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Melia Las Dunas
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4,420 - 4,425 of 8,669 reviews
Reviewed 15 January 2009

Wow, this is a really really good resort - we were actually extremely pleasantly surprised at how nice it was and how professional it was run. I know the TA reviews are consistently good for this property - but you always have a little bit of doubt being Cuba.

We travel extensively (mostly at 5 star resorts and mainly in the Mayan) but this was our first trip to Cuba and this resort is (in many ways) - better than those resorts. Beach is absolutely spectacular. The grounds of the resort, main lobby, facilities are all fantastic. The rooms are very nice and well appointed and everything worked properly. The food is actually pretty good also which was a huge surprise!!

The only thing that they could improve on is the transportation inside the resort. Because the grounds are so large - they should have a couple of extended golf carts constantly circling the two sections which would give guests a choice to catch a ride - should they choose.

Overall the place is GREAT!!! would go back 100%

  • Stayed: January 2009
    • Value
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8  Thank sunworship07
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 January 2009

I stayed at MLD from January 4th to 11th with my wife and 2 and a half-year-old son. Needless to say we stayed on the "Family" side of the resort. We were put in bungalow 18, which is near the pool and beach but pretty well on the furthest side from the main lobby.

First Impressions:
We arrived at Santa Clara Airport around 6pm. Check-in and Customs was fairly smooth, the airport is nowhere near as busy as Varadero as it only handles 1 flight at a time it seems. We got our bags and all that fun stuff within 30min and out we went to the bus where we were greeted by our Signature rep and handed an envelope with our room keys, resort map etc. This was great as we were already checked in to the Hotel and no visit to the front lobby was needed.

The bus ride is about 90min from Santa Clara to Cayo Santa Maria, unfortunate for us it was already dark so we couldn't see much.

Upon arrival to the hotel we were greeted at the front lobby with drinks and went on our way to our bungalow. The baggage was to be delivered by the resort staff once we got to our room. Now, the walk to the bungalow was a long one especially not knowing any shortcuts like cutting through the pool area (saves you tons of walking).

So, we get to our room and its very nice, clean and everything works and looks well kept. Our luggage arrives shortly after and then we're off for something to eat.

5/5 for this service

Food/Drink:
Our first experience was at the "Beer Garden" and to my delightful surprise they had Becks beer!!!

My wife and I both had a burger and fries to keep it on the "safe" side. The burgers were excellent! The meat was well seasoned, cooked right and was almost better than some burgers I've have back home. Fries are fries so no complaints on that.

Breakfast time was great as you basically had 2 choices either the buffet or the pool snack bar. At the buffet you have your assortment of fresh juices, breads, made-to-order omelets etc etc. The omelets were super good and perfect. I only had the buffet breakfast one day, every other day we ordered breakfast from the pool snack bar which had your normal affair of bacon and eggs with toast and fresh fruits and I can't complain about that as it was always good except for the one day we got tuna on our eggs but we ate it anyways and it really wasn’t all that bad. Our son ate toast and bacon and always wanted fries, so as long as he was eating something we were fine with that.

Dinner was usually at the Beer Garden or Buffet and was a burger or fresh fish, pasta, grilled to order beef and veggies. Dessert was ice cream, which was really good and also available at the pool snack bars and the ice cream parlour in the main courtyard. Also the cheesecake was pretty good at the buffet.

5/5 on having Becks
3.5/5 on the rest of the food

P.S. if you want to add a little spice to your food they have Tabasco sauce or ask for Salsa Brava

Pool/Beach:

The main family pool was large and very clean and had a swim up bar. The pool was only about 5ft at the deepest parts and about 4ft at the most shallow areas so no diving!!

The kid’s pool was great about knee deep at the deepest and about 6inches at most shallow which was perfect for our son as he could wade and swim in there without us needing to hold him up or need a floatation device. He enjoyed himself a lot playing with many of the other children around his age that were in and around the pool area.

There were always loungers to be had at the pool at all times of the day around the big pool or the kid’s pool.

The beach was amazing, white powdery sand, crystal clear water that was nice and shallow for a good 40ft out and little white fish would swim around your feet. The sand was clean, plenty of loungers but not many little umbrella things which was okay because we love the sun. There is a beach bar on the boardwalk you take to get to the beach and I was told there is a pizza/snack bar too but we never checked that out

5/5 for the beach and pool as they were perfect for us

Grounds:

The resort grounds are well-kept, clean and full of lush vegetation like palm trees, flowering shrubs and trees. Our gardener Rafa who I became very good friends with left my wife a flower on our balcony table every morning and was a joy to talk with and be friends with. On that note, if anybody is going down and wouldn’t mind bringing him some things he would greatly appreciate that. Just let me know please.

