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“DO NOT GO HERE” 2 of 5 stars
Review of Memories Paraiso Azul Beach Resort

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Memories Paraiso Azul Beach Resort
Caibarien Villa Clara, Cuba   |  
Hotel amenities
St. Catharines, Canada
1 review
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 25, 2012

I was there Jan 17-24th 2012

Ok here are the good points

Hotel grounds

I am still living the bad on the john :(
This place is over booked take out 150 people and would be a good place.
Service sucks long long lines all the time
I saw them pumping the waste from beach washroom right on the grounds I should have took a picture not cool.
The worst sleep I have ever had at any resort
Staff only look for tips a young girl 12 asked for a drink he said sure and then proceeds to serve everyone else.
Wake up call at 1:15 AM not 4:30 am
No water

Need I say more BTW I have been to at least 25 all inclusive resorts

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
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English first
Lethbridge, AB, Canada
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
48 helpful votes 48 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 25, 2012

Just got back yesterday(Jan 16th-Jan 24th) and I must say it was a great trip! Reading some of these bad reviews and ill say this, some of you must just be the spoiled ,snobby type who just like to complain. These bad reviews are really the exception, cause this place rocked, I dont care if your a travel agent or whatever....

Just had to get that out. For the price of this trip and what you get, its outstanding. Its a solid 4 star though, bordering on 5 star. Though like others say, keep in mind this is Cuba, not Mexico. They dont have the things you might see in a 5 star in Mexico. Perspective, people.

Flight down there was fine, no problems, no delays, everything went smoothly. The bus ride to the resort was also fine. Great guide on the bus, beer for everyone, nice scenery on the 1 and 1/2 hour ride.

My girlfriend and I went with another couple. We both booked Diamond Club Oceanfront rooms, king size beds.

Check in was a breeze, champagne was waiting for us at the doors of the resort. As Diamond Club, we were ushered into a room where they had all our room keys and everything ready for us. Sign a couple things and we were checked in in minutes. One thing I will say though, take your own luggage to your room. We let the baggage people do it and it took about an hour, though they were friendly and helpful when it did arrive, so no big deal.

Got to our room and it was great. We didnt get a king size bed like we asked for but we just pushed the twins together and it was fine. We coulda switched rooms but we liked our room. We were in building 59. Pool right out our front door and the ocean was right behind it. Its a bit of a walk to the main area but we didnt mind. If you are older, you might want to ask for something around building 54.

Maid service was great the whole trip. Never were disturbed and always had our room cleaned quickly and it was always clean and had a nice little towel heart, rose, bow or something else made from the towels left on our bed. Turn down service every night as well.

Staff on the rest of the resort was good most of the time. Only a few times we struggled to get what we needed. Front desk always got done what we needed and were friendly. Beach staff was really good, they would always find a chair for you and if they couldnt and you had to lay on your towel for a bit, they would always remember you and you would eventually get one. Only once did we have to wait about 1/2 for a chair. Bar staff was good overall, we had to wait a few times for a drink but it was understandable considering how busy the places were and they were always helpful in suggesting drinks to try. Restaurant staff was awesome, especially the ala carts, we received top notch service every time.

The only fault I would find with the staff is that their english isnt very good overall and sometimes it was tough to communicate. Not a huge issue in my opinion though I suppose if an emergency arose, things could be rough.

Food at the resort was pretty good. Its not the food you would experience at some of the better places in mexico or wherever but anyone you talk to that goes to Cuba says the same of the food that its kinda bland. Everyone we talked to said it was pretty good overall. Some of these reviews of people saying it was the worst food ever? Gimme a break, you people crack me up with your whining. I can be a picky eater but only once did I have gripes about the food on this vacation and that was during the lunch buffet at the grill.

Breakfast was always top notch. Fresh made omelettes were great and you could get your eggs cooked any other way to at this spot. Bit of a line but not a problem. Crepes were always good. Bacon was good but always went extremely fast. Various sausages, some good, some a bit different. Baked goods, fruits, cereals, cheeses, etc. Very good overall

Lunch, pretty good but some days it wasnt the best. Different seafood dishes, pasta, rice dishes, french fries or poutine. We only really ate lunch a few times, as we either ate big breakfasts and then ate on the beach or we were on expeditions. So I cant attest fully to the lunch buffets.

