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“Underwhelmed but relaxing”
Review of Melia Buenavista

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Melia Buenavista
Ranked #2 of 15 Hotels in Cayo Santa Maria
Certificate of Excellence
Bath
Level Contributor
69 reviews
42 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 72 helpful votes
“Underwhelmed but relaxing”
Reviewed 26 July 2014

Just got back from the Melia Buenavista, we were there for 2 weeks. The best thing about the hotel were the staff in terms of them trying to be a helpful and friendly as possible. Yunior in the Navegantes Restaurant stood out for us.

In the brochure we used and this was confirmed by the hotel manager the hotel is supposed to be 5 star. This it is definitely is not. In 2 weeks we had a lot of niggly issues that mainly arose because of this expectation gap. You bill yourself as 5 star you charge 5 star you should deliver 5 star. Little issues such as stained towels, no cooled white wine in the restaurant, laundry going missing for 36 hours, very slow service in the buffet restaurant (waiting 25 mins for shrimps which were then cold) your coffee being left on the counter for 10 minutes before the waiter realised etc. I know that they are trivial but to me they were important. The butler service we found very hit and miss, our original butler was awful but the replacement was much better.

The aircon in our room was also very underpowered and was barely sufficient ( it was the hot season though)

The quiet pool was lovely, couldn't use the main pool as we personally found the continuous piped pop music intrusive, ( personal preference).

We had one much more serious problem that the management dealt with well.

With the enthusiasm of the staff , a bit of training and management and this place could be 5 star

  • Stayed July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Derek S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Melia B, General Manager at Melia Buenavista, responded to this review, 5 August 2014
Dear Derek S

Receive our most respectful greeting from sunny Cuba.
We heartily appreciate you honest review. We understand some of our services did not exactly meet all your expectations but we thank your giving us the chance to identify these improvement opportunities. We can proudly say that some of the issues mentioned in your review, such as the air conditioner and laundry issues, have already been solved and we keep implementing positive changes. Besides, several corrective measures will be implemented for those problems not to happen again. It will always be a pleasure to welcome you at Melia Buenavista and serve you as our guests.
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English first
Toronto, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 23 July 2014

I would like to start off by saying that I miss all my new friends at the Melia Buenavista!! We started our trip at the reception and where taken great care of by Dailyn who was extremely caring and most importantly professional. All the front desk agents where exceptional, they attended to our needs at all hours of the night. We had the best 5 day vacation ever, all thanks to the gracious staff. Shout out to my friends Osmany and Orested at the pool bar, Navy that provided our towels for the beach and lots of laughs! Thanks to the chefs at the pool for the delicious sausages and great pizza from the wood burning oven. ARMANDO the best gardener ever is one of the most amazing people I have ever met. He went out of his way to provide us with a wonderful experience, cant say no to a delicious coconut in the morning!! Our good friend David and Lester who we adore, there were so kind from the beginning to end, we miss them greatly. Can not forget about our friends at the beach Pedro and FELIX( we miss you) ... we had many great conversations and jokes that we still laugh about three weeks later and we talk about them almost everyday, believe or not they are ALL part of our family. Maday miss your great personality I will never forget you. If we forgot anyone don’t be offended we love and miss you all. This resort is more then 5 stars and my eyes it cant be rated because it tops all the fabulous resorts we have been to throughout the years. The beach (where Felix works) was amazing, it was never busy so that we could not find chairs and the crystal blue water was heavenly!! Dont listen to what you hear about the food, the food at the Melia Buenavista is mouth watering.

Room Tip: Get the outdoor shower. It's amazing!!!
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  • Stayed July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
Review collected in partnership with this hotel

Helpful?
1 Thank Samantha C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Melia B, General Manager at Melia Buenavista, responded to this review, 4 August 2014
Dear Samantha C

We are flattered by your review which highlights our services and the warm and joyful way guests are treated by our staff. We certainly consider our employees our strongest point since it is them who actually make the difference. You make us feel really proud by assuring, so enthusiastically, that you will be back to MBV.
We heartily thank your praising words which will definitively cause a positive impact in our potential guests reading you. It will be a great pleasure to welcome you back for another vacation in your new home away from home.
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1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 July 2014

The tranquility of the resort, outstanding service, amazing food and beautiful accommodations! We really couldn't ask for more. We'll be back next year, can't wait! Already miss having butler service....

