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Amazing resort/amazing staff/ Spectacular time had by all !!!!!
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.
Wonderful beach, nice hotel
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!
Great place for a relaxing vacation!
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.
Service déplorable, beaucoup de moustiques, manque de propreté, 24 hres sans électricité. Pas de papier, pas de savon dans toilettes publiq
Date of stay: February 2013
Trip type: Family
Bonjour, Plus jamais Cuba, c'est la 6ème et dernière fois que j'y suis allée. À l'hôtel Playa Cayo Santa Maria, 1h30 de bus, pour s'y rendre de l'aéroport de Santa Clara. Il y a des moustiques et je suis piquée ...
Bonjour, Plus jamais Cuba, c'est la 6ème et dernière fois que j'y suis allée. À l'hôtel Playa Cayo Santa Maria, 1h30 de bus, pour s'y rendre de l'aéroport de Santa Clara. Il y a des moustiques et je suis piquée comme un édredon. À 7 heure le matin, il faisait le fumisage, on respirait ça et il y avait tellement de boucane, que ça créait un brouillard... un conseil, que je donne à l'hôtel, ça devrait être fait durant la nuit, de sorte que nous en ressentions pas les conséquences, il y avait des bébés et des enfants sur le site, pas très bon, pour leur poumon... Je me demande si, les gens qui écrivent des commentaires sont payés par des agences, mais la seule personne crédible se nomme Chantal et demeure à Ste-Anne des Plaines, elle a sûrement voyagé ailleurs comme moi, pour voir la différence. 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 très souriants. Pas de service de mini bar dans la chambre comme c'était supposé et écrit dans les avantages. En 7 jours j'ai changé ma serviette de plage 1 fois, il n'y en avait jamais, c'était toujours la même réponse, plus tard.... Bar 24 heures très bruyant, pas d'agent de sécurité pour calmer les fêtards juste devant les chambres, malgré notre appel et notre visite à la réception à 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 propreté, au repas, le service se faisait avec la même spatule, que se soit boeuf, poulet ou poisson, nourriture jamais chaude même dans les restaurant à la carte... Aucune hygiène, faudrait qu'il soit éduquer en ce sens, il y avait même de la moissisure dans le fond d'une bouteille d'huile. Attente en ligne pour se faire servir, trop longue, nous avons changé d'idée à plusieurs reprises, on abandonnait... Nous avons manqué d'électricité 24 heures dans notre bloc, rien à faire, la réception nous contait toujours des sornettes, au lieu de la vérité, au lieu de nous changer de chambre, ça duré du dimanche à 18h30 au mardi 16h30. Pas normal pour un site supposément comme indiqué 5 étoiles dans leur lobby. Le samedi, nous avons perdu la télévision, supposément le satellite, mais juste notre bloc encore. Parlons de la plage, pas pratique avec ces deux palliers, il faut débouler sable et rocailles pour y arriver, (PAS ÉVIDENT POUR LES PERSONNES AGÉES OU AYANT DE LA DIFFICULTÉ À SE DÉPLACER) peu d'abri solaire, pour les chaises à la plage, toujours prises, car les gens allaient mettre leurs serviettes très tôt, (à remarquer que nous avons eu à peu près 2 belles journées, de soleil, sur 7.) Il faisait tellement froid le samedi soir et le dimanche matin, qu'on a dû mettre nos manteaux d'hiver pour aller au bar du lobby, prendre nos cafés. Le café au déjeuner, à la salle à manger, exécrable, au bar il était bon. Par contre beau site bien entretenu par les jardiniers, tous très souriants. Pour ce qui est des piscines, très propres et beaucoup de chaises et d'abris pour se protéger du soleil. La chambre était pas extrêmement propre, juste ce qu`il faillait, papier de toilette, changement de serviettes, lits refaits. Je ne pense pas que les toilettes et la douche étaient lavées avec du désinfectant ou du nettoyant. Les toilettes par contre fonctionnaient bien, il y avait de l'eau chaude pour les douches. Voyage payé trop cher, pour le peu de plaisir que nous avons eu, $1,421.03 chaque. Nous sommes très déçue, pas de vol direct, car nous étions avec Westjet, sans repas sur l'avion, juste breuvage et grignotines pas très sain! C'était avec escale à Toronto. Le vol d'arrivée à Montréal, à notre retour le 22 février, devait être à 21h16, mais Westjet ne pouvait atterrir à Toronto, pour le transit à cause de la pluie verglassante qu'on nous a dit, donc, on a manqué de gaz à force de tourner en rond, et on a dû se rendre à Ottawa, pour gazer, (pourquoi pas Montréal ???, nous aurions été rendu) nous sommes revenus à Toronto ensuite, pour le départ annoncé à 22h45 pour Montréal, (pas de repas) on a décollé juste à minuit, puis on a atterri à 1h15 du matin. Donc 3 envols et 3 atterrissages dans la même journée! INCROYABLE...C'était mes pires vacances. Donc, pour tout ces tracas et le manque de jouissance de nos vacances, nous accordons un petit 3 étoiles et très petit, à cette hôtel. Je demande un dédommagement en argent pour tous nos désagréments, le manque de comfort et les fausses données de ce site. Michelyne Blais 42 de Piémont, Laval, H7M 1B6 450-668-2730
Beautiul resort and wonderful staff. I hope to visit again in the future!