Dinner buffets were great and had everything. Lines could get long sometimes but when 900 people are at the resort, thats life. Fresh to order Sushi, Fried Rice, Pasta or grilled meats and seafood were all great. Fresh made pizza was good too. Always various other trays of interesting cuisines that changed up most nights. Salad bar with meats and cheeses and veggies. All kinds of bread. Desert bar was awesome and pan fried in rum and sugar bananas, to order, was great.

The ala carts we did were the TexMex, Italian, Asiana and Steakhouse. Italian was the best for sure. The rest were all pretty good too. Multiple courses that you order from the menu. Service was great, food was great, we were happy.

Also the Route 66 grill is open 24hrs a day and you can get burgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, fries. On the beach, there is a little grill in between Azul beach and Paraiso beach that serves burgers, hot dogs and chicken.

Hmmm what next.....the Beach. Awesome! Very clean beach and the sand was white and awesome. Crystal clear water that had green flag days and a couple red flags days. No rip currents though so it was pretty fun playing around and safe. Lifeguards on duty. Never a problem finding a chair. Wow, all around great and couldnt ask for better. Boat rides and kayaking, beach volleyball and the beach staff were always playing music and playing games with people making it fun.

Pools, every one of them was great. Clean, great service at the bars and again, lots of music and activity for everyone to have fun. They did have a quiet pool area too.

Nightly entertainment, it was ok. They always had a show at 930pm in the theater, some nights were a touch boring and others were alot of fun. The Michael Jackson night was awesome.

The town site was not too bad but it was very dead. They need to figure out a way to integrate it more. They have a few restaurants that look nice and cheap prices if you want to eat outside of the AI stuff, we ate once at the italian type place and it was really good and cheap too. They have a little market to buy things, most of the stuff is the same you will find in Santa Clara or anywhere else selling nick nacks basically. Spa, salon, bowling alley. They also have a disco for the night life. We went twice. It was pretty good, we had alot of fun the one night and stayed till 2am. The other night was pretty dead.

Excursions were nice too. We went on two. The Santa Clara/Remedios tour was awesome. Get to see the countryside, ride a steam train, see the town sites and see what life in Cuba is like. Do a little shopping in Santa Clara, have a great meal and overall just a great time.
The other one we did was the catamaran trip. It was great, you get the dolphin show with it and get to play with the dolphins a bit. Sea Lion show. Lobster or Chicken lunch and then off to the catamaran. About 4 hrs on the boat which includes a a stop for snorkeling which was fantastic, a private beach stop with free time which was also quite nice, just be careful not to wonder out to the sticks that protrude from the water on the perimeter of the sandbar off the beach. There are rip currents out there. I thought it just meant deep water but was quite wrong lol. Plenty of beer and sun on the boat too.

Lots of writing I guess so Ill try to end this by saying dont let the bad reviews scare you off. This is a great resort to go on vacation and the price was great(we paid $2100 for two when we booked Dec 1st)

This place will only get better too since its still in slight transition from the Barcelo.

So book without fear and you will have a great time!

Room Tip: Rooms in building 54 are closer and will entail less walking overall
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  • Stayed January 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 25
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 25, 2012

Flight: Great service. Wasn't told about a change in the return flight till the day we left. Had to stop to refuel in Regina and added an extra hour to the flight. 4 hour flight delay in Santa Maria due to fog, they flew the plane to Varadero because it couldn't land. (This doesn't reflect my score for the hotel though)

Bus Ride: Super long especially after taking the red eye flight but it was worth it to see a bit of 'real' Cuba. The tour guide does a great job of explaining things and the area.

Weather: 30+ almost every day. It was windy but it made the heat tolerable.

Hotel: Not a 5* for sure. We took a double decker bus and saw some real 5* on the island but it is a very nice, big resort. 3 separate pool area's plus the kids pool at the day care facility. The pools all have different areas as well, some deep, some shallow, some with built in seats and all have bars. There is wheelchair access, which we didn't require but was a nice to know they had. This is a big resort, we did a ton of walking but you can use the golf carts if you wish. There were some issues with the telephone and water when we were there. Remember this resort is on a small island.. things happen. Don't plan on having contact with the outside world, $2.05 a minute to phone Canada and internet is more $$ and extremely slow.

Service: Amazing people, they do try their best. Be patient. You are on holidays - what does it matter if you have to wait 5 minutes to get your tables cleaned? Relax. I saw some extremely rude Canadians and was appalled at their behavior. I tipped but not all the time (for good service) and they were so appreciative.

