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Reviewed March 13, 2013

Wow! Where do I begin. Our first and last trip to Paradisus and most likely our last trip to Cuba.
We are not high maintenace travellers but......
Little or No Access to A La Carte. We were told we would have 4 nights (paid and guaranteed 3)
We dined A la carte twice due to limited availability. The food was slightly better than the buffet.
The overall Service was terrible despite the consistent 2 to 3 Peso tip for everything. We were told that consistent tipping would result in a better service experience. We didn't experience any difference. On one occasion I left a 10 peso tip to receive some pool side service and had to go find a server after an hour wait.
2 Days to get 2 extra pillows
Little or No Hot water for showers
Sewer smell in our room
Buffet food was plentiful but quality was poor and always cold.Wines were probably among the worst that I've consumed. There's a lot of really great great inexpensive wines available but none at Paradisus
We left a very generous gift for our room staff and without that we probably wouldn't have had our fridge(2 beers , 1 water and 2 sodas)replenished daily.

The actual Property was lovely, the staff are friendly for the most part and the place is very safe. The rooms are very dated and unless you pay the $2K-$3K premium for Royal don't expect a a 5 star experience. This is NOT a 5 Star resort despite the ratings. We have also noticed little or no willingness from management to adress the issues.Never again!!.

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with family
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4  Thank Angus M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
residentmanagerPVA, Manager at Paradisus Varadero Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded March 17, 2013

Dear Angus,
We were very much concerned by your review and disappointments you found during your first trip to Cuba, and we want to offer our apologies for it.
We hope that we will have the opportunity to welcome you back to our resort and to give you all the service and facilities you couldn’t enjoy this last time.
With kindest regards.

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Reviewed March 13, 2013

My wife and I spent 4 nights in Havana prior to moving on to 10 nights in Varadero. (February/March 2013)

In Varadero we stayed at the Paradisus.

We had already done a fair bit of research before our trip using primarily this website TA. We had found mixed reviews, and the general comment that the hotel was the hotel focussed on its Royal Service to the detriment of the standard service. We opted for the standard service as we felt the supplement excessive. Read on.

We enjoyed our stay here. The Paradisus is about 10-15 years old. The grounds are immaculate so it doesn’t feel that old. It’s a fairly large hotel with accommodation blocks throughout the grounds. Each block being two floors and 16 rooms. We had a junior suite, their most basic option, and found it to be very roomy and comfortable. Rooms are gradually being renovated, although this is more of a “spruce up”. We had a renovated room, and the fridge and TV were old and floor tiles had seen better days. But it was clean, comfortable and everything worked.

The hotel is all-inclusive, which means the mini-bar is restocked daily with water, soft drinks and beer. We found that the daily ration of 1.5 litres of bottled water was not enough, so we got an extra bottle a day simply by leaving a note (in spanish). We could also get extra bottle from the man lobby bar – no problem.

Our room was well furnished, and we found our maid to be very conscientious and efficient and pleasant (management if you read this – extra marks for Sandra).

The hotel has a comprehensive buffet restaurant for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The food was good, although the service was sometimes patchy. This may have been that the table staff were overworked. The “cooked to order counters” were very good, especially the grilled fish at lunch and dinner.

At lunch there is also a Beach bar/restaurant and a Snack bar/restaurant.

We ate twice in the Beach restaurant, but decided that it was more of an “in-place” rather than a restaurant, and the food was not really up to scratch, there was never enough food being cooked on the Grill, so long queues.

We had lunch more often in the Snack bar/restaurant (Cairi). Here we found the food to be mainly good, except for our first and last visits (coincidentally our first and last days), when the service was atrocious (we had to wait 40 minutes for our food, and when we got it, it was luke-warm). The other days (5 occasions), the service was quick and the food was good. It was of the 2 extremes; good or bad – but never mediocre. Grilled prawns and calamare were our favourite.

At dinner there were also the 4 speciality restaurants. We visited 3 of these:

The Romantic restaurant, we visited twice. The menu was interesting with good choices. Our first meal was excellent, so we went a second time. This was a disaster. We ordered lobster tail, but it came looking like “thermidor”, and on picking through it there was hardly any lobster, but lots of mushroom. We had seen other people on our first visit getting nice lobster tails; but on our second visit we (and others around us) were astounded at what we were being served. If the restaurant had run out of lobster, then they should have taken it off the menu – not pretended. Our complaints were ignored.

The Italian restaurant was nice. Not exceptional, but still nice.

The Japanese restaurant was also nice. A large part of the dining experience here is having what I understand is called a “show kitchen” at each table, where a chef cooks the ingredients and entertains with his cooking skills. Another pleasant aspect to this restaurant is that the tables hold up to eight people, so you get to meet other guests of the hotel.

During our stay, the hotel had a person specially assigned to their English guests. His job was to answer any of our questions, sort out any problems, book restaurants and offer any advice should we need it. His name was Hector. He was a gem. Thank you to the management for creating such a post; and especially thank you to Hector for doing you job so well and enhancing our stay at the Paradisus.

The wines served at bars and restaurants were very good, with bottomless glasses! A wide selection of branded drinks (but non US) were offered as well as a range of cocktails.

The hotel is located quite a distance from Varadero downtown, so to get there you need to take either a taxi or a bus. We used the double-decker hop-on-hop-off (HOHO) bus. Its 5 pesos each, which gives you a day ticket for unlimited uses. They run approximately every 20/30 minutes and the trip into downtown takes about 15/20 minutes. Downtown Varadero itself is mostly a strip of tourist markets, bar and restaurants. Don’t expect too much. But a pleasant change of scenery. Some interesting and well priced souvenirs.

