I don't really know where to begin. I have just arrived from an amazing week long vacation at the Melia Cayo Santa Maria in Santa Clara Cuba. My boyfriend and I were there from January 10th-17th. Not long enough that’s for sure.
Airport Check in:
I guess it all depends on how many planes are arriving. It was extremely busy. At one point we almost thought that our bags were lost because they were not coming around and other flights were arriving. Thankfully we found them!!! The currency exchange booths took forever. You are better off doing it at your hotel. All in all, not a bad arrival.
I loved it. Even though it was an hour and half ride it was great. The scenery was beautiful. Going through the various little towns was interesting. The drive was kind of scary, they all drive like maniacs. Driving through Santa Clara was nice. The streets look like little narrow alley ways. It was such a tight fit. If the windows were open on the bus I would be able to touch the buildings along the streets. The best part of the drive is the final stretch, driving along the causeway to the secluded island of Santa Maria. That was defiantly memorable. You’re driving on a 10km road built on the water, actually the ocean, it was stunning!!!
Hotel Check In:
We received an envelope as soon as we boarded the bus at the airport. The envelope included a map of the resort with all the restaurant times, excursions included as well. We also received our room key!!! Therefore we did not have to go to the front desk and check in... We didn’t even have to wait for our bags; they would be at our rooms... I would suggest packing a few beach wear in your carry on as to not wait for your luggage. We were instantly greeted by dancers and singers at arrival and a cocktail as well!!! We didn’t know if we had to directly go to our room, so we roamed around a bit until we eventually reached our room, the front desk called to tell us that our bags were coming.
No complaints. Very nice, clean and roomy. We had a nice big king size bed, with a day bed too. I had emailed the resort the day before to make a request to have a room within the center of the resort, close to bars, restaurants and pools. I was surprised that the building I had asked for specifically was actually given. Building 27, room 2722, located directly behind the Italian a la carte, 24 hour snack bar and the pools. Even though we did not have a view of the ocean, it was still nice, besides you’re not going to waste any time on your balcony anyways. The bathroom was very nice and clean. The toilet, shower and badee (probably not spelled right) were in a separate room from the sink. I liked that, while one showers, the other can get ready. Bed was super comfy, sheets were cleaned, tons of pillows for a comfy sleep. We didn’t bring a watch, so we never wanted to sleep in too late, so we got a wakeup call every morning. But we eventually got used to it and realized what time it really was throughout the day.
To be honest what do you really expect... It’s not intended to be a gourmet place. Buffet has variety, not everyday though. Pretty much same food every day. I will say the omelettes were amazing and so were the pancakes, try the strawberry sauce, delicious!!! You can reserve 3 a la carte restaurants a week.
Mediteraian (next to the buffet restaurant):
That was great!!! I don’t remember the appetizer I had, but dinner my boyfriend and I had the beef mignon. His was cooked a little rare for my liking but mine was GOOD. Since I was celebrating my birthday that particular night, they came out with a sponge cake (I think that’s what it was), with alcohol on it, and poured on our plates. They dimmed the lights, lit our plates on fire and the cake and sang to me. It was so nice. Therefore the food was good there and the service was oh so pleasant.
Seafood (restaurant on the beach, serve lunches there as well):
I had the shrimp cocktail for an appetizer. It was really good, served in martini glass, 4 shrimps on a bed of lettuce with I think it was mayo. It was really good. Them I had the calamari in tomato sauce. It wasn’t amazing, but it was pretty good. The best was the fried ice cream. LOVED IT!!! I do recommend you visit this same restaurant for lunch. Why??? Their fired calamari. It is absolutely amazing. We had it every day for lunch. The last day was the best, we savoured every bite. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE have it, for us at least....yummmmmy!!!!
Steakhouse (Directly across from pool)
This is a brand new restaurant. We kind of cancelled our reservation. We heard from other people that it was not good at all. Apparently the ribs were fatty, the chicken was bloody and the rest was just as bad. So we decided to skip it last minute. It was our last night anyways, so we partied instead of eating.
Defiantly enough for every one!! There’s the 24 hour piano bar, next to lobby. Pool bar in the 24 hour snack area, swim up bar on one side of the pool and the other small bar (didn’t notice till last day) and lastly the beach bar. Bring something to have your
drinks poured into. Unless you are actually sitting at the bar, they will serve it tiny plastic cups by the pool and the beach. We used BUBBA Kegs that we bought at Canadian Tire. Mine wasn’t as big as mu boyfriend’s. Mine was only 20oz...um...his was like 55oz!!!
