Husa Cayo Santa María (Formerly Barceló) Reviews

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Husa Cayo Santa María (Formerly Barceló)  

Cayo Santa María, Caibarién, Villa Clara, Cuba

"Hot week at the HUSA"
Posted by: Claire on Jan 1, 2014
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Husa Cayo Santa María (Formerly Barceló) Reviews
Husa Cayo Santa María (Formerly Barceló) Pictures and Information
Husa Cayo Santa María (Formerly Barceló) Cayo Santa Maria Cuba

#2
of 9 Hotels in Cayo Santa Maria

User rating 3.3

Based on 24 reviews

Husa Cayo Santa María (Formerly Barceló) Information


The 5 star Husa Cayo Santa María Resort, located in the province of Villa Clara province, sits on the sea front of one of the Cuba's most stunning beaches which stretches for 2.6 km with turquoise waters and fine white sand.



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Husa Cayo Santa María (Formerly Barceló) Reviews

Husa Cayo Santa María (Formerly Barceló) Review: 3.3 of 5 24 reviews
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"Hot week at the HUSA"

Husa Cayo Santa María (Formerly Barceló)
User Rating:  Husa Cayo Santa María (Formerly Barceló) Review: 4.0 of 5

Posted by:  Claire  on Jan 1, 2014  >  5 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Jan, 2014 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
69 people found this review helpful

To celebrate my retirement, got a good deal here (Dec 8-15 2013). We were very surprised to see such hot temps (28-35C days, 25C nights + humidity), and we had great weather all week, with minimal nightly showers.

Room Number:
2648

Room Block:
26

Arrival:
Due to a thunder shower over Santa Clara, our flight (Sunwing) was delayed 30 min. No problems on arrival (noontime). Speedy aduanas. Hotel check-in: We were only 6 parties arriving there that day (off season), so speedy check-in and golf-cart delivery of our bags to our room.

Rooms:
Only the Colonial (left) section of the HUSA was open (low season ending the following week). The Beach section (right) was closed. We had Edificio 26, Rm 2648, 2nd floor. King bed, ocean view. Vegetation hiding half of view, but who cares? :) We did request this view, only upper floor and near beach, so we were very pleased.
Large spacious immaculate room, everything worked perfectly, lots of hot water, full fridge every day, face cloths, plenty of closet space and drawers for our clothes, and our beach towels awaited us in our room (cool!). It looked like new bathroom amenities.

Restaurants and Bars:
Huge buffet, lots of variety, the usual.

Lunchtime was as the ANCON restaurant near the pool. Again, variety but same thing every day. Service with a smile.

A la cartes:
The SPANISH and SEAFOOD restaurants are one and the same, opposite the buffet entrance. Actually pretty good, more or less same staff present on both nights.
The ROMANTICO and ITALIAN restaurants are NOT ON THE PREMISES. You have to be chauffered to/picked up by the bellboy to the Pueblo la Estralla, about 5 min drive away (between the Royalton and Memories hôtels who have direct access). The Romantico was the least liked during our stay. The waiter kept saying how much he loved wine (we had brought our own), so we left him half our bottle. We did not try the Italian restaurant.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
The site is hu-mon-gous. We (meaning I!) got lost a few times the first 2 days, and again, we were in only one half of the site! Golf cart assistance is always available.

Luxurious, mature, and well-kept vegetation, very impressive (reminded me of Playa Pesquero). The pool is quite large, several sections, with a swim-up pool bar. Can't comment further on that, as we spent the entire week on the beach.

Beach: Easily one of the best beaches in Cuba. I'd give it a 15 out of 10! 3-km walks, lots of wind and waves. Our last day the water was dead calm (t'was bliss); the downside was that the previous day's waves brought in a few jellyfish, two people got light stings, but a bit of vinegar fixed that in no time (I always bring some w/me). No worries, the water was full of people anyhoo lol Two pluses were the absence of vendors AND the presence of a waiter on the beach.
I must add here that unfortunately for some tourists, the Las Dunas and Melia CSTM hotels were severely damaged by erosion this year, so almost no sand to speak of, resulting in almost abandoned beach in that area. Our hotel and east of us (right, facing water, the Royalton and Memories) had fantastic sandy flat beach areas. We were blessed. Oh yeah, lots of chairs and palapas (again, we were at the end of low season).

