Hotel Cayo Santa Maria
- What's Included
- All Inclusive Features
OverviewOn a stunning 1.5 km beach, approximately 120 km from the Santa Clara airport.
I am quite behind on getting this posted, so my sincere apologies to my Cuban family at Hotel Playa! My husband and I stayed in January for one week, our second visit to the Hotel Playa in 9 months (4th visit to Cayo Santa Maria in 18 months). We arrived at the resort in the evening after our usual enjoyable 90 minute bus ride from the airport. We were greeted at the front desk and quickly checked in and shuttled to our room with our luggage. Upon arriving in the room, we found our wonderful friend Yailet (we stay in touch year round) had already visited and left us a lovely bottle of rum, a towel sculpture and a beautiful welcome back note. The week was amazing, as always. The beach and pools are pristine, and the weather was great. Only rain one day and that was after bedtime.The buffet and snack bar are our staples and we always find things to enjoy. Omar at the pizza station made us such lovely pizzas (one night was heart shaped and another was a calzone from scratch). He is a master of his trade and such a sweet person.All in all, another wonderful week in paradise!Special note of Yailet, Noemi, William, Omar, Yael and Frankie, who are all such wonderful people and always make us feel at home. Can't wait to see you all again soon!
We stayed for our third/fourth week at Playa Cayo Santa Maria November 4 till November 18th. We were located in building 15 with a pool view, but upgraded to an oceanview suite part way during the stay.I'm going to try and keep this to the point, and short. I want to be very clear and honest in our opinions to better help future guests gauge travel plans.When we arrived, we were immediately welcomed by staff members who amazingly had remembered us from our previous visits over the years. Honestly, I know their motto is "Return as family" and they DO stand up to that - they are amazing that way. "Hey friend, do you remember me?" is what we heard as we began to take our suitcases to our room upon arrival.We took a taxi to the resort to avoid the bus ride; it was $70 CUC. Conversion on the CDN dollar right now is about 30% and it didn't change during the entire 2 week stay. If using a credit card, it is billed in USD.The beds are firm, FIRM, and this time we came prepared. We brought along a $69 mattress topper from Walmart, it made the WORLD of a difference. There was no deck furniture on the deck, but we moved the table and two chairs out onto the deck and always remembered to bring the cushions in when we went out to prevent them from getting wet it if rained. It was much better than the plastic sets that used to be out there. No issues with the rooms whatsoever; very clean, tidy, coffee maker worked well (we brought whitner and our own coffee as Cuban coffee is so strong you can peel paint with it). The air conditioning did and always HAS been A++++ in this hotel and hot water is always available. There were no power outages during the 2 weeks. The cleaning staff do NOT steal your stuff; EVER. Our maid was Alberto and Bismark and they were fabulous guys who appreciated the colognes etc that we brought them. They do not need toothbrushes and pencils, please leave that kind of stuff at home. We also left little treats like granola / chocolate bars etc for them. $3CUC per day we also set out.Due to a number of other hotels being closed in the slow season, there were 1000 people staying at the resort during the first week. Large percentage of french Canadians present. The 'towel game' was in full effect at the beach. Drink services on the beach was very frequent and excellent. The waves were rough the first few days and then the beach was excellent for another 6 until a storm blew in and created waves. Some people tried to swim in huge waves and the life guards were blowing their whistle constantly. One lady was hit by a large wave and it dislocated her knee; but I don't think this is common; just common sense tells you not to go swimming with the waves are higher than your head. The boardwalk was being ripped up and replaced while we were there and there were a number of other renovations underway; they seem to keep up on these things.The washrooms always seemed clean; other than one afternoon when about 30 disrespectful people kept using the bathroom by the beer garden. Poor Alba had to scrub the entire afternoon and throw buckets of bleach in there a number of times to keep everything under control; I don't know how these maids work so hard for so little and maintain a smile on their face the entire time - they put up with a LOT !The beer garden was great as always; we would pull up a bar chair to the bar and people watch for a couple of hours each day. Laline the bar tender ran right out when she saw us arrive and gave us a big hug. She also arranged for us to be able to go to supper across the causeway one evening; that was WELL WORTH IT! We had lobster, fish, appetisers, salad, deserts, bottles of champagne, many beer, you name it and it was under $60 CUC for all four of us. Laline certainly went out of her way to arrange this special night for us and we were honoured that she accepted our invitation for her and her husband to join us. The taxi was $70 CUC there and back; but honestly, where you can you drink, feast and have a good time for $130 in Canada for 