Restaurant: Everyone knows you don't go to Cuba for the food!! Get over it - or go somewhere else. I found something to eat for every meal and I am extremely picky. I never went hungry. I did not have any stomach issues either which was nice for a change. Talking to others this was the consensus. I didn't eat the beef - I live in Alberta where we have some of the best beef - why would I go to Cuba for it? Stop complaining. My only issue is the cleanliness of the main buffet - check your plates before you take one. Ensure you get clean utensils and glasses at the table. I had no issue with finding the grill buffet clean plates or utensils. Extremely disappointed in the behavior of some of the french Canadians who just shoved their way in line (after I had been lined up for a few minutes) and proceeded to dish themselves up, using whatever serving spoon they could find - people have allergies and buffets are hard enough to work around, it doesn't help when someone uses the seafood spoon to dish the pasta out. If you can't wait 5 minutes then stay home please.

Beach: AMAZING!! Windy some days, always room for a towel but there are not always enough chairs. The softest sand you have ever felt and beautiful warm water.

Diamond Club: Worth it. Early check in and super quick, late check out, bottle of rum, robes, turndown service, lobster dinner, your own concierge, butler at the beach and your own section at the beach. I also found out you get 20% off at the spa located in the market and extra restaurant reservations.

Extra tips: bring hand sanitizer, some bathrooms do not have soap. Bring tissue packages, some bathrooms were lacking in toilet paper.

If you are looking for a nice place to relax and enjoy the sun, this place is great. Don't go if you want a ton to do, a ton of partying and excursions. They do have tours to Havana and the dolphinarium and a few others but that is it. I spent $2010 for the 2 of us with the upgraded ocean view room and diamond club - my only vacation in 5 years and I enjoyed it more than the DR, and we paid more money. If you have any other questions please feel free to ask.

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 25, 2012

Once upon a time it was 5 star; however, since changing hands, they are still going through some difficult changes. No complaints about the room and service (5 star Cuban standards). Powder sand beach, beach services including water sports, drinks and food were 5 star. Food presentation and wait lines need improvement. Short on table linens which were sometimes quite dirty at the later dinner setting. Late night arrival meant trying to find your acc'tion in a poorly lit sprawling complex with very little direction (not ideal for people with mobility issues) Change money at the bank not the front desk, as we got stiffed of 7CUC on $100 Cdn. 98% of staff provided good service and the others you avoided the next time. Avoid early morning flights as fog delays landing and takeoffs. Although, 11am check out, we were allowed to stay in our rooms until 3pm with a 5:30 bus departure. Avoid getting the elite up-grade, not worth the extra as heard through the grief line.

Room Tip: 3rd floor as above the trees. We loved our room as sheltered from the prevailing winds and quiet. On...
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  • Stayed January 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
Winnipeg, Canada
15 reviews 15 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 25, 2012

We just got back from staying here for a week (Jan 13-21, 2012) - not worth it at all. Yes the grounds and resort itself were lovely - well manicured and pretty colors and nice furniture to relax in. This was our first time to Cuba and will most likely be our last unless I get sent there for work related purposes (I am a travel agent).

Flight was relatively on time...according to the captain, we would be landing early in Santa Clara because of a strong tail wind. Service on board the plane was great...champagne, hot towels, decent meals, wine, movie, snacks, etc. so no complaints there. Landing – we believe the captain botched the landing – we were coming in, and then got thrown back into our seats and back up into the sky – he came on the speaker and said there was last minute “weather issues” they had to deal with and aborted the landing – so we circled around for another 20 min and landed quite hard on the runway, making us 20 min late – so much for that tail wind.

