This is a long review but hopefully helpful. Here goes:
It is important to make the distinction between the original hotel and the Royal Service element which was built a few years ago. That is the one point that no-one really hammers home on their review. We have stayed in hotels with separate areas before including Excellence in Dominican Republic and El Dorado Royale in Mexico and in those cases the upgrade area was essentially part of the same hotel. In the case of Paradisus the Royal Service is a very distinct area to the point that it may as well be a different hotel.
Bearing this in mind I would rate the Royal Service very highly indeed. My wife and I have stayed in some very nice hotels in recent years and this ranks up there with the best. Again it’s important to say that we are a professional couple with no family who like to spend a bit extra on having a nice holiday, we’re not Donald Trump. So in the context of staying on Necker Island its not as good (I’d imagine ) but in the context of your average couple who like a nice hotel it is very good indeed.
Sticking with the Royal Service (RS) element, we were given a separate private transfer from the airport. This was part of the RS package and didn’t cost extra. This meant we did not have to wait at all to get going to the hotel and makes the whole experience a little more special. The rooms are modern, very large, very well appointed and certainly one of the best rooms we’ve ever stayed in. They have large beds, fantastic living areas, huge bathrooms and best of all a great outdoor shower (don’t worry you can’t be seen). Just amazing. You also get a butler, which effectively amounts to a team of butlers who will do whatever you want if you just simple phone the RS reception. As with most British people we didn’t make the most of this facility really. It goes without saying that food arrives quickly and you can have a bottle of any wine, spirit etc you can think of sent to your room. No limits and no delay. I was content working though a bottle of Havana Especial but I could have drunk 10 of them and no one would have asked any questions. It’s fantastic service.
The majority of the RS rooms split into two categories, Sea View and Non Sea View although there are some very large suits nestled in the trees on the way to the beach. The reality is that some of the non sea view rooms also have a view of the sea as this area of the hotel is raised up above the beach. We stayed for the majority of our time in one of the non sea view rooms (which as I say had a bit of sea view). We changed to a first floor sea view room opposite at the end of our stay for a couple of nights due to a leaking air con unit in our original room. The air con problem was dealt with immediately and we were switched rooms seamlessly. In conclusion if you can afford it I would go for a sea view and preferably a first floor. The view was just breathtaking and the balcony a little more private, other than that the room was identical.
The pool area (three tier infinity pool) was very beautiful and very relaxed and quiet. It is in front of the RS reception and has its own bar. The waiter will bring you drinks and fruit all day without asking. It’s pure luxury. The rest of the RS reception lounge and bar is very relaxing and the service is second to non. On an evening there is a different musician every night playing in the lounge ranging from Piano to Acoustic Guitar. They certainly go a long way to making you feel special.
The RS has its own beaches. These are not very large but are picture postcard perfect. Simply breathtaking and have great snorkelling within a few meters of the shore.
Now on the Food!. This is linked to one of the main problems with the Royal Service. The fact that it is so distinct from the main hotel yet relies on the main hotel for much of the additional amenities such as restaurants. When you arrive your butler asks what restaurants you would like to book for the week. After a 9 hour flight plus transfer etc we didn’t know what we wanted to eat in the next 10 mins never mind all week. It turns out that there are around 5 al a carte restaurants and they fill up quickly. If you want to eat in them you have to book quickly. The booking system is flawed and frustrating. I uncharacteristically threw my toys out the pram and complained, needless to say we ended up getting the bookings but I got the impression had I not kicked up a fuss this wouldn’t have happened.
The food itself (compared to other Caribbean hotels) was very average bar the Japanese restaurant which was fantastic. I’m not a food connoisseur but I really didn’t enjoy most of the meals which is a shame.
Restaurants aside the main hotel in my opinion is not 5*. Even in the context of other Caribbean hotels I would say it’s around 3*. Don’t get me wrong there is nothing fundamentally wrong with it at all but if you have stayed at a good 5* hotel in Mexico, Dominican, St Lucia etc then you will be disappointed. In general it is a little run down which is pretty typical for most Caribbean hotels and there is one main bar on an evening which struggles to cope with a medium size crowd. The pool is huge and very nice with lots of places to lie out in the sun. Yes it may need a paint but it’s in keeping with the rest of the main hotel to be honest. The beach is very nice and there is a great beach bar and restaurant. All in all a very nice hotel but don’t be under the impression that it is a spotless modern 5* sort of place.
In conclusion we would definitely recommend a stay at the Paradisus. The Royal Service is for those who genuinely want 5* rooms and service and surroundings and in that respect I think it is well worth the extra cash. In that context it is definitely up there with the best in this category in our opinion. The main hotel is also very nice but it is definitely not a 5* hotel compared to other islands, however for Cuba I get the impression it is probably still streets ahead of the competition.
Hopefully this has been useful for anyone looking to stay.
Simon & Jenny (Mid 30’s)
Royal Service. Try and push to a first floor sea view room if you can, you wont be dissapointed.
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Thank you very much for all your comments and for sharing them with us on tripadvisor.com
I am glad to read that you found our Royal Service to be of a very high standard and that you did find the area and the services luxurious. Thank you for comparing with all this very respectful and well recognize companies that are definitely of a high standard and has gain a very well deserve recognition on the market.
Regarding the main hotel, I always believe that the question is if we provide value for money and I strongly believe that we do. As you said there are many five star hotels in the world, all of them with prices that varies from 6000 US$ a night just the room, to 100 US$ all inclusive. So it is always difficult to compare just by the stars of the hotels, but I believe that in service we can compare with most of them. It is true that been located in Cuba we have some challenges that other countries might not have, like the embargo the country has that make difficult for us to have easy access to many products like any other country on the region, but I think this is something most of our guest knows before choosing to come to us.
I would like to thank you again for your comments From them we learn and they encourage us to work harder in order to meet all of our guests expectations.
Warm regards from Paradisus Río de Oro,
Eduardo Perera Castro
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.