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“NICE RESORT”
Review of Melia Las Dunas

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Melia Las Dunas
Ranked #8 of 15 Hotels in Cayo Santa Maria
Vancouver, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“NICE RESORT”
Reviewed 10 March 2012

The staff are wonderful, the food quite good and the hotel is clean and beautiful. I would have rated it 5 stars if it wasn't for the Ontarians. What a rude, ignorant, boorish bunch of people most of the Ontarians were, also with a disgusting sense of entitlement.

  • Stayed February 2012, travelled with friends
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13 Thank onthebeach_always
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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ottawa
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 March 2012

We just returned home from the Melia (Feb 29-March 6) and it was just OK. I booked this trip very last minute for my spouse and myself and tried to go without expectations but I can't say I went without any. We are 25 and 26 and are not party animals in any sense but do like some socialization etc. Be prepared to be very isolated on this resort island. Also don't plan to use the internet and phone calls are 2.90/minute.

-Bus ride to the hotel doesn't feel too long if you go in the daylight as you actually drive through a few towns and get to see SOME culture (resort is so isolated and far from everything that this is probably the most you will see of Cuba is you stay in Santa Maria).I actually enjoyed the bus ride! Would probably have been pretty long in the dark though!
-Check in was really quick and painless. Probably the quickest and most organized hotel for that!
-Money exchange: do that as soon as you get there at the lobby bank (don't do it at reception - there is a premium). There was no lineup when we arrived in the afternoon.
-Room: I actually emailed the resort ahead of time and asked for second floor/adult side (I got second floor as I said I had bad mold allergies - not sure if that was just luck or not - but ended up on the family side). I found our room actually pretty clean and decent. Smell wasn't too bad and I was pleasantly surprised. Balcony was nice although we didn't really spend any time on it. View of shrubbery even on 2nd flr.
-Hotel itself is decent. Tons of walking (you pretty much have to throw yourself infront of one of those golf carts to get a ride) and tons of trees/bushes. Almost feels like you are in the jungle. No oceanview or poolview!!!! All BUSH view!!
-Staff: I found them to all be pretty great. Sure, maybe a few had bad days but overall staff were great! I was actually very impressed compared to other resorts.
-Food: Not good for the most part. My spouse are really not fussy eaters and I never really understood why people complained so much about Cuban food until this place. **FOOD TIP** Only meal you really have to consider buffet for is dinner. For breakfast, go to the snack bars by the pools (either one). You can order 4 standard breakfast options from the menu and they actually taste good!! The plate we ordered every morning had: Eggs (omelet or sunnyside etc.), ham or bacon, toast & fruit (versus egg soup and white fatty bacon at buffet)! Miss that! For Lunch, the snack bars are still a great option. We usually ordered Pizza or veggie sandwich. Also, there is a panini station on the beach which is delicious!! Lastly, the beer garden has some yummy calimari you can order with a Becks or Corona! Dinner, that is another story and something the resort should work on. Buffet = stick to the freshly prepared food stations....trust me! You get 3 A-La-Cartes and none were good. We did the Romantico, Italian & Seafood as the Sunwing guy recommended them. Disappointing (and we were not expecting great - just edible). There isn't really anywhere else open for dinner so you are basically stuck with the buffet for your other nights.
-Drinks: VERY GOOD! Probably the best drinks I have had down south. Premium beers, declicious pina coladas and amazing cappucinos. Wine so-so. I'm a red drinker and the first night I tried a wine with a red label that was gross. Last few nights at the buffet and at the a la cartes they served a more decent one with a black label I believe.
-Beach: Pretty good. First few days it was so windy we just hung out at the pool. I think because of where the island is it is very windy. That is also probably the reason there are so many bushed and shrubs between the beach and the resort. You have to walk along a boardwalk to get to the beach which you cannot see from anywhere on the resort (maybe a partial view if you pay for an ocean view but you are still majority BUSH view).
-Weather: Ok I KNOW this cannot be controlled but I was really surprised how windy it was on that island. Maybe it was just that week but I have a feeling it also has something to do with where it is located.
-Beware they do regular runs on around the resort with a pesticide machine on the back of a pickup truck. You won't be able to miss the HUGE cloud of smoke-looking chemicals being dispursed into the air (I saw them minimum once a day and also when we were leaving the resort at 5am). The smell is horrible. Bring gas masks??
-Nightlife: No. We didn't go for the nightlife but people who did were sorely disappointed. Disco was a ghost town and you have to pay to go/for drinks.
-Shows: Not on every night and only two we did see involved competitions with vacationers on-stage. We were actually one of the couples for the couples game night they do. I thought we would just be the warm-up but ended up we were the show....sorry for the people who had to watch that! lol...We pretty much just played cards in the lobby bar every night...nothing much else to do.
-Excursions: Few and far between. You only have a few choices on this island. We did catamaran and I highly recommend it. Gave me a day away from the hotel and it was actually a lot of fun!
-This resort caters to French people!! We were definitely the minority. Also, apparently most people from quebec did not get the memo that smoking kills (although there were quite a few Europeans smoking there as well). Prepare to have smoke blown in your face 24/7.
-There are cats and a few dogs. I was actually pretty impressed that the staff (except for one cranky older guy at one of the snack bars) do not bother with them or shoo them away. They certainly did not bother us and most people seemed to feel the same way. I saw many people feeding them and I actually packed both cat and dog treats in my suitcase and they were all eaten up halfway through my trip! Most of the cats are super friendly and sweet! They are the only part of the resort that I miss!! Pack some Temtations or whiskas if you remember ;) Also, there was a super sweet chihuahua type puppy that loved the soft dog treats I packed (the only dogs I saw were smaller ones).
-No kleenex at this resort and toilet paper seems to be a rare commodity. Bring some with you and carry everywhere!!