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
We partook in no activities off the resort (I was there to rest and recuperate). We did go to the Pueblo la Estrella to look for specific items (clothes) and found exactly what we were looking for. The Pueblo looks like a mini-town square with shops and outdoor vendors up and down a small street selling the usual fare: clothes, jewelry and trinkets, memorabilia, paintings (some very good, actually) and a few bars and restaurants, some open, some not. We returned one evening to go to the Romantico restaurant... and the pueblo was all but deserted. I figure in high season, it must be quite busy. In the evenings, a band plays in the square, so I imagine people in the cafes, dancing in the square, that sort of thing. The Pueblo is flanked by the Royalton and Memories hotels, who were also up to half capacity.

Two major negatives, as far as we are concerned: 1. There is NO gym at the hotel; you have to be driven to the Pueblo, and the gym only opens at 9 A.M. Bummer.
2. The hotel's beach animation staff lacks some serious focus. I saw only one person with an official t-shirt, so the others were either unidentifiable or... absent. They could learn from the animation staff at the Iberostar Playa Alameda, for example, who are trained, motivated, and committed to interacting with the patrons. That's key. I'm not talking about dragging people up from their chairs to the salsa lessons, I'm talking about actual organization. Rather than mingle with the people on the beach and enquire about your stay (to learn and improve), show interest, announce the day's activities, they just stood around the sound system amongst themselves, you do not know who's in charge, and the activities are practically non existant. When I hear AQUA GYM, I think of group-led exercises in the water. What the guy did was gather 4-5 people (on a very good day) and get them to run into the water and back (twice)... to win a bottle of rum. Seriously? The salsa lessons were no better... They were incapable of rallying interest and just lacked enthusiasm. This should definitely be improved upon.

The nightly shows were actually pretty good, a lively bunch. A few nights they'd rally through the lobby area with a large percussion band. Wonderful touch! The Michael Jackson show was awesome. The theatre is huge and beautiful.

If I may make a suggestion: Is it possible to have some lively CUBAN music in the lobby bar/reception area in the evenings prior to the shows? It would be great for business... Otherwise you see people asleep all over the reception area...The current music being played is bo-ring, imho. Who wants flute music at happy hour? Who wants to hear Bob Dylan sung by a karaoke-addicted Canadian? Nuff said.

Some friends did the jeep safari tour and LOVED IT. They left at 8 and returned at 6p.m. Got a lot for their buck (jeep tour, farm visit, lunch with locals, trek to waterfall/grotto, swim near waterfall. Several other tours were available (Trinidad, Remedios, Santiago)

Other Comments:
I noticed that although the majority of the patrons were from Québec, not many staff spoke French, some not even English.

The lobby (busy) bartenders did not know how to make a Coco Loco, go figure (7-Up, white rum, Mulato coconut liqueur, lemon juice, crushed ice).

Espressos, cortados, cappucinos and other specialty coffees are AVAILABLE at the Buffet in the morning. Before it opens, lobby bar.

The rum and cigars at the hotel are the same price as at the airport.
Exchange rate practically identical (exchange counter in lobby 9-6, then at reception). The receptionists were ok with changing small amounts at any time.

Beach towels in our room on arrival: Great!

Since I had hotel work experience, I took it upon myself to speak with the managers (visible several times during the week, mingling, talking with staff) and enquired about the lack of name tags (I'm visual and find it hard at times to remember their names!). The managers replied that since taking over the hotel 2 yrs ago the tags were back-order... They appeared genuinely interested in our comments. I also spoke candidly with several staff members who said that since Husa took over the hotel, the atmosphere had changed... for the better. They were extremely pleased with their "new" conditions, the close-knit relations among the staff (which was absent before), the sense of belonging, the feedback and encouragement from their bosses. That was good to hear, kudos to the hotel heads.

