Melia Las Dunas Reviews

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Melia Las Dunas  

Cayo Santa María, Jardines del Rey. Caibarién, Villa Clara.

"I will be back"
Posted by: brown on Aug 4, 2014
see all reviews

Melia Las Dunas Reviews
Melia Las Dunas Pictures and Information
Melia Las Dunas Cayo Santa Maria Cuba

#1
of 9 Hotels in Cayo Santa Maria

User rating 3.9

Based on 31 reviews

Melia Las Dunas Information


Located in an exotic tropical paradise of white sand beaches and shimmering turquoise sea, hotel Meliá Las Dunas is Cayo Santa Maria offers dazzling Five-Star luxury for families and couples. Designed to respond to even the most discerning tastes, the hotel’s restaurants offers ample choices in fine dining. Enjoy a visit to the ice cream parlor, beer garden and participate in the varied recreational activities for all the members of the family such as nautical sports and animation.

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Melia Las Dunas Reviews

Melia Las Dunas Review: 3.9 of 5 31 reviews
Excellent
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"I will be back"

Melia Las Dunas
User Rating:  Melia Las Dunas Review: 4.0 of 5

Posted by:  brown  on Aug 4, 2014  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Feb, 2014 | Leisure | Solo
15 people found this review helpful

I frequent Cuba but usually find it difficult to get a good resort to stay in during vacation. I booked this hotel through Sunwing and at check in everything was given to me and other guests I came in with and it was fast and before we could turn our heads, we were already shown to our room and the front desk guy spoke a little English. The block I stayed in at this hotel was close to the beach and something else about the block I stayed was that it is close to the pool as well. It is about 5 minutes away from the lobby where all the activities and entertainment take place so I can just come out of my room and stroll down to the lobby without much stress. Entertainment starts majorly in the evenings and the animation team does a good job of putting up good shows to the cheers of the guests present at the hotel. It is a big resort but you can still easily find your way around it. You can easily go to the beach as there is an alley at the lobby that connects the resort and the beach. There is a 24 hours snack bar which is convenient for those for who love to eat late in the night. There are a la carte restaurants there that very nice here, I tried most of them and they are good. They have a gym in this resort but it is a bit far.

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"Mixed Emotions, Great Beach but Bad Service and Unsanitary Food / Rooms"

Melia Las Dunas
User Rating:  Melia Las Dunas Review: 2.0 of 5

Posted by:  Jess  on May 29, 2014  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Apr, 2014 | Leisure | Family and Kids
32 people found this review helpful

I was happy to spend time on the beach, but I expected at least to have my linen to be clean and my towels changed... some serious problems with sanitary standards there.

Room Number:
7615

Room Block:
76

Arrival:
Check in was pretty fast, I was lucky.

Rooms:
Linen is not washed in the rooms. My phone didn't work in the room half the time and there were insects there.

Restaurants and Bars:
Nice selection and option to have fresh made omelet or fish. However, roaches at the buffet - saw one and other people write about it too.

Tea selection, coffee available all the time at the bar.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
Excellent beach, really!
I like the pool too.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
Love aqua fitness. Love dancing. Entertainment in the evenings was nice.

Other Comments:
My dad got scammed at the currency exchange. Demand receipts in stores, since they actually make up the prices.

Videos: http://youtu.be/LWlc94rmHG8

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"After all it is Cuba"

Melia Las Dunas
User Rating:  Melia Las Dunas Review: 4.0 of 5

Posted by:  Mike  on Feb 15, 2014  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Feb, 2014 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
65 people found this review helpful

Bottom line- I would go back.

Melia is a Spanish Company in partnership with the Government. I believe it has four hotels in this area. This property is widely spread out. it is basically divided in half. One side of the resort is for families and the other side is for adults.


I can see the Hotel going down the same path as other Cuban Hotels. The little things add up. If you do not maintain things properly soon you cannot see the forest through the trees.

Food was the same fare every day. In the other Melia's in Hoguin for example they would change some of the menu items for variety. I noticed a lot of staff partake whereas in other hotels staff have their own eating quarters.

Ok sorry to sound like I'm complaining but I am sharing some of the insights and experience and opportunities. The gym is on the family side of the complex. A long way if you are on the other side.

The Beach has a great sandy shore, pool is well cleaned out. Food is ok but you have to watch for some under-cooked stuff like fish and meat. Best bet to break the food line by booking the specialty restaurants. We did Oriental, Italian, Seafood and I think it was called Continental.

Exchange kills you we paid 1.185 (at the airport) for 1 Cuban convertible dollar. You will need 25 of them for the airport tax per person when you go home.

