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“Great experience” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Paradisus Rio de Oro Resort & Spa

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Paradisus Rio de Oro Resort & Spa
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5.0 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   Playa Esmeralda, Crta Guardalavaca, Holguin 007, Cuba   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 10 Hotels in Holguin
Toronto, ON
1 review
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“Great experience”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 29, 2008

The Paradisus is a beautiful all-inclusive, five-star resort for adults only. That means there are only a few couples younger than 50, which was all right with us. Food: Much better and more variety than we expected, having been in Cuba some years before.
The resort features six restaurants; the only one that was sub-par for us was one offering Japanase cuisine. (They have no sashimi , they use smoked salmon for the sushi, and they serve fried rice). The restaurant by the pool has genuine Italian-style oven-baked thin-crust pizza, and the beach resturant has great fish for lunch. (All the restaurants seem to overcook the fish, so tell them not to when ordering.)
Accommodation: The rooms are large and deluxe, with balconies in a series of two storey building surrounded by ocean and well-landscaped gardens. TV features HBO and Showtime. The upgraded suites are in duplexes.
Staff: Tremendous, friendly and at your beck-and-call.
Spa: we had massages in huts built over the ocean. Very relaxing.
Beach: Nice white sand, sheltered from the wind, with a small snorkeling reef rght off the beach -- the quietest we have been on because of the older clientele.
The entire resort, inlcuding the beach, is disabled-accessible with ramps, except for a few steps up to the room.
The evening entertainment , a song-and-dance troupe, was somehwat uneven, but pleasant.
All in all, a great experience for a restful week.

  • Liked — Big rooms, good TV choices
  • Disliked — Twin beds
  • Stayed February 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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3,493 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
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1 review
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 28, 2008

There was such a perfect mix of things to do and opportunities for relaxation that after 1 week we were not ready to leave. As I use Trip Advisor reviews alot in planning a vacation I felt I should write a review myself, however so much positive has been said about this resort that I don't feel I can add much more. The only negative experiences we had were not getting the King bed we requested but rather two beds pushed together, they did offer to move us the next day, but we decided to suck it up and stay put (my sister and her boyfriend got a king as requested and our other requests were met). The only other thing I can say was a bit annoying at times was there were not enough palapas at the main beach and on one day we couldn't find a lounger at either the pool or beach. I understand leaving your towel on a chair for a little while, but some of those chairs weren't used all afternoon. Speaking of towels, one of our group set down his towel on a chair near the Activity Centre to play a game and a few minutes later it was gone. When checking out he was told he had to pay $25.00 CUC for it. He spoke to the front desk and customer relations, explained what had happened and they graciously agreed to waive the charge.

There was so much to do if you wanted, one of the highlights I must say was the morning excursions arranged by the Activity Centre staff. One of the trips was $6 CUC (an absolute bargain)
to a fishing village, school, doctors office etc. Amazing to see the real Cuba without committing alot of time. Most days the trips were free and some included riding bikes - very fun. The Activity Centre also had good tennis raquets to borrow so no need to bring your own.

The food was excellent, especially the A La Cartes and the live dinner music was beautifully done and really added to the ambience.

Overall the rooms, grounds, facilities, activities, service, entertainment were excellent and I can't imagine anyone not enjoying this resort. We would certainly go back and I wouldn't say that about every 4 or 5 star resort we've been to.

  • Liked — That it excelled in so many ways
  • Disliked — Not enough loungers and Palapas
  • Stayed February 2008, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 28, 2008

Here's a list of problematic things:

-Long drive from airport to resort.
-Nightly entertainment needs more energy and imagination.
-Buffet closes too early.
-It is extremely hard to get reservations to the (other) restaurants!
-You gotta be careful with the seafood, some of the shelled shrimp smelled and looked like they had gone bad.
-Some of the staff likes to talk behind your back -even in front of you! I speak Spanish but I do not look Latin, and I caught a woman at the pasta bar talking bad about my boyfriend!
-The Jacuzzis* are never warm, not even at night when the temp. falls.
-The bathrooms in the rooms do not have a fan or a window for ventilation.
-The gift shop was small and pricy. Did not shop there. I went to town near by: Guardalavaca where the sellers unite and that was pretty good -- but you have to barter.
-A long ride to the city of Holguin, and it was extremely sad to see how the Cubans live: w/o much to sell in the stores, w/ houses that don't even have windows, w/ parks that don't even have grass.
-I also think though that the price for this Resort is too high. It's nice but it's not the Royal Palace, of course.

