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“Great place for relaxation and romance but lacks a good beach”

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Paradisus Rio de Oro Resort & Spa
Ranked #1 of 11 Hotels in Holguin
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed April 30, 2014

This was my first time staying at Paradisus but my forth stay in Holguin. I love Holguin; its hills, beautiful waters abound with sea life, its pastoral lands and its kind-hearted people. Staying at the Paridisus further added to the area's magnificence. The rooms are spacious and well decorated. The hotel grounds are far better tended than any other place in Cuba. As for the nightly entertainment, every night wonderful evening music beautifully resonates throughout the resort's spectacular lobby. Very romantic indeed!
What is lacking at the resort is a good beach and cabanas. Guest pack in like sardines to catch the limited available shade. Behind them is a bird-croaking pungent smelling swamp/lagoon, in front a rock-prohibiting shoreline. The adjacent cheaper hotel, Luna y Mares has a far better beach and array of cabanas and beautiful palm trees. My suggestion is load up on drinks and food from the Paridisus and find a spot at the Luna y Mares to spend the day. Not sure why the Paridisus doesn't improve its beach. Maybe, due to embargos there is a shortage of palm leaves for building grass huts. I would also suggest going to Luna y Mares if you are a beach volleyball player, as the courts at Paridisus are far away from the water and have little exposure to any breeze or shade to cool you off. Actually, I could not recommend this hotel if you are looking at doing any sports other than yoga. They do have a couple of windsurfers and kayaks but no SUPs. If you are a jogger, the road out to the main highway is fantastic! Well paved and surrounded by breath taking scenery.
As for the food, I am married to a certified "super taster" so any food in Cuba is Cuban food. We always lose weight on these trips, which is a good thing.Cannot image why anyone would say that the Paridisus food is better than what is available at other 4+ star resorts in Cuba;especially since the Cuban government is responsible for all food purchasing. By the way most of the seafood and fish is imported e.g. China.
Please do not let any of the above comments deter you from going to the Paradisus. We were so happy with the resort that my wife and I plan to return in November. Watch out for us as, since returning, we have been enrolled in Salsa dancing lessons!

Room Tip: One not close to me
  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank David R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
paradisusri0de0r0, Director General at Paradisus Rio de Oro Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded May 3, 2014

Dear INACSERVICES,
We appreciate your review in Trip Advisor. Thank you for taking the time to let us know about your experience with us. We are glad to know that you enjoyed your stay in Paradisus. We are very sorry about your dislike for the food. We have been very pleased to prepare anything else for you in case that the offer in the restaurants was not attractive to you. We are always working to satisfy our guests as most as possible. We are working on having a large area of shade for next year. But notice that our beach has suffered the damage of the last hurricane and its restoration depends itself of a natural process, which takes time. We are very pleased with the announcement of your returning to us. We are truly looking forwards to welcome you back soon.
Warmest regards,
Lorenzo Rubió
General Manager

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Reviewed April 30, 2014

We had a lovely time at this hotel.
The weather was mostly good - though there was one intense storm.
The pool bar was laid out so that it was easy to meet people and start up a conversation.
Most of the staff were very friendly and efficient. We did find that the waiters from the lobby bar lacking for the most part - we seemed to have to make a lot of effort to gain their attention.
We went to the Spa on my husband's Birthday and found the staff charming, helpful and committed to ensuring that we had a pleasant time.
We tried all the restaurants and had some wonderful meals - the staff at the restaurant by the pool bar were wonderful.
The singers and musicians that played each evening were wonderful and the actual "entertainment" was very good most nights we managed to stay up to see it.
We did not enjoy the "fashion show" - but then we have seen numerous shows of this type in Cuba and watching people walk up and down in clothes we would never want to wear is not to our taste.
A shout out to Maylin (Pool Bar) and Zadie (Spa) for being extra friendly, kind and helpful.