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
Beautiful Hotel, Great Staff, Goregous Pool, interesting guests...(bus ride in is beautiful but a little lengthy)
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)
Excellent value for an all inclusive trouble free vacation.
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.
Excellent value, great location and premises
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.
What to expect (based on 1244 reviews):
5 most recent TripAdvisor reviews:
This was our first trip to Cuba mostly because we have been afraid of the food but the "Playa Cayo" resort exceeded our expectations. The food was great. The staff was wonderful, always friendly...
This was our first trip to Cuba mostly because we have been afraid of the food but the "Playa Cayo" resort exceeded our expectations. The food was great. The staff was wonderful, always friendly and helpful when needed. Especially "Leo"!! He was fun and outgoing making sure we were always having a great time. The beach was fantastic!! Very clean & well kept. The only downfall was check in, there was a lack of staff at the front desk so it was a long and slow process. They did bring us tropical blue drinks however while waiting in line so that was a nice touch that helped to put in the time. Overall we were very impressed by this resort, well worth the money.
This property is very nice. Have not been at a 5 star but I am sure this one is right up there. There was six of us at this resort from February 18th. to the 25th. Because we are having a very cold...
This property is very nice. Have not been at a 5 star but I am sure this one is right up there. There was six of us at this resort from February 18th. to the 25th. Because we are having a very cold and snowy winter here in Nova Scotia, anywhere where there is warm weather would be acceptable. Lots to choose from with the food. After a week eating the food it does get a little boring but there is only so much you can do with food here in Cuba. The beach is beautiful and the pools are great. We stayed at the pool because there was music from 3 guys and 2 girls. They were just wonderful. Two guys from Halifax and one from Vancouver. The harmony was beautiful. They did the great songs from the 70's and 80's. Thank you for a great week. We had to leave our passports overnight when we checked in. It was a random check is all we were told. Got them back the next day. Had trouble with Internet. There was no help from desk. They just smile and say there is nothing we can do. Have been to Cuba 6 times. This resort is the best!! Strongly recommend it!!
Very good place
We were at Playa Cayo Santa Maria 25th feb to 4th march , we receive a very good service from all the staff , specially from Mareyi Gomez the Customer service responsable ,she give us two rooms at a...
We were at Playa Cayo Santa Maria 25th feb to 4th march , we receive a very good service from all the staff , specially from Mareyi Gomez the Customer service responsable ,she give us two rooms at a very good location in front the pool , the maid made a good work for us .We also meet the DG Mr Jorge Calderin , who seem to be a very good person and work hard all day to manage the place as good as it is possible to do , and believe me the result is impressive .The gardens are nice and very well maintained .All the resort is perfectly clean .I recommand this place to every one , and i will be there probably again in june .Congratulation to all working there .
Great beach but resort needs some major improvements in cleanliness!
Let me preface this review by saying that I have been on multiple "all inclusive" vacations and this review is based on my experiences with this resort...both good and bad. Short version.....Beach...
