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Paradisus Rio de Oro Resort & Spa
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Reviewed February 4, 2013

Upon arrival, we found the reviews to be accurate with respect to the lack of friendliness and helpfulness of the front desk staff except for Raoul who served us Cava while we waited. We spent one night at the regular resort and went to the lobby bar to find a barman that looked surly and fed up. He actually shared that he hated his job although tourism have the highest paying jobs in the country. We went to our room determined to upgrade to Royal Service the next day. We went to see Luis, our Nolitours rep and he was an absolute gem. We have rarely experienced this level of customer service from a rep from the beginning right up to our departure from Cuba at the airport. He was always there to facilitate our experience. Thanks Luis!

After extensively researching the resort, we decided to gamble on Cuba and felt that we had lost this hand. Cuba has not evolved with respect to tourism. The food is still mediocre at best, the wines of poor quality and what was worse was the service at the main hotel which was not the friendly bend over backward approach we had experienced in the past which made Cuba so endearing to us.

Royal Service was a great improvement : better grade rooms, personalized service with a butler, Njorge, and Norma, the Customer Service Manager always around to maximize the experience. The staff was exceptional all around from Dayami and her colleagues at breakfast and lunch to John at the bar to the 24 hour lobby bar staff making sure you had everything you needed around the pool. The views in Royal Service were breathtaking and the restaurant in RS, although not perfect, was better than in the Main hotel and restaurants.

It cost us the same as we pay in a 5 star resort in Mexico but for an inferior experience, not an adequate bang for our buck. The weather was also not great which, of course, greatly diminished the quality of the experience.

Having said this, many people enjoy this resort and it is a question of expectations and taste. We now know that Cuba is no longer a destination of choice for us. I want to underline the exceptional lengths people went to in order to optimize our stay and they did make all the difference but, weather contributing, it was expensive for what we got and for Cuba in general.

Judge for yourself, but Cuba will be Cuba and the expectation has to be adjusted to that reality if you do not want to be disappointed.

Room Tip: Do not settle for less than Royal Service and do not let your travel agent convince you to upgrade once on location as it does not necessarily work out to be cheaper.
  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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7  Thank shawnmontreal
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 February 4, 2013

Where do I start? Quite a lengthy journey to the hotel from holguin airport, but once we got there this hotel never failed to amaze us! We were greeted with complimentary champagne at reception and a short buggy ride to our room. We stayed in the junior suite, which is the standard room option but extremely spacious and more than adequate. You are able to view and upgrade to the royal service or villa, and if you are on honeymoon definately recommend this. It can be confusing with the royal service and standard rooms, but this is the same hotel and you can use the same facilities- the royal service comes with an outdoor shower, butler service and is located next to the private beach (which isnt private as all guests can use it).
The resort is well kept, clean and beautiful in the sunshine and moonlight, and the array of restaurants and bars throughout is a welcome way to diversify your meals and evenings. You have a selection of a la carte restaurants (recommend booking this as soon as you get there for the duration - we stayed for two weeks and were able to visit each restaurant twice), but the main buffet restaurant literally caters for EVERYTHING - i especially liked having your meats cooked in front of you to your own specific liking! If your lounging by the pool or private beach (which is 30 secs away from the pool) and dont fancy trekking across the resort to the buffet for lunch, you have the option of using the pool bar food service all day, or the beach bar which has lovely fresh seafood and cuban singers seranading you with a beach backdrop.
The staff are amazing, especially the entertainers - they have a real laugh with activities like water volleyball, archery, rifle shooting, yoga, cycling just to name a few which are on everyday. As a young couple not on a honeymoon (this is predominantly a honeymoon resort) we were slightly disappointed with the nightime entertainment, but it is what you make it and they do have a 'club' which opens until the early hours! We found it very relaxing being an adult only resort and you will really appreciate the atmosphere, great service and excellent food.
Some tips if you are looking at this hotel - always carry peso's to tip and tip regularly, the service is really good and the staff appreciate this. They are paid a flat rate and have food rations in cuba, so we used to empty our mini-bar in our room and give this to the gardeners and workers as well as this gets re-stocked everyday anyway. The beach is fantastic, but check out the royal service beach too as this is usually less busy, and also the spa which is literally on the beach and although we didnt give it a go, sounded good. Excursions are ok, the swimming with dolphins was amazing and well worth it, but for an extra 40 CUC we could have stayed overnight in one of the huts surrounded by the dolphins and ocean - no one told us about this!
All in all, this was a great holiday were we didnt lift a finger and never had a single gripe about this wonderful resort

