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Reviewed 5 April 2018

This review should really be left in two parts: one before their inspection and one post-inspection.

This was our 4th trip to Cuba and the first four days were below average to average for Cuba. On our 5th day it was like we woke up in a new resort; it was excellent (for Cuba). We were told that the hotel chain had sent Management for an inspection on the 5th day. I would suspect that the true Golden Tulip experience was the first half of the trip and that is how I will leave my review.

Pros:
-beautiful beach and ocean
-clean resort
-tasty food
-AC in room worked well
-lots of room at pool and beach

Cons:
-one buffet for entire resort = treacherous lines
-empty food trays in buffet, 20 minute wait for eggs everyday
-no paper towel in public washrooms (they would put two rolls of toilet paper in the machine and this would leave tiny pieces of paper on every ones hands)
-no disco/night life
-wifi very spotty, didn't work for half of trip
-no French fries
-no salad dressing or vinegar
-our maid opened packages of candy on two separate days and stole chocolate bars (our friends in same building had a pen stolen from their notebook) minor laughable stuff but still...just ask...

Post-inspection: (INSTANT changes)
-real paper towels in paper towel dispenser in washrooms
-table cloths
-twice the selection at buffet (including extra workers carving cheese etc.)
-less empty trays on buffet morning and night
-toilet paper in washrooms
-fries and ketchup suddenly available

Overall I would not go back to Golden Tulip, unless it were significantly cheaper than others in the area. It was my least favorite trip to Cuba though it was still very beautiful and relaxing. Even a less than average trip is still fun!

Room Tip: bring salad dressing and salt
  • Stayed: March 2018, travelled as a couple
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank BubbaCAN
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Nabil2016, Director de Relaciones Públicas at Golden Tulip Aguas Claras, responded to this reviewResponded 7 April 2018

Dear BubbaCAN

Many thanks for your comments of our Resort, We really appreciate the time that you have dedicated to write some words about our installation. We continuously strive to meet our client's expectations and our main goal is your satisfaction; therefore, your opinion is very important and really significant for us. You can rest assured that your remarks will be taken into consideration and we will do our best to improve in the points by you indicated.
Thanks a lot for your detailed review of our destination. We need more opinions like you have done; your words will be a guide for us, to improve our standards and our quality of services. We appreciate all the suggestions you wrote in your comments, we are going to take all the necessary measures to avoid the recurrence of these points you mentioned. Even your points of views will serve as a guide to other customers during their visit to our Resort, helping them to find some services.

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Reviewed 5 April 2018 via mobile

Lets start by saying this was our third visit to CSM, first two times being to Starfish. We have also been to Mexico, but are in no way world travelers.
The pro's:
- cold drinks
- great staff
- clean rooms
-met great people
-cold drinks
-amazing pools
-amazing beaches
-AMAZING pizza shack behind building 8

Con's:
- a la cartes were worse than buffet, lots of menu items were not available even when we were the first group of the day to be seated.
-repetitive food items in buffet
- many items not labelled leaving it hard with food allergies
-under cooked items often served, got sick on our third day after eating at "Romantico" a la carte

Overall our trip was good, we met some great new friends, and relaxed which was our ultimate reason for going on vacation .
Would I recommend to a friend? If they were used to Cuba, and able to roll with the punches of waiting for food, and prepare by taking ducoral to avoid TD, yes.
Not used to Cuba, maybe not.
Will we return? Probably not, but we will cherish the memories and friendships that started here.

Stayed: March 2018, travelled as a couple
1  Thank Jessikah L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Nabil2016, Director de Relaciones Públicas at Golden Tulip Aguas Claras, responded to this reviewResponded 7 April 2018

Dear Jessikah L

The comments of our clients are the pivot to toward our quality of service, thanks of your opinion we can solve our troubles and failures and we can increase our stronger points. Its positive and negative feedback will help us to improve our weaknesses and to increase the quality of our services. Your opinions are really detailed and useful for our daily work, we thanks for your suggestions in all the places you have mentioned.
You can rest assured that your remarks will be taken into consideration and we will do our best to improve in the points by you indicated.
Finally, it would be an honor for us if they give us a new opportunity to demonstrate the quality of the services and staff of our hotel.