4 people? A huge shout out to Laline for this and we were thrilled to be able to do it.If you are going to Cuba for food; turn around and stop yourself. You will not starve, but you won't be super excited everyday either. You WILL survive just fine and you'll find things that you do like. One thing I did learn about the snack bar, which is known for excellent food (which it is), the reason why their fries are cold is because they cook a giant bowl of them every morning and just use them during the day - this is UNACCEPTABLE. I know this, because someone working in the lobby told me this. This is an easy fix and I hope that management will FIX THIS; it's a shame to your resort.Arianna who was a student and now an employee is excellent. She is a lot of fun and she has excellent English skills; track her down and enjoy - she's wild and crazy and everybody just loves here - an excellent addition to the team.At home I work in the animal industry; and I can say that the male cats NEED to be neutered. The male cats are literally taking chunks out of each other fighting. The resort should consider contacting an animal rescue group and fixing the males at the very least. The tourists LOVE the cats, as do I, but I'm very concerned for their well being. The breeding calico's are pumping out kittens, which means more and more producing females are not far off. Only once did I come across two dogs on the beach; both very feral and fearful.I was not impressed that a female animation team member (wearing orange and blue) kicked a cat in the snack bar around 2:00 AM (wee hours of the 17th). She obviously had consumed some alcohol. I stood right up and told her that it was not okay to do that; she then claimed that she was afraid of the cat. She had curly blonde hair.All staff were amazing OTHER than when I had to deal with reception. They lied to me about availability for our upgrade after the Customer Service Manager had promised it to us the day before. I wasn't taking no for an answer. I told them I wished to speak with the manager and they said she was in a meeting; so I told her I would WAIT. I sat there for 45 mins while they stared at me and actually laughed a few times. Then I demanded to speak with Marta (Customer Service Assistant) who was FAB, she said "You should not be waiting while on vacation" and then fixed the issue within minutes and I was off to our new room. While paying for the upgrade the reception starting saying things to me like " You so sweet , you so nice " - ha! Needless to say, I was not impressed with their professionalism in the very least; and the fact that they were making jokes about me caused me to question if they really belong to the team at PCSM.The suite was on the third floor of building 15. dining area, living area, 2 bathrooms, walk in shower, Jacuzzi bathtub, double deck overlooking beach, 2 big televisions, just PERFECT. The best money we spent during the trip was upgrading our room. They are quite limited, so I highly suggest you pre arrange prior to arrival if you think this is your thang.Prior to arrival we were in touch with Marta who arranged all our requests and ala cartes. That woman is gold to that resort; she is very fluent in English and cares very much about the satisfaction of the guests staying at the resort.They now have ALL the staff wearing hairnets. SERIOUSLY. Someone serving you a bottle of beer must wear one, as the person scrubbing bathrooms. I think that it is terrible that they have done this because someone obviously as some point filed a complaint. Cubans like to look nice, and it very much limits their ability to feel good about themselves. Even bald people are having to wear hairnets. Some guests got a hold of them and wore them during their stay in protest. Hairnets in food service, YES, but in cleaning or drinks?Prices at the market, store on the resort are the SAME as the duty free shop. However, something weird took place at the airport bank with friends of ours. They gave them 40% exchange on CDN cash where the resort gives 30%, so I would stick to the resort bank.The smoking room at the Santa Clara airport has been ripped out; so you MUST upgrade to VIP lounge to smoke if that's your kind of thing. They chased regular people out of there often, so they do enforce that. I think it's $20 CUC per person; I wasn't paying that for a smoking lounge.Cigar bar is fun in the evenings, but you may want to bring a sweater if you sit at the bar. Hanoy is a LOVELY bar tender, and then drinks are perfect in there. They have a wide array. The cigars seems to the same price there as they are in airport.Hydro pool at the SPA is freezing cold; AVOID ... we didn't have to pay as a friend was getting nails done; but we couldn't stand the cold water. It's not like the rest of the pools on the resort.The west pool is great for quiet lounging; and Jose is quick to make your drink and even remembers exactly what you want. Sometimes you have not even got to the bar yet he has spotted you and has your drink waiting for you. He's a fabulous guy.Every morning we were greeted with a smile by our buffet waitress named Yilena; she is excellent and one of the best waitresses in there - get to know her, she will just show you were to sit and remembers your coffee / juice order everyday automatically!So, we did have a bad food experience during our stay. I was surprised as things have always been excellent at the PCSM. On