So now... special thanks from LA TIA LOCA to:
Reception: Yurkemy (mi hijo!), Dayi, senores Edson and Junier, señora Yohena
Room: Our chambermaid Marily
Buffet: Yordanka and Dianeilys, your excellent service and wonderful smiles. Besos!
Ancon lunch restaurant: Elbys (our smiling Adonis)
Spanish a-la-carte: Marité (bleach blonde hair; little English but so sweet)
Beach bar: mi sobrinos Jean Jose Alling (killer smile, very jovial), and the not-so pequeno Jose-Alain (A-laï), our sweet beach waiter.
Lobby Bar: Juliel, Chino (parle français, very funny), Juan, Jose.
Sunwing rep Maykel (Michael): exceptional presence, tri-lingual (self-taught in French, wow), very nice and helpful

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"Nice resort, great people, very few complaints about hotel... Travel provider is another story... "

Husa Cayo Santa María (Formerly Barceló)
User Rating:  Husa Cayo Santa María (Formerly Barceló) Review: 4.0 of 5

Posted by:  Doris  on Mar 5, 2013  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Feb, 2013 | Leisure | Family and Kids
127 people found this review helpful

Travelled from Ottawa Feb 15-Feb 23. Hotel was not 5 star, but decent, room was clean. Morning after arrival we noticed the lock on our sliding garden door was broken (we were on the main floor)... contacted desk and within concerned about our safety and belongings... within one hour it was fixed. Beach was beautiful, luckily for some reason most people preferred to hang out at the pools, leaving the beach quiet and un-crowded. There were plenty of beach chairs, and the moment you set foot on the beach there was someone there with clean chairs for you. Food, it's Cuba, what can I say. The selections were plenty, something for everyone, no one got sick, most definately something for everyone. If you must have you salt, bring a salt shaker with you (most of the time the salt and pepper shakers on the tables, if any, were both filled with pepper), small pet peeve but liveable. If you had a special request the servers went out of their way to accomodate. The crepe station and the pizza stations are great, a must try. Staff, friendly, no issues at all. Best day excusion was the Catamaran/Doliphins/Snorkeling adventure... highly recommend this excursion.

Positives: BEACH BEACH BEACH, nightly shows were fun, staff was great, from bellboys to gardeners to security. Felt very welcome and very safe. Did I mention great beach? :)

Negatives: Buffet lineups were crazy. Buses taking you around the island were not reliable, no schedule, they ran on "Cuba time... maybe in 20 minutes, maybe in 50 minutes"... and went where the driver felt like going, did not always go to every location (markets, dolphinarium, etc). Much much much easier and better use of time spent if you spent one extra peso and took a cab instead.

HUGE NEGATIVE: Don't bother booking Transat's "exclusive club". You do not get a single extra other than a 4 dollar bottle of rum in your room. Everything else that is supposed to be exclusive is a lie on their website. No separate checkin as promised (biggest disappointment when arriving at 3:30 in the morning!) After speaking to the Air Transat rep and concierge on-site about all of the "perks" we were supposed to have paid for, it was confirmed to me by them that "oh that is a mistake on the Transat website", i.e. 4 a-la-cartes (wrong), snacks in room (wrong), turn down service (wrong), separate check in (wrong), welcome cocktail and cold towel (wrong), slippers and robes (wrong).

Room Number:
0612

Room Block:
bungalow 6

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"Amazing time, amazing people."

Husa Cayo Santa María (Formerly Barceló)
User Rating:  Husa Cayo Santa María (Formerly Barceló) Review: 4.0 of 5

Posted by:  Kristina  on Feb 26, 2013  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Feb, 2013 | Leisure | Family and Kids
148 people found this review helpful

I can't understand where people are coming from when they write these reviews. We had an amazing time, and have zero complaints; would go again, and would recommend it to anyone.
If you're fussy and expect to be waited on hand and foot, go to the States.

Room Number:
0612

Room Block:
6

Arrival:
A little confusion at midnight, but our tour guide on the bus was amazing. Told us many interesting things during the bus ride, and was selling cold beers.

Rooms:
Always clean. We had one issue with our door-it was fixed within the hour. The maids were lovely.