Room Tip: We had a corner unit in building 40 - close to the restaurants and entertainment. Ask for a room th...
  • Stayed: April 2014, traveled as a couple
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Thank AJM1960
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
paradisusri0de0r0, Director General at Paradisus Rio de Oro Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded May 3, 2014

Dear AJM1960,
Thank your for taking the time of sahring your experience in Paradisus Rio de Oro with other travelers. We are gald to know that you enjoyed your stay with us, which is the reason we work for. Our guests´s satisfaction is our priority. I will personally give your greetings to Maylin and Zadie. We are looking forwards to welcome you back soon.
Kindest regards,
Lorenzo Rubió
General Manager

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Reviewed April 30, 2014

This was our 2nd time at the Paradisus Rio de Oro and it was even better than before as our room had recently been re-furbished. This is probably the best all round hotel in Cuba and our favourite anywhere. The food is first class; the drinks are international brands and the wine is far better than normal for even a 5 star all inclusive. All of the staff are very friendly, helpful and genuinely want to make your holiday special.

Unlike many places in the Caribbean, Cuba is safe! You can walk out from the hotel and wander as far as you like. For an experience of the real Cuba, take a horse and cart for a ride through the countryside (about £13 for over an hour).

Most of the guests are repeat customers who have been there 3 or more times; we spoke to one couple on their 10th stay. We will return again.

Room Tip: Ask for a re-furbished room
  • Stayed: April 2014, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank MikeDBanbury
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
paradisusri0de0r0, Director General at Paradisus Rio de Oro Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded May 3, 2014

Dear MikeDBanbury,
Thank you so much for taking the time of describing your wonderful vacations in Paradisus Rio de Oro. We are delighted to know about your enjoyment and the announcement of your returning to us. I will be a pleasure to welcome you back soon.
Best regards,
Lorenzo Rubió
General Manager

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Reviewed April 30, 2014

My husband and I travelled to Cuba for 2 weeks.April 12 to April 26, 2014.
Our destination was Paradisus Rio D'oro Holguin, Cuba.
It was the best trip ever !!
Our arrival, we were greeted with cold, damp towels to refresh from the long trip. A glass of cold champagne was given to us with a friendly smile. We were checked in quickly.We were sent off to the buffet,which the staff was kind enough to keep open for us new travellers.
Our suitcases were kept in a safe area.
The buffet was amazing. Fresh,wholesome foods awaited our taste buds.
When we arrived to our room, we were taken aback with its beauty. We were snapping pictures like 2 crazy kids.Oh my goodness !! The room was picture perfect !! Towels galore. Face cloths,bidet,shower,bathtub,sink with mirrors all around,lounger,2 wicker chairs,flat screen tv.king size bed,The living area was so wonderful, so beautifully decorated.
Very impressive !!
The food at the buffet was excellent. So much variety to please every palate.The staff-Rolando,Alexi,and Orlando at the grill, amazing men grilling with that heat. Oh my !! Yamell at the omelette station,the fresh juice bar,Barbara at the salad station, so many incredible people working so hard for all of us.There was beef,chicken,pork,liver,veal,turkey,rabbit,fish and sea food. There was food for vegans and vegetarians. The best desserts and icecream are at Paradisus Rio D'oro. I ate quail eggs for breakfast. They were so good.
Carlos the food and beverage manager from Spain, amazing young man, so helpful,so courteous.Ask him questions, he will give you all the answers about the food.
The coffee- the best !!
The resort was perfect. So well kept. The staff are wonderful. So helpful and so friendly.
The entertainment was very good too !!
The resort has room service. We didnot use it but people we met said it was excellent.
We had 2 a la carte restaurants.The Japanese and the mediterranean- both beautiful ambience and good food.
We met people from all over,England,Scotland,Begium,Holland,Ukraine,and Ontario.
Paradisus Rio D'oro has so much to offer. It is absolutely fantastic !!
The staff make this resort what it is.Be kind and show your appreciation.Bring gifts to give away,Tip as often as you can afford. We are all so lucky to visit .
My husband and I loved our 2 week vacation at Paradisus Rio D'oro. We are so excited to return.
Thank you to everyone at Paradisus Rio D'oro for everything.
Olga and Bruce

