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Paradisus Varadero Resort & Spa
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Reviews (5,822)
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Reviewed December 6, 2013

I love Cuba. I've been there 5 times, the most recent in April in Holguin. I love the country and its people, the beaches and the culture. I know what to expect when I'm there, I know the food is not always wonderful and it's definitely a developing country. But this place was not a hotel I'd return to and I've never been able to say that about a resort in Cuba before. My boyfriend and I were there for a wedding with 30 other people.

Rooms:
Our room was nice, kept clean by the maid but outdated. There was a rarely enough hot water for both my boyfriend and I to have showers one after the other and even when there was, the pressure was so low that the water didn't always come out the showerhead. We called to ask for help with this the first night there, were promised a technician who never showed up and when we heard that the other couples in our group had the same problem, we just decided to suck it up. One of the families there with us got to their room to find no toilet seat in the room and it took two days of calling and visiting the front desk to get any change made.

Food:
Meh at the best. I am not picky, I can generally always find food at the buffets in Cuba but this wasn't great. Fish and meats at the grilling stations were very good though. We visited 4 a la carte restaurants (fusion, Romantico, Mexican and Japanese) and all were very good.

Beach:
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. Cleaned daily, animation and activities seemed fun (didn't participate so can't judge). On our last day, we even had a gentleman from the hotel find us chaises longues. There were also waiters taking drink orders so you didn't have to get up and go to the bar if you didn't want to.

Pool:
Quiet. There was no music or activities there, which made it seem a bit blah.

Service:
At the front desk, it really depended who you spoke to. There were some very friendly women and one not friendly woman there. At the buffet, there was a wonderful woman who gave us going away gifts, as did our maid. Same goes for the 2 people working the pool bar. They were huge pluses in a place that was just really not that great. But another thing that bothered me was there seemed to be a consistent lack of communication among the staff. Any question we asked seemed to bring different answers from all different people. My parents were at the hotel next door and I asked three people if they could come over and have supper in our buffet and got three different answers, all of which were ridiculously expensive.

Also, everyone seemed to have broken locks on their balcony doors. We were on the second floor, so no real problem but when my in-laws, on the ground floor, complained, they were told don't worry, Cuba's safe. While I agree, I still want a locking door. They had to insist repeatedly to have it fixed. At least one night, the bar ran out of ice and certain bottles. The bathrooms for certain a la carte restaurants were broken so you had to walk to the Romantico to pee if necessary. We had coffee mugs but no coffee maker in our rooms while others had the coffee but no mugs or no coffee but all the other parts.

Room Tip: I was told by other people in our party that some rooms were renovated so ask about that if it's possible.
  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
6  Thank JVSmith366
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
residentmanagerPVA, Director General at Paradisus Varadero Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded December 8, 2013

Dear Client,
Thanks for posting your review on TripAdvisor. First of all I would like to apologize for the dissatisfactions you encountered during your stay, we are going to pay close attention to all the negative remarks you have written in order to prevent similar events in the future.
We hope to welcome you and your family in the future to offer you an amazing holiday as expected.
Kind regards

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 6, 2013

We just came back from 5 nights here and had a great time!

Food:
The food was good once we figured out our best bet. The food gets cold in the buffet, so we took advantage of the fresh fish bar where you pick a piece of fish and they cook it right in front of you. The grill at the beach was good for hot/fresh food too. There were lots of salad options to choose from. There was what appeared to be kale, boston lettuce and spinach surprisingly. The only problem was the dressing. It was hard to find a balsamic or light dressing. I got creative and took some of the items from the "pickled" bar and added it to the salad with some lime and salt & pepper. Great alternative!

The a la cartes were okay. The Mexican left us hungry, but you can order multiple entrees if you need more. The Japanese was the best. It was hot & fresh because it was cooked in front of you. The Romantico had potential, but my meal wasn't great. The chicken was tough.

Beach:
The beach was awesome! This hotel has a great spot on the beach. Clear/clean sand. The actual resort it very close to the water. There is a food grill and bar right on the beach with great bar service.

Pool:
The pool was nice. Huge pool with lots of different spots to lounge. The swim up bar was a hit. Great service from Enrique.....or was is Oscar..? There was a separate kids area which was nice so you didn't have to be stumbling over kids which having a few extra cocktails around the bar.

Gym/Sports/Activities:
Great gym facility. Very clean and filled with equipment for both weights and cardio machines. Also, there's a nicely kept tennis court and basketball area. Beach volleyball takes place daily along with some other activities too.