No jet ways at the Santa Clara Airport – you have to walk out of the plane down the stairs which is cool – no biggie and it makes you feel like a rock star when you have to do this. We didn’t find any “weather issues” anywhere – clear night, no clouds, and nice and warm – go figure – so this is why we think the landing was botched by the captain or something else happened. The airport feels like a small garage/basement – dark and small. Security and passport control is a joke. You walk up individually to the passport people, they look at your passport, look at you, your passport, back to you, your passport, then you, type a few things in their computer, then ok you and make you walk through a door that feels like a closet door but whatever (kind of like a weird foreign game show) only to emerge to a security area where you have to place your carryon bags through the x-ray machine – now I don’t mind doing this if the workers are actually paying attention to the screens but they weren’t, they were chatting with each other and weren’t even looking at anything – kind of pointless if you ask me but it’s what you have to do. They won’t stamp your passport here – I asked and got a simple “no” for an answer. Try and go to the bathroom at the airport before you board your transfer bus to the resorts as the washrooms don’t work on board them and it is a 2 hour bus ride. There is a little cart that has beer for sale outside of the terminal before you get to the buses – mmm beer, just want I want at 1:30am – our bus also had a cooler on it with 10 beer available to purchase for the entire bus of 45 people for $2 CAD each – needless to say they sold out in about 10 minutes of boarding. The transfer buses were alright – it had a funny smell on it and you get used to it after 45 min or so. Transfer time is supposed to be 90 minutes, but closer to 2 hours. If arriving at night like we did – nothing to see on the route, the guide on the bus points out a few things along the way but most people are half asleep and just want to get to the resort. If arriving during the day, I am sure there would be some great scenery from the towns you go through and long causeway you drive on.

Check in was awesome; more resorts should do it this way. We never went to the main lobby but were ushered into a meeting room where they had our information ready to go in envelopes. Have a pen on you for this. We also received champagne when we got to the resort which was a nice touch – who doesn’t like a small glass of champagne? We filled out a form in the envelope and that was it, simple and easy then proceeded to get our bags. We went back to our bags and the bellhops wanted to know what room number we were in, we told them and they wrote it on the luggage tags – they said they were going to deliver them to our rooms which is a nice touch but I read the reviews and many people said not to do this...they deliver them in mass amounts and it could take up to 2 hours to get your luggage – we opted to take our own luggage (we made a great choice) and walk to our bungalow as it was 4am and we wanted to get to sleep which we did – other people not so lucky – they had to wait over an hour for their bags so they couldn’t sleep or get ready for bed because all they had were their carryon’s. If arriving during the day, it is advised you have shorts or a bathing suit to change into while your bags are getting delivered if you choose this option.

We got an ocean view room with a king sized bed, fully stocked mini bar, bottle of rum, working safe, bathrobes, and all the things we needed – we lucked out and had no problems with our room whatsoever. Many many people we spoke with had nightmares with their rooms – no lights in the bathroom for 3 days, no stocked mini fridge, no rum, no electricity, no sheets, no water for 2 days at all, broken patio doors, key cards getting de-magnetized each night and having to get them fixed each day, no maid service for 3 days, etc. Most of the problem rooms were on the Pariso side of the resort and in my opinion, was the older section of the resort. The bed was ok...it looks hard but wasn't that bad. The toilet and shower also worked well too. Our maid was great, clean rooms, fluffy towels, so no complaints there. We tipped him a few pesos each day and he thanked us for it each time we saw him. That was nice. Orlando came each night (around 5:30pm-6pm) to re-stock our mini bar which was great however; he can be very sneaky and just walk in to the room without knocking so make sure you either lock your door, are fully clothed, out of the shower, and not doing anything inappropriate. We were in Bungalow 54 which was a relatively good location – in the middle of the pool/beach and main buffet/lobby so we were ok. Anything higher up, you would have a short walk to the beach/pool but far walk to the buffet. The pools were lovely if you like swimming in frigid water. It was a great plunge/cool off pool but that was about it. We swam in the ocean as it was much more comfortable and fun. Watch the kids at the pool area though, they like to go to the bathroom in it. Not cool. There was a children's pool, but more kids at the adult pool and this didn't seemed to be enforced by anyone so that was kind of a disappointment but we didn't mind apart from them using it as a bathroom.

The grounds were beautiful and the actual buildings themselves were lovely. We went to the Sunwing presentation briefing they do the following morning at 9:30am – this was held in the theatre. Well, after being up for almost 24 hours, having a few hours of sleep, travelling, etc. we were treated (if you could call it that) to loud disco dance music blaring in the speakers, then staff introductions like the managers, head chef, assistants, etc. so by the time the actual real Sunwing presentation started, it was closer to 10am – the session lasted about 35 minutes so with all that loud fluff at the beginning, we could have been at the pool earlier. It was a huge challenge to find your way around the resort – it took us at least 3.5 days to figure things out. There were maps in a few places, but even these were bad - just a quick hint – a “you are here” sticker would be a great addition to the boards – just saying. The restaurant signs were also hard to find and read – again, still trying to find out where the Tex Mex restaurant was as well as the Mediterranean restaurant was – couldn’t find either of them. There is a market called the Pueblo you could go to, which is part of the resort – it has some restaurants, bowling alley, disco and some markets – the markets change every day so there is never a repeat of stuff to buy. You also don't get hassled there and they don't like to barter, the prices are as marked but reasonable enough. There is a train trolley you can take to get to it for 1 peso each or a double decker bus for 3 pesos each. Well, it is only about a 15 min walk so taking these options was pointless – one day we found a guy driving a golf cart to take us there for free.

