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“the japanese restaurant was fab!!!” 5 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 9 Hotels in Holguin
A TripAdvisor Member
“the japanese restaurant was fab!!!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 21, 2004

We just got back from cuba on the 18th of september and stayed at the Paridisus rio de oro we had a wonderful time except for the weather but what do expect when you travel to the caribbean in september. The resort setting is amazing and food is very good make sure you try all restaurants. The shows are great but sometimes it seem the same as for day entertainment very quiet if you stay on the beach but they do have things going on at the pool. Well I think the beach is lovely. Room service if you are lazy like us then give it try it's well worth it especially when you there is no extra charge. The fun pub wasn't for us went there a few nights but they played the same songs and the same people try to sing but if you want to get really pissed and have a laugh then try it out. if we went back I would stay there or maybe try the one in varadero so I can get to play golf, they have a driving range but honestly it's not worth the walk to get there. I have stayed at iberostar properties but the paradisus will give them a run for their money anytime. If you want your fridge to be well stacked then just leave a dollar by the fridge and the guys will take care of you. Michel fron entertainment is good laugh speaks very good english but sounds like cockney. Well a very nice place to go and relax and enjoy the amenities. Have a good time at the Paradisus rio de oro!!!!!!!!!!!!! Adios amigos

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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
paradisusri0de0r0, General Manager at Paradisus Rio de Oro Resort & Spa, responded to this review, November 24, 2014
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3,767 reviews from our community

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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
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (847)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Polish first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Berkshire, UK
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 19, 2004

We have just returned from 2 weeks of bliss. The Paradisus is, in my opinion, a first class hotel.
I will list the things we liked and things we did not:
Good Points:
* Cuban people are very friendly, kind and helpful
* The service you receive is excellent
* The snorkelling off the beach is like swimming in a warm aquarium
* Loved the food, lots of choice, I would be very surprised if anyone could not find something they liked
* No sellers on the beaches, we were never approached by any beggars or sellers anywhere
* Felt very safe at all times, including the local market
* Very relaxing, one previous reviewer wrote that the people there were a bit stuffy, it is not a 'cheesy', boozy, loud, noisy type of place. We went there for a stress free, relaxing holiday, if we wanted noise, bad manners, lets all be friends type of holiday we would of choosen somewhere closer to home. If you want sophistication, dressing up for dinner, warmth, good service, excellent value for money, warm sun, white powder beaches, clear turquoise seas then go to the Paradisus
* I have to disagree with several of the reviewers opinion that you get good service whether you tip or not. Yes you do get good service if you do not tip BUT you get excellent service if you do. We tended to tip quite a lot because the staff at the hotel earn very little and do so much, a dollar tip is not much but it means a lot to them. One dollar tip for the mini bar man got a more varied supply, presents from the UK and a couple of dollars each day for the maid got beautiful flower and towel arrangements and our bed made up each night with a chocolate on the pillow, a dollar tip to the drink's waiter got drinks served to your table etc.
* Everyone speaks English very well, felt quite humble that we hadn't learnt more Spanish
* The Reception was very helpful, nothing was too much trouble - we wanted to visit the local market by horse & carriage and the Reception arranged it all for us, we were picked up from the hotel taken in a quaint carriage to the market (driver waited while we shopped) and took us home, all for 12 dollars!
Bad Points:
* Although I understand that Cuba has a tropical climate, we found insects and little creatures(!) a bit of a pain - cockroaches crawling on us in bed one night, large green frog clinbing up the bedroom wall, mosquitos that even bit me (I never usually get bitten), flying ants, ants, cockroach in the wardrobe. Having said that the hotel offered to change our room for us but we settled for the room to be sprayed as our room was in such a good position
* Other guests reserving sunbeds! If everybody complains about it, then who does it?! We used to go to the pool area about 9.30am each morning and all the best spots were reserved by towels. Although the hotel puts signs up requesting that guests do not do this, it still happens.

