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“Memories Paraiso - Avoid” 2 of 5 bubbles
Review of Memories Paraiso Beach Resort

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Memories Paraiso Beach Resort
Ranked #10 of 14 Hotels in Cayo Santa Maria
Winnipeg, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Memories Paraiso - Avoid”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 8, 2012

- If you are headed here soon I am sorry to panic you. Hopefully this is not your experience. If you have done the all inclusive resort thing before you may be disappointed here. -

If possible try to change your booking away from Memories Paraiso. Just returned yesterday (Jan 7th 2012). Sunwing should NOT have this resort open. Unbelievable how many problems at this resort. If you go I suggest bring a camera crew to make a reality show during your stay to document all the problems you will encounter. Such as:

- Buildings on Paraiso side are older and finished poorly. Our bathtubs leaked and there was mold throughout building.

- One whole building was closed down in the week due to tarantula infestation (no joke).

- Difficult to get drinks and food all week. Expect to wait and wait for food and especially drinks.

- No room service if needed.

- Diamond Club is waste of money.

- All day trips were booked for the entire week before we even arrived so not many activities. Nice beach though.

- Many guests where upset and there were many people yelling about conditions. I saw two fights, likely due to frustration.

- The disco is beside the resort in a fake 'Disneyland' style village, you have to pay to get in and pay for drinks there.

- The Cuban employees are overworked here and are not the problem. Sunwing management needs to rethink this place.

AVOID.

Room Tip: Rooms on "Azul" side are newer and nicer and don't smell like mold and sewage. (Seriou...
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  • Stayed January 2012, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
13 Thank Gavin M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Winnipeg, Manitoba
Level Contributor
22 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 124 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 8, 2012

This is the third resort I've stayed at in Cuba. I enjoyed being slightly away from the regular hustle and bustle of Varadero! Traveled from Wpg - Memories Azul from Dec 30 - Jan 07. We had a great trip, of course there are some minor speed bumps, but I would recommend this place to a friend...these are the following reason and advise I can offer to you. Lastly, I have several dietary restrictions, I am highly allergic to all fish/seafood (including touch and smell), celiac (no wheat/gluten), intolerant to most dairy and am a ovo-lacto vegetarian (no consumption of meat, just dairy and eggs), so I am providing some info on how to accommodate my issues.

FLIGHT: We traveled with Sunwing, the departing flight was in the evening. We decided to pay the 60.00 (for two people both ways) to pre-select the seats. The 737-800 series is definitely a tight bird with 32 rows. I definitely recommend pre-selecting your seats if you want to sit with your loved ones, as there were several families that were split. The rows with extra leg room are at the front of the plane, looked like a good idea, but I would prefer extra width! You are allowed to check two pieces of luggage, with a max weight of 20 kilos. Your carry one can not exeed 5 kg. Ladies purses are not weighed and are not counted as a carry on. I called sunwing direct to confirm the meals that would be served. I requested a vegetarian-gluten free meal. On board, they informed me that they had book my meal as gluten free, and my husband's as vegetarian, they chose to give both meals to me and luckily had one extra meal for my husband. Gluten free meal was a biscuit, juice, cheese slice, cup of melon/grapes, rice with beans, and a chicken breast. Vegetarian meal was cheese slice, crackers, juice, rice with asian sauced vegetables and tofu, and a cookie. On board, you will fill out a visa permit, be careful to fill it out clearly and correctly, any error will cost you $20, as you will need to buy a new form. HINT: YOU NEED A PEN! Once we arrived in Santa Clara, you go through another security check, (ask to keep your cash - no coins in your pocket). Make sure there are no sharp items in your bag, they will confiscate them. Once you are screened, you must go through the customs officer. If you would like a stamp in your passport you must ask the officer. They will stamp the 'observations' page. Otherwise you will not get a stamp, they only stamp the part of the visa that you keep with your other documents. Once you get your luggage you should go directly to the bus. If you need to use the bathroom, there will be a lady offering you toilet paper, you must pay her for the toilet paper. I recommend you simply bring a pocket pack of kleenex and save your money. Also, if you wish you can buy a beer for $2 outside the terminal, where the buses are located. Do not worry about exchanging your cash until you get to the resort.