Remember this. Staff get the equivalent of 17 convertible dollars per month which translates to about 250 pesos (or was it 350) but you get the idea. They can only buy non Cuban products with the convertibles but some products are not existent such as hygiene products.

Remember maids at the top of the food chain, then servers then everyone else. So go to the dollar store and load up on razors, soap, deodorant etc. Think of the people at the bottom of the food chain. I made people's day by going up to the gardeners, cleaning staff, etc and giving them a small gift. Remember 1 cuc (convertible) is 1/17th of what they make.

The excursions and personal pampering are over priced in all the hotels. Phone calls are 4 cuc per minute and internet is also available at a step price for ultra slow mode.

Weather was great. Bring bug spray. I got bitten 4 times and I react badly to bites even though I brought the bug spray. Be very careful about renting a car. They have some surprising laws and it is 2 cuc to go and 2 cuc to come back on the causeway.

It is about an hour into town and 1.4 to the airport.

They are building 10 more resort in the area so if this place starts to run down you will have many choices in the future.

The people are nice and always wanting to sing and salsa but everything they do whether it is giving you a flower or a ride on the carts to serving you they hope you will give them a little some thing.

Ola and enjoy.

Room Tip: As mentioned,

Room Number:
5311

Rooms:
We had some issues, not major but irritants because they can be so easily fixed.
TV reception was poor but they replaced a cable and it worked fine.
Sink, bathtub and toilet had clog issues.
Light outside the door was out.
Sheets not as clean and thank God for the pillow cases to cover the badly stained pillows.
Pop exploded in the mini fridge because it was too cold (twice)
Air conditioner leaked water on the floor which could cause a slip- took two tries to fix.
Depending what unit you are at the walk to the restaurant is poorly lit because they do not fix the light units. Our building was #53 four of the 5 light structures were not working.

These are not major issues but the little things add up so much so that the Manager of the Hotel upon reviewing the complaints wanted a personal meeting to apologize and rectify the problems ( he never could get the lights to go on the path to building 53). For our troubles he have us a bottle of rum.

I must say he tried and was conscientious. He was a Spaniard from Majorca. I could sense his frustration with the Cuban energy level of his staff.

A simple solution to our room issues is to make the maids responsible for the rooms. If they clean they should notice sink clogs or fridges not working. The maids are at the top of the gratuity ladder so it should be their responsibility to check and ensure things are proper rather than having guests complain about short comings.

Restaurants and Bars:
Average. Nothing special. Should avail yourself of the specialty restaurants if you want a change.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
Great Sandy Beach. Pools very clean.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
There is a disco and bowling alley next to the resort and local trinket merchants in the store plaza as well as a restaurant bar.

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"we got sick"

Melia Las Dunas
User Rating:  Melia Las Dunas Review: 3.0 of 5

Posted by:  homeira  on Jan 10, 2014  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Jan, 2014 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
82 people found this review helpful

Hi,
The beach and ocean was beautiful 9/10. All the people working there were nice 8/10. The food not the best 6/10. room cleaness 7/10. Overall, we would rate the whole experience 6.8 out of 10.
Me and my husband, we both got diarrhea, stomach pain and vomiting. The upset stomach has stayed with us for a couple of days , the doctor said it is TD

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"GOOD QUALITY, but you get what you pay for."

Melia Las Dunas
User Rating:  Melia Las Dunas Review: 3.0 of 5

Posted by:  Carolyn and Craig  on Jan 26, 2013  >  4 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Jan, 2013 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
121 people found this review helpful

We booked a last minute vacation on line not really caring where we went or when we went as we have travelled extensivley in the Caribbean we just wanted to escape the Canadian cold and snow. We booked a week out and paid@ $850 from Ottawa. This is a good price from Ottawa, however the same trip can be booked from Toronto for $640. We left on a Thur and saved several hundred dollars by not travelling Wed, Fri or Sat. We saw that Sunwing and Air Transat offered similar packages but their flight times were not nearly as good, for example they left Ottawa at 8pm at night and arrived Santa Clara 135 am followed by a 90 minute bus ride in the dark to the resort. We booked with Air Canada and left Ottawa at 600am, stopped and changed planes in Toronto and arrived in Santa Clara at 1230 pm. The bus ride into the resort was pretty and well worth doing it in day. We understand Air Canada has better flight times because the other carriers dont want to pay the higher airport fees for premium times.
We are a married couple, I am 60 and my wife is 57. We have traveleed extensively in the Caribbean, Divi and Almond in Barbados, Breezes in Curacao, Jolly Harbour in Antigua, Club St Lucia in St Lucia, Sandals in the BahamaS, Turks and Caicos and Jamaica and The Royal in Playa del Carmen. We have also been to Cuba twice before, Brisas in Guardalavaca, Holquin and Sirenis La Salina Varadero. Melia Las Dunas we would say is a good three star resort,comparable to Brisas in Guardalavaca but definitely not 4.5 star.

