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Melia Buenavista
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Reviewed 31 January 2014

Fabulous end to the day, sparkling wine, sunset in all it's glory and a very friendly sax player.
Our room, which felt like an apartment, looked out over the sea and was always peaceful and quiet.
We were glad to be a little bit out of the way although there was never a feeling of being overcrowded. In fact sometimes we wondered where everyone was?
So glad we were at The Buenavista and not the other Melia resorts nearby which seemed much busier and crowded. Did enjoy the Japanese restaurant though which was recommended by our Butler.
First experience of an all inclusive. Couldn't believe at first that all the drink was 'free' but there are only so many mojitos you can drink in a day. Found the food a little 'boring' and sometimes the quality was less than we would have expected. Perhaps this is the case with holidays of this type or could it be Cuba?
Had to learn about tipping. Didn't realise some people, (the Canadians?) tip all the time whereas us Brits were inclined to tip at the end of our stay. Took me a while to work out why I sometimes had to wait a while for a drink or a sandwich but really can't blame the staff. I would do exactly the same!

Room Tip: Ask for a sea view, you may have to pay more. If you want privacy, ask to be away from the pool areas
  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank arkiedopolus
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Melia B, Manager at Melia Buenavista, responded to this reviewResponded 2 February 2014

Dear Arkiedopolus,
We really appreciate your having taken the time to write this review of our facilities, services and staff. We feel very proud to acknowledge you feel so enthusiastic about our sunset, one of the most beautiful in the whole Caribbean. We heartily hope this will not be your last visit. We are looking forward to welcoming you again.

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Reviewed 30 January 2014

My husband and I just got back from a relaxing one week stay at Melia Buenavista from 18-25 January, 2014. The resort is located on an island Santa Maria about 110 km from Santa Clara airport (1h 45 min by tourist bus). There is a 48 km causeway linking the island to main island. It is a beautiful, quiet resort (only 105 rooms) with friendly staff, excellent service and three lovely beaches. During our stay it was cooler and windy, so waves were big most of the time and therefore it was difficult to go snorkelling off the beach, even though the water was warmer than in the two unheated swimming pools. The weather was still 40-50 degrees C warmer than at home in Ottawa. Edel introduced us well to the resort upon our mid afternoon arrival and him and Gerardo took great care of our needs during our entire stay. Each night, there was a live music performance in the bar and one of the restaurants. As someone already said, this is not a party resort but we enjoyed the relaxing atmosphere, talking to the other guests who came all the way from UK, France, Germany, Austria, Argentina, Spain and Canada. Our room was very spacious and nicely furnished. I also loved the private outdoor shower. There was a unlimited, mostly reliable Wi-Fi service in the lobby with no additional cost to MB guests. The two desktop internet terminals were very slow so I only used the Wi-Fi. The restaurant food was average and often served lukewarm, but it has improved significantly halfway through, after Melia Buenavista's General Manager Jaumar started asking guests about food and their other impressions on MB. This was our second stay at Melia's Royal Service resort after the one in Holguin. It was our third trip to Cuba.

  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank VP_Ottawa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Melia B, Manager at Melia Buenavista, responded to this reviewResponded 2 February 2014

Dear Guests:
We have been delighted to receive your review. It feels very rewarding to acknowledge, through your words, that you found exactly what you needed while staying at Melia Buenavista. We will extend your comments to our staff (specially your butlers Edel and Gerardo) since they would certainly be very motivated by your praising words.
We are looking forward to welcome you again at Meliá Buenavista for another relaxing vacation in your next 4th trip to Cuba.

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Reviewed 29 January 2014

My sister flew over from Scotland and we decided to leave husbands, children, pets and work behind and take off for 4 days 21-25th Jan, leaving from a very chilly Toronto.

A small, quiet well-appointed resort, with different beaches as thoroughly described in previous reviews. The guys on the beach were great at setting us up promptly and sweetly and bringing us fresh coconuts etc! Of course, the sparking wine and sax player on the beach at sunset was great.

Yes there are bugs at dusk (the infamous "no-see-ums" other people have commented on), as there are all over Cuba and the Caribbean. Generally if you're in the tropics, you should bring bug repellant. My feeling is that to complain about them is like not wearing sunscreen and complaining that you got sunburn: they go with the warm temps!

We had a premium, ocean view room which was just lovely, with lots of extra touches, such as slippers; umbrellas (which we didn't need, thankfully); toiletries and so on. And we enjoyed that while we were dining, they'd come in to tidy up our suite. I find it amusing that people comment on the firmness of the beds - one person's uncomfortable firm mattress is another person's optimally supportive mattress. But, for the record, we found the bed very comfortable. I travel with my own down pillow, but this was the first resort I've been at in the Caribbean where their pillows were really lovely - and if I hadn't liked them, they have a pillow menu!

