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“Enjoyed the Holiday” 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
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
“Enjoyed the Holiday”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 18, 2008

Stayed 28 November until 12 December.Staff very attentive when we arrived, glassof cava and a cool cloth to wipe our faces. Buggy took us to our room, at first we were impressed with our room although it did have a slight damp smell to it.Bathroom really need updating.Coffe maker in room but they ran out of powdered creamer after the first couple of days none in hotel.Rooms really need updating.

Weather wasnt too good the first week. We had not planned to venture out of the hotel so not much to do if it is raining.Second week much better and really enjoyed the pool scene, snack bar and beach restaurant.

Booked a Wellness package £78 each with travel agent. This was fantastic and I recommend the spa. More expensive to book in resort so do it here.

We went on the 5k bike ride into Guardalavaca, bikes are old and need replacing, hubbys chain fell off, one got a puncture and another had a peddle fall off.Danny rang the hotel and told them to come and collect us from the market. Truck arrived for bikes and we were left for a long time they eventually sent a taxi for us. Danny told us to cpmplain as the bikes are not in a good state of repair. Y ou will meet Danny.

Food was excellent, we went in El Patio, Japones a Mediterrean. Lots of choice in Buffet room also.

After dinner there is only the Lobby bar, this is where the entertainment is. The hotel was only half full when we were there and I can imagine you would wait a while to be served in high season.

Internet access is 5cuc for 30mins, its very slow. Quite a few people were sick, tummy trouble. Around 40 English were ill, one lady did mention to our rep her husband was not well, he said he had had no complaints.If you are not well tell your rep. Amazingly we English discussed our toilet habits in the dining room and did not report the problem to management or the Rep.

Overall apart from a few small problems and those pesky mozzies and flea bites, we had a good time.

Would not go back to this hotel as we would not travel all that way to the same place, we would try somewhere different. The staff were so polite and friendly this made the holiday.

I would reccommend the hotel, but would say it is having a few problems at the minute,post Ike probably.

  • Liked — Large bed,ironing facilities,air conditioning.
  • Disliked — TVs, left on all night in adjoining rooms. Insects in bathroom
  • Stayed December 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    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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2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed December 16, 2008

lets get one thing straight for a start this place is no way 5 star!!!!!!!!! any of the reviews that say different, well all i can say is that they hav not stayed at many 5star all inc resorts??? coz i hav.
the good things to start off.
the resort suroundings are very beautiful & the rooms are very nice,( but how long do you spend in your room on holiday anyway?) the people are very friendly, & polite.
the beach is gr8 & the sea clear blue(gr8 for snorkling)
the pool is very good and big with a gr8 swim up bar..
now why its not 5star....
the room maid never left us enough towels so we had to ring up all the time. mucky plates and cups were left outside our room on both levels for 3 days???? so it was no suprise to us that we had cockroches in our room??? i spilt orange juice in the fridge on 1st day, & it was still there the day we left!!
entainment team dueing the day would come round ,& ask the odd person if they wonted to do any of the acctivetes?? then walk of, we found out later that the reason for the lack of willingness was they sit on there [--] all day playing each other at pool????
evening entertainment same nearly every night and 70% of the time miming, also only do a 7day program, not good for people staying 2 weeks!!!
food??? japanese good . medatrainen ok. international ok. cuban avoid at all costs!!!! the buffett has ok varitey, but food is all ways cold, very rarley covered up(lots of people were very ill with stomach bug while we were there!!!) which ment flys all over food??
all in all this is a beautiful place, that is let down by shear lazyness!!! many people that we spoke to had different opions, all those that had done 5star all inc before, were very dissapointed with the place, all those that had not done 5star all inc, or had not done all inc at all, thought it was gr8???
well its not gr8 & for the price you can get a lot lot better than this!!!!
we are both working class people who save all year for that one gr8 holiday, this place let us down badly!!!

  • Liked — coming home
  • Disliked — when it dawned on us wot we were getting for wot we had paid!!!!!!!
  • Stayed December 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
85 helpful votes 85 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 15, 2008

Here's a pretty lengthy review of the Paradisus.

I've been to "5 star" resorts previously, and in some ways, Paradisus was better than those, and in some..not as good. Overall, a very enjoyable trip though.

Here is our group's experience. We were two couples, early 30's from Canada with a fair bit of All inclusive 5 star experience..