Final Word: Spend a bit more and go to the paradisus rio de oro in Holguin. We had a friend get married there last year and it is MUCH MUCH nicer than Melia. I would have cried if I had my wedding ceremony at Melia but Paradisus was amazing. Melia is rated a 4.5 star but I would give it a solid 3.5*. Paradisus is a 5* and soooooooo much nicer. Best part of Melia resort were the lunch and breakfasts you could order off the menu and the drinks. Resort itself if not that nice and buffet/a la cartes were dissapointing at best. Ocean felt pretty separated from resort and there are much nicer places to stay!! I was very dissapointed the first day we arrived but decided to make the most of it and ended up having an OK vacation. VERY glad to be home though....would not recommend. That also seemed to be the consensus of people we talked to (English ones anyways). Best advice: Keep looking!!!! Even though we weren't looking to party this resort was BORING. If you are 50+ or going with small children (and French) this resort MIGHT be ok....otherwise, do yourself a favour and book something else. If I hadn't been to Paradisus in May I would probably be turned off of Cuba competely after this place.

Room Tip: 2nd Flr adult side. DON'T PAY FOR OCEAN VIEW! No such thing; only bush view at this place.
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  • Stayed March 2012, travelled with family
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7 Thank juna23
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
TORONTO
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 March 2012

We spent a week at this Resort in Ferbruary 2012. The beach is one of the best in the south. The resort is very well laid out and easy to get around, the nightly entertainment at the big stage need improving.
Because of the size of this Resort more staff is required to upkeep and maintain the property at a 5 Star level. Adolfo and his team are working very hard at continuous improvements to please their guests, and we wish them the best and look forward to another visit soon.

Much, much thanks to all of the staff who always did their best to make our stay a very plesant one to remember.

Adolfo, Thanks again!!!!