We ate at various restaurants (as booked for us by our butlers) and we were impressed by the fare. I typically avoid beef when down south, as I'm a bit of a steak snob, but I broke my rule and had the beef carpaccio as a starter one night and it was delicious! The wines we had were good (much better than anywhere else I have been in my previous 10 trips to Cuba), especially a Chilean white I had at the Cuban restaurant. The lobster and the soups and the salads were all delicious. For breakfast, we had the buffet (as opposed to ordering from the menu) but as we favoured the soft, fresh, delicious breads, as well as fruit and cheeses, I can't comment on the food on the hot plates.

The lobby bar entertainment was subdued and pleasant every night but the table service was a bit hit and miss (especially if you were sitting outside), but when we felt ignored, we'd circumvent this by going up to the bar to order and asking them to deliver the drinks to our table. Othertimes, however, it was perfect.

This is not a party resort. VERY quiet and laid back. An older crowd (we were there to celebrate my up coming 50th and while there were a few people younger than us, most were our age and older) No noisy cabaret shows. No wild activities round the pool. No discos. No locals touting wares on the beach. Casual dress (even for dinner) and generally a secluded, quiet, relaxing place to kick back and enjoy!

Ahhhh…..lovely!

And my next review will be in March when we travel with a few other families and lots of kids and scuba diving and catamaran trips….and I'm sure there'll be a little part of me pining for the Buenavista sax player & the sparkling wine on the beach at sunset!

Room Tip: We upgraded to premium, ocean view (244) but think all the rooms seemed good.
  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled with friends
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2  Thank Louise W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Melia B, Manager at Melia Buenavista, responded to this reviewResponded 2 February 2014

Dear Louise,
We heartily thank your taking the time to write such detailed review on your experience at Melia Buenavista in your 11th trip to Cuba. We are sure a lot of travelers will, as well, appreciate it.
We feel honored by your kind compliments which make us feel much rewarded.
It will be a great pleasure to welcome you once again for another memorable vacation.

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Reviewed 26 January 2014

My wife and I just got back from spending a very relaxing and wonderful week at the MB. Although the weather was a little off it was still better than -25 Celsius. We stayed at this resort from Jan 17 to the 24th.

If you are looking for a party resort the MB is not the place for you. However if you are looking for a place to chill out and spend time relaxing the MB is for you. No booming base music or frenzied activities here. From the background music at the main pool, the daily animation activities and to the nightly entertainers everything is geared for chilling out.

The resort itself is very nice, The rooms are the most spacious we ever stayed in a resort. Loved the outdoor shower. Bed was very comfortable for me however my wife would of liked to have it less firm. They have a pillow menu to find that right pillow. The landscaping is nice with a few more years to mature. We found the resort very clean and tidy.

The highlight of this resort is the amazing staff. If you make a little effort to get to know them by the end of your stay you will be treated like family. We had three butlers for our week. All of them were great however David is the butler that we spent most time with. He was great making sure we were happy or needed anything. Ask and they will do their best to meet your requests (of course within reason). All of the waiters and bartenders that served us were great.
However the ones that stood out were Lester, Diana, Julio, and Luis. We also enjoyed talking to the gardeners Armando & William and the mini bar attendant Laurenzo. The manager always made a point to talk to all of the guests and check up on how are things.

The unique thing about the MB are the three beaches. Each unique in their character and location. With the weather we had (cool,windy and cloudy) this certainly was a blessing. Depending on the wind you could get away the wind and enjoy some sun. The quiet beach on the west was great for the famous MB champagne sunset viewing. The small north beach is great for snorkling, if the weather cooperates. The main east sandy beach goes on for kilometers. Unfortunately for us, because of the cool wind, we did not get to enjoy this beach as much as we would of like to.

We are not pool people and rather be on the beach. Did not spend much time around the pools. They had one bar/pool and one quiet pool. They both seemed nice.

Because of it's small size one did not have to worry about finding chairs or a place with shade. There was plenty around.

The food was ok but not great for a 5 star. If they could rectify this aspect it would be one hell of a resort worth the 5 star rating. However one has to keep in mind you are in Cuba and you have to work with what you got. It is amazing how they can pull it off with the challenges of getting consistent and quality food products.

The bars were well stocked with brand & local liquors. The wines served with diner and lunch was limited to a few selection however you soon found out the ones that were better. There was one red we did not like and we always asked for the others. The whites were all decent.