Walking around the Pueblo was like walking around a deserted movie set – it was weird and we asked ourselves why it was there – pointless. Oh, if you have to use the bathroom at the Pueblo, bring your own toilet paper or Kleenex or napkin – there was none – gross. Huge thank you to a nice lady who gave me a kleenex to use. Actually, if you have to use the bathrooms anywhere around the resort try and use the one in your room or if you have to, bring your own tp/Kleenex if you can – there was none in most bathrooms and they smelled very bad – there was staff outside the entrances to the washrooms, but I guess refilling the tp and soap is not a priority.

Cash counter where you exchanged your money was alright, again, another huge line up you had to get in at around 8:30am to be guaranteed money – the counter had a sign on it that said it would open at 9am – well most days the guy would get there at 9:15am, and open closer to 9:30am or when he felt like it – don’t wait to exchange your money in the afternoon – he would close down for 30 minutes (lunch) which turned out to last longer some days only to open to serve one person and close again because he ran out of money – awesome. A la carte reservations – again, get up at the crack of dawn to stand in line for these – reserve them early in your stay – we tried but were told we already used our reservations – well that was impossible as this was on the Sunday (we got there on the early Sat morning) so unless we travelled back in time using our Delorean and flux capacitors to make the reservations, we couldn’t have possibly used them – they didn’t get the joke. They managed to find an opening though – at the Asian restaurant on the Thursday night at 10pm – who eats at 10pm? So we didn’t bother reserving that or doing any other restaurant because it was too frustrating and we didn’t want to eat more bad food. We were also supposed to receive a lobster dinner– we were told no, sorry not available – still waiting for our lobster dinner.

I have never encountered such rude staff before in a destination ever. They seemed unhappy and we were made to feel guilty for being there. Apparently there were entertainment staff around, we saw 3 of them (I think). It would help if they wore different clothes than the maids and made an attempt to meet you and chat with you. One day when we were walking back to our bungalow, we were physically pushed off the walking path by 2 workers who blew by laughing at us. Awesome. There was also a shortage of staff (or seemed to be a shortage) and this was a major problem at the restaurants and bars. We felt like the staff all had some form of ADD – each one would do something different and no one worked together – kind of like a bunch of ants running all around with no purpose whatsoever. Many nights at the buffet, we had to repeatedly ask for water/wine/beverages and finally we ended up getting our own drinks (which I don’t mind doing) but don’t ask me what I want to drink if you can’t take the order or don’t have time or can’t understand. We found that the majority of the staff did not speak English at all and had a very hard time communicating with you – god help you if there is an emergency – which by the way we didn’t see any first aid stations or anything like that and if a staff member can’t find a mop for someone, how could they help you if you needed it? We wanted to use the Internet at the resort – fine – it’s 6 pesos for 30 minutes. We also understand that it’s dial up and not fast like it is here – we get it. We first went to the front desk to find out where to get this internet card to use – we were told to go to the room with the internet as they couldn’t possibly help us – so we did and found nothing – we went back to the front desk and was yelled at by the worker saying “didn’t you listen, I have no internet card, go over there” – where is over there? We finally got told by another couple that we had to go to the telephone lady and get one from her – great. So we went to the phone lady to get an internet card – she told us no...plain no. No? I asked again, can I get an internet card – she said internet is broken come back later – well we SAW people in the internet room on the internet so how can it be broken? So we played her game and left to return the next morning. We went back to a different phone lady and again, was told no, come back later as it may be on after. We went back at night – again told no. After 2 days of being told no, we got fed up and went to the Pariso lobby to find the phone lady there – she was quite nice (one of a few staff we met) and said sure – we found out later that the Azul side ran out of internet cards – which is fine but JUST TELL US you are SOLD OUT and don’t play games with us. Internet works – slow but it works – well actually only Facebook works - if you have an MSN/Hotmail/GMAIL account then you are out of luck. All we wanted to do was email home to say we got there safely. That was all we wanted to use it for nothing else and just one time only. Every time you were walking around the resort, a staff member would approach you wanting your camera, sandals, watch, beaded necklace, hair tie, sunglasses, etc. saying he has nothing and this would help out his life/situation – now I am all for giving, but being asked everyday from the same people that they want your belongings gets tired and makes you mad and irritated – people (Canadians) give bags of clothes and school supplies to the Cuban people at this resort – fine if you want to do that but I feel they were playing us making us feel guilty of being there when they have nothing – that’s just my opinion and this kind of thing shouldn’t happen at a “5 star resort”.