*overall service - excellent - first off, and perhaps where it counts most, we had a medical situation to take care of, and the doctor, and managers were attentive, helpful and made necessary arrangments we needed (see story below). Bartenders, maids, gardeners, etc were very friendly too. No complaints.

*food - above average, relatively speaking - the food was better than a couple of the 5 star resorts i've been to in dominican republic overall, but don't expect perfection, at least by north american standards. Meats and fish tended to be overcooked a tad. Not a biggie, but i like a medium rare cut of beef...medium rare. I suspect they're erring on the side of caution.

A bit more food detail:
Breakfast items - decent but some items a little cold. Some good healthy options too..delicious orange juice!

Lunch - very good overall. Buffet has delicious custom pasta station..and snack bar restaurant by pool has some very good thin crust pizza and good salads too.

Dinners - Japanese, El Patio were quite good. Mediterranean was sub par and bland unfortunately (but that perhaps was just th dish i ordered!)

Wines - pretty good - not high end wines but some very good Chileans to choose from that are included. We purchased a bottle at 10pesos and it was delicious. At dinner they'll bring you the whole bottle from a list of Cuban/Spanish/Chilean wines, many included, some extra cost.

Capuccinos at lobby bar - excellent.

A note on tipping: i think it's absolutely terrible that we witnessed many people not tipping at all. We tipped a peso at the bars every two or three rounds, and service definitely improved (although we tipped mainly because we wanted to). I personally witnessed people not even saying thank you when someone brought them food or a drink. At restaurants we tipped 3 pesos at the end of the meal. But, it's a personal thing. We collectively feel better tipping these people.

Spa - my girlfriend and i went for a 25minute head/neck massage, and it was well worth the 48 pesos each. why? because although the massages were excellent and professional, we also had full use of the facilities of the truly ethereal spa area. When arriving, we were each given personal attention by our own attendant, who started things off with a 5minute foot massage/soak with essential oils,etc (included in the price). Then we'd be escorted for a session in the steam bath, sauna, cool steam shower, etc. We had time to kill prior to the massage so we could lounge by the private pool with small waterfall (i believe the water temperature was a little warmer than the main pool too..a nice touch). There was hardly anyone there, so it was like we had the place to ourselves. Then it was up to the jacuzzi (which actually had nice warm water unlike the other jacuzzi around the pool area). The spa also has a private beach area with chairs. Very nice. (although we witnessed others from the resort who didn't purchase the spa services using the area too). Your personal attendant will bring you water/fruit juice as well throughout your stay.

Overall, well worth it. I recommend it highly, and go early prior to your appointment, take advantage of the facilities. They said we could stay there as long as we want, but of course, there's no bar or buffet so you have to leave sometime! But, a great escape from the main parts of the resort..highly recommended.

Resort layout - very good overall. I find that a better designed resort's pool area, for example, should be laid out so that it's not just crowds of people surrounding a circular pool. So this worked well at paradisus. We visited the resort next door (a 4 star) and the pool was like a shopping mall on a saturday. yikes.

Aesthetics/grounds - obviously Ike took its toll on the lushness since many of the palm trees have been thinned out, or gone altogether. The basic infrastructure could use some improvements though, including some older looking roofs, and rooms are somewhat dated. Overall, not as polished as some 5 star resorts i've been to, but ok overall. Mtnce crews have worked furiously to get the place buck up to snuff, so you have to give them a bit of a break on this one. Lobby area (read:first impressions when you arrive) is immaculate.

These people have been through a lot, what with the hurricane eliminating incomes for many of them for 2 months. I genuinely feel for them since they earn relatively very little money. But..that's just me.

Other guests: a good mix of Canadians, English, German and others i'm sure. Mature overall, polite, and no obnoxious yahoos ruining everybody else's day screaming at the pool. (at a resort i was at last year, some jerks decided to drape their country's flag over one of those thatch things you lie under for shade by the pool..and they also decided to play their ipod over a personal system at a pretty loud level).

Children: ahhh..not a one in site as this is 16plus. Heaven. First time i've experienced this and it made a difference...to me. Kids will be kids and yell and scream around the pool..that's WHAT THEY DO...THEY'RE CHILDREN. :) It's worth the premium in my books.

StinkPond. yes, that's my name for this unappetizing looking and smelling lagoon like pond area that effectively separates Paradisus from the neighbouring resort. Let's hope it's not the final resting spot of the resort's..umm..wastes.. At the end of the trip, workers actually dug a trench like area to drain the pond into the beach,effectively turning crystal blue water into a brown murky mess, complete with dying fish, eels and crabs.. Not sure why..but i think the pond is some kind of protected eco thing..let's hope so..if anyone can explain, i'd love to know, but aesthetically... yikes. not good for tourists wanting a nice swim at the beach.

