|Barcelo Cayo Santa Maria Beach Resort||Brenda||Canada|
Barcelo Cayo Santa Maria Beach Resort, Cuba - May 19-26/2012 bmnichol I traveled with my friend and we stayed at the Barcelo Cayo Santa Maria Beach. The flight lands in Santa Clara about 90 minutes by bus from Cayo Santa Maria. Consider the transfer a free tour. There is a tour guide on the bus. He will tell you all about the area and answer questions. There was a bathroom on our bus, but to be on the safe side you may want to visit the bathroom at the airport before you set out for the resort.
Our room, #0969 was a 3rd floor ocean view in Bldg #9. The balcony held two chairs and a table. We had two ? beds with firm mattresses. Between the beds there was a bedside table with a drawer and shelf, telephone and portable CD/Radio. There was a three drawer writing desk type piece of furniture with a chair that held a TV at one end with a mini fridge below, the coffee pot was at the other end. The fridge was stocked with a large bottle of water, two pop and two beer. We requested that they give us four pop and no beer and that they did. There was also a bench for luggage, a small wicker sofa and coffee table in the room. The digital safe in the closet would be big enough for a laptop. In the closet we also found an iron, an ironing board, extra blankets and a nice large umbrella (which we put to use several times). The water pressure in the shower was great, we always had hot water. The hair dryer worked fine and shut off automatically when you took your finger off the button. There was a shaving mirror mounted to the wall by the sink. Maids cleaned the rooms every day. We had two bath towel, two hand towels and a floor mat, bring your own facecloths. Shampoo and bath gel were in a dispenser in the tub. People complained about the water leaking onto the floor while showering. Make sure the shower curtain is right up against the wall and you shouldn't have a problem. The toilet and tub were in one room and the sink area was adjacent with a wall that separated it from the bedroom area. There was a wall lamp between the beds, a tall floor lamp and a desk lamp in the room. We found our room to be very quiet. The A/C worked perfectly. If we return to this resort, I would request this bldg again. In my opinion Bldg 8 and Bldg 9 are the two bldgs that are just a short walk from everything you would need in a resort. Bldg 5 has an ocean view on one side and pool view on the other. We had no problem finding our way around this resort and we were quick to find the short cuts to and from the lobby and buffet/restaurants.
The Barcelo is a beachfront resort with a beautiful long beach. We walked to the left one day for an hour and didn't come to the end of the beach. The resorts on this beach are perfect for beach walking. The water entry is clear of rocks, coral and best of all, no sea grasses. You can walk out a good distance before the water gets deep. Basically there is no snorkeling in front of this resort. There are some fish in the water that swim up to you, you don't need to snorkel to see them. There are lots of shade huts.
The pools are nice and large in both sections of the resort. There is lots of seating around the pool and a fair amount of shaded areas.
Bars - Beach Bar, Pool Bar, Lobby Bar, a bar in the Grill and in the Theatre. The pool bar has a swim up section as well as bar stools and tables. If you don't see the drink you want on the menu, just ask the bartender to make it. Miami Vice and Dirty Monkey were not on the menu, but they were making them. The Barcelo Beach is a nice drink also.
During slow season there is a buffet, grill and one restaurant open. During our stay the restaurant menu changed on a four day rotation (Italian, Spanish, Cuban and Seafood). Reservations required, we were allowed to book three nights. You book in the lobby and the restaurant fills up fast. We could only book into the Spanish and Seafood. We ate at the Spanish twice. The food was very good and so was the service.
The Buffet was open for breakfast and supper. Breakfast had all the usual buffet fare. There was bacon and sausages along with some other meats every day for breakfast, omelet station, crepe station, fresh squeezed juices, scrambled eggs, boiled eggs, poached eggs, steamed veggies, beans, fresh breads, sweets, etc.
Supper at the buffet was good also. There were grilling stations, pasta station, veggies, meats, fruits, beans, rice, breads and rolls. They also had several varieties of pizza and I think you could also request a pizza with the topping you wanted. Deserts - Ice cream, cakes, cookies, fruit, etc. They were also making glazed bananas and pineapple. The usual buffet fare.
The lunch Grill was located between the pool and beach. Someone was always grilling chicken and some other type of fish or meat. There was pizza available every day. Ice cream was available every day at lunch and supper, usually three or four flavors and they even had toppings. There was lots of food to choose from. I couldn't find anything to complain about with regard to the food.
You will find a board at the entrance to the buffet that will outline the day's activities.
Other activities were - Tennis, kayaks, hobbie cats, peddle boats. They had scooters for rent and bicycles. I think the charge for the bicycles was 3CUC for the first three hours. The bikes looked fairly new and had good tires. There is a very large Theatre where the evening entertainment is located. We never made it to the theatre. Some areas on the beach had quite a few ants around the loungers. This happens because people are pouring their drinks into the sand. Ants love sugar. The other thing I want to mention. Cuba has these very large slugs. They come out at night and on rainy days. If you are planning to be out past dark, you might want to take a flashlight. You really don't want to step on one of these giant slugs. Bring insect repellant. The resort does fog, but the mozzies return after a bit.
There is one shop on the resort. You can buy some liquor, snacks, flip flops, small variety of T-shirts and a few other items. The shop does not have a large variety. We didn't see any vendors visiting the resort and you don't have to worry about vendors bugging you on the beach because there are none. There is also a shopping area close to the resort that you can get to by walking along the beach and cutting through one of the resorts on either side of it, or, you can take the train (free shuttle). The shuttle runs quite frequently. There is also a double decker bus that comes on a regular basis. It costs $2CUC to hop on the bus and get a tour of almost every resort on the island. You get to see all the lobbies. The bus goes as far as the Dolphin park.
We did have quite a bit of unsettled weather during our trip. We had a few days of clouds with showers and we had two solid days of rain. We didn't let this spoil our vacation. People were still swimming at the beach and pool. The entertainment staff came to the lobby with games and entertained those that wanted to join in. We met some nice people and spent a couple of hours chatting.
We loved the resort, and would go again. I read lots of reviews for this resort before we went. Some were really good and some really bad. After being to this resort, I'm thinking that the bad reviews were from people that are just plain hard to please. Some of the bad reviews didn't even sound like the same resort we were at. We had a great vacation and I would recommend this resort.top