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“Truly the only 5 star in Varadero”

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Paradisus Princesa del Mar Resort & Spa
Ranked #10 of 63 Hotels in Varadero
Certificate of Excellence
ontario
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Truly the only 5 star in Varadero”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 24, 2012

Adults only resort. Loved this resort. traveled in Feb. Grounds are beautiful, food is good and plentiful as well as the drinks!. Rooms were spacious, clean. Room service for breakfast was great...a little slow when there were busy, to be expect as anywhere else. Beach....what can I say the best ever! We did not have the best of weather, but still had the best time with our friends. Disco was fun, shows were good, the la carte restaurants really good. ( did not get to the french one) This would be the one to go to if you are travelling with adults.

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank crazy4s
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (1,078)
Date | Rating
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  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
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  • Hebrew first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
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English first
Montreal
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 22, 2012

My wife and I love this hotel. This was our fourth visit in 5 or 6 years.

ROOM: Always very clean, spacious, cleaned on time, lots of natural light. Electronic (no key) safe. Clean bathroom. No signs of rust in ours.
BEACH: No need to wake up at 5 am to reserve a spot. There are plenty or chairs.
FOOD: Good variety. I'm picky with food and I've always enjoyed the selection & freshness.
ACTIVITIES: People were not participating this time. Not a party place. Lots of boomers and old people. Young couple were probably hitting the excursions.
STAFF: I love Cubans, the are very friendly. We speak a bit of Spanish, they really appreciate it even though everyone is fluent in English. I have seen some customers who didn't even care to smile or were just plain rude. Their opinion of Cubans may be negative. You reap what you sow.
TEAR & WEAR: I had a discussion with someone our bus picked up at the Riu Varadero on the way to the airport. The Riu is brand new, it became operational a year ago in December or November. The guy told me the resort is in such a state of disrepair it felt like it was 10 years old. At Princesa Del Mar they maintain the property very well. The site felt as fresh this time as it did 5 years ago.
SAND FLIES: Wep, I got bit for the first time. We spent a day at Sandals Hicacos, same problem. It's a Varadero beach thing. Use off-the-counter antihistamine medication (i.e. stuff for allergies) and you'll be fine.
MISCELLANEOUS: As you walk down the beach you'll find spots where no hotels were built. You will most likely be spotted by some off-duty Cuban who ends up asking for clothes or shoes. They always claim to be working for 10 pesos a month in some remote construction site, and have a touching story up their sleeves. I call them peddlers. I suspect they sell the stuff on the black market. Do not be intimidated. If you're not in the mood, just be polite and ask to be left alone. The harassment you get in Mexico is not tolerated by the Cuban state. They know it, they will let you go. That being said, Cuba is under embargo and ran by communists, which keeps everyone very poor. If you give (beyond tips to staff), think about those you see that are not going toward you or do not deal with tourists as part of their jobs (e.g. guards). In my opinion they will benefit the most since they don't have that sideline others have.

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank Marc_Alex
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
11 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 18, 2012

Hello folks,
My fiance and I just arrived back from 7 days at Paradisus Princesa del Mar Resort & Spa.
This was my fiance's first trip and my seventh.
If anyone bashes this resort than they are way to picky. We are picky and we loved this resort.

Here are our thoughts…

Pros
• Price
• Beautiful white sandy beach
• Friendly staff
• Specious, clean rooms
• Adults only resort
• Lots of sports to play (Tennis/Basketball/Beach Volley etc..)
• 30 minutes from the airport
• All Inclusive
• Outside band
• Quick service (most of the time)

Cons
• Overall the food is average
• Excursion Prices - Havana day trip, overpriced (except if you want to see Tropicana)
• Nightlife Entertainment - Captain Morgans is abit of a hole
• Spa is not cheap

Tips
• Excursions - If you want to go to Havana go privately. Email me offline for recommendation
• Food - Raquette club has good 24 hour food
• Food - Book the Japanese Restaurant Twice
• Hotels - Ask to stay away from construction on both sides of resort. Holguin Section (4100) of hotels is one of the best

Special thanks to the following staff who made our week special; Ruben (restaurant booker), Yulmis(server), Felix (athletics)

Overall we would highly recommend this resort to couple travelling to Cuba.

