Dhawa Cayo Santa Maria Says thank You Irma
Hurrican Irma may have hit Cuba and devastated parts of the Island nation such as Cayo Coco yet other popular tourist destinations in the country came through relatively unscathed. I recently stayed at the Dhawa Cayo Santa Maria and while Cayo Santa Maria was affected by the hurricane the damage was much less here than at its neighbouring Cayo. All the Dhawa Hotel needed was a little TLC and a fresh landscaping plan. It was great time to do a few upgrades that have long been planned and once again there is a silver lining in the hurricane clouds. Welcome to the refreshed and rejuvenated Dhawa Cayo Santa Maria.
Cayo Santa Maria has a variety of all-inclusive resorts to choose from. I’ve chosen to stay at the Dhawa as it is the first hotel of the brand to open in the Americas. A mid-range price point with four-star service and amenities. Perfect for a relaxing week away from the stress of daily life.
The property design is very open with plenty of spaces to gather with friends and family or to sneak away by yourself. The pictured lobby above is a taste of what you can expect.
After a quick and painless check in at the registration desk, I have been booked into bungalow #9 which has ocean and lagoon views depending on your room placement. While it isn’t a long walk to the bungalow I certainly appreciate a ride in a golf cart with my luggage by the front desk staff.
Here is a tour of my room including a view out towards the ocean. The WiFi is strong and the air conditioning is on point so I won’t have any problems posting pictures of the view or sleeping at night.
You don’t go on vacation to spend all day in your hotel room, and I don’t either. If you plan on spending your days at the resort and not experiencing any day excursions there is plenty to keep you occupied. All you have to do is check with the activity staff located near the pool for a full list of on-site activities available.
- Beach: ½ a mile of crystal clear Caribbean waters and fine white sand
- Two adult swimming pools and two kids’ pools
- Sun loungers and parasols by the pool and beach with towel service
- Fitness centre, two tennis courts and a basketball court
- Entertainment with traditional folklore programs and live artistic performances
- Kids Activity Program: Games Room and Kids Club
- Beach and Pool Activities
- Aqua-aerobics, dance class, beach volleyball, kayaking, and hobby cat sailing
- Table games (Overseen by professional staff)
During my visit, I spend a bit more time in the pool than at the beach as it is getting a refresh and an expansion. I expect by the time you visit the beach will have doubled in size.
Of course, you expect to eat well during your stay Dhawa Cayo Santa Maria and I guarantee you won’t leave hungry. As with many all-inclusive, resorts there is a buffet restaurant that serves up a little of this and a little of that for all three main meals. I appreciate the egg grill during breakfast where I can order my eggs cooked the way I like them. Will it be fried or an omelette today?
If you tire of the buffet make sure to book a reservation at one of the three a la carte dining restaurants. You have a choice between Italian, French, and a Cuban focused menu that specializes in seafood and steaks. During my stay, I sampled both the Italian and French restaurants and was very pleased.
There is a 24-hour snack bar to handle any midnight cravings you may have and the lobby has a bar and lounge for pre and post-dinner drinks. I spent a bit of time here I won’t lie.
Activities Off The Resort
If you are looking to enjoy and experience Cuba beyond the property lines of the Dhawa Cayo Santa Maria there is plenty for you to choose from.
One of the activities I enjoyed was speed boating through the Mangroves and into a bit of open water. We were to have finished the excursion with a snorkelling adventure but we got caught in a tropical downpour which made the snorkelling not possible. All in all a really fun morning though. Especially if you love speed. These boats are unsinkable so you don’t need to be an expert. If I can do it so can you.
One thing I haven’t shared with you is how amazingly friendly all the staff is at the Dhawa Cayo Santa Maria. I was on the hunt for a local rum which they had run out of. I gave up the search but they didn’t. While I was sitting down for dinner guess what I was presented with? The rum I had been searching for. Now when I sip the Santiago de Cuba 11-year-old rum all my memories are of my stay at the Dhawa.
I hope your stay is as enjoyable as mine was.