Sanctuary At Grand Memories Santa Maria

3.913.913.913.913.91
Sanctuary At Grand Memories Santa Maria
#5 of 23 hotels in Cayo Santa Maria
3.91 based on 208 reviews
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Gorgeous beach

, Richnond , BC
2019-04-27
Four of us stayed at the Sanctuary for a week in April. The hotel itself is almost 25 years old and in desperate need of repairs and upgrading, definitely not luxurious or upscale in any way. That being said, it had all we required for a comfortable and pleasant stay as we really only used our room to sleep. We especially loved the beautiful turquoise water with powder soft sand, and we spent many hours swimming and lounging at it. There are areas for adults only, families, and young travellers. All of the staff were amazing as always in Cuba, they work hard and deserve to be tipped generously! Although we will not return to this particular resort as we prefer more modern/luxurious accommodations, if you find a good price, I recommend it to anyone who does not mind an older hotel. [Details]
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The strong points
Wonderful staff, beautiful beach, well kept grounds, large pools, not overly busy, frequent shuttles, butler service, variety of restaurants
The weak points
Very rundown/outdated buildings, poor wifi, no in room amenities, poorly stocked store that closed early, no foam party as advertised, isolated location
Certified

Sanctuary - Cayo Santa Maria

, Montréal, QC
2019-04-22
I had an excellent 2 weeks at this resort. When I arrived I thought it was a little dated, could certainly use a coat of fresh paint. But I very quickly stopped focusing on that as the total experience was excellent. From the friendly and cordial attention of the staff to the excellent food and finally the magnificent beach, there is everything here for a lovely vacation. The A la carte restaurants (which in fact is only in one location - only the theme changes every night) were very good. Went to the buffet at the Grand Memories only on the last night and wished we had gone more often! The choices were abundant and the food was also excellent. The only negative for me was how quiet it was at the Sanctuary. Evening entertainment activities are done by 11:00 p.m.! I would certainly return there. Some of the more memorable on staff:
Lobby Bar: Yadira, Dairon, Luciano, Yandriel
Pool Bar: Carlos and Rey
Breakfast Buffet: Orbe
Our Butlers: Mercedes and Zadya
Entertainment Staff: Leyvin and Osmany

They made our stay very special! [Details]
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The strong points
Beach, food, staff
The weak points
Some repairs required, not enough palapas on the beach (all reserved by 6:00 am). Evening entertainment could be improved.
Certified

Cuba does not learn...

, Toronto, ON
2019-03-28
Mother nature's gift of a beautiful property with pristine waters, white sand beach and lush greenery and likely high initial investment made into the properly has been spoiled by poor workmanship, mismanagement and lack of interest from staff working there.
One would think that after so many years of being in a hospitality industry and relying on the funds and jobs created as result, Cuba would learn from its past mistakes. Sadly, it is definitely not the case!
You still see the very poor quality of work (doors not closing, paint splattered all over, parts not installed properly). Staff in positions of daily contact with the public (eg. wait staff) only speak their native language and do not make an effort to understand. Management should insist that staff in these positions posses at least basic language skills. Staff is poorly trained not having skills to do their jobs (wait staff in ala cart restaurants appear frazzled, disorganized, dropping things, etc). The resort itself is poorly managed with our arrival of handful people being a total disaster! No one was around to help us check in letting us wait after a long journey. Other Memories resorts in Cuba (Varadero, Cayo Coco) has this process down pat! Doesn't the management across the chain share their practices?
I've been to Cuba, in various locations and resorts, about 25 times over the past 20 years. I've been to Memories in Cuba 4 times. This resort has one of the highest rating but I would not rate it more than 3 stars!!!
Little effort, education and strong management would make a tremendous difference. [Details]
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The strong points
beautiful beach, spectacular ocean, great property layout, spacious rooms, affordable wifi with reception in rooms and beach
The weak points
dirty beach - never cleaned, lack of shade (no umbrellas unless you are up at 6 am), poor workmanship, unqualified and disinterested staff, management
Certified

Beautiful beaches

, Orillia, ON
2019-03-07
We had an overall great trip. The beaches there were phenomenal and the pools and grounds/landscaping were very beautiful. We were able to get a cabana on the beach 90% of the time because we were Diamond members and they had a reserved section. The weather was perfect the whole time. Our room was nice. The entertainment was very good the dancers were amazing. The food on the other hand at the resort was horrible and I'm not picky about food but it was really bad, and they would run out of stuff a lot and meat wouldn't be cooked most of the time (beach burgers were always raw inside, “bacon” at the buffets was raw, etc.) not a lot of options, ended up eating bread and butter a lot. The service at the resort was very tip driven, staff won't give you proper services unless you tip them each time (they wouldn't book our al a cartes until I gave them $5 for example) and they aren't super friendly but nice enough. Also the bathrooms hardly ever had toilet paper or toilet seats or a lock on the door. Everything at the resort seemed a little run down. [Details]
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The strong points
Beaches, pools, grounds
The weak points
Food and customer service
Certified

First Visit to Cuba

, Oakville, ON
2019-02-26
This was our first visit to Cuba and to this resort so we don't have a point of comparison. The section of the resort we stayed in was Sanctuary, which is an adults only part of the resort.
The staff were friendly and most helpful. Always cheerful and polite. [Details]
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The strong points
Beach is perfect. Pool area always clean, food was adequate, drinks were plentiful.
The weak points
Not enough shade at pool or beach. One member of our party was getting up at 5 am to save a place in the shade. A few shortages during our stay, bread, bottled water, beer, white wine. Dinner reservations time & location challenging, there were 6 of us.
Certified

Cuban Paradise

, Calgary, AB
2019-02-25
The hotel, while in need of a few minor updates, is clean and comfortable. The grounds are well kept. [Details]
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The strong points
The staff is most definitely the reason for repeat visitors. Everyone goes out of their way to make sure your vacation is an enjoyable one. You can walk into the lounge and the wait staff will remember what you like to drink!
The weak points
If I had to list a weak point, it would be that the lineups at the grills in the buffet could be long.
Certified