Monday, November 7th we arrived at the seafood ala carte at 7:30pm. We waited until 8:20pm to get a table, and then the entire service took until 10:10pm. Almost TWO HOURS! The lobster was NOT cooked, it was awful. Everything our table of four ordered was awful, under cooked and rotten. The service was pathetic! The next week, November 20th, we had an excellent meal with excellent service at the same spot! Not sure what went wrong there.The return guest supper and lunches were excellent. Supper was shrimp, lobster and a chicken breast with potato etc. The lunches were a seafood assortment with rice, salad etc (see photos).There were a number of American flights into Santa Clara when we arrived and then when we departed; but most appeared to be flights from Miami of family members loaded down with supplies and goods; even big screen tv's etc.If you go there with a negative attitude, you are going to have a bad time. But TRUST ME, if you think the food is bad at the PCSM you would die at the other resorts! This hotel has the best food on the island and your chances of getting sick are much slimmer than some of the cheaper spots. During the busy season, you may pay an extra 100$ or so for the PCSM but it will be worth every red cent; don't cut corners and stay at below par hotels in this area.One of our friends arrived with an elderly guest using a walker. He had a fall off the boardwalk. The lifeguards quickly plucked him up, dusted him off and made sure he was okay. He just wanted to go into the ocean; so what did they do? They CARRIED him into the ocean and stayed with him so he could swim and then carried him back to his walker up on the boardwalk. They were offered $20 CUC and they absolutely REFUSED to accept it, despite us telling them to take the money. Those guys made his week, if not his year. His family stood back and cried.The only time I was even tempted to go to the 'swim with dolphins' was after dark ;) we don't support that type of animal cruelty and the research is out there. If you think it may be for you, please research it prior to handing over your hand earned money to that industry.Go to Cdn Tire and buy yourself a bubba cup, it will come in handy!If you have any questions, just message me and I'll do whatever I can to offer any advice. Don't hesitate to book, you'll be perfectly fine!!The resort staff are VERY gay friendly - you feel very safe and included.Thanks to all the great staff at the Playa Cayo Santa Maria; they truly ARE family and live up to the motto. Until we meet again. XOXO
Lovely lovely hotel with amazing rooms. We had a sea view room. The beds were the most comfortable we had in all of Cuba. The bathroom was immaculate which is rare in Cuba. The resort is big with choice of pools. Bars you got the main indoor bat, beach and pool and snack bar. Hotel entertainment wasn't my thing. Only complaint is the difficulty getting into the al la crate restaurant - the Asian was good but I found the Romantic restaurant poor (I had the salmon), limited veggie options. The staff are lovely and similar to other reviews make an effort to talk to them, an Hola and Gracias go a long way. There are mostly Canadians at this resort, all very friendly which we loved. If you want a place just to chill and drink on a gorgeous beach this is perfect. If you want stuff to do, go to Varadero
Our family group of 10 (3 generations) just spent a week here and everyone had a wonderful time. We have stayed at one other all-inclusive in Varadero and this one was way better in every way. The staff were all super friendly, attentive, efficient - nothing was too much trouble. The food was excellent at the buffet, the 24 hour snack bar and the various restaurants. The grounds are lovely, beautifully maintained. Almost everything was working - washrooms, showers by the pools etc. Very impressed by the gym and the spa. Lovely beach but unfortunately red or yellow flags flew every day so we could not use the boats. Many thanks to Raul and Samara for their extra-special attention. Much appreciated.
When we started travelling to Cuba approx. 18 years ago, we were always told to stay away from Cuban-owned resorts & to always pick Spanish-owned resorts. You can imagine our horror & surprise when, on the bus ride to the resort, we were told that Playa Cayo Santa Maria is the only 100% Cuban-owned resort on Cayo Santa Maria.Apprehension quickly set in, but within a few days, it disappeared.We stayed in Villa 15, room no. 1572, with a northwest ocean view. The Villa is next to: the upper Relaxation Pool; Punta Arena 24 hour snack bar; and 2 - 3 different entrances to the beach. There are 4 other pools nearby, with the lower pool, with a swim up bar & entertainment, being the noisiest. Yipsy & Edouardo provided us with the best coffee on the resort in Punta Arena, while we occasionally had breakfast with its limited, but adequate menu. We also had lunch there a few times.We also enjoyed frequent lunches at Casa de Pescodar, next to Punta Arena. We had shellfish brochettes, fish & chips & baked fish. At night it becomes a seafood a la cart & we had half of a lobster. The buffet is open at 7:00 a.m. for breakfast; at 1:00 p.m. for lunch; and 6:00 p.m. for dinner. The earliest seating at an a la cart is also 6:00 p.m.Any previously prepared foods in the buffet will be cold, since there are no heater lamps. If you want warm food, order eggs to your liking at