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MCSM: Questions to prepare myself

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MCSM: Questions to prepare myself

Hello, I just booked my vacation to the Melia Cayo Santa Maria, leaving in two weeks!

This is my very first all inclusive resort vacation. My only similar experiences have been a cruise, a non-AI resort, and a great trip to old Havana. I've done lots of research but would love to have input from those more knowledgable than I to ensure I haven't left anything out.

1) I booked a non-oceanview room. Can I still request via email a 2nd floor room, or are they only for oceanview-guests? I'd like this due to less musty smell, and less chance of bugs entering my room.

2) Can I reserve a la carte ahead of time via email? I have 3 reservations, any suggestions? I'm completely open to using them all at a single restaurant or not at all (if buffet is that good!).

3) For buffet and a la carte, any suggested times of day where it's the least traffic? For breakfast/lunch/dinner

4) How's the room service? (food that is, say compared to the buffet)

5) When I was in Havana I tipped using CUC but am thinking of bringing gifts this time. What's more useful to them, CUC or gifts? I read that disposable razors are valued to them and I have tons and tons of these (3, 4, and 5 blade models!). Would this be an ok gift for a housekeeping lady, or should I only give it to male staff? I have lots of old clothes, but they vary from too small to too big, and trashy tshirts to cheap suits/formal-wear. Would they be open to all of this clothing or only certain things? Would it be weird if I gave a waiter/bartender razors as tip/gift, or should I stick with giving them CUC?

6) Any medication I should pack? I prefer non-liquid (ie. pill) so that there's no chance of it exploding in my luggage.

7) Do I need water shoes for the beach/ocean?

8) Anything else I should ask or request from the resort when I email them?

Thank you for any and all advice! Please let me know if there's anything I didn't ask but should be aware of.

Bowmanville, Canada
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752 posts
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1. Re: MCSM: Questions to prepare myself

Hi there, first of all, you will love the resort..

Now is the best time to email the resort. we stayed in building 3 it was right beside the Japanese restaurant. GREAT LOCATION!!

When you do your check in on the bus trip to the resort, they will give you a package with all your al la carte reservations already booked.

The Japanese was amazing, and so was the French.

We never used the room service.

If you take gifts, please take toothpaste to the gentleman that works in the bank in the resort.. They really want the toothpaste because they don't have floride in their water. We always tipped with the CUC and took gifts aswell.

Make sure you take your Pepto bismal, gravol, tylenol, and of course sun screen and aloe just in case.

No need for water shoes.

I would definitely pack a flashlight.. The walkways are very poorly lit.

Could you do me a favour.. In the buffet there is a waitress, I can't remember her name.. always wears her hair pulled back, shes has a darker upperlip,(faint mustache) shes probably about 5'4 could you PLEASE say hi to her for me.. Tell her I'm the one that gave her the necklace..came with my husband and two boys.. Tell her we are hoping to come back in July again..

Internet is NOT good there, don't waste your money buying time,its a waste.

Hope you have a wonderful time..


Calgary, Canada
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2. Re: MCSM: Questions to prepare myself

Most of your questions have been addressed by the previous poster. As for your question #5 please read the following links. Might give you a better understanding.


Heres a few more ideas for you. Happy reading




Don't forget your 25 CUC/person departure tax. Must be paid in cash(CUC') Also remember its roughly a 90 min ride to the resort and not all the buses have washrooms working. If you need to do it before you leave the airport. The MCSM is a great spot. Have a super vacation.


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3. Re: MCSM: Questions to prepare myself

Thanks for the advice! Check in on a bus? That definitely sounds interesting.

I'll keep an eye out for the waitress and pass along your greeting.

I completely forgot about the departure/exit fee, thanks fr the reminder and the in-depth links!

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4. Re: MCSM: Questions to prepare myself

If you haven't checked out this site, you can find out a lot here:


There is a map of the resort. You could request upstairs in any of the buildings, as even the ocean view units only have ocean view on one side. Personally I like buildings 7 and 8 for location.