We stayed in a Superior suite which was beautiful, well worth the extra. Great to have an outdoor shower, our our patio complete with hammock! I could go on and on about this resort but won't bore you.We will go back to this paradise on earth.

Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
paradisusri0de0r0, General Manager at Paradisus Rio de Oro Resort & Spa, responded to this review, November 24, 2014
Old review, thank you
Report response as inappropriate
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London UK
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 4, 2004

It was a lovely resort - clean, lovely spaces, nice environment, etc.

The room was good - lots of space, well kept, quiet - I agee with the Canadian reviews that the bathroom wasn't anything special for a five star, but it did the job.

The food was fine - not excting, but it's Cuba, and up the road people we having water delivered by tankers, so let's not compain about there being no lobster at the international buffet. We can settle with personally coooked omlette for breakfast.

It was really nice to go to the restaurants - they had booked us in to each. They all worked well, were beautiful environments and and it's worth spending 10 $ on their lovely French wine menu, althouh the house wine was fine too. They were a good break from the buffet, which was a bit plastic, but nice.

The pool was fab - really mellow at about 5pm when you could wallow on lilos and enjoy the heat going down. Al the pool scene was lovely - mellow, and, beautiful, varied and clean. It was lovely to go to the swim up bar and order aa Cuba libre, and to the restuarant in the middle of the day and have nice food, good wine, and then go back to sleep in the sun. Really nice. The main beach was good too - wonderfully windy. The quiet beach was great - very peaceful and local.

There were no nasty insects, no need to tip - we didn't take money out ever, but found some nice waiters to give 10$ to before we left - and did get to see Holguin (one hour by taxi but well worth it to see some real Cuba, and Guadalvaca which is 5 minuts, and quite a local feel - try it after dinner, a bit scary on the dark beach then, but fine at the bar!) We got scooters from the lobby - great, a nice chance to go into the local villages.

For a gay couple - one Britiish 55 and one Japanese 33, the whole thing was a bit boring. The people seemed to be upper middle class and all a bit polite. We didn't talk to many. They watched the shows impasively - the resort should try somehing a bit more interactive rather than these boring set pieces. The video bar was lively though, and fab air con !

But as resorts go - a really really nice one - we had a look at the Rio de Mares etc, but they were a very touristy, lots of Kevins and Tracys and kids and concrete. But maybe more fun in the evening.

Go, you'll enjoy ! Very much ! Very nice quality.

Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
paradisusri0de0r0, General Manager at Paradisus Rio de Oro Resort & Spa, responded to this review, November 24, 2014
Old review, thank you
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 24, 2004

We have just returned from the best holiday we have ever had,I read the reviews before we went and since our return and wonder if "certain" reviwers went to the same paradisus as us,How anyone can moan about the food is beyond me and no I dont normally eat in pizza hut or macdonalds ! the food is superb trust me , very well presented and well cooked I didnt hear one person pass a bad comment about the food .The staff are great and the room was very good,please make sure you tip the staff and leave bits and pieces for them,what we have and take for granted can be replaced very easily and cheaply ,they struggle getting even the basics , all in all we had no problems only very special memories and we will certainly return.

  • Stayed August 2004
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
paradisusri0de0r0, General Manager at Paradisus Rio de Oro Resort & Spa, responded to this review, November 24, 2014
Old review, thank you
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
44 helpful votes 44 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 22, 2004

We transferred to the Paradisus Rio de Oro from the Luna Mares on 6th August (see our other review). We had wondered whether the extra cost was worth it as the beach was the same and the same company runs both hotels. Well, it was worth every penny and more.

I am aware that some reviewers are easily pleased, whilst others look to find things to complain about. I hope we are somewhere in the middle but have no complaints at all with the Paradisus.