I wouldn’t serve any of the food to starving rats. For breakfast – omelettes (which we lived on), sweet breads, fruit, pancakes/crepes, waffles (again, long line up because the guy could only make one and people were ordering 3 and 4 waffles at a time), cheeses, deli meats, breads, etc. – breakfast was decent but the thought of eating the food made your stomach churn in the morning. Lunch – Yikes where do I begin – fruit, salad, salad dressing which was sitting out in the heat un-refrigerated (hello Botulism), wet burgers (no hamburger buns but why were they wet?), stringy chicken, olives, cheese, cream salads (again, barely refrigerated), fries, gelatinous mystery meats in sauces, gelato (which was the only good thing there), fish heads, and some dainties – We lived off buns, cheeses, olives, and gelato for lunch as we didn’t trust eating anything else especially the fish heads...yikes. Dinner buffet – Each night we ran to stand in line at the pizza station to get plain cheese pizza – this was one of the few things that didn’t give us an upset stomach, grilled fish (which was good but you had to wait about 45 minutes for it), stir fry (again, waiting 45 minutes in line for rice and stringy chicken), sushi (don’t bother as I got sick from it), more mystery meats in gelatinous sauces, buns, cheese, fish heads (again with the fish heads??) lunch meats, mystery pots of soup (I think the pots were filled with soup), fries, corn, flavourless rice, and mystery vegetables in sauces. We found the food tasteless and bland – all of it, even the food we could stomach was tasteless and bland. We also found that by again, lining up at around 6pm for the 6:30pm opening of the buffet, guaranteed you a table at the buffet – if you were any later than 6:45pm, you had to wait an hour for a table.

Standard resort drinks available, nothing fancy. We saw everyone carrying around travel mugs with them – I read from the reviews people recommending they bring their own mugs down with them to have – good idea in theory but I didn’t do this as I didn’t feel like packing another thing and worrying about cleaning it after each use with the suspect Cuban water – and who wants to do dishes on their vacation? Not me that’s for sure. One day the resort ran out of disposable plastic drink cups for people then cans of beer, so we couldn’t get any alcoholic drinks for an entire day (no big deal but it's nice to have a few here and there) – luckily we bought some cool bamboo mugs from the Pueblo as souvenirs so we ended up using them for drinks – if we didn’t have them, we would have gotten nothing to drink all day (apart from bottled water) – now this is a 5 star resort (or so it is rated) and I believe that this kind of thing shouldn’t happen at a 5 star resort at all no matter the country. Ever had a margarita made with vodka? Well you can here – when we questioned it, the bartender stuck his hand in our faces and served the next person in line – awesome – so we had vodka margaritas all week. Ever had a frothy warm pina colada? Well you can here – mmm frothy and warm...so refreshing on a hot day. We felt that none of the bartenders knew how to make drinks properly and they were just throwing things together in a cup/glass. Thank God for the mini fridge in our room as we kept a stock of beer in it as a back up and it went to good use. The lobby bar was the better bar of the resort – but not by much – the average wait time to get a drink here was about 10-15 minutes – one night we waited 25 minutes just to get acknowledged and ended up just walking away mad without a night time drink. The lobby bar does make a good cappuccino if you can get someone to make it for you. There was 1 waiter for the entire lobby...1....who never came around to us because he was too busy serving the closest 3 tables at the bar (we sat away from the bar towards the front of the lobby because there was a lovely cool breeze and it was quieter there but I guess it was off his radar to walk that far) – apparently we needed to get there at 9am if we wanted a table at night to get served at.

