bᅢᄅbᅢᄅs et des enfants sur le site, pas trᅢᄄs bon, pour leur poumon... Je me demande si, les gens qui ᅢᄅcrivent des commentaires sont payᅢᄅs par des agences, mais la seule personne crᅢᄅdible se nomme Chantal et demeure ᅢᅠ Ste-Anne des Plaines, elle a sᅢᄏrement voyagᅢᄅ ailleurs comme moi, pour voir la diffᅢᄅrence. j'ai fait au moins 20 voyages dans le Sud et sinon plus...et ce site pour le service pas plus de 2 *, les cubains attendent toujours les pourboires et ne sont pas trᅢᄄs souriants. Pas de service de mini bar dans la chambre comme c'ᅢᄅtait supposᅢᄅ et ᅢᄅcrit dans les avantages. En 7 jours j'ai changᅢᄅ ma serviette de plage 1 fois, il n'y en avait jamais, c'ᅢᄅtait toujours la mᅢᆰme rᅢᄅponse, plus tard.... Bar 24 heures trᅢᄄs bruyant, pas d'agent de sᅢᄅcuritᅢᄅ pour calmer les fᅢᆰtards juste devant les chambres, malgrᅢᄅ notre appel et notre visite ᅢᅠ la rᅢᄅception ᅢᅠ 2 heures du matin, aucun respect des autres...Dans les toilettes publiques pas de papier de toilette, pas de savon et d'essuie-main. Pas de propretᅢᄅ, au repas, le service se faisait avec la mᅢᆰme spatule, que se soit boeuf, poulet ou poisson, nourriture jamais chaude mᅢᆰme dans les restaurant ᅢᅠ la carte... Aucune hygiᅢᄄne, faudrait qu'il soit ᅢᄅduquer en ce sens, il y avait mᅢᆰme de la moissisure dans le fond d'une bouteille d'huile. Attente en ligne pour se faire servir, trop longue, nous avons changᅢᄅ d'idᅢᄅe ᅢᅠ plusieurs reprises, on abandonnait... Nous avons manquᅢᄅ d'ᅢᄅlectricitᅢᄅ 24 heures dans notre bloc, rien ᅢᅠ faire, la rᅢᄅception nous contait toujours des sornettes, au lieu de la vᅢᄅritᅢᄅ, au lieu de nous changer de chambre, ᅢᄃa durᅢᄅ du dimanche ᅢᅠ 18h30 au mardi 16h30. Pas normal pour un site supposᅢᄅment comme indiquᅢᄅ 5 ᅢᄅtoiles dans leur lobby. Le samedi, nous avons perdu la tᅢᄅlᅢᄅvision, supposᅢᄅment le satellite, mais juste notre bloc encore. Parlons de la plage, pas pratique avec ces deux palliers, il faut dᅢᄅbouler sable et rocailles pour y arriver, (PAS ᅢノVIDENT POUR LES PERSONNES AGᅢノES OU AYANT DE LA DIFFICULTᅢノ ᅢタ SE DᅢノPLACER) peu d'abri solaire, pour les chaises ᅢᅠ la plage, toujours prises, car les gens allaient mettre leurs serviettes trᅢᄄs tᅢᄡt, (ᅢᅠ remarquer que nous avons eu ᅢᅠ peu prᅢᄄs 2 belles journᅢᄅes, de soleil, sur 7.) Il faisait tellement froid le samedi soir et le dimanche matin, qu'on a dᅢᄏ mettre nos manteaux d'hiver pour aller au bar du lobby, prendre nos cafᅢᄅs. Le cafᅢᄅ au dᅢᄅjeuner, ᅢᅠ la salle ᅢᅠ manger, exᅢᄅcrable, au bar il ᅢᄅtait bon. Par contre beau site bien entretenu par les jardiniers, tous trᅢᄄs souriants. Pour ce qui est des piscines, trᅢᄄs propres et beaucoup de chaises et d'abris pour se protᅢᄅger du soleil. La chambre ᅢᄅtait pas extrᅢᆰmement propre, juste ce qu`il faillait, papier de toilette, changement de serviettes, lits refaits. Je ne pense pas que les toilettes et la douche ᅢᄅtaient lavᅢᄅes avec du dᅢᄅsinfectant ou du nettoyant. Les toilettes par contre fonctionnaient bien, il y avait de l'eau chaude pour les douches. Voyage payᅢᄅ trop cher, pour le peu de plaisir que nous avons eu, $1,421.03 chaque. Nous sommes trᅢᄄs dᅢ래ᄃue, pas de vol direct, car nous ᅢᄅtions avec Westjet, sans repas sur l'avion, juste breuvage et grignotines pas trᅢᄄs sain! C'ᅢᄅtait avec escale ᅢᅠ Toronto. Le vol d'arrivᅢᄅe ᅢᅠ Montrᅢᄅal, ᅢᅠ notre retour le 22 fᅢᄅvrier, devait ᅢᆰtre ᅢᅠ 21h16, mais Westjet ne pouvait atterrir ᅢᅠ Toronto, pour le transit ᅢᅠ cause de la pluie verglassante qu'on nous a dit, donc, on a manquᅢᄅ de gaz ᅢᅠ force de tourner en rond, et on a dᅢᄏ se rendre ᅢᅠ Ottawa, pour gazer, (pourquoi pas Montrᅢᄅal ???, nous aurions ᅢᄅtᅢᄅ rendu) nous sommes revenus ᅢᅠ Toronto ensuite, pour le dᅢᄅpart annoncᅢᄅ ᅢᅠ 22h45 pour Montrᅢᄅal, (pas de repas) on a dᅢᄅcollᅢᄅ juste ᅢᅠ minuit, puis on a atterri ᅢᅠ 1h15 du matin. Donc 3 envols et 3 atterrissages dans la mᅢᆰme journᅢᄅe! INCROYABLE...C'ᅢᄅtait mes pires vacances. Donc, pour tout ces tracas et le manque de jouissance de nos vacances, nous accordons un petit 3 ᅢᄅtoiles et trᅢᄄs petit, ᅢᅠ cette hᅢᄡtel. Je demande un dᅢᄅdommagement en argent pour tous nos dᅢᄅsagrᅢᄅments, le manque de comfort et les fausses donnᅢᄅes de ce site. Michelyne Blais 42 de Piᅢᄅmont, Laval, H7M 1B6 450-668-2730