Room Tip: If you are going for a royal service or garden villa UPGRADE THERE as it is about half the price as here in the uk Also make sure you check your change from the currency exchange as they do tend to try it on (may have just been with me as Im not sure they are used to seeing 22 year olds at this resort)
  • Stayed: June 2012, traveled as a couple
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8  Thank Jack C
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 February 4, 2013

This was definately the best of the hotels we stayed in during our early January holiday to Cuba.

The staff are first class, from our chamber maid through to the Director of the hotel we could not have had better service if we tried. We were still unsure whether to tip or not in advance (as some websites/tour guidebooks suggest) but it was not necessary here.

Staff were friendly, attentive and the standard of training was as good as almost any we have experienced in 4 and 5 star European hotels.

Our room was on the ground floor but we didn't have any of the 'bug' problems some people mention. It was a great room with a queen sized bed, sitting area and outside 'patio' area. The bathroom was 'adequate' but talking to the Director he is aware these are becoming a bit dated now and there is a planned refurbishment on the cards.

The buffet restaurant is excellent and it was actually tempting to have three meals a day there for the whole of our stay !

Pool snack bar does lovely burger, chicken sandwich and pizza's.

The Japanese was great and it's the first time I have had flambe'd birthday cake, makes a change from candles :-)

El Patio is good for the fish and lobster and for it's restful (and well air conditioned) ambience.

The cuban is on a par with the buffet really so try it the once just to compare.

Only disappointing one really was the Mediterranean it tried hard but fell short i.e. my risotto was made with pudding rice rather than arborio. The rest of the meal was edible and well presented, but by the time we got to the tiramisu which was a coffee flavoured small cake, we had decided it was back to the lovely buffet the next night.

The beach side setting for this hotel is stunning. What I would recommend though is having a walk round to the spa and to the right hand side take the path down to the little secluded beach there - fantastic and hardly used.

While on the topic of the spa, we had the couples massage. Any booking allows you to use the spa facilities all day and it really is worth doing. The spa staff (especially Rolando) are great, the atmosphere is calming and relaxing and the massages well delivered. Had to smile at the end of my "Rum" massage as apart from the good, deep tissue massage that I'd just had, the only "Rum" involved had been two spoonfulls wafted under my nose at the beginning and the middle of the massage. My wife had the hot and cold stones massage which she found a little odd (couldn't work out when cold stones had been used) and she found her male masseuse a little over enthusiastic/powerful.

The evening entertainment was varied and professional and we even got treat to an afternoons synchronised swimming display on one occasion !

We went on a one day 'Loco Holguin' tour which was a great way of seeing a bit more of Cuba and being able to ask the guide lots of the questions about the people, culture and politics that had been 'bugging' us.

This was the first adults only/couples hotel we have been to and it won't be our last. We don't have children and not having them running round the pool/hotel was very pleasant.

Last but not least, I'm a diver and was looking forward to my first diving in the Caribbean. I have to say that it was good but not as exciting as I had hoped. The good elements being the dive centre at the Blau Playa Verde and the dive team there (absolutely top notch) the kit is also only two years old so no problems there. The not so exciting bits unfortunately was the lack of big fish (only one Barracuda and one grouper in ten dives) Very good bit - staying at the Paradisus means your diving is free ! including all kit hire, saved me a fortune :-)


All in all this was in many many ways the best hotel of our cuban trip.