They fogged for mosquitoes 2 times a day; once just after sunrise and once just before the sunset. Be warned though, you don’t want to be outside when the fogger goes by because it smells like raw diesel fuel and it lingers. It works though, no bugs bothering us for the whole week. They really know what they are doing at this place.

5/5

I guess I can go on for days about the place it is surely a solid 4.5 star resort it has a few quirks like they ran out of burgers for a day, our mini bar was late being stocked one day but the amazing service from all the staff from the drivers that pick you up from your room, the gardeners, bar tenders and everybody else you don’t see really make this place stand out as a top resort.

It was money well spent and I would surely go back to see my friends at MLD.

  • Stayed: January 2009
    • Value
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    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
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16  Thank CynikalMindset
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
DirectorMLD, Director General at Melia Las Dunas, responded to this reviewResponded 21 February 2017

Dear guest,

We really thank you for your comments, and sincerly apologize to not have answered on time.

Hope to see you next time!

Best regards.

Laurent Labal
General Manager
Meliá Las Dunas

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 January 2009

Stayed at the MLD Nov 28 -Dec 5, 2008. It was my first time to Cuba and my husbnads second. We had a great time. We booked with Air Transat I found the plane comfortable and the process of checking in on the bus was efficiant, it was good to go from the bus to our rooms then straight to the beach. I found the resort staff excellent they were always polite and professional they worked very hard to make us feel welcome and ensure guests have fun. The rooms were very clean, actually the whole resort was well taken care of. The gardiners are awsome they take pride in there work and it shows. The pools were great. The beach was amazing they offered free non motorized water activities which my group loved. The weather this week was overcast and we had a few storms but our stay was great. The food was good, I enjoyed the fresh pasta, omlettes, and fruit. We ate at the buffett often and the beer garden. Also the resturants by the pool had excellent pizza and poutine. We went to the Romanica for our wedding and the Italian. Book early in your trip because seats go fast. The resort has a beautiful lobby, it is big and classic we spent alot of time there. The rooms are great, because of our wedding we got a honeymoon suite which was very nice, the supplies were always stocked and it was always clean. One thing was that we did not have any hot water the last day which was disappointing. We did not have any problems with insects or anyone getting sick on the trip. Be aware there is alot of walking, the buildings are well spaced out just bring comfortable shoes. I enjoyed the exercise. We loved our trip and plan to return to this resort in the future.

  • Stayed: November 2008
    • Value
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4  Thank CanadaLisaL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
DirectorMLD, Director General at Melia Las Dunas, responded to this reviewResponded 21 February 2017

Dear guest,

We really thank you for your comments, and sincerly apologize to not have answered on time.

Hope to see you next time!

Best regards.

Laurent Labal
General Manager
Meliá Las Dunas

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 January 2009

We stayed at Melia Las Dunas from Dec 26th 2008 to Jan 2, 2009. We had a wonderful time. Our reason for traveling to this resort was for our wedding. In total there were 12 people in our group. We had our three kids with us 11, 15, and 16.

First the wedding was lovely. We were married on Dec 29th and we had a choice of three spots for the ceremony. We picked the lobby area. I thought it was beautiful. The beach was too windy. They take very good care of you and make sure everything is beautiful. Our dinner was in the Romantico and it was also very good, filet minion and shrimp for the main course. The cake was delicious. All in all it was a very memorable day.

Fights and check in: We traveled Sky Service – Air Transit Vacations. Great flight to Cuba and a great flight home. We paid the 20CUC for the VIP on the way home and that was the best money we spent. We went to the front of the line ups and got to rest in a VIP lounge before the flight. We also got priority boarding for the flight.

Food: A friend of mine came back from Varadero with her teenage kids and said they didn’t see any fruit and the kids starved all week….picky I assume. I warned our kids and packed lots of snacks however there was no worry about going hungry. We had lots of choices and the food was better than I was expecting. The meals we had at the al a carts were also very good.

Rooms: We were upgraded to superior rooms and they were wonderful. We had great service from the maid and always had lots of water and drinks in our fridge. No complaints. We were close to the pool and the boardwalk to the beach on the family side.

Pool: Pool area is beautiful. The water is a little cold this time of year. There were always lounge chairs. The snack bar in the pool area was the best. The bar was pretty great too.
Beach: The beach was very pretty. There were 2 red flag days and 2 yellow flags and a green flag. We got to snorkel one day and it was great. Otherwise it was fairly windy and cold to lay by the beach. The water was warmer than the pool though. The kids loved body surfing the waves and had a blast at the beach.