Ivor

Room Tip: For a quiet room, choose the adult area of the resort.
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  • Stayed February 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank IVOR L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Montreal, Canada
Level 5 Contributor
37 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 106 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 March 2012

We got back from our vacation in Melia Las Dunas, Feb. 18th to Feb. 25th. That is our second time in this resort (June 2011) and we observed some good changes. First of all we would like to say a special thank you to the general manager, Adolfo Fernandez for helping us to enjoy our stay in the hotel. He is very professional and very friendly when it comes to helping if their is any problems. Once again thank you so much. From our observations as we mentioned since our first visit we saw a big improvement in the quality and the variety of food. Special thanks for Roman, Michael and the pancake lady(sorry forgot your name) and the rest of the kitchen staff for the very tasty food they prepared. Also we wood like to thanks George, a waiter for the best service ever. If you want a drink, go to the beach bar and meet Pavel, Luis Alberto and Adonis, they will take care of you very well. After a long day on the sunny beach go see Claudia or Bartolina in the main lobby bar for the best coffee(Irish coffee or a good cappuccino). Melia Las Dunas is a very well placed resort, big enough to enjoy your vacation, but hotel rooms need to be refreshed. Mattresses and linens have to be replaced as soon as possible. Interior of the rooms must be repainted and the drainage system in the washrooms has to be cleaned up. Of course tourist must help keeping the place clean and put their trashes into the garbage and not on the floor of the building hallways or walkways. Also the beach could be kept cleaner and the personal from the water sports center could me friendlier and their service must be equal for all the tourists not only for American Cubans first and then the rest of the tourists. Activities are only around the main entrance of the beach, the staff should go see all around the beach to invite people to participate. Generally, we recommend this resort and we will surely go back there soon.

Room Tip: The best place to have your room is on the second floor
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  • Stayed February 2012, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
4 Thank pawelkiel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Gatineau
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 March 2012

Arrival: Quick check in at Cuba (Santa Clara) airport. Ride to hotel via bus approx. 90 minutes. I would suggest going during the day in order to see the villages. The causeway across the ocean (approx. 49kms) is also something to see. There is an exchange bank at the airport, but VERY slow (my husband was 4th in line and it took 45 minutes)! Thank god the bus waited for him (lol). The hotel has a bank for exchange.

Hotel: Sunwing rep met us at entrance and we were provided with our check-in documents and off to the room we went. We met the rep next day to go over a few things we needed to know. Two sides to the hotel, kids and adults. We were on the adults side and adult pool. It was nice and quiet. We were in bungalow 39 and it was easy access to/from places for us (kind of central). Lobby/bar/common areas and leading up to the beach is FANTASTIC…They always had some sort of entertainment. The grounds were beautiful. Staff is friendly, bilingual and very nice all the time. Beach was beautiful as well (although windy), but it was nice (better than snow). The “relax pool” area is simply that “relax” (no kids allowed). Hotel is a huge area, but quick to find places after day one.

Room: First floor (I would recommend getting 2nd floor if you can because you will be able to open the patio door, but not on the first). It was musty/damp smelling. Furniture was somewhat dusty. All week the maid did the basic: bed, towels, refill toilet paper, but nothing more than that, no initiative. Be careful getting in/out of the tub/shower, it’s a high depth. Bed not a comfy one, but manageable. A/C very loud, but needed to be on all the time for the musty/damp. They could also invest in CLR for showerheads. We had a view of the garden (1st floor), it was bushes!

Food: Buffet was nothing to write home about, food was prepared in advance and never hot (sitting in a warm bin most of the time), unless it was cooking stations, then you were lucky for something hot, but most cooking stations were all the same food, no variety (if one was cooking fish, they all were). Breads/buns were not fresh. Desserts were YUMMMMY. Breakfast was good if you went to a cooking station (Omelets delicious, or fresh pancakes, not the ones sitting in the bins). Bring maple syrup (hard to get) and bring pepper, it is rare to get. The food is bland tasting. I have had better food in my travels. There are a-la-carte restaurants, but again, nothing that thrilled us and bland tasting. You are limited to 3 a-la-carte per week, and ensure that the person taking your reservations understands what you want/dates and check your reservation receipts before leaving the desk. (Be at that desk early in the morning because lots of line-up).
Drinks: All you can drink and very good. Cappucino’s were to die for!

