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“Loved the Rio De Oro”

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Paradisus Rio de Oro Resort & Spa
Ranked #1 of 10 Hotels in Holguin
Certificate of Excellence
A TripAdvisor Member
“Loved the Rio De Oro”
Reviewed February 23, 2005

Cuba. Paradisus Rio De Oro
Loved Paradisus Rio De Oro
Just returned from the resort and enjoyed the resort immensely. It was my first time to Cuba and the bar was set pretty high. Our purpose to go to this resort was for a friend's wedding. Everything was set up prior to our arrival and the planner took the extra step of booking our group of 18 in all the a la carte restaurants. Only ate two suppers at the buffet and the food was excellent as well. Also celebrated my birthday while there and was able to have a cake and by surprise there was a bottle of champagne in the minibar of my room. Didn't need the converter for any of my appliances such as curling iron and charger for video camera. I would definetly return and recommend to others. The only discomfort of the trip was the long wait at the bank to convert money and you need your passport when you exchange at the bank as well.

  • Stayed February 2005
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
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28 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
paradisusri0de0r0, General Manager at Paradisus Rio de Oro Resort & Spa, responded to this review, November 25, 2014
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A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed February 22, 2005

I continue to be amazed at the reviews that say this resort is anything but excellent. Perhaps it was a bad week or something. A friend and I spent a week, returning February 19th and we havie nothing but good things to say.

The staff, the guests, the grounds, the food, the rooms...all were excellent. We did upgrade our room to the one with the outdoor shower and it was Heaven!

We felt welcome from the moment we stepped off the bus until the moment we left the airport in Holguin. I visited another Sol Melia property in Cayo Largo, Cuba last year and while it was nice, it didn't compare. Paradisus is lush and incredibly indulgent.

I can't say enough about the Cuban people...they are kind, humble and most helpful. Take advantage of the excursions, the trip to Holquin and the afternoon (sunset) catamaran ride were fantastic!

Not only would I recommend this resort without hesitation, I will definitely go back!

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36 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
paradisusri0de0r0, General Manager at Paradisus Rio de Oro Resort & Spa, responded to this review, November 25, 2014
Old review, thank you
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London
Level Contributor
16 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 124 helpful votes
Reviewed February 21, 2005

My girlfriend and myself stayed in the Paradisus for 10 days at the beginning November, and had a wonderful holiday we will remember forever.

In this review I will describe our experiences, and also try to give a few helpful hints for anyone considering this hotel.

Arrival:- We found the arrival at Holguin airport to be well organised and within 45 minutes we were on our coach to the hotel. When we arrived at the hotel we were met by a very pleasant Cuban lady, who organised our rooms quickly and efficiently from a desk slightly away from the main reception. At no time was there any confusion, and the check-in could not have been simpler and was over in minutes. As soon as we had our key, a bellboy in white uniform took us to our room in a motorised cart.

Rooms:- This is the one and only aspect of a holiday at the Paradisus that I would say people intending going there should think carefully about. To help explain there are mainly two types of rooms; standard rooms which are located in 2 storey blocks and superior rooms which are in semi-detached villas.

All the accomodation is contained within what I would describe as being a heart shaped area within the layout of the hotel. If you can imagine that at the bottom of the heart are the main hotel buildings and the 4 al la carte restaurants, and at the top the swimming pool. The standard rooms are all contained within the centre of the heart shape and all superior rooms run along the outer edges and look outwards. A central walkway divides all the accomodation into either being on the sea side or garden side.

The rooms on the right hand side face the sea - BUT the sea is heavily hidden by a thick forest which completely envelops the rooms. On the other side the rooms instead face the gardens and mountains in the distance and have a much more OPEN and BRIGHTER aspect.

Before booking we had requested a 1st floor standard room with a king size bed. When we arrived we found we had been given a ground floor room with a king size bed. The next day we queried this and were informed very politely, that they have limited 1st floor rooms with king size beds and that they normally reserve these for honeymoon couples. As the resort was not full we asked if we could change to a 1st floor, and this request was not a problem at all and the lady on reception gave us a key to look at 4 rooms and got a bellboy to take us to the rooms. We choose a new room that had a lovely view of palm trees but was a little dark requiring lights on during the brightest time of day.

We were perfectly happy in this room which was spacious, clean and in which everything worked from the shower, to the CD player, to the room lamps. But then on our 5th day we happened to be taking a walk on the garden side and noticed a maid cleaning one of the superior rooms and asked if we could take a look. WOW! Although the room was exactly the same size as our own, it had the most amazing view of the gardens and was incredibly bright and fresh looking. We immediately enquired about upgrading and told it was possible for just an extra $30 for the room (not per person) per day, which we thought was great value as the setting was so much nicer, the room was better decorated with nice pictures and toiletries, there was an outside shower in addition to the one above the bath, and best of all your very own hammock outside! We were so excited (we are City folk so not used to greenery!) that the first day in our new room, we ordered a 3 course lunch with champagne and sat and eat it on the lovely patio looking over the very quiet and peaceful gardens.