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Reviewed 3 April 2018 via mobile

we had a great time at the golden tulip- until my daughter got sick. I think it's important to mention that they do not have a doctor or clinic at this resort. definitely something that every family friendly resort should offer. when my daughter fell ill, my only options were to travel by taxi to a clinic off the resort or wait until we got home. we waited. that ruined our last 3 days of vacation. it's a cute resort, very well kept grounds with amazing pools. the beach is awesome. the buffet food was terrible, the flow in the buffet was non existent (rude people, not the fault of the resort). I will definitely return without my children, but never again with them, unless they bring a doctor there.

Stayed: March 2018, travelled with family
Thank eamd1987
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Nabil2016, Director de Relaciones Públicas at Golden Tulip Aguas Claras, responded to this reviewResponded 6 April 2018


Dear eamd1987
Thank you very much for your review of our hotel, we really appreciate every point you mentioned in your opinion. Its positive and negative feedback will help us to improve our weaknesses and to increase the quality of our services. We feel appreciated for your opinion, be for sure that every word of the customer is very important to us. You are the reason for our work, your satisfaction is our goal and your desire to visit us once more our greatest achievement.

Thank you very much for choosing us.

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Reviewed 2 April 2018

I traveled in a group of four to the Golden Tulip from March 17-24th. This is my second trip to Cuba but my first time to Cayo Santa Maria. The resort is very well priced in comparison to how much we paid for a similar resort in Varadero. It is a quiet resort so if you are looking for a party, I suggest going elsewhere. Here are some of the highlights:

Beach – The beach is very long and picturesque. The white sand stretches out very far into the ocean and was very safe for swimming, even for small children. Most of the days that we were there the water was calm but on windy days it can be quite wavy. We could have gone in for a swim on the windy days but didn’t want to try to stand in the crashing waves even though there were other people swimming. There are plenty of loungers available but the palapas were scarce. The employees were hard a work building more but it is a slow process. We were getting up at 5:45am to get a spot in the shade. When you walk down in the early morning there is always an employee there to help you put out a lounger. We always gave him a small tip for his service. There are some fish to see if you bring your snorkel. We even had a ray swim by us! There is an opportunity for snorkeling further down but it was too wavy the days that we went to try. The sand is made up primarily of crushed seashells so the sand is grainy and filled with shells. You do not need shoes to walk on the beach bu take your time so that you don't step on a shell the wrong way! There are two beach bars close by for drinks. I recommend bringing a travel mug to save yourself a lot of trips!

Room – We stayed in a garden view junior suite in Building 11. Our view of the ocean was minimal and the view from the patio looked out into overgrown trees and shrubs but we didn’t mind because we don’t spend any time on the patio. The room was comfortable and very clean. Our maid was excellent. She left towel art and we had clean towels each day. The mini fridge was restocked daily and if we needed more bottled water the gentleman who restocked the fridge was very accommodating. This building was quite loud as it is right next to the theater. We always went to the show so it didn’t bother us. There is Wi-Fi in this building which worked most of the time except it was hard to get connected at peak times.

Food – The buffet had many choices and we were very satisfied with what was offered. The food was always hot and fresh. The food was not our typical diet but if you go with an open mind, you won’t be disappointed! There was an omelet, pancake and doughnut making station for breakfast and meat and pasta stations for dinner. There needs to be more people at the food stations to reduce the amount of time that one has to wait in line. The lines at the stations were long at times but well worth the wait. The desserts were delicious! We tried the Cuban and International à la cartes but we preferred the buffet. I wish that the buffet was open later in the morning for breakfast so we could have slept in later. The hut on the right hand side of the beach makes pizza starting at 1 pm and they are delicious!

Entertainment – We really enjoyed the theater shows! The costumes were great and the dancers were very talented. We took the time to go down to the La Estrella market and bought a few paintings and trinkets. We took a taxi for 2 CUC per person and it was well worth it rather than waiting for the bus. We also did the Jeep tour which I would highly recommend.