Delightful vacation

, Chateauguay, QC
2019-02-25
We visited Sanctuary at Grand Memories in mid December of 2018. In my opinion considering the price you pay and the benefits & services you get for your money, this is the best hotel fin Cuba for adults. The personnel is amazing, our butlers Yagniel and Pedro (building 60, 3rd floor) are great people, always ready to help with all our requests. They go above and beyond of what is expected of them to make you feel welcome and cared for. Upon our arrival, due to an error of our travel agency, there was no room booked for us. So check-in officer offered a room that was available at that moment, but the next day Antonio, the Sanctuary General Manager, and the Grand Memories General Manager apologized and upgraded our room to an ocean-view. We were really happy, it was clean and the mini bar was always refilled. The Cleaning Lady (sorry cannot remember her name) did a great job. We felt all personnel were doing everything to offer great service and to make our vacation unforgettable. Needles to say the beach is beautiful and having a separate calmer beach for Sanctuary guests was definitely a plus. The animation team was doing an excellent job too. Food was delicious with at least three kinds of freshly grilled fish, shrimp and five kinds of grilled meat during lunchtime. In the evening we dined in a la carte restaurants scheduled by our butler. We liked the Mexican and Mediterranean. There was always a vast choice of veggies, fruits and other dishes in the Sanctuary restaurant, fresh smoothies and juice at breakfast. You could always find something to eat even if you're a picky eater. Considering the food supply in Cuba, we were literally amazed at the food choice and variety offered at this hotel (varieties of cheese, hams, prosciuttos, Serrano, smoked salmon, olives, nuts, salad dressings, dips, etc.) The food is at par with Royalton or Paradisus (in Cuba). The personnel at the restaurant and kitchen was awesome too, Sheila or Cheila, Roberto and others, again sorry I couldn't remember their names. Also at the bar Luciano, Umberto, Yoanis (apologies if misspelled). We tried the lobster dinner menu for 22CUC it was delicious, but the hotel organizes a lobster /sushi buffet on Thursdays where you can eat all you can & want for free☺ It was a gracious gesture on behalf of Sanctuary management team to personally attend and serve the guests during the buffet. There was always somebody from the management who supervised and coached the personnel at the restaurant. All in all we really enjoyed our vacation, loved those incredible people working at the hotel and would come back anytime. Delightful ☺ [Details]
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The strong points
Amazing stuff, delicious food, beautiful beach
The weak points
Rooms are in need of renovation and upgrade.

Sanctuary at Memories Resort Cayo Santa Maria

, Saskatoon, SK
2019-02-24
Overall our experience at this resort was good. The service, cleanliness and amenities made our stay very positive. We were well prepared for travel to Cuba. We were cognizant of the fact that this country is under an embargo by the wealthiest country in the world- 60 years worth. Nearly everything you get is supplied locally so we harboured no illusions of cruise ship quality buffets and a la carte. Food selection was a disappointment but there are BBQs going if you feel the need for a great burger. The pool(s) are spectacular as is the beach. There are more than enough loungers and we found that to be uncommon in our experience. Transportation around the 3 resorts was great. Love those extended golf carts! The genuine warmth of the abundant staff was inspiring. Most of the staff do not have command of English but that was never a problem. Staff that are in key positions speak English so it's not even close to being an issue. We had 2 regular Butlers who alternated days. Leon was an absolute prince of a guy who managed our activities superbly. Carlos did a great job as well. It is worthy of a shout out to our regular room server ( Anerika). Lovely woman whom we enjoyed guessing what each other was saying. Good fun! The daily entertainment at the Lobby was a pleasant surprise. The musicians and vocalists were way above average! Enjoyed our stay here but bring DEET. Those little midges played hell with my wife. Our room was spacious and clean but needed a bit of mechanical/technical attention. The bath taps were not properly secured to the wall. Were without TV for a day but we weren't there to watch TV. You should be prepared to tip. No one had their hand out and no one was ignored because they didn't tip but the staff's appreciation for a simple tip was genuine. The average monthly salary in Cuba is about $9.00 so figure it out. Tips are shared. [Details]
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The strong points
Cleanliness. Warmth of the large staff was the strongest point. The common facilities are great. Grounds and gardens are beautiful. 4 bottle liquor dispenser in every room. 2 litres of water, 3 cans of pop and 3 cans of beer in the mini fridge every day.
The weak points
The room that we occupied was in some need of mechanical and technical service. It was not enough to ask for a relocation. The food selection and quality ( a la carte and buffet) was less than expected.
Certified

FANTASTIC VACATION

, Saskatoon, SK
2019-02-22
We traveled to Sanctuary February 13 to February 20. This was our fifth trip to Memories but the first since the resort was divided into three individual resorts.
Our flight arrived early which was a bit of a bonus and the trip to the resort was relaxing and very enjoyable. We traveled with friends who were on their first trip to Cuba so they loved the trip through the countryside.
Check-in at Sanctuary was quick and we were in our room in Building 61 in just minutes. Our room was clean and spacious and the towel art our maid provided was enjoyed.
A big shout-out to our butlers, Leon and Carlos, they worked tirelessly and we can't say enough about what they added to our vacation experience.
I wish we could remember more names of the staff we came in contact with because they make us want to go back every year. A special thank you to Rabelo and the young lady in the lobby bar (with student on her name tag).
We had no complaint on any of our meal choices and found the staff very helpful in making food selections.
The beach is absolutely beautiful and probably one of the best in the Caribbean. Beach lounges are plentiful and the attendants working the area are quite helpful.
The only complaint we had at the pool was guests who claim an area in the shade by the pool and don't show up all day. Other than that the pool is clean and well kept.
My wife and I enjoyed every minute of our stay and recommend Sanctuary to all our friends.
Also I would like to acknowledge Sunwing Airlines. There was a situation on the return trip that was handled quickly and professionally.
To all our Sanctuary friends...see you next February. [Details]
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The strong points
The staff make the resort a special place.
The weak points
The buildings are a little threadbare.
Certified

Awesome vacation - will return!!

, Great Village, NS
2019-02-06
Clean, great staff, any problems with the room were corrected promptly.
Only suggestion would be to place lemon balm plants around to keep mosquitos at bay - got caught behind the smoker one night. Not a fan. Took a couple of days to figure what food to eat and bus vs cart to shopping area... but all in all verrrry pleased. Tried new foods, love some, disliked some, but there was always variety of meats, salads, fish, fruit, etc. Water pressure awesome and air conditioner worked very well. Loved my view and patio. Enjoyed the nightly entertainment as well as the pool side entertainment in the afternoon. Enjoyed our day trip on the catamaran. Paying extra to swim with the dolphin was worth the 10 pesos. Will probably purchase the flight day trip to Havana next vacation. Stayed in Sanctuary (adults only section). [Details]
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The strong points
super customer service
Certified