Here's a list of great things about the resort:

-Most of the waiters are very friendly and most seemed so excited when I would speak to them in Spanish!
-The drinks at the bars were pretty good! especially these pink rum shakes called 'BananaMamas' > Yummo!
-The rooms are big and spacious and the balconies have partitions so that you won't be disturbed by your neighbour.
-The beds are pretty comfortable.
-Lots of mirrors in the barthroom! So it's perfect for those that like to check themselves out!
-The beach is beautiful and well taken care of. I never walked on any type of debri.
-The resort is surrounded by a great space that presents itself as a park for your pleasure if you'd like to go for walks.
-The Buffet does have a variety of foods: for Breakfast, lunch and dinner.

I think, however, that would go back...as long as I get a better rate this time. I think $1400 and up is too much for this one.

  • Liked — the calm atmosphere and great service
  • Disliked — the lack of things to do and the distance between towns
  • Stayed April 2006, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
13 reviews 13 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
48 helpful votes 48 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 17, 2008

2nd time around better than the first, did not think that this could be possible.
This resort has changed since last year because of the adults only.
The grounds keeeprs are working all the time to ensure that everything is well groomed.
The staff are happy to look after any of your needs.
I will not repeat the wonderfull comments that have already been posted other than you will have a great vacation and if you do not then you have only yourself to blame. Book at this resort and you will not be disappointed.
We are planning to return again next year but for 2 weeks and I cannot wait. We meet some wonderful people from England and Toronto and they had said that a return to this paradise is in their plans for next year.
We meet many people that have travelled to many destinations but for the sun, sea and the personal service they are not planning to look at other destinations.
Book here and enjoy - remember you are in Cuba

Stayed February 2008
Was this review helpful? Yes 23
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, England
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
23 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
129 helpful votes 129 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 16, 2008

First of all, do not travel with Thomas Cook Airlines to this hotel even in premium seats the flight is awful and not direct! Won't repeat what everyone else has said, the hotel is good and is 5 star for Cuba.
Plus points: Buffet resturant is excellent with lots of variety of food , the other resturants are good if you want something special and to be waited on. The choice of wines is limited if you are not prepared to pay extra, I recommend the Sparkling dry white wine (Champagne to the Cubans!). Pool area is good and the same can be said about the beach, it is rocky in places near the hotel as you enter the sea, but if you go further along towards the other resort it does get more sandy. It does mean that the snorkling is good! Your glass was never left empty, there was always a waiter on hand to re-fill it in both the resturants and in the lobby bar. Even though the resort is large, it can be very peaceful and shady in places which provides a relief from the sun during the day!
Bad points: It is an hour drive from the airport to the resort, make sure you take water for the journey, we went with Thomas Cook and no water was provided, you need it! On check in, no welcome drink was offered and it was disorganised, with no clear indication of who to check in with. The lobby bar when busy, offered limited seating. The spa was stunning to look at but the treatments were not very good and a massuer with a heavy cold is never pleasant! The rooms are clean but do smell musty, they have provided joss sticks to help with this.

All in all a good place to go and by Cuban standards very good, just do not expect too much!

  • Liked — The pool and adult only
  • Disliked — Rooms and check in
  • Stayed February 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 15
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
67 helpful votes 67 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 14, 2008

I’m afraid this is a long review but felt I had to explain my feelings about this wonderful resort.

Stayed at the PRDO for 2 weeks from 26th January travelling with First Choice from the UK. We have been to Cuba before (3 years ago) staying in both Havana and Varadero. For the last 2 years we have stayed in Iberostar Hotels in Mexico and the Dominican Republic – we loved both these hotels so the PRDO had a lot to live up to.