Room Tip: We loved the 24 section, facing the ocean,corner suite
  • Stayed: April 2014, traveled as a couple
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Review collected in partnership with this hotel
2  Thank olgaToronto_Canada
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
paradisusri0de0r0, Director General at Paradisus Rio de Oro Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded May 3, 2014

Dear olgaToronto_Canada,
We are delighted with your review in Trip Advisor. Thank you for your detailed description of the amazing holidays you had with us. Your comments are very useful and important to us. I will personally give your greetings to Rolando, Alexi, Orlando, Yamell, Barbara and Carlos. They will be very happy to know that you remember their names and appreciate them. They as our whole staff are always working to satisfy our guests as much as possible. It will be a pleasure to have you back soon.
Kindest regards from Paradisus Rio de Oro,
Lorenzo Rubió
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 30, 2014

This was our third time at Paradisius, for our first and third time we were in the Royal Service and the second time was on the regular side. Both are great so don’t fuss too much about whether to upgrade. The difference is that the RS side has a bit better service and rooms, but the big difference is the incredible peaceful and relaxing atmosphere. If you want a place to go where you are in total relaxation and will be pampered, then the RS is for you. If you are looking to party into the wee hours, then this entire resort is really not your style.

For those of you who were here before the hurricane last fall, I can tell you that you would not even notice the difference. I had some trepidation going down expecting to see half the beach missing and the trees gone, but it is not the case at all. The beach is still the same size and the beautiful gardens and trees are still there. The hotel and the gardeners have worked very hard to bring it back to its full glory.

It was great returning back. Many of the staff recognized us (in a good way I hope!). Norma has recently left the hotel and some staff have been moved around but it was nice to see them again.

Tip or not to tip? The answer is TIP. The wait staff make about $30 - $35 per MONTH like most Cubans and they rely on their tips. That is not to say that you won’t have good service if you don’t tip but a peso or two here and there are really appreciated. Also, we brought down plenty of things to give away that they can’t get in Cuba. What is appreciated is clothes (do you have some good quality items you no longer wear?) also toothpaste, toiletries etc. It is not expensive for us but it goes a long way to help them and frankly they don’t exactly have a Walmart on the corner to buy this stuff.

We ate in every restaurant and they all had good food and great service, my favourite being the RS restaurant. A word of warning, avoid the beef. You will not get a good steak or roast beef, so don’t bother. The cows in Cuba (and the Caribbean) are the saddest specimens you will ever see. Stick to the seafood, chicken and pork. Fish and pork are their speciality and it is excellent, so enjoy. I agree with some previous reviews that the house wine was really bad, especially for a 5 star resort. We generally stuck with the Cava (Spanish Champagne) for the meals.

There is the proverbial problem in Cuba of supply. I am not sure why, but there are always certain things they can’t get from their suppliers. They always used to have things such as smoked salmon but that is non-existent, but still on the menu. They were also short on limes and lemons in the bars, yet they could be bought down the road at the fruit stands? The new F&B manager Carlos must be pulling his hair out as it must be very difficult dealing with the Cuban suppliers. As well you may want to bring down Kleenex with you as we couldn’t get any and they didn’t have it two years ago when we were there either. There always seems to be a “problem with the supplier”. While you are at it, you may want to bring down a couple of rolls of toilet paper. I thought of bringing back a couple of rolls from the hotel so I could sand my deck this summer (if you know what I mean!)

I do realize that these are whiny complaints (or first-world-problems) but you should be aware that this is the way it is. As far as we are concerned, it is Cuba and we are on vacation so we just go with the flow. I do still think the Paradisius is one of the best resorts I have ever seen or heard about in the Caribbean. The third visit was just as good as the first two. You will really enjoy it.