Room Number:
3816

Room Block:
38

Arrival:
We flew with Air Canada and the flight was on time, there is no meal service on the flight and it costs $30 extra per person to pre-select your seat. We were met at the airport by the Air Canada rep, baggage was quickly cleared thru customs and immigration and we boarded the pre assigned bus going to our resort.We were also given our room assignemnt and keys at the airport before boarding the bus. This was very efficient and quick. We had a very nice bus ride from Santa Clara to Cayo Santa Maria which last about 90 minutes and goes thru the pretty Cuban country side and then you cross the 48 km causeway to the Resort. Our luggage was taken to our rooms on arrival. Unfortunately there was a lot of commotion, screaming and yelling from returning guests and staff when we arrived at our assigned block. That definitely disappointed us from what had been a good experience up to this point.

Rooms:
We were assigned Room 3816 in Block 38, and we were immediatley disaapointed upon entering our room. It smelled musty and old,it was on the first floor and the screen to the patio was missing, so we could not even open the patio door without bugs coming in. We had sent an e mail before arriving and had requested a second floor room in a quiet area as we were older. We went back to reception and politley tried for 2 hours to change rooms. The people at the desk although polite were unhelpful, defensive and at one time I ahd three desk people explaining to me why we couldnt switch rooms. We were offered an upgrade to Oceanview for 35 pesos more per night. I even spoke with Ernesto one of the managers and although he said he would try and try and get us another room we never heard back from him! As this was a last minute budget trip, and we are going to Barbados in February we declined the offer.
The rooms are nice, good quality and comfortable. Room service was good although we had to ask for the bottle water to be restocked. We hated the main floor as we could not use the screen on the patio which we had asked to be fixed and the room was musty. The room was comfortable however and in a good location for restaurants and the looby

Restaurants and Bars:
There were 5 or 6 a la carte restaurants on the resort. We recommend booking dinner reservation as SOON as you can after arrival as they get booked early. Lineups for booking can be long and what is interesting is that the a la carte restaurants really are not that full at night. If you walk up to the restaurant at night and ask you may be able to get in. They advertise a "dress code" at the reservation desk of long pants for men and dresses for ladies. This is a joke as the dress code is not enforced at the a la carte restaurants as we saw men eating in shorts and ball caps. We prefer to dress up for dinner so this was a disappointment. Our favourite a la carte restaurants were the Oriental, Romantico (Italian), the seafood and the pizzeria. The Mexican restaurant was not that great and they rushed you thru dinner.
We ate dinner our first night at the buffet and it was terrible!! The food was cold and the experience forgettable,we even had a woman changing a diaper at the next table over from us. We would not go back to the buffet except for breakfast.
We liked having lunch at the beer garden and the grill just beside the beer garden where the chef grilled fresh fish, pork and chicken.The chef there was amazing and very friendly.
The main lobby bar was open 24 hours a day and they served premium drinks like courvousier, Jamesons and a good vodka martini. Tea was served at 5 pm daily with sandwiches and we enjoyed that. The cappuccino served at the m ain bar was excellent. They had a specialty coffee bar at night in the lobby was also excellent.
They ran out of tonic water and tomato juice at all the bars which is surprising and disappointing, no more gin and tonics and no more redeyes!

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
The beach was beautiful, powder white sand, some dunes and we walked the long 6 km stretch ofetn. The beach here we thought was better than Varadero and Holquin.
They had two pools at each end of the resort one activity pool and one relaxing pool, each had a snack bar and swim up bar. We prefered the relaxing pool. The water was cold and very refreshing!!!!! Loungers were easy to get. The towels you had to sign for but you coulod exchan ge them every day for clean ones.
The grounds were fine but some areas needed attention, broken concrete and some fresh paint.
The resort was very large and they do have a shuttle service which comes in handy.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
We liked to relax around the quiet pool but they did have games at the activity pool. We walked to a market called Pueblo just past the kids section and it was worth it. We also took a yellow 1930 Ford with a rumble seat,Cubataxi to a market 5 km away and it was fun and worth it.
We did the Santa Clara-Remedios day trip and it was fun and well worth it. It cost 70 cuc from 7 am to 5 pm and included lunch in Santa Clara. The highlights were the Che Memorial/museum, the Remedeios church and crafts. The sugar cane museum and boulevard in Santa Clara were not that great. The steam train ride into Remedios was fun and allowed you to see some of the country side.
The entertainment at night was not that great. The dancers and entertainers were very professional and Cubans are known throughout the world as great entertainers. The themes chosen were terrible however, Disney, Beauty and the Beast and one night Celine Cion.We dont go to Cuba to see that. The Cuban music they played after the show by the pillars was fantastic!!!