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    Beautiul resort and wonderful staff. I hope to visit again in the future!

    Would recommend

    Reviewed by Seretha Halifax NS on Jan 29, 2013

    Date of stay: January 2013

    Trip type: Family

    My daughter and I travelled to Cuba Jan 21 to 28 to Hotle Playa Cayo Santa Maria. It was an excellent hotel. clean, staff were great and the food was good. They cooked the beef and eggs ...

    My daughter and I travelled to Cuba Jan 21 to 28 to Hotle Playa Cayo Santa Maria. It was an excellent hotel. clean, staff were great and the food was good. They cooked the beef and eggs infront of you. The desserts were ok. This resort is not for teens. My daughter was boared. it's mainly for drinking and relaxing. There are no elevators in the hotel so if you find it hard to climb stairs get the first floor. We were on the topfloor over looking the pool it was realy beautiful. bring your own cup as the cups are very small. The service was great. Met alot of staff. The bell boy, jorge was excellent. Miss you Jorge... Louisa who worked for Hola Sun was awesome too. She answered any questions we had. Not much of a beach, it was ok. I loved the swim up to the bar pool. We went to the villages everyday so I could keep my daughter busy. The el cartes were ok. Remember you are in Cuba, they do not cook like we do. The lobster was terrible which I waited for. They grilled it and added some sauce to it. Ask for it plain. It was mostly cloudy when we were there but it was still warm. the snack bar didn't offer a whole lot but was open 24/7 and was next to our hotel. Bungalow 7 was next to the beach and snack bar. No bugs and the maids did a great job. Loved the jeep excursion although we didn't get a chance to go horse backriding as it was too late. This is where we gave out our gifts to the kids as we passed by. They loved it and my daughter too. All in all, I would recommend this resort. it was beautiful and clean. The hotel should have an itinerary for people arriving and the times. We didn't know anything that was going on unless we past by. Seretha - Halifax, NS

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    Beautiful Hotel, Great Staff, Goregous Pool, interesting guests...(bus ride in is beautiful but a little lengthy)

    Would recommend

    Reviewed by MrsC on Jan 29, 2013

    Date of stay: January 2013

    Trip type: Couple

    Rooms: Our room was beautiful, very clean and more then spacious for the two of us. The other couple we traveled with had a "musty" smell to their room but aside from that there were no complaints about the rooms/accommodations. ...