Restaurants and Bars:
We always found something to eat. If you don't like something, don't eat it. The ready made pizza, as well as the crepes, were amazing. They always tried to provide a variety. They a la carte's were great too- the Spanish one was fantastic, the best meal of the trip.

Although the bartenders made drinks differently than we're used to at home, we also had no complaints. They were always good, and you were fine if you brought your own travel mug like many reviews suggest.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
Beautiful.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
Always activities at the pool. I participated in dancing lessons, as well as a cross bow competition for a bottle of rum. The entertainment staff was great, and all of them were perfectly tri-lingual. We did the catamaran excursion, which was one of the best days I've ever had. At night, there was always an entertaining show at the theater.

Other Comments:
Go here, ignore the ignorant people.

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"Barcelo - Colonial Resort"

Husa Cayo Santa María (Formerly Barceló)
User Rating:  Husa Cayo Santa María (Formerly Barceló) Review: 4.0 of 5

Posted by:  Ursula  on Apr 23, 2012  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Apr, 2012 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
196 people found this review helpful

Great week spent at this resort; great time of the year to travel as not packed with visitors. Still lots of tourists, but able to wander comfortably. Staff polite and mostly useful in providing information.

Room Number:
3037

Room Block:
3000

Arrival:
Due to flight timings, we arrived at night so didn't see much. Had a moment of confusion when no signage to direct you to where you headed. Got in a lineup and hoped for the best. Representative was there to take name and direct to correct bus.

Bus ride 1.5 hours after sitting on plane for almost 4hours was a bit exhausting. Check in quick and simple, although directions to "bungalows" (each bungalow consisted of about 50 room) was a little evasive.

"Go that way", doesn't really give you all the information. We were lucky as our bungalow was a few paths from the main lobby. Also as part of the information package should be a notice about the electricity..we didn't know how it worked until another trip to the front desk and advised that door key fits electric box to turn power on....

Rooms:
Our room was on second floor (walk ups, no elevators in sight) and a nice room. King size bed, clean bathroom and water and pop in fridge. It's a room...you're hardly in it. Had balcony but we overlooked trees that looked like someone's unkept backyard.

Still nice to sit and think about the ocean.

Restaurants and Bars:
Buffet was fine; even a picky eater can find something to eat. Always white rice and cucumber....lol. Lineups were long for having things cooked and most people lined up before find a place to sit. Lots of bread, scrambled eggs, bacon and sausages for breakfasts. Meats, pastas for lunch and steak, chicken or seafood for supper. Always french fries - every meal, there were french fries.

Great orange juice, wine or beer or water. Other types of drinks not served here. Kudos to servers who were patient with tourists as some were down right rude to them.

Bar off lobby was very nice and served some good drinks, think we tried them all. As rum is their main alcohol, 90% of drinks included rum. I tried a Mojito once (which I enjoyed) and being one of Cuba's drinks, could not get another one after that. I was told "we don't have any", but not sure what that meant. Servers slow but polite.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
Beach was absolutely beautiful; heaven on earth !!! Such soft sand, lots of chairs under shade. Ocean was a bit rough while we were there as winds were high so didn't to in very deep, but nothing better than salt water.

Pools were well maintained and not crowded. Lots of chairs, though no overhangs that allowed any shade.

Grounds were always being tended. Grass dry but to be expected when you don't see much rain.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
Lots of activities were listed on the board at the resort, you just had to participate. One pool (there were two) seem to have more activity going on than the one we tended to go to. Mopeds were offered ($$) but when we were on our excursion, we noticed that there wasn't much to look at. Lots of undeveloped land and marshy areas.

Performances each evening at the theatre which was very enjoyable; different type of show each night.

"Pueblo Estrella" created for tourists to visit. This was the only shopping option we had other than the store on sight. Vendors changed daily, although most things similar but nice to get off resort and walk around, get an ice cream or have a beer.

A few excursions off the resort. We chose the "Sunset Cruise" on a catamaran which included free drinks and a dinner at the Dolphinarium. Got on boat at one spot, around island, stop and watch sunset and finish off at the restaurant as it would have been too dark to travel back by boat. We ate supper around 8:30pm, chicken or lobster.