Room Tip: Construction zones on the outer sides of resort. Not loud, not to worry but bright lights from the c...
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  • Stayed January 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank TorontoTravellor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Calgary, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 17, 2012

Food was about as good as anywhere in Cuba. Cuba does not enjoy the variety and quality of food that 1st World countries do and this is not the reason we travel to Cuba. We have traveled to Cuba many times and enjoy the Cuban people and their culture. Up until now we have always been welcomed, had a lot of fun and enjoyed our stays at various other hotels in Varadero. We tip generously, we realize that the Cubans do not enjoy the same standard of living as Canadians and we appreciate what they offer us. Very surprising but many staff were rude. Very poor entertainment, often canceled and brief and you were constantly harassed to buy their CD's. We were harassed everywhere n the hotel like this. At the a la carte restaurants, the lobby and the evening entertainment. Weather had been cool and windy for a few days and we could not go to the beach but staff made no effort to help guests find room by the pool or anywhere in the hotel. There wasn't even much music by the pool, usually none. Were were awoken early every morning by someone wanting to know if we wanted our bar stocked and if we did not get up immediately to open the door the bar was not stocked. The room cleaning was sporadic, wasn't cleaned some days, no clean towels on others. There were beggars on beach, every day! The staff was especially rude when we checked out. We had several hours to wait until our bus arrived after check out and we had asked if we could sit by the pool. The weather had been cool for several days and we had wanted to enjoy the one afternoon of sunshine left before the bus came. We were told we could not, that we would be given a baggage ticket at the lobby and we could wait there. Considering that the evening we arrived our room was not ready and we had to wait. We were accommodating, tipped our porter and went for dinner and a drink until it was ready. We did not think it unreasonable that we be able to sit by the pool the afternoon of our departure, considering we couldn't leave until the bus arrived anyway. We were very surprised by this poor service and have never experienced this constant harassment for money. We have traveled to Varadero several times and we tip generously and are not demanding guests. We did not feel safe at this hotel with the rudeness, poor service and constant begging for money. We will never return to this hotel and not recommend it to others.

Room Tip: Would not recommend this hotel.
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  • Stayed January 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
20 Thank LoveCuba154913
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
90 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 212 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 16, 2012

Our review from Toronto Canada
Before choosing this hotel we checked Trip Advisor and noticed that most reviews for 5 star hotels indicated that the food quality was not a 5 star hotel. For the Paradisus Princesa Del Mar Hotel most comments on Trip Advisor were very good. It was our first trip to Cuba and WOW we made the right choice. Thanks Trip Advisor! My husband and I were at the Paradisus Princesa Del Mar Hotel from January 6 to January 13, 2012. We would highly recommend this beautiful 5 star resort. The only downside for us was we like a lot of action and since this was an adult only resort there were not many activities going on during the day by the pool and none at the beach. When there was an activity there was not much participation from the hotel guests. We were told that the guests prefer to relax and enjoy the spa.

Be aware when changing your Canadian Dollars into Pesos at the Hotel ASK FOR A RECEIPT. The Hotel does not have a bank but has an Exchange Counter Office service which we were told by the Hotel is not associated with their Hotel. We were told by our Rep from our tour group always ask for a receipt when changing your money. Of course the rates are not as good as the bank but we found the rates to fluctuate quite a bit. It didn’t sound right to us but we had no choice and exchanged some of our Canadian dollars to Pesos. When we asked for a receipt the lady at the exchange counter said no receipt for cash. She only gives a receipt for using a credit card. When we asked her to write down the rate and how many pesos, she gave me a piece of paper and a pen for me to write it down. We went to the Hotels Customer Service the next day and questioned why we were not able to get a receipt for our exchange transaction. Customer Service explained to us that the Exchange Counter is not associated with the hotel but because we are guests of their hotel they will check with the main office of this exchange service. We were told that the exchange rate on the weekend is different than during the week and is lower. We were also told that the reason we did not get a receipt was their system was down but in future when we ask for a receipt we will get one. We did get one the next time when we asked.

FOOD
We ate breakfast and lunch mostly at the Buffet Gran Terrazza. There was a large selection and was quite good. We liked the omelettes and Churros for breakfast. For lunch I loved the lasagne and one time as part of the salads there was this yummy sweet raison coleslaw salad. We must comment about the table servers at the Buffet. They are extremely nice, friendly and give excellent service. Our servers were Jean and Marleni. They were wonderful. We always ate in their section of the Buffet Gran Terazza. Their section is on the right of the room immediately when you enter the front of the restaurant. We ate lunch one time at the Grill Playa Port Royal and we found it disappointing. We ordered from the grill the chicken brochette which was tasteless and the shrimp came intact with eyes and all. The 24 hour Snack Bar Racquet Club makes nice sandwiches. We did not go for the dinner buffet as it looked like similar choices like lunch. We were lucky enough to get reservations for 6 nights at the restaurants. If you can’t get a reservation the 1st time keep trying again the next day as there are always cancellations. The girl at the reservation desk is very nice and tries to accommodate your request for the different restaurants. There is a dress code for dining which means that men need to wear pants. The food is excellent at the restaurants, service is exceptional and the decor is lovely at all the restaurants. We ate at the French Marseille Restaurant and had lobster and salmon. At the Cuban and International Hill Top Hideaway Restaurant we had the steak and it was delicious. At the Oriental Bamboo Restaurant for appetizer the Teriyaki Chicken is good, the chicken soup is tasty, main dish the chicken pieces in Hoisen sauce and dessert order this peach fruit compote which is delicious but is something different than what it is called. It is a flaky pastry with ice cream on top. The Japanese Sakura Restaurant is lots of fun and entertaining with the Chef cooking the food in front of you and having the diners participate.