Grounds – The grounds were very well kept and there were many flowery shrubs that were great for picture taking. There were some semi-feral cats and kittens around and a few geckos but not much for wildlife. Everything was within a short walking distance and it couldn’t take more than 10 minutes at a leisurely pace to get from one end of the resort to the other.

Shuttle - The shuttle from the airport had a guide that gave you some history and pointed out some of the landmarks on the way to and from the hotel which was nice. Yes, it is about 1.5 hours from the airport to the hotel but we enjoyed seeing the scenery and the towns as we drove through. The seats were comfortable and you could buy beer on the bus, two for $5 CDN!

Service – The service at the resort was excellent. We often sat in the same section at the buffet because the servers get to know you and we really enjoyed chatting with them. There were times during the peak times that we had trouble finding a clean table to eat but the servers were doing their best to keep up with the rush. Please make sure to leave a small tip of 1-2 CUC as the employees make a very small wage and really appreciate the tip. The service at the bars and lounge area was also excellent and we always had full drinks. The Wi-Fi is 1 CUC per hour and isn’t the best but you can get connected enough to check your emails and stuff. Don’t expect great service at peak times. We had trouble getting towels the first and second day because there was a problem with the washing service. It wasn’t until the third day that we received our beach towels but we just used the towels in the room until we got them which was fine. The towel hut was open the res of the days. Don’t turn in your towels until you know you can get a fresh one of you may be left without one! Check-in and check-out was a breeze and the staff spoke very good English at the front desk if you had any questions.

Pools – Although we are more beach people and didn’t go in the pools at all, they seemed very nice. They looked very clean and well maintained. The main pool overlooked the ocean and had lots of loungers. The kids pool seemed very quiet and relaxing.

Airport – The security is VERY slow upon arrival. Expect to wait in lines for up to 1.5 hours from the time you get off the plane to the time you get past security and out to the bus. It was the same in Varadero so we knew what to expect. It was much faster getting through on the way home. You can exchange your money at the airport for CUC. There is a fast food restaurant there when you are leaving. You can buy cigars and rum but there is not as much selection as there is at the hotel. The cigars at the airport are not kept in a humidor so if you are looking for the best quality, buy at the hotel.

We had a wonderful time at the resort and we would definitely return! Thank you for the wonderful service!

  • Stayed: March 2018, travelled with family
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
5  Thank ponyrider13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Nabil2016, Director de Relaciones Públicas at Golden Tulip Aguas Claras, responded to this reviewResponded 4 April 2018

Dear ponyrider13
Many thanks for your comments of our Resort, We really appreciate the time that you have dedicated to write some words about our installation. We continuously strive to meet our client's expectations and our main goal is your satisfaction; therefore, your opinion is very important and really significant for us. You can rest assured that your remarks will be taken into consideration and we will do our best to improve in the points by you indicated.
I would like you to know that in Cayo Santa María, our guests are the most important aspect, the pivot point of our activity and towards whom we address our constant efforts, aiming at providing our guests a fully enjoyable stay.
Thanks a lot.
We are going to send your greetings to the employees that you mentioned.

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Reviewed 2 April 2018 via mobile

I always make note that you have to have reasonable expectations when traveling to Cuba and if you understand the situation of the country then you should have a great time.We stayed here the week after March break for 6 days on a sunwing package. Fourth time to Cuba first time in Santa Maria. it was a last minute decision and I did minimal research but this resort came up in the top of my searches and at a decent price with at least 4.5stars.

