We visited in February via a Virgin Holiday and flights. We upgraded to Premium Economy and flew in the bubble of the Jumbo (Boeing 747) what used to be first class and that is just what it was a delightful 1st class trip. Upon our arrival in Havana we went to a hotel Parc Central for the night or so we expected but we were then told our transport for the onward flight to Cayo Santa Maria was arriving at 0330 to collect us. As we had not arrived at the hotel until after 8 PM we did not seem to be going to get too much sleep so you could say our holiday had gone from the sublime to the ridiculous. However we got a few hours kip before embarking a coach for the trip to the local airport about 40 minutes away on the somewhat rough Cuban roads a bit like UK after the frosty winter! The local airport was a joke and the complete opposite from our serene flight over from UK as it was a small building rather like a large garden shed with a customs area with no English speakers who were trying to ask us to pay for a baggage excess in a currency we had had no chance to acquire (namely CUC) as this cannot be bought in advamce of arriving in Cuba! We eventually got a seat on a 40 seater turbo prop aircraft and arrived after 40 minutes more at Cayo Santa Maria's airport again very small but quite cute and pretty and bagge handling was excellent. This is about 20 minutes away from our Melia resort of which the Cayo has several, but the Melia Beaunavista is definitely the best one of this groups offerings. We were welcomed with a champagne cocktail and a very swift and efficient check in before being whisked off to our huge apartment overlooking the sea by our butler (all guests here get allocated at least one we got two who are then able to take turns to give very good cover for the whole of you stay from 0700 to 2300 each day). Unlike some other feedback we have seen our two smart courteous and extremely helpful butlers (Javier and Michel) were always around and seemed to have extra sensory perception as anytime we wanted help one would appear as if by magic. I fully agree with other visitors comments that this resort is not for the activity driven mountain climber, hang-glider, skydiving types looking for thrills, but if you want to relax in a fantastic well managed Caribbean oasis of a resort then this is the one for you. We did notice that the British visitors there were few and far between mostly Canadian (95%) and all I can say is more should come you will not be disappointed. The beach is hassle free no touts whatsoever only the resort waiters offering to bring any drink you want from the full repertoir of international makes unlike other cheaper resorts who only offer local booze. The apartment was well fitted out and easily large enough for the two of us with a bath and outside shower and the delightful view out to sea over the volcanic rock outcrop running most of the way along the sea side of the resort but still leaving considerable amounts of beach to enjoy snorkelling or swimming from. The snorkelling is superb and even have lessons and escorted trips provided as usual all included, even down to providing the equipment. Some exciting fish were seen by some such as Baracuda and the like but no man eaters here so if you like sharks go elsewhere. My wife had an accident when she slipped and hurt her back outside the shower this could have ruined our holiday but an ambulance was called (a doctor and three assistants who arrived within 10 minutes) a pain killing injection was given and the doctor decided X Rays were needed so all into the Ambulance (old but it worked) to the clinic straight in to the X ray department (slightly old fashioned but OK) and to our huge relief no breaks were found. Obviously we had to pay but the whole bill was less than expected and we had insurance anyway. We did not have cash but the resort Director arrived to see we were OK and took control of everything on our behalf even down to arranging for food (we had missed a meal) to be brought to our room and a cash changing transaction to pay the bill via reception staff, I cannot thank him enough for his consideration above and beyond the call of duty methinks (thank you Ernesto).
- 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
- Also Known As:
- Melia Buenavista Hotel Cayo Santa Maria