We upgraded to the Diamond Club at this resort – not sure why as we didn’t feel it was worth it. You get a sparkly silver bracelet – it was fancy compared to the regular blue bracelets everyone else got. The special section on the beach with butler service was a joke – a huge long narrow section crammed with chairs and 1 butler, again, serving 2 groups of people because it took so long to make their drinks he didn’t have time to fill other orders – if we walked a bit further down the beach, it was wider and much more quieter so we didn’t use this service at all. We were supposed to get an extra a la carte dinner reservation – didn’t bother doing this because we were sick of the food...literally sick of the food. You get access to the diamond club lounge – wow – sounds fancy but it’s really just a dark meeting room with 5 tables and some chairs in it – nothing special about it. You also get premium drinks – well...it’s just 2 fancier bottles of alcohol they make you sign for when you order a drink with it – and I really couldn’t tell the difference compared to the regular alcohol being used so again, not worth it. The only good thing was that you get your room for a longer period of time – when we were checking out, we didn’t have to check out until 9pm which was nice as the regular check out time was 3pm so that was handy especially if you have an overnight flight home like we did – if you didn’t have the diamond club, I think it was an extra $50 CAD for this so it was worth it.

The resort itself is beautiful – buildings and grounds were lovely, weather was also decent and the beach was nice – beautiful water and soft sand – no complaints about these things. Staff needs MAJOR training and there just needs to be more staff around who can better communicate with you. By no means was this a 5 star at all – possibly a 3 star at best and Sunwing should be ashamed of selling it as a 5 star. I have been to many other resorts in other countries that vary from a 3-4.5 star and they were much better. I am also a travel agent who is well aware of the resorts and travelling. By no means are we fancy people as we wre quite easy going people but we did not have a good time at all. Oh, if you buy art prints from the Pueblo as souvenirs like we did, be prepared to pay an extra $3 CUC each for them at the airport when you leave – all art prints apparently need to be stamped by the artist and authorized by the Cuban government – great but at these tiny tourist markets, the prints aren’t stamped or authorized by anyone – we were not aware of this so we had to pay $3 CUC each for the 2 prints we bought so keeping some extra CUC when you go to the airport is a good thing to have just in case. I would not waste my time in going back to this area again – the people are not ready for tourism in my opinion – no one seems to care about you and they stare at you and made you feel guilty for being there. I would not sell this resort to anyone nor would I recommend staying here ever again period.

Room Tip: Try and get an ocean view room...well worth it to see the beautiful water and views each day.
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  • Stayed January 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 25, 2012

Stayed at this hotel from January 9th to the 23rd. Was pleasantly surprised. We decided to give Cuba a second chance after a trip to Cayo Coco 4 years ago. We'll definetly go back. our room was in the building #52, for us the perfect spot, oceanfront (we paid for oceanview) central to everything. My husband is very picky, and said this was one of our best trips, Our room was immaculate #5267. Rented a taxi for a trip into Santa Clara - Ask for Thompson everyone knows him and he speaks very good english. Suba diving was very professional on immaculate boats. We purchased Diamond Club, and were happy to find that the separate beach area was never lacking chairs - not sure for the other area though. Check-in a breeze. The one problem is the popular excursions fill up fast and the excessively long lines at the bank in the hotel and SUNWING reps to book your excursions!!! Being there 2 weeks was a little bit of an advantage.

Room Tip: 3 floor buildingss with no elevators
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  • Stayed January 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 24, 2012

We had a great time Jan 7 - 21, 2012 at Memories Azul. The check in was the fastest and most efficient we have ever experienced and our room was ready when we arrived at noon. Our bags were delivered to the room quickly and the fridge was kept stocked with water plus our choice of beverages. The food was very good - much better than anticipated, particularly the seafood and deserts. We found the staff very friendly and accommodating. I particularly appreciated the stretching, step and aqua gym classes that were held each morning. Without them I would have surely gained weight.
The resort is 1.5 - 2 hours from the airport so we chose to spent the entire time relaxing and not waste time going off the island. Both the beach and the pools were nice. Anyone looking for a relaxing holiday would enjoy this resort.

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Memories Paraiso Azul Beach Resort

Address: Caibarien Villa Clara, Cuba
Location: Caribbean > Cuba > Villa Clara Province > Cayo Santa Maria
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #6 of 9 hotels in Cayo Santa Maria

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