FOOD- My families main complaint is always food as my children are not adventurous eaters, my husband will eat any kind of meat and I always manage to find something to get by. We ate as well as we did in Dominican last year which was suprising however everyone says they trade the 1.5hr bus ride from the airport for better food and I would agree that for some reason the food is better than varadero, keeping in mind you don't go to Cuba for food you go for the people and beaches. They had donuts, omelets, "Cuban fruit loops", fruit, toast with jam,PB, honey, meats, yogurt etc. It's mainly imported from Spain and it tastes different but it was fine and a lot of selection. If you went at the end of breakfast time was there less choice yes but I don't think thats unique to Cuba. We only found out on the last day that we were always entering through the side door not the main doors and that there was a whole other side of the restaurant with more seating and food choices. We ate lunch mainly at the beach buffet which had a lot of choices, bbq hot dogs, hamburgers(sometimes), chicken, pork etc. Salads, pasta, French fries 3/4 of the time, rice, soup, and most notably the desserts were much better especially the brownies. The snack bar which was open 24hrs was menu service which had only some items, kids had a delicious chicken sandwich on first day which we could never find again, pizza only 2 days and a buffet lunch on the other days during lunch time. At all the buffets they were quick to replace empty food and didn't really have any issues. French fries at the snack bar always which made kids happy, but prefer the consistency of beach buffet. The food was repetitive with some variations but I don't know what people expect here. They have an elaborate drink menu for adults and kids which was nice as in past I have never had one in Cuba, as always cappuccinos always delicious. We did not take advantage of a la carte but you are guaranteed 2 of the 3 and they always seemed open and lines weren't that long.

ROOM- we were in building 19 3rd floor and we paid for gardenview but got a room with garden, pool, ocean view, we had three beds for the four of us, bathroom was nice, great water pressure, flat screen TV, with several English channels, lots of space, great mini fridge where the same friendly staff came each evening asking what we would like in our fridge. You could brush your teeth with the water, lots of storage.
BEACH/POOL/ENTERTAINMENT- beaches gorgeous, working to rebuild shade canopies but we make one out of extra chairs, lots of space, bar waiter on beach, water sports available and great snorkeling in some parts. 2 pools one with kids pools with water features and the second main pool had 3 levels shallow areas nice for kids with swim up bar for us, great lounge chairs with canopies we usually only see in vip areas. Towels always available and u can trade as often as you like. The animation team had scheduled events but not all day long, not aggressively grabbing you out of your lawn chair and no blasting music all day long was very peaceful and opposite of every other Cuba experience. We played tennis and borrowed raquets which you get for the whole day and find in the gym. Should note that there were a lot of families especially those with young children and babies, other families without but this was a very tame group of resort guests, not at all a party resort. They had mini disco for kids, shows in evening (dance,magic etc), only saw a couple which were decent but I have seen better. Nice lobby bar area. Wifi in lobby, buy a card from the office $1/1hr my husband had to check workemails and it took a long time to load the weeks worth of them but the next day no problem so it is unreliable as they said. Bank at resort similar usd exchange rate.
Misc. This island hosts 16 resorts, doctor office and 3 markets, water sports dock that's it, nobody lives here. It's a distance to do tours but they offered a
handful. You can take the bus to markets for $2 cuc each way or a cab for about $5 cuc (ask the driver when u get in) we did not make it off resort but
people spoke about the pizza shop and bowling alley which is a nice break from beaches. On our last day we got to pay $10/hr to keep our room later since our bus pick up was 5:30pm and they don't offer unless u ask and only if someone isn't waiting for your room. They let you keep your towels and offer a shower room. The airport is small and offers limited food choices I recommend bringing some snacks from home if u have late flight as we did with resort pick up at 5:30 for flight at 10:30pm and purchase a wifi card at resort you can use in airport as I don't know if u
can purchase them at airport. Great family resort experience!

Stayed: March 2018, travelled with family
5  Thank L C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Nabil2016, Director de Relaciones Públicas at Golden Tulip Aguas Claras, responded to this reviewResponded 3 April 2018

Dear L C
We truly appreciate your comments about our Resort. We feel really thankful for the time that you have dedicated to write some words about our installation. Every detail that you mentioned in your opinion is a guide for our improvements. The comments of our clients are the pivot to toward our quality of service, thanks of your opinion we can solve our troubles and failures and we can increase our stronger points.We need more opinions like you have done; your words will be a guide for us, to improve our standards and our quality of services. We appreciate all the suggestions you wrote in your comments, we are going to take all the necessary measures to avoid the recurrence of these points you mentioned. Even your points of views will serve as a guide to other customers during their visit to our Resort, helping them to find some services.

Many thanks for your time and your opinion and hoping to see you again.

Report response as inappropriate
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