Our rooms were large, well maintained with reasonably comfortable beds. The maid service was good and all the usual towel origami was left with extras to entertain the children. Food in the buffet was acceptable with a large selection for all. The al le carte restaurants were all good and can be booked every night rather than one per week like most resorts. The Japanese was entertaining and loved by our children. A little more flexibility for children in the other restaurants would have been the icing on the cake.

The resort is beautiful and the private beaches are paradise - I am surprised that more guests don't use them but the fact that they don't makes them all the more enjoyable for those who do. Distance may be a factor - they are a little walk from the pool area - but we had a room right by them and could pop back to it to use room service or the loo!

The dolphin trip was available from all the hotels and we opted to do the long tour which included the indian village, lunch and a museum. If I have one piece of advise for travellers it would be give this a miss and do the dolphins only (cheaper and only an hour's trip). We found that there wasn't much to see and wanted to go back to the Paradisus which would have given us a much better lunch!

All in all, we did wonder whether we should have had our whole holiday at the Paradisus but perhaps that fact that we went elsewhere for our first week made us value it all the more.

We had a wonderful time and have pondered whether we should break our self imposed rule of never going back to the same place twice. We probably won't go back but only because the world is a big place with lots to see. If you are going to go anywhere, make it Cuba, if you are going to go to Cuba go to the Paradisus - you won't regret it!

Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
paradisusri0de0r0, General Manager at Paradisus Rio de Oro Resort & Spa, responded to this review, November 24, 2014
Old review, thank you
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
5pudulike
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
39 helpful votes 39 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 16, 2004

The Paradisus is a good all inclusive resort. The setting is good and the gardens are lovely and very well maintained. The beaches are good and the drink is excellent.

Most impressively, the people there are top notch; I have never met hotel workers who were more eager to please; these people made every effort to ensure that our holiday was enjoyable; always with a smile and an “hola”. Yes, we tipped and it may have made a marginal difference to the service that we received but it is difficult to see how much better it could have got. We tipped because these guys earn next to nothing and they worked hard and deserved it. If you can afford to stay at the Paradisus you can afford a couple of hundred dollars in tips for people who have next to nothing and yet make you so welcome.

The food was OK but it wasn’t the wonderful gastronomic experience that some people who have written here seem to think. I wonder where the people who have written so rapturously about the food normally go for a good meal: McDonald’s? Pizza Hut? But let’s face it, you don’t go to the Caribbean (and particularly not to Cuba) for gourmet fare and the Paradisus is no exception. It’s fine at providing fresh fish, seafood and exotic fruit; expect that and you won’t be disappointed. It was nice to have a plate of lovely fresh fruit for breakfast. The buffet for lunch and dinner was OK but you have to queue up and serve yourself and I haven’t done that since I left school. However, the salads, burgers and pizzas available from the pool and beach restaurants are very acceptable and make for a substantial lunch. If you want to eat in the “speciality” restaurants don’t allow yourself to be dictated to about how often you can go to them. If you use your initiative and are prepared to be a bit cheeky it’s easy to bypass the woman who books them and blag your way in. I had emailed the hotel and got us booked in for 4 meals in these restaurants before we went but we actually ate in them for 8 nights of our 10 night stay without any more booking. The food in them is acceptable and at least it’s brought to your table for you.

The entertainment is the usual low grade cabaret nonsense that you get at these places. Do yourself a favour and ignore it. Instead, get a nice table near the bar with your back to the stage, engage in conversation with your fellow guests and get stuck into the excellent rum based cocktails on offer. If you are drinking beer, go for the Bucanero; much nicer than the Cristal which is a typically thin and acidic non-European lager.

We had one of the semi-detached bungalows and it was first class. That was after we had complained about our original room, which was right next to a noisy electrical generator. Fair play to them though, I complained and within 2 hours we were in our new room. The rooms to choose are on the pool side of the resort. Don’t be misled by the rooms that they claim are beach side. All you get is a view of some scrubby trees. The pool side bungalows back on to a lovely garden area with great views – and you get your own hammock.