Other Comments:
There was a security issue one night when one of the guests was very intoxicated and pushed another intoxicated guest to the ground while they were dancing. Security was called and basically stood in the back ground and did nothing. I spoke with the Security manager and told him my wife felt uncomfortable and he should ask the guest to leave. The security manager told me to mind my own business and that we were in Cuba and they would handle it their way. I thought this situation was not handled very well.
The last comment. We are English speaking Canadians that understand French. 70% of the guests here come from Canada and 70% of them come from Quebec. Quebecers travel in packs, especailly to Cuba where the price is reasonable.As a group they tend to be loud, rude and butt in front of the line. They smoke everywhere and they tend to overtake the experience. The locals start to think all Canadians are French and act that way.
Having said all that we might go back for a cheap package someday in the future perhaps to Melia Cayo Santa Maria or Melia Buenvista.

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"horrible!"

Melia Las Dunas
User Rating:  Melia Las Dunas Review: 1.0 of 5

Posted by:  Charlene  on Apr 28, 2012  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Apr, 2012 | Business | Family and Kids
209 people found this review helpful

3000 characters is just not enough to convey our disappointment. Very few friendly staff, poor customer service just about anywhere you went, not the cleanest, horrible maid service, felt compelled to tip generously or you wouldn't even get the basic necessities, very little communication about things happening on the resort,you practically had to beg for the trolley guys to take you anywhere on this large resort, etc etc....very disappointed and me and my husband wouldn't even give it a 2.5 star rating let alone the 5 it boasts. We stayed in a 5 star resort in DR and this was not even close to the superior service we received there. We will never go back.

Room Number:
3825

Rooms:
never had our fridge stocked for 3 days before we had to complain to get even bottled water- uncomfortable beds, no face cloths, some days we didn't even have enough towels

Restaurants and Bars:
one fantastic waitress in the main buffet for brekfast and lunch- italian restaurant not good for service or food, bars: felt compelled to tip generously or you would be ignored for several minutes at a time, not very friendly, couldn't understand drink orders due to lack of english speaking staff which meant you had to get whatever they understood...put so much liquor in the drinks you could barely drink them anyway

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
beach was beautiful but not much sand space length wise...grounds were so-so

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
dolphin excursion was great and the lobster dinner was fantastic

Other Comments:
will never go back and will never recommend

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"A little disappointing"

Melia Las Dunas
User Rating:  Melia Las Dunas Review: 4.0 of 5

Posted by:  Anna  on Jun 7, 2011  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: May, 2011 | Leisure | Family and Kids
322 people found this review helpful

Overall the hotel was okay, but it was boring at night. Every evening after 11 pm there was nothing to do - no disco at the hotel if you wanted to dance. They had one pool table which was usually busy. Our nights would consist of sitting in the lobby, having a drink and talking. The lobby bar was designated as non-smoking but everyone smoked.

Room Number:
1224

Room Block:
12

Arrival:
The hotel was very organized when the travellers arrived. They allotted one bus per hotel, so you didn’t have to drive from hotel to hotel dropping off people. The bell boy was there, he asked for your name and already had your room number, wrist bands and key cards. They wrote your room number on the luggage pieces so the hotel could deliver your luggage to your room once the bus arrived at the hotel. No check-in was required once we arrived at the hotel. We put our wrist bands on in the bus. Once at the hotel, we were able to go to the bar, to our room, walk around the property etc. Our luggage was brought to our room within 45 minutes of our arrival. The hotel was very organized and deserves 5 stars for the smooth arrival.

Rooms:
The rooms were spacious and clean. We didn’t have many problems in the room. Our TV burnt out one day and we called guest services. They came that same day and fixed it. Our safe malfunctioned the one day and wouldn’t open. We called guest services for that and finally after an hour someone arrived to fix the safe. The pillow cases were too short for the pillows and the pillows themselves were very dirty. We asked the maid to wash the pillows and she did so we had clean pillows for the 2 weeks we were there.