First time in Cuba

, Granville Ferry, NS
2019-02-05
We visited this resort January 10th-17th, it was just my husband and I and our first time in Cuba. The resort is about 90 minutes from the airport so we didn't do any excursions due to the length of time they would be being so far from anything. This is a pay for 1 play at 3 resort. The first resort is Memories, the second Grand Memories (both family resorts) then finally Sanctuary, if you are at Memories you stay at Memories, if you are at Grand Memories then you can go to Memories as well and if you are sanctuary you may go to all three, that was a huge plus as it gets quite dull at sanctuary in the evening, entertainment and theatre were over at Grand Memories come evening, and excellent entertainment I might add! Our room was great, no issues however the dresser for instance the drawers don't stay straight they all fall out, we had a ground floor room, bed was huge, AC worked great, bathroom is out dated but it's Cuba I didnt go there expecting immaculate, the grounds are gorgeous and there is a made (fake) town between the Memories resorts and the Royalton next door it was about a 10-15 minute walk from sanctuary to it and there is a path straight through all the resorts to get you there which was super neat we made two trips to it definitely worth going to lol it was our only excursion! The pool is beautiful as well, cold most days until mid afternoon, however you can't swim in the evening tho it is lit up with gorgeous lights and an adult only resort so we thought you should be able to swim until 9-10 anyway, we had stayed in an adult resort in Jamaica and the pool was lit beautifully and they did have it open in the evening, along with the pool bar,however it is a beautiful open set up and the pool bar boys Rey and Carlos are super, the bathroom at the pool was closed so much for the ladies room which was inconvenient as there is only one more bathroom up in the lobby so I used the men's. Our butler was Michelle, she was a sweetie, and though her English wasn't great she did try super hard to work with us on what we were needing and asking for,they all work very hard! The lobby, the bar was fantastic the gentlemen working it are all awesome! They love making their surprise drinks (and let them because most of them are delish). Food, well I was told by many the food is not great but there is something for everyone. You just have to be cautious of what your eating and obviously making sure it's hot because we do notice some issues with the food, buffet was breakfast no complaints as even the pickiest person will find something, their omelettes are great! Now the a'la carts were the only option at sanctuary for supper, there was seafood and international, neither of us like seafood so that was out, we did international one night and there wasn't enough on the menu we liked to repeat it but that's not on the resort that's personal preference so we at at the Grand Memories for supper each night which they do have buffet nightly for supper. So the issues we did have with food was in the evening at sanctuary behind the lobby bar, where buffet is in the morning is the night snack station as well, they offer fries, hot dogs on hamburger buns, hamburgers, chicken and pizza, we ate some fries a couple evenings in the beginning of our stay no issues, later in our stay we had gone out to wait for a snack and noted cockroaches near the pizza crust station which we never ate pizza anyway, it's all open so bugs are going To happen but should not be visible near food that is being prepared for guests to ingest. The only other food issue is same spot another night we watched cross contamination, the chef put pizza in the oven, then chopped raw chicken breast on the cutting board and used tongs from the fry warmer to put the breasts on the grill and then put the tongs back in the fry holder and removed the pizzas from the oven setting them on the wooded cutting board he had just chopped the chicken breast on at which point we just walked away and decided we weren't snacking there from that evening on. In his defence he was super busy as a load of new tourists had just arrived at 10pm and they were all starving as well as drunk people already there, it was my personal preference to walk away after the cross contamination it might not bother some tho in a foreign country especially it wouldn't take much to make one sick so it shouldn't have happened. We had also spotted cockroaches at the Grand Memories restaurant as well so they arent just at sanctuary.The bathrooms in the lobby smell, were flooded a lot and you need to put your toilet paper in the garbage can, take toilet paper and hand sanitizer as most of the time there is no soap either. The beach.. most beautiful beach I have ever been to!! Take bug spray as well, the only spot they bothered me was the beach and I had to reapply bug spray often but the rest of the resort they didn't bother me and they love to chew on me.Everyone there wants to help you! The grill by the beach is a must try he makes the best sandwiches and the grill by the pool is awesome as well!The people, I can't say enough for how pleasant happy and helpful they are! The chicken man, he drove one of the carts, (super sense of humour) deserves a mention he along with all of them are non stop with driving everyone to and from the resorts. These people are easy to communicate with which is a huge plus and they really try hard to if they don't speak English well, everyone smiles and says hola, I would definitely come back even just for the people! And I'd take my 3 kids to Grand Memories as well! Thanks for the great week! [Details]
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Certified

Relaxing week away. Would absolutely return!

, Oshawa, ON
2019-01-14
Beautiful country and incredible people!
In our opinion a solid 3 star resort.
The check in process was simple and we were able to start our vacation as soon as we arrived. The staff members are very professional and within a couple of days became so warm and friendly they felt like family. Even though we stayed at the Sanctuary, we also spent a fair bit of time at the Grand Memories as well. We were warmly welcomed at both.
A word of caution, the washrooms are often in horrible condition. Even though they are cleaned regularly, it is nowhere near often enough to accommodate the amount of tourists at the resort. Carry your own supply of toilet paper.
The food is very hit and miss. Some dishes were fabulous, some inedible. The pork and fish dishes were okay, the beef completely inedible. The Spanish Coffee however is wonderful enough to make you want to book for another week.
The shows at the theatre are entertaining and thoroughly enjoyable. The live musicians put on a wonderful show making you want to stay for just one more song.
If you are looking for a place to relax, enjoy the weather and decompress from the challenges of everyday life, this is the place to go. [Details]
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The strong points
The people! Everyone was wonderful but we must give a special thank you to Lisandra and Jesus at Sanctuary and Celida and Dayanay at Grand Memories. They all went above and beyond to make our stay even more special. You are all fondly remembered.
The weak points
The condition of the washrooms was the definite low point of our vacation. Please note, a strong bug spray is a definite need. We thankfully brought some, but would have been miserable without it.
Certified

Fabulous property

, Hamilton, ON
2019-01-05
I enjoyed my stay immensely. Beautiful property was well maintained. Food in all dining venues was very tasty and plentiful. Staff were all very friendly and and did a great job. I had a couple of small maintenance issues in the room which were addressed within a couple of hours of mentioning them to my butler.I would absolutely recommend this property.
Price was high because I was there over Christmas, so value wasn't great, but that's an issue with tour operator not with the property itself. At regular season rates I would consider this very good value for the money.
Since you can play at all 3 properties if you stay in the Sanctuary, I was able to sample the dining, and wander through the other two sections. I could definitely see a difference in quality between the three, so for the slight price difference, I would pay to stay in Sanctuary again.
Hotel is about 90 minutes drive from the airport. [Details]
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The strong points
well maintained, pleasant staff, very tasty food, lovely beach and pool areas, large room
Certified

Sanctuary at Grand Memories Cayo Santa Maria

, Toronto, ON
2018-12-22
Experience was positive overall but which seems to be a Cuban experience washroom cleanliness and maintenance was an issue. The ala carte restaurants were inconsistent the Mexican and International being good others marginal.
Staff was great as always. [Details]
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The strong points
Staff were helpful and friendly regardless of what they did, groundskeepers were as friendly as service staff.Food was acceptable by Cuban standards.
The weak points
Product in need of upgrade. In our room 6078 the nights it was windy the patio doors vibrated. They did not lock and I could have pushed through them. Since we were third floor did not seem much of an issue. Public washrooms were in need of care.
Certified

Great Vacation!!