As other reviewers have commented, there were some unpleasant drain type smells around but they were quite localised and weren’t that much of a problem.

To the Canadian lady reviewer who was offended by topless sunbathing I can only ask: What does she expect? What century does she think we are in? Go on a beach holiday anyway in Europe or the Caribbean and you will find topless sunbathing. It hadn’t occurred to me that Canadians were as prudish as their southern neighbours.

To the reviewers who have complained of a lack of things to do, the first thing that I would say that this is the Caribbean and a lack of activity is one of the main things that I go there for. I get all the activity I need the rest of the year. However, for those interested, there was kayaking, pedaloes, dinghy trips, windsurfing, snorkelling, horse riding, archery, pistol shooting, bowling, aerobics, giant chess, swimming, dancing lessons, a gym, a golf driving range, walking tours, cycling tours, poolside competitions; and that’s just the stuff that was available free of charge.

Oh yeah, although there is a sign saying that the reserving of sunbeds is forbidden, guess how much notice is taken of it? Take my advice, remove the offending towels and jump on the sunbed. So what if you have an occasional full and frank exchange of views with some idiot who got up at 7 a.m. to reserve his favourite spot and returned to it at 12, expecting it to be free? It helps spice up your holiday a bit.

As far as flying out there is concerned, Air Cubana serve what is possibly the worst airline food I have ever tasted.

A final point of information: Cheap, fizzy Spanish wine is NOT champagne.

Was this review helpful? Yes 14
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
paradisusri0de0r0, General Manager at Paradisus Rio de Oro Resort & Spa, responded to this review, November 24, 2014
Old review, thank you
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fuengirola, Spain
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 15, 2004

Thank you for everybody's advice about the hotel, we found it really useful for our family (2+2) holiday in July/August 2004.
We had a junior suite and found the room itself very spacious and tastefully decorated in Cuban style. The beds are large and comfortable and the air conditioning was very powerful and cooling, which was really appreciated! The in-room fridge (mini-bar) was quite noisy, but it's replenished for free as everything is included in the "all-inclusive" deal - room service meals etc..

The only slight disappointment was that the bathrooms were a less than 4 star. They're reasonably clean but the tile pointing and standard of the fittings was 3 Star.
Everything that has been said about the service and friendliness of the staff is correct.

The layout of the hotel is a little confusing at first but excellent once you get used to it. Most rooms are Juniur Suites in blocks of 16 - eight on the ground floor and eight on the first floor.
The main block containing the reception desk and the bars & restaurants does not contain any guest accommodation. I think that the sound from the evening entertainment will reach the nearest few guest suites, but the windows will be closed with air-con on, so not a big problem.
The swimming pool is at the opposite end of the complex to the main block, with the accommodation blocks in between them. The main beach is on the north side of the pool - so, from the South of the complex it goes - main block, accommodation blocks, pool, beach.
The land on which the hotel is built is fairly flat but higher than the beach by about 20 feet.

Cuba does have a cellphone network that provides a signal here. But the network only seems to work with Cuban phones. My tri-band UK GSM phone could detect the network but not use it. The hotel does not rent Cuban cellphones to guests.

So if your phone won't work, how about checking emails? Well there are two Internet computers just off the main lobby. They appear is share one dialup connection - broadband it ain't! It costs $9 for an hour, but don't expect to get much done - it's very slow! On some days the service was down completely with staff unable to say when it would be fixed.

On the flight to Holguin I read a history of Cuba. It still didn’t fully prepare me for the poverty. Take a trip and you see all sorts of sights on the roads… pigs, loose horses, huge potholes, Cubans being transported around in the back of cramped trucks, not buses. Two facts: 1) The people are very poor. 2) The people are wonderful! - You'd think they'd resent our comparative wealth, but they don't show it. They're friendly, full of fun, and bright. Tourism is one of the few boom industries Cuba can excel at, so I don't think we should feel bad about being there. I read that tourism now brings more dollars than sugar exports these days.

