If you are looking for a vacation spot to just relax and chill out in a nice environment…look no further. We spent a week here Mar 23-30 and loved it. Very zen, very friendly and service oriented. Great atmosphere, lovely people – would return in a flash. Décor was perfect – restrained contemporary yet comfortable and Caribbean in feel. Hard to achieve and we loved it. It was clear that careful thought had been given to the design of this resort and the public areas. I would agree with some that say the vegetation needs to mature – and even in spite of that – it still felt luscious.
Rooms: spacious, well-appointed, lots of storage; beds and pillows are comfortable and furniture is sturdy. We never had a problem (mentioned in an earlier review) getting towels or facecloths. Maid service was always prompt and detailed – thanks Eva! Butler service – fantastic, engaging and made the week so much more special. Huge thanks to Aylin and Joel.
Food: the food was good at all 3 restaurants and the resort has made a genuine effort in food presentation and quality. There was the occasional item that I couldn’t eat, but that was really preference vs food quality. It has been 10 years since we have been to Cuba, so I am not certain if there is an overall improvement with the food – or it is just this resort. (It did feel like this resort was making a bigger effort.) There was not always a ton of food (as people are used to at buffets) but there was always enough. Especially at the a la carte dinners - personally we FAR prefer a la carte dining, so that was a definite plus in choosing this resort. Not sure how the resort would fare for vegetarians however, esp at dinner times.
Restaurants & service: Servers were pleasant and responsive to requests; no issues.
Los Caribes which we really enjoyed 3 nights - esp the Cuban night and really good service by all the servers we encountered. The host/greeter was a little preoccupied and it did feel like we were interrupting his day by asking to be seated. Nice atmosphere and good wine list (see later);
Los Navigantes which we enjoyed 1 night (good but my least favourite for atmosphere, service and food); and
Los Marinos which we really, really enjoyed (seafood….lots of it, and it was good) 3 nights. This was also the restaurant for breakfast and lunch.
Room service: Yes! Genuine all day room service at this resort. Had breakfast a few mornings, a dinner and lunch several times. Food was good and the set up in the room was great. There is a nice mix on the room service menus – the pizza was great. The guys who deliver the room service were fantastic…very friendly and service oriented.
Bar service & beverages: ok, so as a wine drinker – I have very low expectations that any resort in Cuba is going to have wines that we like. This was not bad. The sparkling wines were good – esp the rose. On occasion we could get Chilean wines, which we prefer. As well, in Los Caribes we were able to order from a fairly decent selection of different wines. We did not mind the nominal additional fees for this in order to really enjoy our wine. Really appreciated this option.
The cappuccinos at the lobby/main bar were incredible. Had great service from the bar staff here – esp Leionous (spelling?). Beverages were all good with premium quality spirits. Enjoyed the gin and tonics. Nice port and Sambuca for our after dinner drink.
Spa: Serene and peaceful. Great massage with Carlito.
Pools & beaches: Now we are getting to my favourite part of the vacation. There are 3 beaches – west, central and east. West was peaceful – saw Herons and starfish; had a very secluded spot; nice day. Central beach – quite good snorkeling, lots of coral and interesting topography; just off the main pool. East beach – preferred for the view, and snorkeling is not too bad. Beaches really do need a few more covered beach chairs – more palapas or at least umbrellas. And there is lots of open space to add some. The pools – main one is too busy for my liking. Lots of people hung out there and seemed to enjoy it. The quiet pool was right in front of our room. Loved it. Loved the island. Great bar service from the pool/beach servers.
Finally the manager – Ernesto – is always around. Very talented, friendly and service oriented. As many others have said, this is a small quiet resort. This was the biggest selling feature for us. We enjoyed the environment, company, relaxation and the service. It was a blissful retreat from the pace of our everyday lives.
- 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
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- Also Known As:
- Melia Buenavista Hotel Cayo Santa Maria