Accommodations:
The first room they gave us wasn't that nice. It would have worked, but we felt there was something better. It was in the 24 building on the ground floor, facing open pipes and a worker's hut of some sort. The bathroom wasn't that updated and there were some ants in the front hall area. We gave us a free room change due to the poor view to a 2nd floor room in the 21 building. It was much better. Same layout, but the bathroom was updated and there were no ants.

Staff:
The majority of the staff were great with us. The front desk was very accommodating whenever we had any problems. The bar tenders were all very friendly. The entertainment crew were great too. Special thanks to Manny for helping us have a great time!

Havana:
We went to Havana in a private car instead of in a tour group. I would highly recommend it. It was 120 pesos for the two of us. We were on our own schedule and it was much more personal. The tour guide was very friendly and knowledgeable. We got to see some of the hot spots - the political square, cigar factory tour (10 pesos), the highest bridge, old & new Havana and we were driven in a cool old car.

Crowd:
There were a bunch of couples, a few kids, more of a 25+ crowd. Not the spring break vibe at all.

Overall great place. They could do with some renos and some more variety foodwise, but overall it was much better than we anticipated. We'd go back for sure!

Room Tip: A suggestion would be to ask for a 2nd floor room with an updated bathroom. Rooms in the 20s were closer to the action, but still quiet enough for sleeping. If you're looking for more seclusion and really quite, the 30s are probably better.
  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank Chelsea181
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
residentmanagerPVA, Director General at Paradisus Varadero Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded December 8, 2013

Dear Client,
Thank you for choosing our hotel for your vacations. We are pleased to know that overall you have enjoyed our services. We will take your suggestions into consideration to keep improving day by day. We hope you can visit us again soon.
Our best regards from Paradisus Varadero

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 5, 2013

We selected this hotel because it was among the top-rated in the area for families and kids. Horrible. No kids club any day of the week, restaurants opened late (buffet at 1PM, our daughter is usually ready to eat at 11:30, dinner at 6:30), never did see a show, it started at 9:45. No wi-fi, bugs in the room (ants and some biting flying ant thing), patio door took all my strength to open and close, rats chewing in the wall at night kept us awake...

No wi-fi at all, internet only on their computers, no printer available.

Would never go back to Varadero, won't consider Melia chain again.

Beach and weather were nice, but all 3 of us got sick. Thankfully, I was the worst, my wife and daughter only a bit. Avoid the Beach BBQ.

Room Tip: Go to Cayo Ensenachhos
  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
5  Thank R G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
residentmanagerPVA, Director General at Paradisus Varadero Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded December 6, 2013

Dear Client,
Thanks for posting your review on TripAdvisor. First of all I would like to apologize for the dissatisfactions you encountered during your stay, we are going to pay close attention to all the negative remarks you have written in order to prevent similar events in the future.
We hope to welcome you and your family in the future to offer you an amazing holiday as expected.
Kind regards

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 5, 2013

We always wanted to stay at a Paradisus and were extremely disappointed. The average person does not always stay in Royal Service. I can understand the catering to RS but this does not explain why the rest of the hotel is so run down.

Pros: Great beach, nice clean lobby and extemely friendly and helpful staff.

Cons: Don't know where to start. The room we had was so outdated. The shower was literally a trickle most nights, that was once the water got hot enough to actually take the shower. Every once in a while we had a bit of pressure and the water would shoot out but never lasted long. We did visit a room with a renovated bathroom and we were jealous.

The bed felt like we were sleeping on a piece of plywood, did not want to check to see what was under the sheets.

We had a single cup coffee pot in the room which looks like it dated back to the opening of the hotel. Never saw any coffee to go with it.

One of our main complaints which is a quick fix was the lag of lighting. We stayed in building 15 which is the last one before the ocean. Our first night after supper we tried to find our way back to the room, which was no easy task. Many of the lights on the pathway are burnt out, the lights on our stairway were burnt out and all of lights on the balcony were also burnt out. We would sit on the balcony in total darkness.. The stairway is just plain dangerous. The ocean mist sprays on it and with no lights it is just a wonder we never fell down the stairs.

The mirror closet doors in the room were always coming off the tracks. Very difficult to open and close. It was a fight each time. By the way bring hangers, there are only a total of 12 and hardly any drawer space.

We were close to a maintenance storage building. The archway to the building had rotten wood hanging down and we tried not to get to close. It was very windy and who knew when that wood would fly off.

The buffet was average, large selection. The food was often cold, so we went to the stations where they cook in front of you. Finally found a very small salad bar the last night. We tried two speciality restaurants. Mexican just ok, Romantique - great.

The bar kept running out certain types of alcohol.

