All in all I enjoyed my stay at the Melia…but only because I spent most of my time OFF the resort exploring the island. Please see the rest of my review for details.
Arrival: The 1.5 hour drive to the resort was great, but check-in itself was terrible. My bus arrived at about 6, or 7 pm and only one person was at the reception counter to check everyone in. So for about an hour everyone had to loiter around in the open-air room being eaten alive my mosquitoes. I was also forced to carry my own bag because they did not have enough bellboys. Departure was even worse. they insist on you checking out at noon regardless of when your flight is. And if you want to stay in your room longer, you need to pay 7 pesos an hour. My flight was not until 9, and the bus did not leave the resort until 5…none the less, they kicked us all out of our rooms to loiter around doing nothing until the bus came…and the bus was an hour late.
We found out at the airport that there had been NO good reason AT ALL for us to be kicked out of our rooms so early. The next group of tourists did not land until 9 pm.
Rooms: My room was nice, and large. It had a private balcony that overlooked the forest. It also had hot water. The water pressure however, was terrible. It was so bad that the water from the shower head would just drop straight down to the side of the tub and from there dribble all over the bathroom floor. You would need an extra towel to mop the floor when you were done. Judging from the water damage on the bottom of the bathroom door, this is not a new problem. I also noticed my bedsheets were not clean. I found spots of what looked like blood on my sheets.
The maid liked to keep my room ice cold. Every time she would clean the room, she would change the temperature to 16oC. I would turn it off almost immediately…but low and behold, the next time she cleaned my room…16oC.
Restaurants and Bars: The food is terrible. I saw roaches in the buffet, cooks using the same tongs for both raw meat and for fruit. The same tongs used for seafood vs non-seafood dishes. The local beer did terrible things to your stomach. I saw dishes of food swarming with flies, and birds eating straight from customers plates before said plates were handed to the customers. As an example of the lovely food they served….a tuna sandwhich. Imagine a bun, dripping with liquid grey paste. THIS is what the Melia thinks a tuna sandwhich is. I also noticed other reviews on tripadvisor from people who arrived in Cuba the day I left – things only got worse after I left. They were complaining about full blown food poisoning and disgusting bathrooms.
They claimed the water served with dinners and at the bars was safe. It was most certainly NOT fine. I ended up sick with diarrhea, and terrible painful stomach cramps. As did many other visitors.
Beach/Pools/Grounds: The beach is beautiful, can’t argue that. It was also not crowded, I had no trouble finding a chair. However I can argue the safety. Every time I was at beach I would sit next to one of the lifeguard chairs. 9 times out of 10, there was nobody in it. They also used the flag system for swimming safety. Green means safe, white means swim with caution, red means stay out of the water. Every day except one was a white-flag day. The other was a red-flag day. There were people, kids in the water and the lifeguard did nothing to enforce the ‘stay out of the water’ rule.
The landscaping is also nice. However there are a LOT of cats on the grounds. This makes me suspect they have a rodent problem. The introduction of the cats seems to be somewhat recent too – only the female is socialized and likes people. All the males, and all the kittens are feral. And there is only one litter of kittens and no other adult cats. So I would assume they cats were let loose within a couple months on my review – however old the kittens are.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel: This may be due to the fact that I visited the resort during the off season…but there is NOTHING to do. AT ALL. The entertainment during meals was great – they would have a group of people walking to tables playing songs, and doing requests- and they were good and clearly enjoyed what they were doing. However other than that…? The evening shows were all directed toward kids. They have a piano bar- but I never ONCE saw the cover come off that piano. They have a building with a wall covered in scheduled activities (archery, salsa, etc) however none of these things actually seemed to happen. I thought I was just missing them, as I DID once see someone wandering around with archery equipment… but after talking to other people at the resort- they confirmed what I had found. There was NOTHING to do. They do have outings. However the lowest price of which was 70 pesos. It only goes up from there, to over 200. I did not go on any of the outings, as I was on a budget, and was ill too often to want to risk it.
All in all, don’t bother with this resort.