, Montréal, QC
2018-09-24
Hotel staff were friendly, and all made great effort to speak in English.
Beach grill was great - food was fresh and prepared daily. [Details]
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The strong points
Great Service, Attentive staff (restaurants, pool, beach, Resort "taxi" service. Food was surprisingly great!! Hot food hot, cold food cold. Beach was great. Room and bathroom very clean.
The weak points
Shortage of spoons!
Certified

Sanctuary 2018

, Woodstock, ON
2018-07-25
Amazing beach and staff.
Clean and comfortable rooms.
Great grill and bar on the beach.
buffets had lots of variety so always found something to eat.
Very quite after 11 pm in sanctuary.
Bring bug spray and after bite.
Great overall value for your money. [Details]
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The strong points
amazing beach and staff
The weak points
air conditioner in buffets at grand memories and sanctuary bar were not functional during stay.
Certified

Mixed feelings!!!

, Toronto, ON
2018-07-10
Stayed at Sanctuary Grand Memories Cayo Santa Maria from July 1st-8th, 2018. Hotel grounds and pool areas are very clean and well kept. Upon arrival the hotel room smelled rather musty and it seemed like it could use a good clean, towels were hard and felt like they were not fresh. Bathroom had two dead cockroaches. On the third night a very large cockroach ( largest one I have ever seen, and I teach in a school that also has cockroaches) decided to join me in the bathroom. Butler and maid were informed and I was told that they would clean and spray the room. If indeed the room was sprayed it made little difference as the cockroaches still appeared again. However, the creme de la creme was the cockroaches on the dinner plates at the buffet in the Grand Memories Hotel. I informed a staff member and he laughed and took away the plate but the cockroach fell off and was still in the pile of plates. I did my best to warn other guests not to take the plates from that area. I understand that Cuba has different hygiene standards and this was not my first trip to Cuba,but cockroaches for supper....... The food was not the best, but I'm aware you don't go to Cuba for the food and I can usually find something to eat, but definitely struggled at this hotel. Cannot comment on the a la carte food as I did not eat in any of those restaurants, but other guests did comment that it was good. The hotel staff were very pleasant especially the Butlers, always asked if you need anything etc. Overall it was a relaxing trip with lovely weather and great beach. I will return to Cuba again but not to this hotel. [Details]
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The strong points
The weather, beach and pool area
The weak points
Cockroaches in bedroom, bathroom and dinning room :(
Certified

Paradise

, Miramichi, NB
2018-04-12
From start to finish we had an awesome week. Great trip there, bus pick up no ptoblemw & check on at Resort was the best! Easy and s bonus to have our room ready early to have lunch and head to beach. We loved our room, not luxurious but clean and comfortable. Service, butlers, maid, and restaurant service as well as entertainment was super! Loved the grill pizzas at GrandMemories outside. The beach was fabulous, a little bit of paradise except there were never enough palapa for shade. Guests should not be expected to be on the beach before 6 to get shade! Overall no complaints with food- omelettes in morning were excellent , s la cartes good at Sanctuary , We had great service, especially Josee our butter, Mayulis, our maid & Leanny our restaurant server. Also loved the quiet wonderful music at the a la carte. We talked with the general manager when my husband lost his jacket & car keys. He tried but no luck finding it- disappointing as the jets are super expensive to replace. Overall, a great trip but we did think we overpaid & unless they fix the problem of shade we'd think twice of returning, Tbe beach was a little price of paradise! [Details]
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The strong points
Beach & Great service,especially easy check on and out, Breakfast omelettes!omelettes!
The weak points
Lack of palapas on beach for shade. Also it was challenging to have a good cup of tea. There should be milk in the fridge in rooms and s coffee/ tea station 24/7 without going to the bar. The milk was often from machine - hot and foamy.
Certified

Ivette and Roman's Trip to Sanctuary!

, Toronto, ON
2018-03-09
Very nice and clean hotel with friendly staff, activities, food and beach! [Details]
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The strong points
Very beautiful hotel with helpful and friendly staff. Fantastic seafood experience. WiFi availability and price. Butler service at Sanctuary is a very helpful and unique touch. Best beach ever. Unforgettable theater performances.
The weak points
Lack of huts on the Sanctuary side of the beach. Italian restaurant serves overcooked pasta. Lack of washroom facilities at Sanctuary side. Male washrooms were closed and men had to use female washrooms.
Certified

Loved so much we're going back in April!

, East Garafraxa, ON
2018-02-16
Although the weather could have been better, we had a wonderful time at Sanctuary. I have mobility issues and everything at Sanctuary was a comfortable walk for me. The cart service was excellent for when we wanted to go to Grand Memories or the Estrella market. It was wonderful to have our own buffet restaurant for breakfast and lunch. Although not all the a la carte restaurants were open when we were there (due to the resort recently being reopened after the hurricane) we had an enjoyable dining experience and look forward to trying them all on our trip this April. Rooms are clean and the butler and maid service is wonderful. The bathrooms in the rooms are a bit dated, but everything functioned as it should.

When we decided to go away again this year the choice was easy. Can't wait to see what they have to offer now that they are in full swing again. [Details]
  • Room
  • Quality - Price
  • Front desk & Reception
  • Beaches
  • Location
  • Bathroom
  • Staff / Crew
  • Cleanliness
  • Food & Restaurants
The strong points
The size of the resort, the beach, the pool, everything!
The weak points
The variety of food in December was a bit lacking, but I'm sure this was just due to the recent hurricane.

Sanctuary at Grand Memories

, Caledon East, ON
2018-02-08
We had excellent service. Great room with a beautiful view. We really could not have asked for more friendly, helpful staff. Wonderful beach. Our best trip to Cuba. [Details]
  • Room
  • Quality - Price
  • Front desk & Reception
  • Beaches
  • Location
  • Bathroom
  • Staff / Crew
  • Cleanliness
  • Food & Restaurants
The strong points
Easy checkin. Butler assigned to each room who takes care of booking restaurants, any problems, extra water etc.
The weak points
A bit of a drive from the airport.
Certified

Not such a Sanctuary!

