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“Awesome property” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Hotel Playa Cayo Santa Maria

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Hotel Playa Cayo Santa Maria
Ranked #3 of 13 Hotels in Cayo Santa Maria
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Level Contributor
126 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 67 helpful votes
“Awesome property”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 January 2013

Our trip was Dec 11-19, 2012. What more can I add to the previous post from a lot of other people.....This resort is awesome. Not what I would have expected in Cuba. Super clean, great staff, delicious food, beautiful beaches, huge pools, theatre, entertainment. The staff is very accomodating. If you did not want to walk from one area to another, all you had to do was ask and someone would bring a golf cart to take you. We only had the priviledge of spending two nights in this hotel. Wish we could have had longer there. I suggest checking out the pictures on the post. What you see is exactly how it looks.

  • Stayed December 2012, travelled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
10 Thank brtraveladdict
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Jorge C, Gerente at Hotel Playa Cayo Santa Maria, responded to this review, 8 January 2013
Dear Guest, thank you very much for your comment. We are pleased to know that having a positive approach of our installation and service. Thank you very much and best regards. Jorge Calderin, Director
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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5,598 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (1,072)
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English first
Ottawa, Canada
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 January 2013

We just returned from Playa Dec.28-Jan.5th. This was our first time in Cuba but have traveled the DR, Jamaica and Mexico numerous times. We were in building 7, perfect! Close to 24hr snack bar, entertainment pool and right next to beach.

The rooms are gorgeous and clean, mind you when we arrived we had to kill 2 huge cockroaches in the room but we didn't freak out, we've seen it before. The maid was amazing, did a great job in the room and left us nice notes and towel arts every day.

Yes the food is different in Cuba but there is no way someone can starve. This resort had lost of choices and the buffet is where they need attention. So Jorge Calderin Alvarez this is my recommendations from experience at other resorts:

1) One toaster for over 700 guess is not enough and should be located near the bread.
2) The stations (ie. pasta, stir fry, pizza) are way to slow, you wait about 25 min for a your meal, it obvious people love the fresh stations so why not put 2 staff at each?
3) Some of the waiters/waitress are lacking experience big time, they need more training, they take your drink order but forget to bring it.
4) There should be an area for self serve juice and pop, this would eliminate a bit of work off the waiters
5) They have cereal but no milk!!! Twice I had to ask for milk which they got in the kitchen for me. Why not put it near the yogurt where the cereals are??
6) Most important! Get rid of the can fruits, this is a tropical island with many fruits, they should be fresh.

The beach is amazing and the service from the chair guys when you arrive is an extra bonus and every appreciated.

We did 2 A la carte (Italian and Japanese) they where ok but we did appreciate that they took their time, usually at A la carte they rush you like crazy.

New year eve was super fun, everyone got a gift bag that included party hats, scarves, whittles etc. to celebrate at midnight, champagne, they did an excellent job to put you in the party mood.

Overall this resort is gorgeous and very nice staff, I would not hesitate to return in a minute.

Thanks Playa Cayo Santa Maria for making our week a memorable one! :)

  • Stayed December 2012, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
15 Thank Offwego180
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Jorge C, Gerente at Hotel Playa Cayo Santa Maria, responded to this review, 8 January 2013
Dear Guest, thank you very much for your opinion. Our team is pleased to know that your stay at our hotel was pleasant. Thanks for recommending. Best regards, Jorge Calderín, Director
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Nova Scotia
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 January 2013

Overall 4 + star : This resort is a nice, relaxing holiday with decent food, an amazing beach, warm ocean water for swimming and water sports, lots of pools and lovely grounds. This is not a party resort, no disco or dancing at night, which was perfect for us. We enjoyed drinks in the sun on the beach during the day, relaxing at the pools, evening dinners and then cocktails and great coffees in the lobby bar. We travelled with Air Canada Vacations and travelled Dec 23-30 2012. We were pleasantly surprised for the cost of this trip.

Top 5 of this resort :
1) BEACH! Great sand, warm water, postcard perfect
2) Price point : excellent
3) Lobby Bar - clean, airy, great drinks and coffee. Beer Garden. Ice Cream Bar.
4) Resort layout and grounds. Lots of pools, variety, clean, neat and tidy
5) Rooms - a different layout!
5 + ) Well trained staff. Friendly and willing to help.

Recommendations : Increased waiter service, larger plastic cups at bar, a bit more signage / maps around resort, block numbers or sign on the outside of buildings

Here are the details for those of you who like them ! :)
AIRPORT / BUS :
You will arrive at a small airport in Santa Clara. There is a small beer cart waiting outside for $2 a beer and beers available on the bus ride. Our bus had a bathroom, but it was icky. The bus ride is about 1 hour and 45 minutes. You do travel through small towns and across a 45 km causeway. Our driver gave tips about the towns we passed through.