FLIGHTS - We thought about upgrading to Premier Class but decided to pay for a better hotel than spend the money on upgrading as we were spending 2 weeks at the hotel and only 2 days on the plane. First Choice planes offer good leg room anyway and we paid £5 to upgrade the entertainment to include all the top films and games. Flights both ways seemed to pass fairly quickly, food, drinks and service were fine – the only problem being on the way back when we wanted to buy wine to drink with our meal and they had run out – however the cabin crew got us a glass each from the Premium Cabin at no charge- excellent service. Flight to Cuba was delayed by an hour but coming home we actually landed slightly early.

CHECK IN – As we had been delayed an hour we arrived in the dark – there was a full bus load of guests arriving but check in was quick and efficient – the same person checked us in and then took us and our luggage to our room on one of the buggies.

ROOM – Some of the previous reviewers commented that the rooms looked `tired’ – ours certainly did not, it was very smart and looked newly painted and was well furnished. However the bathroom was a bit of a let down – it was very clean and had everything you needed but just not up to Iberostar standards. I had emailed in advance and requested an upper floor room in a quiet position and that is just what we got – the room and balcony were a little dark however as they opened onto the wooded area but as I’d asked for a quiet room couldn’t complain.

GROUNDS – Initially I found myself comparing these to the Iberostar resorts and was a little disappointed. However soon realised that the PRDO is built in a much more natural style with woodland walks, the lagoon and many quiet areas and fell in love with the surroundings.

BEACH – was simply lovely. The beach attendant will place beds wherever you want them – the palapas do get taken early but it was not too hot for us to stay in the sun – maybe later in the year this may be a problem. Raimundo and Jeorge work hard supplying everyone with drinks all day long – anything from water, beer, cocktails to champagne!

SEA - Yes, there were rocks on entering the sea but once past them it was wonderful swimming along with the fish – take a banana in to feed them and you will be swamped with fish of all colours and sizes – no need to go snorkelling to see them (I can’t swim that well anyway) they will come to you.

FOOD AND DRINK – Don’t know where to start here apart from saying that it was all wonderful and we both put on so much weight that our clothes were very tight on the way home.

The buffet was my least favourite – again I found myself comparing this to Iberostar and was slightly disappointed. Breakfast was fine but lunch and dinner was not to my taste – many options for meat and fish dishes but limited vegetables and never saw potatoes apart from chips. Having said this the service and surroundings were excellent and many people hardly went elsewhere they loved it so much.

I much preferred the beach restaurant “Santa Maria” for lunch. Very relaxed but again excellent service. Choice for lunch included salads, sandwiches, burgers etc, fish and meat dishes and then a choice of deserts.

Most evenings were spent in the al la carte restaurants – this is definitely one area which is far superior to the Iberostar resorts – I had emailed ahead and booked for the first week but had no problem changing one of them as we booked to go to Santiago overnight the middle weekend. We quickly realised how good these restaurants were and booked each one again for the second week. Couldn’t pick a favourite as they were all good in different ways:

“El Patio” – International restaurant – very sophisticated and had an excellent meal on both occasions.

“El Bohio” – Creole restaurant – more traditional open air setting – my least favourite but saying that enjoyed it enough to go back a second time.

“Tsuru” – Japanese restaurant – We had never been to a Japanese restaurant and didn’t know what to expect – it was wonderful. Sat on the show table with 3 other couples while the chef prepared the food and put on a show – very entertaining and excellent food.

“Mediterranean” restaurant – again very smart indoor restaurant – the menu offered a wide range of foods with something for everyone. Do try the flambéed desert – the server draws you face on the plate before she serves the food (see photo).

Drinks were in plentiful supply wherever you went – beach, lobby bar, pool bar all served top shelf liquor – my husband ordered a whiskey and sprite on the beach and was even asked “what type of whiskey would you like sir”. A full wine list is available at the al la carte restaurants – enough to please all tastes. Champagne is available all day from breakfast onwards (didn’t start that early but developed a taste for a glass before my evening meal).

ACTIVITIES AND ENTERTAINMENT – Day time activities are available but not pushed at you – you have to find them not the other way round. As we just wanted to relax and enjoy the beach and sea this suited us – we had found the Iberostar resorts a little noisy for our liking. There was no loud music playing anywhere – again this suited us.

Evening entertainment mainly centred around the Lobby area. Early evening included a pianist, saxophone, bands and even an opera singer. Later on (from about 9.45pm) the entertainment team put on a show – very similar dancing most nights but watch able for an hour or so. There was a nightclub but we never went as we were usually ready for bed before it opened.