breakfast; or for lunch or dinner, order your own pizza,your own pasta, your own stir fry or your own grilled fish or meats, but your sides will be cold. I usually put my sides on the grilled fish or meat in order to warm them up a bit. Regrettably, we saw a number of guests in just bathing suits at breakfast & lunch, without any coverings or even sandals. I complained twice to the Food & Beveridge Manager our 1st week there, but it continued into our 2nd week. That is gross, unsanitary & completely unacceptable to us.During our 2nd week, I wrote a note about it & dropped it into the Manager's Box.The food at all of the a la carts are GR8, especially the full lobster at Romantico & the chicken cordon bleu at Garibaldi. However, the long pant requirement for men is completely ignored. The lobby bar area is a happening place. The entertainment starts most nights at6:30 p.m. There are a variety of acts, but, in my view, far too many Spanish signing groups, versus North American songs. When 80% of the audience is Canadian, this should have been addressed. Sergio serves up awesome coffees with liquor in the lobby during the evening. Be sure to look him up in his cart. He's always smiling.The lobby bar has some premium liquors, including my favourite nightcap, The Glenlivet.There is a "No Smoking" section in the lobby, but again, it is not at all enforced, even when we brought it to the attention of Supervisors.If you're going to purchase Cuban cigars, go to their Cigar Bar, not the retail store in the hallway. They're usually 1.0 - 1.5 pesos cheaper. Shows in the Theatre start at 9:30 p.m. & are looked after by Walter.....a friendly & gregarious man, who also looks after the entertainment on the beach.As for the beach, in some spots there is a 10 ft. - 12 ft. drop with large boulders to traverse. There is a 5 ft. drop to the beach near the bar & the BBQ.If you have balance or walking/joint issues, I would urge you to refrain from going to the beach, but if you do, the challenge is to get by the many people & the many lounges. In our view, Resort Management should bulldoze a gentle path to the beach & remove the many, large boulders.The folks at the beach offer hamburgers, hot dogs & grilled tuna buns at noon.HIGHLIGHTS At PLAYA.....1). The friendly, helpful people throughout the resort;2). The food at all of the a la carts;3). Premium drinks at the bars, eg. Limoncello, Kahlua, various Scotches, Bourbon, Disarrono etc.DISAPPOINTMENTS AT PLAYA.....1). No enforcement whatsoever of coverings for bathing suits at breakfast & lunch;2). No enforcement whatsoever of "No Smoking" designated areas;3). No enforcement of long pants for men at the a la carts;4). Extremely poor & potentially dangerous entry onto the beach.So, would w go back? Not sure, but for the a la carts, yes. That said, we will certainly research the newer resorts at the end of the island before deciding.
Vacations packages include round-trip flights, accommodations, round-trip transfers (unless outlined below) to and from the hotel, and tourist cards (if required, unless outlined below).
If selecting an all-inclusive resort option, the package will also include the all-inclusive features as outlined by each resort.
Items not included:
- Travel insurance (mandatory if traveling to Cuba)
- Tourist cards ($10USD)if traveling to Dominican Republic with Sunwing Airlines
- Departure taxes ($20USD) if traveling to Dominican Republic with Sunwing or Signarture Vacations
- Hotel transfers for packages with WestJet to USA (with exception to Honolulu)
- Hotel transfers for packages to Europe
- Items of a personal nature
- Daily buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner
- 24-hour unlimited domestic and select international drinks (house wine included)
- 4 a la carte dinners/stay (reservations required)
- 24-hour snacks
- Mini-bar restocked daily (water, soft drinks and beer)
- Daily activities program
- Nightly entertainment
- Table tennis
- Beach volleyball
- Selected non-motorized water sports
- 846 rooms
- 4 restaurants
- 7 bars (including swim-up bar)
- Pools (including 1 with children's area)
- Bicycles (fee)
- Sailing/Catamaran (fee)
- Internet (fee)
- Meeting facilities (fee)
- 1 or 2 double beds
- Bathroom with tub or shower
- Flat screen TV
- In-room safe
- Balcony or terrace
- Maximum occupancy 3 adults (or 2 adults and 2 children)
- 1 double bed
- Full bathroom with hydromassage tub and separate shower
- 2 flat screen TVs
- Maximum occupancy 2 adults
Resort Location Map
Hotel Cayo Santa MariaCayo Santa Maria,Cuba
- Hotel Contacts
- Extra Info
Las Dunas 5 Cayo Santa Maria, 50100 Cuba
Some restaurants may be open for certain meals only and limited visits may apply. Reservations required and dress code in effect for a la carte restaurants. Time restrictions may apply for water sports.
Child pricing may only be available with select tour operators and valid for select dates and durations. Child pricing rules are subject to change without notice. Please contact one of our vacation specialists if you require assistance with child pricing.
Photo identification and/or credit card or cash deposit may be required at check-in for incidental charges.
Extra-person charges may apply and vary depending on hotel policy. Rollaway beds and cribs (infant beds) may be available and should be requested at the time of booking; fees may apply.
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