BUS: The buses are comfy, I do not recommend sitting in the very last row, the sits have no tilt. Ask the driver to unlock the toilet. Again, keep that kleenex if you want to have something to use. The bus driver will expect a tip, please don't give coins... just bills. The voyage to the resort is about 90 minutes, traveling between 7pm - 7am is not to great for sight seeing, as you pass through some small villages and due to the absolute dark, you can not really appreciate any of the sights. During the day, I recon it is like a semi-tour.

CHECK IN: Get your bags from the belly of the bus, and make your way to the banquet room, where they will ask you to fill in a documentation form, that pen will come in handy here again. Then you will put on your wrist band, and set off to find your room. Some people chose to have their luggage delivered. I do not recommend this. Keep potential issues at bay, keep your stuff with you at all times.

ROOMS: Our building was bungalow 58 (cincuenta ocho) - first floor. There is a set of stair to the main floor. Potential mobility issue. The bungalows are three stories high. Our room had a king size bed, two seat couch, cocktail table, credenza, tv, stereo (has a usb and SD port), mini fridge, tub with shower, iron board, safe, iron, blow dryer, several hangers, extra blankets, loads of towels, beach towels, and balcony with garden view. THERE IS NO ALARM IN THE ROOM - BRING A TRUSTWORTHY WATCH OR BATTERY OPERATED ALARM! We did not bring a watch or alarm, and we used the timer function in the TV menu to tell time, and use the `turn on` function as the alarm, as wake up calls never occurred when requested. We also just pressed 0 on the phone, for reception, and asked the time. The room comes with a bottle of dark rum, sold at the local store for around 4 pesos. The mini fridge is stocked daily with "dos cervezas" two CRYSTAL beers, "uno cola" and "uno lemon lime", and one large bottle of "agua". The mini fridge has a small freezer compartment, where you can make ice in the tray. The balcony has two plastic chairs and side table, and ash tray. The view from the second floor is better, can see the ocean, and third is the best with garden, pool, and ocean view. If you are not facing the direction of the ocean, you still get a great view of the water on the other side of the key. There are several hundred keys (small islands) to watch and day dream about. Our bed was comfortable, the pillows were great, and the extra blankets were perfect. The room requires you to insert the room card/key into a port to have the air conditioning turned on and most of the electricity in the room (like bathroom lights). The fridge will stay running all the time regardless. But for extra comfort, we asked the front desk for a third key/card, we left one key in the port all week, and each kept a key in our pocket. You will get one bar of soap for the sink, and one for the tub, along with a decent sized bottle of shampoo and body wash. BRING CONDITIONER!

Due to my allergies, etc, I chose to bring some food items to make my stay more comfortable, the fridge is perfect for fitting GF pizza crust in the freezer, and had room to store a loaf of udi's bread, ketchup, mustard, small salad dressing (ranch & Italian), small nut butter, and many other treats. This fridge could easily store any medications as well.