ARRIVAL :
Check in was smooth and quick, but with an almost 2 hour transit perhaps we could do this on the bus ? We were greeted with friendly staff, a welcome drink and a grand lobby. We were then whisked away on a golf cart to our room.

ROOM:
We were in block 6, 2nd floor, ocean view which was recommended on this site. It was quiet , we had a great view, but I would say building 7 was the best choice as it was closest to the beach, main pool, snack bar, etc. Our room was clean and felt spacious. The room lay out made it unique, with a desk / bed combo in the center of the room. Lots of mirrors, closet and drawer space, a safe, iron, umbrella, coffee maker, mini fridge, 2 beach towels and lots of bath enmities. ( we had a shaving kit, shower cap, lotions, shampoo, bath gel). We also received a phone call asking about our room, noted a minor issue with our sliding door, and it was fixed within the hour. We were also impressed with the daily towel art, friendly staff. We had a king sized bed, and a soaker tub.

Note : We just had photo copied black and white papers which took away from the 4-5 star feel of the resort. And there was not a map, list of restaurant times nor a “do not disturb” sign for the door.

GROUNDS:
One of the nicest layouts we have seen in our travels. 4 large pools, and smaller pools scattered throughout. You were within a 5 minute walk to everywhere and the décor and plants were beautiful. Some areas were still growing ( the grounds are only 1 year old and the recent hurricane) but very nice. The pool cabanas with white flowing drapes, style of pool chairs and use of wood structures made it seem high end. Gardeners and staff very friendly. We gave a few tips and they were shocked and appreciative.

Note : I would recommend another path to the beach from building 6 side. Once you figured out the “short cuts” it was not too bad.

POOLS:
We are not pool people. BUT there were many options including 2 quite pools, an activity pool with swim up bar and very nice lounge chairs, cabanas with white flowly drapes, shade and sun options. The water in December was a little chilly, but on hot days the pools were packed. There was sometimes waiter service for drinks, but you were never more than a 1 minute walk away from a bar.

BEACH:
Yes the beach is 2 tiers, but AMAZING. One of the nicer beaches we’ve been to with nice shallow warm water, easily walk able and nice white sand . We had red flag and green flags days, BUT We were in the water every day, and I am NOT a water person but could not resist the turquoise water. Also LOTS of chairs and multiple staff to move them for you. There were shaded areas on the top level. None on the bottom level as the tide comes in at night. 1 bar on the beach and no waiter service. On our last day it was very calm and we placed our chairs in the water. Heaven!

I did get a few bug bites, but nothing afterbite could not fix!

BARS:
Lobby bar had the best drinks by far served in real glasses and also a variety of coffee drinks with surprisingly good espresso and coffee. The beer garden was great with a variety of bottled and canned beers. It varied with what you could remove. The snack bar offered 24 hour service of food and drinks and located in the center of the resort. All restaurants offered decent house wines including the buffet. There is 1 bar on the beach and not waiter service. Even so, the bar was never crazy busy . The bar tenders would let us borrow a tray to bring a large round to the beach for our group.

Note : The plastic cups for drinks are VERY small. We had a lot of laughs with folks around the resort about drink “shots” due to the small size of cups. If you have room bring a travel mug. You will use it !

FOOD :
The food was ok, and we could always find something to eat. We didn’t choose an all inclusive vacation in Cuba for a gourmet food experience. The buffet was great with indoor and outdoor options for seating, table linens, wine service. A La Carte reservations were easy to make. The 24 hour snack bar was a great option. There is not room service.

Breakfast: , my favorite meal, you could get made to order eggs, omelets, waffles, crepes and pancakes. There was also a smoothie / fresh fruit bar. The fresh fruit was not as diverse as I was expecting, and may have been the time of year. After breakfast we would go to the lobby bar for great coffee, cappuccino, lattes.
Lunch: The restaurant on the beach was open for lunch with a menu and small buffet. The Panini grill was also open from 10-5 and one of our favorite spots to eat. You could also eat from the menu at the 24 hour snack bar.
Dinner: The buffet was decent with most of the food prepared in front of you, rather than sitting there. There were grab and go options for a faster dining experience. Each night they has grilled meat stations one for seafood, one for chicken, pork, beef; a make your own pizza station and a made to order pasta station. There was also a crepe, grilled banana station for dessert. The a la cartes were fine for a change of scenery, but service could be a bit slow. We heard mixed reviews on them all from other guests, it all depends on your personal tastes. Expect good seafood, and iffy beef. The chefs did take the time on presentation . Some a le cartes offered a wine list to purchase from.

