I recently stayed at MLD with my boyfriend. I am 30 and my common-law partner is 28. We are typical Torontonians and we were looking to relax by the beach, be ourselves and have a safe, jolly old time. One of our priorities was to have a gorgeous beach, and I must say we were not disappointed. The sand was fine and white and the water was clear and turquoise... there was plenty of room to find a spot in the shade and have up to 4 lawn chairs or more per person. I guess September and October are supposed to be the low season do to it being the "cyclone season" but honestly the hotel was at about 35% capacity and it was easy to meet all types of people. It only rained 3X during our stay and the rain was nothing more than an evening or late afternoon shower...lasting no more than 1 or 2 hours. There was a little bit of lightning off in the distance but nothing to be afraid of.
As per Restaurants:
The food is not bad, you just have to know where to go and what to choose. We recommend :
At the buffet:
1. Omelettes for breakfast and their bread is very fresh. For coffee go to the lobby, they make AMAZING cappuccinos, lattes, iced lattes and cappuccinos! The buffet specialty coffees are crap...since they come out if an instant coffee machine.
2. There isn't much fruit but the guavas and mangoes are some of the best I've ever had.
4. For supper, stick with the pasta stations (pretty good) and fish options.
At per the pool:
1. If you miss breakfast hit up the snack bars at either the adult pool or children's pool. It is open from 10am-6pm and serves amazing baguette sandwiches, pizzas and calzones~!
2. The snack bars also serve a great continental breakfast if you miss the breakfast buffet.
By the beach:
1. Amazing paninis are served and the pina coladas at the bar are the best on the resort.
A la carte restaurants:
Trust me on this, go for the calzones at the Italian"El Conuco" restaurant. We ended up going there 3 times. They also have specialty pizzas and great wine! The seafood restaurant, like others have said was meafer proportions and pretty depressing and disappointing taste wise. But the service was amazing.
Swimming Pools: If you don't want to be around children the "adults only" pool is the way to go. Also, the adult pool is more spacious and you can definitely get a spot under a cabana or in the shade. Besides, there were rumors of ear infections in the "Children's" pool do to fecal matter from kids who didn't wipe when they went to the bathroom and who didn't wash before entering the pool.
The gym was near the spa area and there was about 1-3 people at a time working out there. The equipment was modern, clean and new. The room has a full blasting AC and had many windows facing the the garden and courtyard all the way around. There was a rowing machine, some X-trainers, treadmills and stairmasters. The weight room was limited on equipment but would give you an overall body work out. It was also very clean an there was plenty of cold, iced water provided.
There were a lot of families ( who seemed to be having a great time). Also, there were many gay couples both gay men (3 young couples and an older couple) and lesbian women too (a single young woman and 2 older coupes). It was a pretty romantic place to be when swimming in the ocean near the beach or when dining in the a La Carte restaurants but as for the buffet and the pool it was a bit more PG.
The disco was fun as was the animation team that did the shows and got everyone dancing in the disco but nights ended pretty early... usually around 2:30AM-4AM the party died off. But the late night snack bar "The Beer Garden" was a good place to congregate while drunk and to sober up on calamari, french fries and hamburgers. This place can be recommended for all ages and also note that it is a gay-friendly resort we had no problems showing affection with one another and no problems telling people we were partners. Both the Cubans and the tourists were very tolerant, accepting, inclusive and friendly. We were lucky to be in such a peaceful, loving atmosphere. Also, most of the male dancers (animation team), servers (waiters) and some of the musicians were gay and tried hitting on us thinking we were open. But we didn't mind the flirting and once we told them we were committed they respected us and backed off and we all became friends. Also, we met many gay singles who did day trips with us and we had also made many straight friends as well.
If you feel completely isolated and start to get bored by day 4, 5 or 6 of your trip we recommend getting a couple of people to go in on renting a car and visiting some of the local towns on you own. Screw the tours. They are a rip. You can easily rent a car for the day for 50 CUC and gas (1/4 of a tank 15 CUC) and a 2 CUC (2X paid each way) toll for the bridge and drive 45 minutes to Remdios or 1 hr 15 minutes to Santa Clara. You can see the real Cuba and meet some Cubans. Better than any excursion the hotel has to offer. We split a car 3 ways with another gay single guy we met and it ended up being 22.50 CUC each for the rental, gas and tolls. It was totally worth it. Rented it for 24 hours and used it the next day for a morning trip to La Playa Perla Blanca which is 7 kms from the hotel beaches and the beaches are flawless, empty and romantic.
Bring bug spray and lots of sunscreen and don't forget to continuously reapply every hour or 2. Since you will be sweating it off under the intense sun.
The guests when we were there were 50% French-Canadian, 25% British, 15% Ontarian-Canadian, 5% Cuban, 2.5% Spanish, 2.5% Venezuelan. And of them about 5-10% Gay tourists and 20% gay Cuban workers.
We would definitely return. And we hope to do so in about 6 months~!
I hope this helps.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Magic and Legend unveils an ancient story that goes back in time to 1492, with the discovery of America. Melia Las Dunas, a 5 star resort, All Inclusive, ideal for your vacation with your Family, Reunion & Incentives, Weddings, Honeymoon Distinguished by the variety of services, the inviting atmosphere and the confort of its facilities, Melia Las Dunas offers the vacations of your dreams. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Melia Las Dunas Hotel Cayo Santa Maria
- Melia Cayo Santa Maria
- Melia Hotel Las Dunas
- Melia Las Dunas Cuba