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“Not quite what we were expecting.... beautiful all the same!”

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Paradisus Rio de Oro Resort & Spa
Ranked #1 of 12 Hotels in Holguin
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed November 6, 2012

Me and my Boyfriend had our holiday from the 29th Sept to the 14th of October.

We did really enjoy our holiday and thought that the region was absolutely beautiful. We were lucky enough to miss the Hurricane and only had two thunder storms, both in the second week.

THE STAFF:
Were excellent, so so friendly and helpful. Our Rep Angel was so helpful and friendly, he seemed to remember everyones name which was a great touch. He also found out it was my birthday while I was on holiday and arranged for a bottle of champagne (fizzy wine) and a few flowers be sent to the room. All the staff wished me a happy birthday and I was very touched.

The only staff I wasn't so keen on were a few of the bar staff. They didn't seem very happy at people asking for the premium brands ad we witnessed them hiding them under the bar so that people had to make do with something else. My boyfriend also wanted a whiskey with his expensive cigar but was told that this would be chargable. After paying what we did for our holiday we were kind of put out that he couldn't have one whiskey!

THE ROOM: 3916
While our room was clean and spacious I was dissapointed that it was two beds pushed together and not a double. After a few days I got over this. The air conditioning was good in our room, wasn't too noisey. We did however have a few cockroaches in even after the room was sprayed a few times, they were dying so it wasn't too bad. We also had a Tarantula visit us but that was on the balcony and I found it rather exciting and strangely cute.

I was however very dissapointed with the bathroom, this was more 3 star, shower wasn't powerful and the drain in the middle of the floor smelled whenever water was running.

I have to agree with a previous review - the pillows did smell funny. They didn't stop me sleeping though.

THE FOOD:
I have to be honest, I am a fussy eater and i found the food ok. There was something for everyone and I quite enjoyed the pasta station. There were lots of birdsflying in the restaurant and I must admit that I didn't see any bird poo but did wander if they done it on the food as people left the netting up and some birds ate off the food plates.
The Japanese restaurant was our favourite and we went twice in one week. We also went to the Royal Service restaurant twice, once on my birthday and once on the last night. The food was excellent quality but we were dissapointed that the menu never changed the 2nd week. We tried the Cuban restaurant and did not like it at all. the food, service and atmosphere was lacking.

The Pool and Beach Snack bar were by far the best places for lunch. Far better quality than the buffet.

THE BEACH:
I thought the beach was lovely, there was plenty to see in the water, my other half saw a huge Baracuda as well as lots of colourful fish. The water was clean as was the sand.

THE POOL:
The pool was fine, there was alot of chipped paint as i've read in other reviews but it was clean and for me that is the main thing.

SUN BEDS:
We did find it difficuilt to get one of the double sun beds but one day i managed to get one that a member of staff was keeping for others. They had obviously tipped him to do so as he asked us if we wanted the bed kept for the next day - obviously wanting a tip. We didn't think this was very fair as everyone should have an equal chance rather than the same people on them the whole fortnight - which did happen.

TRIPS:
We went on the Paradise Island trip and really enjoyed it. It was so picture perfect and the staff were knowledgeable and helpful.

So all in all, the place was really good. We kind of wished we'd booked the Royal Service as we were hoping for a bit more luxuary. Unfortunately I caught a virus on holiday and was ill the 2nd week and when I got home. This was a bit of an ordeal which i think has put me off a bit. The Dr on site was helpful ad didn't cost alot of money, the consultation was free, we only had to pay for medication.

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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7  Thank Schnidebags
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
paradisusri0de0r0, Manager at Paradisus Rio de Oro Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded May 20, 2016

Old review, thank you

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2,730 - 2,736 of 5,502 reviews

Reviewed November 5, 2012

We stayed at the Paradisus Royal Service fro the 1/10-15/10/12 and had a fantastic holiday, everthing from the room, food, service,location and the weather was first class.(we just missed Sandy!) The staff are the best, especially Edgar,Wilmer and Pedro nothing was too much bother
for them, they realy made our holiday. I would recommend this hotel for anyone looking for a relaxing holiday.

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Gaile100
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
paradisusri0de0r0, Manager at Paradisus Rio de Oro Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded May 20, 2016

Old review, thank you

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 5, 2012

I don't understand how this resort can be rated #1 in all of Cuba.

The beaches are ok, the resort is nice, the rooms are in serious need of renovating (bathrooms).
The food was good in a la carte restaurants, the buffet was below average.

The upside, the staff was excellent ( special mention for Alien ), the entertainment was the best we have seen so far.