MARKETS : Worth a trip on the bus $1 . I liked the Estrella Market better as it was larger. Food and drinks seemed pricy. Cigars and booze a bit chepaer than resort and airport. A good thing to do on a cloudy day. We took a 1957 Chev Taxi home for $3 which was one of the highlights of our trip.

Room Tip: I would request rooms from blocks in this order : 7, 15, 6 with top floors. If you are pool people...
See more room tips
  • Stayed December 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
11 Thank bluenoser77
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Jorge C, Gerente at Hotel Playa Cayo Santa Maria, responded to this review, 9 January 2013
Dear Guest, thank you very much for your comment. We are pleased to know that having a positive approach of our installation and service. Best regardsregards. Jorge Calderin, Director
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Montreal
Level Contributor
8 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 January 2013

I’ve been to Cuba several times and our stay at Hotel Playa Cayo Santa Maria was the best so far – the resort is gorgeous - beautiful layout, great pools, clean rooms, and staff that have clearly been well trained and are consistently wonderful.

Its the little things that make a big difference on a trip like this - rather than repeat what has been said by others, I’ll list our top five ‘likes’ at this resort:
- Wonderful waterfall shower in our room with endless hot water – perfect after a day at the beach
- Amazing spa complex – $25 massage gets you a massage and all-day access to the spa complex– steam rooms, whirlpool bath, fruit bar and a zen-like feel, away from the boomba boomba of the beach - perfect for a day
- Beach lies on the middle of a stretch that is about 5 km long, end to end and is gorgeous - our days were spent in one of several beach cabanas, on the eastern end, that were on a ledge 10 feet above the water – these are not visible from the main beach and most people seem to not know there are there – highly recommended!
- Surprisingly good fitness center – treadmills, bikes etc and a good selection of free weights, balls and machines
- We were lucky to be visiting on the day that there was a party for staff, celebrating the first birthday of the new resort - the staff had a great time and were obviously very happy to be at the resort – nice to see that management is clearly working hard to treat them well.

Negatives were minor, but to have a balanced review, here’s a couple…
- Volume of poolside/beachside entertainment was excessive and irritating at times – there is balance between having fun environment versus blasting so loudly that your eyeballs are jangling! Suggest that one pool be kept music free.
- Went on a jungle excursion and the good news is that we had a great time – however, if we had known it involved 9 hours driving time, probably would have decided to do something else. The fact that we returned at 9:30 PM, instead of 7:30 PM as promised, which led to unnecessary stress for us on the trip and for those waiting for us at the resort. The guide told us a 9:30 return is normal but this was definitely not what we were told by the tour operator at the resort – be good to get the details right on this.

All in all, a great place - highly recommended

  • Stayed December 2012, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
19 Thank Rakreb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Jorge C, Gerente at Hotel Playa Cayo Santa Maria, responded to this review, 8 January 2013
Dear Guest, thank you for your comments, compliments and recommendations. Our team is proud that you had a pleasant stay at our hotel. Best regards, Jorge Calderín, Director
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Saint Jerome, Canada
Level Contributor
17 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 31 December 2012

great hotel in superb location...which is Cayo Santa Maria.
.beach is in my top ten of all times, great weather like always (I mean for us)
we were there for 7 days last year , Jan 2012, and although temperature were in the low 70's upon our arrival, it rapidly went up the 80's, which i what we expected.
food was like everything else in Cuba, very ordinary......and at some point in time, the restaurants didnt have any eggs left....kind of funny since this is grown locally...
but for the price, this is a very nice place to relax with your wife...
-JPS

  • Stayed January 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank jean-pierre S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 31 December 2012

I was at Hotel Playa Cayo Santa Maria from December 7 - 14 for my own destination wedding on 12-12-2012, along with 48 friends and family members.

Before I start with my own comments, I would like to thank everyone that works at Hotel Playa Cayo Santa Maria, starting with Mareyi & Hany for being the best wedding co-coordinator. These 2 ladies would reply back to all my emails with 5 min to 4 hours. My butler Pasqual always was taking care of us and my group, the best butler ever. Luis Mario & Leo at the Beer Garden (24 hr snack bar) they are the quickest waiters ever. We would call Luis Mario a.k.a Super Mario. Brady at the lobby bar – he will get you the best cappuccino every. A very special “thanks” to the chefs at the buffet restaurant for making baby Jason soup every day for him and the staff for warming up his stuff. They go out of their way for you!

All the staff was fantastic from the front desk to beach bar and everyone that worked on the night of my wedding.