Other Comments:
1) Better directions to rooms after checking in to resorts. Maybe numbers on the actual bungalows to help people arriving after dark. We found others wandering around with luggage trying to find their bungalow.

2) Reminder of how electricty works and better lighting along paths at night.

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"Can't believe this place is still in business-Shame on Air Canada Vacations for selling this!!"

Husa Cayo Santa María (Formerly Barceló)
User Rating:  Husa Cayo Santa María (Formerly Barceló) Review: 1.0 of 5

Posted by:  richard  on Apr 15, 2012  >  2 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Feb, 2012 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
203 people found this review helpful

I have been reading reviews of this place and can't beleive people are still going there. I guess their not reading Debbies Carribean or Tripadvisor.

I've been to Cuba many times and was never impressed with their service, food, or hotels, but Barcelo Cayo Santa Maria should just be closed down.

You can read my previous report on this place and see what I mean.

I sent Barcelo a complaint about this place, and they seemed to be interested in what I had to say, and did respond quickly, however after corresponding with them, I noticed that the same form letter had been sent to many other people who complained. It seems they are prepared to deal with problems by emailing these responses to customers over and over, but not fixing anything. I'm not sure how much control the Barcelo corporation has in Cuba, but I told them that this place is dragging down their reputation. They offered me a better room if I came back. Not till hell freezes over!

Forget Air Canada Vacations. When you contact them they send you an automated response that tells you they might get back to you in 6-8 weeks. Also they forgot to credit my Aeroplan mileage, and I had to wait 8 weeks to get that back after a half dozen phone calls. No wonder the Pilots are pissed.

All in all this place doesn't deserve a 2 star rating, and should be dropped from Canadian tours, as they are misleading everyone.

Arrival:
Arrival was as expected. Total confusion, no one spoke english, but not a problem. Gave me some crappy drink that made me sick.

Rooms:
The rooms seemed o.k at first but we soon found out that things were askew! Maids are totaly lame. I wouldn't hire them to clean a gas station. No towels, soap, shampoo, and more important Toilet Papaer. I had to keep a roll in my luggage and lock it up for emergency. The towels were another story. Every day we would have some kind of towel animal on our bed. That was our towel allotment. Soap of any kind was like gold. T.V. was falling apart, the sliding door wouldn't lock and the maid left the door to our room open on three occasions. Forget about complaining.

Restaurants and Bars:
The food was absolutely the worst food I have ever eaten. Don't know why? They seemed to have good amounts of it, they just destroyed it. Funny tasting sauces, pasta, pizza, and meat was another story..I think they were serving Donkey.. The fish was wierd. I asked the cook what it was, and he told me they get it from China of all places. I guess so, it's communist.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
The pool was beautiful, except so cold that you couldn't go in it. It was February and the week before we arrived I understood that it was cool, but for gods sake, Solar heating is free!! A siple solar heater would have fixed this problem..I don't think they cared as the beach was so nice.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
Activites were a joke. A bunch of lazy staff that didn't want to do anything except sit in a chair and talk to other staff. Got bounced around from one place to anohter,told things were cancelled, or just weren't available. Then the staff had the gall to ask us to get them food and drinks!

Other Comments:
The management at this hotel do not care about anything, and seem to be strugging just to survive day to day. Front desk staff were idiots. Some guy needed to take his son to a doctor, and asked if they could get him one. They told him that there was no doctor available at the hotel but you could take a taxi to a clinic, but they would have to pay cash before anything would be done. Who the hell carries that kind of cash to Cuba.

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"What a big Disappointment!"

Husa Cayo Santa María (Formerly Barceló)
User Rating:  Husa Cayo Santa María (Formerly Barceló) Review: 2.0 of 5

Posted by:  Glen  on Apr 9, 2012  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Mar, 2012 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
190 people found this review helpful

What a disappointment this resort was!

Check-In:
We checked in 4:30AM, check-in went very smoothly. There wasn't much help finding our room. They did provide a map that was easy to follow.

Room:
We were in building #27, 2nd floor with ocean view. the room was clean and everything worked as it should have.