Let me preface this review by saying that I have been on multiple "all inclusive" vacations and this review is based on my experiences with this resort...both good and bad. Short version.....Beach is absolutely breathtaking. Rooms could be cleaner. Even fresh towels smelled. Sheets never changed once during week. First room we were given had whitish stains all over bedcovers. Food was passable but really repetitive and I really think that they re-used food over and over again. 3 out of 6 in our group had gastric issues at one time or another. Long version.....Ariadna who works in the internet/telephone area should never be allowed to work with people. She was rude, ignorant, and if she was employed by me I would fire her! I have never been so angry at someone before. Suffice it to say she has no people skills and needs to go clean toilets instead of dealing with guests. Internet café has 3 computers....the only one that ever worked for me is the first one on the right hand side when you enter the room. The others just took forever to load a webpage. They definitely need to spend some money and upgrade the speed of their computers. They kept blaming the internet but one computer worked perfectly and the other two did not...it is not the internet, it is your computers. First room we were given had twin beds instead of the king sized bed we asked for. Ocean view is not worth the price...don't pay extra if you don't have to. First room had white splotchy stains on the bedcovers and room chair which seemed to be leftovers from someone else in the room before us. Not very appealing so we spent an hour getting another room and gave up our ocean view. I was happy with the front desk as they said they did not have any other rooms but we refused to stay in this room so they accommodated us. Ernesto helped us with our luggage both times and was very friendly and great to deal with. Rooms are clean but not immaculate by any means. Fresh towels don't smell clean and it is very difficult to get your beach towel changed during the day. We were only able to get ours changed twice in the same week. Go around 2-3pm for best results otherwise don't waste your time. Our sheets were not changed once during the entire week but our maid was very friendly and pleasant. Remember that there is a different person stocking your fridge so if you want certain things remember to tip them as well as your maid. Entertainment at the resort was better than I expected and they tried really hard to make sure everyone was having a good time. Michael Jackson show was really good, you might not want to bring children to the Burlesque show. They had live bands by the pool for a few nights and then a DJ...this was great fun! Drinks are standard resort quality. A lot of cheap booze and sweet mixes. Premium alcohol is hard to find. 24 hour beer garden is a great idea but you had to pay extra if you didn't want the Cuban beer. Did not go to the cigar bar which turns into a disco because it was too smoky for my liking. Ice cream place is also a great idea and had Nestle ice cream selections to choose from. Pools were plentiful but not always clean. Sandy in some areas and a bit slimy as well. Did not seem to be as clean as I would have liked. Long lap pool was the quietest pool and sometimes difficult to get chairs if you didn't reserve with your towel in the morning; especially in the shade at the beach. Get up early if you don't want to be disappointed. 24 hour grill was great! We liked the food there...chicken fingers and pizza were our favorites for lunch and a change from the monotony of the main buffet. We found out on our last day that you could actually order grilled fish, shrimp, etc from the beach buffet. The red snapper was fantastic and our favorite meal of the week. Make sure you try something from the beach buffet at lunch instead of the pre-made selections. The main buffet had the usual...omelet stations, waffle stations, crepe stations, sushi station, meat/cheese station....but all of these stations were usually backed up and you had to wait if you wanted something from them. It is usually worth the wait because the prepared food in the trays was pretty awful most of the time. I think they recycled the food way too much...same desserts for days on end, same rice, same potatoes (when they had potatoes), and same mushy selections. Fruit was sometimes too ripe and sometimes too green. Overall the buffet needs some major work. Quit recycling all of the food that people don't eat! They aren't eating it because it is gross. Don't make it again. Make the dishes that are popular and get rid of the ones that aren't. A la carte restaurants were fancier versions of the same food at the buffet. The desserts were the same and just as bad. The only good part was that was the only place I saw lobster. They show platters with loads of lobsters in their resort pictures...that must have been a special day because it wasn't available anywhere except at a la carte's. We ate at 4 of them and I really can't say one was better than another...all equally plain. I also need to mention they had a pig roast for Cuban day. We got up early to watch the sunrise on the beach and came back to them trying to get a stick into a pig's mouth. The pig was skinny, yellow, and looked to be in full rigor mortis! I will see if I can attach a picture. They struggled to get the mouth open and it wouldn't budge because the pig had been dead for too long. Needless to say I did not eat any pork after that! We only went on one excursion; the catamaran/snorkelling excursion. The snorkelling was very good and we saw a lot of fish. A big storm came in and we didn't get to spend any time with the dolphins and the lobster lunch was better than the A la carte restaurants at our resort...and the fries were actually HOT! Overall, the staff were great, friendly, and welcoming. Drinks were okay and food was poor. Beach is fantastic, however watch out for sand fleas and small ants which seemed to bite most of us through the week in one area or another. Don't let the 90 minute bus ride discourage you as there is a lot to see. If they really want the resort to succeed they need to clean up the food issues and maybe have less choices but better quality. They need to upgrade laundry services so that guests feel they have clean linens and towels. They need to repair slow drains and holes in drywall, rusty staircases, etc. The resort needs some TLC for sure!