FOOD/SERVICE: Again due to my many food issues, I spoke with the customer service manager Diane. She listened to what I can not and what I can eat, I explained the foods that I brought and we worked together to devise a plan. She was incredible! She introduced me to the Capitian of the buffet, and a la cartes. For breakfast, I ate at the buffet. I had an omilette, with GF toast & nutbutter (I brought from home), fresh banana and other fruits. There was yogurt, several meats, fish, cereal, breads, and other baked goodies. Breakfast is the most delicious and nutritious meal of the day there. I literally waited no longer than 10 minutes in line three times, the rest was smooth. The waffles looked great, my husband said that they tasted great, but was a challenge to find syrup. I recommend bringing syrup and jam next time to make travel more easy/tasty! His complaint is greedy people taking all 4 waffles at a time (chef can only do four double squared waffles at a time). There was a crepe station, didn't interest him, any I'm not sure if people really enjoyed them, they looked between a crepe and a pancake. I tipped the egg chef JOSE twice in the week, 3 pesos bill each time. The service was inconsistent. But I am not shy, so I just walked up to the station and poured my own juice and water, no service, no tip! Service equaled 1 peso - 3 pesos. I learned that the service staff need to switch all coins to bills, and I was approached by staff several times to change canadian and american coins/bills to pesos for them. They want to do a straight exchange of one dollar for one pesos. I didn't mind doing that for the american money, but the canadian coins/bills I declined. PLEASE BE KIND AND LEAVE A PESOS TIP! I find it rude that people are either lazy or don't care enough about other guests and staff who have to have these awkward conversations about 'change my tip to pesos por favor'. Lunch time can be entertained at the main buffets or grills. I brought my own pizza shells, and had a chef assigned to me via the capitain, and he would make me a pizza every day - I just had to say what I wanted (black olives, green peppers, onion, pineapple, and mucho queso). Tasted just like boston pizza's gf pizza! I was very impressed! Other from my pizza I would enjoy the salad. Regular salad bar toppings were cabbage, lettuce, onion, green and black olives, peppers, beets, baby corn, tomatoes, and cucumbers. They offer oil and red wine vinegar for dressing, bringing our own made life much easier! My husband enjoyed the fries and pizza for lunch most days. One day had ordered a burger from the snack bar, it was decent. The lunch buffet again offers a lot of similar items from any other buffet meal, loads of greasy meats, cold cuts, fish, fish, and more fish! Mashed potatoes, and veggies were found each meal as well. The dinner situation for us was much different. We were assigned to the Asian and Steak house each night, due to my situation. We did not pay for this extra service, and we were not club diamond guests. (club diamond gets you an extra 4th night of a la carte, and access to the steak house). My meals were generally salad followed by rice and vegetables. The Asian was by far better then the steak house for both my husband and me too! We brought gf brown rice vermicelli, the asian restaurant cooked it and made a veggie stir fry for us. Added chicken to it for my husband. The regular Asian menu was great, sushi or chicken skewer to start, then soup, and your choice of a rice or noodle stir fry with either pork, beef, or chicken. The server Dariel is my new BFF, we was great! Yucelin was great too! The capitan oozed professionalism! Steakhouse was iffy...but the new year's eve meal was AMAZING! sky, surf, and turf meal offered to guests, and a special meal was made for me.

Recommend taking: heinz ketchup & mustard, syrup, jam, nutbutter, mrs. dash, your fav salad dressing. GF bread, bagels, pizzacrust, verm. noodles, and buns make the world of difference! Udi's brand is the best for these items as they do last the week without a fridge, but the fridge keeps everything extra fresh. The kinnikinnick pizza crust fits perfectly into the freezer, and the corn meal bottom allows the crust not to stick when baking in their oven.

BANKING: Do this during the day at the bank either on site or in town. Make sure you get a receipt so you know the exchange rate, and take your passport. Do not bring American dollars, only Canadian. You must have a passport with you to do any conversions. This is not about you, this is about controlling the amount of extra money Cubans receive, as they are taxed on their tips. Do not exchange money at the front desk! Their is not difference if you exchange your money at the resort bank or town bank, it is all controlled by the gov't.

RESORT SERVICES: The resort is spaced out, be prepared to enjoy walking. Their are many spaces for tennis, badminton, table tennis, fooseball, bocci ball, shuffle board, basketball, volleyball, water polo, dancing, drinking, eating, etc. The lobby bar often had a singer and instrumental accompaniment. The lobby bar offered an excel space to enjoy conversation, play cards, drink tea/coffee/alcoholic bevs. The snack bar seemed confusing to guests, because in the evening, if the steak house a la carte was getting too much wind, they would take over the snack bar space. Their are several buggies going around the resort, for getting around you can wave the driver over and get a ride around the resort or to the 'town'. The are books that can be borrowed. There are lots of space for children to play. I had no problem getting a chair at the beach or pool, but I also did go down at 9am and place my 'book' or 'towel' to reserve a spot. Its the nature of the beast. There is an internet and phone space, the internet is really slow, not worth it. The 'gift shop' sells razors, shampoos, toiletries, alcohol, cigars, etc. SAVE YOUR MONEY AND BUY YOUR SMOKES/CIGARS AND ALCOHOL AT THE DUTY FREE SHOP AT THE AIRPORT!!!! The gym is not on site, you must use the gym in the 'town'. It is free and in decent shape.