Restaurants and Bars:
There were 5 a la cartes and 1 buffet and a number of bars. We stayed away from the busy area of the beach and we never had a line up at the beach bar. The lobby bar got quite busy in the evenings because there was nothing else to do at the hotel. The buffet served very good food with plenty of variety - fish, beef, pork, chicken to be cooked as desired and then they have plenty of pre-made dishes. The salad bar was very good as well. For all meals – breakfast, lunch and dinner was plenty of good food at the buffet. Some of the servers were a bit slow – didn’t want to give you cutlery, etc at your table so we avoided them and sat with regular servers who saved a table for us. The a la cartes were OK, nothing special. The Playa Costa Verde had wonderful a la cartes, much better than these. The service was slow and when a Cuban family came to get served, our service literally disappeared. The food was the same food from the buffet only you had to wait longer for it. The Steakhouse meat – three skewers of meat – was too overcooked and impossible to chew. The seafood one was good – the lobster bisque and the butterfly lobster was good. At lunch, the seafood restaurant got a lot of flies in the food area – the hotel needs to keep the food covered.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
We only stayed at the beach, it was spacious and clean. You had to get up early to reserve your beach chairs and hut otherwise you baked in the sun. The ocean was rough and difficult to swim in, not a place for small children. We only had 3 days were the water was calm in the morning so you could swim. You would walk about 15 feet into the water and it would be about 5 feet in depth. Into the second week, the nautical staff got lazy and took out the catamarans on their own and stayed out for hours. They were always saying the water was too rough and refused to let out the peddle boats and kayaks. The hotel beside us would have the green flag for swimming while we had the yellow. That yellow flag was never changed during our 2 weeks there. The family pool was large and cleaned every morning. The pool bar in the family pool was never busy.
The grounds were cleaned and raked. The gardeners had little knowledge in how to trim the plants back – they cut them back too much cutting off all of their flowers. After 12 noon, the gardeners disappeared – we never saw them.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
There was nightly entertainment every night whether there was a fashion show, bands playing or a nightly show. We never watched their night shows – they are usually the same from hotel to hotel. The bands were nice to listen to. People of any age would get up and dance which was nice to see. The hotel advertises that they have a disco but they don’t. They used to have one about 6 months ago but now they changed their disco into a fun pub. They have a pool table and bar in the “fun club” but it is not busy at all. It was disappointing when we found out on the night we arrived that there was no disco. We talked to four travel agents in Mississauga and they all told us that there was a disco. There is a disco, bowling alley, bar and restaurant between the two Melia hotels. The bar is part of a wooden ship and light house. We walked to that disco the one night. They wanted 10 convertible pesos just for cover and then you had to pay for your drinks on top of that. We walked over at 11:30 at night and no one was inside. The hotel advertised a disco in a town called El Pueblo which was a 15 minute bus drive. We heard from some people that it was 10 pesos to get in but you received 9 pesos worth of drinks – you have to pay for all drinks at this disco. One lady mentioned that all the stalls in the women’s washroom had no doors, no soap and no toilet paper. She said it was very dirty and would not recommend going.
Once the night show finished at around 11 pm, there was nothing to do at the hotel. People would just sit, drink and smoke or go to their room and watch tv. Many people wanted to go and dance but there was no place on this resort that you could do that after the show. It seemed like the hotel was trying to make money on the side with getting people to pay cover and pay for drinks at these private clubs.
For daily entertainment they had competitions in the pool, archery, beach volleyball, dancing lessons etc. I tried archery one day, it was fun for my first time. I am an avid beach volleyball player. Their court isn’t on the beach, you have to walk through some shrubs to get to it. It is full of those little prickly thistles that stick to your feet. I found the court quite small and uneven. Playa Costa Verde (the hotel we were at last year) had a beautiful court on the beach, with the proper blue tape to mark the court boundaries.

Other Comments:
I wish the hotel would correctly advertise the kinds of facilities that they have. We checked their website and believed that it was a true representation of what they had.

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"Worst Vacacation"

Melia Las Dunas
User Rating:  Melia Las Dunas Review: 1.0 of 5

Posted by:  Connie  on Apr 10, 2011  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Mar, 2011 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
378 people found this review helpful

We were very disappointed for a 4 plus resort. The rooms and the area for eating were not clean. The second morning I went to open my napkin to find out it was used and dirty. We were always being asked to tip. There are not enough huts on the beach. In order to get one you would have to get up at 6 or earlier. The last morning we were at breakfast there was no clean silverware. I saw one of the guys behind the desk there pick up a dirty napkin and wipe off silverware that four guys that just sat down needed and gave them that. I was shocked. The entertainment is for families. There is no disco here.

Room Number:
5816

Room Block:
58-59

Arrival:
Tuesday, March 22, 2011

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"Vacation not long enough."

Melia Las Dunas
User Rating:  Melia Las Dunas Review: 5.0 of 5

Posted by:  Tammy  on Apr 9, 2011  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Feb, 2011 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
391 people found this review helpful

I read many, many posts before I chose to go to Melia Las Dunas. And after being there I have only one thing to say about my experience . . . Dream. It was so perfect that it was like a dream. People, I suggest that you go there with an open heart and mind. There is no perfect place in this world. If I had to complain about anything on my trip, and I’m being honest, it was that I didn’t do enough (activities, sight-seeing). But this particular vacation was to just simply relax with little movement. Lol!