Room Tip: The rooms at Royal Service are all good, there is no need to upgrade further.
  • Stayed: April 2014, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank DJPlums
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
paradisusri0de0r0, Director General at Paradisus Rio de Oro Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded May 3, 2014

Dear DJPlums
Thank you so much for taking the time of describing your esperience in Paradisus Rio de Oro to other travelers to help them decide to visit us, as well as we truly appreciate that you noticed our efforts for providing our guests with the best service possible. Our guests´satisfaction is the most important thing for us and the reason we try to improve our services day by day. And as you have stated we sometimes have to deal with some issues with supplies that are beyond our possibilities. That is why we are truly grateful for your understanding.
We are very happy to know that we keep metting your expectations about us and after three times you keep deciding to return to us, which makes us feel honored . We are truly looking forward to welcome back again as part of our family you already are.
Sincerely yours,
Lorenzo Rubió
General Manager

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Reviewed April 29, 2014

We spent 5 days and 4 nights for an all inclusive. The food was out of this world. It is comparable to food at home. The service is top knotch, and people are kind, from Jorge the bellboy, to the chambermaid, to Elizabeth at El Bohio, to Rolando at the spa. Our every whim was taken care of. The food, snacks, drinks, room service, all the way to Antonio the gardner are kind, welcoming, familiar, making the service out of this world. This is an adults only resort, it was so nice to not worry about screaming kids. The beaches are not huge, but they are white, great coral for snorkelling. The spa beach has the softest white sand. A little oasis.

Room Tip: The rooms are well equipped and well insulated for noise. We stayed in bldg 11 across from the medit...
  • Stayed: April 2014, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank x93umg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
paradisusri0de0r0, Director General at Paradisus Rio de Oro Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded May 1, 2014

Dear x93umg,
Thank you very much for sharing your wonderful experience with other TripAdvisor travelers
Receive our warmest regards, especially from Elizabeth, Rolando, Antonio, who will be waiting to see you again in our little oasis!
Sincerely yours,
Lorenzo Rubio
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 29, 2014