The hotel has a lovely beach. We took a stroll along the beach, going beyond the Paradisus boundary, to the next hotels. We thought that the other hotels looked a long way back from the beach, and their guests had to walk along boardwalks through high brush to gain access to the beach. We appreciated how lucky we had been to choose the Paradisus.

There is a nightly show put on. These are usually in the “theatre” area, but once a week there is a special one called “Aquatic Ballet”. It takes place in the pool and is an exceptional production. Definitely do not miss this (Sunday nights).

The hotel also has a more exclusive section called “Royal Suites”. They have a separate pool and restaurant and are placed on a separate beach (although the beach is not exclusive ). The beach closest to the RS is not a patch on the beach by the main hotel. This beach is rocky. Not surprisingly most RS guests who want the beach, will travel across the property to the good beach. The Royal Suites have extra services. Their pool furniture is definitely better than the main hotel. I understand they also have a butler service, although I’m not sure what that is. We were totally satisfied with our own accommodation and facilities. Those RS guests we met, were in turn happy with their arrangements. Each to their own.

Message to the management :
We were not sure how permanent the post of “English representative” is. Hector was a major boon to our experience at your hotel. I would hope that you continue this post even after Hector himself moves on or gets a well-earned promotion.

We thoroughly enjoyed our stay, in Cuba you expect the occasional “supply chain” problems, but they did not interfere with our enjoyment , a cocktail without a straw is only a minor problem! We’ll be back.

Room Tip: Ask for a enovated room, preferably upstairs
  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank DaveH53
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
residentmanagerPVA, Manager at Paradisus Varadero Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded March 17, 2013

Dear Dave,
Thank you for your lengthy review and for letting us knows your wonderful comments and we are sure that it will bring motivation to our staff. We are very grateful for your kind words and suggestions (we will tell them to Hector!) and the time you spent on this review.
We look forward to welcoming you and your wife back to The Paradisus in the not to distant future.
With kindest regards.

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Reviewed March 12, 2013

We enjoyed our stay with Paradisus Varadero just as much this time as last year. The staff are excellent - efficient, friendly. Our room was very clean and the ocean view was wonderful. The only complaint was the early morning low water pressure, but that's Cuba. I would say from what we saw that this hotel is the nicest on the strip. It has a beautiful lobby, very good food and lovely gardens that are well maintained.

Room Tip: Royal Service and ocean view to my mind are the best, but garden view are also very nice. We were always on the ground floor and hardly heard our neighbours. All buildings are only two stories high, so there is little difference.
  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Pat S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
residentmanagerPVA, Manager at Paradisus Varadero Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded March 17, 2013

Dear Pat,
Thank you for taking the time to review our hotel in your second and not last visit. It is nice to read good comments of the facilities and the service and make us proud to serve you.
We look forward to welcoming you back again soon
Best Regards!

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Reviewed March 12, 2013

Just back from a fabulous 9 day break at this resort. A truly wonderful holiday - while the resort is perhaps looking a little tired, this is understandable just at the moment, as, to quote the staff, it is winter! They were in the process of redecorating many of the buildings while we were there, and it looked to a high standard. Certainly our room was immaculate - and kept so by excellent staff.

The food in the buffet restaurant was very good - a choice of buffet fare and meats or fish cooked to order. There is also a selection of specialist restaurants available to pre-book, which we made use of on a couple of occasions and found to be very good too.

All inclusive means that everything is simply available and nothing is too much trouble for the staff. We even took advantage of the free SCUBA diving which included ferrying us across Cuba to the Bay of Pigs as visibility was not sufficiently good in Varadero. Stunning diving both there and in Varadero on the one occasion we managed to dive there.

All in all I cannot rate this too highly - the staff and the accommodation were both outstanding.

Room Tip: We didn't take the Royal Service option and don't feel we lost out at all. The staff made our visit there very special. Wherever you stay I'm sure you'll love it.
  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank PhilKingsbury
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
residentmanagerPVA, Manager at Paradisus Varadero Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded March 17, 2013

Dear Guest,
We are delighted to read that you found the Hotel BRILLIANT and you were delighted by the service provided by our Team during your 9 days with us. We look forward to welcoming you back to The Paradisus in the not to distant future.
Best Regards!

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Reviewed March 12, 2013

We have just returned from ten nights at the Paradisus (18th Feb - 1st Mar). The hotel is probably the best we have stayed at. It is tired in places but the staff are constantly cleaning and maintaining the grounds - even to the extent of removing any seaweed or large stones that wash up on the beach. The hotel beach is fantastic, white sand and turquoise water - picture postcard quality. The open plan layout of the main building adds to the relaxing atmosphere along with the live background music of either a saxophonist and pianist or band (repetitive but still enjoyable). All restaurants offered good quality food particularly the Restaurante Romantica, although the beach restaurant in the evening was disappointing (but it does do a good barbecue in the daytime if you dont want to go to the main buffet).

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank JG2004
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
residentmanagerPVA, Manager at Paradisus Varadero Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded March 17, 2013

Dear guest,
Thank you for your lovely review and we are happy that you had a relaxing time in our “friendly hotel”.
It's always nice to hear when our guests recognise the attitude and warmth of our staff.
We look forward to offer you again an outstanding service in your next visit.
Best regards!

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