  • Stayed July 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
Review collected in partnership with this hotel

Helpful?
2 Thank Benjamin A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Melia B, General Manager at Melia Buenavista, responded to this review, 4 August 2014
Dear Benjamin A

It has been a real pleasure to receive such a nice comment. It is very rewarding to acknowledge that your visit to our resort has inspired these good feelings on you. It would be very nice to have you as our guests in the future so you may enjoy all the privileges of our Royal Service.
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Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 July 2014

We're a young couple with a soft spot for Cuba and Cuban people. Having been to the Carribean countless times, Melia Buenavista is the only resort we came back to and we will return again, because it's a trully unique hotel, in a beautiful setting, offering 3 stunning beaches and great service. I have to say we see constant improvements every time we go back. By now it feels like home away from home to us.

When we first found Melia Buenavista, we were looking for a clean hotel, visually stunning surroundings, great beaches and good food. We were more than satisfied!

CHECK-IN

Check-in is always smooth since it's a small boutique hotel with only 105 rooms. All hotels in Cayo Santa Maria are approximately 1,5-2 hours away from the airport. Not a problem for us, we loved seeing a bit of the countryside and going through three cities on our way.

ROOMS

Very spacious and modern, with huge bathrooms (I miss the outdoor shower so much!). Comfortable beds and powerful AC. On our first 2 visits, we enjoyed rooms facing the quiet pool; since it's such a quiet place with visitors coming to relax it feels almost like your private pool. It was great to be able to just open the balcony doors, have your loungers right in front of you and jump in the pool for a refreshing swim. On our 3rd stay, we were upgraded to an oceanview room on the 2nd floor, which was truly amazing!

BEACHES

We are beach people (although this is the first hotel where we've enjoyed the pool as well!) and that's why we chose Melia Buenavista when we came here for the first time. We were very happy with the choice of 3 different beaches. There's not need to wake up early in the morning to 'reserve' your spot.

1. Snorkelling beach

The middle beach (in front of the lobby) has very shallow waters, almost no wind and great snorkelling - we saw a variety of beautiful fish. You don't have to go snorkelling to see the fish, they're used to tourists feeding them right in shallow waters. They love bananas, coconut and bread. During stormy weather people often admired high waves crashing dramatically against the rocks. This beach is best for snorkelling and relaxing (loungers have comfortable cushions).

Main beach

Very wide and more windy. There's good snorkelling around the little island, where we've seen the cutest fluroescent-spotted fish and a huge barracuda. This beach is great for swimming and long walks - you can reach Sol Cayo Santa Maria and other hotels when walking east.

Sunset beach

The most quiet of them all with almost no wind. Not good for swimming (muddy ground), great for tanning and relaxing. I enjoyed taking walks to the left side of the beach in the morning, listening to the birds, watching vultures and feeling like Robinson Cruzoe ;). The yoga class with Navy at 10 am on the sunset beach is awesome - a perfect way to start the day in paradise. The sunset saxophone mini-concert is amazing as well (in the summer it takes place on the middle beach).

FOOD

We love the buffet and therefore we were a bit hesitant coming to this hotel at first. We're foodies but we always find great food to eat in Cuba. It may not be an explosion of flavour, but it's healthy and organic! Since Melia Buenavista gives you an option of going to other Melia resorts on the island whenever you want, I thought we'd be going there quite often for the buffet but this wasn't the case!

My advice - unless you're a very picky eater, don't stress over some items not being available, eat what's in season and you'll be happy! Please remember this is Cuba. I can honestly say I ate my best meals in Cuba in this hotel. Lobster was always great, fish in mint sauce - excellent! On our first visit I had amazing huge shrimp for dinner once. All soups and traditional Cuban desserts were amazing. For lunch, we always asked for special of the day and were always happy.

Their MANGO is mind-blowing when in season (summer).

ENTERTAINMENT

Every trip back the entertainment was getting better. Our favourites were the guitar band (amazing, sensual music), Spanish band, men's choir, water ballet and flamenco dancers (unbelievable!). Entertainers in this hotel are at a very high level, you can say their music/dance education is flawless. I had chills during the shows, the flamenco show left us breathless, maybe since they moved it inside because of the storm - you had the privilege of seeing the dancers right in front of you, admiring every move with lighting as a background :)

Again, you have the option of going to other 2 Melia resorts if you crave more crowds and more entertainment! :)

INTERNET

There's computers and wi-fi in the lobby, many reviewers complain that the internet is very slow when in fact it's just the computers that are slow. Just connect your iPad or phone - the Internet is quite fast!