To be honest, some were not as nice as others. Some spoke English, a lot didn’t. At the buffet and a la carte, very fast and efficient. As soon as you sit, they serve whatever you want to drink (their white wine for dinner is good). Our bed was made and sheets changed if needed. Our shoes were even placed neatly against the wall, floors mopped, fridge stock (if needed), and fresh towels every day. They would leave those cute towel sculptures on our bed every day. The best was the elephant; they used a baseball cap and put sunglasses on it....haha...
BEAUTIFUL!!! I have never seen such a wonderful, white sandy beach in my life. This was my 3rd time in Cuba and by far the most outstanding beach ever!!! The stretch of beach seemed as though it went on forever. On the right, they were building the new huge hotel (apparently 2800 rooms...wow) and if you walk along to the left, past the neighbouring resort, is the nude beach. If you dare to bare you sure can there!!! I won’t lie there were jellyfish. Most were just dried up on shore. I think I saw 2 in the water actually moving. I also saw a lot of people swimming and none were stung, so I think it’s safe.
2 main pools, 1 little pool at the club house, Jacuzzi in front of the snack bar. I will let you in on a little secret. Wake up in the morning before 9am and find a spot by the pool area to reserve for the day. There are a lot of lounge chairs surrounded everywhere, no problem finding chairs. The secret is the location of the spot. Right in front of the 24 hour snack, directly in front of the 2nd pool, is a Jacuzzi area with lounges including shaded areas. The secret is that first thing in the morning is covered in shade. But as soon as you are done breakfast is sunny. It the best spot guaranteed. You got the pool a few steps down to cool down a lot, right beside you a Jacuzzi for a bit warmer cool down, bathrooms around the corner, swim up bar a few feet away and food as well. We had that spot all week. It was perfect!!!
Various activities throughout the day. Water aerobics was fun (even though I only did it once..hehe). good way to burn off breakfast. The entertainment staff was great. Ricardo very nice!! There was a fashion show twice that week, and then at the end you were able to purchase it. Some of the stuff was beautiful and not as inexpensive as you would expect. A few afternoons there were these 2 guys on those little sport bikes doing flips and spins and all these cool tricks right in between the 2 pools. That space is not that big so it made their tricks look even better. As for the nightly entertainment, nothing too great. It’s all the same at every resort pretty much. Except for one particular night. There was an amazing Michael Jackson impersonator. He was amazing!!!! Looked like him and danced exactly like him (first rows are needed to sit at to experience this show). Amazing performance of Thriller and Billy Jean. It was AWESOME!!! Then there was the disco, which started right after the show. It’s a reasonable size space, pool table on the left, lots of couches to sit on, and of course a bar. Load music and a lot of fog. This was a little over done!!! A few drinks later it gets tolerable.
Ahhhhh the spa!!!! Make sure you reserve it asap. Already with your hotel package is the HydroTherapy (I think). This means is that you get to use their spa facility for a whole hour. First you use the sauna, then take cold shower, then steam room, another cold shower, hot bath and lastly Jacuzzi and then bathe in the sun. It’s very private and a bit away from the resort, so really quite and accessible from all the neighbouring resorts. This spa is one of the best in Cuba. My boyfriend and I scheduled a Couples Massage. It was 116 pesos altogether for an hour of relaxing massage. Worth every single penny. It was a perfect day, because we had the HydroTherapy first for an hour then the message for the next. I highly recommend it!!!
All in all, I feel this was the most wonderful resort we have ever stayed at. I would defiantly go back next year. The week started off really quite, a day in to it a bunch of rowdy young Quebecers arrived and the noise began. They grew on you in the end and were a lot of fun. My boyfriend believes he made lifelong friends!!!! Defiantly a resort made for couples, singles and those who really just want to relax and truly vacation.
OHHH how I wish I was back there!!!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- In an island paradise off the northern coast of Cuba stands the 5- star All-Inclusive Meliá Cayo Santa María hotel, especially designed for families, surrounded by beautiful beaches and lush tropical vegetation. This property (358 rooms) offers facilities for incentives groups and a special wedding and honeymoon program. A perfect complement for an unforgettable holiday. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Melia Cayo Santa Maria Hotel Cayo Santa Maria
- Cayo Santa Maria Melia
- Cayo Santa Maria Cuba
- Santa Maria Cuba
- Melia Cayo Santa Maria Cuba