Room Number:
6912

Arrival:
Once we arrived at the airport, we converted our money into CUC’s. It was easy to locate our bus. From airport to getting on the bus was very well organized. Once on the bus, we received our envelope which contained our bracelets, room number and key cards and information about the resort and cocktail info for the second night. The ride to the resort was informative. Our “tour guide” informed us of the history of the towns we went through, culture, way of life, etc. The 90 minute ride did not seem long at all. The bus stopped on the causeway at one point and backed up so that we could watch 2 dolphins swim close to the shoreline. Our arrival at the resort was spectacular for me. The place is grand and beautiful! There were glasses of rum punch waiting for us, music and people dancing. Our luggage was unloaded and delivered to our rooms. We walked to our rooms and arrived 2 minutes before our luggage. Note that you can convert additional money at the lobby.
Note: in the envelope there is a little pamphlet. It contains the map of the resort, your room number, arrival and departure date. Do not lose it. I stress again . . . do not lose it. You will need it to get a blue pool towel. And you will need it again when you return it or to change it at the end of the day. Next time I’d bring a zip-lock bag for the pamphlet to keep it dry, etc.

Rooms:
Cool and clean. We turned our air conditioner off during the day to conserve energy. It was always turned back on for us near the end of the day. Don’t be surprized if you find a gecko in your room. They are harmless and you really don’t want to freak out about having one in your room, because the spray that they use in the room to chase it away (if you request it), will chase you away. Again, they are harmless. Welcome them. Some people in other blogs have complained that the rooms smell musty. Understand that it’s very humid in Cuba. It’s so humid that it took 2.5 days to dry 2 articles of clothing that I hand washed. I was very pleased with our rooms. They would also come by every day in the late afternoon or just before 5pm and restock your fridge with pop, water, wine, rum, etc.

Restaurants and Bars:
I don’t care what anybody says about the food, I loved it! Enough to have gained 10 pounds! I made a point to try anything and everything new. Some people stuck to the same foods that they would normally eat back home. I only had difficulties with the Sea Food A La Cart and the Steak House. I was expecting what we normally eat back home. The lobster served is similar to scampi. Everything my husband ordered, he loved! The steak house was not to my liking as their beef just simply tastes different than ours. However, on that note, there was beef cooked different ways at the buffets that I simply couldn’t get enough of!
Buffets were plentiful. We found that if we went later, the lines were shorter. If you want something cooked fresh in front of you, then you’ll have to wait for it. For example the pasta bar, fresh cooked chicken of fish, etc. Families with young children and teens usually arrived first, understandably. There were two buffet restaurants. One had dim lighting and natural air while the other was more family oriented, air conditioned, large area with a greater variety of food. I personally loved the food there but sat and dined on the other side with the natural air.
Breakfast was a favourite in our group of 4. Homemade waffles and omelettes and smoothies. Again, if you want the fresh made you will have to wait. Towards the end of the trip, our friend tried daily to perfect a napkin rose that the “waffle lady” made. She loved his attempts every morning. She even took him aside when the breakfast rush slowed and showed him how to make one step-by-step.
We ate lunch daily at the little restaurant by our pool called the “Guarani.” They have excellent Calzones and poutine if you need a taste of home. Their pizza is cheesier than any I’ve have ever order back home. Look for our favourite waitress “Ingrid”. Beautiful young lady. I preferred the Cuban sandwich whenever I was hungry enough to eat. Breakfast usually tied me over until supper.
The beach had a sandwich bar that served Cuban sandwiches which were awesome! Get them early before they run out of buns and you have to have them on bread. The 24 hour bar and snack shop “Manacas” is another good place to eat. Be sure to order a Blue-Lagoon drink. Awesome!