ENTERTAINMENT: There was no shortage of hearing RAGGA RAGGA during the day. Pool activities were ok, nothing special. Some staff get pushy with getting people to join, or do inappropriate things (16 year old girl 'act sexy' thrusting in her bikini and rub ice on her body?? I don't think so! Just because she looks legal doesn't mean she is! Props to the Dad for pulling the plug on that one!) The evening shows were ok. Lots of people loved the MJ performance. I was blown away by the flamingo show on new years eve. They handed out goody bags with party favors for the count down. The dancing was pretty good and the outfits at this resort were amazing compared to my last trip to cuba.

BEACH: The beach is great, yes there are jelly fish... that's nature! They will not hurt you, you can in fact touch them. There was a lot of seaweed, but seriously it doesn't affect you from enjoying the space. There is also a lot of beautiful shells and a rocky space to go enjoy a seaside hike. Bring your snorkel gear and enjoy! We never bring our own towels from home, just don't loose the hotels! Yes the chairs are plentiful, but do get reserved quickly, so be prepared to be flexible to where you sit or just enjoy the white sand! There are lots of sand bars, so you can walk out a fair distance. The RED flag was up 5/7 days, people still went in the water, no issues, but swim with a clear mind and be mindful of the current. Even on the coldest day, and with the highest tides, people were still going in, just be careful, take off the sunglasses and double knot your bikini!

TOWN/SHOPPING: There is a double deck tour bus that stops at each resort, town, and dolphin bay. The cost per person is one pesos. The driver will give you a ticket. JUST BUY ONE AT A TIME, and HAVE EXACT CHANGE! The driver speaks limited english/french. We sat on the upper deck, it was a great way to check out the resorts before going to the town. The town is literally connected to the resort. Walking from building 58 to the town was 15 minutes. In fact, it looks like the resort built the town. The town is not a real town at all... its more of a meeting space that offers services. No locals live in this space. Its sole purpose is to serve the tourists. There is a spa, bowling alley (2.20 per person per game) playing ten pin bowling (that the big balls for non bowlers like me), disco jazz bar, ice cream stand, cigar shop, cigar lounge, gym, and several restaurants ranging from creole, japanese, italian, steak, etc. The vendors that set up daily do change each day, but day the same stuff generally appears. The typical 'souvenirs' are sold, shirts/dresses, artwork, jewelry, carvings, purses/totes, etc. The jewelry is generally made of silver, copper, shells, or bones. The carvings are either mahogany or cow horns. Their are shells to purchase and many paintings. Lots of painting are scenery or of cars. I did pick up a beautiful painting of a woman's face/vignette for 17 pesos - it was truly unique and one of a kind, didn't see anything as tasteful again. If you see a painting your like, just go for it, as it will likely sell. Heard many mixed reviews on the spa...looked great, but spent my time on the beach instead.

EXCURSIONS: The prices all range from 60 - 180 pesos. The most expensive is traveling to Havana via plane. The excursions offered at this resort are exactly the same as any other resort in Varadero. Fishing, Catamaran tours, Jeep Safari, Horseback riding, tour Havana, tour Trinidad. I still stand strong to my last experiences and suggest 'Rambo tour' which includes a tour of Trinidad and a visitation of several other towns, cigar factory, museums, etc.




Hope this is helpful, if you would like to ask a specific question I have no problem answering inquiries. Happy travels.