An ideal resort - Good stay with minor glitches, but worth every penny !
Our party of 4 stayed at Play Cayo Santa Maria from Feb 25th – March 4th, 2014 and flew with Air Canada Vacations. Air Canada was a HUGE improvement compared to Sunwing and Thomas Cook who we flew...
Our party of 4 stayed at Play Cayo Santa Maria from Feb 25th – March 4th, 2014 and flew with Air Canada Vacations. Air Canada was a HUGE improvement compared to Sunwing and Thomas Cook who we flew with previously. The seats were larger, there was much more space, good entertainment (including in-flight tracking map) on the back of each seat. They didn’t give away any free liquor or meals, but in the long run it was a much more pleasant experience. I would highly recommend booking with them if the price is comparable to other carriers. We paid $1022 taxes included, per person direct from Halifax in early January before the prices increased due to U.S. dollar value change. Previously we stayed at the Iberostar Ensenachos just down the road, but that resort is an extra $500-$600 per person – Playa Cayo was a good value, and much better bang for our buck than a spot in Varadero for the same price. Playa Cayo Santa Maria is just the perfect size; it’s not too big and not too small. I believe the resort was at full capacity when we stayed there. You NEVER have to worry about what you are eating; none of us got sick in the least, and we tried just about everything to eat. We also didn’t hear of anybody becoming ill. You DO NOT have to worry about thefts from your room etc. the staff are most certainly NOT of the ‘shady type’. FOOD: A wide variety of buffet items, however some ‘different items’ (as per norm in Cuba). You will NOT starve. If you are vegetarian, you will be fine; vegan, maybe not. Be adventurous, some of the oddest looking items were the most enjoyable. We went to 4 ala cartes, and to our surprise, they had been previously booked for us by the Customer Service Manager prior to our arrival. The Romantica was by far the best, and the seafood was quite tasty also. The service was excellent at all. If I was going again, and only allowed to select 2 ala cartes, I’d do the Romantica one twice. The beach grill, 24 hr snack bar etc offered quick and tasty lunches. Normally I hoard ketchup packs before I go south as the ketchup is downright awful, but honestly their ketchup there isn’t bad at all. The orange pineapple ice cream was great, but the strawberry tasted exactly like amoxicillin. The desserts are pretty much the same, however there was also a variety of buns, donuts, muffins etc. You will be perfectly fine, don’t sweat about the food. If you are a super picky eater, and you still cannot find something to eat, there is more than just picky eating going on. The ice cream stand / bar are a fantastic idea. Feel free to take a couple extra ice cream bars and hand them to gardeners, maids cleaning washrooms etc. Try the peppermint tea in your room, or at the buffet. If any of the menu items say “Jam” it means ham. Room service is $5.00 CUC if you want it, dial 5 on your phone. ROOM: Fairly basic, but nice and clean. We asked for the third floor with king sized beds in advance, and got just that in building 6. Third floor means 33 steps up and down. If you have mobility / leg / balance issues, you may want to request a room with a shower. It is a pretty big step up to get in and out of the tub, and support bars are pretty much non existent. This hotel seems to have never ending hot water; it’s always consistent and HOT. The tub is huge and takes about 15 minutes to fill. The safe is self setting with a 4 digit code, and would likely fit a laptop if you brought on. The air conditioning is the best that we have ever had; we darn near froze the first night until we discovered the night setting. Above the bed appears to be a smoke detector; it flashes quite bright randomly it the night – it was a minor annoyance. The bed was certainly not a pillow top, but was suffice. The linen was spotless and clean. Towel art was left daily and the room was cleaned well. We tipped $3.00 CUC daily, and left snacks that we brought from home. The coffee maker was a one cup kinda deal. There also wasn’t any coffee whitener or creamers, but I’m sure we could have got a glass of milk somewhere to keep in the fridge. There was no clock radio or clock. The television had a variety of channels, channel 22 had CTV. The fridge was cold, drinks delivered around 4:30pm daily. The furniture was in good repair. Hairdryer worked great and had 110 Volt plug outlet in it. Had a couple of VERY short power outages in our building, but only out for about 10 minutes. Workers seemed eager to ensure that all light bulbs in room etc were working, and even more eager to repair if they were not. ZERO bugs in rooms. Our room cleaners were Jorge and Yoaodry, they were super nice guys and did a fabulous job. SERVICE: I’ve thought thru this a