Buffet Restuarant:
The food offered at the Buffet Restaurant was sub standard, even by Cuban Standards! There was very little change each day. Most offerings were just a guess as to what they actually were.
I normally hit the wall at resorts on the 5th day, I hit the wall on the 2nd. I just couln't see anything worth eating.
I think it is fair to say that we all expect to see fresh fruit at caribbean resorts. At this resort most fruit came from cans!

Staff:
The staff at this resort were the worse I have ever seen. They just didn't seem to care. There was almost no organization amongst the staff working their sections at the restaurant. The bar staff for the most part were unfreindly and some were even rude.

Pool & Beach:
The pool area is very nice except there is almost no shade areas available. Trips to the beach to secure a hut at 5:00AM was not always successful. I was never able to get a hut close it was always some distance away.

Room Number:
2753

Room Block:
27

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"Barcelo Santa Maria Food Turn-Off"

Husa Cayo Santa María (Formerly Barceló)
User Rating:  Husa Cayo Santa María (Formerly Barceló) Review: 2.0 of 5

Posted by:  Anne  on Mar 26, 2012  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Mar, 2012 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
182 people found this review helpful

I have to agree completely with the assessement "Richard" gave on his March 10th 2012 review about the food at this resort. There was a good variety but the staff had no idea about food preparation and most went to waste. A crime considering the best of Cuba's meats are sent to resorts and not the general population.

Over-all the resort was nice - beautiful beach, comfortable rooms, great drinks.

I will go back to Cuba again but stay at another resort.

Room Number:
904

Room Block:
9

Arrival:
Good - we were given our wrist bands, room keys and hotel info as we were getting on our hotel transfer bus at the airport so did not have to wait in any lines at reception. Please note - we did have Prestige Class so not sure if this treatment was valid for other guests. We did have to wander around a bit in the dark to locate our room.

Rooms:
Good - comfortable. We initially requested upper floor room when booking with our travel agent but were given a ground floor room upon our arrival. The receptionist explained we would have to pay an additional cost to be moved to the upper floor. It wasn't a priority for us and the room we were given was comfortable so we ended up staying there for the duration of the week.

Restaurants and Bars:
Bars - good.
Food - extremely disappointing. Had nothing to do with the fact this was Cuba and food isn't what we are used to. It was because the staff at this hotel ruined it. We ate at two other establishments during our stay, a restaurant at the Pueblo La Estrella (small town near resorts) and also, at a hotel in Santa Maria during an excursion and the food was good, so I know there was no excuse for the awful food we were served at Barcelo. I was expecting salads and fruit but there was no green salad to be had and the fruit,well what can I say, of what was offered, the banana's were way past their best and if you got to the buffet early enough, you could get a slice of fresh pineapple. I'll say no more....you get the picture.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
Used the pool once during our stay for a quick dip. We don't like loud music and a DJ who likes to hear the sound of his own voice blaring from the speakers all afternoon so stayed at the beach all week. Really enjoyed the beach - it was wonderful.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
The excursion to Santa Clara and Remedios was well worth it. A full day out to see the real Cuba - away from the resorts. Especially enjoyed the Che museum and masoleum. Our tour guide was very passionate about her country so was able to provide a great commentary of the area and Cuba in general.

Other Comments:
Felt very safe in Cuba.

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"Nice hotel -- worst food ever!"

Husa Cayo Santa María (Formerly Barceló)
User Rating:  Husa Cayo Santa María (Formerly Barceló) Review: 1.0 of 5

Posted by:  Wayne  on Mar 25, 2012  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Mar, 2012 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
195 people found this review helpful

Everything was as expected. Nice and clean facility and rooms. The staff are friendly. However, bring some money so you can dine elsewhere. The a la cartes were awful and worse than the buffet. In the mexican restaurant i ordered fajitas. it was dried pork on a cold tortilla. It was served without sour cream, cheese, salsa or anything. I knew then i was going to lose weight.

The food is what i believe was served throughout the Holocaust. The entire cooking staff, General Manager and servers need to learn a new trade. The resort must hire qualified chefs and prep people. The food was the worst ever.