Room Tip: bungalow 55-58 are seemingly the best.
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  • Stayed January 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
86 Thank WinnipegJennie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Prince Albert, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 7, 2012

We went as a family. This was great even if it was not very nice out as there is lots for families to do together - pool tables, ping pong, badminton, volleyball, fooseball etc. The resort is in the perfect location. It has a gorgeous beach, lush gardens, great pool and bars. The food was bland which I expected as I've travelled to Cuba before, however it was the worst I've experienced. The catameran ride was well worth the $100 it has a dolphin visit, great lobster, fish and shrimp dinner and awesome snorkelling on a live reef. I missed the Cuban culture as it is far removed from their villages. I had an allergic reaction to their noseems tiny flys in Cuba. The medical facility was close by and very helpful. Bring mosquito spray and benadryl as my case seemed to be common. The staff was friendly - over worked as the line ups were rediculous - not enough employees for this size of business.

Room Tip: close to the ocean
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  • Stayed January 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank ilovecuba666
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Manitoba
Level Contributor
8 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 62 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 7, 2012

I returned this morning from a week at this resort. One of the most telling statements I heard this past week from others at the hotel was about Trip Advisor: most of the people who review things on this site are either on one end of the spectrum or the other. I couldn't agree more. So my goal is to write a review of this property based on my overall experience, and not on one day or incident.

The Good:

The Cuban people are legendary as being a friendly bunch, and the employees at this resort are no different. I didn't see a miserable Cuban once all week long - even when the behaviour of some of the guests would have certainly excused it. Each and every employee I interacted with was kind and friendly and did their best to help or to make my trip the best it could be.

The grounds of the hotel are impeccably maintained. The property itself is beautiful, and the beach is outstanding. I didn't so much as encounter an ant, a mosquito or a fly. Everything was clean. The room I was in was large and comfortable. The air conditioning was fully functional. The view from the balcony was outstanding - I could see and hear the ocean easily.

For me, the two most important features of any accommodation I stay at are cleanliness and friendliness. This resort exceeded my expectations in both areas.


The Bad:

As hard as it tries, this hotel is not a 5 star property. At least not yet. As the resort has only been open for a little over a month, the time between Christmas, New Years and this weekend was certainly their first "peak" period. The staff, through no fault of their own, were completely overwhelmed at times. The management of this hotel needs to realize that having only 2 bartenders working in the very popular "Lobby Bar" during the after-dinner rush is just not enough. The cappuccinos in the Lobby Bar are amazing, but the coffee maker the staff has to use to make them makes one cup at a time. Not ideal for a resort which, at capacity, can have over 2 000 guests. I was also horrified to see that one of the cooks in the buffet was using folded cardboard to remove hot pizza from the oven - he didn't have any oven mitts. Unacceptable.


The Reality:

I had a good time at this resort. Would I go back again? If I had an opportunity to go at the same price for which I booked this last trip - absolutely! If I had to pay full price - I would not. This is because, if I am paying full price, I'm going to go to a resort that has been up and running a little longer and has worked out its "kinks".

This resort will one day be a gem. I'm glad that I got to experience it before it becomes the Cayo Santa Maria hot spot. Its not there yet, but it one day will be.

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
53 Thank DeepBlueGoalie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
12 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 7, 2012

This was our first time in Santa Maria. We stayed on the Paraiso side (which is the western side of the Memories Paraiso Azul compound) from December 25, 20114 to January 1, 2012. We are a family of four - kids aged 5 and 1 ½.

Would we return to this resort? YES. We had a relaxing and problem-free trip and would definitely return to this hotel, even again at a New Years. The weather was lovely, although not guaranteed at this time of year.

Here’s why we’d go back:

(a) The kids club was excellent. The kids club was the primary reason for choosing this hotel (as opposed to returning to where we’d been before in Cuba), as it is for kids ages 0 to 12 (most only offer from age 4). Our kids willingly and happily attended for a few hours each day. For naps, the baby slept in a temperature controlled sleep room in a crib with a clean sheet. They diapered and gave him a bottle/snack as needed. We had ZERO worries about the care, as Maria Rosa and Yuni were excellent and genuine in their interest and care towards the kids. Amazing playground complete with swings (nicer than some Canadian schools). For parents looking for a break and kids looking to just play with toys and games (mini ping pong, mini foosball, colouring, Little Tikes house and rockers, puzzles, movies, video games, special magic show) instead of going to the beach every day, the kids club is an excellent offering. Also, it’s a good way to keep the little ones out of the sun for a bit. (Note that there is a very shallow pool just outside the kids club. They do NOT let the kids outside the building without a parent. Also, when you drop the kids, you have to fill in a form saying where they can find you, whether there are any allergies or health concerns.)

