Review of Sanctuary at Grand Memories – Cayo Santa Maria

by GO GlobeHopper

Over the past few years, the trend with Caribbean resorts has been to add an “Adults Only” section for guests aged 18+ who seek a quiet and more mature vacation, but with the option of accessing the main family-friendly resort and all of its amenities.  Grand Memories Cayo Santa Maria, Cuba is no different from its adults-only section, aptly named Sanctuary.

Set on a stretch of white sand and sparkling Caribbean sea, this resort-within-a-resort features spacious junior suites with a balcony or terrace, a choice of 1 king or 2 double beds, satellite television, a digital safety deposit box, hairdryer, iron, and a coffee maker.  Wi-fi is available throughout the resort and is payable at the hotel.

Added features for the adult section include a private pool, non-motorized watersports, a fitness center, butler service, turndown service, in-room robes, beach towels in-room, daily restocking of the minibar, and premium drinks in the lounge along with afternoon snacks and evening hors d’oeuvres.

Preferential reservations at the a la carte restaurants are also offered.  If visiting the resort as part of an all-inclusive package, guests are entitled to 2 a la carte meals. Room service is available 24 hours.

With access to 2 sister properties — Grand Memories Santa Maria and Memories Paraiso — restaurants include:

Flavors – International Buffet
Grazie – Italian Cuisine
Mexicana Cantina – Mexican Cuisine
Emporia – Continental
Tesico – Mediterranean Cuisine
La Leyendas – Grill

The buffet offered at Sanctuary tends to be small and limited, serving only breakfast and lunch.  Dinner is not an option.  Guests might be happier to take the shuttle to Grand Memories for their buffet, which is bigger and features a broader selection of food.

Typically, this is a resort that scores high with guests. As an all-inclusive experience, patrons of Sanctuary are likely to be impressed by the pristine beach and the beautifully landscaped and well-kept grounds.  Additionally, the private pool is big and peaceful and is perfect for relaxation. Access to resort amenities and the sister properties is made much easier by shuttles that run regularly.  For something different to see and do, there is a colorful market nearby.

The staff is friendly and helpful, and housekeeping services do a thorough job of cleaning the rooms and keeping the minibar and bathroom products restocked.  The only thing lacking is the maintenance staff seeing as some things are in noticeable need of repair.

PROS: Sanctuary within Grand Memories Santa Maria is an excellent resort for adult travelers seeking a moderate price for an all-inclusive Caribbean vacation with a lot of amenities.  

CONS: Although rated as a 4-star resort, Sanctuary and Grand Memories in general rates closer to a 3-star.  The resort definitely is in need of upgrading. Like many Caribbean all-inclusive properties, the food could use some upgrading as well, particularly the buffet. 

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