number of times, and I don’t want to give any reader the wrong impression, BUT… The service at the buffet requires immediate improvement. There are no greeters at the door to direct you, nor to notify waitresses / waiters after you’ve been seated. The resort needs someone at each door to seat people. The service was lacking, but we quickly made friends with a couple of the waiters, and they were sure to come seat us and assist us upon noticing our presence. Yazer and Ernesto at the buffet deserve a HUGE thank you; if it wasn’t for them, I’m sure we would still be waiting for silverware and drinks. There are two Ernesto’s on the resort, this one was a taller and the older one; he’s very likeable and professional. The service at the 24 hr snack bar is lacking, and it seems very ‘confused’. For example, we sat down and watched a number of tables come and go before we even received a menu. The grill to order / omelet lines overtake the access to other buffet items. They really need a better way of getting folks to line up to avoid blocking off access to the other food available. Minor issues are present, but very avoidable if the management addresses it. CLEANERS: Tip these people! These folks are scrubbing their rear ends off non stop and don’t make tips! These hard working people are continuously going non stop for very little, unlike the other workers who are cashing in on tips. Track down the most amazing woman on the entire resort, her name is Barbara. She is an older grandmother of 8, doesn't speak English, but we really connected with her. She can be found scrubbing bathrooms by the beer garden, ice cream stand and pool area. She is always picking flowers to spruce up the bathrooms. One day in passing I noticed her scrubbing her guts out trying to lift a cigarette burn on a tile floor, I gave her $3.00 CUC and I thought she was going to cry. She had a 5 minute conversation with me where she spoke Spanish and I spoke English, neither of us really knew what each other was saying, but we connected. We had brought some ‘hard to find items’ with us such as bicycle tire repair kits etc; but by the end of the week we had managed to put together 3 shopping bags of items that we really didn’t need anyway. We tracked down Barbara, and gave them all to her, along with $20 CUC – it really caught her by surprise. She cried, and then we all had a good cry session, and knew that we had found the most deserving person on the resort who has the biggest heart of gold. We will never forget her, I’ve travelled all around the world, and lived in third world countries in Africa, but there was just something about her, just something about her. MEET HER. BAR / DRINKS: The beer garden was a fabulous spot, and a great idea. Coronas are $1 CUC charged to your room, but the rest are all free. The beer garden needs a sign that says “ Bottles must remain in bar area” … the bar tender had to waste a LOT of time telling guests that they couldn't take the bottles, as they could fall on the concrete with them, or cause broken glass to end up in the pool. It was sad to watch him have the exact same dispute / conversation over and over in 3 different languages. A sign would fix this ! Rude French Canadians even slammed the open beer bottles back down on the counters and demanded their tips back; so preventable. There was a great band playing there on February 26th, but we never saw the same band again – they should play every night! The BEST bar tender we have EVER met works there, his name is Serguey – get to know him! Serguey could likely manage the entire resort – he’s fantastic with the guests, has excellent English / French skills, is genuine, funny, EVERYTHING that a resort wants in an employee, he has it ! Seriously, sit down with him for an hour – watch him go ! Also check out some of the liquored coffee drinks that they light on fire in the lobby – pretty darn tasty, and I don’t drink coffee ! ENTERTAINMENT: There is entertainment going most of the time. At 9:45 PM there is a show. I had read a lot of reviews saying how awful the entertainment was, and now I’d like to reach thru my monitor and choke most of them. For example, we went to a performance called the ‘Romantic’ and the skill that the dancers had was unbelievable. I’m not sure I would stop the channel if it was on T.V. and I was channel surfing, but to see it live was AWESOME. Those young adults have skill, talent, and a true passion for what they do. They are artist as far as I’m concerned and they deserve a HUGE pat on the back. BUGS / MOSQUITOES: We were outside EVERY evening, and NOT ONE did any of the 4 of us get a bug bite; and I’m a mosquito magnet. We didn’t use a drop of the 4 gallons of bug spray we came loaded down with (We gave it all to Barbara in the ‘care package’). I saw 2 roaches the entire time, and both times they were dead. It’s a tropical country, get over yourself if you can’t handle a bug. The place is fumigated