SERVICE

Our experience was very good. Our butlers (Edel, Gerardo, Gustavo) were the best! We were not entirely happy with service during breakfast & lunch in the restaurant near main beach on our 1st visit, but I have to admit it has really improved. Looking at the reviews, I guess we weren't the only unsatisfied clients in that area, but the management took action. It also helps to order your meal first and then go scouting in the mini-buffet, just a better use of time :)

We always received great service from Mary in the playa restaurant, Lester (he makes the best cappuccinos!), Yani, Yemisela in the lobby bar, all waiters in Los Caribes and Dos Navegantes are great as well. The gardeners are very friendly too!

It was a pleasure to meet and speak to Jeume, hotel manager, on many occasions.

Overall, we love Melia Buenavista, it's a small resort with more personal service and tranquil experience. We will travel to other places in the Carribean to enjoy new things, but we will be back from time to time to Buenavista for a week of relaxation in a trully unique location.

Agnes & Peter

ps The only thing that we found concerning was rapidly-growing cat population, the male cats are always fighting, it would be great if a vet could spay/neuter the cats.

  • Stayed July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Agnieszka K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Melia B, General Manager at Melia Buenavista, responded to this review, 21 July 2014
Dear Guest
We heartily thank your taking the time to write such detailed review on your experience at Melia Buenavista. 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.
We have been working on some of our not -so- strong points (as mentioned in your comments) with the sole aim of being better prepared to meet our guests’ needs. Concerning the growing cat population I would like you to know that we are trying to diminish the male ones for them not to bother people who don´t like cats.
It would be a great pleasure to welcome you back.
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Ontario,
Level Contributor
32 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 114 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 July 2014

Our most recent trip to the MBV marks our seventh week at the resort this year. There are a number of reasons which explain the frequency of our visits: the outstanding service from all employees, the opportunity to meet fellow travelers from all over the world, the quality of food, the accommodation and the tranquility of the property.

From the moment you arrive at the MBV, one notices the serenity and coolness engendered by the physical property itself. From the flowing, low profile architectural lines of the buildings, to the coolness of the colours used on the exterior of the latter, to the plantings throughout the grounds, to the marble used in the lobby, the message is clear: this is a place to relax, reflect and rejuvenate.

Whilst the MBV accommodates a relatively small number of people, it is spread over a significant expanse of land. The nearest hotel is a two km beach walk and cannot be seen from the MBV itself. With two pools and three beaches, even when full, one never has a sense of the Buenavista as being crowded. Space, both physical and emotional, can be at a premium in today's world: the MBV offers the knowledgeable traveler an escape from the daily pressures of a "connected" world.

While offering an opportunity to "disconnect," the MBV also offers one the chance to connect with people from throughout the world. Canadians, Russians, Americans, Cubans, Africans, Swiss, Indians, Argentines, Uruguayans, British and more all blend together seamlessly at the Buenavista. One recognizes very quickly that people, regardless of nationality, race or politics are people who have more in common than not. The insights one can gain during friendly conversation are, for us, a signficant positive at the MBV

During our stays at the MBV, we have frequently met other guests who, like us, are returning clients. While our motivations for returning may be slightly different, one thing is clear to this writer: returning guests have noticed a culture of continuous improvement inherent at the MBV.
From the maintenance of the physical plant itself through to the improving food quality this commitment to improvement assures guests that their stay at the MBV will be a positive one.

Ultimately, what defines the Melia Buenavista for this writer is the service provided by the staff. A property may have all the physical accoutrements of excellence, but the latter is meaningless if service is lacking. Every individual we have dealt with at the MBV has done nothing but provide us with superior service. Regardless of what one's needs are, once expressed, staff respond positively to guest requests. This commitment to excellence is a testimony not only to staff who deal directly with guests, but also the management team at the MBV. Clearly, a successful team approach has been implemented at the Melia: the results are visible to all clients.

The Melia Buenavista is not the "perfect" resort for everyone. There is no disco, there is no loud, thumping music with animation staff constantly calling one to the activity of the moment. It is a small, tranquil resort, catering to adults only who are seeking serenity. We look forward to our next visit.

  • Stayed July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank jmrr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Melia B, General Manager at Melia Buenavista, responded to this review, 21 July 2014
Dear friend from Ontario
Words cannot picture how pleased we have felt at reading your review. It feels indeed rewarding to receive such nice compliments which make evident that all our efforts to achieve our guest’s satisfaction have been worth it. Be sure that we will extend your praising words to all our staff so they too feel motivated to keep on working towards excellence. Thank you so much!
We have been honored with your presence at Melia Cayo Santa María and we heartily hope this recent visit will not be the last one.
See you soon!
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Manchester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 16 July 2014

This is a long review so I apologise.

