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“Truly a ROYAL experience”
Review of Melia Buenavista

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Melia Buenavista
Ranked #2 of 16 Hotels in Cayo Santa Maria
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 17 October 2011

I want to start by saying I have been to MANY high end resorts in many beautiful countries, so I have very high expectations when it comes to my travel experiences. This trip to the Melia Buenavista was exceptional.

I have been to Cuba 2 times prior, staying in Varadero and this past march in Cayo Santa Maria at the former Royal Hideaway Ensenachos (now Iberostar Ensenachos). We loved the Hideaway and debated for quite some time to return to the Hideaway or try the Buenavista that we had been hearing so much about. We know we love the adults only resorts and as the Hideaway was in transition to a family resort, we decided on the Buenavista. WOW! What a GREAT decision. I'll break down each area...

Rooms: FABULOUS! This is the best room I have EVER stayed in. It was very large, spacious and very modern in decor, which we love. Loved the huge walk-in closet, loved the seperate bathroom areas (sink was seperate from tub and toilet had a seperate little room). LOVED the idea of the outdoor shower. But as many people have commented, there is NO privacy. The first few days this bothered us, but we made it work (LOL) As you'll see in my photos (LOL). The bathroom as a whole had no privacy. A small window in the toilet room (with no blinds) the people in the next villa had a clear view of u. A large window in the tub and a large glass door leading out to the shower, both with no curtains or blinds, and the walls of the shower balcony had large slits to allow quite a clear view (LOL). But we figured, where our room was (0821) at the back of the resort, there was no one around. We made it work. But all in all, gorgeous room. Our view was excellent as well from our second balcony overlooking the secluded beach. The bed was terrible. Rock hard, we woke up every morning with sore backs. They need to invest in more comfortable mattresses.

Grounds/Facilities: GORGEOUS! In previous pictures the grounds looked dried up and bare. This i was concerned about because I love a beautifully lush resort. But the recent rain did this place well. Everything is green and growing and will only get better. The pool areas are gorgeous and very well maintained. The gardeners work so very hard in the hot sun. The beaches could use a little clean up. We found the sand is very dirty and course. Lots of seaweed, it doesn't seem to be maintained at all. Usually at resorts we go to the beach is racked and cleaned daily. This didn't seem to be. We're beach people so we were a little dissappointed by this. The Hideaway had a much nicer beach. But the rest of our experience here made up for the beach. The restaurants and lobby are beautifully decorated and very comfortable. As well as the lobby bar, gorgeous! And we LOVED that all of these areas were air conditioned. It was a nice break from the sweltering heat.

Service: OUTSTANDING!!!! I really mean it, simply OUTSTANDING! EVERYONE there is super friendly and will go above and beyond for you. I've had good service at resorts before, but this was on another level. The hospitality of the staff is like no other. I can't stress this enough. Ernesto (new GM) made himself present all day everyday. He personally went to every guest on a daily basis to make sure things were going well. There wasn't one day he did not communicate with us and ask us how we were. Orestes at the pool bar is AMAZING! I kept saying to my boyfriend "How on earth is he RUNNING around in this heat, with a smile on his face?" He would literally run from pool to pool getting drinks for everyone. He was so quick and so friendly. He would have my drink ready for me before I even got to the pool. Words can't really describe how fantastic he is. I had tipped him quite large at the end of the week and he was shocked. But he deserves it. From what I calculated, he was working at least 12 hours in the heat. He needs a raise!!! Liorus (not too sure of the spelling) in the lobby bar is also incredible. Such a sweet man. Always asking what we need. Not just drinks but in general, he wanted our vacation to be great. He went above and beyond for us. I felt bad for him also because he would work from 3pm until 7am the next day. Thats a LONG day! I can't even imagine working like that. Our butler Geraldo was fantastic as well. Super nice and on top of everything. I keep saying it but I really can't stress enough how amazing the service is here. I don't have one complaint. Every single person we came into contact with was fantastic. I really hope these reviews get read by Ernesto and passed on to the staff. They are all AMAZING!! Thanks to all of you:)

Food: AMAZING!!! We have been to many 5 star resorts, including Sandals/ Beaches and RIU resorts. Most of our meals were comparable to a Sandals resort. We are very picky when it comes to food. My boyfriend is from Italy and has VERY high expectations. We were expecting to basically starve (as we did at the Hideaway). Cuba is not known for its cuisine. We went in with an open mind and were shocked! We were literally laughing at every meal because it was so good and we were in shock. The only thing we didn't like was the hamburgers. Everything else was fantastic! The cappacinos in Cuba are spectacular but here...OMG AMAZING! Some days we would drink 4-5 (LOL) My boyfriend (being Italian) knows his espresso and he was in love with the coffee here. Sooooo good! You will NOT go hungry. We also loved that we could travel to the 2 other Melia's for their restaurants. We tried the "Romantico" french restaurant at Las Dunes (AMAZING!) as well as the Japanese restaurant at Melia Cayo Santa Maria, was also good. We also tried the buffet there...not so good. My favourite meal was at the Buenavista at Los Caribes on their mexican night. The prawn civiche was to die for and the soup was amazing. The steak was so tender we couldn't believe it. GREAT food all around.