    Rooms: Our room was beautiful, very clean and more then spacious for the two of us. The other couple we traveled with had a "musty" smell to their room but aside from that there were no complaints about the rooms/accommodations. We had done our research before hand and knew to ask for a room on the 2nd floor to avoid bugs. Pools: We saw at least 4 of the pools which were all very clean and inviting looking. The water felt a little chilly but it was very appreciated on the hot hot days. Beach: The beach was gorgeous yes there is a big "step down" to get to the lower level which may cause some issues for someone with a disability or pushing a baby buggy. There are plenty of beach chairs and someone will bring one to you as soon as you reach the beach. (There were some sand fleas, each of us did end up with some bites on our legs after just 2 hours at the beach) Lobby Bar: the bartenders at the lobby bar are fantastic. It was very busy there every night but with a few tips you can assure you will be served all night long. 24 hours Snack Bar: We spent a lot of our dining time here. They serve great chicken fingers, french fries, meatballs & sauce, hamburgers, cuban sandwiches and so on. In the mornings they even put on a small breakfast buffet and serve made to order omelets (you just have to ask) Staff: all the staff from housekeeping, gardeners, buffet servers, bartenders and so on were always tops notch at customer service. Sometimes it may have taken a few minutes but any request you had they would fulfill it Entertainment was a minimum but we were perfectly okay with that. Just went to relax A slight downfall: As 4 English speaking travelers we were excited to meet and mingle with others like ourselves however that was not easy to do... the majority of guests at the resort spoke french and strictly french. (for those that are French the resort staff have no problem communicating as they all speak 3 languages Spanish, English & French)

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    Excellent value for an all inclusive trouble free vacation.

    Would recommend

    Reviewed by Adam on Nov 17, 2012

    Date of stay: November 2012

    Trip type: Family

    Fabulous vacation. A new modern hotel with all the amenities, wonderful staff and service. Beautiful pools and beach. Excellent food. Great value and would definitely ...

    Fabulous vacation. A new modern hotel with all the amenities, wonderful staff and service. Beautiful pools and beach. Excellent food. Great value and would definitely return.

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    Excellent value, great location and premises

    Would recommend

    Reviewed by LAP on Nov 13, 2012

    Date of stay: October 2012

    Trip type: Family

    Beautiful beach enabling long walks. Great hotel with very friendly staff. ...

    Beautiful beach enabling long walks. Great hotel with very friendly staff.

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      TripAdvisor

      What to expect (based on 2725 reviews):

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        5 most recent TripAdvisor reviews:

        Beautiful Beach

        Reviewed by mfgmommie2005(Markham) on Mar 23, 2015

        We travelled via WestJet vacations from March 13-20 with our family of 4 (kids 7 and 9) and another family. Overall, our impression was that the beach is stunning, the resort itself is very good...

