My partner and I just returned from an amazing vacation at the Melia Cayo Santa Maria. (Dec. 28 to Jan.4) and had one of the best experiences ever. I am a seasoned traveler, a woman of size, have refined tastes and have an eye for detail. I am educated as well so this also adds to my review.
Booking and Price: We booked mid November and got a decent price through the internet with Tripcentral. I would have paid more for the vacation we received
Flight and Transfers: Excellent flight from Air Transat that arrived on time and left on time. One of the most comfortable flights I have been on... lots of leg room, wide seats, good food and drink (more than one adult beverage available) Wonderful attendants.
When we arrived in Santa Clara we boarded our bus and had everything we needed in an envelope with our name on it (Map, room number, room keys, bracelets, hours of restaurants etc) It was incredibly organized. Very impressive.
Arrival: It was dark when we arrived but we quickly found our room because of the map and helpful bell hops. Our room was beautifully prepared and our luggage arrived immediately as they marked each of our bags with our room number when we got on the bus. So smart. Food and drink was set up in the lobby for our arrival and it was a lovely touch!
Room: Location was excellent- 2024. 5 minutes to beach one way - buffet the other. Our room was huge: entrance area with a mirrored hutch, stand and stool, sitting area- couch, coffee table, chair, big king bed, desk area, balcony with 2 chairs and table, huge closet 3 large drawers, full bath (tub, removable shower head, bidet, toilet, sink, makeup mirror, hand dyer, soap, body gel, lotion and shampoo ( no conditioner- bring yours) lots of towels in room and beach towels when you arrive. Low wattage hair dryer was fine for me but someone with thick hair would want their own. Lots of lighting throughout, cool conch lamps, moon and star motif throughout (and throughout the resort) hand painted decor and SUPER CLEAN. There is a coffee maker in room, 2 short glasses and 4 tall glasses. There is no clock or clock radio, which took some getting used to but was nice to lose track of time. There is also a stocked mini fringe that was filled with anything we wanted... we spoke to our maid Marilys often and left her notes... we liked water and beer... they also had soda available...everything was exceptional.
Beach: The best I have been to. The water was clear and turquoise. There was no need for sand shoes. The sand is not as soft as Punta Cana the water is far more beautiful here. The ocean can get rough so watch the flags. There is the "towel game" that is very accepted her (as it is in Jamaica, Mexico, Dominican and every where else) Ask for a 6:45 wake up call...toddle to the beach to get your favourite spot and either sit for a bit and watch the sun rise or go back to bed... or fall asleep on the beach...all is accepted .... no on will take your spot... it was fine and there are men on the beach to help you get your chairs and towels down that early... The beach was unbelievable....saw a sea horse, an eel, pelicans, storks, schools of fishes and loved every second there. Suffered no mosquitoes or sand fleas.
Food: It is Cuba. Food will not be like food where you are from. I loved what I ate for the most part. Breakfast had anything you would find here- eggs and omelets cooked to order, bread and toasts, various meats and cheeses, juices, coffee, fresh fruit and some really odd things too. Note: they have lots of pork products but no bacon...not sure why. Take what you think you'll eat and try it... Lunch had many choices- buffet, snack bar or beach restaurant- grilled meats, calamari, pizza, fries, burgers, ice cream, pastas, salads, Tons of choice...and some weird things too but choose what you want. Dinner: Buffet was great again...a carved meat and a selection of grilled meats, various pasta bars, lots of choice... the shrimp was not what I was used to so I avoided it but others liked it...a matter of taste... We had a good time at the Mediterranean( fixed menu) Japanese(Benehana) and French(chateubriand) a la cart restaurants. They also went to great lengths to prepare a wonderful New Years eve meal for everyone on the 31st with the main being surf and turf.
Drinks: anything you want any time... beer at 8:00 a.m. no problem... margarita on the beach at 3...served to you...4 shots of rum in a thimble of punch at midnight...not a blink of an eye and it is yours. The resort was full for our stay and we never had to wait for anything for more than 2 minutes... I loved the Crystal on Draft, the mojitos and the salted lime margaritas... my guy loved them and the red and white wine too... he was into the scotch too.
