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Reviewed January 5, 2007

I stayed with my husband for 3 nights in this truly exclusive-all inclusive last December and I would undoubtedly recommend it to anyone looking for a relaxing Caribbean break in gorgeous surroundings. The Paradisus is located at the tip of the long Varadero beach and everything about it makes you feel like you are in paradise-even though it rained 2 out of the 3 days we spent there! The lobby is like an extended verandah with pools in the middle where colourful fishes swim. There are palm trees, ceibas and birds all around, as well as cheeky cats who come to beg at your table for a morsel of lobster. The pool is the best I have ever seen, and for some reason it is usually empty, I guess most sunbathers prefer the beach, located right next to it. Being Spanish and used to lush Mediterranean food, we found the buffet bland and boring, however we managed to book the a-la-carte restaurants every evening and feast on lobster and Chilean wine.
So, if you are looking for sunshine and awesome beach with pristine blue water, you'll find it here. And, just in case it rains, you can also enjoy your time watching the downpour through the palms with a good book in one hand and a mojito in the other.

  • Stayed: January 2007, traveled as a couple
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12  Thank kayapetai2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 15, 2006

The Paradisus Varadero is BY FAR the most beautiful hotel in Varadero. We were there for a family wedding at the end of November (2006), my cousin got married onsite and the staff did an amazing job overall. We know that it was the most beautiful because we checked out almost each hotel there and didn't see even one that was comparable.

Let's see, where do I start?

The front entry and the main foyer is the most gorgeous array of spanish decor with boardwalks atop romantic ponds filled with lillypads and fish. A majority of the main area (which is huge) is open air and beautiful in the evening with the stars. The staff are very friendly everywhere you go, the drinks are great: order a "Ron punch" or "Cuba Libre". My favorite was the ron punch- it was like a rummy shirley temple with pineapple juice. All you girls out there... this is heaven, trust me!

The room as very nice and pretty big- we had two beds pushed together but we didn't mind. We had a gorgeous fresco wall mural and some of the rooms had fabric canopies too (not ours, some of our family members did). The mini bar staff was friendly but we really didn't drink in the room much because of the gorgeous scenery outside. The room was clean and there were NO bugs, nothing at all. The maid came in and mopped the floors every morning just before lunch. She also made us neat towel sculptures and left pretty tropical flowers in the bathroom for us, they were amazing. We tipped her each morning- we left a few items in the ash tray on the coffee table each day we were there from writing paper, seasoned salt, children's toys, bath stuff, make up, etc. They love hats, razors (someone asked us for a Mach 5 or something like that, but we just had dollar store razors. He still seemed greatful.)

I must mention tipping: before we left I read some of the negative reviews from other people and I have to say that they were not all true. People were nice regardless if you tipped or not. Service was also great. Sure, the locals reminded us once in a while that they would appreciate a tip but you didn't have to. They would just say it to everyone on the tour, for example, and if you didn't want to, no worries. Also, keep in mind that the people there have all of their basic needs covered and anything monetary that you give them is all a bonus- from 5 cents to a peso. Some of the people there make $10/ month at their jobs, or even less, so they are happy with anything that you want to give them ,even 10 cents is fine. PLEASE NOTE THAT YOU SHOULD NOT GIVE OR LEAVE A TIP IN FULL VIEW- tipping is illegal- put the coins under the plate/ wine glass/ napkin, or place it directly in their hand. Our family blatantly left tips and someone told us not to do that. We had wished someone had told us earlier.

The staff in Varadaro are pretty well taken care of, so if you go out and about through other towns, those people seem to appreciate tips and items a little more, especially if you go on a jeep safari- you will see kids and families as you are driving, and you can throw things to them or pause and hand them out. The more remote we got, the more the kids would fight for items that we handed out, I felt so bad about that, and I wished I had had more items for those moments.

