Melia Las Dunas
10 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
A great Value........
"Returned from the Hotel couple of weeks ago. Are pretty seasoned travelers and sort of know what is good/acceptable and what isn't. Las Dunas really is fantastic. I believe if someone finds major fault, they are most probably the sort that refuses to be satisfied with anything/everything that comes their way. It is a genuine 4.5 to 5 stars. Beach. White soft talcum powder like sand. Walk for miles in either direction. Jewel like shimmering shallow waters in dazzling shades of blue right across the color spectrum. Nicest beach I've ever seen, period! Rooms are very nice, spacious and the whole place is spotless. Brand spanking new and very well done. Comfy beds. I have only a couple of complaints that to my way of thinking are minor in the whole scheme of things. First -- the food in Cuba is not so good generally. Been three times, Las Dunas the best of them but not on par with a similar hotels in Mayan Riviera. And it is annoying to have to line up for a long time (hours for some guests) to make dinner reservations at the a la cartes of which there were three open of aq total of 5 or six. Fortunatly you can do it once and take care of reservations for whole time you are there. The buffets are pretty good though, lots of variety and food better than passable. Secondly, every night around dusk they run an electric golf cart affair around the property and off the back spew a positively noxious substance in the form of a thick white smoke that I'm sure is primarily diesel fuel and laced with a potent insecticide. Best stay well clear of the pathways when they run the buggy around the premises. Grounds are beautifull ! Very nicely landscaped for being new. A great variety of flowering shrubbery and trees which help give the impression of privacy even though there are north of 900 hundred rooms.( only half were open when we were there) If you can, stay in the "old part" rather than the newest areas because for the time being the 'new' area is pretty bare and not well populated either with people or vegetaion and construction is onging all around. If you qare standing in the lobby facing the beach the "old" part is to the left and the unfinished area to the right. Also it is a bit of a long ride from the airport to the property -- but it is worth the ride. Staff are terrific always going out of the way to please you. Sometimes a bit of a language barrier, but that happens just about anywhere. Everybody seems contented and not to take themselves too serously, which is nice compared to some places, for instance Varadero where I found the staff rather jaded and money grubbing. The area around Las Dunas ( it is on an island) is just opening to tourism and the locals seem genuinely appreciative of employment. As I said above, Las Dunas is the second best I've been in the caribbean. FYI the best for us was The Eldorado Royale in Riveira Maya in Mexico and incidentally the worst, Grand Paradise Bavaro in Dominican which is advertised as a 4 star but really is a 2.5 to barely passable 3. I would definitely go back and I don't expect the bargain prices to hold for long. They will be increased once word gets out about Las Dunas."
- Travel date: 23rd February 2007
Prettier than a postcard!
"We stayed for a week of paradise! The hotel greeted us (after a painful trip getting there) with a cocktail as soon as we got off the bus...well needed. Sign-in was quick and painless. We were in our room with in 15 minutes of arrival. The room was very pleasant not spectacular. We were staying in an unfinnished area of the resort. ...but away from the families with small children. Had A/C, two beds (bigger than singles, but not quite as big as a double), large bathroom and a nice balcony. Basic necessities, including hairdryer. The beach was absolutley amazing! The water was crystal clear and the sand was white. They were still finalizing a few accesses to the beach. There was one beach bar, with fantastic servers. Always was enough chaise lounges for all. Within a 5 minute walk form the main access, we managed to be somewhat secluded. There was a few water activites...kayaking, catamarining, snorkeling and scuba diving. The restaurants! The day after arrived, we noticed a long line in the main area. It was for a-la-carte dinner reservations. We waited in line for 2 hours of a 30 person line up. There are 4 restaurants to choose from and people were being to choosy when it was choosy. We enjoyed the food at all the restaurants, except the seafood. It needed some work! Lack of choices on the menu, but the service was amazing. The international buffet needs a little more experiance perparing north american dishes. There are many chooices, so you won't go hungry. Unfortunatly our departure time wa earlier than the buffet opened, so we couldn't grab more than a coffee for breakfast. There is an 1.5 hour ride to the airport, so you should grab something the night before to snack on during the trip. Coffee was AMAZING! The alcohol flowed freely from all the generous bartenders. Try the rum punch on the beach...yummy. Rookies remember your travel mugs...it will save your drinks. It is very secluded and there are very few options outside the resort (ex. city night life, trips to the city). We noticed a lot of slips, wipe outs in the main area headed toward the piano bar...be carefull of the stairs! All in all...fantastic!"