My partner and I like to travel a lot, varying our stays between 2 star hostels and 5 star apartments and all-inclusive resorts; and I can, without a doubt, say that this is the most beautiful resort we have ever stayed in.

We had come from Havana, staying at Melia Habana, and found the city rather stressful. We were looking for a bit of relaxation and we definitely found the right place!

We originally intended to stay at the Melia Cayo Santa Maria as it was a last minute booking and looked cheaper than the Buenavista whilst still also maintaining great reviews, however on arrival we were told that if we waited 45 minutes we would be upgraded and moved to the Buenavista.... I'm so glad we did! The Melia Cayo Santa Maria looks like a lovely resort, but its about double the size of the Buenavista and so, in low season (Apr-Nov), looks a bit empty and a couple of the restaurants and services are unavailable. The Buenavista however is the perfect size during low season with its 105 bedrooms - it felt quiet but comfortable.

Instantly you could see the change from the MCSM to the MB - the staff smiled more, everything was a lot calmer and clean cut, it was just beautiful! We were greeted with a welcome cocktail and shown around the resort by our butler Gustavo.

The absence of children at the MB was lovely as well. Its something you don't really think about but it definitely creates a different atmosphere and holiday experience.

Our room (2212) was a lower ground sea-view room, closer to the Ranchon restaurant and beach with a bar. It was spacious and quiet which we liked. The fan above the bed didn't work but the AC was more than sufficient - my favourite thing about the rooms at the MB is the outdoor shower - amazing!

We didn't use the butler service as much as others, but I found Gustavo very kind and friendly and would do nice surprises for us such as booking us into the smaller international restaurant (it can sometimes be booked up quite quick) and making us a special bubble bath with flowers - gorgeous.

The day maids and nightmaids did an excellent job! It was so kind when they would arrange our towels and leave chocolates and notes, those extra touches are really what makes a holiday.

We ate in El Caribas most nights which we really enjoyed although my fiance sometimes found it difficult as the menu could largely be based around fish (which is understandable as its so widely available here). However, we found the portions in Cuba rather large so you could easily get by with missing a course, but if you find that you are still hungry, the 24 hour room service is amazing! Gilberto was a lovely waiter and we had him every night, always there to welcome you with a smile and he was very attentive and well mannered.

The beaches are unreal, we've visited some of the nicest beaches around the world and they just don't compare to the MB. The fish are unbelievably friendly and would swim up to you as soon as you walked in in search of bread, we really enjoyed being the first ones out on the beach to feed the fishes before they were full - remember to take a snorkeling kit (they sell them in the on-site shop but didn't have goggles when we were there and a couple who had bought the mouth-pieces said they weren't working) and an underwater camera!!!

Yani and Lester were wonderful bar staff! In fact all of the bar staff were amazing! Yani's cocktails are sublime and she can make anything you ask for perfectly. The pina colada's in Cuba are, obviously, the best ones I've ever had in my life! The feeling I got whilst at the MB (which we didn't get at the Melia Habana) was that the staff really enjoy their job. We tipped a lot, but not because we felt we had to to get a better service or anything, we just really appreciated the impact everyone had on our holiday.

Our week had pretty much perfect weather for this time of year, we had two evenings when it rained and thunderstormed - which wasn't an issue as we would be at dinner or in the bar, and there was one orange flag day with a small monsoon which was actually really fun to go in the sea and battle the waves.

My boyfriend proposed to me on the sunset beach one night of our holiday which really just topped everything off. As we walked into the restaurant and I told another couple (who had been on our plane to the resort), the staff overheard our news and the manager personally came over to congratulate us and ask if there was anything that would make our stay even more perfect - there wasn't! - this was a really nice touch.

The jazz sunset ritual on the middle beach on an evening was lovely, it really started the evening off in a romantic and classy way. The rest of the entertainment was all very enjoyable, the only problem being that you may miss it if dinner service is slow, but then you're still having a fantastic time.

