Starfish Cayo Santa Maria

Starfish Cayo Santa Maria
3.543.543.543.543.54
3.54 based on 1749 reviews
#20 of 24 hotels The Monarc.ca popularity scale (#1/15) classifies all the hotels of a single destination according to the number of grades received on 5 and the total number of reviews. in Cayo Santa Maria
Rated 3.5 stars
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Great time

, Halifax, NS
2020-03-11
Beach is beautiful!!
Room: Our room was always cleaned, lots of TP, water left daily :)
Food: I did not lose any weight...lol
Grounds: very well kept [Details]
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The strong points
Beach!!
Certified

Not recommended

, Tilbury, ON
2020-02-27
First thing I found not nice was getting off bus and going to washroom and the overwhelming smell of urine in the bathroom and floors having puddles, spouse said it was bad in women's as well and it did not improve at all during the week.

Service - half of the service part of the resort was closed (restaurant / eating areas, food prep areas) but the resort has many rooms on that side of the resort sold out making it difficult to find a table to eat at meal times, so tables are dirty when you get them and not cleaned properly for you - and staff are overworked making them rude and not caring to your concerns. You need to wait for staff to get a drink so this can take anywhere from 30 min to not at all.

There is smoking everywhere in this hotel, pool side, rooms, lobby, bar, coffee area, beach, it is encouraged for sales of cigar and cigarettes.

My keycard to room failed 4 times while there for a week and needed to be reset I suggested key might not be good and was told, no key is good must be something I am doing. It is a long walk to lobby to get key reset, (another building away from rooms)

no hot water- during day, only first thing in morning and in evening - it is like they turn the valve off literally - you turn hot water tap on and nothing comes out - like this entire time there.

My time at hotel it rained for 3 days and would of been nice to get some heat in room, instead of air conditioning only. [Details]
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The strong points
The beach is amazing - white clean sand, clear blue / green waters true to the photo's - only reason to go to this place that I can recommend
The weak points
No hot water during day, Food not good -not enough tables for customers, hard bed (really hard) Ocean view have to walk out on balcony and look left to get this, smoking everywhere, staff not friendly
Certified

Not for Vegans

, Winnipeg, MB
2020-01-31
Our stay was alright. During our welcome meeting with the Sunwing rep, he chased a cockroach and stomped on it in front of all of us, that was kind of a turnoff. The lobby was smoked filled 24-7. I suffered from our room being so smelly from cig. smoke as well, asked if we could change got a hard no twice. Plus our shower leaked as much water out of it as there was water inside.
If I didn't bring my own crackers, nuts, vegan jerky, peanut butter, ketchup, soy sauce and almond milk, I would have been even more hungry than I was all week. I ate white buns, french fries and white rice. This resort is NOT vegan friendly, not even for a couple options. I wasn't even 100% sure if the buns, fries or rice were made with eggs, milk, or butter but I needed to eat something. No one from the kitchen knew what I was asking. I figured there would be vegetables or fruits (that had no animal products added) at least, but nothing. We couldn't even enjoy one a la carte restaurant either.
Got tired of the skunky draft beer after the second day, and had the margaritas but didn't even catch a buzz. Please bring your own mug to use, the amount of plastic this resort goes thru is beyond believable. I would love to see them try to omit using at all.
The cleaning staff for rooms or public areas of the hotel were fabulous. They did an excellent job all the time and were very friendly to speak to. The front desk were less than helpful every time I approached them. Bell hops were very nice.
Tried to get water bottles at least 3-4 times a days, with very little luck. They "were out" of water all the time. Luckily we would hunt down our cleaner and politely ask for one which she seemed to have a few times.
Long wait at lobby for any drinks at any time of day whether it would be for coffee or alcohol.
Beach was nice. Very windy.
7 days was too long to stay at this place.
Will be returning to Varadero. [Details]
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The strong points
White sand beach, cleaners
The weak points
smoky everywhere, few maintenance issues, lack of food choices, lack of different food day to day, boring, windy location
Certified

Some Pros, mostly cons

, Unionville, ON
2020-01-27
I had always seen this resort when searching for Cuban destinations. It was always the cheapest and I know you get what you pay for,but after reading the reviews about how great the beach and the staff was, I decided to take the plunge for me and my 8 year old son for some much needed bonding time.
The beach is beautiful, warm turquoise waters and powdery white sand. Also, the pool is very clean and well maintained. There were always beach chairs to use, you never had to wake up early to reserve them. I also didn't have a problem changing out my beach towels as some other posters have stated. I also really loved that there were complimentary catamaran rides. My son loved it! The evening entertainment was good too. They have shows maybe twice a week in the theatre, but again….getting the info from the staff….good grief….