Also, the pool was vacant most days because the music was so loud it actually hurt. I go to concerts and clubs frequently and these clowns think louder is better. when only three teenagers want to dance with some guy yelling into a microphone they should ask themsleves what the other 900 people would enjoy.

But most important the food is the worst. To me Barcello Cayo Santa Maria deserves a ZERO rating. The food cancels out any positive score.

Room Number:
904

Room Block:
9

Arrival:
Okay, but they need more people to guide you to your rooms.

Rooms:
Clean and adequate. We were have an upper floor. We were on the ground.

Restaurants and Bars:
Bar good
Restaurants are worse than the holocaust.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
Excellent

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
Too Loud

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"Overall good first trip to Cuba"

Husa Cayo Santa María (Formerly Barceló)
User Rating:  Husa Cayo Santa María (Formerly Barceló) Review: 3.0 of 5

Posted by:  Michelle  on Mar 25, 2012  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Mar, 2012 | Leisure | With friend
194 people found this review helpful

This was my first time to Cuba and I really enjoyed the overall experience. I went with 3 other friends, 2 of which have been to Cuba a couple times before. We got a really good deal on this resort which is why we booked here.

Service is decent. They are really busy and working long shifts sometimes as well. I think the language barrier may come off as people thinking they are being rude. I'd say 95% of the staff were amazing.

The town next door was built for the tourists and has a few restaurants and vendors. You can take a taxi for 1 peso, the train on wheels for free (and goes every couple of minutes) or you can walk. It's 10 minutes maybe and a straight line. Don't forget to go to the Curros stand and visit the sweet lady who will fill a cup for you of Curros for 1 peso. There is always music and sometimes dancers come out of no where and teach you the cha cha.

All in all I wouldn't say this place is a 4 or 5 star at all but I had fun, got some sun has a couple cocktails and just plain relaxed and enjoyed myself because that's what a vacation is for. If you go with the thought that you'll be treated like royality because it's a "5 star" you'll be disapointed. It's a Cuban 5-star, not a 5-star in North America. Pay attention on the drive to and from the airport then see where these amazing people come from and then think about where you stayed. It's a 5 star to them. If you want The Ritz then go to The Ritz is all I can say.

And lastly, just because it's all-inclusive doesn't mean you shouldn't tip. Same rules apply in North America, if you don't tip you might not get good service. One of our fav servers worked three 16 hour days in a week and 8 hours the rest of the time - and doesn't deserve to be treated like dirt which was al I saw all week from a lot of the guests. It disgusted me to say the least, and took everything in me not to lose it.

Room Number:
2978

Arrival:
The time it takes to get to the resort from Santa Clara is indeed 1.5 hours. Our guide was Louie with Hola Sun who was really nice and gave us some info along the way about what we were passing. The tour bus was new, comfortable, had a bathroom and was air conditioned. Once at the resort we were checked in very quickly and our luggage made it to our room 10 minutes after we walked through the door. Some people took their own luggage, but since it was late we opted to have it taken for us.

The next morning we had an orientation with the Hola Sun rep, Diana, who told us all we needed to know. Throughout the week I saw her numerous times as well.

Rooms:
The maids did a great job cleaning our room and if you want clean towels just put your old one in the tub. They don't speak English very well so don't expect a huge interaction with them. We left gifts every morning which mad Ania's day. The who stocks your fridge is hilarious. If you don't drink what's there then you won't get more. I just took what I didn't drink and put it in my suitcase and then I got a stocked fridge the next morning.

The tub did leak a couple times, but if you put a face cloth in the corner your fine. The cut out for the tub is too big for the actual tub that's all.

Restaurants and Bars:
The lobby/bar is where we would usually hang out. All the male servers are great and and a couple of the female ones were sweet. There is one however who just oozes mean. I don't have one nice thing to say about her.

The food isn't great I'll be honest. I tried to fill up on carbs at the buffet so I could get by. There is a good selection, but it just really wasn't very appealing. To be quite frank though, I didn't come for the food. The a la carte we went to was Mexican...it wasn't Mexican. We had French lined up, but decided to skip it. At the Grill after 10pm the menu is actually really good and the food was really tasty. The service can be slow after the entertainment gets out so have patience.