        We travelled via WestJet vacations from March 13-20 with our family of 4 (kids 7 and 9) and another family. Overall, our impression was that the beach is stunning, the resort itself is very good, but there needs to be a management fix. Service was below average, food was terrible and overall it was very inefficient. If the chefs and service improved, this might well someday become a 5 star. As it is I would say its a solid 3 star (and by Cuban standards, a 4 star). I will rate the good stuff first, slowly descending to the bad stuff. Keep in mind this is just one person's opinion. We have travelled a lot and several times to Cuba, so I am very aware that we have to apply a different standard to Cuban resorts. I will try to include some tips and advice as I go. WestJet and Transfers: the airline was on time, staff were friendly-- overall probably the best experience I've had flying to/from an all inclusive. Everything went smoothly and the 90 minute bus ride to and from the resort wasn't too bad- the coach is comfortable, the scenery quite interesting and the hosts gave us some information about the towns that we passed through. BEACH: this is the reason we came to Cuba, and it did not disappoint! It is one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen. It is kilometers and kilometers of soft yellow sand- walk to the far East end and you can find schools of fish! Playa Cayo seems to be about mid-way down the beach (as it is a smallish resort, its beach isn't huge, but you can walk past all of the other resorts on the beach). The water is glass clear, and a stunning turquoise color the farther out you go. There were no jellyfish, but we did have some sea grass and sand fleas. Tip: wear DEET at the beach! There were plenty of sunbeds but the "towel reservation" system was in effect and we had to wake early to get front row shade. There is one super nice guy who will bring you drinks, but he was overworked and spent most of his day in the actual beach bar. There are two bars, a large main one and a small one on the east side. Bring a mug with you- the tiny cups are flimsy and create so much waste and garbage. The beer is great and always cold! There is a little hut that serves ham and cheese Panini for a couple of hours in the afternoon as well as hot dogs. That is really it in terms of beach snacks, however. BARS: You couldn't walk for 2 minutes without encountering a bar. The beer was always cold, the kids could get lemon or strawberry slushies at all bars, there was sparkling and bottled water, the one time I got a Cuba Libre I couldn't finish it, it was so strong (if you like rum, this isn't a bad thing!). The lines aren't bad at all and the bartenders work hard. We tip 1 CUC every time we went to the bar. Mojitos were pretty good, and the lobby bar/snack bar cappuccinos were excellent. Lobby bar staff seemed overworked and therefore not friendly. We saw a fancy coffee cart in the lobby at night, but the lobby was so busy we never stuck around to try a Spanish coffee. POOLS: beautiful, well maintained and everywhere. ROOM: the room was adequate; it had an interesting layout, with the beds facing the balcony, a nice flat screen tv with an HDMI port, plenty of outlets, a large washroom and a corridor behind the bed with some drawers. The drawers were stuck shut, so we just lived out of our suitcases. Everything was a little dingy and not terribly clean- there were cobwebs and sand on the floor all week, and the sheets were not changed, but we are campers, so the lack of sparkle didn't phase us. There is a mini-fridge stocked daily with two beer, one 1.5 litre of water, one cola and one lemon-lime soda (the latter was pretty good!). A couple of CUCs and a note ensured that we got an extra water every day. We tipped between 2-5 CUCs each day and left gifts each day (pens, razers, toothbrushes, medications, kids items). The daily towel animals were lovely! A/C worked great, the beds were hard and the pillows uncomfortable, but this is typical for all inclusives. We did appreciate some English TV channels, and the shower was great- large, plenty of hot water and a modern design. The room was quiet- our view was of a hedge and the vacant land beside the resort, but we figured this was the reason why our room was so quiet. WATERSPORTS AND RECREATION: Very good. The staff will take you out for a 10 minute Hobie Cat ride for a small tip (we always tipped 1 CUC per person). Kayaks were available to borrow on the calmer days (and on the rougher days we wave jumped!). Bring a floatie device with you, like an air mattress or air ring. Our friends used the tennis courts a lot, and I went to the gym a few times- it is clean and modern, with lots of treadmills, bikes, stair climbers, a few weight machines and some free weights. We used the spa