However....the beach chairs were in great disrepair, the insides were sagging, Dipped in spots and filled with sand. I struggled to get two for me and my son and it was only when I had dusted off on that a staff member showed up to assist with the other. I could have sworn was watching me the whole time before stepping in.

The idea that the staff is AMAZING is BS. The staff often looks very bothered to even exist much less acknowledge YOU unless you make direct eye contact and that isn't always guaranteed. They look like they hate their lives. The bartenders often would have me waiting for ten minutes or more, and worst, guests who SAW me waiting would order ahead of me knowing I hadn't been served and I tipped EVERYONE....at first after about day three of terrible service I kept my money for myself. While I understand Cuba is a Spanish speaking country, when I asked the front desk staff for anything besides a room key reset, they often would just look amongst themselves awkwardly when I would make a request or ask a question…. that was very frustrating. The man who changed my money actually THREW the coins at me and also waited until he had counted ten dollars in dimes before attending to my transaction. TERRIBLE. Another guest told me they had broken a glass in their room and when he reported it the staffs first question was if the glass came from the room or from the bar because if it came from the room he would have to pay for it. They also said they were going to send someone to clean the glass up but never sent anyone. They ended up having to clean the glass ourselves and hope there were no shards on the floor.

One staffer did stand out, her name was Laura Perez, a dancer and entertainer...well loved by all, you could tell, always friendly and made my son feel special by doing his make up on horror night(Tuesday). I also found the gardeners to be nice, they would make me a flower arrangement each day for my hair.

The entire resort is in need of an upgrade on the outside. Many shutters broken and in need of a paint job. I was willing to over look that. Buildings dont get younger. Our room was clean and our chambermaid did a great job and left notes and flowers in our room each day. However, the sheets were often stained ,didn't fit the bed properly, and the pillow smelled musty. My son and another's guests son had a Rash on their faces after a day. My son slept on the couch the last two nights and I took the bed with clean sheets. Tip: if traveling with one child just get the king bed. It might be more comfy but the beds overall are very uncomfortable.

The food...it's Cuba. That is all. Recycled food, watered down coffee in the dining room and I got sick off of the seafood on our last day (I should have known better) Lines for the pasta station, fried rice or grill were very long. You won't starve but you're not gaining weight here. Coffee in the lobby bar is good IF you can get the bartenders to acknowledge your presence.

Wifi worked when it needed to. It only cut out once and was back up by the evening.

If you get a chance go to the market, the pizza is good but takes a very long time. the people are nice and the souvenirs are affordable. It's a good walk past the abandoned portion of the hotel. Creepy and sad at the same time.

This visit definitely soured me on Cuba for a while. I have no problem lowering my expectations, I came for the sun and I got that for 4 days out 7...but I hate bad service with a passion. I definitely will not be returning to this place and I am so glad I didn't have my husband and our younger son with me...he would have been FURIOUS. [Details]
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The strong points
Beach, pool, landscape, water activities
The weak points
Linen cleaniness, customer service, food
Certified

Starfish cayo santa maria

, Etobicoke, ON
2019-04-27
Hotel is great: green, new, clean, not to big and not to small. Service and food worst in my experience. hotel is 2 hours from airport. At buffet no food at all (empty trays (didn't refill), huge line for preparing on your eyes (can stay and wait around 20 mins), food is not taste. I removed my dirty dishes by myself because stuff are just ignoring you if you didn't give them tips or didn't speak Spanish. Excellent beach. Clean room [Details]
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The strong points
Hotel territory
The weak points
Service and food
Certified

Starfish

, Gagetown, NB
2019-04-04
The hotel itself was run down. There was no water in the canal surrounding the hotel and hasn't been for some time. There was a day when we had no running water or electricity. The food was flavourless and cold every day. We had a family of 5 cockroaches move into our room and take up residence before we even moved out! Many days there was either no wine or no beer or no frenchfries or no mojiotos or no coffee! We had the same beach towel for two weeks as there was no replacements! [Details]
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The strong points
The staff was excellent. The beach was lovely.
The weak points
Running out of food items on a regular basis. No towel exchange. No wifi available or if there was, most times there was no connection.
Certified

Great Family Vacation in Starfish

, Halifax, NS
2019-01-19
Nice, Nice, nice! We will come back again! I recommend Starfish! Good money value, amazing family vacation. [Details]
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The strong points
Beach - amazing, crystal clean and warm water Staff - extremely friendly and helpful Food - lots of variety, nice exposition, tasty Room - clean, ocean view (we didn't pay extra for it)
The weak points
Temporary water shortage - hotel staff took care of it immediately very weak Wi-Fi signal
Certified