The downside, our room had ants in the bathroom that the cleaning staff couldn't get rid of even after constanly leaving pesticide everywhere. The bed pillows smelled so terrible that it prevented me from sleeping comfortably, the air conditioning was not able to cool the room.
The buffet was certainly not the most clean because of the birds constantly feeding out of the food trays and leaving their waist everywhere.

We would go back just for the friendlyness of the staff and the entertainment, but not at what it costs to go there.

The best resort we have been to in Cuba so far is Occidental Royal Hideaway In Santa Clara.
It is now called the Iberostar Royal Hideaway, we haven't tried it since it has changed.

I would place the Paradisus Rio De Oro in 6th place of the resorts we have been to in the Caribbean and 3rd in Cuba.

Room Tip: We were in bungalow 13, close to the lobby and restaurants but far from the beach.
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  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank Gilles V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
paradisusri0de0r0, Manager at Paradisus Rio de Oro Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded May 20, 2016

Old review, thank you

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 4, 2012

My husband and I stayed at the Paradisus Rio de Oro in October (We left just before Hurricane Sandy arrived). This was our 3rd visit to RRDO and by far the most disappointing.

We are seasoned travellers to Cuba, we have been going there since 1994 and this was our 11th visit. We fully understand that the political situation means that sometimes not everything is available and things can get a little tired due to supply issues. So we have always been happy to overlook a few minor niggles like cracked sinks as long as the room is clean and we are made to feel special.

The hotel is in a fantastic location and the staff are keen to welcome you and make your stay at the hotel a great experience. We do tip because we understand the difference that 'hard' currency can make to peoples lives but we have never felt that this was expected and none of this has changed. The thing that has changed is the arrival and promotion of 'Royal Service'. This service was available last time we were at the hotel, but seems to be being developed and promoted to the detriment of 'standard' guests. Even if you are staying in a standard room, PRDO is not cheap and there are plenty of other hotels in Cuba and elsewhere that are much less pricey. However, on this occasion we very much felt that as non Royal Service guests we were now second class citizens. We like a bit of luxury, but we dont want to be fawned over and we dont need 24 hour service - we have never used the room service option, preferring to eat in the restaurants and drink in the bars and we dont spend a lot of time in our room, preferring to enjoy the beautiful surroundings. So the upgrade to Royal Service has never been that attractive a package to us.

We always used to make the 10 minute walk from the main hotel to the far beach as it was quieter than the main beach, this is the beach that is nearest to the Royal Service area. The reps on our various trips have always been proud to make the point that in Cuba all beaches are public property. That remains the case, but in PRDO if you are not a Royal Service guest you are now told that you can't use the far beach, that it is exclusive to Royal Service guests. This is a management decision, but the staff are made to enforce it. They can't actually stop you using the beach of course, as it is public property, so what they do is stop you using the sun loungers. These are the same sun loungers as are available throughout the main hotel, but even though you are a hotel guest you are not permitted to use them on the 'Royal Service Beach'. So yes, if you want to put your towel on the sand with the ants then you can, but personally I don't pay to stay at a 5* all inclusive resort to lie on the sand and get bitten.
I do understand that if I havent paid the premium for Royal Service then I am not entitled to the beach concierge service and I dont want or expect it, but to be effectively prevented from using a beach that I have used and enjoyed and which has been a key part of my holiday for the previous 2 occasions seems petty, divisive and decidedly non Cuban. We did complain and were given 'special permission' to use the Spa beach, but that didnt really make it OK for us as we have so many good memories of the far beach that was now out of bounds to us.

As another reviewer has commented, we feel that the Royal Service product is being made to look more attractive by lessening the standard product, and as the standard product is itself not cheap (particularly by Cuban standards) this is completely unacceptable. The beach access was our main gripe, but standards do seem to have dropped in the main hotel, portions are smaller, there seemed to be more cracked sinks, missing loo seats, general tiredness. Sparkling wine isnt a freely available as it used to be. Live classical and Cuban music has been replaced by 'canned' Richard Clayderman in the Meditteranean and El Patio restaurants. Horse riding is no longer included. We also had bad service in a couple of the speciality restaurants, waiting 20 minutes to be seated in the Japanese (after arriving at our booked time) and 30 mins for our wine in El Patio - our starters arrived, but we had to chase 3 times for the wine. Paradisus was always branded as ultra all inclusive, my view is that is no longer the case, unless you want to pay the further ~£1000 for the Royal Service upgrade - for that money, I'll go elsewhere thanks.

I deliberately haven't made this a 1 or 2 star review as the PRDO product is still good, I completely agree with the compliments for Angel the Thomson rep and also very many Hotel staff (to name some but not all - Midelsi (buffet) Elizabeth(ranchon), Luis (Gardener)) who recognised us from previous visits and made every effort to make us feel welcome. The food is the best we have had in Cuba and the location is beautiful.