Another slight negative aspect of this resort is that it sits in an isolated area of a sensitive ecological zone. There is vegetation surrounding the resort and an ideal breading ground for biting "no-see-ums" insects. Bring insect repellents and wear long pants & long sleeved shirts early in morning and at dusk. The funny thing about these insects they seem to prefer certain people. I got ravaged by them while my wife hardly got bitten. Not sure what the resort can do about these insects since they are situated in a sensitive ecological zone. Evan with all the bites it did not deter from our holiday.

This was our 3rd visit to Cuba and by far the best resort we stayed in this country. We would certainly return to this resort.

Room Tip: Rooms near the west quiet beach are more likely to have more bitting "no-see-ums" insects.
  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank Guy L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Melia B, Manager at Melia Buenavista, responded to this reviewResponded 2 February 2014

Dear Guests:
Thank you so much for your review describing your experience at Meliá Buenavista and describing us as ‘the best resort”.
It feels really good to receive such nice comments regarding our resort.
We are committed to keep on working in the improvement of our gastronomic offer as you suggest and I am sure your next vacation with us will be even more pleasant.
Hoping to be able to serve you again in the near future in your 4th visit to Cuba

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Reviewed 26 January 2014

All the reviews on this resort are quite accurate, I would have to add a few items that we did not realize prior to going there. Santa Clara is located on the Atlantic Ocean. Strong winds, rough water, beaches washed away. January is their winter season so the weather can get cooler with the winds. In spite of the fogging that is done twice a day, people are still getting bug bites, but you never see the bugs! Some people react quite badly and had a lot of itchy welts. This has more to do with location than the resort itself. On the resort, the rooms are lovely, the outdoor shower is amazing! The butler system is okay, they book your restaurants for you; that being said, when we booked at Las Dunas or Santa Maria, they never had our reservation. We had a reservation for the Mexican Restaurant at Las Dunas only when we got there, this restaurant was closed! How could they have reserved a restaurant that wasn't even open? We landed up eating at the Buffet. Insist that your butler give you a reservation slip, harder for the restaurant
to turn you away. Generally,the food was excellent and the wine/alcohol top shelf. The only exception being Breakfast. The warmer was not usually on to keep the prepared food warm. We generally ate a sandwich as we loved the bread! We did not enjoy the coffee at breakfast either.
The resort is generally on the quieter side. It was perfect for us, perhaps 14 days was just a little too long. We also paid more for the prime ocean view room but after being there I think any room location would have been fine.

Room Tip: All the reviews on this resort are quite accurate, I would have to add a few items that we did not realize prior to going there. Santa Clara is located on the Atlantic Ocean. Strong winds, rough water, beaches washed away. January is their winter season so the weather can get cooler with the winds. In spite of the fogging that is done twice a day, people are still getting bug bites, but you never see the bugs! Some people react quite badly and had a lot of itchy welts. This has more to do with location than the resort itself. On the resort, the rooms are lovely, the outdoor shower is amazing! The butler system is okay, they book your restaurants for you; that being said, when we booked at Las Dunas or Santa Maria, they never had our reservation. We had a reservation for the Mexican Restaurant at Las Dunas only when we got there, this restaurant was closed! How could they have reserved a restaurant that wasn't even open? We landed up eating at the Buffet. Insist that your butler give you a reservation slip, harder for the restaurant to turn you away. Generally,the food was excellent and the wine/alcohol top shelf. The only exception being Breakfast. The warmer was not usually on to keep the prepared food warm. We generally ate a sandwich as we loved the bread! We did not enjoy the coffee at breakfast either. The resort is generally on the quieter side. It was perfect for us, perhaps 14 days was just a little too long. We also paid more for the prime ocean view room but after being there I think any room location would have been fine.
  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled as a couple
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    • Sleep Quality
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1  Thank Janice009
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Melia B, Quality Control Representative at Melia Buenavista, responded to this reviewResponded 1 February 2014

Dear Janice009 from Winnipeg:
We heartily thank your posting this honest review. It is a fact that there will always be certain issues such as the weather conditions which simply slip off the reach of our hands. They may impair some people can fully enjoy their vacation if not prepared for this kind of inconveniences. I would like you to know that all those issues we can have control of are constantly revised and worked at in order to achieve our guests´ highest satisfaction level possible. That is why we are now focused on improving our food in general and most particularly, our breakfast service. We are also revising our procedures and reinforcing communication among our departments so our first-line staff, which includes butlers, is better prepared for daily tasks.
I hope these details you have so objectively described in your review do not discourage you to return to our resort. Be certain that it will always be a pleasure to serve you. Thanks again.

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