(b) The food was very good for Cuba. This was our 7th time in Cuba so we understand that resorts in Cuba can be limited in their food offerings, not because they choose to be, but because they just don’t have access to some products, garlic and lemons, as example. Really, aside from hamburgers and hot dogs (which apparently you could get if you asked) and broccoli, we cannot think of anything that was ‘missing’. There was always enough to choose from: vegetables, fruits and grilled fish and meat. We ate healthily and heartily and then topped it off with the amazing Cuban ice cream and desserts. The only reason that people complain is that they unreasonably expect more choices and perhaps what they are more used to, that being North American cooking full of fat and sodium. Line ups at the buffet were manageable – it was over the holidays so it makes sense to be busy given the hotel was full. Azul side did seem busier than Paraiso side. No different to having to line up at home in peak season. The service was great, even though our 1½ year old caused lots of extra work for the staff as he is messy, messy. The staff were always helpful and patient. We didn’t eat at any a la cartes as buffets and pool grills were easier with the kids.

(c) Beautiful beach – perfect sand, shallow and perfect for kids to play, a diligent lifeguard to keep us safe in the waves. There was no need to save chairs at 6am in the morning, especially on the Paraiso side. We thought that shade might be an issue but it wasn’t.

(d) Sailing – available everyday without having to reserve. Just grab a lifejacket and go. Never much of a line up.

(e) Spectacular pools – they are huge and never felt crowded. Seating by the pool could become limited, but people were friendly so not an issue. Lovely ‘Ballet Aquatico’ on Friday afternoons at the Azul pool. Fun time at the pools – dance lessons, aerobics, water aerobics, sports courts.

(f) Service – no real problems here. Sometimes a bit slow at Lobby Bars, but again, the hotels were full. No different that travelling anywhere at peak time.

(g) The room – very spacious and clean. Room was cleaned daily and fridge was restocked. No problems in getting extra water in the fridge. Hotel provided an extra single bed for our daughter, not immediately, but within a reasonable period of time. Bath and beach towels were in the room – no issues.

(h) Entertainment – for what we managed to stay up and see, it was professional in a lovely theatre. Kids New Years Eve show and nightly Kids Disco was exciting for kids and lovely to watch. Definitely a highlight for our kids. We loved the entertainment just outside the theatre every evening – a great atmosphere.

(i) Gardens – pretty and immaculately maintained

(j) Awesome cappuccinos – honestly, the Cubans must wonder about the Canadians’ addiction to cappuccinos and coffees! Take your travel mugs for portable cappuccinos.

Other things to know

(1) SunWing will weigh your checked and carry-on baggage. Stick to the limits or pay lots. It makes sense as additional weight costs more in fuel. Weigh your baggage before you leave home. We took our pack ‘n play crib which counted as part of our baggage allowance. Hotel has lots of cribs, but we just felt it best to take our own, just in case.
(2) Bus ride – 1 ½ hours, but interesting and comfortable. Even with two young kids, it was fine! Take toilet paper with you if you need the facilities on the bus.
(3) The resort is huge – bring good walking shoes, as you will be walking a lot. Due to the layout of the resort, most rooms are not ocean view. Having a non-ocean view room was fine, as we spent our days on the beach anyway.
(4) Special requests – best to speak with the Sunwing rep or the Public Relations. The manager of the resort was also exceptionally helpful and constantly walking around the resort ensuring things are flowing smoothly. Perhaps if you are emailing a special request, put in Spanish and English to overcome the language barrier.
(5) This is a quiet area – aside from the disco in the Pueblo (we only ever went to the Pueblo during the day when it was pretty deserted), this is not a party area.
(6) Mosquitoes – we didn’t have too many bites, but suggest taking repellent with you, not that we needed to wear it
(7) Service – yes, sometimes slower than home, but no real issues. This is NOT a fault of this hotel. We’ve travelled lots and it’s just a case of us all needing to slow down and relax.
(8) Snorkelling – at east end of beach, some snorkelling, but not much to see. Fun for a first timer as not far off shore.
(9) Our keys deactivated at noon on the day of checkout. A trip to the front desk had them back in order till our 3pm checkout. This is just the way it works.
(10) Bathrooms are located very close to the beach.