, Sturgeon County, AB
2018-01-26
The experience was one of the worst "service" experiences we have ever had in Cuba. Starting at the check in we were shuffled in to a room and sat there waiting for our representative to do our check in. Ours representative was busy with something so we sat there until the room almost emptied. We then noticed that our room was changed from an ocean view to a back view of a garbage can. We asked to be moved back to our other room but they would not do it. We were told something was wrong with the original room but we found out that someone else was put in it. Then our tap broke off in the bath tub because it was almost seized. it ran hot water full blast for over 24hrs as we tried desperately to get someone from maintenance. we were told many times that someone would be right there. One of the times was at about 11pm at night so we waited up for a couple of hours and no one showed up. We had a hard time sleeping with the noise and the extra humidity from the hot water running. This was the same story for everything. Things only got taken care of if you took it to the manager. The bottom line is that we wasted over two days at the beginning, fighting to get things fixed. It was the same for the other couple in our party. Their room had no hot water and they were told every day that it would be fixed. After three days of cold water we finally got the manager to move them. The butler system just doesn't work. The only thing we ended up using them for was notifying about our problems and making reservations at the a la carte restaurants. The only restaurant they were successful in getting us in to one at the sanctuary so we alternated between seafood and international. We did get in to the Italian but we had to get quite firm with the butler because he told us that he has only one reservation per day for that restaurant and unless you get up really early someone else will get it even then you don't find out until just before you go. Two days we had asked for 6:45 pm and at 5:55pm we find out that we got reservations for 6pm leaving you not time to get ready. The central system in other resorts works much better. The next thing was the buffet's. They seem to run out of the most popular foods really quick or just don't bring new stuff out in a timely manner. Most mornings if you didn't line up for an omelet there would be no scrambled eggs and only once was there any hash browns. most mornings there wasn't any potato at all. In the sanctuary breakfast buffet it was difficult to get a waitress to give you coffee. Most mornings we had to flag down the waitress and never were we offered a refill. The public washrooms were really bad. Usually there were multiple stalls or urinals that were out of service. Doors didn't close and or lock. The very first thing when we got off of the bus I went to the lobby washroom and actually had a cleaning lady walk in to my stall while I was using it. The floor was filthy and she knocked over my bag which I had propped against the door that wouldn't lock and dumped my hoodie on to the wet filthy floor.
After six visits to various resorts, the actual facility is one of the best I have been to in Cuba but it is over shadowed by the very poor service. I understand it use to be a Riu and it was supposedly much better then, but that is only what I heard. The Beach is beautiful and we didn't have a bad experience with no-see-ums as we read in the reviews. The bar tenders were great but the people at the lobby desk were no help at all. They basically told us what we wanted to hear but nothing ever happened. We did finally get moved back to an ocean view room and the room was great but unless I read that things have changed we will not be returning! I have been to Breezes Jibacoa twice and Varadero. we loved them but now I understand they are Memories. I sure hope it has not gone downhill like this one. They were both great facilities and had very good service. [Details]
  • Room
  • Quality - Price
  • Front desk & Reception
  • Beaches
  • Location
  • Bathroom
  • Staff / Crew
  • Cleanliness
  • Food & Restaurants
The strong points
A beautiful facility that is getting a little run down but overall it is a nice facility. It is a beautiful beach but no snorkeling! There were golf carts there to get you around if you needed.
The weak points
Buffet restaurants were below average for Cuba. Food was mainly barely warm and usually cold. Mainly local type food left and western type food always empty. Terrible service from Sanctuary buffet waitress and lobby desk staff.
Certified

Upgraded to the ROYALTON

, Lower Kingsclear, NB
2018-01-22
We got upgraded to the Royalton and it was amazing, excellent staff, accommodations, drinks, restaurants. Great pool and beach cabannas! Overall it was a fantastic experience, only thing to complain out was the weather that's uncontrollable! I'd definitely go back [Details]
  • Room
  • Quality - Price
  • Front desk & Reception
  • Beaches
  • Location
  • Bathroom
  • Staff / Crew
  • Cleanliness
  • Food & Restaurants
The strong points
Staff, accommodations, beach, cleanliness, food, drinks
The weak points
Entertainment, but I think that's because of the weather most things they had planned ended up cancelled
Certified

Stunning

, Toronto, ON
2018-01-17
I had an amazing time at Sanctuary. The hotel is beautiful, the rooms are spacious and spotless. The staff go above and beyond to make your stay amazing. I was concerned about the drive from the airport but it flew by as there is so much to see. We had no issues with the food. The beach is stunning. Will definitely go back. [Details]
  • Room
  • Quality - Price
  • Front desk & Reception
  • Beaches
  • Location
  • Bathroom
  • Staff / Crew
  • Cleanliness
  • Food & Restaurants
The strong points
Staff, beach
The weak points
Cannot think of one
Certified

Disappointed but we see the potential.