in a couple of different ways, and often. We had read about the ‘smoker / fumigator’ that goes around at supper time … we heard it twice and never once saw it; unlike the one at the Iberostar Ensenachos that darn near runs you down and suffocates you. Again, tropical country with bugs – they are just doing whatever possible to keep their place free of pests, you should be thankful for that. There are about 6 small cats on the resort, very friendly and approachable – it really helped me when I was missing my pets. They like fish sticks from the snack bar : ) EXCURSIONS: We decided to opt out of doing the jeep excursion that we previously wanted to. It would be a really long day, and it’s soooooo hot. Despite you hitting up tanning beds prior to your trip, applying sunscreen, drinking lots of water, the sun isn’t very forgiving. I’m glad I brought good sunscreen that was 60 because I was almost burnt after a couple of hours at the beach on the first day – and I never burn. MARKETS: There are two, a big one and a smaller one at the Melia Las Dunas. We enjoyed the smaller one more. It was less crowded, different stuff, and you could haggle a bit on the price. The first trip we took the bus and ended up doing circles for nearly an hour, last year it was only 5-7 minutes. From then on we took a $4.00 CUC taxi to and from each time, a lot less hassle and on demand. DOLPHINS: On the way to the market one day, our bus stopped at the dolphin spot. I was very happy to see that nobody got off our bus or on our bus there, the place was like a ghost town – it made me very happy. In the wild, dolphins swim 40-80 miles a day; these dolphins are enduring captive cruelty for human entertainment and it’s wrong, they are really suffering. Please don’t teach your children that animal cruelty is okay as long as it’s fun, because it isn’t. To top it all off, the only person I ever heard mention illness blamed it on the dolpinarium, she said the place was deplorable. Do yourself a favor and avoid it. ATMOSPHERE: A ton of French Canadians, a TON. Good consistent entertainment, music etc. Cigar bar was fun and opened at 6:00 pm, but was quite chilly. Beach music wasn’t too loud. Very gay friendly, seriously – no issue at all. WINE: Not great, but very drinkable! The wine they serve at all of the resorts is the same. If you like it, bring your ‘Bubba Cup’ (big thermos like cup) to the bar, and they will literally dump an entire bottle into it for you to enjoy in your room etc. I found a good bubbly for $6.85 CUC at the Melia Las Dunas market at one of the shops, a good buy. MONEY EXCHANGE: I had read where people said the exchange rate at the airport was better than the resort, that is not true. We exchanged money at the airport and also at the resort and it was the same. The only plus to exchanging your money at the airport than the hotel was the lineup. The hotel tended to have a long lineup. DRIVE FROM AIRPORT TO RESORT: It’s a lovely drive, I’ve done it a number of times and every time it is just as enjoyable. The only downfall this year was on the way to the resort, we had a couple of morons on the bus who guzzled more than enough beer and were just downright rude. Our bus actually had to stop another bus to restock the beer, there should have been a cutoff limit, or better yet a drop off limit for these guys. BEACH: Lovely, you’ll always have a guy grabbing you a lounger and brushing off the sand. There IS limited drink service (delivery) on the beach, and a couple bars along the top of the beach for quick refills. There is a slight bluff to the beach, but not as bad as people have stated – it was a non issue for us, but for folks with serious mobility issues it could be disastrous. They did put in stairs, but the problem is the steps are on such a downward angle it’s really tricky, even for me. They really need to install a ramp, and would solve the problem very quickly ! We would return again, but we must say that the windy weather created a lot of waves for 6 out of the 7 days that we were there. Late evenings requires a sweater for those who mind the cold, for me it was a nice treat. Those days the beach was red flagged and the lifeguards were whistling to bring people back in closer to the shore. Even one day they wouldn’t let them out any further than 15-20 feet. The first day (which is appears to be most of the time) was just like glass and crystal clear, and so wonder. We really wished we had the chance to experience more days like that, but we cannot control Mother Nature. Late evenings requires a sweater for those who mind the cold, for me it was a nice treat. This is an ideal spot, if you've booked here you’ll love it … if you are thinking about booking, you’ll likely find this one of the best resorts in Cayo Santa Maria. Enjoy. Say hi to Barbara, Ernesto and Serguey for me ! Any questions, just private message me : 0 )
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