Suggestion: Bring your own Kleenex (didn’t get a box in our room until our 4th day and even at that, it’s like sandpaper). In the common area bathrooms, once the toilet paper runs out, that’s it, we had to use the hand towel paper most of the time, they are not quick to replace (and they (maids) are standing right there!) Bring some sort of cream for bug bites. Probably I got them from the sand/beach….and definitely bring lots of sunscreen.

Outings: Went to the Delphinarian (dolphins)…nothing exciting. A few dolphins and 2 seals. It is a new development, very clean, but nothing for “show” much yet. You can interact with the dolphins (stand on a platform in waist high water and you cannot move, let the dolphins come to you). The photo with the dolphin is $10.50peso. Contrary to what our rep informed, there is 1 show perday and that is the seals (around 12:30ish), other than that, just interact with the dolphins. Taxi from hotel to delphinarian is $5.00peso (not each). We waited approx. 45 minutes for the front office at the Delphinarian to call a taxi for us, even though we asked when we were ready to leave! We went to the two pueblos (Market). One is approx. 10 minutes via double-decker bus away ($1.00peso each person). Although, the ride actually takes approx. 50 minutes as driver goes to each hotel. Restaurants, bar, arts/crafts but approx. 1 hour stayed there. The other pueblo is just outside the hotel grounds (walking) with crafts during the day. Although I’m sure there is night-life, but we didn’t go.

Your clothes will be damp when you get home, so lots of laundry to do.

All in all, we met a lot of nice people, weather was excellent all week (26FEB-04MAR2012), but….we would not return to that hotel.

Room Tip: Ask for the 2nd floor
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  • Stayed February 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
4 Thank A L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Toronto, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 March 2012

I stayed at the Melia Las Dunas resort, in Cayo Santa Maria (about 1h30min by bus from the airport).

Not everything was perfect but overall I liked it.

Good things:
- amazing beach and water
- great lobby bar
- friendly staff (friendlier if you tip them)
- stiff Cuba libres (their rum and coke comes in a 50-50 mix, which was great)

Things that were not so great:
- food was only so-so even in the a la carte restaurants
- pretty long lines at all buffet restaurants in peak time

So my conclusion is this:
If amazing water/beach is a must have then this resort is a good choice, Cuba is just the best for that.

If you are ok with less than picture perfect beaches and will mostly hang out by the pool, then I would go Dominican or Mexico for the better food etc.

  • Stayed February 2012, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
2 Thank Sebastian C
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 review, 2 November 2014
Dear Ms. /Mr
Many thanks for your visit and take the time to share your opinion on tripadvisor, we will show your opinion to the rest of our staff which is one of the strengths of Melia Las Dunas . We are very happy you loved our hotel. We will be very happy if you decide to visit us again.
Best Regards
Manuel Ríos
General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Beloeil, Canada
Level 3 Contributor
16 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 March 2012

My 10th time going to this hotel. Just returned and can only say... They never cease trying to get better. The food was very good and surprising for Cuba. Quite a bit of variety. They even aèdes a Mexican a la carte donner. Very good stirfry with beer, chicken or pork in a cast iron pan. Simply delicious. Then there is the lobby bar. It is the best I've seen in all my trips including Jamaica, Mexico and Domenican Republic. And the beach... Totallly a big wow!

And then the staff. Very nice and helpful. They go out of their way to make your stay special. Very professional! All in all, one of the best places where you get your money's worth.

Room Tip: If you are going without children, make sure you are booked in the adult section and chose a second...
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  • Stayed February 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
12 Thank Johanne D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Melia Las Dunas

Property: Melia Las Dunas
Address: Cayo Santa Maria, Caibarien, Villa Clara | Jardines del Rey, Villa Clara, Cuba
Phone Number:
Region: Caribbean > Cuba > Villa Clara Province > Cayo Santa Maria
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#3 Spa Hotel in Cayo Santa Maria
#4 Romantic Hotel in Cayo Santa Maria
#6 On the Beach Hotel in Cayo Santa Maria
#7 Top resorts Hotel in Cayo Santa Maria
#7 Luxury Hotel in Cayo Santa Maria
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:5 star — Melia Las Dunas 5*
Number of rooms: 925
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

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