This being said, there are a couple of things that we thought could maybe be improved at the Melia Buenavista, please note these are very minor points. The first being the difficulty in obtaining bottles of water - although you could get them ordered to the room, it would be nice to see some fridges around the resort where you could just help yourself as sometimes we feared we probably weren't drinking enough water, especially given the heat! Fridges with bottled water is something we have seen at other resorts and have always appreciated.
The second point - the towel guy wasn't very friendly. Our nightmaid would sometimes take our beach towels (no idea why) and the towel guy would get very angry having to issue us new ones and would accuse us of stealing them - we don't want to steal the hotel's towels, we were very near our baggage limit as it is and would prefer to save the remaining allowance we had for cigars and rum. When this happened on the penultimate evening, we decided to use the towels we brought with us the next day and accepted the fact that we would have to go home with wet towels in our luggage. At another point, it had rained heavily for 10 minutes during the day and a lot of people had left their towels out on the beds while trying to find shelter from the storm. We had actually just come from our room and decided to change our towels as they hadn't been changed for 3 days and were very rudely spoken to by the guy saying we should not leave our towels in the rain as he does not have enough to go round - I understand his frustration, but it was the way he spoke. The only other bit of bad service we received was from a lady on reception who, on our final day, when I asked if she knew anything about transfers to the airport the next morning impolitely responded 'I'm not your travel agent' - when I asked if she knew who to contact she asked for our room number and looked at a piece of paper in front of her which told her what time our coach was - I didn't understand her attitude when she seemed to have the information we requested.

The small points raised are for management's purposes, and certainly should not deter any future travellers as everyone has a different experience. As mentioned, the majority of the staff at MB love their job and the smiles on their faces and service prove it.

I'd like to say a massive thank you to all of the staff at the Melia Buenavista for making our engagement amazing! - I certainly don't think it would be as perfect anywhere else, and who knows - perhaps we'll see you for our honeymoon....

Nicola and David

Room Tip: Bring a snorkel kit, an underwater camera and plenty of sun cream/mosquito repellent.
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  • Stayed July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Nicola E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Melia B, General Manager at Melia Buenavista, responded to this review, 21 July 2014
Dear Nicola B

We heartily appreciate your lively review on your recent experience at Melia Buenavista at the date when you were asked for marriage: as it is one of the most important moments of our lives. We are very proud of being your first resort in Cuba and at the same time, to receive so much credit for our natural setting, our facilities and, most of all, for our staff and service. It feels really rewarding to receive your compliments, thank you so much. We understand some of our services did not exactly meet all your expectations but we thank your giving us the chance to identify these improvement opportunities. We are going to take into account your suggestion about putting some fridges with bottled water; regarding the difficulties when changing towels some corrective measures will be taken for it not to happen anymore.
It will always be a great pleasure to welcome you back at Meliá Buenavista, so, we hope you honor us with another visit during your honeymooner. Let us know in advance.
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Chester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
11 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 July 2014

This hotel has everything you need. High standard of rooms pleasant and easy layout. 3 beaches 2 pools and tons of activities to keep you entertained. I am not usually a fan of all inclusive or resort only type holidays however I could have easily spent 2 weeks here. Staff are helpful and friendly and the cocktails and BBQ by the pool with oven asked pizzas are lovely. The only area it lets itself down is sometimes the food in the evening restaurants. A special thanks to the manager Jaume Vilardell I Margarit for organising for us to be transferred to this hotel after a bad experience at a near by hotel .

Room Tip: Either by the relaxing pool or a beachside view
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  • Stayed July 2014, travelled with friends
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Review collected in partnership with this hotel

Helpful?
Thank Catriona C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Melia B, General Manager at Melia Buenavista, responded to this review, 16 July 2014
Catriona C
Thank you so much for reviewing your experience at Meliá Buenavista. It feels really good to receive such nice comments regarding our services and most of all, our staff. We are glad you felt like home due to the personalized treatment received from our employees. We really appreciate the way you highlight so much our services, specially our cocktails in spite of not being fan of all inclusive.
We hope you honor us with another opportunity to serve you and offer you another memorable holiday.
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Additional Information about Melia Buenavista

Property: Melia Buenavista
Address: Punta Madruguilla, 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 Romantic Hotel in Cayo Santa Maria
#2 Top resorts Hotel in Cayo Santa Maria
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Cayo Santa Maria
#2 Luxury Hotel in Cayo Santa Maria
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £££
Hotel Class:4 star — Melia Buenavista 4*
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 
Reservation Options:
TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Melia, Hotels.com, Travel Republic (UK), LoveHolidays, Holiday Gems, Traveltool, S.L.U., TripOnline SA, Evoline ltd and Cancelon so you can book your Melia Buenavista reservations with confidence. We help millions of travellers each month to find the perfect hotel for both holiday and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
Also Known As:
Melia Buenavista Hotel Cayo Santa Maria

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