, Regina, SK
2018-01-14
My girlfriend and I decided to try this resort after hearing great things from relatives who stayed in the spring, and from the overwhelming amount of positive reviews on both Monarc and TripAdvisor. I would like to preface this review with a few points; firstly, the weather was the worst I have ever experienced in Cuba in 5 or 6 trips. Most of our trip was 18 to 22 degrees and very windy, cloudy, and rainy. I of course do not hold this against the hotel (like some people would) but we feel that management could have handled the change in tourist behavior better as I will discuss below. You do risk poor weather in Cuba when traveling in December/January, but this is by far the worst I've ever experienced and I will reconsider Cuba altogether the next time I travel this time of year. Again, this is no fault of the resort or Cuba in general, it's just how it is. Secondly, it is important to remember that these islands were recently hammered by hurricane season. It is remarkable how much work they have done in the last few months to get things operational, but there are still some major things that need to be in repair before we are likely to try this resort again (most importantly the memories buffet and a real 24-hour snack bar). This is not something I am holding against the resort or Cuban people, but we would have spent our money elsewhere (this time) had we known the resort was not at full operating capacity. Finally, we booked our trip last minute and paid a relatively low price (roughly $900 taxes and fees included from Regina). We have no problem paying more for a trip, but after reading all the reviews and seeing that it was clearly on sale, we decided to try it. I can only assume that the low price was due to the state of ongoing construction. While it is again not the fault of the resort, a lower price can attract a certain type of guest that you might not want to share your vacation with. Our very first evening we were walking to the lobby bar to get a drink when a fight broke out in the adjacent restaurant at 8:30PM, so we elected to keep walking and spent the evening in our room. The hallways and floors were blood-stained for the next few days. We witnessed a lot of guests throwing fits about not being able to get a certain red wine, liquor, etc. In my opinion, some people are a little too entitled when it comes to an all inclusive like this. If you pay $1000 for a week including flights, you should not expect your every want and desire to be filled. We are generally very easy-going travellers and don't like seeing guests treat the staff this way.
When you arrive to the resort you are quickly shuttled to the Sanctuary lobby and given a drink of some-sort. The butlers will collect your passports and check you in, then take you to your room and your luggage will be dropped off shortly thereafter. Unfortunately, we were briefly forgotten about and had to sit and wait for two or three other groups to check-in before someone returned and took us to our room. Wednesdays are by far their busiest change over days so we understand a little confusion. All of the Sanctuary buildings are close to the pool, beach, lobby bar, etc. which is really nice. We had a second floor that directly faced the ocean so we could see all the way down the beach on both sides. It was excellent. The room itself was somewhat run down but it didn't bother us much. The sheets and pillow cases had a little bit of random staining but nothing to get upset over, they were changed shortly after our arrival and the next set was fine. The only things that bothered us were that the refrigerator made an irregular ticking sound, the only reason I mention it is that in the middle of the night it would sound like someone was trying to get into our room. Not a good feeling. Secondly, our sliding door rattled back and fourth with the wind, and as there was a lot of it (facing the ocean) we had a lot of noisy nights. My girlfriend often elected to sleep with ear plugs in. Finally, the drain plug in the bath did not work. Reviews said that occasionally the ‘butler' would surprise guests with a flower petal bubble bath in the room, and I was excited for my girlfriend to get to enjoy that. It obviously did not happen, and I could not run her a bath in general on any of our many ‘cold' nights. Since I'm on the topic of the butler service, it is generally something we are uncomfortable with. Ours was friendly, helpful, and attentive but ultimately unnecessary in our experience. If we had any real complaints I'm sure she would have handled them, but they are mostly there to book the à la carte dinners for you. Touching bases with her and finding or making reservations was occasionally confusing but she always got us into something which was nice. Finally, the water pressure and temperature was some of the best I've experienced in Cuba. There were no issues catching a hot shower, it even stayed reasonably warm on cold days when I have no doubt almost everyone was using it.
As per the à la carte dinners, we did the Mexican, Mediterranean, Italian, and Seafood. For the most part the service at the dinners was good and the food was OK. Portions are small at most (except Italian- huge). While we were there they seemed to be out of a lot of things, so most of the time we only got the two courses instead of the three. They also shuffled around as not all the regular buildings were functional. Of all our meals two stand out to us; at the Mediterranean my girlfriend had the pumpkin soup and breaded fish, both of which were fantastic. At the seafood I had the pumpkin soup and steak/lobster which was also very good. The steak of course was thinner than we are used to but still tasted good and wasn't too tough as beef often is in Cuba. The lobster was also good and I wish I could have gone back for more. We ate dinner at the Grand Memories buffet two nights and it was very good both times. Good selection and everything was hot and fresh. I wish we would have done the buffet more. The only complaint is that since the Memories Paraiso buffet is closed, and the Sanctuary buffet is not open for dinner, it was often very busy and had long lineups for the cooking stations.
The breakfast buffet at the Sanctuary was always quite good. Pochi, the guy making the omelets, is the man. While we were there he did almost all of the breakfast prep himself, and was always happy to chat and joke around in the mornings. I am pretty sure my girlfriend has a lasting crush on him. I started most days with a fresh omelet, a couple donuts, and a Spanish coffee. It was always great. We attended the Sanctuary buffet for a couple lunches, and it seemed to be hit or miss. Like I previously mentioned, the buffet line is covered but open air, and becomes quite the wind tunnel at times. For one of our lunches almost every one of our dishes was cold by the time we sat down (not really the fault of the chef). I would say that my number one complaint was availability of food outside of buffet hours, or lack thereof. Due to the cooler temperatures, not many people would hang out on the beach/near the pool. On these days management saw fit not to have people staffed at the various burger/hotdog/sandwich stations placed throughout the resort. As mentioned there was also no operating 24-hour snack bar which only compounded the problems. Some people waited up to 15 minutes just to get a clean plate at the buffet, or you could wait up to an hour for a couple of pizzas from the one or two pizza stands. The real bummer about no all-day snack bar was getting food in the evenings. If we wanted food after buffet hours you had no choice but to wait in long line ups for a pizza or fries (the only things offered when we were there). Our first night we waited nearly an hour to get a couple pizzas after travelling for over 12 hours, as they only had one person working on the evening that 4 or 5 flights showed up. The poor guy was running around just trying to gather supplies to keep making food. Friends of ours tried to call room service one night for some food and it just never showed up. The nice thing is that when the pizzas did show up they were often hot, fresh, and very good. Had the 24-hour snack bar been open, it is still on the far side of the complex, so a fair walk from the Sanctuary just for a midnight snack. There are carts that are travelling throughout the resort to shuttle people to various lobbies, à la carte dinners, etc. if you do not wish to walk. In our opinion they travel a little too fast as some of them don't even have working lights and there's always people walking around at night. I was almost hit once and I did see one woman get clipped by a car with no lights. She handled it very well and eventually walked it off but I don't know if I could have let it go had it happened to my girlfriend.
As always, the drinks in Cuba are great and as strong as anyone could ever want. I like to start my day with a little Sambuca with ice and it was always easy to find. The two regulars at the pool bar (Jassial and Moya if I remember?) were always friendly and upbeat. They were occasionally swapped out with another guy who was always scowling and grumpy unless he received a tip. On nice days the beach bar was often lined up and I would have to fight for a spot. The guys there do a good job but are again probably understaffed. The Sanctuary is supposed to be the quietest portion of the complex with the best service, but I don't know if this was the case.
One thing I find always bothers me about travelling to Cuba is the number of rude and disrespectful French Canadians and certain European guests. No matter where you go there are always those guests that try to cut in front of the line, and are loud and obnoxious. More than a few times I just gave up and went somewhere else for a drink or snack. On our last day I waited in line for ten minutes just to get a drink only to find that they were out of beer (Grand Memories lobby).
As mentioned the beaches are always excellent at these islands. The Sanctuary beach is no exception. I really enjoyed this beach as a small part of it has a rocky outcrop where you can explore for crabs, snails, etc. The rocks continue into the water which makes for some decent snorkelling right in front of the hotel. On calm days there are lots of little fish, starfish, conch shells, and even lobster to see. On more than one occasion guests were taking live starfish and conches out of the water to take home and boasting about their new souvenirs. I understand this is no fault of the resort, but I cannot describe how much I hate this behaviour. I can only hope the poor animal would stink up the luggage of whoever was stupid enough to not realize that they are in fact living creatures and stow it away in their bags. My only complaint about the actual beach is that it is somewhat narrow at high tide. On one of our only sunny days the beach was incredibly packed, so packed in fact that other French-Canadian guests thought it was acceptable to setup literally right behind us so we could not readjust our chairs for shade or sun, etc. We often elected to stay by the pool and only visit the beach to go swimming.
The pool at the Sanctuary was great albeit very cold due to the lower temperatures (no fault of the resort, unless they heated it). It is an elevated and tiered design with lots and lots of seating, although not much of it is in the shade. When the pool was populated there was usually someone circulating and taking drink orders, so that was nice.
The grounds are very well maintained and again it is incredible what the Cuban people have accomplished in just a few shorts months. On one of our cart rides to dinner we took the long way around and the amount of debris piled up behind the resort is astonishing. I can only imagine what the place looked like only a few short months ago. We had a few calmer days and the sand fleas were in full force. We came home with dozens of bites between the two of us and they still itch occasionally. Many people got it bad and seemed to be very uncomfortable. I do not think this is the fault of the resort as they have had a lot of perfect bug-producing weather lately, and the hurricane left a lot of standing water.
The Wi-Fi in this resort is the best I've had in Cuba (if you're into that). It was even accessible from our room, although it was often bogged down due to the number of people using it on poor weather days.
Over-all, I would say we still enjoyed our vacation, but I was glad some of our friends and family did not attend as this would have been a poor first experience to the island. The weather certainly put a hamper on it, but I have tried not to let that bias our opinion too much. Management did what they could in some ways (handing out duvet covers on colder nights), and dropped the ball in others (shutting down snack shacks around the resort on less nice days) people still need to eat! Some places list this hotel as the number two resort on Cayo Santa Maria, but in it's current order of operation this is certainly not the case. I have stayed at the Playa, other Memories hotels, as well as Iberostar and all of which were a better experience. I feel that the resort did not have many guests for the first half of our trip, and as a result management reduced staff to the point that most places were understaffed. I will say that for the most part we noticed an increase in the amount of staff and level of service on nicer days and more towards the end of the trip. The lack of a 24-hour snack-bar really killed it for us and I don't think we will be returning until this is changed and I start seeing that the resort is up to full speed. We did not know the resort was still under construction to this degree and perhaps we should have looked into that more.
We maintain the resort has the potential, and would be happy to return should it reach that potential, even if it means a higher price. The only ‘excursion' we did was the VIP status at the airport which is 100% worth it in my opinion. Ironically, the service in this private lobby was some of the best we had all trip. [Details]
  • Room
  • Quality - Price
  • Front desk & Reception
  • Beaches
  • Location
  • Bathroom
  • Staff / Crew
  • Cleanliness
  • Food & Restaurants
The strong points
Beaches are excellent as always, the beach here has a rocky outcrop where you can snorkel and explore for crabs, snails, etc. if you wish. Adults only is nice. Staff are generally friendly and helpful although spread out way too thin. Market is nearby.
The weak points
No proper 24-hour snack bar when we were there. Sit down service in the sanctuary lobby was rare. Seriously under-staffed for most of our trip lead to long line ups for drinks, snacks, etc. Our room was quite run-down. Sanctuary buffet is a wind tunnel.