to get the kids French braids, and it seemed very nice. There were also ping pong tables, a giant chess game, volleyball court- lots of ways to stay active! ENTERTAINMENT: Pretty good. We only saw a couple of shows, the Michael Jackson was very good. There was often live music in the lobby. We didn't see any animation team activities, other than some Aqua Gym at the beach. No one interacted with the kids or asked us to participate in any activities, and when we saw Animation Team members they looked pretty surley. This is definitely not a resort where the staff will greet you with an "Hola" (or answer your "Hola" with anything but a grunt). SERVICE: Really not great. Of course, there are a few staff members who smiled and made us feel welcome, but the overall vibe is of a staff that really doesn't want to be there. Now, I know this is a very different country and culture, and the staff are working terribly long hours and go home at night to what we would consider to be poverty... but I have to review and rate this resort based on the price that I was charged and the type of service one usually expects at a 5 star (even a "Cuban 5 star"). We have been to Europe and we know that not everyone is bubbly or considers friendly service to be good service... but this was flat out bad service. The Animation Team was never around and when they were, they seemed bored, and the front desk staff and a la carte reservations staff were down right grumpy. The people that we tipped well were nice enough (the guys who brush off the sunbeds noticed us when we arrived each morning, but ignored us once they got their 5CUCs each morning). The main buffet wait staff that were quite friendly, but only after we started increasing our tips to 10CUC a meal. Grounds keepers would stand around on the sidewalks chatting and smoking, forcing the guests to walk around them through the shrubs. Indifferent, is the word I would use to describe more than 50% of the staff. FOOD: We have been to Cuba several times before. We know to expect in terms of food shortages and bland food. But the food at this resort really was the pits. What upset us was not the shortages or the difficulty with preparing mass amounts of food for gluttonous Europeans and Canadians, rather it was the fact that there was no excuse for so many of the shortcomings. For example, the bread was always stale. If there is an ability to make bread, why can't it be fresh? We wondered if the resort (the only 100% Cuban owned resort in Santa Maria) bought stale bread from the Spanish owned resorts? The buffet food was inedible- cold, congealed layers on anything with a sauce, flies, and the same ingredients over and over (pumpkin, green pepper, rice, unidentified fish, blood sausage). We learned that the only way to survive was to line up for fresh food such as omelets, grilled meat and pasta. The really surprising thing was the way the cooks ran these stations... instead of cooking 8 pancakes at a time, or putting three or four chicken breasts on the grill, the cooks would cook ONE (maybe two) items at a time. The result were line ups stretching to half an hour for a single pancake, or two eggs. We just stood in line and accepted our fate (we are on vacation after all), but there is really no need for such inefficiency. When we suggested putting several items on to cook at once, we were met with an indifferent shrug and told that is just the way they do things. Another day, our friends discovered pistachios (edible food!). We went to the basket and it was empty. We asked if we could have some and were told there is only a certain amount of pistachios put out each day, and they would not put out more once they ran out. This is the type of thinking at this resort- once a ration has been exhausted, there is no more. I'm not here to pass judgment on this type of thinking (or thinking that it is not a problem to line up for 30 minutes for one pancake), but it is not what we expect for the premium fee and promise of a "5 star". If we had paid $1000 less and been told it was a 4 star, we would have had fewer complaints. A LA CARTE: we only ate in one, the Panda/Asian. We waited over 2 hours to get a bite of food, and decided with the kids we just couldn't do the a la cartes with such long waits. We would definitely return to Santa Maria again, but we would try a different resort, perhaps the Iberostar or a Spanish owned resort. Advice: My advice would be to tip a LOT and often (1 and 2CUC tips didn't cut it, they needed to be 5 and 10CUCs). Bring spices with you, accept that you will wait in lines, and have a good attitude. Overall we have a lovely vacation with great friends, the weather was perfect and we are very blessed to have a lifestyle where we can vacation somewhere where someone else makes me lunch and makes my bed.