Room Tip: The way the resort is laid out means that some of the 1st floors of the room buildings are thoroughf...
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  • Stayed December 2011, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
9 Thank Susan S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Canada
Level Contributor
16 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 7, 2012

We stayed at Memories Azul with our young child for a week over New Year’s. We didn’t have Diamond Club. Overall, the resort was a 4 star. As with any AI vacation, there are positives and negatives.
Here is our impression. The food was probably the best we have ever had in Cuba (this is our 7th trip). There was an excellent selection of food at breakfast and dinner (and lunch most days) at the buffet. The downside was that if you wanted any of the food from the made-to-order stations (waffles, pancakes, fish, chicken etc) you would be waiting at least 20mins. If we didn’t have a 2.5 year old, it might not have been as much of an issue however, you couldn’t get most of these items in the pans. There needs to be more cooks and more cooking space (for example the pancake lady only had 3 small skillets). We found in general that the Azul buffet was busier than the Paraiso. You could also go to the grill for breakfast, with less selection but shorter lines. The 24hr snacks at the grill was a disappointment one day “it’s too busy” and when we did get sandwiches, they weren't good. For the a la cartes, the Mediterrano was very good, the Italian was okay and the Caribbean was terrible – painfully slow service and lukewarm food.
Water – The beach was great with small waves and fine sand. There weren’t enough chairs a few days and people just had to put their towels on the sand. The staff tried to help by bringing down some chairs from the pool but there still weren’t enough. If you entered the beach by the grill entrance (buildings 56-61) then there are few chairs and no palapas at that end. The beach bar and beach entertainment is also at the other end of the stretch of beach (closer to buildings 51-55). The choice of pools was great. They weren’t too busy as the water was a bit cool. Apparently there is an adults only pool but we didn’t see one labelled as such. By the last two days the pool (by the grill) began to look dirty – murky water and lots of sand.
Bars – We found that usually we got our drinks fairly quickly and they were all good!! At the lobby it was usually faster to wait for someone to take your order at the table as opposed to going up to the bar. The longest wait is at the theatre bar right before the show starts. So get your drinks early or wait until the show has started.
Entertainment – Lots of activities such as pool, shuffleboard, basketball were available. There was no posted schedule as to what time activities took place so we may have missed some but we found in general that there weren’t as many entertainment staff directed activities as at other resorts (e.g., bingo, yoga, water aerobics). The evening shows need to be spiced up. The magician night and Michael Jackson shows were good but the other shows weren’t that great. There was a mini-disco at 8:30 and a kids club. The baby room had quite a few toys but the older children's room was a bit sparse.
Customer Service – Some parts were great. We liked that the room fridge was restocked daily. Our maid service was good. Our water/wine was brought quickly at the buffet. Though, I am not sure what the front desk does. They didn’t check us in – we had to find our own way to a conference room. When we asked for a crib in the room, they sent us to the customer service desk. There we had to wait in a long line because it is the same place that you make reservations for the a la cartes and the man answers phone calls too. When asked for a wake-up call we were sent to the telephone desk. We never did receive our 4:45am wake up call for our flight home.
Overall, this resort has many positives. I have highlighted some negatives so that you can decide if these things really bother you then this might not be the right resort for you. We enjoyed our holiday and we would consider visiting this resort again.