- Travel date: 18th February 2007
"Hi Everyone, We have just arrived yesterday from our 1 week vacation at the Las Dunas Resort. The Cubans were fantastic as usual; they make you feel right at home, always smiling, always ready to help in ensuring that you have all you need, Always saying "Hola". Even the gardeners are just amazing. We have met one that was singing and dancing all the time "No wonder would you not do the same if you worked in Paradise". The rooms are absolutely fantastic; we had a junior suite and believe me there was plenty of room. We have visited a standard room and plenty of room there too; the only difference would be a smaller washroom. Rooms with Ocean View, wait until you see it is wonderful. The Beach, this is rather simple to rate, it is one of the most gorgeous beach on the planet, I guarantee it. The food was pretty good for a Hotel that has been open for approximately 3 months now. Activities they are working on, last year we had stayed at the "Sol" 3 doors away (Smaller and older resort, belonging to the Sol Melia Hotel Chain), and let me tell you they had the activities on the beach, and pool side really going. I have actually met a few that worked at the "Sol" last year and remembered me and my wife; they stated that they are working hard in bringing all activities to the "Sol" standards. One excursion that is a must is the 1 day Catamaran outing just amazing "Food, Snorkeling, and the Ocean". As a last note I'm very sorry to see some of the comments on this site that relates to French Canadians conduct. To clear the air you must realize that there is approximately 50% of Quebecers on the resort. They are far from being what has been described on other reviews that I have read, and I could say that I have seen some Anglo Canadians acting the same way as what has been described. So as far as running small political shows on this site I would rather recommend that you unwind when you go for a vacation. "No need for stress - Drink a Cuba Libre, Dance with the Cubans, enjoy the sun and relax, is this not why you went on vacation in the first place? For everyone who is wondering if this is a resort to go too "Please do not hesitate""
- Travel date: 17th February 2007
Two Thumbs Up and Many More.
"My husband and I returned to the frozen North from this beautiful resort 09/02/2007. There is only one word that I can use to sum up this experience: FANTABULOUS. This was our maiden voyage to Cuba and though the airport was rather daunting, we did not know how they felt about Newspapers from foreign countries, once we got on the bus to the resort it was Holivacation time. The drive from the airport, though it is about 1.5 hours long, seemed to take less time as we were intrigued by all we saw along the way. The villages, the people, and the 48 km Causeway. Check-In was quick and in no time at all we were on our way to the 'Ranchon' for a Red Snapper lunch. This is a must even if you do it once. We had read all the reviews on this site about the resort so that by the time we met our Air Transat rep for the briefing the following morning we had already figured out most of it. I gotta agree with the other reviews, once you can get pass the arrogance and the bad behaviour of the French Canadians you will love it. We met other people from Ontario and people from out West who were great and respectful of others. Our room was luxurious. We had the Suite, with bath robes, slippers, and a bottle of rum awaiting our arrival. The Suite had all the amenities you could dream of. We had two problems with the room though, the bathtub had poor drainage and we had no A/C for two nights. This is a new resort though and the front line staff are trying very hard to iron out all the problems. You will only deal with the front line staff as upper management hides down a hallway behind the reception desk. The food was excellent. If you want to eat food made to North American tastes then you should vacation in Florida. The food is NOT salty, it is highly seasoned as you will find in all Caribbean Islands. The choices every night were extensive, all different types of meat, fish, poultry and pork. One night there was even an Asian gentleman serving Sushi at the International Buffet. There were only three A' La Carte's open at the time of our stay. We tried all three and they were each very tasty, our favorite was the Italian and we made friends with one of the waiters and were able to return. If you go ask for the Spinach Lasagna, but make sure you are really hungry, desert suggestion is the Tiramisu with cafe con leche with a dash of Coffee Liquor...yum, I am still dreaming about it. My husband loved the pizza once he discovered it, it is thin crust and very good ...Margarita/Tropical pizzas