Hotel – The most beautiful hotel ever. The hotel is still new as it’s only a year old. This is very modern hotel. The resort is shape like a butterfly as I like to describe it. It an average size resort, just right. This resort has 4 big pools, including swim up bar and 2 kids pool. The best 2 building are building 15 or 7, quick access to the beach, snack bar, beach restaurant, lobby, everything.

Room – All room types very modern, clean and fresh, perfect size for 2 adults, or 2 adults with 2 children. The resort has 3 types of rooms; hotel room, suite and I highly recommend the Garden Villa for any future bride or groom getting married.

Hotel Room – Is your room with a bathroom

Suite – Is your room with a small living room with a couch, TV and round table with 2 chairs.

Villa Garden Room – When you walk in you have a living room, dining room with a bar, 2 rooms with a king bed and 2 double beds, 2 big bathrooms with Jacuzzi tub, powder room, outdoor shower on both ends, your own private pool in the back and ocean view. (Highly recommend it to all brides & grooms)

Beach – Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous, do I have to say more. Crystal clear water and white powder sand.

Food – From the buffet to the snack bar to the beach grill to the a la carte – Food was great. They have a lot to choice from.

Three Words for this hotel  Breathtaking, Fabulous & Absolutely Amazing 

To all the future bride and grooms

Stress free wedding … The wedding co-Ordinator takes cares of everything

Hotel Playa Cayo Santa Maria made my dream wedding come true, from the wedding ceremony to the wedding reception.

The wedding ceremony took place at 4pm behind the Garden Villa around the pool. This was a very private wedding no other resort guests could see. (Highly Recommend). White and Blue décor as requested.

The wedding reception tool place at 6pm around the relax pool. (Additional costs, however it was worth every penny). Dinner was fantastic.

The photographer and videographer, was arranged by the hotel and they have done an amazing job.

My friend was the DJ for the night and with the assistance of hotels DJ we had a blast.

Thank you, thank you for everything.

This is MY new “Home away from Home” Will be back very soon!!!!

I highly recommend this hotel to friends, family, wedding group and all sort of groups.

Room Tip: Building 15 or 7 - Best Building for location, location. Building 7 or 6 if you have children to be...
See more room tips
  • Stayed December 2012, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
16 Thank MsDaSilva
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Jorge C, Gerente at Hotel Playa Cayo Santa Maria, responded to this review, 8 January 2013
Dear Claudia, It was an honor for our team to have made your Wedding memorable and can be sure that your anniversary will be much better. Thank you very much for your recognition and especially the note you left me. Best regards, Jorge Calderin, Director
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Montreal, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 December 2012

I have just retuned from playa cayo santa maria. Here are an overview of the positive and negatives aspects:

Positives:

Resort: Nice clean place. The Bungalows, the pools and the gardens look amazing and very clean.
Room: The rooms are spacious, clean and well decorated.
Food: The food in the resort is Ok. There is a buffet for breakfast, lunch and supper. A snack bar and a la carte restaurants. My favorite were the buffet for breakfast, the playa restaurants for luch and the the Italian and seafood a la carte restaurants for supper. The fresh juice station in the morning buffet was amazing...
Beach: The beach is just amazing... I can go on and on describing the beautiful beach of cayo santa maria
Staff: The staff are great and work hard.

Negatives:
Rooms: The bed in the rooms are not that comfortable.
Mosquitoes: They are spraying for mosquitoes but still you need to bring your own spray. I had mosquito bites all over, on my legs and arms and are very uncomfortable and itchy.
Entertainment : The Entertainment team works hard but the the entertainment activities need improvement: Especially the day physical activities.
Safety on the beach: The safeguards schedule should be organized better. One day there is like 5 safeguards on the beach and other day there is none..

  • Stayed December 2012, travelled with friends
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
17 Thank Beachlover B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Jorge C, Gerente at Hotel Playa Cayo Santa Maria, responded to this review, 31 December 2012
Dear Sir, thank you very much for your comment. We are confident that during your next visit your hotel's discretion will be totally different. We are noted for being a landmark hotel in the region and will work to maintain the level of excellence. His observation helps us to reflect and realize our mistakes. Jorge <calderin, Director
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hotel Playa Cayo Santa Maria

Property: Hotel Playa Cayo Santa Maria
Address: Las Dunas 5 | Cayo Santa Maria, 50100, Cuba (Formerly Hotel Gaviota Cayo Santa Maria)
Region: Caribbean > Cuba > Villa Clara Province > Cayo Santa Maria
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 13 Hotels in Cayo Santa Maria
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:5 star — Hotel Playa Cayo Santa Maria 5*
Number of rooms: 769

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