Just ok... Won't go back

, Pierrefonds, QC
2019-01-04
It's old and not well kept. [Details]
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Certified

Even 2 weeks wasn't long enough

, Toronto, ON
2018-12-30
I had originally went to the Starfish on from November 17 -25/18. It was so hard to leave but I had a plan. As soon as I got home, I booked another week for December 8 - 15. It was so nice but even then, I hated to leave. This has become a second home for me with the beautiful grounds, the beach and of course the friends I've made there. This was my 7th time at the Starfish and I can't wait to go back [Details]
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The strong points
friends, beach, beautiful grounds, pool, eating at the grill
The weak points
The only bad part is leaving
Certified

Starfish just gets better

, Toronto, ON
2018-12-30
This was my 6th time to Starfish. Each time it gets a little better for me. This time I was very happy to see the WIFI had been expanded to many parts of the resort, such as the pool, where in earlier years, it was only available in the lobby. The grounds have not improved because you can't get past perfect. There are many gardeners meticulously grooming the grounds including the beach front. The food is what you might expect in Cuba, it's not great but it is okay A few years earlier, the resort had some problems with hot water supply. During my stay, there was very high pressure and never a shortage of hot water, The shower was excellent. I liked it so much that a booked another vacation the day I got back. I went back on December 8 for another great vacation week [Details]
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The strong points
probably the nicest beach,in Cuba. - the cleanliness of the resort - the pool area with the entertainment team having lots of activities. -most of all, the staff of the starfish. They remember return guests and treat you like a friend
The weak points
distance from the airport. It's a 90 minute bus ride from the airport but during the day, it's like a scenic tour of the real Cuba
Certified

Paradise - Gorgeous view and overall atmosphere

, Toronto, ON
2018-03-19
We were there from Mar 2 - Mar 9, 2018. The resort is large with beautiful lush tropical plants along every lighted walkway. Junior Suite Oceanview on 3rd floor in Building 24 was amazing! Wonderful view and quiet. Rooms are kept very clean and housekeeping staff are very friendly - they will leave you a friendly note introducing themself and everyday they will leave you a creative surprise on your bed made out of towels and fresh flowers. All beach, grill, bar, buffet staff are very friendly and service is great - they work very hard to provide good service to all guests. Make sure you tip them well - they deserve it!! Due to Hurricane Irma buildings 1-10 and surrounding areas were still out of commission however the resort/grounds are big enough that these areas were not missed. Hotel entertainment was fun. Take advantage of excursions....highly recommend Catamaran with dolphin show and Cuban festival in La Estrellas. [Details]
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The strong points
Sun, Sea and Sand are the strongest points in Cuba. Hotel is clean and you will always find decent food to eat. A la carte's are good and a break from buffet.
The weak points
I was disappointed with the hotel manager - he seems to have an attitude about him that is unapproachable and I have witnessed he speaks down to guests. Room was lacking coffee machine and never surfaced after a couple requests at reception.
Certified

Starfish

, Kelowna, BC
2018-03-16
Great staff, food decent, resort needs a little tlc [Details]
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The strong points
Beaches are beautiful
The weak points
Not happy with the upgrade of ocean View! U had to go to the corner of the deck to see the ocean!
Certified

Vacation

, Miramichi, NB
2018-03-10
ok Could be cleaner. [Details]
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The strong points
The beach
The weak points
Cold food.
Certified

3rd time back to Starfish

, Halifax, NS
2018-03-10
Visited this resort in 2012 (before it was the Starfish), again in 2015 and now in 2018.
Overall, still pleased with the quality and value for the price we paid. Resort is still recovering from 2017 hurricane season, so one side was not operational. That side of the beach was the least busy, with easy access to palapas and loungers.
Staff were great, rooms were clean, food was good (yes, it's Cuba so not as spectacular as other places, but we always had lots to eat). A la carte restaurants were not very good-not much different in menus than the buffet. [Details]
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The strong points
Beach is lovely, lots of water sports, resort grounds are well kept with lots of flowers and trees. Great staff who are friendly and helpful.
The weak points
As with many resorts, initial information about resort amenities is spotty at best. A simple map with restaurant schedules is handed to you and not much more. Was difficult to find info about entertainment etc.
Certified

