When I arrived in Cayo Santa Maria, I was very ready for some beach time. Meliá Buenavista did not disappoint.
I had three beaches to choose from: a long one perfect for strolling along the soft dunes and swimming through the soft waves, a perfect white crescent protected from the open ocean, and a wilder beach ideal for nature walks with Navy, who knowledgeably identifies fish and birds, and even finds immense sand dollars.
This boutique resort has just 105 rooms, all with The Level service, so you know you will be completely taken care of, not only by all the staff but by your butler too. Rooms have a lower sitting room at the front with a balcony overlooking the pool or mangrove beaches, and a large raised bedroom, backing onto a multi-roomed bath and closet area. There’s a large bathtub as well as an outdoor shower. I was pleasantly surprised to be able to catch an episode of HBO’s Game of Thrones on my large flat-screen TV — unusual for many hotels, let alone those in Cuba.
While there’s lots of activities to choose from, most guests are content to soak up the sun and take lazy swims in the resort’s two pools or in the warm sea. Guests who skip the morning yoga session are missing out. The class takes places on a palapa-covered deck in the sea, reached by a long and picturesque boardwalk. It’s also an ideal place for a sunset dinner.
All meals are à la carte (breakfast and lunch have a few buffet selections too) in the resort’s three restaurants. Menus aren’t large, but provide choices to suit all tastes. Quality and flavour were amongst the best I’ve had in Cuba (the US embargo affects imports). Room service is available, though with a limited menu. Meliá provides shuttle service to two nearby sister resorts for other restaurant selections too.
Meliá Buenavista is the Cuban resort to choose if your ideal holiday includes genuinely friendly staff who remember your name and your preferences, pristine beaches, an out-of-the-way quiet location, and the quality that only Meliá’s The Level service can provide.