Entertainment: Outstanding. I don't go to these places for the shows. My job involves teaching theatre and dance performance and tech to teens every day so I am quite cynical when it comes to this kind of thing.
Because this is Cuba and everyone is payed the same the artists performing are all trained for at least 4 years in "show school" after high school and then apprentice for a year they are top notch. Magician clowns in the bar, first rate musicians in restaurants and on stage. Amazing singers... exquisite dancing in various styles...even ballet...performed on a real stage with lighting. Excellent costuming as well. It shows what you can do when you appreciate the arts.
Grounds and pools: Super clean, very accessible, fun swim up bar and jacuzzi location. We would usually go to the pool area around 4 for the last few hours... the animation team was good but not in your face and I wasn't driven crazy by piped in music. There was always a game going on in the pool for anyone to join, watch or ignore and the paths led you easily to your room, the beach or the restaurant of your choosing. Lots of chairs and umbrellas and never had to fight for a spot.
Service: The people who work here were amazing. They were so friendly, polite and happy we just loved being with them all the time. Shout outs in no particular order:
Frank the egg king and his beautiful wife who were so kind!
Yarmalasky my sister cervesa waitress... we love you!
Anansi our lovely server too!
Marilys our maid and towel artist!
Orlando the amazing dancer!
Hamlet- thanks for the great poses at the grill!
Pascal our now English and Spanish speaking clown
Yunior and Juan Carlos our amazing bar tenders and now friends.
And of course the manager Rolando...there are no "buts" :)
We also had a great time at the beautiful spa. I have the price list if you want me to send you prices... it is very in expensive for the services. My skeptical guy loved our couples massage and I think he looked years younger afterwards...The pools, steam room and sauna are worth trying too...
I could go on and on but this was a great spot and a lovely place to hang your hat for a week. I do have some notes that are "criticisms" that I think the resort should take note of but my no means would I rate it less than a 5 because of it.
1. If you say there is a dress code enforce it. If someone comes in with no shoes or a shirt, or without long pants simply say " I would love to seat you but you will have to return to your room to change to fit the resort's dining dress code". Either that or don't have a dress code.
2. The beach towel situation. Many times there were no towels at the exchange. My guess is they are hard to come by. Let patrons know that this may be a problem until your sort out the shortages so they can be prepared.
I also could not believe how many folks smoked... in doors, by the pool , on the beach, while eating... we are totally spoiled in Canada...
It was also weird that there was no where to recycle... hmmm.
My other note: I usually stay at Adults only resorts. I like kids but not when I am sleeping on the beach. This resort does have kids at it and for the most part there weren't that many to be seen. If you have a baby and a toddler this is good for you as you would be with them and they with you... there is a kid's area that remained empty most of our stay... if you have older kids (5 and up) the neighboring Melia las Dunas resort may be for you as they would have more to do.
And if you are a parent please please please be a good one. This is what was upsetting to me, but has nothing to do with the resort so bear with me: Parents allowing children ball caps at the table. Parents allowing video games at the table ( with the volume up none the less). Parents keeping their children up past midnight while the children fussed. Parents smoking in front of their children. Parents leaving their child alone on the beach for over an hour, unsupervised.This all happened during our stay and we were shocked by the selfish and rude behavior of the adults in charge. Luckily we had the choice to walk away. The kids did not.
So not to end on a bad note the Melia Cayo Santa Maria is an amazing resort I loved it. My partner loved it. I'd recommend it to anyone and I would go there again.
Thank you for making my holiday one of the best ones I've had in a long long time!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- In an island paradise off the northern coast of Cuba stands the 5- star All-Inclusive Meliá Cayo Santa María hotel, especially designed for families, surrounded by beautiful beaches and lush tropical vegetation. This property (358 rooms) offers facilities for incentives groups and a special wedding and honeymoon program. A perfect complement for an unforgettable holiday. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Booking.com, Melia, LoveHolidays, Travel Republic (UK) and Odigeo so you can book your Melia Cayo Santa Maria 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 Cayo Santa Maria Hotel Cayo Santa Maria
- Cayo Santa Maria Melia
- Cayo Santa Maria Cuba
- Santa Maria Cuba
- Melia Cayo Santa Maria Cuba