Money is easy to carry, and people prefer it to gifts. Bring any medications you think you might need, and bring anything essential in your carry on luggage.

It's a very nice resort. Enjoy! :-)

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5. Re: MCSM: Questions to prepare myself

Check in on the bus is done only if there is a whole bus of people going to MCSM. Not likely in low season. But even if your check in is in the hotel, it won't be long. Your luggage will be brought up to your room in no time.

You will love the resort and the people :) Have fun .

I sent you a PM.

Keswick, Ontario...
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6. Re: MCSM: Questions to prepare myself

We are leaving tomorrow for our first trip to MCSM and Cuba. I will post when we get back. I did send an email about 2 weeks ago requesting a 2nd floor room (based on all the forum advise). I got a response a couple of days later advising that they had received my request and would do their best to accomodate us. I do not think that this resort has room service (other than the restock of the minibar) but it sounds like the pizza is something to look forward to at the snackbar. Have a great time!

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7. Re: MCSM: Questions to prepare myself

You can definitely e-mail the resort and request a particular building and floor. Requests can't be guaranteed but we've always gotten what we've requested or close to it. We always request a top floor, non-smoking and king bed and corner room if possible. You will get a reply back saying they can't guarantee it but will do their best.

A great tip that I've learned over the years is to take a bismuth/pepto tablet once a day. If my stomach starts to feel funny I then take it at another meal,usually it doesn't get any worse than that. There is an ingredient in it that has an effect on bad bacteria in the gut. Always use bottled water and don't use the tap water to drink or brush teeth with-most resorts don't have safe water in the rooms- if you do forget you may end up with the runs for a couple of days-nothing serious but not great if you have to spend a couple of days close to a washroom.

Drink lots of water to stay hydrated- many forget to do this and end up feeling sick because they are dehydrated either from the heat or alcohol.

If you have some favorite snacks(chips or protein bars) bring them with you as sometimes they aren't available to buy or if they are they are really expensive. The same goes with lots of sunscreen-it is expensive at the resorts.

Ontario Canada
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8. Re: MCSM: Questions to prepare myself

The water is safe to drink BUT I always suggest that you only use bottled water. The bacteria in the water (it's in all water) is different and may cause problems to some people. Better to be safe and not risk a day in distress.

We really liked the a la carte that was done at the Jaccuzi, just because it was different. The Japanese is a favourite, mostly because of the entertaining cook. The food is closer to North American/Chinese than anything.

If you love a good steak, do NOT order steak or beef. It is usually very tough.

IMHO, Oceanview rooms at most CSM resorts are not worth it. They are so far back from the beach that the view is nice but not worth the $$$ (unless you get a free upgrade).

We liked the pool bar/snack bar for breakfast. The buffet was way too noisy and busy for us. They have a limited menu but we are not big breakfast eaters - make up for it later. The lunch grill/restaurant by the beach is much nicer for lunch than the buffet. Great fish & BBQ options.

You can get extra a la carte dinners if you ask nicely and the space is available. Just go to the booking desk by the front and keep checking in. A small donation would probably help too. We ended up with 5 and really disliked the buffet due to noise. If they put felt on the bottom of the wooden chairs, it would be sooo much nicer.

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9. Re: MCSM: Questions to prepare myself

I drank tap water in Havana :s. Was staying at the Parque Centrale. So drank tap water from there as well as many restaurants. If I survived that with no issues, I should be fine drinking tap water at the resort correct? I dont like bottled water :s.

On the CSM.info website it says the MCSM has electrical outlets that fit American plugs. Is this true? My iPhone is compatible with 220 volts.

Bowmanville, Canada
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752 posts
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10. Re: MCSM: Questions to prepare myself

Make sure you have lunch at the beach restaurant.. you might end up there everyday once you try it .... yummmm!!!!

My boys ordered the filiet mignon at the french restaurant and said it was great!!

try the 4 season pizza.....very interesting.. lol

Have fun!