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        Essential information for a Perfect Playa Vacation

        Reviewed by noname021(Toronto, Ontario) on Mar 20, 2015

        We stayed during March break week, March 12-19. The Playa Cayo Santa Maria is a lovely hotel, located on a beautiful stretch of beach. But there are a few things that you should prepare for to make...

        We stayed during March break week, March 12-19. The Playa Cayo Santa Maria is a lovely hotel, located on a beautiful stretch of beach. But there are a few things that you should prepare for to make your holiday perfect. 1. Bring bug spray. Our daughter got several mosquito bites even though we didn't notice many bugs. 2. Bring double the amount of sunscreen that you will think necessary. The sun was very strong and prices of sunscreen in the hotel shop are high. 3. Get plenty of one cuc pesos for tipping. We exchanged our canadian money at the airport while we were waiting for all our bus passengers to get their bags. Tipping is not required but given how hard people work it is nice to show some appreciation. Do NOT tip with loonies or toonies as the Cuban people can not exchange these. 4. Bring plenty of canadian cash to exchange. It was accepted everywhere, but you could only use your credit card to get money at a bank. There is a bank at the airport or at the shopping area, pueblo Estrella. The bank in the pueblo is only open until 2pm. 5. I brought small gifts for our maid, but after talking with her I think that money is more useful. 6. If you need to use a face cloth then bring one from home. They were not provided in our room. 7. Bring some packets of facial tissue from home. We were only given one small pack for the week, and our maid was very good about replacing everything she could. We had clean towels and a sparkling clean room everyday. 8. If you like to have a drink at the beach then you might want to bring a thermal travel mug from home. There are 2 beach bars but the beach is long and spread out, plus the cups at the bars are very small and flimsy. 9. Consider bringing beach/pool toys from home. Several people had floating rafts, frisbees, sand toys and I didn't see those sorts of things in the shops. 10. Bring some pepto bismal and Imodium from home. The water is drinkable but both my husband and I had "funny tummies" the day after eating seafood at the seafood restaurant. Most Important........ bring your patience and good manners. I found that being friendly and respectful got us better service than any tip alone could have. And please, please stop littering. The number of plastic cups and straws left on the beach is so disrespectful of our hosts and their country. About the hotel..... SERVICE -very good. Thank you very much to Mareyi in customer service for helping our family get rooms beside each other with a lovely pool view and for helping us with reservations in the a la carte restaurants. We also had fantastic service in the buffet restaurant from Danay, Ernesto and Alex and Gloria. Check in fast and efficient and the front desk staff were very helpful with other small requests. There were not enough bellboys to help all the guests which is a problem if you are older, like me, and have to carry your suitcase up 3 stories of a building with no lifts to get to your room. At check out I called the front desk a half hour early for a bell boy. When no one arrived I called the front desk again and was told that the bell boys were very busy. I am sure that is true since all the guests arrive and depart at the same time, however the hotel needs to plan for that, given the lack of elevators. FOOD - Good. Not the same as at home but certainly decent. Lots of choices. I would definitely try to go to the a la cartes just to get some variety. Coffee was good everywhere. Food in the beach restaurant was the least pleasing. If you always sit in the same sections you will get to know the servers and will get better service. It also helps if you try and speak a little Spanish. ROOMS - well designed, clean, large and modern bathrooms. Comfortable beds and pillows. Fridge was restocked daily. Air conditioner was effective but noisy. We preferred the ceiling fan. We never had a water issue or an electrical issue. Some walls are marked up a bit, and the furniture is chipped a bit, but the colourful decor makes everything look modern and bright. POOLS - beautiful and clean, not too cold. Nice ledges for sitting in the water. Always several available loungers. No real need to save your places. Pool towel exchange is beside the gym. BEACH - Incredible! Maybe the most beautiful beach I have ever seen, aside from in Hawaii. There are 2 levels. The top level has shade huts, then down the dune beside the water it is full sun. If you go to the left of the wedding chapel it is more quiet and less crowded. The games and music are between the main beach bar and the water sports. There are many more lounge chairs than people, and there are many helpers at the beach to move the chairs around for you. SPA - it looked nice, with its own small jetted pool, but prices seemed higher than what I pay in Toronto. SHOWS/Entertainment - Music in the lobby was lovely. Evening shows were a little too "sexual" for our tastes, with very skimpy costumes and very suggestive dancing, particularly the Romance show. The Michael Jackson show was very good. GROUNDS -not many stairs, resort is easily walkable, gardens are pretty but still young plants not fully grown in yet. Will be very lush and beautiful soon. OTHER - Taxi to shopping area Pueblo Estrella should cost 5 pesos each way. Double decker bus that tours the cay costs 2 pesos per person and comes every 45 minutes with no set schedule. Hotel Internet is slow and sporadic. Knowing that, my husband pre purchased an unlimited text and 500 mega bites of data and 200 minutes of talk plan from Rogers. Then he set his blackberry up as a hotspot so several of us could get internet.

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        Reasonable quality at an affordable price...great beach and staff.

        Reviewed by PaulYVR87(North Vancouver, Canada) on Mar 20, 2015

        The Hotel looks good on the outside but is need of upgrades especially to the bathrooms and bedding. The lighting is antiquated and if a bulb burns out, you may never see a replacement. The mattress...