Room Tip: Ask for a renovated bathroom.
  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank Nina0602
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
residentmanagerPVA, Director General at Paradisus Varadero Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded December 5, 2013

Dear Client,
Thanks for posting your review on TripAdvisor. First of all I would like to apologize for the dissatisfactions you encountered during your stay, we are going to pay close attention to all the negative remarks you have written in order to prevent similar events in the future.
We hope to welcome you and your family in the future to offer you an amazing holiday as expected.
Kind regards

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 5, 2013

We stayed here after being in Havana and Trinidad for a few days of total relaxation before going back to the UK. Overall we had a great time and enjoyed our stay immensely. Hopefully the following will provide some constructive feedback for both future guests and the hotel itself:

PROS

1. We stayed in the Royal Service part of the hotel and I think this is worth the money. The drinks are of a better quality and the pool area is really attractive. The beach is rocky but it is only a short walk to the sandier beach at the main part of the hotel.

2. The room we had was lovely although next to the new building works which we did query as we could hear it on first arrival which worried us. The hotel did offer us another room the next day but we decided to stay where we were as it just wasn't worth the hassle of moving and we didn't spend much time in our room.

3. We thought the food was fine and knew that it wouldn't be at the same standard as other parts of the world as there are obviously issues with supply of different items in Cuba. We enjoyed all the restaurants we visited (Japanese, Cuban Fusion, Romantic) and had no complaints about service. In fact, I thought having plainer food without too many frills actually did my system the world of good!

4. Special praise for the service of drinks at the pool bar which was first class. We were never without a drink if we wanted it and we were asked on a regular basis if we'd like something else. Fresh fruit was also brought out a couple of times a day which I thought was a lovely touch.

5. The maid cleaned the room meticulously every day and more than earned her tip.

6. We loved the whole look of the resort and the grounds are kept nice and tidy.

CONS/SUGGESTIONS

1. I'm not sure that 'Royal Service' is a great name. It sounds a bit pompous and I think this could be marketed better. Even 'Gold Service' would be better although not fantastic. Maybe something like 'Royal Palm Service' which incorporates something Cuban...

2. The butler service is fine if you want someone to unpack for you, do your ironing, run a special bath or book various items but we didn't want any of the first three things and we would have found it easier booking restaurants etc for ourselves. Our butler was not great. He told us that he had pre-booked some restaurants for us for each night but they were either at restaurants that we didn't want (i.e. Mexican & Italian) or at ridiculous times (e.g. after 9pm which is far too late for us). I think he thought he was being helpful but actually it just meant that we had to go through the whole process of telling him that his choices weren't what we would want and that his timings were far too late. His colleague was a little more helpful the next day and managed to book the restaurants we wanted although we had to be flexible on timings due to availability which was fine. I booked a couple of things at the spa myself and this was much more straightforward and I suspect had I done so with the restaurants there wouldn't have been so much toing and froing between butler(s). It added unnecessary hassle which is not what you want on holiday! Perhaps when improved internet/wi fi comes to the resort the system can be updated so that people can book online. I feel the butler service is a bit of an unnecessary affectation but perhaps there are guests that enjoy this... I didn't leave a tip (which is a first for me) for our butler as he really didn't serve any useful purpose and only complicated arrangements for us.

3. The lighting along paths at night is really poor. Many of the lights are not working and, in fact, a fellow guest told me that one woman had fallen and broken her wrist because of this. The restaurants are also poorly lit so it's quite difficult to read menus. We brought a small torch with us which we found really useful so would suggest this for anyone going to this resort.

4. Although we know she was doing it for all the right reasons, we didn't really like the swan-shaped towels etc that the maid did in the room. Or the flowers that she left (one lot was infested with ants which wasn't great :O) ). She also left us some sweet little notes which kind of made us think she was angling for a big tip. She got one anyway but only because she did a really good job of cleaning the room. If anything, the notes, flowers etc are a bit over the top and it's not something that we particularly like. Perhaps that's just us....

5. I'm not sure whose idea it was to put the flashing smoke detector directly above the bed but this is really irritating as it flashes constantly and is so obvious when you're lying in bed. Great health & safety but not the best positioning.

Hope this all helps. We had a lovely stay overall and would recommend this resort.

Room Tip: Ask to be away from the new building work. A sea view is lovely but not the end of the world if you don't get it. Royal Service is worth the extra spend if you can justify it.
  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank Drannan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
residentmanagerPVA, Director General at Paradisus Varadero Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded December 5, 2013

Dear Client,
Thank you for choosing our hotel for your vacations. We are pleased to know that overall you have enjoyed our services. We will take your suggestions into consideration to keep improving day by day. We hope you can visit us again soon.
Our best regards from Paradisus Varadero

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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