So will we go back? Undecided at the moment, we will go back to Cuba definately but as for the PRDO, not sure, who knows what we won't be able to use next year? We might save our money on the hotel price and use what we save to buy any additional services, better food etc that we want in resort.

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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14  Thank Lorna W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
paradisusri0de0r0, Manager at Paradisus Rio de Oro Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded May 20, 2016

Old review, thank you

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 3, 2012

Myself and my Wife were married here Nov 30th 2011. It was an incredible day, well planned by the staff but really the whole week was amazing. 25 of our family and friends came with us for our special day and as soon as we arrived, we were all treated like royalty.
The food is amazing, Cuban food has a bad rep but this place exceeds any other hotel I have eaten at. The staff were phenomenal and it just made getting married the most stress free experience of our lives. We will be back!

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank James R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
paradisusri0de0r0, Manager at Paradisus Rio de Oro Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded May 20, 2016

Old review, thank you

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 3, 2012

Really good flight in to Cuba with Thomson.Got the coach to the resort,awesome welcome from the staff upon arrival, it was all as we remembered it from last year plus more. Its amazing how the staff remember you.our first week top class & we went on the dolphin excursion. Was truly amazing & was going to plan the same trip in the second week too but due to presence of hurricane Sandy in our second week everything was put on hold.All of the staff(yes i mean each & everyone)were so wonderful,Luis & William in the lobby bar ,Angel our rep just to name a few bless them they worked for something like 40 odd hours continuous & actually got grief off some guests about not having 5* treatment, um Hello love we all have just survived a hurricane & yes every guest probably had water in their rooms also....... others moaning about the food not being 5* well i think all staff were remarkable & most had to stay on resort as they could not get back to their homes & most had families & houses that were quite significantly damaged & I think they all need medals by there enthusiasm to serve all of the guests on resort.It was all very emotional for staff & most guests alike & to the speed at which paths & swimming pools were cleared of trees & debris .Would we go back, yes of course sooner the better,we had booked the Royal Service for the last four days of our Honeymoon unfortunately due to Sandy this was not to be so cannot wait for that experience next time.I only hope that the staff were credited & compensated from the company for their loyalty,determination & hard work(perhaps us Brits could learn something from all of the staff)as I Know I did.Would I have gone Knowing what was coming,Hell Yes,I just feel so sorry for everyone,each & every person had their own story & the effects on their families & homes.Truly inspirational people & Love to them all xxxx

Room Tip: They are all good
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  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank suzanne m
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
paradisusri0de0r0, Manager at Paradisus Rio de Oro Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded May 20, 2016

Old review, thank you

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 2, 2012

Completely concur with the sentiment of the last few reviews. The staff and reps at the Paradisus during Hurricane Sandy were truly epic. Absolutely amazed that by the end of our holiday the resort had been restored pretty much back to its pre Sandy condition bar a few holes in the roof! These people are a credit to their proud nation and make Cuba the great place it is. Suggestion ... take a walk to the nearest village as its well worth a visit.

  • Stayed: October 2012
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4  Thank Kukanauskas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
paradisusri0de0r0, Manager at Paradisus Rio de Oro Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded May 20, 2016

Old review, thank you

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Paradisus Rio de Oro Resort & Spa

Address: Playa Esmeralda, Crta Guardalavaca, Holguin 007, Cuba
Location: Caribbean > Cuba > Holguin Province > Holguin
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 On the Beach Hotel in Holguin
#1 Luxury Hotel in Holguin
Price Range: $230 - $300 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Paradisus Rio de Oro Resort & Spa 5*
Number of rooms: 354
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located in the Bahia de Naranjo Natural Park, in Playa Esmeralda, on the northern coast of Holguin province. Five-Star Ultra All Inclusive Eco-Resort with 354 rooms. Conceived only for adults aged 18 years or more. Maximum comfort and perfection in its private Royal Service area for a fabulous experience in a world apart. Recommended for weddings, honeymoons, incentive trips and wellness/spa. Guest Rooms 354 rooms: 254 Junior Suites, 24 Luxury Junior Suites, 16 Luxury Junior Suites Ocean View, 2 Suites Deluxe, 36 Master Junior Suites Royal Service, 14 Master Junior Suites Ocean View Royal Service, 6 Master Junior Suites Luxury Royal Service, 2 Garden Villas Royal Service. Dining: 8 Restaurants (A la Carte, Buffet), 5 Bars. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Paradisus Rio De Oro Hotel Holguin
Paradisus Rio De Oro Resort And Spa
Paradisus Hotel Guardalavaca
Rio De Oro Paradisus
Paradisus Rio De Oro Cuba
Hotel Paradisus Rio De Oro
Paradisus Rio De Oro Resort & Spa Cuba/Holguin

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