So - tipping is a really good idea. We brought a large supply of $1 bills and didn't mind tipping regularly. We also left gifts for our maid who responded with towel sculptures every day in our room! (Don’t turn on the shower before checking if she’s put one in the bath!)
The advice is to tip $1 to drinks waiters, porters, the people who give you fresh towels, etc., and then more to people who do more; maids ($1 per night per room), tour guides etc..

We took a number of organised excursions. The day-long trip to Santiago de Cuba was interesting though I wouldn't take young kids. In some places we were pestered by beggars - some wanted soap, others pens, and some wanted is sell small denomination peso coins for a dollar each. We expected to give something to poor people in the streets - but when the beggars were wearing brand new trainers I don't quite believe that they wanted ''milk" for their babies.

We had swum with dolphins before, and were concerned to see that the dolphins were well cared for. They're kept in a reasonably large area of sea front - not huge, but they seemed well looked after. (Human rights are not a big thing in Cuba, so don't expect animal rights to be on the Cuban mind.) We were told later that we were using a temporary pen - while the sea life centre we read about in the Rough Guide was being refurbished.
The dolphin swim was great. The keeper filmed our swim for a tip, which was cheaper than the $25 video service on offer. The best bit was the finale where we laid on our stomachs and two dolphins came from behind and pushed our feet so we were standing up and shooting forward at the same time - a great bit of video…
We had heard that the dolphins weren't too friendly, and that they had bitten people before, this was not the case, as long as they were respected. They are affectionate animals and we would highly recommend this excursion.

Maybe your tour operator has mentioned the $25 departure tax - ours didn't, unless it was buried in the small print. Every person has to pay $25 at the airport when they leave.

The Ocean Paradise trip was very good. The 20 minute coach ride took us to the secluded Quay were two catamarans were waiting. We sailed to a coral reef just off shore from Las Brisas hotel, then onto another just near the Rio De Oro. The snorkelling was fantastic with our guide, Xavier, taking us to the best spots – and playing with Barracuda, Moray Eels, starfish and other marine life.

The activity centre is very useful. You can borrow books to read while you’re there (we left a few – hope you like them!), and they organise activities which were not offered by the First Choice Rep. One such was a coach trip to Boca De Sama for $6 per person. We visited a school, the doctors, a home, and the local shop. All worth seeing, to get a feel for Cuban life.

The resort seemed to be mostly used by couples, young and old. There were a number of families with teenagers, and ours had a great time.

Tip 1 – The minibar will be replenished with 2 litres of water each day as long as they think you need water. So don’t leave your half-empty bottles around the room, as they’ll think you have enough. You are not allowed to take large bottles from the bar or restaurants, so getting the bottle in your room is the easiest thing to do.

Tip 2 - Money: I'm used to just taking just an ATM card and a couple of credit cards on holiday. Note that USA credit cards can't be used in Cuba (and a lot of UK cards are operated by MBNA and others, so don't work in Cuba). There aren't a lot of ATM machines near this hotel - so we took $ travellers cheques (not American Express though!). The hotel deducts 5% at the front desk when cashing them.

Tip 3 - Electricity. In Cuba you can find both 110V and 220V sockets. In the Rio De Oro the sockets are European 2 pin style, at 220Volts. The bathroom has dual voltage shaver points.

So – if you want a pampering holiday with great weather and a great setting, go for it!

  • Stayed July 2004
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 23
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
paradisusri0de0r0, General Manager at Paradisus Rio de Oro Resort & Spa, responded to this review, November 24, 2014
Old review, thank you
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative 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
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 9 Hotels 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 Suites, 24 Junior Suites Deluxe, 16 Junior Suites Deluxe Ocean View, 2 Suites Deluxe, 36 Master Junior Suites Royal Service, 14 Master Junior Suites Ocean View Royal Service, 6 Master Junior Suites Luxury Royal Service, 2 Garden Villas 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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