Beach/Pools/Grounds:
Pool and pool bar were amazing. Loved it! The beach is beautiful, had plenty of chairs and lots of space. It was a red flag day for most of the trip so we couldn't do any water sports, but I was content with the sun and ocean all the same.

The resort itself is beautiful. The grounds are immaculate, lots of flowers and has a sort of tiny town feeling. The gardeners were so adorable and friendly. If you don't like to walk then this is not the place for you. Someone mentioned that it is hard to find your way around...this is true. We found the pool at the "attached" resort before our own, but once you get the hang of it, you're good. We chose a landmark to help up out because the signage sometimes isn't the greatest.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
We booked a catamaran tour with our Hola Sun rep while there which turned out to be the best $99 I ever spent. You left at 8am and returned at 3pm. What you get is a drive to the Cayo Santa Maria Marina, snorkel time, explore a virgin island, sail to the Dolphinarium where you play with the dolphin for a little bit then end with a lobster dinner. It's not a Florida dolphin show, but it was really fun.

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"Barcelo SUCKS!!"

Husa Cayo Santa María (Formerly Barceló)
User Rating:  Husa Cayo Santa María (Formerly Barceló) Review: 1.0 of 5

Posted by:  richard  on Mar 10, 2012  >  2 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Feb, 2012 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
209 people found this review helpful

We heard some bad things before we went but tried not to believe them. Big mistake. The resort was beautiful, rooms were clean, large and pretty good, and the beach was phenomenal. Thats about it. Everything else was total crap. The food was the worst we have had in Cuba. Been to Cuba 6 times, but after this will not go back again. The staff did not speak any english, and seemed to be unaware of common practices, like cleaning, cooking,and service. Breakfast was very dissapointing. One cook with a 9" frying pan trying to cook eggs with 20-25 people in line. You would wait at least 30 minutes for your eggs. Same thing with the crepes. The bacon was cooked without separating the strips, and thrown into a vat of grease 1" deep. Fruit was horrible, papaya was the only thing edible.












Arrival:
90 minute drive on tourbus, was a good drive through 2 towns, and a broken down causeway.

Rooms:
Rooms were fine, it was the maids that were unbelievable. The first day we got towels, toilet paper, and shampoo. That was it.. The next day no towels, soap, or shampoo. The tour rep told us to hide everything so they would replace it, but that didn't work. I had to hunt down the maid, drag her to our room and demand she provide us with soap, towels, shampoo, and toilet paper. They wouldn't change the toilet papper unless it was totally used.

Restaurants and Bars:
The food at the buffets were just as bad. Over or undercooked chicken, steak, or fish, but never right. You also had to wait 10 minutes while the cook made one piece at a time. Deserts were the same neopolitan flavours every day and night, also the cheapest ice cream I've had.

Went to three of the ala cartes hoping to get better food. Not the case, just less food cooked equally bad. It was not that they did not have the food to cook, they just ruined it. Cuba has never had a good reputation for good food, but this place takes it to another level. Nothing was consistent.

The hotel boasts of 24-hour grill restaurant, but we tried to get a lousy coffee at 8am in the morning and they said it was not open yet.

The bars were another joke. The bartenders were so spoiled by tipping that they wouldn't serve you if you did'nt tip every time. Drinks were so small you had to order 5 or 6 at a time to get a decent drink. A lot of people were using huge BUBA mugs which took forever to fill up. Lines at the bar were huge, and it just caused people to order more drinks at a time, causing slower service, and longer lines.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
The pool was beautiful but we didn't understand why there was no one in it. After testing with our foot we knew why. The water was (65 deg)and so cold that the guy cleaning it had to wear hip waiters.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
My wife wanted to do the strech class, but we had to walk to three different locations because every sports staff person told us to go somewhere else. After finally tracking one of them down, the girl said that there was no class today, and could we go to the bar and get her a capucino!

Other Comments:
It appears that Barcelo hotels need to deal with the management at this hotel, and train their staff about cooking proceedures, customer service, and common courtesy.

Never again..Barcelo

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