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
Loved our pool and the pool bar. Javier, Renee and Dianna are the best! The beach was beautiful to walk along. Tropical fish and trumpet fish like shinny things and were going after my beads on my bathing suit. I could get them to jump out of the water after them. Note: that if you are into snorkelling, they usually have day old bread in a bag on the counter at the beach restaurant where they serve Cuban sandwiches. I see kids using it to feed the fish while they snorkelled. Lots of jelly fish, but they were harmless. We were told that if they were that close to shore that they were dead. Seen only one crab and it was the size of a Canadian Toonie.
The grounds were beautiful. The gardens especially. There is a man who looks like he is hiding in the trees and garden near the lobby. Turns out it’s his workshop. There he will make the bouquets and decorations for wedding and table tops. Look close and you might find a blue snake.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
There are a lot of activities for the kids. There is a day care and an activity pool. Near the adult pool on the other side of the resort there is an activity area with bowling, Ping-Pong, archery, etc. There is a disco for teens, etc.
We went on the catamaran. That was the highlight of the trip for me. But a few smoking tourists, had no respect for the rules. Please, please, please follow the rules they give you. They do and so should you The crew were very engaging and hard working. Engaged with the dolphins, swam/snorkelled in the coral reef. Next time I’d bring my own snorkel set. They also served appetizers after snorkelling. The island that we explored until lunch was ready was beautiful. You choose your lunch when you book the trip. Chicken or lobster. Lobster tails are what we are used to back home and not the scampi type. We had the chicken – which was roasted and seasoned to perfection. The lobster looked wonderful. Have your video camera ready and point it at the water when they throw the scraps over the side of the boat before you leave. The fish that jump and fight for the scraps are huge! Please bring money to tip the dolphin keepers, and the crew. I wanted to take the crew home! You will too when you see how hard they work! We seen a pod of dolphins and jelly fish of all sizes as we sailed.
We attended the nightly shows on the resort at the main theater. A good variety. Entertainment for the kids prior and then the main show. We participated once during the day at the beach, but missed all of the other activities, only because we were sun worshippers.
There was what I call a pretend town up from the resort. You can take a cab or the bus from the resort. Note: if you get your pictures taken with the dolphins, you have to go to this “town” to pick them up. We did not know this. We were told to pick them up at the resort. This little “town” has restaurants and little shops. Nightly entertainment and I think a disco. During the day in the center of it there was a little market. This is the only place to buy souvenirs other than the boutique on the resort. What they have is very beautiful, but not a lot of variety. But then we may have arrived too late. Some people think the restaurants here are free. No they are not. Bring your money.

If you need to communicate with people back home, there are phones which are very expensive and computer cards that you can purchase. Please don’t get frustrated with the computers. It’s like dial-up and very, very slow at times. Other times, it was fast. I found that using Facebook was the one sure way of getting in touch with everyone. It was obvious as I looked around the computer room that everyone else felt the same. It was fun to watch a group of teens who became friends at the resort and then add each other on their Facebook’s. We used the computer once per day just before we went to dinner for 10-15 minutes.

Other Comments:
I have only 2 complaints. Number 1 complaint was the Tourists! They littered the beach, the walkways on the resort, the lobby. I mean how difficult is it to throw your cup in the garbage. If you are going to hang out at the beach or the pool then why not invest in a Bubba Keg, or another container to keep your beverages in. Save the environment. Cups and straws littered all over no thanks to lazy tourists. So tourist, don’t complain about this please. Clean up after yourself. The staff can only do so much, but we really have to do our part. Especially along the beach!
My 2nd complaint was that my holiday was not long enough! I will be going back again, but this time with my children.

Staff:
Make sure, make sure, make sure you attend the Air Canada briefing! Our representative Roberto was the best! The staff of Melia Las Dunas were the best. There isn’t a single person that I could complain about. From the time I landed to when I left. They were helpful, polite, engaging, understanding, and caring. It was hard to leave, because we developed a friendship with some of the staff.

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"Beach is paradise!"

Melia Las Dunas
User Rating:  Melia Las Dunas Review: 4.0 of 5

Posted by:  Carleen  on Mar 23, 2011  >  4 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Mar, 2011 | Leisure | Family and Kids
391 people found this review helpful

Overall a lovely resort for a family to enjoy a vacation with one of the most beautiful beaches in the Carribean.

Room Number:
23

Room Block:
70

Arrival:
Our March break package was through Air Canada vacations. Arrived after 7:00 pm on Saturday; easily cleared through Cuban customs/security and escorted to buses. Received room key on bus,map of resort (which you will need!) info on excursions and our bags were taken directly to room when we arrived. Bus ride is quite long - 1.5 hours and it was in the dark so not a lot to see - much better on way back. Also, resort is very huge so trying to find room complex in dark was challenging - but one of the golf cart drivers stopped and asked if we had just arrived and gave us a lift to our room. We then went to the Beer Garden for a bite to eat (was ok - just hamburger and fries) and listened to a Cuban band. The weather was cool at night and wished all week that I had brought more sweaters.

Rooms:
We had to take two rooms since my oldest is over 16; the rooms were very large for the two of us, and kept very clean. The beds are quite firm but slept very well. Our balcony had no view - most rooms don't. We were by the adult/leisure pool - it was a very quiet area, very relaxing. The woman cleaning our room was lovely - I left her a tip and some small gifts (magazines, lipstick, nail polish, toothpaste, toothbrushes, medicines) every day and in return my room was spotless. She also came to personally thank me for the gifts. Our beer fridge(s) were stocked regularly - we tipped the gentleman who delivered water,beer, etc and as a result even had wine delivered to our room. Air Canada also gave each of its guests a bottle of rum. The bathroom is very large and the shower/tub is large - water always warm and good pressure. There's also a clothesline to hang up wet bathing suits.