We loved that it was a smaller resort. We hate the large resorts where we get lost or need a map. The other resorts in this area are all like this. Theres just too many people,not enjoyable. Here at the Buenavista there's only about 100 rooms, and most are couples or singles so I figure there's about 200-250 people max at this resort. Compared to the others at about 2000 people. We LOVED this. Most days I would be sitting by the pool alone:) There's always empty chairs, no need to wake up early to reserve a chair. It's so quiet and peaceful. If you're looking for a high energy resort with lots of activities, this isn't for you. If you want peace and quiet, go here! It's perfect for couples, for a romantic getaway.

I would definitely return to this resort. LOVE it! Go here, you won't be disappointed!!! :)

Room Tip: rooms in block 7,8,9 that look out onto natural beach are very quiet and out of the way. Higher floo...
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  • Stayed: October 2011, travelled as a couple
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12  Thank marcosgirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Melia B, Director General at Melia Buenavista, responded to this reviewResponded 20 October 2014
Google Translation

Estimado Amigo;

Muchas gracias por sus comentarios, gracias a ellos sabemos que estamos en el buen camino y nos ayudan a trabajar con más ánimo. Es un placer saber que cumplimos con sus expectativas y que disfruto de la belleza y de la hospitalidad que el Melia Buenavista ofrece.

Les haremos llegar sus palabras a todos nuestros miembros del equipo y esperamos tenerles nuevamente aquí en este bello país Cuba.

Un cordial saludo

La dirección.

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Reviewed 16 October 2011

As you have seen in the other reviews and photos, this is a slice of paradise. There are no words to describe the one-on-one service that we experienced at Buenavista. Our butlers coordinated our hoilday to be stress-free and they both surprised us with little extras in our room. Thank you Gerardo for the bubble bath and champagne. Javier also found the time to draw a bath and get some fruit plates and champagne for us. On our last night we wanted room service, and they ran out of lobster (it is on the regular p.m. menu but room service was very busy that night) Gerardo sent someone to a nearby Melia resort in a torrential downpour to fetch two lobster dinners for us...Wow!! Our biggest worry was whether to go to the pool or the beach. Thanks to the rest of the service staff who are always helpful and willing to try to accommodate any request. It was hard to leave the pool somedays as Oreste and Norge would be keeping us 'hydrated' and happy with the fantastic Mojitos and 'Oreste's Special' drinks and their smiling faces and humour. I have never seen a bartender/server that would run like Oreste...I saw him at a full sprint to get orders from the mini beach...if you wandered up to the bar to get a drink, he would tell you to 'relax you are on vacation' and bring your drink back to your lounger or to the pool as you floated around. Thanks also to Yaromir/Tibor :), Yasil, Yismet and the rest of the team. Cuba is not known for it's high end cuisine but this resort had the best food that we have ever had in our multitude of trips to the island. Rooms are beautiful and huge, the out door shower is Awesome especially at night under the stars. The only downside of the whole trip was the lack of beach towels for a couple of days. As others have said this resort is quiet...if we were anymore relaxed we would need a de-fibrillator to get us on the bus back to the airport!

  • Stayed: October 2011, travelled as a couple
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6  Thank DandLV2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Melia B, Director General at Melia Buenavista, responded to this reviewResponded 20 October 2014
Google Translation

Estimado Amigo;

Muchas gracias por sus comentarios, gracias a ellos sabemos que estamos en el buen camino y nos ayudan a trabajar con más ánimo. Es un placer saber que cumplimos con sus expectativas y que disfruto de la belleza y de la hospitalidad que el Melia Buenavista ofrece.

Les haremos llegar sus palabras a todos nuestros miembros del equipo y esperamos tenerles nuevamente aquí en este bello país Cuba.

Un cordial saludo

La dirección.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 October 2011

Fantastic resort with absolutely unmatched service. Food was very good, service from all staff from the G.M. on down was excellent. Orestes and Norge at the pool bar were impecable with their drink recommendations.As an older couple celebrating their 31 anniversary this was the perfect location as it is couples only, smaller in size than other resorts which led to an unforgettable week and will result in many return visits. Having the butler service as part of the package made the stay easier as they took care of all bookings oh our behalf from dinners to spa treatments to special events planned for us. Both butlers Javier and Gorrado deserve recognition for all they did.HAving a dinner served in the our room on our last night complete with a live group tp provide Cuban love songs was the perfect ending to a perfect trip. Thaks Gorrada and all the staff.