5 Times now and it only gets better

, Toronto, ON
2018-01-14
This was my fifth time at the Starfish and I'm looking forward to my sixth time. It's a 90 minute bus ride from the airport but it is really like a scenic tour. I really enjoy the ride. Once you arrive at the Starfish, you are greeted with a tropical drink and some dancers. The rooms are good and the grounds are very clean. Even when one of the lazy guests leaves garbage on the grass, there is always one of the gardeners not far behind to pick up after them. The housekeeping is also very good. The chambermaids are always friendly and do a very thorough cleaning of the rooms. The beach is really good and is only a 5 minute walk from the pool area. The pool is huge and always very clean, and a good temperature. The food in the a la carte restaurant was really exceptional. For me, the best thing about Starfish is the friendships I have formed with the staff there. I have met many good friends and look forward to the next time I see them [Details]
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The strong points
the friendly staff, and the beach. The beach in Santa maria is probably the best in all of Cuba
The weak points
some little black bugs come out at night because of all of the vegetation there. They can be neutralized by bringing some bug repellant with you
Certified

Good value for the price

, Miramichi, NB
2017-04-24
This hotel was good value for the price we paid. Food was excellent, pools were top notch and always clean. Entertainment staff (Lookea) wqas much to be desired. they really seem to cater to the French speaking people on the resort. Beach was out of this world. Rooms were just OK, a little dated but did the trick. [Details]
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The weak points
It was a very good value for the price we paid. the only complaint I would have is the public washrooms were absolutely disgusting and not very inviting. the toilets and urinals were always broke and in need of repair.
Certified

Wonderful

, Meadow Lake, SK
2017-03-31
I had read the reviews before going and was quite concerned but it was too late to back out. It was the first time I had been at that resort and it was wonderful. Staff was great, cappuccino was awesome and Adrian at the bar outside the buffet made the BEST mojito's ever!!!! The resort was clean, great food, great beach and most of all great people. I love CUBA! Thanks for all you do to make your country great!!! [Details]
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Certified

Great stay overall.

, Chatham, ON
2017-03-29
We really enjoyed our stay here. The food was allright but that was expected. Next time we go we'll just bring more condiments with us. The resort was great. Really beautiful. The pool and beach were great. The staff were great. Our room was very clean and well maintained. We were very impressed and would definitely consider going back. [Details]
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The strong points
Great beach. Great pool. Great staff.
The weak points
Internet access
Certified

Unsanitary conditions

, Chilliwack, BC
2017-03-25
Just don't go there. Was no water 3 times a day for 2 hrs every time. People release themselves in bushes around. Flies fly around and seat on restaurant food. Dirty, dirty [Details]
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The strong points
nice beach
The weak points
All above

No Water Anywhere

, Mitchell, MB
2017-03-20
There was no Water and the General Manager of the Hotel was not being truthful with respect to repairs to the system. We had 4 days of 7 where our ROOM had NO Water. No Shower, no flushing toilets. [Details]
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The strong points
Beach
The weak points
No Functional Plumbing
Certified

AMAZING

, Ottawa, ON
2017-03-19
I was very impressed with this hotel, I had been to another resort on the island 2 years before but it didn't compare to the standards of this one. Daily we would get a fresh coconut on our way to the beach for free and there are 2 beach bars to choose from. The food is average but you'll definitely find something to eat. Breakfast buffet has a omelet and crepe station, lunch can be eaten by the pool or at the buffet and dinner always had a fish and meat grilling station. Without a doubt I will be going back next year to Starfish for another amazing week of fun in the sun. [Details]
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The strong points
The beach, the pool, the lobby and the wonderful staff.
The weak points
Unfortunately the coffee tastes like hot water, it's so watered down and the cappuccino machine breaks daily:(

Terrible time

, Vancouver, BC
2017-03-19
plates are not washed and the stuff would lie to make u feel crazy about the no water and its not recommended for shopping [Details]
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Disappointment

, Niagara Falls, ON
2017-03-12
Upon arrival to room, bathroom floor covered in shampoo and shower gel from leaking dispenser. Later in evening bathroom floor flooded by water leak. No water for 5 1/2 of 7 day vacation. Had to bring water from pool to bath and flush toilets. Public toilets were closed majority of times. [Details]
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The strong points
Grounds, landscaping, gardens were well kept.Pool area was very nice and beach is excellent.
The weak points
Accommodation buildings running down. Paint and plaster issues. Plumbing issues. NO water in resort for most of the week.
Certified

Water Problems

, Burlington, ON
2017-03-11
There is a huge problem with the water supply. It is intermittently available, so showers or toilets cannot be used for long periods of time in the rooms. Toilets around the resort are locked and unavailable as well. I understand this is being corrected but until then this situation is unacceptable. Otherwise the resort is fantastic! [Details]
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The strong points
The employees try to be very helpful and the rooms and hotel are wonderful. The grounds are vey well maintained.
The weak points
The water situation must be improved-no water and locked hotel toilets are unacceptable.
Certified