BARS
I am a Strawberry Daiquiri and Pina Colada girl and couldn’t wait to try them out. Every bar makes them different. The best place for both was at the Racquet Club and Grill Playa Port Royal. The Lobby Bar has good Pina Colada’s but the Daiquiri’s were too slushy for me. The Captain Morgan Night Club also made the Daiquiri’s like a slushy. In the evening during the outside entertainment in the square called Plaza Vieja I ordered a Pina Colada which was tasteless and watery. I think the servers get them from the La Corona Cigar Bar.

ENTERTAINMENT
Some of the nightly entertainment and disco was in the Captain Morgan Night Club which is situated in the basement below the main lobby building. It has a musty smell when first walking in and many people are smoking cigarettes and cigars. Since I have asthma I found it hard to breath down there and always tried to sit away from the smokers. Unfortunately we left after the show and missed out on disco dancing which I was looking forward to doing every night. Some evening entertainment is also outside in the main square Plaza Vieja. The Magic Show and Michael Jackson show is quite good. The Aquatic evening show by the pool is also good. The only thing I did not appreciate and was quite surprised at for a very nice resort was that some of the performers of the Dance Show approached us at our table in the Captain Morgan Night Club when the show finished and quietly asked us if we could tip the dancers.

POOL
The pool area is very large, pretty with a bridge, palm trees and swim up bar. The pool water was very cold so there were not many people using it. There were Salsa lessons every day at 4:30 by the pool which we participated in. There was a fashion show one day by the pool which was very nice. One day there was a cocktail bartending lesson at the main square which was given by the nice activity girl that does the Salsa lessons. I was the only participant.

BEACH
The beach was beautiful and had a huge wide sandy area with lots of space for sunbathers’ loungers. We noticed when taking a walk along the beach the other nearby hotels had a very small narrow hilly sandy area with all the loungers side by side. I must comment that the Paradisus Princesa Del Mar beach area is the nicest. The beach staff are very nice and immediately get you a lounger and ask where you want the chaise lounge put.

ROOMS
We stayed in the Junior Suite 3rd floor (top floor). Rooms are very large, and nicely decorated. There was even a sofa, chair and ottoman, coffee table, comfy king size bed with a canopy. Bed sheets are too short. Pillows are too small and soft. Nice large bathrooms and very clean. If you need to use any electricity like for a personal shaver the bathroom has a dual plug 115V and 230V. Your small personal appliances will work. There is a hairdryer in the bathroom. Any other plugs in the room you do need an adapter plug. Fridge is restocked everyday with large bottled water, soft drinks and beer. If you want small bottled water ask at the Lobby Bar.

Room Tip: Request the top floor (only 3 floors) close to the beach and away from any construction going on.
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  • Stayed January 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
24 Thank Donna K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 15, 2012

As far as we have seen this hotel had certainly one of the nicest beaches along the entire Varadero beach. Rooms were nice and comfortable and food would have been good if birds did not enter the buffe' restaurant both at breakfast and lunch and picked on the food. That is unacceptable and personnel did not seem to understand that this was a serous hygienic issue. So we never ate fresh bread from which the birds constantly picked and we took only from the parts of the buffe' which the birds did not have access to. In the evening this was not an issue as birds sleep then. And the staff guaranteed us that the food was replaced from lunch to dinner. However though we have complained several times they never replaced the food after birds had picked on it. A la carte restaurants were not as good as the buffe' restaurant so the hotel really needs to do something about it. My husband got sick in the stomach and you never know what the cause might be. Anyway, in a 5 star hotel hygene should not be an issue.

  • Stayed January 2012
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank SveIta
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Director G, General Manager at Paradisus Princesa del Mar Resort & Spa, responded to this review, January 24, 2012
Dear client,
it is sad for us to know that your stay with us was not satisfactory.
We apologized if we could not riched your expectations, but we can assure that we do our best to complete your vacation.
Due to the issue of the birds in the buffet, we must point out that we had located big nets all around the restaurant, and taken action with an extra help from profesional so this situation does not cause any problems to our guests.
We aprecciate your comment, so it helps us to improve everyday.
Sincerely.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 14, 2012

First off, ignore all the negative comments you read on this hotel. We are a very picky couple and look out for a lot in service and standards but I highly recommend this hotel to any couple that needs away from kids and enjoy strict adult entertainment.