  • Stayed: October 2011, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank Donna S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Melia B, Director General at Melia Buenavista, responded to this reviewResponded 20 October 2014
Google Translation

Estimado Amigo;

Muchas gracias por sus comentarios, gracias a ellos sabemos que estamos en el buen camino y nos ayudan a trabajar con más ánimo. Es un placer saber que cumplimos con sus expectativas y que disfruto de la belleza y de la hospitalidad que el Melia Buenavista ofrece.

Les haremos llegar sus palabras a todos nuestros miembros del equipo y esperamos tenerles nuevamente aquí en este bello país Cuba.

Un cordial saludo

La dirección.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 October 2011

What I did I like best about the Meliã Buenavista? It’s an adults-only resort that provides excellent service. I went there for rest and relaxation and that’s just what I got.

The downside about Cayo Santa Maria is the tiny black mites that give you itchy bites like you wouldn’t believe. The best the Meliã Buenavista could do was spraying the resort twice a day.

Every room has an outdoor shower and a Jacuzzi bathtub. The fridge is well-stocked and the resort provided both thin and bulky pillows for sleeping.

The two pools are shallow, just right for lying on a water mat while sunbathing. The main pool has a walk-up bar run by very friendly staff.

I didn’t use the spa but did sit in the hot tub in the Japanese-style inner court yard. I felt refreshed after getting out.

A la carte meals are the standard for all three restaurants. I don’t care what anyone else says, the food was good and the service excellent. This is from someone who is going back to Cuba for the third time this year, and at another Meliã resort.

The Ranchon Los Marinos served both breakfast and lunch, and you can choose between selections from the buffet tables or its menu. I had lunch in the Los Caribes but preferred the Ranchon, especially because it overlooked the ocean.

The Los Caribes and Los Navigantes were the places to go for dinner. You make reservations with your building’s butler and can also reserve dinner at the nearby Meliã Las Dunas, which was popular for its Japanese restaurant.

The Piano Bar La Notte in the lobby area was great for a before-dinner cocktail and as an after-dinner meeting place. You have got to try the La Notte cappuccino.

Many guests preferred to sit outside but there weren’t enough tables in front of the La Notte. The resort was still building a large patio when I left. Good move.

Of the three sandy beaches, only the one on the east side was the best for wading, swimming or snorkelling. There is no water sport equipment available, so bring a snorkel and face mask because there are lots of friendly fish. This beach also has a beach bar that also served snacks.

Bottom line: definitely a five-star resort.

Room Tip: My room was 2122, upper level, where the balcony faced a pool area. It was close to everything exce...
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  • Stayed: October 2011, travelled solo
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5  Thank Scarberian
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Melia B, Director General at Melia Buenavista, responded to this reviewResponded 20 October 2014
Google Translation

Estimado Amigo;

Muchas gracias por sus comentarios, gracias a ellos sabemos que estamos en el buen camino y nos ayudan a trabajar con más ánimo. Es un placer saber que cumplimos con sus expectativas y que disfruto de la belleza y de la hospitalidad que el Melia Buenavista ofrece.

Les haremos llegar sus palabras a todos nuestros miembros del equipo y esperamos tenerles nuevamente aquí en este bello país Cuba.

Un cordial saludo

La dirección.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 October 2011

Buenavista has an excellent staff to help and service every need a traveler might have. The drinks were amazing, especially the pina colada's. I really liked the pool bar which was open to anyone staying at the resort and they were flexible with hours of operation as well. One server in particular did a great job making me feel exceptional, his name was ORESTE. Great man serving drinks all day long.

  • Stayed: October 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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6  Thank Sarady P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Melia B, Director General at Melia Buenavista, responded to this reviewResponded 20 October 2014
Google Translation

Estimado Amigo;

Muchas gracias por sus comentarios, gracias a ellos sabemos que estamos en el buen camino y nos ayudan a trabajar con más ánimo. Es un placer saber que cumplimos con sus expectativas y que disfruto de la belleza y de la hospitalidad que el Melia Buenavista ofrece.

Les haremos llegar sus palabras a todos nuestros miembros del equipo y esperamos tenerles nuevamente aquí en este bello país Cuba.

Un cordial saludo

La dirección.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 October 2011

We have been to Cuba several times, as well as Mexico and Dominican, mainly 5 star (one or two four star resorts) so we feel we can objectively give an opinion). It if matters we are in our mid 30's and not big night life people.

Overall the resort is very nice, very clean and very quiet. We were in a walk out pool room. The rooms (as everyone has commented) are very spacious. The outside shower really was not a big deal, we actually enjoyed it. This resort is very quiet and relaxing. There is no nightly entertainment, other than at the main bar (piano, band etc), this was part of the reason we really liked the resort.