Now! A word of caution. In our opinion the superior rooms and the standard rooms on the garden side are far superior to the same rooms on the 'sea' side. Even the superior rooms which were nearest to the sea, seemed to be permanently in the shade because of the thick forest surrounding them.

Restaurants and Food:- This is definitely what makes this hotel outstanding. The choice in the evening included lobster, king prawns, swordfish, crab, beef, lamb, chicken, pasta, pizza - and that is just the buffet! Even if you only ate in the buffet there was so much choice that I defy anyone to say there is not enough variety. Plus in the buffet the chef will cook your king prawns, beef or whatever you are having the way you want it cooked. Now for the restaurants:-

1) Japanese - Superb Food and Entertainment. The chef will cook whatever you want right in front of you. It is also just sheer entertainment as he will crack jokes all night! If you only try one al la carte restaurant then make it this one. We ate so much our stomachs were groaning. The beef teriyaki is to die for! Living in London, we can honestly say that the food here compared very favourably to some expensive restaurants we have tried in London. The building itself is very pretty and looks as though it should be in downtown Kyoto. This is one of just two Japanese restaurants in all of Cuba.

2) International - Very Sophisticated and Romantic. This restaurant looks the least interesting from the outside, but once you step inside you would think you are in the dining room of a French chateau. The room is beautifully decorated and filled with candlelight. The food is terrific and the service excellent. Just one small example, when we sat down the wine waiter asked us if we would like a couple of champagne aperitiffs to start. We said yes and our drinks were brought to the table. A little while later he came back and asked if we would like to see the wine list. We said no as we are not big drinkers and would stick to the champagne. We thought he would just top up our glasses as the night progressed, but no, he brought out a new bottle, opened it and placed it in a champagne bucket. We felt so bad because we could not finish it! Oh, and the champagne tasted fine to us!

3) Mediterrean - Grand setting, OK food. This had the most impressive entrance which resembled a fine European drawing room. However the food was at best OK.

4) Cuban - Nice setting, Food so-so. This is set on its own ground above water. The mosquities are a nightmare so we would recommend if you eat here to cover up as much as possible. This is real Cuban food which to be honest is not very exciting, but this might be the only chance you will have to try Cuban food, so at least give it a try. We did - twice!

Finally a word about the booking system. There seems to be some confusion as to how it works. It is quite straightforward. You are allowed to book each restaurant once per week (not per holiday visit as someone else said in another review), so if you were going for a week you could eat once in each of the al la carte restaurants and eat 3 nights in the buffet. We were staying 10 nights and managed to get booked into the al la carte restaurants for 7 nights. The lady who did our bookings was absolutely charming and bent over backwards for us and was able to book the nights we wanted at the times we wanted.

Beaches and Swimming Pool:- The main beach is lovely and is shared with another resort. It's about 1km long and has nice sand and good snorkelling. The entry though to the sea is quite rocky, so take sea shoes if you have them. The three smaller more private beaches are also very nice but have no facilities. The swimming pool is large and clean with a swim-up bar, but we think the resort could do with a 2nd pool.

Staff:- Absolutely delightful. Never on holiday have we met such charming, pleasant, smiling, hard-working people. They will do anything to make sure you a have a nice holiday, but they do not go around looking for tips. Take the opportunity to speak to as many of them as possible, they can all speak at least a little English, and are very happy to chat. We ended up giving away about $300 in tips, but we don't begrudge any of it. Remember the average Cuban earns just $20 per month.

Outside the Hotel:- Take the chance to explore the countryside by hiring a horse driven carriage. We did and the driver was a lovely man, who was delighted because my partner could speak in Spanish a little with him. He invited us to his house to meet his wife and to see how he lives which was lovely. Oh and someone complained that the countryside was not very interesting as it is mostly farmland. Yes it is mostly farmland, but it is also very luscious and green with tall Royal palm trees everywhere. I would rather have this anyday than golf courses and theme parks. In our opinion the countryside is beautiful and unspoiled.

Castro, Cuba and Communism:- I cannot help mentioning the fact that some people don't seem to realise that Cuba is a third world country with a Communist government, and that consequently things there are very different from other holiday destinations. The Cuban people do not have even the most basic things we take for granted such as soap, toothpaste, toilet roll, pens, pencils, paper, nappies, medicines etc. The fact that a hotel of the standard if the Paridisus exists at all is remarkable.