Our first time in Cuba and first stay at the Paradisus Princesa Del Mar. I can't comment enough on the great service we received at this hotel. I first had doubts about going to Cuba after reading the reviews about the whining, sanitation, improper surroundings, poor food, etc. We had no regrets. The people in Cuba and at this hotel are a bunch of happy souls who would give you their best performance to make your stay memorable. What I didn't like was seeing the locals being disrespected or treated unfairly by tourists in the restaurants, especially the buffet restaurant. You have to enter Cuba with an open mind and not always expect the same things you are used to back home. Service was still great. A tip makes you a royal guest to the waiters and cooks. The staff will accept anything you give them (money, clothing, shoes, fragrances, anything) but do it discretely and show respect to their job and culture. They cannot change Canadian coins into Convertible Pesos, therefore, avoid giving tips in Canadian coins. It becomes a difficult challenge for them and bugs me that tourists know this stuff but yet tip the staff in Canadian coins. Again, I thought it was disrespectful to the people.

I am not lying here. The food was amazing. Seafood was fresh. A wide variety of meals to choose that suits your taste buds. The cooks are talented and prepare your meals how you wish (well, rare or medium). It's always better if you sit in the same area each time you go to the buffet restaurant. The waiters like this and try to help you as much as they can.

I have seen a few Europeans whining to the staff and wanting to complain to the managers for silly reasons which irritated me. Example, the staff couldn't prepare their meals the way they wished because they have too high expectations. It is sad that some people are plain out rude and disrespectful with bossy attitudes. Be considerate before wanting to snap at the locals. I was offended by the actions of some fellow Canadians who treated the locals indifferently.

On the contrary, the beach is great. The hotel is very clean. Linens clean and well kept. Pools well kept and clean. Good drinks. Nightly entertainment at 10 followed by live singing. We didn't like staying on the first floor which was upgraded and moved to a higher floor the next day after arrival. Prior to our move to another floor we were permitted to look at our proposed room to ensure we liked it.

Our best servers were the ladies in the front lobby bar (Indira, Yeny, Anna and the lady with the squeaky voice), Iromedia, Gomez (this is not his correct name) in the buffet restaurant (usually at the smoking section), Odalis (breakfast lady at the egg station), the black female cook at lunch and dinner. Chino, the gardener, works by the gazebo is the nicest person ever. He was our water coconut friend who would pick and peel water coconuts for us (good with rum or whiskey).

The locals appreciate anything you can give them. Before we went, we bought small kids stuff, candies, hair clips, pencils, etc, from the dollar store which we gave to the people that served us. They liked it and couldn't stop thanking us. Even if you have clothing that you no longer use, they accept it. Upon checking out, we left our toiletries behind with the guys. These are things they don't get in Cuba and they love when you share things with them.

I highly recommend this hotel to anyone. Will definitely return without question of doubt. Never felt this welcoming in a foreign country.

Room Tip: B, C or D block. Closer walk to everything.
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  • Stayed January 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
24 Thank iTraveler2010
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Paradisus Princesa del Mar Resort & Spa

Property: Paradisus Princesa del Mar Resort & Spa
Address: Auropista Sur, Ctra. Las Morlas, KM 19 1/2, Varadero 42200, Cuba
Location: Caribbean > Cuba > Matanzas Province > Varadero
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#3 Business Hotel in Varadero
#3 Romantic Hotel in Varadero
#6 Family Hotel in Varadero
#6 Top resorts Hotel in Varadero
#8 On the Beach Hotel in Varadero
#9 Luxury Hotel in Varadero
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Paradisus Princesa del Mar Resort & Spa 4*
Number of rooms: 630
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Paradisus Princesa Del Mar Resort & SPA is located in Varadero Beach, the Cuban sun and beach tourist destination for excellence. This stunning Ultra All-Inclusive 5-star hotel is designed only for adults over 18. The property houses 434 rooms equipped with modern comforts and provides a varied gastronomic offer, daily activities, swimming pool and meeting rooms which convey an ambiance of quietness and service. Discover the magical peace of this hotel. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Paradisus Princesa Del Mar Resort And Spa
Paradisus Princesa Del Mar Hotel Varadero
Paradisus Princesa Del Mar Varadero
Paradisus Princesa Varadero
Princesa Del Mar

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