I would highly recommend it, as would the large number of people we met out there who return year after year. One word on 'Royal Service' we visited the RS area and were shown one of the entry level rooms. To be honest I'm personally glad we saved our money for a trip to the spa and the 'Loco' tour instead. It just didn't seem to be that much better than what was already an excellent main hotel

Room Tip: Villas in the 200's are the nearest to having a sea view. Villa 38x is very good as it puts you half way between restaurants and pool/beach. Go for a 'corner' room as they are a little larger.
  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank markfairweather
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 February 2, 2013

Just back from a week at the PRDO. We had a great time, although this was very much in spite of the weather. It rained 6 of the 7 days (2 being a complete wash out) which apparently is unusual at this time of year. We decided to book the main hotel, and then upgrade to Royal Service for the last 3 nights. We will therefore split our review into two to demonstrate the differences which may help others decide what suits them! Overall we would say the main hotel is worth 4/5 and RS is worth 5/5.
MAIN HOTEL
Standard rooms are laid out in numerous 2 storey buildings, 16 rooms per block. None of them appeared to have sea views - only some of the Garden Villas have this. Originally we were allocated a ground floor room in Block 35 which looks out onto the main path from reception to pool. Its outlook meant no privacy, plus there was a strong smell of smoke, so we requested a move to an upstairs room which was efficiently arranged and we were transferred to Block 14. Both rooms were exactly the same, attractive and spacious with separate lower level sitting area with chaise longe and balcony. Bathroom was serviceable but fairly basic - hot water but not much power in the shower which is over the bath. Both rooms had 2 large single beds pushed together, rather than a king sized bed.
Main buffet for lunch and dinner was good quality and offered a wide selection of hot meals and salads. Some of the ready prepared dishes did tend to be luke warm (an unavoidable hazard with large buffets it seems) but there were always a number of freshly prepared dishes. On our first night there was even copious lobster on the grill! Waiting staff offer unlimited red, white and rose wine plus champagne and of course water and were always attentive and friendly. A similarly wide selection was offered at breakfast with eggs, omelettes and pancakes etc cooked on demand. There is also a lunch restaurant above the pool, and another above the bar next to the beach, both with table service and different menus but typical lunchtime fare like burgers, pizza, fish and chips, sandwiches etc and were fine without being particularly exciting. In the evenings we also tried 2 of the 4 speciality restaurants, namely the Japanese and Cuban. The food in both restaurants was good. However the Japanese to us was a dissapointment, having visited a similar example in Mexico. The "show" aspect was just a chef stir frying, whereas we had previously experienced entertaining displays with knives and fire! Having said that, if you do go, we would advise booking a shared table which are the show tables, as we probably missed out by sitting at a table for 2 where we couldn't see as much.
Pool is lovely and we had no issue in finding some beds - perhaps because the weather wasn't great! Playa Esmeralda beach below is beautiful, although we never got around to lying on it, again due to the adverse weather. Did manage a few pics - see attached - when sun did break through though! We tended to crash out early in the eve, so only saw the start of the eve entertainment a couple of times, but seems to be good quality dancing, and there were lots of excellent live music in the bar area and some of the restaurants, in the form of Cuban singers with guitar, piano etc. Better than a normal hotel band playing Lady in Red on an organ!! Bar was busy due to the poor weather, but service good, as were the mojitos, cuba libres and pina coladas.
The Spa (accessible from both main hotel and RS) is beautifully laid out with pool area, outdoor jacuzzis, private beach plus treatment rooms, sauna and steam room. Once you've booked a treatment you are entitled to spend the whole day there. Service in the spa was excellent, with a foot treatment provided on arrival. Couples massage was also good.
ROYAL SERVICE
This cost 150 CUC for 1 night, or discounted to 120 CUC (80 GBP) per night for 3 nights as we did for our upgrade to Royal Service room - this was good value compared to the weekly advanced rate for Royal Service. The hotel arranges for you and your luggage to be transferred up the hill to the RS by golf buggy (which you can continue to call on when you wish to go to and fro). The Royal reception is stunning, with views out across the pools to the sea. The Master Junior Suites were in blocks of 4 rooms, with all balconies facing the sea, though you may not have a direct sea view. We were in block 94 room 23 on the top floor, and again we would say an upstairs room would be preferable for views and privacy. The rooms were stunning and definitely a level up from the main hotelm, with larger balconies including built in bed. But the main impressive difference was the huge bathroom complete with jacuzzi bath for 2 and beautiful outdoor shower - hot and powerful, so even enjoyable in the rain! We also had a big king sized double bed.
Service really was royal - we were even invited to call the butler to prepare the jacuzzi and bring champagne, and it seemed churlish to refuse - what a great job he did - candles, flowers and foam everywhere! Our block was a short walk down to the private Calletas beach which is only available to RS guests and is a beautiful calm spot with lovely bar above. Here you can order lunch from a menu which is then brought down to you by your butler. Ditto you could ask for your lunch to be brought to the pool or wherever. You can also order drinks from your sunbed via the barman. There's a lifeguard on the beach who will advise best areas for snorkelling and who also offers to take you out to show you, but we found it rather limited - only a small range of fish and mainly dead coral. Overall the service was outstanding and the staff seemed to take pleasure in looking after us.
The RS a la carte restaurant serves lovely food including lobster dishes, athough the menu doesn't change so if you intended to eat there all week you might get bored. However you can still use the retaurants at the main hotel. We did find it lacked atmosphere, apart from one occasion when musicians played spanish guitar in there which was lovely.
Overall the RS is very quiet and some might find it a little too peaceful. For us it was good to have the split week and enjoy both experiences.
We booked with First Choice and the service provided by the Rep was really top notch - we twice asked to postpone trips due to the weather and this was done at late notice without question. We were even given a 20% refund on one completed trip due to the bad weather, even though we hadn't made a fuss about it! We enjoyed using the vintage American car taxis to spend a day in Guadalavaca which also has a nice beach with some shack bars (2 mojitos for 2 CUC!). Scenery in the area is generally beautiful.
Overall we loved Cuba and the Paradisus - apart from the unexpected lack of sun - though it was still 30C warmer than snowy England at the time, and very relaxing. Highly recommended.