Restaurants and Bars:
Ok - agree that Cuban food is not outstanding (other than my favourite rice and beans). But you can make do. Buffet food is buffet food - those who are critical should try to feed 2000 guests a day. But, there is a lot of choice - so you can get fresh omlettes, fruit, eggs the way you want, fresh crepes, waffles, fresh orange juice, -and stay away from the warming trade. For lunch we would go to the pool snack bar for pizza or ham and cheese sandwiches (always good) or to Los Caribes where they served fabulous roast chicken and rice and beans or you could get pork or chicken grilled. It's the fresh stuff like trying to get a good salad that is a challenge. With Air Canada we could go to 4 a la carte restaurants - we chose to go to three and did the buffet three times. At the buffet you could get fresh grilled fish at any point and it was very good. My kids really liked the food so the fact they were happy meant we were all happy. For the a la carte we went to the pizza restaurant (really nice small intimate restaurant and they served wood oven baked pizza), the sea food restaurant were we had lobster (the lobster bisque was excellent) and the mediterranean where the shrimp appetizer could rival any upscale restaurant. You can also purchase a better bottle of wine than the house wine - and the prices weren't bad, ranging between 14 to 20 pesos for a good bottle of wine from Spain or Australia.

The lobby bar is very busy - it's hard to get the attention of the bartenders and they really are working for their tips. The cappucino is the best though - don't get it in the buffet restaurant, treat yourself, give a peso for a tip and enjoy a really good cappucino.

Found the pool bartenders a lot less friendly than at the lobby bar.

Also there is an ice cream stand where you can get ice cream all day - the mint and chocolate were particularly good.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
The pools are very large - lots of chairs to sit on, plenty of shade. Biggest problem is the pools are extremely cold - frigid temperature in fact and they never warmed up, no matter how hot it got during the day. The ocean, by comparison was cold at the beginning of our stay but warmed up considerably. The beach is just heaven - you can walk over 12 kilometres uninterrupted - and the colour of the water, sound of the waves, just exquisite. One of the nicest beaches ever - and unlike Mexico and the Dominican, no one is bugging you to buy something, or to go to a time share, or anything like that. Yes, people do get out and stake their towels on the chairs, but I found there was no problem getting a chair that was a little further down the beach. The biggest issue would be how far you had to go to get to a washroom.

The grounds/gardens are lovely throughout the resort. The gardeners work on them full time. We gave our bartender one of our bottles of rum that we didnt' finish - no one thinks to tip them.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
There were less activities at the resort than I've experienced at other locations in the Carribean. However, it was also nice not to having someone yelling "animation,animation" all the time. My boys would go to the activity pool and my husband and I would stay at the leisure pool - they also said there was less activity at this resort, but they would go to the sports club and play volleyball, and they made a lot of friends which kept them quite busy.

We did the catamaran trip and would highly recommend it - snorkeling, plus some leisure time on a coral beach, a lobster lunch and dolphin encounter, all in all a great day. Please note, this is not swimming with dolphins and the dolphins are penned up during the day which upsets me somewhat - however, you do get to pet them, take pictures, get splashed by them, and the trainer says they are let out at night; they come back in the day for food.

There are shows every night if you are into that - we really enjoyed the Cuban house band - even bought there CD.

Other Comments:
This resort is very large; that to me is its biggest drawback. There are 900 rooms so two to four people in a room, that's a lot - and a lot of walking. The golf carts are helpful especially for seniors who might find it hard getting around - and you do have to walk someways to get to the beach (but it's worth it once you are there).

There are a lot of Quebecers - and I hate seeing all the reviews complaining about them as they are just as entitled to vacation as anyone else. I didn't find any of them to be rude, nor the smoking to be excessive.

However, this being March break, the hotel was full to capacity - so that did mean long waits - at the restaurants, at the bars, and just in general there were a lot of people. My preference is for a smaller resort - but that is why I enjoyed getting out and walking the beach so much as it was one way of getting quite a bit of solitude.

I'd recommend you tip the staff - you don't have to give a lot (some people were giving 20 pesos) but just a little to show appreciation. These people don't have a lot - no one lives like the tourists on vacation. Also, you need 25 pesos per person to leave the country - departure tax - and it must be pesos. There is a bank on the resort to change your money. And we also paid the extra money to sit at the airport lounge (only through AC Vacations) when we departed - as the wait was quite long (3 hours). You can get drinks and snacks in the lounge and watch CNN - which is how we found out about Libya being bombed - hence back to reality, vacation over.

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