In total there are three restaurants in the resort, only one is open for breakfast, it has a buffet style but you order your eggs, omelets etc off a menu, overall the breakfast was good. There are two restaurants open for lunch, the same one that is open for breakfast and the other one is the one they call the specialty restaurant (Las Caribe), the specialty one is menu only while the one open for breakfast and lunch has the same concept at lunch with the mains being ordered from a menu, overall the lunch was also good. There are only two restaurants for dinner, the specialty and French. The specialty changes its menu each night while the French menu does not change. Expecting that the food in Cuba is different than other countries we were still disappointed with the food choices and quality. We have been to other 5 stars in Cuba and had much better food. You can go to the other Melia resorts for dinner and they have a free shuttle bus that you can take. We went to the Japanese at the Sanat Maria and the main buffet at the Las Dunas. The Las Dunas was too big of a resort and bit of a mad rush ensued when going for dinner right at 7:00. The Japanese at the Santa Maria was quite good and an evening of fun as they always do a show while they cook.

The grounds of the resort are still new and growing but it will be lovely once it has fully grown.
As it was off season there weren't many people at the resort and at times we were the only people at the pool for hours.

The ocean is a beautiful blue and does have some of the best snorkeling off shore that we have experienced.

There is a new manager - Ernesto who had only been there for two days. He comes from Spain and has worked at Riu resorts and said he opened the Excellence in Cancun, so he defiantly knows 5 star. We talked with him on several occasions and he was always open to feedback and has many plans to change the resort to improve it.

We had Lucas as our butler and he was excellent. He worked so hard to make everything wonderful.

Overall this resort is great, if they can improve the food issues for dinner this will be an excellent resort to return to.

Room Tip: Building 16, 17, 26, 27 are all walk out ground floor to the pool rooms.
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  • Stayed: October 2011, travelled as a couple
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8  Thank SunMnky
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ernesto O, Manager at Melia Buenavista, responded to this reviewResponded 3 January 2012

Dear Valued Guests,

Thank you for taking the time to write of your recent experiences at our hotel. On behalf of our staff, I thank you for your kind words of appreciation, and your helpful feedback on ways we can further enhance our guests’ vacations.

Our aim at Melia Buenavista is to entwine the key elements of a tropical holiday: sun, sand and relaxation, along with first class memorable service.

In gratitude, thanks once more for your comments. Be assured that your feedback is valued and important. We remain dedicated to continued the refinement of our food as we craft Cuba’s finest five-star resort.

Best Regards,

Ernesto
Manager

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Reviewed 9 October 2011

Had a short 4 night stay at Melia Buenavista. The resort is modern and very well kept. The rooms are large and very impressive. The service staff is wonderful. The bar staff not so much. They did not make you feel like they wanted to serve you. We had Michael as our butler and he was truly amazing. We asked and we received. The food was less than great. if you do not like to peel hard to peel shrimp do not order it. Food was typical Cuba, I had a full body massage and facial at the spa with Aime. She was excellent and I highly recommend her. If you are looking to party this is NOT the resort for you. If you are looking to relax and be pampered.....please choose this resort.

  • Stayed: October 2011, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank Lois K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ernesto O, Manager at Melia Buenavista, responded to this reviewResponded 3 January 2012

Dear Valued Guest,

Thank you so much for your feedback on our hotel. Let me express gratitude for your taking the time to write about your stay at Melia Buenavista. Please be assured that your comments make a difference and that we will continue to refine the services we offer our esteemed guests.

I am concerned about your comments about our food and I want you to know that our talented Italian chef and our culinary team is taking care to ensure that every meal is made properly with the freshest possible ingredients.

We hope to have the chance to welcome you back to Melia Buenavista sometime in the future.

Sincerely,

Ernesto Osuna

Manager

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Additional Information about Melia Buenavista

Address: Punta Madruguilla, 52610, Cuba
Region: Caribbean > Cuba > Villa Clara Province > Cayo Santa Maria
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Luxury Hotel in Cayo Santa Maria
#1 Romantic Hotel in Cayo Santa Maria
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Cayo Santa Maria
#2 Top resorts Hotel in Cayo Santa Maria
Price Range: £132 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Melia Buenavista 5*
Number of rooms: 105
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located west of Cayo Santa Maria in a privileged ecological environment, and surrounded by beaches and coves. All-Inclusive five-star resort with 105 junior suites and suites, and the Villa "Zaida del Rio." Designed for adults over 18 years. An entire hotel featuring Royal Service. Recommended for couples, weddings, honeymoons and wellness/spa. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Melia Buenavista Hotel Cayo Santa Maria

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