recommended, if you want a North American style pizza hold off until you return and give Pizza Pizza a call. The one thing that really affected me the most and made me fall in love with this place and the people were the front line staff. They work such long hard hours but were always ready with a smile and a willingness to make you happy. They have so little but are so happy with all that they do have. We spent Christmas at the Fairmont Banff Springs where you only tip in the restaurants and bars, and of course the Spa. The difference though is that what the Bellboy at the Fairmont earns in an hour and a half with probably 40 hours of work a week, the Bellboy at Las Dunas makes in a month working sometimes 10 - 20 hours more per week. So YES we did tip lavishly. We spend more between the two of us one any given day at Tim Horton's compared to what these people make in a month. These people pampered us and they deserved every tip. We even gave a tip to the guy who took us out on the Hobbie Cat, as he allowed us to go as far and as long as we wanted. I think they all got a good laugh at us trying to converse in Spanish with the help of a dictionary, from the Lonely Planet. We gave our maid a tip and gifts of chocolate and perfumes ( ladies you know the ones that are given as gifts and you will never use) daily and wanted for nothing. Treat the staff well and they will treat you like gold and they never forget your face or your preferences. Phase Two, which is not completed is where what we called the quiet pool is. This is where we usually hung out. If you go you will meet Javier and his crew at the Swim up bar and another Javier and his crew in the Snack bar behind, they are all great people. Alfredo the Pool guy, always keeps the pool clean, he is so friendly, he'll help you with anything at the pool, if you can bring him a pair of UV shades, as they don't last. If you decide to go I envy you. We will return next year but forget about one week I need at least two weeks in this little piece of Paradise, and ah! da beach... I hear it is the best in Cuba! 5 Star Resort ...5 Star Treatment!"
- Travel date: 14th February 2007
5 star all the way
"2 Weeks at Melia Las Dunas Jan 30-Feb13, incredible hotel, great experience overall!! We enjoyed everything at this hotel, i felt like it was greatly underrated as a 4 star and definitely qualifies as a five, especially once it's finished. We found the food to be quite good, not always labeled, but it becomes pretty easy to guess what's what after a few days. The pizza and french fries at both the snack bars by the pool were absolutely amazing!!! Fresh pasta at supper, as well as fresh crepes and waffles for breakfast were also among my favs! The pool was great, a little chilly to get into, but very inviting when its 32 degrees, which was about the temp most of our stay!! In 2 weeks we only has 1 day of bad weather!! The staff were great, but i thought they were understaffed in the maid department because sometimes it would take a long time for our room to be made up. Tipping was sporadic, I learned to carry pesos at all times because you will definitely encounter staff that will make you want to tip, and if you don't feel like they really deserve it, don't tip at all!! I heard that maids were often seen shopping at the small boutique on the resort and their coin purses were stuffed full of pesos. Also we saw into their supply closet one day and they had a stockpile of toiletries that had been left as tips that would last for decades, so they may be a little maxed out in that department. We weren't always impressed with our room cleanliness, and sometimes we were blown away, I think it just depends on which maids are in your building that day!! The beach was gorgeous, the a la carte restaurants were great, we weren't too impressed with the Romantico, but the steakhouse just opened in our second week there, so we got to try it and enjoyed it immensely. The bartending staff is great and works really hard to keep up with the crowd in the afternoon at the pool bar. You must ask for a Varadero Sunrise, they're fantastic, make sure you stir it before drinking though!! My biggest complaint would be the number of children, but when the resort is 100% complete, one half will be adults only, so I would definitely go back!! Sometimes some of the french canadians were rude, and all the italian men wore speedos, which was a little hard to look at sometimes. I read in another review about people's unwillingness to share the path, I also found this ti be quite true, which surprised me because I thought it would be a common courtesy thing!! Overall, I loved almost every minute I was there, and would definitely return, and recommend to others, go, you'll have a great time!!"