The food was good, we had no complaints. No one got sick either. If they got a headache or something it was more because of the sun or too much alcohol. The main buffet is HUGE and very good, we recommend the fresh meat that they will cook for you and the pasta that they will cook for you as well. The highlight though, is the 4 elite restaurants that you can visit limitlessly for lunch and once for dinner. You must make reservations when you get there- there is an attendant waiting for guests starting at like, 9 in the morning until like 3 in the afternoon. You are given 3 papers when you check in and you can use those for dinners- we did the romantic restaurant, the spanish and the italian. All very good. Don't forget your dress clothes or something a little dressier for the evening. We noticed that many of the guests dressed up very nice for the evening, especially if they had reservations. Women- this means dress pants, nicer tank tops or dresses/ skirts, Men- sleeved shirts and khakis or something along those lines. Our favorite restaurant is the italian- they make stone fired pizza and fresh pasta and everything is decadent. The waiters/ waitresses are very nice too. There is also a bar and a buffet down by the beach. We loved it there too, especially for lunch- try the calamari, it's cooked fresh on the bbq and the hamburgers are awesome too.

Overall, we felt very safe there. There were no issues. The hotel room had a safety deposit box that we used all of the time. We were told by a cab driver that Varadaro is one of the safest places in Cuba and we felt exactly that. When you go out on the roads, women and children are walking around in the dark, they hitchhike, etc. Our resort was very quiet and each villa seemed to boast tranquility. We walked a lot at night- to the ocean, looking at the stars, etc, and it was very romantic and peaceful. One of our favorite activities.

In terms of tours: go on the jeep safari. Incredible, absolutely incredible. The girls had a great time and so did the guys. The jeeps are standard, so hopefully someone in your party will know how to drive, because yes, you get out there in a convoy with the locals who drive pretty quickly and at times reckless. It was an amazing experience nonetheless, with snorkeling, cave exploring and swimming, lunch at an old coffee plantation and socializing with locals and other tour participants.

The hotel has a bank onsite and a store where you can also buy cigars. It was very handy and reasonably priced.

The hotel is also close to some caves at the side of the main road (about a 15 min walk) where there are ancient drawings that are believed to be a calendar. I think they were called the "Cuevos Ambrosia" or something like that. That was totally worth it, but you can't be afraid of the dark or the sound of bats. They give you a flash light.

The beach was gorgeous. Lots of interesting sea shells and sand dollars wash up every evening and the best time to look for shells is on your late night romantic stroll or early in the morning. Many people walk the beach and "beachcomb" for shells and coral during the day. We witnessed several breathtaking sunsets while we were there on the beach. Also, because of the wind and the waves, we were only able to use the snorkels, catamarans, sea kayaks twice during our week, so as soon as you see a green flag and see the hotel staff on the beach with those items, TAKE ADVANTAGE. We saw an octopus while we were snorkeling there. The best place to snorkel is by the rocks on the far right, that's where you will see the most stuff including shells and some fish. Note that you only get the water items for a specific period of time, so wear a watch because you'll need to be aware of when the items have to go back.

Overall, it was an amazing trip, and the hotel contributed to our experience. I strongly recommend staying there and I will not stay anywhere else whenever I go back.

Enjoy your stay in Cuba!

  • Stayed: November 2006, traveled with family
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23  Thank travelgurrl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 13, 2006