Room Tip: Ask for an upstairs (1st floor) room to get more privacy, and in the case of the Royal, this will also give you a sea view.
  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank Roundy
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 February 2, 2013

This was our first time to Cuba and we waited a year for this holiday ... We were not disappointed! Firstly check in - quick and easy, greeted with sparkling wine and a cool flannel then taken to our room. We stayed in a standard junior room and this was perfect for us. The room was spotless and the chambermaid looked after us really well.
As far as food goes I would go as far as saying this was the best food I have experienced on a holiday - the buffet restaurant had a huge variety and very good food. The Mediterranean and El Patio restaurants were also excellent - the lobster was so good! Also you need to try the fish and chips at the beach restaurant!
The staff at this hotel are so friendly and we didn't feel like we needed to keep tipping the staff. Our holiday rep Janior was really knowledgeable and on hand if we needed anything and of course Jorge at the pool bar is a top man too! He makes the best daiquiri's :)
Neither me nor my partner suffered any sort of tummy bug and we ate a little bit of everything!
We left our cases with the hotel for three nights as we headed to Havana and they were kept completely safe and ready for us when we arrived back. I would 100% recommend this hotel to anybody and we are hoping to return in the future (for our honeymoon as my Fiance proposed to me whilst in Havana!!) Happy memories of an amazing country and a fantastic hotel.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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7  Thank kmt78
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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