- Travel date: 14th February 2007
"Amazing resort, 3rd time to Cuba, best beach, best hotel, best food, best service. I can't say enough about it. The rooms were beautiful, as were all aspects of this resort. Book with confidence you won't be disappointed."
- Travel date: 5th February 2007
Really enjoyed it here
"This resort was very nice, we had a very nice room a junior suite. The staff was excellent, food was ok, water sports were really good. We are not pool people and didn't spend much time there, but it was very clean and alot of people seemed to enjoy it there. It was a little crowded at times for my likes! I agree with another review that most of the guests seemed very brassy and rude. Example would be, sharing the path way. A small detail but very annoying, but then 90% of the guests were from Montreal enough said! They seem to give us Canadians a bad name no matter were we go Dominican, Mexico, Cuba! The Beach was very very nice and we would go back just for the surf and beach walks! Note: There is a clothing optional beach section that is just past the Sole and you could see nataurists any where past there to the end of the beach. At the end of the Beach there is a rock island that was just great for snorkling. Hundreds of tropical fish species and thousands of fish. We took the resort bikes and cycled down to this area, as the beach walk was a little long! Lounge bar was great and man do the bartendors ever work hard! The night shows were very well done. Disco was ok. Tipping seemed to be rampid there. It was well deserved for most of the workers but it is always a hassle to carry around cash with you! Small detail. I would recommend this resort and I would go back, It is a little remote but we like that!"
- Travel date: 4th February 2007
good, at every aspect.
"Just back. We went to the Melia Las Dunas from JAN. 16-30. This is a gorgeous hotel with tasty, yes tasty food and very friendly staff. The rooms are bick and clean. No musquitos because they fumigate the grounds every evening around 18.30 hours. Close your patio door!. The watersports availible are awesome. Kayaks, little sailboats, windsurfing, peddle boats and catamaran with captain. They open in allmost every weather condition. The equipment is in top condition and brand new.There is no time limit and no reservation required to use the equipment. If you can take some cheap sunglasses along for the nautical staff. The sunglasses last only one month with the seawater and the uv rays from the sun. they will be greatly appreciated, they can not buy them in Cuba. There are 7 staff at the watersportcentre working. We did have traveled a lot and this hotel is definate a 4 star hotel. The key to the room is a plastic card which is very handy. If you lose it you get a new one at no charge. Half of the hotel is open. There is no construction noise from the other half which is almost finished. If you choose this hotel you will not be disappointed. We rented 2 scooters for a total of 52 cuc per day. We want to Remidios (about 1,5 hour drive) and visited a boutista iglesia. Everybody can give you directions to get there. They can use bibles and children evangelising materials. It is not a problem to bring these in to Cuba. Have anice trip."
