Barcelo Cayo Santa Maria
DO NOT GET MARRIED HERE!!!
This is now a memories resort and -
I read all the reviews on tripadvisor before going here to get married, so I went with an open mind. The resort was ok. We had no problems with the resort itself.
The wedding service was absolutely awful. I paid for services that I flat out did not receive, such as a cocktail reception after the ceremony, that did not take place, and a coffee and rum set up after dinner, that upon arrival, I was told they did not offer this service. It is actually against the law in Canada (where I paid for the service) to take someone's money and not provide the service as described. To top it off, I ended my wedding night in tears after one of the servers thought it would be funny to chase me around spraying me with sparkling wine. I am so TOTALLY HORRIFIED by this experience, let alone on MY WEDDING NIGHT in an expensive dress that I spent countless hours designing myself and consequently slipped and slid across the floor in, in front of all of my guests, while trying to escape this ATTACK. I mean, who in their right mind would do this to the bride? The person who spent hundreds of hours planning and coordinating and thousands of dollars to celebrate a monumental event. It was seriously screwed up! And no staff (Canadian or Cuban) even seemed to care!!!!
Claudia, the wedding coordinator tried to deter me from complaining when I got back to Canada, guilt tripping me that Evelyn, the server who ruined my wedding night by violating me, might get fired. She probably should have thought about that before relentlessly chasing down a bride mortifying her and having her leave, drenched, hair and makeup ruined, dress dirty from the floor on her FRIGGING wedding night. I am not exaggerating. She literally chased me around the entire room. My friends said they have never seen me move so fast. I am an athletic down to earth girl. I grew up on the west cost jogging and mountain biking in the rain. BUT I wanted my wedding night to be special (as I am sure most brides do?) and now all I have is bad memories and a fight ahead of me to get my money back.
When contacting the wedding people in Canada, I did not even get a crummy apology for this. Now, despite consumer protection laws being broken, I am fighting to get my money back for services I did not receive, because even though I paid in Canada, the Canadian people can't confirm if the services were rendered. My mother has escalated the situation to involve sunwing. We will see what transpires.
bottom line is JUST GET MARRIED IN MEXICO LIKE EVERYONE ELSE!!!!!
Barcelo - future grand resort
First day, electricity was out until the next morning. Cold water also. Afterwards, it was fine. Maids were very detailed and made our room with accuracy. Even leaving soap, candy, razors, notebooks, they made us a towl display (swan). However, our room lack water pressure when taking a shower and inconsistency in water temperature. Bungalow 10 - 8 were prob the best. We had 940 2nd floor and we had an ocean view just barely over the hedges.
Air con was present and set on auto. If you're a techy, you can make it colder. TV was satellite and only had a few english channels, rest spanish. During lightning storms, no signal.
There is a little fridge always stocked with a 1.5L bottle water, 1 cuban coke, 1 cuban sprite, and 2 beers. Don't buy the water at the store it's a rip at $2.40cuc. Just ask the room service to replenish it and tip them if you want.
There's a safe and easy to use.
Food service was ok and varied from server to server. Near closing, they seemed to be more concerned on resetting the tables than serving you. It's was ok, I self served wine a few times.
à la carte restaurant made flavourfull meals and I highly recommend making reservations for it. Just be on time cause we were 30 mins late and the host lectured us.... The buffet restaurant was ok. If you're picky, stay home. Coffee bar/lobby bar was for more of the older crowd but still enjoyable by everyone. Cuban coffee is the best ever tasted.
The beach bar was at the entrance of the beach so you need to do a bit of walking if you got a far beach chair. Beach was beautiful and had fine white sand. No coral, just a few small shells on the beach. I had fun feeding the small fish that swam around the shallow waters. I heard there was a barracuda sighting but it was in a far far distance and it was rare to even seeing one... Nothing else exciting in the waters but I didn't have goggles on so better off not knowing.. haha
I had no clue where the Disco was or if it even existed.
A bartender at the pool bar was very nice to us and made effort in getting to know us. Service was prompt cause there were under 15 people at the pool. We went during low season June 13-20/ 09. We didn't use the jacuzzi.
Business center, no clue where that was but the international phone was a rip off ! $2.05cuc per minute. Internet was $6cuc for 30 mins. oh my...
Theater shows were sucky.... went 2/3 and they were cheezy skits. 1 was pretty good where they had dancers and got the audience of under 20 involved. Sometimes under 10 were there. Hey at least the bar service was prompt. haha
Excursions: we went on 2 with Gaviota tours. 1 to Santa Clara/Remedios $65cuc where u visit a small town of Remedios by a steam train. At this place, we used the free time to buy a 1.5L of cold water for 0.89cuc and Rum ranging from $3.95cuc +. It was a larger grocery store umm a block away from the square, might be in Santa Clara, I forgot. Next, visited Camajuani and visited a cigar factory. Very interesting how they make them. After had lunch and visted Che monument. Very grand. Afterwards, visited the armoured train museum.
The other tour we took was to Havana overnight by bus $159 with no tropicana show or it would of costed 219cuc. Bus ride was a bit long, took about 6hrs to get there. The tour was mostly walking and looking at structures. A bit of rush rush walking so you need to be fast with your snap shots. We stayed at the Occidental Miramar, Havana which was nice.. a tiny bit nicer than the barcelo. That night, visited the cannon ceremony and visited the hotel nacional de cuba where stars stayed at. Only had a drink and went back to the hotel. Kinda ended off quietly... so no partying here... Next day, visited old havana which was very colonial style in the something century.. This is where you get the usual tourist beggers trying to lure you in taking a picture with them, sorry been there and done that elsewhere. But if you like taking a picture with an old lady with a long cigar, go for it cause it's funny. During the spare time, we skipped out on the flea market and walked back into the tourist spot and found one of the cafes to hang out.. We reallly loved the cafes, cause they're cheap and you don't get hasseled in there. Had 2 mojitos, 2 ham sandwiches, 1 cappuccino and it costed under $9.00cuc. Can't go wrong when trying something out eh? The flea market was pretty large with lots of crafts and drawings. Typical souvenir costed $2 or so... also, you can practice your barganing skills. The retailers were pleasant.
Afterwards, lunch then another gruelling 6hrs back to the resort.
If you're on a budget, skip out on the Santa Clara one cause you still have to travel through the same towns on the way to Havana, and the guide may give some info on the way. We had a guide named Victor, who spoke Italian, cool eh ?
Insects: One major thing you'll notice at the Barcelo is that there's always crickets chirping, like loud ! It sounds like millions chirping at the same time and they do this pretty much the whole day... But oddly, you hardly notice them when you're eating or in your room. They're only reside ? in the hedges which are between the buildings.
Another odd thing was bug bites, they were inevitable. I saw mosquitos a few times and sprayed "off" when going out at night. But the next day, I always found a bite on my body. Ankle, back, finger, arm, I had no clue how they got there...
Overall, Barcelo was cool cause it wasn't full capacity. It has its ups and downs and I'm just glad we weren't there during the peak times sept? - jan or else we would of been lining up for everything.
Unique Quality: Beautiful beach but lacks marine activities.
Family oriented hotel.
Directions: 90 minutes from International Airport of Santa Clara
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