Now..to the harrowing story i referred to above, which is in no way a direct statement about the Paradisus. In fact, the role of the Paradisus in this story was nothing but excellent...anyway..read on..

One member of our group had a dizzy spell, hit her head and the next morning woke up with a minor, yet scary medical situation : lockjaw, that needed attending to. The on site doctor recommended we take an ambulance to Holguin city hospital (i believe it's called Lenin Hospital) because muscle relaxants weren't helping, plus..it's a possible more serious head injury so he suggested we err on the side of caution.

Now, the doctor, managers, staff,etc. were outstanding in their helping of us make the arrangements. An ambulance met us in front, a nurse escorted us, and we drove to the hospital, which again, has nothing to do with the resort itself..

Let me just say that you probably don't want to experience what we experienced. Because we were paying (which was going to be covered by the girl's work travel insurance anyway), we were whisked in and out as fast as possible. Total time at hospital..about an hour. But there's another reason why we jumped to the head of the line. Public Relations. Castro's regime wouldn't want the average non cuban to see the conditions of this hospital. But, i preface this by saying that it's relative to standards you or i may have (i'm in Canada). It was very very un hygienic, filthy and downright frightening. The infrastructure of this particular hospital (which, as i understand it, is a commoners hospital for everyday citizens, NOT tourists) was something out of one of the SAW movies. I kid you not. The admitting area was swarming with flies, there were unknown substances on the floors/ceilings/"beds" ( a word i use very loosely), and i even saw a few birds flying around inside the hallways. Quite a story to tell now, but at the time, we were really really worried about what kind of treatment we could expect.

I feel for the average Cuban who needs healthcare - how they deliver a child, or do complicated operations there..i don't know how anyone would come out in one piece... HOWEVER, and this is a big however...although very rough around the edges, the staff and doctors ultimately did what needed to be done to fix the problem..and fix it they did.

Anyway, it's a by product of a communist/social regime, which is not the point of this review. This was just an observation.

Overall, the trip was very good despite our experience with the hospital, so that has GOT to say something about the people of the Paradisus.

  • Stayed December 2008, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 1 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.
1 review
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed December 14, 2008

December 13, 2008

My husband and I have just returned from our 2nd stay at PDRO. The first was in 2005 and that holiday was fantastic. Not this time.

This is the first review I have provided on Tripadvisor - I have just stepped off the plane and returned home and I wanted to post this review immediately even though it is 1:30 am.

WARNING: If you are going to PRDO take Dukarol prior to your trip and if possible and an antibiotic if you become ill as we were both sick during our stay. Speak to your physician before you go. My husband and I took Immodium and also had an antibiotic (Cipro) which saved our vacation somewhat. By the way, I did not leave the resort (because I needed to be near a toilet as the illness came over me quickly). We noted at least 50% of the visitors and possibly more, that we met were ill. My husband and I have not fully recovered yet. I have never been sick in Cuba and this is my 6th visit. We are not sure why this happened - could it be because the hurricane damage affected the water and the resort purification is not clearing all of the bacteria out?

This is a beautiful resort and even with the hurricane damage, the staff has brought the resort quickly up to speed. It was nice to have a view of the ocean from the pool as the trees were thinned out. I agree with the previous review, that the resort is aging, and in particular, the bathrooms need to be updated. However, the staff are meticulous at keeping the rooms clean.

ANOTHER WARNING: If you intend to scuba dive through the hotel (the diving centre is further down the beach at another resort), TAKE YOUR OWN BCD and regulator. It appears that they are having trouble getting the equipment fixed or replacing what they have. We only went once and that was enough to scare us. My husband's BCD had a defective inflator that would not stop filling causing him to surface quickly at the end of the dive. Quite dangerous but thankfully we were only on a shallow dive. This also happened to another diver we spoke to. Also, a fellow diver's regulator was completely missing a gauge and my own regulator gauge was not working and I ran out of air at the end of the dive just before surfacing! We suggest not taking a deep dive considering the state of the equipment.

The snorkelling was excellent at the main PRDO beach and we spent hours along side the reef at the wedding gazebo on the cliff.

We noted shortages of items like ginger, garlic, kleenex and for some reason face cloths and hand towels for example. A couple we met on the bus to the airport that vacationed at Brisas Guardalavaca said they had canned fruit and vegetables and nothing fresh! At PDRO the food was good.