Beautiful beach and very quiet @ Sanctuary

, Montréal, QC
2017-06-29
We went from June 17 - June 24.

Flight : The flight was smooth without delay. The 25 CUC Visa is now included in your price. Bring a pen since you will be filling the Visa and your Cuba Customs Declaration Form on the plane on your departure and, on your return, the Canada Customs Declaration Form.
If you have an early flight, I recommend you bring some snacks, especially on your return flight. They have a Buy on Board Menu, but it's pricey and most of the time, if you are the last ones to be served, there will be nothing left to buy.

Arrival at Santa Clara Airport : Airport is very small, so it's very intuitive. I haven't seen the Currency exchange desk at the airport and I was afraid to miss the Bus Transfer but it seems it is outside to the right after exiting the airport.

Bus transfer : It was a really long ride. They state it takes about 1h30 but it actually took nearly 1h50 to get to the hotel, on both transfers. But the view was very nice. They do sell beer on the bus payable in CAD.

Check-in at hotel : The bus will take you to the front of the lobby of Grand Memories. One of your butler will be waiting for you there and you will be transferred to the Sanctuary side in a golf cart, with your luggage. Check-in will be done at the Sanctuary's lobby bar by your butler.

Butlers : We had two butlers which switched every other day. Ours were very professional and devoted. However, sometimes it felt forced and unnatural.
Each morning, they wander near your floor/block, to make reservations for the À La Carte Restaurants and to fulfill any demands you have. They will try to surprise you with a prepared bath or complimentary bottles of wines.

Room : The room was clean and well maintained. We had a fridge which was restocked daily. When we wanted more coke or sprite, for example, I left a little note on top of the fridge with a peso and I got what I wanted. There were three spirit bottles in our room (rum, whisky, vodka). We couldn't have those restocked though.
There's plenty of 220V sockets but only one 110V socket, but it wasn't working in our room. We asked our butler to see if we could have it get repaired but the butler seemed confused and told us that it wasn't safe to use. So I would recommend you to bring a converter. There was a TV with English channels but the channels would stop working randomly a few hours a day. Unpredictable. TV would also turn on in the middle of the night for unknown reason (not sure if it's because it picks up the signal from other rooms or the power cut we had on the check-out day and we realized that it could have been that). We had a bath with shower head. Water was running fine with plenty of hot water. Blow dryer and safety box worked fine was well.

Money exchange : To exchange money, you need to go to the Grand Memories' lobby. It's a 5-7 minutes walk from the Sanctuary. There's a Bank on the right side of the lobby desk. Please do not make the same mistake as I did. I couldn't find the Bank and asked the person at the lobby where I could exchange money and he said I could do it right here, at the lobby desk, which I found odd but didn't think twice. I ended up having only 76 pesos for CAD120$. I wanted more coins but he could only exchange 3 pesos in coins. He never told us about the bank that was right beside the lobby. It was a bitter situation. He didn't lie, since it is true that you can exchange money at the lobby desk, but it wasn't full disclosure which felt dishonest to me.
Recommendations : Exchange at the bank (right side of the lobby desk at Grand Memories). The rate changes everyday but it is still a better rate. You will need your passport to exchange money. They do not exchange coins.
If you have a chance, I would recommend you exchange money at the Santa Clara Airport. Or better yet, I would recommend that you exchange your CAD money in USD money. It's the same rate as the CUC pesos and you are going to get more for your money. (For those who don't know, you can't exchange CUC pesos outside of Cuba).

Tipping : You can tip in USD or CAD bills. If possible, do not give them ripped bills, as they can't exchange it afterward, so I am told. Do not give them coins neither.

Beach/Pool : It was beautiful as ever. Turquoise clear water. There's a bar and a snack bar grill near the beach at Sanctuary. They give bar service on the beach and at the pool. But they didn't come very often, maybe because we were on low season. You could have hamburger, hot dog, chicken burger, etc. on the beach from the snack bar grill. The lounge chair were the blue tissue one, so they were comfy enough. Not like the white hard plastic ones. There were enough palapas for us, as we were on low season, but it's true that on high season there probably won't be enough. However, they seem to be building new ones. The structure were up but it was missing the leaves for the shading.

Drinks : Always drink bottled water. You can clearly see that they use bottled water to serve you at the Sanctuary buffet/À la carte Restaurant. Ice are also fine. You have to try the lemonade! Refreshing. Ask for a bit of rhum in it. I recommend bringing your own insulated travel mug. Really handy and it really keeps your beverage ice cold even under the scorching sun! If you are a fast drinker, it also avoid getting up every five minutes (since the service was a bit slow on low season).

Food (At Sanctuary only) : We knew that we don't come to Cuba for the food but I was still disappointed. Especially with the lunch buffet. It's always the same food every day. Breakfast and Dinner was fine, but consistency was not there. We were bored by the end of the week. Sanctuary have two À la Carte Restaurants (International and Seafood) which interchanged every other day, although the location is the same place. Dinner was our favorite meal. There's cats around the resort who would come to beg for food. I recommend to dine early so you don't get eaten up by the mosquitoes.