- Travel date: 2nd February 2007
Gorgeous beach and hotel
"Well, I'll start off by saying our stay in Cuba got off to a bad start. The airport security decided we looked supicious (not sure why) and seacrhed our bags and interrogated us for an hour and a half. I was scared we were going to end up in a Cuban jail, so by the time we got to the resort we were VERY relieved and finally felt safe! When we pulled up to the hotel, we were greeted by Cuban dancers and drinks. Check in was GREAT! Instead of having to compete with everyone to go to the check in desk and wait in line, they had envelopes for everyone with thier room keys and all neccesary information. It didn't even take 2 minutes and we were already off to our rooms! The lobby is beautiful and BIG! Very welcoming. Marble floors and nicely designed. When we got to out room (room 322) we were pleasantly surprised. I am usually quite picky and was a bit nervous of what the rooms would be like. They were beautiful. clean and nicely decorated. We had a top floor room with a walk in closet, balcony and living room area. I was very comfortable and enjoyed being there. Now, onto the pool and beach. THe pool is very big and nice looking, but FREEZING cold. I love to swim, but only went in once. Once was enough to let me know how cold it was! Luckily the ocean was so inviting that I prefered to swim there anyways. You could see your own shadow while you were swimming. Clear blue water, white sand, and you could see everything below you. No real fish or anything to look at, but great for swimming around. We went out in a paddle boat as well, and really enjoyed that. The beach was quite busy though, and people were hogging the chairs, so we just layed in the sand. The food is a different story. I know Cuba is not known for good food, but I figure with a buffet there would at least be some variety to keep us happy. I was wrong. My hubby isn't a picky eater and even he was losing weight on this trip. None of the food is lablled so it's a guessing game. My husband would take somehting that he thought was chicken, and it was fish. THe pizza was always good, but they didn't have it every night, and after a few days we got sick of that. You can dine at the restaurants for dinner, and we were impressed with the Italian one and the seafood one. THey definitely KNOW how to make great food, but they just choose not to for the buffet! I wish we could eat at the restaurants all the time. At lunch there were a few choices around the resort. You can get a spit roasted chicken which is very yummy. THey also have a little ice cream snack bar...but it was also a disspointment. There is barely ANY fruit served at any restaurant...only pineapple which is never ripe. It was disspointing because I love going to a tropical location and having lots of fresh, tasty fruit to eat. I was expecting better food for sure, but it didn't ruin our vacaion. The staff was mixed. Some friendly, others rude. I never felt like I needed to tip, but we always did. We left gifts and money for the maid, and one day when we came back to the room there was a man inside. He said he was restocking the mini bar, and left quite fast. He had taken the tip we had left the maid, and he never did restock the mini bar. That made me a bit uncomfortable. I think the other downside to our trip was the rudemess of the guests. I don't know if we are just overly polite, but I could not believe the majority of guests who were rude and demanding of employees. It was actually quite digusting to think of someone so rude. Pushing us out of the way so they could get something. The majority of guests were form Montreal - I would say 90% or so. There were only a few of us from Western Canada. Oh, we went on the Santa Clara trip, which was great. Our guide was Juan Carlos and he was amazing. It was like 4 trips in one. We went on a steam train, to a cigar factory, to Revolution squesre and to Snata Clara main squesr. I would ighly reccomend it! All in all, the resort was nice and had some great qualities. Because of our incident at the airport, I personally will not go back to Cuba and would probably hesitate to reccomend it, but to each her own :-)"
- Travel date: 1st February 2007
"Just returned from Melia Las Dunas. Beautiful preperty. When complete it will be a very large hotel. Heard that the other side not yet complete will have its own pool. Service quite good. Food typical Cuba. Those of us that visit here often know that is not the reason we come to Cuba. The beaches and the hospitality are the reason. The only complaint I have is 1 of a personal nature. The Miss Bikini Las Dunas was a contest in poor taste. The contestants were nothing short of lap dancers and stripper wanna be's. The hotel needs to exersize better judgement in that this is advertised as a family hotel. I am by no means a prude but there were children and older folks around that did not appreciate this means of entertainment. This is not an adults only hotel. On a more positive note the beach was perfect as was the weather. The pool is beautiful as well. As far as other complaints as to the mosquito spray......thats how they keep them away. If you are allergic...then stay in your room till it is done. They do it around the same time every night. Not a biggie in my books. Rooms beautiful as well. My maid could have been a bit better but i'm sure they will weed the bad ones out as they mature. For those that do not yet know it there is another hotel going up with another 1900 rooms as well. Also an airport being built right there so we won't have the 1 1/2 hour bus ride to hotels. It can only get better! All in all I would highly recommend this hotel. I have been to Cuba 7 times and this area is becoming my favorite......happy travelling"
- Travel date: 31st January 2007
Melia Las Dunas is also called
- Melia las Dunas
- melia cayo santa maria
- melia hotel las dunas