The Valentin Perla Blanca opened in November 2014 and is a 4.5 star, adult only resort located in Cayo Santa Maria, Cuba and is approximately 130km from the Airport. The second section opened in January 2015, which in effect, doubles the size of the resort.It’s a small medium size with a total of 19 buildings, 11 bars, 5 Restaurants with some lovely food choices, 2 tennis courts and a Disco.
The rooms are modern and new. All rooms have a heavily frosted bathroom door, which does give complete privacy.
The rooms are stylishly modern, have flat screen TV’s and have amenities like an in-room safe as well as pool towels waiting for you upon arrival.
There are a limited number of King sized beds compared to the majority of rooms which have 2 double beds. Ensure that you make a REQUEST for the bed configuration you want when booking and ask for it again, when checking in at the resort. Remember that the resort will try to accommodate you, but can’t always fulfil it as it depends on occupancy rates. This is why it’s best to sit at the front of the transfer bus, so you get to get to the front desk first and check in, which gives you better odds at getting a King sized bed if that’s your first preference.
The Poolview rooms all face inward and will be be quite a bit louder due to pool activity, especially during the busier seasons. If you want more privacy and quieter rooms without a chance of disturbance, then the Gardenview and Oceanview rooms, might be a better choice.
This resort is situated on a long narrow strip of white powder beach 11 kms long, meaning you can walk for miles and miles and be completely by yourself. The waves tend to be bigger, as this island as it is more exposed to the streams of the Atlantic Ocean. This location is perfect for water sport lovers. Temps from December to May are lows of 20 up to 27-30.
There is only one entrance to the beach from the resort, though the 2nd one is under construction as of April 2015, and it’s quite rocky once you do cross onto the beach side. You have to walk about 200 feet to the left or right to get to the sandy part. I highly recommend sandals or water shoes to get by this area as you can not walk across coral with bare feet.
The actual beach frontage of this resort is 1.3 km long. Because the beach and the area is in a completely natural state, meaning there is a mangrove area between the resort and beach, depending on tide and time of year, the beach may be narrower and there may be more mosquitoes, so I recommend taking bug spray to be prepared. Like ALL Caribbean resorts, they will use a pesticide spray twice a day (morning and early evening normally), to keep the numbers down. Avoid the area when they are spraying.
Prior to the construction of the causeway linking the mainland to the keys, Cayo Santa Maria was a secluded island visited only by fishermen. The causeway was completed in 1999 and the first hotel opened 2001. This means that most of the staff who work at the resorts have to travel over an hour to get there as there are no large residential areas on the island.
There is a very small town, Pueblo La Estrella, which is 60 km away and a shuttle bus which runs 3 times per day at 2 CUC per ride. This double decker bus stops at all of the resorts along the way, to pick up guests, so the ride could take up to a hour. If you miss the shuttle, your only way back is by taxi at 10 CUC per ride. Getting a taxi round trip is well worth the money as it’s much faster, 15 minute trip and while there are newer, late model cars in Cuba, chances are you will end up in a classic 50’s car, so it makes the trip quite enjoyable.
This resort has a Gardenview, Poolview or Oceanview room category in addition to their Imperial 1 bedroom suite. You can choose to upgrade into any of the 4 room categories into Privilege, where you gain access to additional amenities. The cost to upgrade is dependant on the time of year you are travelling but generally runs $200- $250 more per person. The issue is cost compared to value, on if you choose to pay the difference.
PRIVILEGE ($) INCLUSIONS *:
Welcome cocktail upon arrival
Check-in (Private check-in and check-out at the Valentin Privilege Lounge)
Early check-in and late check-out (Subject to availability)
Bottle of rum in room upon arrival
Beach towels in room
À la carte dinners (4 guaranteed reservations, reservations made by the concierge)
Fruit basket in room upon arrival (and ”petits fours”, once/stay)
À la carte dinners (Romantic, including lobster, once/week)
Private lounge (package only) (7 am to 11 pm)
Premium brand drinks (and snack at Les Clubs night bar, 5 pm to 7 pm)
Private beach area with waiter service (personalized service)
The private beach area for Privilege is located in one of the rocky beach areas, and behind foliage, so if you like to alternate between lounging and swimming, you will not be able to utilize this area as you might hope.
The biggest value of Privilege is having a separate check in during high season and having Premium alcohol, if that’s your preference. Though often a well placed $20 tip to the bartender can certainly go a very long way to ensure you get the beverage of your choice, if you do choose a regular room and forgo the Privilege upgrade.