SURROUNDING AREA AND EXCURSIONS – The PRDO is set on the headland of a beautiful bay with only one other hotel (of the same group) sharing the area. There are some good walks in the area including a woodland trail just past the other hotel. It costs 6 peso to enter and takes about an hour to complete the trail. You must visit the lagoon area which sits between the 2 hotels – try and spot the wading birds in the shallows.

The hotel organises a number of excursions around the immediate area – booked at the Activity Centre including a visit to Boca de Sama which is a local village and you get to visit a primary school, doctors house, fishermans house etc – there is a small charge of 6 peso for the bus but all other excursions are free.

There is not too much else in the immediate area but Guardalavaca is about 5 km away – take the horse and carriage for 15 peso – they will take you and return in about an hour for the return journey.

The only other organised trip we went on was the Santiago overnight – there were only 6 people on this so we travelled by minibus – really saw another side to Cuba and had an excellent guide who explained lots about Cuban life. The journey was long and tiring and having been to Havana was a little disappointed in Santiago itself but enjoyed the experience.

SUMMARY – Sorry this has been a long review – I can’t really put my finger on why I love this hotel but I do – it may be the relaxing ambience (no children is a plus), great food or the fantastic service. I really did not want to come home and now plan to go back someday – something we rarely do.

The only hassle we had in the whole 2 weeks was on the way home – Holguin airport is very disorganised – took forever checking in and the board was showing the flight as delayed when it actually took off on time.

  • Liked — Relexing ambience
  • Disliked — Nothing
  • Stayed January 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 38
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bedfordshire, England
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
75 helpful votes 75 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 14, 2008

Absolutely wonderful in every respect. The Japanese restaurant is over-rated - eight of you sit around a hotplate while the chef fries your dinner - but you do get to know your dinner-mates very well. The best restaurant is undoubtably the European. The spa is great and is wonderfully relaxing - cheap too. Take plenty of little gifts such as bars of soap, notebooks, pens, rulers etc; it is surprising how many bits and pieces you can buy for £10 here and which go such a long way to helping over there. Do try and get out on some of the trips to see the real Cuba. The bus tour to Santiago de Cuba is three and half hours each way and is tiring but there are plenty of shorter ones. Inside Cuba is a good one and involves a steam train ride, a visit to the cigar factory and a tour around Holguin City. We would go back to the Paradisus tomorrow. I can only reinforce all the good things that other reviewers have said. Go here and you won't be disappointed!

  • Liked — Everything.
  • Disliked — Nothing.
  • Stayed February 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 23
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Paradisus Rio de Oro Resort & Spa

Address: Playa Esmeralda, Crta Guardalavaca, Holguin 007, Cuba
Location: Caribbean > Cuba > Holguin Province > Holguin
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 On the Beach Hotel in Holguin
#1 Luxury Hotel in Holguin
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Paradisus Rio de Oro Resort & Spa 5*
Number of rooms: 354
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located in the Bahia de Naranjo Natural Park, in Playa Esmeralda, on the northern coast of Holguin province. Five-Star Ultra All Inclusive Eco-Resort with 354 rooms. Conceived only for adults aged 18 years or more. Maximum comfort and perfection in its private Royal Service area for a fabulous experience in a world apart. Recommended for weddings, honeymoons, incentive trips and wellness/spa.Guest Rooms 354 rooms: 254 Junior Suite, 24 Junior Suite Deluxe, 16 Junior Suite Deluxe Ocean View, 2 Suite Deluxe, 36 Master Junior Suite Royal Service, 14 Master Junior Suite Ocean View Royal Service, 6 Master Junior Suite Luxury Royal Service, 2 Garden Villa Royal Service. Dining: 8 Restaurants (A la Carte, Buffet), 5 Bars. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Paradisus Rio De Oro Resort And Spa
Paradisus Rio De Oro Hotel Holguin
Paradisus Hotel Guardalavaca
Rio De Oro Paradisus
Paradisus Rio De Oro Cuba
Hotel Paradisus Rio De Oro
Paradisus Rio De Oro Resort & Spa Cuba/Holguin

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