        The Hotel looks good on the outside but is need of upgrades especially to the bathrooms and bedding. The lighting is antiquated and if a bulb burns out, you may never see a replacement. The mattress in our room was very tired and in dear need of replacement...but...this is CUBA. We have been to Cuba several times and never have high expectations of the accommodations and food. We come for the beaches and people...they seldom disappoint! The buffet at this hotel is adequate if you are hungry...the food is very bland and the selection is poor in comparison to the DR and Mexico. The a la cartes are very good and we would highly recommend the 4 restaurants. One thing about Cuba.... they are consistently, un-consistent. One day they have limes, the next none...same with just about everything, be it mint, onions.... Our biggest criticism was with the lack of cleanliness, the bathrooms and rooms were not up to any reasonable standard. With a bit more effort they would garner, better reviews. The pros of this resort are simply the beach and friendly staff...and that was great for us. When travelling to Cuba, expect the un-expected, lower your anticipation on the food. You may pleasantly be surprised. Special thanks to Alicia and Maitte in customer service. Always ready to help! Gracias.

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        Love the beach, hotel leaves alot to be desired

        Reviewed by josie r(Ajax, Canada) on Mar 20, 2015

        The beach was great, most of the staff was great, the entertainment staff was great, especially Alessia, Linda, Andrea and Nicola, plus some of the others (can't remember their names). Service...

        The beach was great, most of the staff was great, the entertainment staff was great, especially Alessia, Linda, Andrea and Nicola, plus some of the others (can't remember their names). Service in the lobby, was absolutely terrible ( bar and waitresses) it took about 40 min. to 1 hr. for a waitress to come take your order and same amount of time to get your order afterwards . to avoid that we would go to bar ourselves but found bartenders to be not very courtious. I ordered mineral water one night and was told, they were out of reg. mineral water, I could have premium mineral water (san pellegrino) but I would have to pay... after this incident no waitress would even come to serve us for the rest of the evening, (or other tables around us) we were totaly ignored even after calling out to waitress, she turned in opposite direction... we found this to be absolutely unacceptable. we complained to manager in the buffet ( Riccardo) and he agreed with us and took care of problem, service after that was great in lobby... The hotel does not provide any conditioner AT ALL so bring your own, they have limited shampoo and body was, we found we had to continously ask for it. Food was what you would expect in Cuba, same thing everyday, and very bland!!! Over all W would not rate this Hotel a five star at all. we would give it a 3 to 3.5 star!!!

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        A Good Choice and Here is Why

        Reviewed by OttawaAndr_P(Ottawa) on Mar 20, 2015

        This was my second stay at this very nice resort. It is located 90 minutes from the airport but worth it. It has lots of great features and a few areas that could be improved. 1. The resort -- It is...

        This was my second stay at this very nice resort. It is located 90 minutes from the airport but worth it. It has lots of great features and a few areas that could be improved. 1. The resort -- It is a modern resort (about 5 years old). The layout is such that you do not have to walk excessively to get anywhere. The grounds are tidy and well lit at night. Bungalows are three story high, with balconies, and painted a very pleasant and modern colour. 2. The rooms -- The rooms and the bathrooms are quite spacious. The bathroom has one 110 volt outlet that can be used to recharge electronics. The rest of the room is all 220 volts. Each room has a combination safe available at no charge. Beach towels are provided with your room so you do not have to go through any hassle to get one as in many resorts. 3. The pools and beaches --There are at least three swimming pools with plenty of lounging chairs provided, with bars close by. The beaches are very clean, and one can walk for miles. The water is shallow near the shore, which is handy for elderly people and children. 4. The food -- There are the usual snack bars spread over the resort. There is also a restaurant (El Ranchon), overlooking the beach where you can have a very nice lunch while feeling the gentle breeze coming from the ocean. The specialty restaurants are very popular so reserve early upon arrival. Most popular were Romantico, the Italian restaurant and the Asian one. The main buffet restaurant was an area that I thought could be improved. The lighting in the main dining room is rather dingy because of a lack of natural light coming in and the use of those blue-tinged lights. However, there are two large gazebos connected with the dining room where I would enjoy my meals. Having breakfast outside while listening to the birds was priceless. The other area that could be improved is the way the various stations are set up. As it is, one can expect long line ups for freshly grilled fish and meats. The food offerings were varied and good. 5. The Lobby -- Another secret weapon of this resort. It has a very nice bar with lots of tables and chairs where you can relax and listen in the evening to a piano player, sometimes accompanied by other musicians. 6. Last but not least, the people are very nice and patient with us tourists. They deserve our most sincere thanks.

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