Money and tipping: I am still a bit confused about the whole tipping thing. I know people are pretty poor here but I expect they make more tips in one day at the resort than most people make in a month at a cigar factory. Capitalism in a communist country? Anyway, we did tip the gardeners, cart drivers, wedding coordinator, food servers, photographer, trio band, bar tenders…. Ect. We also brought clothes, toys, nylons, soaps and makeup etc with us. The wedding bill and spa bill were put on our room bill. When we went to check out they wouldn’t take our credit cards (mastercard). And there are no bank machines. When I asked where I could access a bank machine they shrugged and suggested we could find one in another town???? Not very helpful. They also suggested we contact our credit card company (this was new years day) at 2.5 cuc per minute to try to sort it out. In the end friends picked up the tab on their credit card so we could get out of the country. Lol – also I am not sure how our dollar is 1.38 to their 1 cuc. Is their economy doing that much better than ours?

Excursion and extras: We went on a sunset catamaran dinner cruise. It was a nice time and it was good to get off the resort to see a bit of the area. I would go to another city next visit, but we did have a pretty busy week with the wedding and New Years Eve festivities. The New Years Festival was all day long and ended with a band on the beach. It was excellent. I also went to the spa for my hair and would have loved to go for a massage but it books up fast. When you book a spa appointment you get 1 hour of water therapy and use of the spa pools and whirlpools. The internet is 6 cuc for ½ hour and is slowwwww. Lots of people got pretty frustrated with it. Phone calls were 2.5 cuc for 1 minute.

The lobby bar was great and made excellent coffee. It was a great place to relax and or socialize. The disco wasn't so hot. Overall this was an excellent vacation and I would visit this hotel again.

  • Stayed: December 2008, travelled with family
    • Value
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    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
9  Thank grayz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 January 2009

We stayed at MLD with friends from Dec. 28th, 08 to Jan. 4th. 09. We are two couples in our early 50's. Had a wonderful time. The resort was at full capacity over New Year's week with over 2000 guests. We flew Skyservice and my husband and I were pleasantly surprised when we arrived at the airport to find that we were booked in to Star Class. We had booked last minute with an online travel website so were not expecting this. In addition, when we arrived in Santa Clara at the airport we were handed an envelope with registration information, confirmed dinner reservations at the resorts a la carte restaurants and a booking for the New Year's Eve Gala dinner. We were advised that this was done for us because we were on VIP status and had paid a premium for this. Although we were unaware at the time when we booked our holiday that we were paying the premium (approx. $150 per person extra) we found this to be very worthwhile because the guests who were not VIP were not able to get reservations for New Years Eve and the a la cartes were all booked until the last 3 days of their vacations. On New Year's Eve, their only option was to eat at the buffet restaurant. The buffet did serve grilled lobster on New Year's Eve, however many guests were quite disappointed with the reservation process. The resort did a fabulous job of New Year's Eve and I believe that management did feel bad that many guests couldn't be accommodated at the New Year gala dinners (at the a la cartes). It appears that they tried to make up for this. There was no limit to bottles of champagne, party favours, and lots for the kids to do as well.
The grounds of this resort are of superior quality and extremely well maintained. Rooms were clean and bar fridge well stocked daily. Towel art is random. Beach was hard hit by the recent hurricanes but still okay. Lots of chairs available by the beach but loungers at the pool were booked early due to full capacity. The blue floaties were not available at the adult pool the week we were there. Not sure if they were available at the family pool on the other side. The pools are beautiful but adult pool was cool due to time of year. Weather was perfect!!! Unfortunately, this resort has areas in need of improvement. The food and drinks are a 3.5 star. The buffet food is always cold and there is no need for this. I have stayed at many 4 and 5 star resorts and have never experienced this before.....sorry I don't buy the rationale that hot food would cause illness. With the number of people eating at the buffet during a week at full capacity, all of the food shouldn't be cold. The trays when empty were being replaced with cold food? I am definitely not a picky eater and have been to Cuba before.......but this resort is below standard in this area. I was a little disappointed with the frozen drinks that weren't frozen but no biggie! This resort has the best cappaccinos and croissants, so I definitely didn't go hungry or thirsty!! If you like fish and seafood, you'll be able to find something you like. Another area in need of improvement is in the public washrooms. A resort should not run out of toilet paper in public areas. This resort has great potential to be a 5 star resort but the food issue needs to be addressed. A true 5 star is a resort that can excel at the little things during peak and non peak periods.

  • Stayed: December 2008, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
4  Thank Kyle&Kelsey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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