I wanted to keep our feedback brief but likely won’t turn out that way since we wanted to share as much information as possible to new comers at this resort. My husband and I stayed at the resort from April 19th to 26th and based on so many of the posted reviews went with absolutely the highest expectations. We were not disappointed and loved the setting but it was not as grand as what we had anticipated.
Our check in went smoothly, our room which was the Deluxe Jr. Ocean view was ready and we loved the setting. The room itself was nice but could use a facelift but from what we understand the resort has started some updating. Lucky we brought clothes hangers for our 7 night stay otherwise there would be no way we could have hung up all our clothes. The outdoor shower definitely is wonderful to have and like some reviewers indicated it’s best to bring your toiletries inside overnight, we saw a large crab and a mouse on two occasions.
I struggled with finding out if there was 110 or 220 volt and I decided to take my converter just in case and was glad I did so. There are both but the 110 only works for shavers and battery chargers only, not a curling iron etc.
The room is air conditioned but the canopy above the bed does not allow for the cool air to drift down over the bed, it is only fastened by Velcro so we ‘modified’ this a bit to allow for the cool air.
Everything we read prior to our vacation with respect to the dress code pointed to a direction of everyone being REALLY dressed up. Yes men are required to wear long pants and collard shirts but that does not mean dress slacks and a nice shirt and closed in shoes. We found many wearing everything from jeans to wrinkled cargo pants with flip flops and any type of collared shirt. They won’t allow a man into the buffet with dress shorts but again as long as the pants are long and the shirt is collared it does not matter what it looks like. In the morning it was the same and women even came in with their bathing suits and cover ups. I really wish we had have known this before leaving home as we would have packed very different and more casual/comfortable clothes which would have made it easier to bear the extreme heat.
The restaurants are quite good but we recommend you make your reservations online before you go on your trip, this allows you to select the dates and times you would like and all you have to do is pick up your tickets from the restaurant reservations desk. Unfortunately you still have to go to the reservations desk to pick up your tickets which you require for each restaurant, suggestion to the hotel is to have those tickets printed and provided at the time you check in that way you won’t be wasting time waiting in line while other guests try to figure out when and where to dine based on what is available at the time. We found it’s better to do this in the afternoon before they close (3pm) the wait should not be a problem.
The buffet had a very nice variety of food however the red wine that was served was so bad you could not drink it so we opted to order from the wine list. This we felt was not in accordance to what a #1 resort should be serving and the same applies to the wine served at the bar. The wine that was served in the Restaurants is quite good and we did not find it necessary to order of the wine list.
Terribly disappointing was the service in the Lobby in the evenings, it was extremely difficult to get someone to serve you a drink even when tipping well and most of the time we ended up having to make the trip to the bar ourselves. The ambiance of the lobby is nice along with the Piano and Cuban music in the early evening. The age and clientele of this resort made for a very nice atmosphere and it was certainly enjoyable. Given that this is considered the #1 resort in Holguin we were surprised to see that premium drinks were being offered at a fairly substantial charge and these are offered by a waiter making the rounds through the lobby surely having one extra waiter serving regular drinks would be of more benefit.
We were also very surprised that there was no waiter service for drinks around the pool something most other non #1 resorts offer!
What we really did appreciate was that there was no loud music and activities around the pool allowing everyone to really enjoy the quiet. There are activities offered but you need to sign up at the location where you pick up your pool towels, there were some interesting ones so worthwhile checking these out, also the weekly list of activities is available by asking at the front desk.
Also to note is that the resort itself (this is apart from the other tours that are being offered by the vacation rep) offers excursions, you can ask at the lobby for a list of these and we chose to go on the one that took you to the farmers house, school, medical clinic and it was the best thing we had ever done it touched our hearts and we would do it again, this is where you see the REAL Cuba. Please bring things for the children they were so thankful, anything from school note books to snacks (single serving) after we left I had a million ideas as to what to bring and definitely next time will bring the snacks, lollypops, bouncy balls etc.
Pool info – Cabana’s and some of the nice shady spots were always ‘reserved’ by the very latest 8am and we did keep our eye on them to see when they would be occupied by often the people that marked those spots did not show up until 10 or 11 o’clock leaving the rest of the honest and considerate people to fend for not so prime locations.
Beach info – the beach was disappointing initially as our last Cuba vacation was on Cayo Santa Maria where the beach was pure white sand for miles however here it was surprisingly rocky however there is a small path into the water, the snorkelling however is great and it’s nice to have it right there. The beach area itself is very small and crowed again impossible to find a shady spot unless you want to be packed in so close you can read your neighbours book.
We hope you found this helpful and even with the some of these minor cons it is beautiful and we would definitely go again.

Room Tip: We upgraded to the Deluxe Jr. Oceanview and had wonderful privacy inc. the outdoor shower. The setti...
  • Stayed: April 2014, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank BBLang
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
paradisusri0de0r0, Director General at Paradisus Rio de Oro Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded May 1, 2014

Dear BBLang,
We thank you very much for your comments as well as your useful recommendations, which we are letting our involved departments know. About the hangers, please, take into account that you can request more just dialing line 7000, Express Service.
We will be more than glad to have you back, please, let us know as you start making next plans. Thank you!
Sincerely yours,
Lorenzo Rubio
General Manager

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Additional Information about Paradisus Rio de Oro Resort & Spa

Address: Playa Esmeralda, Crta Guardalavaca, Holguin 007, Cuba
Phone Number:
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:
Ranked #1 of 11 Hotels in Holguin
Price Range: $225 - $547 (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 
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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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