Room Tip: From what we noticed all the buildings had about 6 steps to get to the main floor. Therefore, even g...
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  • Stayed December 2011, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
15 Thank sanddollarCanada
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pickering, Canada
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 7, 2012

We as a couple travelled fron Dec 24-31. The trip began with the hotel misplacing my luggage. It was about 4 hours before it was returned and no one seems to be too concern about it.
This comes after a 90 minute bus ride to the hotel where the tour operator asked for tips 5 times!! The tour consisted of her saying many times....this is a typical cuban house, and this is a typical cuban house- when she asked for tips the 5th time is when I decided not to tip at all. Not a great start.

The service at the front desk is shameful. They hardly speak english and they dont seem to be too interested in accomidating anyone. Many people stood in line with many complaints.
We did not receive any "diamond club extras" that we paid for. As you have read in many reviews here-it makes no difference if you paid for the upgrade or not. The staff had no idea what I was talking about when I inquired about the extras we where suppose to recieve.

Our room key didnt work twice, our safe broke down twice-each time we had to walk all the way to the front desk as the hotel opererator never answered the phone. The hotel was seriously understaffed and unprepared.

The beach-yes it was nice in the sense that it was about 8km long- however the beach in front of the hotel is about 50 feet wide. People were crammed like sardines. Many people especially those with children where unable to find loungers. The staff told me that the week later they where waiting for 200 more loungers. This tells me that they where about 200 loungers short.Yes there is a separate diamond club section but as you read before in these reviews -anyone can sit there. So imagine paying extra and not even having a place to sit. Counciege service - a joke. Its just another line up! No special anything. Diamond club lounge-a conference room with chairs.

The room-clean, new and nice-again no turn down service, somedays no towels. No king beds as advertised- only two separate beds pushed together. Glad I didnt book the honeymoon package with two separate beds.

The food- the lines ups for everything including the diamond club al a cartes where crazy. There is no guaranteed al a cartes-in fact we where bumped out of our reserversations as they did not have room! The al a carte restaurants are well below standard-nothing special at all. The food was awful-it seems that it was just the same as the buffet. The line ups at the buffet where long and people where very frustrated. Service was very poor in all the restaurants. And the staff have no problem telling you that they ar shortstaffed. I will post a picture of a burger that was ordered from the grill. Totally raw inside..

Clearly this hotel opened full well knowing that they where not prepared. How can so many amenities be advertised and when we arrived -most of the amenities simply where not available. In fact the front desk had no idea what I was talking about.

The sunwing rep was not very helpful either. Another long line up just to speak with her.

I have travelled to Cuba 3 times in the last 15 months. I enjoyed Sandals in varadero and Playa Costa verde in Holgiun. I enjoyed the people and the food and most of all the service.

This experience has put me off Cuba all together! The people here are unfriendly and it didnt seem to matter how much you tipped. A very different experience here-I did not like the attitude of the staff......many did not even say hello. This is not the Cuba I knew.

My husband enjoyed the hoby cat ride- even though the life jackets where in need of repair!

No more Cuba and never again Memories. This hotel was highly advertised with the extras- I was shocked and felt that we had been scammed.

A waste of time and money. A very stressful vacation and I am not happy about it at all.
Thank goodness we met some wonderful people that made this trip much better. Shout out to my Winnipeg friends and toronto friends. They have there own horror stories to tell and I am sure they will.

One last point I would like to make (again) - I am furious that you are unable to contact the front desk from your room. If I had a medical emergency I would not have been able to contact anyone for help. I actually spoke (yelled) at the hotel operator and had to explain the importance of answering the phone. Good thing I did not have small kids with me that may have needed assistance. Just crazy!! Never again.

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
10 Thank savytraveller1959
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Memories Paraiso Beach Resort

Property: Memories Paraiso Beach Resort
Address: Cuba
Location: Caribbean > Cuba > Villa Clara Province > Cayo Santa Maria
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #10 of 14 Hotels in Cayo Santa Maria
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:5 star — Memories Paraiso Beach Resort 5*
Number of rooms: 666
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