My family and I stayed at Paradisus for 1 week and I can honestly say that it was a vacation to remember. It offers fun in the sun for seniors and children alike. The people were VERY kind and the resort and beach was gorgeous. The pool however, looked like it needed repairing in many places and the beach directly in front of our ocean view suites desperately needed to be cleaned up. Our rooms (Jr Suites - not worth the extra cost) were definitely not up to standard. First of all, since we booked before the holiday rush we received suites that hadn't been used for a long time. These rooms had a terrible mildew smell that lasted the whole 7 days. A bigger problem we encountered was that the air condition vent was located right above the bed allowing the air to fall right on us as we slept. If we tried to turn it down it would then get to hot and since the A/C wasn't used for a long period of time my family and I all got sick from the A/C's stale water. There was also a leak coming from the bathroom ceiling whenever we turned on the A/C. We also had an ant problem. Ants from outside the room would come through the big gaps around the door parading through our suite. We complained to the front desk about these problems but nothing was resolved. Lastly, the food in the buffet was always cold. Food was DEFINITELY not 5 star - more like 3 star. (I didn't expect the food to be good in Cuba anyway). The restaurants are also nothing to write home about. Steak was burnt, pasta tasted raw but the seafood was always good. The drinks and bar staff were very kind. Overall the rest of the resort was beautiful. We also took a day trip to Havana which I recommend every Cuba traveler do. You can book it with the excursions desk. I'd probably go back to Paradisus if I was guaranteed not to experience the above problems. Please keep in mind that Paradisus is supposed to be one of the best hotels in Varadero so I couldn’t even imagine what the other resorts would be like!
7/10 – No more no less.

  • Stayed: November 2006, traveled with family
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9  Thank NicholasRetlaw
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 12, 2006

I stayed at the Paradisus resort for one week with a friend of mine and her family. It was a beautiful resort. Paradisus has the best part of that beach. I took several walks down it and the paradisus had the biggest stretch of the beach. The resort seems suitable for people of any age. There are lots of things to do in the resort and on excursions. The staff working there are very friendly. I found that no matter if I tipped them or not I still got the same service. There is a wide variety of resturants (Italian, romantica,latin,ect.), and a huge buffet. There is also a grill on the beach where you can get burgers,chicken,fish,ect. There is a bar in the pool, on the beach(till dusk), in the disco(6:00-2:00), and the main lobby bar which is open 24/7. Our room was cleaned and our bar fridge was stocked every morning. There is a safe in the room where you can place your valuables and lock with your room key or another card you have. There is a souvenir store outside, and one inside(No bargaining because its governent owned). Plus the people on the beach with their carts(where u can bargain). Also there are many ways to go into town. You can take a taxi for 20 pesos there and back. Or you could take a double decker bus for 5 pesos for the whole day! It is very expensive to make phonecalls outside of cuba, but there is access to the internet in the main lobby aswell. Room service isnt that great, but is 24/7. Then again why order room service when you can eat at a fancy resturant!!? Some of the excursions offered include a jeep sarafari[ you get your own jeep for the day, go through the countryside of varadero, stop at a cave,go snorkleing, and horseback riding] , a caramaran trip[take a 5 min bus ride to the catamaran,sail to where the dolphins are,swim with them, get your picture taken,keep sailing untill you reach a beautiful coral reef whereyou can snorkle, and a final stop at an island called cayo blanco where u can eat ,tan ,and swim for a few hours.Paradisus is a beautiful place, and I can't wait to go back again!!!

  • Stayed: December 2006
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7  Thank MORGANESS
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 2, 2006

I stayed from nov 19 to 25 with my wife and my 11 years old kid we all love it
Don,t belive in everithing you read about this hotel , like beds, birds etc... nothing is true I
First you must realize that you are going to cuba
Rooms are good , if you have any problem just press * in your room phome and someone will handle

food- buffet is usualy good some days very good specially the fish called "pargo "
steak house - just opened last week its very good , the chief "bola "(the fat guy ) is really funny and nice
romantic restaurrant- very good you can have lobster if you like
italian restaurant- very good you dont need to make reservations for lunch , outstanding pizza and pasta
pool restaurant -all day snacks , good
spanish restaurant - if you dont go you wont miss it
barbecue at the beach - very good and exelent service from the chiefs
bars- the loby bar for me is the best specially with rolando and zuried the guys that works till 3 PM
beach bar - good, but everything in plastic cups
Beach - exelent with a very good recreation team
I suggest to tip everyone there in advance its not to much for us and for them is so important
sorry for my english , as it not my first language if you have any doubts don't hesitate to contac

  • Stayed: November 2006, traveled with family
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12  Thank SRBAEZ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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