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!!! :)
- 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