Check-out : It's done at the Sanctuary lobby bar. It's open 24/7. So don't worry if you have to check out super early, someone will be there. As I mentioned, we had a power cut on the last day of your trip. Which mean the safe didn't work anymore. But luckily we already had all our stuffs out the night before. So I recommend you do the same, just in case. [Details]
  • Room
  • Quality - Price
  • Front desk & Reception
  • Beaches
  • Location
  • Bathroom
  • Staff / Crew
  • Cleanliness
  • Food & Restaurants
The strong points
Beach; Very quiet resort during low season;
The weak points
Buffet; Mosquitoes;
Certified

Relaxing stay @ Sanctuary

, North York, On, ON
2017-06-19
My fiance and I traveled to Sanctuary at Grand Memories Santa Maria, in April 2017. Most notably, the service from all the staff was fantastic. Personal butlers made dinner reservations for us each night, and attended to our every need. Restaurant staff were also wonderful. The grounds were beautiful, and so was the beach, however the beach was very windy during our stay. It was slightly uncomfortable at times. The food was decent - my favorite meals were at the lunch buffet at the Sanctuary restaurant. We had fresh grilled lobster and shrimp on most days! We stayed away from red meat/chicken as it was always overdone. The Mexican a-la-carte was very disappointing and we did not receive good service the two times we went there.

Back to the staff...we had a variety of butlers, and every few days we would arrive back to our room only to find a bubble bath and champagne waiting for us. So sweet. Some shout outs:

- Jordan & Jordi: each of them arranged for a bubble bath/champagne at some point, and were very sweet butlers
- Paula: manager at Sanctuary, she was very accommodating and worked hard to resolve some issues we experienced with our room (leaking bathtub, broken door)
- Dairon: breakfast server, great humble guy
- Jose-Luis: bartender/dinner server @ Sanctuary
- Yaremis: our sweet, adorable maid
- Radiel: pool bartender, cool guy who my fiance really got along with
- Luis: the best for last, we met Luis on our first night - he escorted us to our room. A bright, happy young man who has such a positive outlook on life. My fiance and him had a special connection, and we still keep in touch to this day. He really made our trip memorable! [Details]
  • Room
  • Quality - Price
  • Front desk & Reception
  • Beaches
  • Location
  • Bathroom
  • Staff / Crew
  • Cleanliness
  • Food & Restaurants
The strong points
Staff, grounds
The weak points
Food, windy beach
Certified

We Loved It!

, Burlington, HA
2017-05-01
We were one of the first visitors to the newly renovated Sanctuary. There is still much work to do on the repairs and grounds but the Staff were excellent, especially our Butlers. We loved the Adult only section and that we could use the other two resorts. Lisbeisy in the Grand Memories Lobby Bar made our holiday.The 24 hour Restaurant/Bar were excellent. For the price, this trip was outstanding. I can't wait to go back! [Details]
  • Room
  • Quality - Price
  • Front desk & Reception
  • Beaches
  • Location
  • Bathroom
  • Staff / Crew
  • Cleanliness
  • Food & Restaurants
The strong points
Excellent Staff Sanctuary Restaurant Tennis every day Best Beach
The weak points
In need of repair, especially hand rails.
Certified

Great Beach, Great Price

, Oshawa, ON
2017-04-29
I have been to this resort before it was renovated or redesigned and stayed in the Grand section which was then called Azul. I returned because of the beach and the people who work at this resort. The Sanctuary area is fantastic! This area now has their own lobby, their own lobby bar,as well as the International and Seafood restaurants for dinner.
The transportation is a really great asset at this resort as there are golf carts that circulate 24 hours a day that you can just hop on and off to get around to all the areas of the resort. There is also a train that loops through the resort and takes people to the market.
The beach is great, although it is not easy to get a spot with shade there are lots of chairs and the attendants on the beach are very happy to find chairs and clean them off for you. The people who did get the shade were on the beach by 6 a.m. The beach and the water were amazing.
They offer a lot of excursions. We went on a snorkeling excursion that only offered snorkeling - no lunch, no boat ride, no dolphins which is exactly what we wanted as we have done the full tour several times. It was an afternoon trip and well worth the money. We also bought tickets to see a band from Havana call Buena Vista Social Club that was in the Disco one evening - also a very good time.
The Sanctuary breakfast buffet and lunch buffet were both very good and after going to a couple of a la carte restaurants we chose to eat our dinners in the buffet at the Grand.
Our butler Mercedes, our favorite bartender Jose, the beach bartender Jesus, and many, many other people are what made this vacation most enjoyable.
Quality improvements are very important on this Memories resort and we saw the Managers walking through the resort evey day watching what was going on. They were accessible to anyone who wanted to make suggestions or comments.
I will return to the Sanctuary at Grand Memories [Details]
  • Room
  • Quality - Price
  • Front desk & Reception
  • Beaches
  • Location
  • Bathroom
  • Staff / Crew
  • Cleanliness
  • Food & Restaurants
The strong points
The Beach and the Staff are both fantastic
The weak points
The distance from the airport

Amazing resort and fantastic stay!

, Halifax, NS
2017-04-29
I visited the Grand Memories Sanctuary Santa Maria from March 30 to April 6, 2017 with a friend. We thoroughly enjoyed the 90 minute drive to the resort- the bus driver and tour guide kept us engaged and entertained and the cold cervesas available at a cheap price were very welcome.

The check in at the resort was seamless- no issues. The staff throughout the resort are top notch- going out of their way to make sure you have a good time. We chatted with the manager of the resort Jose Luis several times- he was always around and interacting with guests.

The butler service was great- we had three butlers- Sergio for one day and then Michael and Jordan for the remainder. They were all great- Sergio was only with us for a day but he continued to check on us throughout our trip and gave us beautiful bracelets at the end. Michael and Jordan ensured we had champagne on our deck each night and took care of all our reservations.

The food was hit and miss at times but the Mexican and Italian restaurants were very good. The grilled shrimp in the main buffet was to die for and Jorge the grill master at the pool bar served up great food with a great personality. The cheese served on Canadian day at the pool was delicious!

Our room was beautiful and clean- we were lucky enough to get an ocean view! The resort overall was fairly clean but some of the public washrooms were not kept up as well as they could have been.

Rudy and the two Jorges at the lobby bar were a delight. I would go back to this resort just to see the staff alone! The beautiful woman who worked at the beach bar Alliana (not sure of spelling)was wonderful! The drinks throughout the resort were delicious and made with premium alcohol. We developed quite a love for chocolate martinis [Details]
  • Room
  • Quality - Price
  • Front desk & Reception
  • Beaches
  • Location
  • Bathroom
  • Staff / Crew
  • Cleanliness
  • Food & Restaurants
The strong points
Beach, staff, room with a view
The weak points
Limited shade and no umbrellas on the Diamond Club side of the beach
Certified
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