I had a manicure and pedicure at the spa which was $18 and $28 respectively. I noted that there was a lack of tools (clean new nail files, cuticle push back tool, etc) to perform proper service. Considering the price of this service a clean new nail file is not too much to ask (or I could have provided one myself). Not sure why the tools are not available.

In general, my husband and I did not get the same friendly feeling from the staff that we did on our stay in 2005. I am not sure if it is because the economy is terrible or if the hurricane has caused considerable hardship and affected the attitudes of people.

This was our 6th visit to Cuba. We stayed at Sandals Hicacos in Varadero and the Royal Hideaway in Santa Clara previously and PDRO was our favourite. It would be nice to return to PDRO some day once the issues are resolved as this is probably the best resort in Cuba.

At this time I would not recommend this resort.

  • Liked — Large clean rooms.
  • Disliked — Location of my room.
  • Stayed December 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed December 12, 2008

Chose this hotel for it's 5 star rating, however, we felt that the correct rating should have been 4 star. The hotel is now 10 years old, and starting to require a re-fit. Our bedroom were large and roomy, but the furniture in need of replacing and the bathroom needed a total revamp, very dated with cracked tiles, cracked bath panel, rusty crome etc. the general hotel areas also staring to show their age. The electrics around the hotel a bit scary and the toilets also a bit iffy.
The A' La Carte restaurants were excellent, good quality and hot food, the buffet though was terrible, food constantly cold, complained 4 times but no improvement. Our breakfast constisted of cereal and toast for the whole period od our stay.
The beach area was also a bit disappointing, not quite what we expected.
The staff though were very friendy.
Went on an over night excursion to Havana. The hotel that we were put in was awfull, the pit's. Only stayed in it 5 mins, checked out and went independently to another hotel next door. The flight home was eventfull, with the engine nearly on fire ( sparks coming from the propellars ) and then the bus being 1 hour late in picking us up. The rep just did'nt know what to do - just hid. We was refunded our hotel bill and given some compensation but this still made the trip very stressfull.
Overall, with the weather being really poor and the quality of the hotel I would have to say that we were deeply disappointed with our stay.

  • Liked — the a' la carte restaurants
  • Disliked — the buffet restaurant
  • Stayed October 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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1 review
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 10, 2008

Traveled to Holguin Airport from Gatwick to Holguin, had a great flight and everything was on time - arrived at the resort and checked in. From the moment we set foot in the resort we felt so relaxed, the staff were so kind and helpful.

We stayed in block 49 which overlooked the lake - the room was beautiful and we had an unspoiled view. We were situated about half way from the pool to the main entrance.

The first week at the resort was quite quiet, which was great as we were the only ones getting married on that day! The wedding day was just fabulous - the staff really cannot do enough for you and are always so kind and friendly, and certainly do not look for tips. All we had to do for the wedding day was pick what colour of flowers we wanted!

The food was overall really good, the japanese restaurant was so much fun (you have to get a show table). We were a bit disappointed with the deserts - although they all look really yummy, they all seem to taste the same - lots of pastry.

The staff are great and you will certainly meet some characters if you go here. The room maids are very hard working and always left towel art on our bed!

We were concerned about going after the hurricanes, but the place is just beautiful and has such a peaceful atmosphere. We were told that before the hurricanes the resort was very thick with vegitation and that now it was actually better as you can see so much more.

The only disappointing part of our trip (apart from leaving the resort) was on the flight home. The staff onboard the plane were very inconsiderate to passengers, they came accross as loud, and veru unprofessional, which was very annoying considering it was a night time flight.

Overall though we had a great time and would love to go back some time. Compared with other carribean islands you get so much more for your money.

  • Liked — Fantastic staff/food/drinks
  • Disliked — The paint work in bathroom was a bit careless!
  • Stayed November 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
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East Kilbride, Scotland
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 8, 2008

Went to the Rio de Oro to get married in april 08. From the minute we arrived the staff couldnt be more helpful. The food was excellent in all the restuarants, even the buffet and pool bars. I have never felt so welcome in a hotel before.
The staff were always friendly and never once looked for a tip.
To anyone who is going to Rio de Oro. you will have a great time.

  • Liked — everything
  • Disliked — nothing
  • Stayed April 2008, traveled with family
    • 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
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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 Luxury Hotel in Holguin
#1 On the Beach 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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