So go to Paridisus, you will have a great time!!!!

  • Stayed January 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
75 Thank MacMil
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
paradisusri0de0r0, General Manager at Paradisus Rio de Oro Resort & Spa, responded to this review, November 25, 2014
Old review, thank you
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed February 20, 2005

My husband and I recently vacationed at Paradisus Rio de Oro, having been fortunate enough to book just one week before our departure date.

This resort is truly 5 star all the way. The service is wonderful, the grounds are beautiful and the dining choices excellent.

Having read many comments already posted here before leaving, we took everyone's advice and booked our a la carte reservations as soon as we arrived. This gave us the opportunity to enjoy all of the restaurants at Paradisus. Each is unique in it's own way and the menu in each offers many delectable choices. I think our favourites were El Bohio and the International Restaurant - and the pool side restaurant was a great place to have lunch.

We would also highly recommend you enjoy some of the Cuban wine while dining at Paradisus. It is every bit as good as our Niagara wines!

I would just like to thank all those who did post their comments here. It certainly made us realize, even before arriving, that we had obviously made a great choice.

This was our first visit to Cuba and we picked a winner with this resort. We definitely plan to go back someday.

Helpful?
25 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
paradisusri0de0r0, General Manager at Paradisus Rio de Oro Resort & Spa, responded to this review, November 25, 2014
Old review, thank you
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed February 20, 2005

I have never done a review on line of any kind. However, after reading several not so hot reviews about the Paradisus, I feel the need to give my five cents worth. Last May, my husband and my two children (son 23 yrs, daughter 19 yers) and I vacationed for a week at the Rio. All of us enjoyed it. We loved the food, the snorkeling, the entertainment, but above all, we loved the people. We did not come across one employee that did not greet us with a friendly “Hola”, and would not go out of his/her way, to make sure that we were happy. Now, granted, my daughter and myself are very outgoing people, and we made every effort to speak to people, trying out our Spanish. I felt that many employees enjoyed talking to us about Canada, their children, family or whatever more than getting a Dollar. I not once felt that they expected a tip for their work (which we occasionally gave). My experience was that these are friendly, educated and proud people. If you treat them with respect, you will be treated the same way.

Last December, I took my sister (who visited me from Switzerland) for one week to the Rio. My sister is 73 years old and had the time of her life. I met many of the same staff that I had gotten to know in May. They all remembered me and called me by name. My husband and I plan to go back this May. We can hardly wait to meet our “friends” again. This time, there will be little gifts for their children in our suitcase.

Sure there are hotels with better food, better rooms, a longer beach, more entertainment, and what not. But in my humble opinion, the Rio de Oro is Dollar for Dollar, the best value for your money. If you expect the service, food, etc. to be the same as in 5* in Paris or New York, the Rio de Oro is not for you. But my search for the perfect vacation spot has ended. The Rio de Oro is the place I will go to relax and to be treated like a Queen, for a price I can afford.

  • Stayed December 2004
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
18 Thank Reisefreund
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
paradisusri0de0r0, General Manager at Paradisus Rio de Oro Resort & Spa, responded to this review, November 25, 2014
Old review, thank you
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed February 15, 2005

simpley a excellent resort my wife and i found no bad points only pluses. take the overnight trip to havana to see real life. we went the last 2 weeks of november good weather, 5* food, super room . one place we will return to. free bikes, horses take aride to the next town, go on the free hotel trips

Helpful?
25 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
paradisusri0de0r0, General Manager at Paradisus Rio de Oro Resort & Spa, responded to this review, November 25, 2014
Old review, thank you
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed February 14, 2005

Some folks are really cranky. Maybe I am just not used to 5* expectations.
My wife and I honeymooned at the Rio de Oro we had a honeymoon suite that easily could have hosted a european football match. We found the food vey good and the staff extremely helpful and polite. Maybe I can chalk my positive feelings about the hotel to the fact that I am just a barbaric unsophisticated American. I guess we don't know a thing.

We loved it. Found it very clean the food very good and the service excellent. Let's not forget - this is Cuba we are speaking of here. One of the poorest nations on the planet. The grounds are gorgeous. If you need to have somebody organize your days try Paris or Rome.

I guess as a colonial I lack the sophistication of the more demanding set.
I found the people of the hotel staff simply marvelous people.

Helpful?
23 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
paradisusri0de0r0, General Manager at Paradisus Rio de Oro Resort & Spa, responded to this review, November 25, 2014
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

Property: 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:
Ranked #1 of 10 Hotels in Holguin
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
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 Resort And Spa
Paradisus Rio De Oro Hotel Holguin
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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