Beautiful beach

, Niagara Falls, ON
2017-02-23
Great beach, beautiful grounds, nice room,A/C worked ,lots of hot water.Those are the pros
Cons-Same food choices for 7 days,and usually same choices for lunch and dinner. Dried out burgers,mush for pasta,only had greens on salad bar 2x. Had really tasty battered fish once ,never saw it again. Ala carte Italian/ Cuban , pork medallions were inedible- bunrt ,tasteless. I could go on.
Service was non exsistant , in Buffett ,lots of staff doing everything but helping/servicing guests. Cooks at most stations just trying to keep up ,cooking up fatty gristly pork. Omelette and crepe stations were great but slow due to guests getting platefuls.
I've been to smaller and bigger resorts in different parts of Cuba, 3 and 4 stars,food and service seems to be very hit and miss,Starfish is certainly a miss. Be for warned, for same or slightly more money there are other choices. [Details]
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The strong points
Beach,beach,beach
The weak points
Horrid food and very poor service

Great relaxing vacation

, Edmonton, AB
2017-01-07
Beautiful grounds, clean and nice hotel, excellent service [Details]
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The strong points
Beach, hotel layout, clean, quiet
The weak points
Only 1 tennis court, no pool table, too many mosquitoes/black flies
Certified

Great for a quick escape

, Delta , BC
2016-12-17
The staff and service are excellent. The grounds and facility are immaculate, with lots of lush tropical plants. The beach is the nicest on the whole Cayo Santa Maria strip. The food is good, with large variety of choices. Lobster is also available for a fee. [Details]
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The strong points
Very clean resort. Nice lobby bar with good nightly entertainment
The weak points
Water pressure is weak..the public washrooms could use an update.
Certified

The beach will take your breath away!!!

, Montreal, QC
2016-05-18
It is important to note that my priorities for a all inclusive are the beach,
the cleanliness and the friendliness of the staff.
I was absolutely charmed by the beauty of the Hotel location.
Starfish is surrounded by a beautiful vegetation and everything is kept clean and well maintained.
The staff was absolutely wonderful. I went with a friend and when came time to say goodbye, we were more emotionnal than we ever thought we would be.
Jailen Abreus at the grill simply goes above and beyong to make you feel confortable and happy.
Ania at the buffet becomes the mom you left at home! Always happy and welcoming.
Lester from the animation team is simply hilarious! Always making jokes and assuring you have a fun time.

The beach is simply amazing. There are no words to describe it - YOU HAVE TO SEE FOR YOURSELF!!!

As for some complaints I read about the bathrooms, all I have to say is, most of the out of order bathrooms were in that state due to people with no manners. Obviously if you start clogging the toilettes, don't expect it to be usable.

The whole hotel was clean and neat at all times.

Has for the food, as long as you're not too picky and aren't expecting canadian/quebec tastes you will find something that suits your tastes.
Don't expect things to be like home when you are in a foreigh country. If you expect everything to be the same, save yourself some money and stay home!

It was my fist time at Starfish, but it certainly won't be the last!

Amo Cuba e me extrana Starfish!
Saludos e besitos a todo el equipo del hotel!

Hasta pronto, si Dios lo permite! [Details]
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Relaxing vacation

, Lower Sackville, NS
2016-04-30
The staff were all amazing. All so very friendly and appreciative. Excellent entertainment in the lobby every evening and theatre shows as well. Entertainment team by the beach everyday as well as by the pool encouraging guests to be involved.. From fun and games to learning to dance. Food options were plentiful, maybe not always the most appetizing but you could usually find something to eat.

You can't beat the beach, most amazingly beautiful crystal blue water, with water activities free of charge...hobbies cats, peddle boats, kayaks.
The staff work hard and really appreciate any gifts you give them as well as gratuities [Details]
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  • Location
  • Bathroom
  • Staff / Crew
  • Cleanliness
  • Food & Restaurants
The strong points
Beach, staff, pool area
The weak points
Food was tolerable but not great
Certified

Worst experience ever

, Pierrefonds, QC
2016-04-17
The food was not warm, half of the toilets were broken, toilets dirty,
Dried dirty towels on balcony and placed back in bathroom. Did not bring new ones.
Bathroom at the beach disgusting and dirty.

Will never return [Details]
  • Room
  • Quality - Price
  • Front desk & Reception
  • Beaches
  • Location
  • Bathroom
  • Staff / Crew
  • Cleanliness
  • Food & Restaurants
The strong points
none
The weak points
food, toilets, towels, cleanliness

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